[UPDATED: Rewrote this because I felt the original tone of this post was too snobbish. My apologies to anyone who did not appreciate my tone. I have extracted all embellishments.]
A couple days ago, I saw a preacher on TV. He was praying, saying, “We touch and agree right now! I feel a praise coming on!”
“Touch and agree”? Is that even possible? The preacher probably got that phrase from Matthew 18:19. In it, Jesus says,
Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven (KJV, emphasis mine).
Now that phrase, “as touching” is one word in the original Greek: peri. It means:
about, concerning, on account of, because of, around, near (blueletterbible.org)
Apparently in the English of 1611, the phrase “as touching” meant “concerning.” That is why the modern translations render the verse this way:
…if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for… (TNIV, emphasis mine)
…if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask… (NKJV, emphasis mine)
So, is it possible to “concerning and agree,” or to “about and agree”? Not really.
Now, I don’t think that preacher when he reads from his KJV understands the phrase “as touching” to mean literally to touch and make physical contact with something. Maybe he just prays that way because it’s “prayer language” that he heard growing up in the church. Still, doesn’t Jesus tell us,
…when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words (Matt. 6:7 TNIV)?
Or as the KJV puts it,
use not vain [meaningless] repetitions.