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How do the original manuscripts of the Bible employ capital letters?

Why do some English versions not use capital letters for pronouns referring to God and to Jesus?

In Hebrew, there is no such thing as upper and lower case. The original Greek manuscripts were written in all upper case letters with no spaces or punctuation which makes accurate translation a bit of a challenge. Therefore, this is a question of English style rather than a question of being true to the original Bible texts.

There is no disrespect intended in the English style which does not capitalize pronouns relating to God or Jesus Christ; it is the usage of the historic English Bibles: Wycliffe (1380), Tyndale (1534), Cranmer (1539), Geneva (1557), Rheims (1582), and King James Version (1611). Moreover, it is the style followed by the New English Bible (NEB), New International Version (NIV) and English Standard Version (ESV). The NASB and NKJV do capitalize pronouns and thus introduce something which is not a feature of the original Greek or Hebrew texts. The capitalization of pronouns in the Bible is thus seen to be relatively modern.

There is no commandment of God to capitalize pronouns as a mark of respect therefore it comes under the heading of a ‘tradition of men’. As such, those who want to observe it are free to do so, but have no scriptural grounds for imposing the observance of it upon others.

In some places in the Bible, it is a matter of opinion to whom the pronoun refers. In the Old Testament where passages have a dual reference (Psalms 55:12-13 for example) it becomes problematical and is best not indulged in.

God is honoured in the way we obey the commandments he has actually given us rather than the way we capitalize pronouns of which he made no mention.

The prescribed offerings of the Jews had no value if their lives were astray from God. They made their mistake in straining gnats and swallowing camels. We have to avoid travelling the same road.

Matthew 15:8This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. 9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

I hope this helps.
Glenn

 
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