top of page

To Wit

And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him, Exodus 2:4.

"To wit" is one of those phrases that we have unfortunately allowed to lapse in our modern speech. We well understand the word "wit" in the sense of a quick humorous remark. We call people witty who can turn a phrase in a clever way that makes people smile. We use the phrase, "he has his wits about him". By this we mean that a person is on guard and actively thinking.

Contrariwise, we might say, "You scared me out of my wits". By this we mean that we momentarily lost our ability to think clearly because of a sudden fear. We sometimes hear of a person being called "witless". This is usually said when a person blunders into a situation in which they were not aware of certain circumstances. As an example; "He witlessly made a joke about death not knowing she was recently widowed".

Likewise a person is sometimes called "a halfwit". By that we mean that he is of limited intelligence. We sometimes call a stupid person a nitwit. The expression comes from the the word "nit" (a louse egg). Wit in its many forms is not archaic or unknown. We even have the word "witness" which derives from the word "wit". It is a person who has first hand intelligence or knowledge of an event.

What is less common to us is that phrase "to wit". The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as; "to wit" it is to be observed, noted, or ascertained; so it were to wit, it needs investigation, one ought to.... As we read it in our King James Bible, it is a very handy phrase. He appointed also the king's portion of his substance for the burnt offerings, to wit, for the morning and evening burnt offerings, 2nd Chronicles 31:3. By the use of two short words we are made to know the purpose of the appointed substance. The king's motive in giving of his substance was provide for the work of God.

To have knowledge is good, but as the Apostle Paul stated, Knowledge puffeth up, 1st Corinthians 8:1. Knowledge by itself becomes a snare or worthless without understanding. Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding, Proverbs 2:3. "To wit" implies more than just knowledge. It implies knowledge with understanding.

[W]aiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body, Romans 8:23. It is one thing to say that we are waiting for the adoption. It is another thing to understand that the adoption is the redemption of our bodies. We are made to understand that the redemption of our bodies when Christ meets us in the air is the adoption of our physical bodies so that they can be in heaven with our inward man which has already been made perfect in Christ.

Our heritage as English-Speaking people who are drawn from just about every race and nation on earth is a great heritage. We have an exact bible to teach us the great things of God.

190 views1 comment

Recent Posts

See All

1 Comment

Jun 25

Great article. English is so intertwined with the KJB because the language was refined by each Bible from the Wycliffe to its zenith, the King James Bible.

I've often wondered while reading 'to wit' if it is the verb form of wisdom, such as to 'wise out' or 'suss out' as the Brits would say. Thank you for setting this out

bottom of page