May 18, 2024

Who Is Esaias Anyway?

This entry is part 9 of 9 in the series Which Bible Should I Use?
(KJV) 1631 Holy Bible, Robert Barker/John Bill...
(KJV) 1631 Holy Bible, Robert Barker/John Bill, London. King James Version (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For a moment, let’s accept the KJV Only argument that King James is the best translation from a manuscript standpoint as well as from tradition.  My question, which has yet to be answered, is “Why has it not been updated since 1800?”

To give a reference, here’s something that always baffled me as a kid.  Who is Esaias?

Matthew 3:3 – For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

Do you see the dilemma?  If you checked out the hover passage or looked at this passage in a modern Bible, you would find the prophet “Isaiah”.  The same thing is true for the prophet Jeremiah (whom the KJV calls Jeremy in some places) and the prophet Elijah.

If you were to come to the Scriptures and read the 21 verses where the prophet Esaias was referenced, you’d figure—as I did for part of my life—that this was some other prophet that was extra-Biblical, for he’s only referenced in the New Testament.  Perhaps you would recognize some of the sayings and maybe you made the link.

Many advocate that you should start your study in John as a new believer—and you’d find this prophet mentioned in John 1:23.

Now I know the reason why the names are like this—it’s the difference between the Greek and the Hebrew in the names.  I mean, Jesus’ name is really equivalent to the Hebrew name Joshua and Christ is Greek for Messiah.  And yet no one makes the argument that we should call Jesus “Joshua the Messiah.” 1


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  1. Though I have seen some Messianic Jews call Him Yeshua, which is the literal translation. []

9 thoughts on “Who Is Esaias Anyway?

  1. Fill in the blank using a vowel: A, E, I, O, or U:
    “The Land of _z”

    99% of people respond with O.

    Why do we say “The Land of Oz”? Why do we know about the home of a Wizard, that will, according to Lev. 19:31, 20:5-6 and Deut. 18:11-12, “defile” our family?

    Why don’t we know about “The Land of Uz,” the home of Job, who “was perfect and upright”? (Job 1:1)

    The problem is not KJV, it is TV.

    And people don’t read their Bibles.

  2. Except saying “The Land of _z” isn’t the same as saying that one book of the Bible references the prophet “Isaiah” and another “Esaias.” Or “Elias”– is that Elijah or Elisha? Oh yeah, it’s obvious it’s Elijah.

    Wikipedia states:

    In addition, the translators of the New Testament books habitually quote Old Testament names in the renderings familiar from the Vulgate Latin, rather than in their Hebrew forms (e.g. “Elias”, “Jeremias” for “Elijah”, “Jeremiah”). King James Version

    What I can’t understand is why you’re arguing that it’s better to have to have a more obscured Bible. I mean, the argument for translating the Bible into English was so that common people could read and understand it. The Roman Catholics argued that, if you wanted to know the Bible you should study Latin– the language it was perfected.

    In essence, you’re making the same argument of those elitists of old– that it’s wrong to have a Bible that where the language doesn’t get in the way of understanding the message. In essence “I’m better than you, I spend my time in the Bible and you watching TV. My Bible should be hard to read because that proves I’m a great Christian.”

    An ugly argument indeed.

  3. That is not my argument, you are putting words in my mouth. That is indeed an ugly argument, I agree. But is our “dumbing-down” of the English language a good reason to do the same to God’s word?

    But the point is that the KJV is not full of obscure language. Our family has been so surprised at how easy it is to understand, especially after believing the “archaic” myth ourselves for so long without really giving the KJV a chance till the past year and a half. The KJV is the easiest of ALL modern Bibles to understand. I know you disagree, but it’s been proven to be comprehended at a 5th grade reading level.

    The Roman Catholics kept even the Latin Bibles away from the people.

    The names are different because they have been translated from OT Hebrew to NT Greek.

  4. Your argument is most certainly “It’s great the way that it is.” I specifically chose and example of something that would most logically be fixed– the usage of the Greek names for the prophets to remain consistent with the Latin Vulgate– and you refuse to even consider that it would be proper to fix them. In fact, you defend the usage of these names, though they would be foreign to any unbeliever and any person not trained or brought up in Bible reading.

    My argument stands. It’s not dumbing down the language to make the New Testament read “Isaiah”, “Jeremiah” and “Elijah.” You’ve created a strawman to argue against because you don’t have a good answer.

    Your family is the one that carries around a pamphlet from Awana to explain complicated words in the KJV, and has also has read the KJV at times growing up. Stop the average person on the sidewalk and ask them about “Beseech”, “Verily”, “Conversation”, etc. Will they come up with a definition that matches the KJV?

    I’m not arguing against the KJV using an elevated prose, my argument is that it’s ridiculous not to take some obvious things and fix them and I wonder why there hasn’t been an update in 242 years when there were multiples between 1611 and 1769.

    My question is, isn’t it overdue?

  5. Yes, that would be my argument, that it’s great the way it is. :O) I can see the logic in changing Esaias and Elias into Isaiah and Elijah in the NT, but where do the changes stop?

    I also want to clarify, that I wasn’t censoring all TV, just saying that it definitely has left its mark on our culture when compared to our grandparents and great-grandparents generations.

    The booklet we have is not put out by Awana. It’s a thin tract-sized booklet that contains helpful definitions for the harder words in the KJV. We got each of the girls one when we decided to switch over to the KJV, thinking it would be a “must”…this was when we were still under the impression that the KJV was a very difficult translation, before we really had spent much time reading from only the KJV. We have used the booklet once or twice as a family, mostly for fun, as we confirm what we believe the text has defined a certain term to be. The KJV contains built in definitions in the context of the harder words, so in essence, had we known that, we wouldn’t have bought the little booklets to begin with.

    I’m not sure I’d trust an “update” to the KJV, considering that is what the NKJV is *supposed* to be, and look how it turned out. The NKJV doesn’t even use the same Hebrew OT as the KJV, substituting the KJV’s ben Chayyim with the Stuttgart ben Asher Old Testament Hebrew…the NKJV omits the word Jehovah entirely, omits the word hell 22 times, omits the blood 23 times, repent 44 times, etc, etc. Not to mention that the NKJV’s claim to fame is that it supposedly updated the archaic words of the KJV, when in reality, it substitutes harder words for the KJV’s easier words, time and time again. So yes, we’re a bit gunshy on updates, considering the age old attack on the KJV, and the fact that many believers use it and love it just the way it is.

  6. Forgot to say, that I was not raised reading the KJV at all…NASB all the way. So I do not have prior exposure to the KJV, and neither do my children.

  7. So, can you explain why it is that it is acceptable to update the KJV in the ways that you prescribe, but to do so again would be wrong?

    How does your position differ from those that say “1611 only?”

    Logically, if you’re willing to accept some changes, you should be willing to accept others within a defined scope. And yet, no one has attempted such, and where you will probably trot out the copyright defense, the question still stands: Why hasn’t there been an update from the publisher? Why not fix just the Isaiah/Esais?

    And I would add, this is probably why we have no autographs today. Because people would get so caught up in worshiping the written work that they would ignore what was said– the content– and the Creator of that Content.

    People long to be “right” and long to be able to say that they’re better, they have the perfect understanding, they have the perfect truth. It makes people feel superior, but it causes one to worship the creation, instead of the Creator.

    This is exactly the problem I have with the KJV Only movement. Is this manner, elevating a specific translation to a doctrine level separation issue, has perverted the Gospel for which Christ died.

  8. “1611 only”? Really? I haven’t come across that yet.

    One thing that popped into my mind since my last comment, is that there are KJVs out there that have updated Esaias to Isaiah, etc. I believe they are the Oxford editions? My husband and girls have the Cambridge KJVs, my KJV was a hand-me-down, and contains the modernized “Isaiah” in the NT. I think there are valid reasons for going with Cambridge over Oxford, but I don’t feel the need to go into those reasons today. For now, I’m reading the one I’ve got…I try not to be dogmatic about this, my main rule of thumb is to avoid the KJ21.

    I’m sure you are right that God disposed of the autographs precisely so that they wouldn’t be worshipped by the scholars of the times, as Greek and Hebrew are often elevated these days. However, worshipping the autographs for their God-given unique status is different from taking to heart his commands all through scripture to “keep his words” and not allow them to be corrupted, as we believe they have been in modern Bible versions. I fail to see how that is a perversion of the gospel?

  9. OK so when Shakespeare says “to be or not to be” not everyone jumps to the conclusion that his words need to be fixed.Upon instruction/meditation you discover the depth of his despair(Hamlets) and the thoughts of someone contemplating suicide,and this then becomes real to you.Is it possible,first that this use of seemingly confusing use of spellings (esais, jeremy )has made you more aware and invited you to study Gods word more seriously? As to the question of easier words in the KJV version,this was tried in 1881 and the result was an “almost bible” based on two terrible manuscripts, full of mistakes and mans corrections.
    Except for spelling changes the KJV has been virtually the same for 400 years and is based on the manuscripts before that which have never veered too far from the original autographs.(not veering too far is a real understatement).The KJV is the Bible of the Church of Philadelphia, commended in the book of Revelation.However all the newer bible versions,based on 2 catholic manuscripts seem to have led to the church of laodicea, which was foretold in our Holy Scriptures as being a wordly church, greedy and without righteousness. The KJV is actually without copyright and you can quote and or print any or all of it without mans repercussion. when modern publishers tried to change a few words and create their own copyright they were dismayed to discover that minor changes wouldn’t get them their own version so they went crazy with changes and the result is the NKJV, claiming to be an easier to understand KJV, but with most of the faith crushing comments of the newer versions included ,questioning the inclusion of time tested scriptures. Sorry this went so long, but shouldn’t we be tired of half truths by now? PS I don’t think the bragging rights of Christians is the point, but the achievement of Heaven is based on “actual truth”,so lets search for it. jim

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