King James English

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“The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound there of but canst tell whither it cometh or whither it goeth” John 3:8.

Here is the NIV translation–it’s a little easier to understand:

“The wind blows where it wants to. You hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. That’s the way it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8).

I memorized this verse as a child in King James English. In fact, most of the scriptures I learned as a kid were in King James. I still remember many of them, and I think the poetical quality of the words help me retain them.

I love the above scripture in King James. There is something about the ebb and flow of the verse, the rhythm and ring–the way the words roll of the tongue.

But the true beauty of the verse is found within the meaning. Yesterday as I was taking my morning walk along the beach, the wind was howling. It almost swept me up and away… It was a pre-storm mode that lasted all day. This morning it is raining, and the earth is benefiting from all that wind that blew the storm clouds in. How Cyprus needs this rain.

But I like this tree, so wind blown, standing against the impending storm. I can see the wind in the leaves, but I can’t discern where the wind is or where it will go next… And as I walked I remember this scripture about the wind blowing where it pleases, we hear it but don’t know much about it. That is how it is to be born of the Spirit…. to be a follower and disciple of Jesus. 

One of Jesus’ strong teachings was that as disciples our lives are not our own. To find life, we must lose life. One of the kingdom of God’s little ironies. We follow him and become like the wind, blowing here and there, touching lives, changing the atmosphere, stirring things up, blowing out the old and ushering in the new, bringing the refreshment of rain…

Yeth, Lord, I listeth like the wind…


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