Throughly or Thoroughly?

Better Speech and Diction--Constructive Hints and Helpful Cautions

By C. E. WENIGER, Dean, and Professor of Speech, S.D.A. Theological Seminary

"Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin."

Is this the way you read or quote Psalms 51:2 of the King James Version? If so, turn to the text and observe that the word in ques­tion is throughly, not thoroughly. Read : "Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin." (See also Matt. 3:12.)

In Ezra 9:3 the word is astonied, not aston­ished. "When I heard this thing, I . . . sat down astonied."

Matthew 26:73 used the word bewray, not betray; the text reads, "Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee." (See also Isa. 16:3.)


Ensample is the word employed in Philip­pians 3:17, not example. "Brethren, be follow­ers together of Me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample." (See also Peter 5:3.)

Note the "glistering stones" not glistening, of Chronicles 29 :2; and observe the same word used in Luke 9 :29 : "As He prayed, the fashion of His countenance was altered, and His rai­ment was white and glistering."

A full study of these words of archaic flavor would drive the Bible student to the massive Oxford English Dictionary, and would amply repay the diligent student of the King James Version. However, for the present purpose it is sufficient to say that the King James Version, as the noblest monument of Jacobean prose, in­cludes in its vocabulary a list of words that, although they are not used currently, suggest the richness of the English Renaissance. As such, the text of the authorized version should be read exactly as it appears. No one should presume, without explanation, to change the vocabulary of this supreme work of English literature, although it is but a translation. Note further the following typical instances of this archaic flavor :

Discomfit. Num. 4:45.

Froward, frowardness. Deut. 32 :20; Prov. to :32.

Holp, holpen. Ps. 83 :8 ; 86:17.

Magnifical. i Chron. 22:5.

Minish. Ex. 5:59.

Plaister. Isa. 38:21.

Sith. Eze. 35:6.

Stablish. Chron. 18:3.

Subtile, subtilty. Gen. 27 :35 ; Matt. 6:4.

There are other examples of the tendency. In the interests of accuracy it is worth while for the preacher, who in most instances reads or quotes the authorized version more often than any other translation, to check the pro­nunciation and meaning of the foregoing words in an unabridged dictionary, and then to make sure that his public and private reading is ac­curate.

When we read Weymouth, let us read Wey­mouth. When we read Moffatt, let us read Moffat. When we read any one of the revised versions, let us read that version. And, by all means, when we read the authorized version as it appears in a current printing, let us read it accurately and honestly, without changing a single word of the translation. The pulpit de­mands skillful workmen.

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness : that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." 2 Tim. 3:16, 17.

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By C. E. WENIGER, Dean, and Professor of Speech, S.D.A. Theological Seminary

February 1949

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