A question from one of our members...

Pastor Gary

Senior Moderator and Staff Trainer
Staff member
Senior Moderator
Staff Trainer
A question from one of our members...

One of our members sent an inquiry to me in a PM yesterday. I thought that is might be a good time to mention something once again for the benefit of our new members and those who are just starting out in their Bible studies.

The question was this: "In Psalm 47:2 (KJV), why is God referred to as 'terrible' in that verse? How can God be terrible?"

In this verse of Psalms, it is just one of those unfortunate translation slip-up's that the translators of the 1611 King James Version didn't get exactly right. If we take that word, 'terrible', and look it up in a good quality Strong's Concordance, we see that it is Hebrew Dictionary Word # 3372. In Hebrew, the word is - ירא - "yare" and is pronounced "yaw-ray". It is a verb, who's meaning in the original manuscript Hebrew Psalms is "to revere". Under certain circumstances the word can possibly mean "fear" but not in this case.

In the preface to the 1611 King James Version Bible, the translators sent us all a message stating that they did the best that they could with what they had to work with, but they knew and told us, that there were some words that they couldn't figure out and had to use an educated guess regarding application. This is one of those instances.

The King James Version is the most literally correct English language translation Bible that is available as taken from the Original Manuscript scrolls. That is why it is so important for Bible students to be able to look up all of the words in the King James Version when they have questions about word usage. A good quality "Strong's Exhaustive Complete Concordance of the Bible" is that resource.

Please enjoy your studies...:)
The words of the bible are an interesting thing to study.. in this case they might had better translated it fearful. He is just that. he has absolute power to create or destroy and is just in doing what ever He decides with no one to answer to. The writer of the psalm is trying to show God's absolute authority over His creation and how we are nothing. The word terrible works if we understand what is being said, but like I said perhaps fearful would have been better. I am afraid that today most have lost their fear of God at least for the time, but that will be restored one day for when the lost stand before Him He WILL be TERRIBLE!. Good post, God bless:D

I would correct one thing. We do not have any "Original Manuscripts" All are copies.
Brings to mind a line from The Chronicles of Narnia which were a basic Biblical analogy in many ways. Referring to Aslan, they liked to say "He's not a tame lion". Simply meaning while he was kind and fair and loving, you must respect him, because he had more than enough power to destroy everything if he desired it.

God DOES have the power to destroy all of creation, yet because of love, He does not. Sometimes I'm anxious for Him to do just that, return the universe to perfect and holiness, yet I know, every day he waits, more will come to Him.