Mean


Some modern bibles dismiss certain words used in the KJV as archaic. One of these words is mean.

“Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men” (Proverbs 22:29).

Mean men, used here, indicates ‘middle of the range.’ Kings, on the other hand, are at the upper level.

"But Paul said, I am a man which am a Jew of Tarsus, a city of Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city...”

(Acts 21:39).

Paul is not claiming membership of a cruel group; he is claiming he’s not from some backwater or ‘Mayberry’—his origin is from a significant, relevant city.

“...And the mean man boweth down, and the great man humbleth himself...” [before idols] (Isaiah 2:9).

Here, both the leaders and the common man (mean man) are bowing to idols. Mean neither indicate anger or cruelty, nor is its use obscure.

Mean is not archaic either: it’s presently used in statistics, engineering, and finance:

Example: five homes are for sale in your town: $20,000; $60,000; $80,000; $120,000; and $420,00. If you seek the average, add these values up and then divide the sum by five: $140,000.

However, you may notice the mean value advertised (clouded as average) in real estate sales. Savvy real estate sellers know there is a difference, and they use the ignorance of the readers to inflate the value of their market.

Mean: determine the farthest points in each direction—the high and low, and calculate the point exactly in the middle between the two. $220,000 is the mean for the houses for sale in your town ($20k the low; $420k the high); but, the average is $140,000. Clearly average or obscure are not words that are synonymous with mean in today’s financial world, nor are they interchangeable (per modern versions) in the Bible.

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