The English words "thou, thee, thy and thine" are translated from an emphatic Greek and Hebrew personal pronoun, stressing the identity of the one being addressed to the exclusion of all others.
A "pronoun" is a word that "stands in for" another noun or noun-phrase. A "personal pronoun" is one which stands for a person. The personal pronouns are classified as first person, second person and third person by their relationship to the one speaking.
1st Person - The speaker himself, and any others he may include as part of his group.
2nd Person - Those to whom the speaker is speaking.
3rd Person - Those about whom the speaker is speaking.
Thus, we have the following table which we can construct in English, once we differentiate between the purpose of the various pronouns:
Person Person Nominative Objective Possessive - - - - 1st Person singular: I Me My (or Mine) - plural: We Us Our (or Ours) - - - - 2nd Person singular: Thou Thee Thy (or Thine) - plural: Ye You Your (or yours) - - - - 3rd Person singular: He/She/It Him/Her/It His/Hers/Its - plural: They Them Their (or Theirs) - - - -
Verses expressing the Importance of "thou, thee, thy and thine."
- Exodus 4:15, "THOU shalt speak ... I will be with THY mouth...and will teach YOU what YE shall do."
"Thou/Thy" refer to Moses himself, but "You/Ye" refer to the entire nation of Israel.
- Exodus 29:42, "…I will meet YOU, to speak there unto THEE."
The "You," referring to the children of Israel, is explained in the following verse, but "Thee" refers to Moses, who had the holy privilege of hearing the words of God directly (Leviticus 1:1).
- 2 Samuel 7:23, "And what one nation in the earth is like THY people, even like Israel, whom God went to redeem for a people to himself, and to make him a name, and to do for YOU great things and terrible, for THY land, before THY people, which THOU redeemedst to THEE from Egypt."
Here David prayed to God in the second person singular, but referred to the people of Israel as "You." What confusion could result if this important distinction were done away? It could be incorrectly thought that David was praying in part to the nation, or that the land belonged to the people and not to God.
- Matthew 26:64, "Jesus saith unto him, THOU has said: nevertheless I say unto YOU, hereafter shall YE see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven."
"Thou" refers to the High Priest, but "You/Ye" include all those who were standing there in addition to the high priest.
- Luke 5:24, "But that YE may know…I say unto THEE…take up THY couch, and go into THINE house."
"Ye" refers to the crowd, but "Thee/Thy/Thine" refer only to the man with palsy.
- John 3:7, 11, "Marvel not that I said unto THEE, YE must be born again."
The message was spoken to the individual Nicodemus ("Thee"), but obviously has wider application to all those who desire to follow Christ ("Ye").
- John 14:9, "Have I been so long time with YOU, and yet hast THOU not known me?"
The "You" refers to the crowd, but "Thou" is addressed specifically to only one man, Philip.
- 1 Corinthians 8:9-12, "…this liberty of YOURS....If any man see THEE which hast knowledge... through THY knowledge...but when YE sin."
The plural forms "Yours/Ye" refer to the liberty and sin of all believers in Christ as a whole, but the singular forms "thee/thy" refer only to those individual believers that find themselves in this particular circumstance.
Surely, you will notice that replacing "thou/thee/thy/thine" with the ambiguous "you/your" does NOT clarify, but tends to muddy, the Scriptures. Just about all modern bibles replace "thou/thee/thy/thine" with the ambiguous "you/your" which converts a clear meaning passage with a vague interpretation. So, please be aware of this important distinction in the bibles you read.
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