And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment -John 16:8-18 (King James Version)

I could not understand the use of is in this. Also, I have observed that whenever we describe the God, it's all capital letters 'HE' what I don't find here. Is there any rule?

  • 5
    English is simply not the same today as it was when the King James Bible was written.
    – The Photon
    Commented Nov 15, 2013 at 5:33
  • 2
    When He is come translates to When he is here in the sense of when he has arrived
    – Jim
    Commented Nov 15, 2013 at 6:27
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    Different translators and publishers will have different standards regarding which words relating to God receive capitalization. There is no universally agreed-upon convention, either in Christian or secular circles, for pronoun capitalization relating to the Deity. (But such conventions might make a question suitable for Hermeneutics or Christianity. Ask on the site meta before posting though.) Commented Nov 15, 2013 at 14:23

2 Answers 2


It's archaic. In modern English, he is come would instead be he has come or he has arrived. There's no real difference in meaning, but from the perspective of a modern English reader, he is come has an older feel to it. You'll probably find lots of archaisms in the translation you're reading.

Divine capitalization is the practice of capitalizing words which refer to the god that some Christians believe in. This practice has never been universal, and among those who follow it (or followed it historically), the precise set of words which are capitalized varies. So there isn't really a rule, but you can follow the practice of your favorite translation of the bible, if you like.


A translator choose to capitalize IS in the version you are quoting from. In my King James version by Finis Jennings Dake (who went to heaven in 1935) it is not capitalized. When they transcribed the Old testament on skins of animals and hid them in clay jars in a cave because they were expecting an attack, (The Dead Sea Scrolls) they had so much respect before they wrote the Holy Name of God they would stop and use a special pen. That is what I remember from when I saw the Dead Sea Scrolls a few years ago. So you see when your writing about the God of the Universe you may take your liberty to do all you can to show how special HE IS!

  • 5
    MrsGrace, I think you misunderstood the question. The word "is" is not capitalized in the translation - the poster just capitalized it in the question title to emphasize it. The capitalization question was about "he", which is not capitalized in this quote, and that surprised the OP.
    – Martha
    Commented Nov 15, 2013 at 14:45

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