Why capitalize personal pronouns that refer to God?
It ever so slightly bothers me as someone who loves English – grammar and spelling and all – to capitalize deity pronouns. Most Bible translations don’t do this and I would probably say most authors and writers don’t either. It’s a little bit controversial, in a way that red letter editions of the Bible can be. After all, why do it?
Maybe we should look at why not first:
- The original languages – Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek – didn’t.
- God never asked us to. He never even implied it.
- Tradition doesn’t go very far back and it’s not widespread.
- It’s mostly used by evangelicals and could be seen as fragmentary to groups of Christians.
So if it’s not wrong, if there’s no hint of a necessity, why bother doing it?
For me, someone who takes seriously writing as an expression, it allows me to express the respect I have for God through the writing. I can show in a simple sentence that I respect Him for who He is and let that respect be part of my communication. (See how I avoided using the personal pronouns until now?)
Well, almost. Another advantage is it helps me to be a little more precise in the use of pronouns in sentences where the subject and the object can get a little mixed up. I know, I know – I should simply restructure the sentence to avoid the problem. But this is a blog and I’m not writing a systematic theology.
I will almost exclusively use the Holman Christian Standard Bible in this blog as well. Not only do I like the translation method a lot, but they use personal pronouns referring to God. It’s a pleasure to read it in the Bible, especially when you come across it in the Old Testament and particularly in the Messianic passages.