Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come, 1st Corinthians 10:11.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating. You can argue about recipes to establish who has the most excellent puddings, but in reality, the proof comes from eating the pudding. Is it possible that in the flux of the English Language that occurred between the mid 1500s and the 1600s that when the King James translators used the word "ensample" that they used it in a localized enough meaning that when they used it, they had a slight distinction in mind from when they used the word "example"?
It is nigh unto impossible to look the word up in dictionaries or etymological works wherein the word is found and not have that work use the word "example" in at least part of its explanation. Could it be that from within the definition of example, the translators saw a niche definition that for certain scenarios fits a little more precisely? Paul Scott thinks so. Here is his post in this blog.
Ensample or Example January 4, 2019
Here is another case where the contemporary theologians, bloggers, dictionaries, et al., face a discrepancy in the KJV text and subsequently fail to exercise faith. However, we believe every word, including even the punctuation marks; therefore, we give the benefit of the doubt to the word of God, and we ‘catch up’ to its wonder. The word example is commonly used and commonly understood to be a pattern, something or some process that is to be noted (and copied if favorable; shunned if unfavorable). So the question someone posed was, what’s the difference between the well-known word, example, and the seldom used word, ensample? (Ensample or ensamples appears six times in the KJV). The point is, ensample always and only refers to man’s characteristic and behavior. Ensample never applies to an inanimate product. Example, on the other hand, may apply to both personal or (and as typically used), general products and processes (not personal). Watch the context and key words in 1 Peter 5: 1-3 where ensample is used: “Among you…partaker…among you…being ensamples…” In other words, live among them, let them see your personal characteristics, your personal habits and such. Being ensamples is a charge to their person: be a living pattern that others can emulate. (You do not emulate inanimate objects, you copy them). 1 Corinthians 10: 6: “Now these things were our examples…” Note these things, these experiences (vs. 1-4). Things are the patterns for us to learn from, the cause and effect of things past. Notice in vs 1-6 there is no personal characteristic revealed. We only know ‘all’ did this and that, and then God overthrew them. 1 Corinthians 10:11: “Now all these happened unto them for ensamples” After a list a personal characteristics (lusted, idolaters, fornication, tempters, murmurers), the word ensamples is used, with an exact admonition to follow “flee from idolatry” (10:14). It’s a very personal and detailed pattern; and in this case, one to avoid! One more: 1 Thessalonians 1:7: “…So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia….” The context is obvious: these believers were a great pattern in their personal walk with Christ. Paul said he needed to write nothing—they had provided so great an ensample for others to emulate. He even said “And ye became followers of us” (vs 6) — and uses the word ‘manner’ twice in context, referring to their personal conduct. So, in conclusion, when the word ensample(s) is used, look for a pattern of personal behavior and conduct, be it good or bad. A subtle difference in spelling cues the reader about the context.
We see times wherein the word "example" is used to explain personal conduct in one or two verses, but we never see "ensample" used in any other sense. It was used solely to depict exactly what Paul Scott says it was used to depict. That may not be the only word that they used to depict such, but certainly "ensample" is never used by the translators with any other sense.
Has there been a child or any other person hurt by the use of this word? Keep in mind, I am not suggesting that "ensample" is an advanced revelation above the Greek. I am suggesting that when the King James translators read the Greek manuscript, and when they read certain passages, they employed a highly specialized word from within the range of words that are roughly equivalent to "example". That is the beauty of good translation work.
Author and Pastor Bryan C. Ross sees distinguishing "ensample" as having a special meaning as forcing the believer to choose between the Greek and the King James Bible, (page 45 The King James Bible in America: an Orthographical, Historical, and Textual Investigation). That is nonsense. I see the whole issue of the King James Translation instructing beyond the Greek as a foolish issue. I'll quote from the blog post Exploding the Myth of the Greek which is also chapter two in my book, Further Thoughts on the Word of God;
"Dr. Bill Bradley, author of Purified Seven Times: The Miracle of the English Bible, states in his lecture series that there is only one, maybe two scholars living today who would have been qualified to have sat on the King James translating committee. In 1611 two universities produced fifty-four such men."
What the King James Bible does is to give you the exact thoughts of men who could actually think and meditate in Greek when they read a passage. In that sense, yes the King James Bible is head and shoulders above any Greek manuscript in the sense that you can read it. These pretenders today who puff themselves up as if they were some great thing because they took 4 years of Greek, cannot give you the sense of any Greek passage with the skill and intimacy that those translators could. There are 6 places in your King James Bible where the translators saw a slightly more accurate and illustrative word than "example" to express what they saw and thought when they read it.
The habit of just lightly changing that word to "example" is an example in its own right of the dumbing down of our culture.