Category Archives: “Ensample” and “example”—same or different?

“Ensample” and “example”—same or different?


by Shawn Brasseaux

Friend, do you realize that the English language has declined over the centuries? If you doubt this, take a passage from a 1611 King James Bible and read it side-by-side with the same verses in an English “bible” translation produced in the late 20th century or 21st century. The more contemporary the version, the greater the departure from the pure English—yea, English at its zenith—available to our Authorized Version translators over 400 years ago. Hence, the modern reader is intimidated by “archaic, strange, difficult” verbiage. The modern-version translator and publisher will exploit that ignorance, introducing the skillfully-worded sales pitch, “You need to purchase our new translation. Based on the most recent linguistic, archaeological, and biblical scholarship, it makes the Scriptures plainer than ever before!” (Really?!)

Considering the fact that, over the last 130-plus years, there has been a tremendous shift toward the utilization of Bible manuscripts that the Body of Christ rejected for over 15 centuries as depraved and heretical, you are likely not to have a pure modern “bible.” Such corrupt texts and speculative translation theories, propagated mostly by unsaved people more interested in being the authority than letting the Bible be the authority, obscure the spiritual truths seen only by those whom the Holy Spirit teaches. Yea, the sloppiness (imprecision) of modern English contaminates God’s Word even more! (Think of the “ contemporary bibles” that read like newspapers or magazines. Paraphrased, they use the “street language” or slang of our day. Some of these works marketed as “bibles” are utterly laughable. Of course, no one studies them in great detail anyway, so they are largely not scrutinized and exposed as the rubbish they are.)

The preceding comments were provided to introduce the fact that “ensample” is a rare word today. We are more familiar with “example” instead. What is an “ensample?” Is the term really synonymous with “example?” If we dissect these terms, we can see—at least in “ensample”—the stem “sample.” The two prefixes are “en–” (“in”) and “ex–” (“out”). Just with these few observations, we see a sample in and a sample out. A distinction is thus obvious: there are differences in relationships between nouns. There is indeed a subtle difference, one obscured by modern English because “example” has entirely supplanted “ensample.” Again, think of today’s English, and compare it to the precision of the Authorized Version we now examine.

The word “ensample” appears six times in the King James text:

  • 1 Corinthians 10:11: “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.”
  • Philippians 3:17: “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.”
  • 1 Thessalonians 1:7: “So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.”
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:9: “Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.”
  • 1 Peter 5:3: “Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.”
  • 2 Peter 2:6: And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;….”

There is a “sample” of behavior or people in the above six verses. This “sample” typifies the group to which it belongs. That is, the “ensample” is a pattern for those within its category.

In Philippians 3:17, we see numerous Christians following the “ensample” of Paul and Timothy (see 1:1). The doctrine and behavior of Paul and Timothy serve as the model for other members of the Church the Body of Christ. In the case of 1 Thessalonians 1:7, the believers at Thessalonica serve as a pattern to all other believers—namely, the saints in Macedonia (northern Greece) and Achaia (southern Greece). Concerning 2 Thessalonians 3:9, Paul and Silas and Timothy (1:1) serve as a model of doctrine and conduct to the Thessalonians (other believers in Christ). As for 1 Peter 5:3, these are leaders within the Little Flock, Israel’s believing remnant (not the Body of Christ). Church elders in the Little Flock are to serve as illustrations, or samples, of Kingdom living to those under their care. They are all believers, but part of God’s earthly family (rather than God’s heavenly family—us the Body of Christ).

Regarding 1 Corinthians 10:11, Israel of old, with all her mistakes, is a lesson to anyone in God’s program. They are also for our warning as members of the Church the Body of Christ. We should not repeat her errors of unbelief and ingratitude—see all of chapter 10 for the context. Time and space limit us here.

In 2 Peter 2:6, the issue is not any believers in Christ. The focus is on the unsaved—those part of Satan’s policy of evil. They, as individuals outside of God’s influence, serve as a model to all the others outside of God’s kingdom. Unto those that after should live ungodly,” the complete fiery devastation of wicked Sodom and Gomorrha serve as a pattern. The record of that destruction is directed toward the people who engage in similar behavior. The God of the Bible will not let sinners go unpunished. Sin will catch up with all lost people at some point—and they will face the angry face of God one day!

As for the word “example,” it is found nine times in the King James text:

  • Matthew 1:19: “Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.” (“Example” here is manifesting a sample to an outside group. Mary was not a model in a group, but to a group—the general public.)
  • John 13:15: “For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.” (Jesus Christ, the God-Man, is in a class all His own. He is not manifested within a group but displayed to a group outside Him.)
  • 1 Corinthians 10:6: “Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.” (As mentioned earlier at 1 Corinthians 10:11, Israel of old, with all her mistakes, is a lesson to us outside of her. We need to not repeat her errors—again, consult the whole chapter for the context.)
  • 1 Timothy 4:12: “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” (This is Timothy, a model Christian, demonstrating to the [outside] lost world how believers think and behave. When he is seen conducting his life, the principles of grace should be in full view. The same should be true of us, dear brethren!)
  • Hebrews 4:11: “Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” (In the same vein as 1 Corinthians chapter 10, quoted twice above, the writer of the Book of Hebrews urges the Israelites not to repeat their ancestors’ history of doubt and rebellion against JEHOVAH God. Israel’s former behavior is a sample of what does not belong in God’s nation.)
  • Hebrews 8:5: “Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.” (The earthly/Mosaic tabernacle and all of its components and ceremonies were modeled after the heavenly/Messianic tabernacle and its related items.)
  • James 5:10: “Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.” (The Old Testament prophets who suffered persecution but patiently relied on the Lord, serve as patterns for Israel beyond our day to follow.)
  • 1 Peter 2:21: “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:….” (This would be along the lines of what we discussed earlier in John 13:15. Jesus Christ, the God-Man, is in a class by Himself and yet He is a role model for the Little Flock, Israel’s believing remnant, as pertaining to suffering for God’s sake.)
  • Jude 7: “Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” (The destruction of wicked Sodom and Gomorrah, Genesis chapter 19, is a “sample” of how God will judge unbelievers. Jude is written in light of the end-times, the Tribulation and Second Coming of Christ, the culmination of God’s undiluted wrath against the world’s sins.)

Also see:
» Must one be a “King James Bible Pauline dispensationalist” to have eternal life?
» Is “God forbid” a “poor translation” in the King James Bible?
» Is the King James word “borrow” a mistranslation in Exodus 3:22?