It is important when viewing a word in the King James Bible to know exactly what the King James translators were thinking when they used that word. But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding, Job 32:8. The first and primary purpose of inspiration is to give the spirit of man understanding in the things of God. It is something that both the writer of scripture, and the reader of scripture have in common. One is given direct revelation from God with the understanding of God, and the authority to write holy script; the other is given revelation in the understanding of that same holy script.
Unlike modern Greek scholars, the King James translators were fluent in the Greek language before completing primary school. They could have, and probably did, read all of the extant Greek writings known to man. The Iliad, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, the early church fathers and scripture itself were all avidly read by school men of their day. They could read these writings with the ease that modern men read a newspaper. They could converse with each other in that same Greek tongue. They could meditate upon what they read without switching back to English.
Anyone thinking that their own pastor or college professor could do that is sadly mistaken. I once interviewed Dr. D.A. Waite a preeminent Greek scholar of our day possessing a well earned PhD in Classical Greek. He was exceedingly kind and generous enough to have granted me an interview. He and I disagree on many things, but his personal character is such that I would be loathe to criticize him. He freely admitted to me in conversation that the King James translators had the ability to listen to a sermon in English and could have translated that sermon into Greek for the benefit of a non-English speaking scholar who might have been in attendance, and that he himself did not have that ability.
The depth of understanding and knowledge in the languages of antiquity is lacking in our day when compared to a classical education in the 17th century. For each and every word that the King James translators saw in the Greek scripture that they held in their hands, they had many long years of experience with finding that same word, variations of that word, and the roots of that word scattered throughout their long and varied reading histories.
In the shallowness of today's seminaries and Bible colleges, a student is given a lexicon to give him one or two meanings for the Greek words he encounters while struggling through his Greek text. The meaning he is given will coincide perfectly with the theology of the person who prepared the lexicon. Like a bull with a ring in his nose, the student is led down whatsoever path the lexicographer chooses for him. The next time a preacher tells you that he is familiar with the original Greek, plop a page or two of Aristotle in front of him and ask him to read it for you. He will no more be able to read it than a third grader being given a medical text book.
What the King James translators had was the ability to read the original languages with ease. Furthermore, the inspiration of the almighty gave them understanding in what they read. They then interpreted that understanding in the English tongue. As we will see in the next post, the common definition and understanding of inspiration peddled in the Bible colleges does not line up with scripture.