To God Be the Capital

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?)

That’s it.

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.

Good stuff.

Image by andresmh used under the creative commons license.


Author: Bob Miller

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