Why The King James Version will Get You Drunk!!
A little bit of humor for the heavy travel weekend, and since it is my reading week this week I’m just posting a little piece of humor that I ran across while working through Daniel B. Wallace’s Greek Grammar: Beyond the Basics. Hopefully it also goes to show why Biblical scholars spend so much time (or should) getting to know the original languages, the grammar, and the functional syntax of them. In reading through Wallace’s 40 page analysis of Koine Greek prepositions he tells this story on Matthew 26.27 which reads in the Greek “piete ex autou pantes” (drink from it, everyone).
The unfortunate translation found in the King James Version (“Drink ye all of it”) has caused a great deal of confusion. S. Lewis Johnson Jr. has often told the story of the country preacher who, having no knowledge of Greek, assumed that “all” referred to the wine and “of it” modified the “all”…Having a rather small congregation, coupled with a liturgical tradition that required a pitcher of wine to be filled for the weekly Communion, the pastor found himself in a moral quandary. Every Sunday, after the tiny flock departed, the good reverend would down the pitcher and become drunk–all because he misunderstood this verse! (Wallace, 372).
Of course, the verse does not indicate that all the wine should be drunk as the KJV implies; rather, it indicates that everyone in the community is to partake of the wine.
Who knew Grammar could be funny…