Kings or Kingdom in Revelation 1:5-6

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Puritan Board Freshman
I recently had a Baptist preacher provide a defense that the word Kings should be translated as kingdom in Revelation 1:5-6. I also see that many translations and Poythress have translated it as kingdom. But the KJV and NKJV translate it as kings.

1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

In my Strong's concordance for kings I find they use Strongs number 935 Basileus. When I check where it is used elswhere in the bible and the book of Revelation it is always translated as kings, not kingdom. Kingdom is always 932 Basileia and is always translated as such.

Revelation 5:10 also translates 935 as kings:

5:10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

Now I have not problem with us as being defined as ruling as kings, vassal kings under our suzerin King.

But why do some translations and commentators change this word to kingdom rather than use the obvious kings as it is used in other places?


Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
The TR looks like it contains a "kai" ("and") between the words b. & i., which is not in the CT (cf. Rev.5:10; other difference include a variant in the "king-" term ending).

Bottom line, the language in Revelation reflects Exodus 19:6, "And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation."

So, which is a better rendering? A cursory glance at the NT shows me that except for this verse (if the rendering "kings" is adopted) perhaps only one other place, 1Cor.4:8 (and in a negative or sarcastic sense) are Christians denominated "kings." The King is Christ, and we receive his kingdom (cf. e.g. 1Cor.6:9f, Heb.12:28). In the derivative sense, then, we are small-k kings; but the explicit testimony to this is decidedly mixed (see above), if it is much there at all, given the question on translation/meaning in Rev.1:6.

The universal priesthood of all believers is more plainly stated, but see Gen.17:6, cf. Gal.3:7.

Conclusion, if I accept the "kings" translation as verbally the most accurate, I would also have to accept it in the primary sense of "kingdom," that is a whole nation comprised of princes (everyone without exception of one high rank, relative to the King of Kings). This would accord best, in my opinion, with the rest of the NT.
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