I have no pretension, with the leisure or ability I have, to give even a summary view of the Revision of the New Testament, which now occupies every one. But it seems to me, that, while there are many excellent changes in it, it is, for any practical purpose, a failure. It might seem invidious in one who has published a new translation to comment on this; perhaps presumptuous for an individual, when so many learned men have been engaged in it. But I might quote a crowd of passages in which they have adopted as their version what I had also adopted from the Greek, and that in some very important passages, besides a crowd of less important ones. I do not set about to criticise their text, though I should strongly demur to some changes; nor do I pretend to have gone through the whole in detail. But where the word of God is in question, our minds should rise above all considerations but one: Is the mind of God, as given in His word, substantially afforded us in what we possess in the Revision? Two objects may be sought in it, to this end: it may be before us as a public Bible for the country, taking the place of the Authorised Version; or as a book of reference for the student of the word, to have a more sure and certain sound for his own soul. It does not seem to me it can be either. If, indeed, it had, so to speak, a divine stamp upon it as a translation, this might have overcome the nature influences of a long and, in very many excellent qualities, justly cherished translation. But I do not think this is so. We have many appliances in the version—learning, scholarship, textual criticism, and, I do not a moment doubt, assiduous care. But I do not see the mind of Christ, the spiritual-mindedness which alone can reproduce the word of God; nor do I think there is a fine sense of many Greek usages of words, nor of the finer shades of English ones. The definite article is put in, with no notice that it is not in the Greek, where it makes a very great difference. Thus Kurios (Lord), without the article for Jehovah following the LXX, and the Lord, for what the Lord Jesus became. God hath made Him “both Lord and Christ.” You have the two in Psalm no: “Jehovah said unto my Lord.” The distributive article, “a,” is put in where, without it, the word gives the character of the person or thing spoken of. Thus, “a righteousness of God,” so that you might think there were several, whereas, “righteousness of God,” is in contrast with righteousness of man. In some cases this only drops the true force. “Paul an apostle,” as one of many, instead of, “Paul, apostle of Jesus Christ,” simply what he was.
So they have added pronouns, which destroy the whole force of the scriptural statement. Thus they have added “our” to redemption— “in whom we have our redemption”—instead of, “redemption.” Now, “our” redemption is our personal deliverance—a great and saving blessing surely—but redemption is the great and stupendous work of the Saviour. I would add, before going further, that I can gather why they have used pronouns with it, namely, to distinguish it from the price of redemption, such as antilutron—ransom price. But this does not in the least authorise the use of the pronoun not in scripture, raising a question as to its limits, and making it solely something about us, which scripture does not. The thing itself is lost, in its application to us, whoever we are.
They have in no way the force of the preposition en, in Greek. Thus, “hath at the end of these days spoken to us in his Son,” but that is not the force of “in Son”; difficult it may be to translate into English, and the margin is worse—an example of their use of “a.” “In Son” is the character of the speaking, as contrasted with the prophets. The italics of this save the translation here a little; but it is as doing a thing (en pneumati), in Spirit—(en sarki), in flesh. The Greek en has a very varied force, from its abstract nature, especially when used anarthrously; i.e., without the article.
I take up some passages now which are crucial. First, Romans I:17. “Therein is revealed a righteousness of God” — “a righteousness of God “I have already noted, it is as if there were several—but “a righteousness of God by faith unto faith.” Now this changes the whole sense of the passage; the Greek has apokaluptetai ek pisteos, is revealed by faith, if “by” be used, but that is nonsense; so, to use “by,” they have transferred ek pisteos to ‘righteousness,’ separating it from ‘revealing.’ The point is, it is righteousness of God, hence clearly not man’s work—it is revealed already, of course, in existence to be so. Is it revealed on the principle of man’s works fitting him for it, or the means of getting it? Clearly not, or it would not be God’s righteousness. Is it proclaimed on the principle of faith? whoever believes, then, has it, be he Greek or Jew. The whole statement of what made Paul not ashamed of the gospel is lost; the very hinge of all the truth is broken, the foundation-statement of the gospel gone. The righteousness is a righteousness by faith, something realised in man, not simply “God’s righteousness.”
Verse 23. I object to “for,” but it is of minor importance. Verse 28, “refused” is false. Verse 32, “ordinance of God,” very bad morally; and the verse very weak. So the instructive abstraction of chapter 2:15 is taken away. “Therewith “is not in the sentence, and mars it; and the sense of the closing phrase is lost by inserting “them” —it is not what is said. In chapter 1:17, 18, “righteousness of God,” and “wrath of God,” may be a little bold, but alone give the sense and are in the fair analogy of the English language—not the abstraction of something known, but what can be known in its nature. Colour is so, and so darkness causes fear; light saves from stumbling. Here “of God” gives the character, but the subject is known.
The “you,” in 2 Corinthians 5:20, destroys the whole bearing of the passage; the Authorised Version had the same.
In Colossians 1:16 we have, “in him” (Christ), which has no sense at all. It is ignorance of the force of en. It is not ‘by’ as an instrument (dia), but the power and energy, or character, of that which works—difficult, I admit, to put in English, but they have made nonsense of it. That all things were created by Him is said in John 1; Hebrews 1. En is different; it is the one in, through, whose power a thing is done (Matt. 9:34; Acts 17:31). It is used generally for the character in which a thing is done, or the power. “All creation” (Col. 1:15); though I have much hesitated, I believe the change to be right. “Every creature” makes up the whole creation, but “every creature” takes up each individually; “all creation” takes it up as such, and sets Christ as Head over it as a whole; “first-born of every creature” sets Christ, no doubt, as first among them, but more, apparently, as one of themselves, and this has been used for mischief; but I notice it, as leaving without excuse their translation of Ephesians 2:21, as the fruit of a doctrinal predilection, of which I will speak more fully further on. It is sad to see verse 19 (Col. 1) retained—a complete change in sense from the Greek, and utterly false. It states that the Father has willed about the whole Godhead, that it should dwell in the Man, Christ: the fact is found in chapter 2:9, the thought of the Godhead, chapter 1:19. To those acquainted with Gnostic follies, and Paul and John’s use of the word, “the fulness,” or “completeness,” of Godhead has a distinct and unquestioned force.
I am aware that 2 Corinthians 5:14 and following is a controverted passage; but I cannot but regret that, where it is so, they should lead people wrong, as I have no doubt they have. The question is, is the true sense, “then had all died,” or, practically, as in the Authorised Version, “then were all dead”? How does the love of Christ constrain him, as One dying for all, because saints have died to sin? But if all had died through Adam, Christ’s descending into death for them all is that by which we know love. The apostle judged that if one died for all, it was because death was the condition of all; and what makes it to me incontrovertibly the sense is, that he speaks of “they that live” as a portion out of them, whereas, if it be the saints dying with Christ, they are the same people. It was not a Messiah of the Jews he now knew, but a Christ who had died for all because of their condition, and was now glorified. The revised passage is, moreover, nonsense— “that one died for all, therefore all died.” How did Christ’s dying for all make all die?
I take another example of fancied accuracy—1 John 4:16: “We know, and have believed, the love that God hath in us,” which has no sense at all. In the margin, you have sense made of it, but the translation is wrong, nor do I understand why they put the tenses of the verbs as they do. I quite admit the perfect may be sometimes translated by the present. In the case of the Greek “to possess” it is regularly done so: but why one should be present, and the other past, is hard to tell. It is done so, because the Greek perfect is what is clearly done, but which continues to be, and so is, a present; but here both verbs are perfect.
In Galatians 2:17 the force of the passage is greatly lost by not seeing the force of the absence of the article. “While “is all wrong; it should be “if, in seeking to be”—then Christ is a minister of sin. “For I through law have died to law.”…
“For if righteousness is through law.” So verse 16: “by works of law”; and “save” is very bad, for it would affirm we were, only that it was through faith it was so. So in chapter 3:18: “law,” but not “the” law. There is also a grave question as to the tenses; using imperfect for aorist may be right, no doubt, but may be wrong, as it in English implies a denial of the present: thus, Romans 12:3, “the grace that was given”—“has been,” or simply “given.” Chapter 11:31 maintains the old error, contradicting exactly what he is teaching.
Romans 10:5 is quite false, and justified only by a new reading, but, as a question of criticism, I leave it; but it is a most twisted sentence.
I now take an ordinary passage, where supposed refinement and exactitude has, in my judgment, injured their rendering of the passage, and what needed correction remains as it was, Phil. 1:4—I believe a mistake in the stopping. “Always, in every prayer of mine, making,” etc. So verse 7: “because you have me in your hearts.” Then, “Ye all are partakers with me in the grace,” or “in my grace”; that is, took part in helping the activities of the gospel, as he goes on to say. Grace wrought in Paul in both service and suffering, and they shared with him in them. Verse 12, “have happened.” They are mistaken in fancying they can render the aorist by the English historical imperfect. There are no aorists in English, save as the only two tenses are often such in English. Here the effect remains, which is the Greek perfect. I speak of principle, for there is no verb here in verse 12; “things concerning me”— “what concerns me has resulted … so that my bonds are become (or, abstractedly, should become) manifest.” The truth is, they have not understood what Paul was saying. Verse 22 has very little sense. Verse 26, we have the unhappy phrase—“in Christ Jesus in me”—in which I can see no meaning, it is, “as to me,” “in my case,” or “through.” This leads me to another case I lit upon, 1 John 4:16: “We know, and have believed, the love that God hath in us.”
In chapter 2:25, “the life eternal” is simply wrong; the abstract use of a word has the article in Greek, not in English. So, in Ephesians 3:21: “glory,” not “the” glory; so, verse 7, next chapter. In using, “have ye been saved,” Eph. .2:5, the real force of the perfect (present continuance) is greatly lost. “With him … in Christ Jesus” (v. 6) has no true sense. There is no “him “in Greek. Verse 13: “in “the blood is all wrong. I have no doubt that the “yet” of the Authorised Version, in Hebrews 4:15, is a great mistake.
I need not add any more, for this is no systematic criticism; then there might be often controversy, and the system of manuscripts, and modern judgment of them, would come in question. Nor is it saying there are no improvements, as words have been justly changed, as “lawlessness” put for anomia (“transgression of the law” —Authorised Version); “judge” for “condemn” (John 5), and other changes, which give the sense more clearly. But, as a whole, it will be of no use to give the mind of God to one turning from the Authorised Version to search it, but often merely perplex him. In this respect, which would be its main practical use, it seems to me a total failure.
I do not think their system of tenses clear; their use or disuse of the article is all wrong, so as to surprise me, in men, many of whom, I do not doubt, are better scholars than I am; nor is their estimate of the force of prepositions more than superficial.
But my great objection is, that I do not find the mind of God apprehended, so as to help a simple Christian; nor do I find, though the grace of Almighty God is referred to, any reference to the Spirit of God as Author, or as help in the work. I have not, of course, read it through, and compared it, but taken passages of considerable importance here and there, and noticed different details in running through it; but it has, I confess, surprised me. But the word of God is only apprehended [discerned] by the Spirit of God.
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My former letter consists of mere desultory remarks, occasioned by passages which had caught my eye, or were important, so that I looked at them. At present I will write more studiedly.
It is a mistake to think that English tenses are simply grammatical expressions of time, or that they answer to Greek ones. The common use of auxiliary verbs makes them less such; for the auxiliary verb may be one time, the participle another, and give together the metaphysical force which connects both. ‘We saw his star,’ we have seen his star,’ are not different in time, but vary in the force of the expression. One is the simple historical fact, what happened a long while ago; the other—and these are much more striking and important—is the present state of their minds, what rests upon them now, though the fact of seeing be passed. As to this last form, in general it would be taken for the perfect of the Greek, a past thing continuing. But to take it as regularly answering to it is a mistake. ‘He took the city, but lost it the next day.’ ‘Took’ is an aorist. It is a fact that happened, and no more—past, no doubt, when I say so, but true in the past. If I said, ‘He has taken the city,’ it supposes he is in possession of it, because ‘has’ is present, and adds its force to taken—he has taken possession of the city. But to apply this rule as constant would mislead. One says he lives (or is living, the true present) in London. I say, No, he has lived there; that ‘lived’ is a past participle; ‘lived’ is continuing, but ‘has’ here denies the present continuance; the continuance is in the past participle; ‘has’ only affirms as a present conviction of my mind, that once he did so continue to live there; ‘has’ affirms something presently, but the thing affirmed is past—it is a past thing present in its moral force to my mind. ‘He did live there’ affirms that the fact is past. ‘He has lived’ is no affirmation of time, but of a fact in question, but being a fact must have previously existed, characterising him in that particular respect. If I say ‘he has lived there a long time,’ it supposes he lives there still. If I spoke of time past, I should say, ‘he lived there a long time’—this is an aorist. The other is an affirmation as to a fact characterising him, meeting the question whether he ever did— ‘he has.’ It is a present truth, to my mind. ‘He lived there,’ ‘did five there,’ ‘has lived there,’ in themselves are all, as to the living the same time, but the mental effect quite different. I say ‘in themselves,’ because if I say, ‘he has lived there nine years,’ it goes up to the present time; on the contrary, ‘he lived there nine years’ supposes it was in past times, because ‘lived’ is historical and past; ‘has’ is present, and characterises the person. Thus the preterite—or call it what you please—is a past historical fact, that is all. ‘I ate at his table’—that is an historical fact. ‘I have eaten at his table’ is a characteristic, or, perhaps, questioned fact, an affirmation of intimacy. The difference is not one of time, but of mental or metaphysical force.
Let us take the passive, ‘I am crucified.’ The participle is a thing done, and I affirm I am as a present thing in that accomplished state. ‘I was crucified’ is a past historic fact. ‘I have been crucified’ is no doubt a past fact, but the ‘have’ gives a present moral power to it, which is no question of time: I am not a living man, I have been crucified. ‘I have’ has always a present application, though the thing spoken of be past. Hence, ‘he has taken the city,’ supposes he has it, because ‘taken’ means taking into possession, and ‘has’ affirms that as a present fact. ‘I have,’ ‘he has,’ is present; it may be only the moral force which is present, but this depends on the force of the participle it is connected with. ‘He wrote, but I never got the letter’; ‘Yes, he has written, but I shall pay no attention to it.’ ‘Has’ involves its present moral value, to my mind.
Now, in the case of the blessed Lord, this difference is of the last importance. “Thou gavest him power over all flesh” is an historical fact in past unknown time, and no more. “Thou hast given” is the eternal counsels of God as to Christ in the power of present fulfilment.
I would now apply these remarks to. the revision. The Revisers have, in their Preface, raised the question as to the use of the auxiliary verb in the case of the aorist, and even referred to John 17 to illustrate their course. After quoting a few passages dependent on this question, I shall do the same. If what I have said above as to the metaphysical or moral force of the expressions in English be just, all their reasoning, which depends merely on the force of the Greek text, falls to the ground.
The Greek and English do not answer to one another. Take Matthew 2:2. They have used the preterite (or imperfect) in English. “We saw his star in the east.” This is a merely historical fact. There is nothing wrong in the translation, but ‘we have seen it’ has quite a different force to the mind. ‘We saw’ is the simple fact for some past time or another. ‘We have seen’ is a present abiding effect in their minds. His star had been revealed to them, and under the present, and then present, influence of that, they were come to worship. “We have seen” expresses the present state of their minds, and what acted on them; “We saw” is a mere past fact, a bald, naked fact. In Matthew 28:5 they have used what, I suppose, is called the English perfect for the Greek participle; ‘was,’ it seems to me, would be better. The word is characteristic; but ‘has been’ brings time as a present thing in that character, in which the whole point is to shew He was not. “Jesus, the crucified,” might do; but in turning it into a verb the mental link is lost. (The Revisers have changed the reading, or they would have an analogous case in John 12:1. The use of the Greek article, with a participle to characterise a class, is quite common, without any reference to time, sometimes where a reference to it is impossible.)
I shall now give a summary of John’s Gospel, interesting in other ways, to lead us to the position the Lord takes in chapter 17. The first three chapters are introductory, but in some respects chapter 1 stands alone. It gives the Person and work of Christ, but not His relationships as Christ, High Priest, or Head of the church; it begins with His divine nature—the world did not know Him, and the Jews did not receive Him. Those born of God did. Hence the Jews are treated as reprobates in all the Gospel, and the elect recognised. Then His work; setting the world right, fulfilled in the new heavens and new earth; and baptising with the Holy Ghost, by which we know our relationship with God, the Father’s love, and are cognisant of heavenly things. There is yet another point. Nathanael, the godly remnant, owns Jesus, according to Jewish promise, developed in Psalm 2, but a psalm which reveals His rejection by men (so quoted by Peter), and makes way, in Christ’s answer, for larger hopes (Psalm 8), when He is set as Son of man over all the works of God’s hands. This change characterises the Gospel all through.
Chapter 2.—We have the wedding-supper, and judgment which will characterise His return. This completes the earthly hope.
Chapter 3.—We have the great principles which form the basis for us of our part with God, a new birth and the cross. This, too, judges Israel as a nation, though to be restored, and in what was needed for men, opens out heavenly things in a crucified Son of man, Son of God, given in love. But this closed His history as the living Messiah of the Jews. It was the crucified Son of man, and carries the Lord’s coming, out and away from the region of promise into the testing of man by the manifestation of God as light—what His testimony was as speaking the words of God, and then that as Son He was loved of the Father, who had given all things into His hand. Entered on this larger sphere, there was one point of contact between man and God, believing on the Son. Jew or Gentile were here nothing. He that believed had eternal life, and he that believed Him not would not see life, the wrath of God abode upon him. The whole of John goes on this ground. The Jews are a rejected people, according to chapter 1. And all is in resurrection, and consequent on death.
Messiahship to the Jews is repudiated, and all the blessing is in resurrection, and through death. What I have to say on the following chapters will be much more brief. The fourth is the transition from Messiahship in Judea, where He was practically rejected, to the worship of God in spirit and in truth. Jerusalem and Samaria both gone. The Father in grace seeking such worshippers, and here, in one alien in position from the promises, and fallen in her ways. But all now depended on a God who gave, not required, and gave eternal life, in the power of the Spirit, in Christ, and this springing up in its full development on high.
Chapter 5 is the Son of God, who quickens as the Father, and alone judges, as Son of man, with divine authority.
Chapter 6.—It is the humbled Son of man, on whom we feed, and thus live spiritually, and abide in Him. He is viewed as incarnate, and dying. His going up where He was before is just alluded to, but four times over the blessing is said to be in resurrection and the last day.
Chapter 7 introduces the millennium, typified by the feast of tabernacles, the feast of Israel’s rest in the land, and of Christ’s shewing to the world, which could not be then. Instead of it, Christ’s heavenly glory is introduced, and the consequent giving of the Holy Ghost sent down, revealing His glory from heaven.
Chapter 8.—His word is rejected, and that word expressed Himself.
Chapter 9.—His works are rejected.
Chapter 10.—He declares that He takes His sheep out from the fold of Israel—that was the purpose of God, and would not be hindered—gives them eternal life, and never lets them perish. He had sheep not of that fold; these (the Gentile sheep) He would bring, and there would be one flock and one Shepherd. Being thus rejected, though God’s purpose was accomplished, God does not allow that rejection without giving the blessed Lord a full testimony, and that in His three characters—Son of God, Son of David, and Son of man. In the resurrection of Lazarus He is manifested as Son of God; in riding on the ass’s colt into Jerusalem, He was declared Son of David. The Greeks then come up, and He says that the hour was come for the Son of man to be glorified; but then He adds, to gather the fruits of that Name, the corn of wheat must fall into the ground and die; and then He looks at the cross, bows to His Father’s glory in it, and sees His new and more glorious place by it. A living Jesus was the Messiah of the Jews, a dying Saviour was the attractive object of all men in the world.
We have, moreover, in the first two, Messiah’s titles, or position, on earth—Son of God and King of Israel—but rejected, as given in Psalm 2; in the third, that of Son of man (Psalm 8), to which that led, but which could not be taken in its divine development but through death. Christ could ever, surely, have gone back perfect to His Father, but He would have remained alone. The corn of wheat must die, for Him to take His true place as such. Here, then, the development in John of the place and Person of Christ, as come down here, closes. His heavenly place, and what led to it, now begins, and this is, expressly stated in the beginning of chapter 13. His hour was come that He should depart out of this world unto the Father. And we have then the whole scheme of God’s thoughts, partly revealed in His Person, and in what had been done through that; and then, in contrast with that, what was to come on His being glorified, and the sending of the Holy Ghost, and the fact of His return in glory, but to give His disciples a heavenly place.
The change is stated in chapter 13. What had taken place, is—after the statement that He went on high to prepare a place, and return, in chapter 14:6-11—the Father had been revealed in the Son. What follows—the Spirit, giving us knowledge of our place, was to come.
Having given from Scripture the great basis of God’s thoughts as to that, as to which chapter 13 brings in the historical moment of accomplishment, I proceed with the chapters to chapter 17, where we shall enter into fuller development.
Chapter 15.—He, not Israel, was on earth the true Vine, and the disciples the branches, already clean through the word (“now,” in verse 3, is “already”). He exhorts them to abide in Him—that was future.
Chapter 16 continues with the presence of the Holy Ghost, entirely then future.
Chapter 17 returns to the change, only addressing the Father for its accomplishment. “Father, the hour is come, glorify thy Son.”26 He states what He had done, and looks to the future for them, and that on to the time of their glory, and being with Himself on high, already held out in principle in chapter 13. The Son of man was personally entering into glory. I now take up a general truth in direct connection with this, the basis really of the development of all the Gospels. It was in the eternal counsels of God that all things should be in the hands of the Son of man. All things even were created by Him, and for Him; Col. 1. As Son He was the appointed Heir (Heb. 1), and, in the purpose of God, it was to be in man’s hands, according to Psalm 8, as applied in Hebrews 2, 1 Corinthians 15, and Ephesians 1, already noticed. It was part of this purpose that He should have co-heirs—how rich the blessing for us!—and the creation itself be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the sons of God.
At this moment I only occupy myself with the committal of all things to Christ as Son of God and Son of man, though our place in this scheme, as fully associated with the blessed Lord, may be the most precious to us, save His own glory in it. He came as the Heir of promise here on the earth, as Seed of David and Seed of Abraham as to His place, but personally the Revealer of the Father—rejected because He really was so—men not bearing light, though it came in love; John 15:22-24; ch. 3:19. But this gave occasion to the bringing forth the eternal counsels of God in the second Man, through death and redemption, from behind the working of man’s responsibility under law and promise, His government of this world. For this, too, the cross must come in, because of man’s sin (hatred against God in goodness, as well as breaking the law), because of God’s glory (John 13:31, 32), that the promises made to Abraham without condition, might be forfeited—forfeited by man—yet fulfilled hereafter in the second Man, but all lost as to the first man by his rejection of Him in whom they were. The cross closed up the history of the first man, and the world was judged (John 12:31), and then, through redemption and the glorifying God, God’s history began in the second Man in a new state, risen from the dead—sin, death, Satan’s power, God’s judgment, all passed through, and left behind, a place and state beyond them all, God being perfectly glorified; John 13:31, 32.
Now, the fulfilment of the counsels of God as to the glory, always comes after this, and necessarily must. As regards the Person of the Lord, His title and competency were ever complete; but that is not the question, but of the accomplishment of it in His manhood. Thus, if He created all things, as He did, they were created for Him as well as by Him, but not to take them as man in their corruption.
So, as Son He is Heir of all things; Heb. 1. His given glory is a consequence there, and as to His title as Son of man, though personally glorified, the psalm (as we see in Heb. 2) is not fulfilled; and as to the earthly royal part (Rev. 11:17), we have—as indeed many parables and passages teach us—the testimony that He has not taken it. Psalm no, too, is simple and plain on this point. David’s Son was to sit at God’s right hand as David’s Lord till the time came.
But our inquiry now is not as to personal title and competency, but as to what is said as to the given glory. I should insist upon all being His in personal title from creation on, only that He must be a man, and that the counsels of God as to this were identified with His Person, so that I could always say all was His. There remains the question of any scriptural statements of the fulfilment in fact.
I will now cite the passages of scripture as to this glory belonging to Him. We read in John 3:35, “The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.” Here we have the title of His Person (v. 31), and the rejection of His testimony; no man received it, though He spake the words of God coming from heaven. What God was in His nature is stated up to this, here the relationship of Son with the Father. It is the absolute gift of all things by the Father to the Son— as to facts, the cross, and the universal rejection of His testimony, and then the Father’s counsels in love to the Son. So, in Hebrews 1, where, again, it is, when He had by Himself made the purification of sins, that He sat down on the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens as man, as such become more glorious than angels, as He had by inheritance a more excellent name than they; this, was His title; that, the place He took, or what He became as man, consequent on the cross.
So, in Matthew n, it is on His entire rejection, and taking knowledge of it in His heart, that He says, “All things have been27 delivered unto me of my Father, and no man knoweth the Son but the Father, neither knoweth any man the Father save the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him. Come unto me … learn of me.” In the following chapter Israel is cast out. The direct teaching is, that the rejection of Christ was the proof of the helpless state of man, but led to the unveiling of the counsels of God, which were behind, in which all things were delivered to the second Man as Son, the full purpose and grace of God; and here again it is the Father. The moral principle of it, then, receiving His word, is at the end of Matthew 12. In chapter 13 the kingdom of heaven is brought in. I may add chapter 16, the church; chapter 17, the kingdom in glory. In chapter 13, at the end of the age the Son of man exercises His power. His place down here is in chapter 20:23. The end of Matthew is His closing controversy with the Jewish people; but in Matthew 28:18, 19, He bases His commission to His disciples on all power being given to Him in heaven and on earth—a commission never fulfilled historically in Scripture, unless alluded to at the very end of Mark. The disciples gave up the gospel to the Gentiles to Paul; Gal. 2:7-9. The change of position is noted in Matthew 26:64, where, for “hereafter,” read, “henceforth.” From that onward they would only see Him in His heavenly glory at the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds. (John 1:51, read also “henceforth,” where it is personal title to the service of angels down here; but by many the word is left out here.)
The statement of Matthew 11:27, is found in Luke 10:22, but is the same, and again the Father and the Son. The kingdom of God was come amongst them, proved by the casting out of Satan’s power. Yet He could say, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come. (See Luke 12:50.) He must die to let loose (so to speak) the purpose of God in grace. (See chap. 19:12.) He went away to receive the kingdom, and return. The Lord tests them with the perplexing point of David’s Son being David’s Lord. But we have further light in Scripture on the actual historical time both of the glory and the dominion—the great and glorious work of the cross being the moral ground of it all. “Now,” we read—John 13—(when Judas had gone out) “is the Son of man glorified”—in accomplishing, that is, the work of the cross— “and God is glorified in him; and if God be glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and will straightway glorify him”—not wait for His taking the public and manifested glory, but do it now.
The cross, then, as that in which all the moral glory of God was made good, and the Son of man glorified in doing it, was the basis and the point of departure of the given glory. Divine glory had been eternally His with the Father, but now there was a glorifying of the Son of man in connection with His perfectly glorifying God. So it is said, “To him that over-cometh will I give to sit with me in my throne, as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” This was the ground and the epoch (with forty days interval on earth) of the personal glorifying of Christ. He suffered, and entered into His glory. The prophets even spoke of the sufferings of Christ, and the glories that should follow. The difference between this and exercising dominion is clearly stated in Hebrews. Revelation brings it out in detail. Based on Psalm no, in Hebrews 10, we are told He is sitting at God’s right hand, expecting till His enemies be made His footstool. So, in Hebrews 2, “we see not yet all things put under him, but we see Jesus, made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour.” There Stephen saw Him, not yet sitting down, His intercession on the cross having suspended judgment, till rejected in glory as He had been in humiliation, but returning then (Acts 3) if they repented. The history of that people, and indeed of man, as responsible, was closed, but the foundation laid in His work, and in eternal righteousness, for sovereign grace to bring the saints into the same glory in which He will appear.
All authority is His now; its development and display are according to the purpose and wisdom of God, who is gathering in grace His joint-heirs, while He sits—proof that His work is finished—at the right hand of God, till the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. All dominion is His now as Man, Satan’s having been annulled by death, though for us that last enemy is not destroyed, only it is become gain to us. What we have seen, then, in Scripture, is the full title of the Person of Christ as Creator, Son of God, and Son of man; and in application— sin and Satan’s power having come in, and through man, the ground having been laid in the cross for taking it according to God—a special work going on which delays its public assumption, namely, the gathering the joint-heirs to be with Him in glory, and for ever with Him; and then (though title was always His—personal position in glory, founded on the cross, now His) He will, as Son of man, openly take and display His power and glory, and us with Him, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father, all things in heaven and earth being headed up in one under His authority. This glorifying and giving all power to man in the Person of Christ, is the great central truth and fact of God’s counsels.
And now let me recall and define the difference between the preterite, and the participle and the auxiliary verb. The preterite states that a fact has happened long ago, or, more exactly, in a time separated from the present; ‘has,’ with the participle, clothes the person or at least his position, as a present thing, with the character flowing from the thing spoken of. The subject here spoken of is the counsels of God as to Christ, and ‘has given’ views Him as clothed with what is given—those counsels of God clothing His Person, first, in the thoughts of God; then, in the accomplished fact, those thoughts realised. Now, the thoughts of God—as is amply revealed in Scripture—were, that the Son as man should inherit all things. On this point Scripture is quite clear. It is equally clear that the possession of this place of glory and dominion was to be after suffering. It is difficult to separate the two, as historically the suffering was necessary to the possession of the glory; still, some passages contemplate distinctly the purpose of God. Thus, in John 3, “The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.” This, though rejection had been spoken of, speaks of what was in the Father’s mind.
In Ephesians 1, in the dispensational arrangements of God, we learn that His purpose was to head up all things in Christ— all things in heaven and on earth. So, in Matthew n—though here rejection comes in—the purpose, “All things have been delivered unto me of my Father.” So Psalm 8, used by Paul as to Christ in 1 Corinthians, Hebrews, Ephesians: “He hath put all things under his feet.” It was not in this character of glory He came. He was to assume it after suffering; this characterised it. He emptied Himself, and took on Him the form of a servant, and was found in the likeness of man, humbled Himself as man, and was obedient unto death; wherefore also God hath28 highly exalted Him, and given Him a name, which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things on earth, and things under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. His obedient descent to death was the ground of His ascent to glory and universal dominion. “Ought not,” says the Lord Himself, “Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?” So Peter: “the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” So, in the passages cited for the general fact, John 3; it was when, though He spoke the words of God, no man received His testimony, that the giving all things into His hand is spoken of. The cross had been brought in, and it was when rejected as presented to man that this new glory of God’s purpose was brought in, in the risen and glorified Man. So, in Matthew 11, it was when John and Christ’s testimony had been both rejected, and terrible judgment was to come in consequence, that He says, “All things are delivered unto me of my Father.” “God,” says Peter (Acts 2:36), “hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” The passage referred to in the Ephesians is as plain as can be: “What is the exceeding greatness of his power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come; and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church.” So, indeed, in the psalm quoted here; it is when rejected as the Christ, in the second psalm, that He is set as Son of man over all the works of God’s hands. But Ephesians is as plain as possible. It is the Christ raised from the dead that becomes Head over all things. He that ascended is He that descended into the lower parts of the earth, and thus ascended that He might fill all things. It was when Christ was raised that He says, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations.” We have thus clearly taught, the Father’s giving all things to the Son to be the mind and counsel of God; that this purpose of the Father was to be fulfilled in Him as man, and that, founded on His sufferings, He glorifying God in them.
Hebrews 2 shews the fulfilment of Psalm 8 in part, after He had come down, and been made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, in that He was crowned with glory and honour, but all things not put under Him. And the important point which is fully developed in the first three Gospels, is, that He came according to promise as the Messiah prophesied of, and this, though far from being all even then, yet was of moment as regards the faithfulness of God. The testimony to who was there was full in word and work, and therein man was finally and fully tested, but therein, not only man’s state was shewn, but God’s, who said, “It may be they will reverence my Son,” and closed the whole history of that people—that is, of man under God’s culture, His vineyard and fig-tree—and the Lord pronounced its judgment in cursing the fig-tree. Man under the first covenant should never bear fruit, and the Lord says, “Now is the judgment of this world.” The whole dealing with men, not only on the ground of law, but of promise, in the Person of Christ, the Messiah, was over, till He return in glory; and then it will be in grace under the new covenant, when they shall repent. But this rejection of Christ in this character gave occasion to the more glorious and wide-reaching position of Christ as Son of man, He having in death, and as made sin, perfectly glorified God in all that He is, and that, as made sin, obedient unto death.
The Messiahship of promise was closed; and God brought out, through the faithfulness of Christ, these counsels which, existing before the worlds, had been held in abeyance till man was fully tried, and as to sin, God fully glorified. He passed from a rejected Messiahship into the present Heirship of eternal glory, and the accomplishment of eternal redemption; and, being that eternal life to believers which was manifested in Him, not merely to quicken in a divine way, as He had done from Adam on, but to be the present manifestation of that life in a Man down here, and the communicator of it to others, so that they should be sons brought through redemption into His place—“My Father and your Father, my God and your God”—He Himself taking His place as a Man in glory. But while He entered into the glory He had had with the Father before the world was, He did so as Man, gone to prepare a place for us, entered as our Forerunner, but entered into heavenly glory, according to the counsels of God, as contrasted with an earthly Messiahship and an earthly kingdom.
Christ’s position was wholly changed—a change than which there could be nothing greater morally, or in the manifestation of glory. A rejected Messiah becomes a divine Saviour and Lord of all. Such had ever been God’s counsels, but now the accomplishment of them was come to the birth. It is touching and instructive to see, how fully Christ felt this rejection, while yet His heart goes out in grace, weeping over the now God-deserted city, but then bows in perfect obedience to His Father; and then, how the new universal and heavenly glory, the counsels of God as to Him hidden (so to speak) in His Messiahship before, burst in upon His sight. We have examples of this in Matthew n and John 12.
Now the preterite in English is merely an historical statement of a fact which is viewed as past, and past at a time looked at as apart from the present. ‘He lived in London’; ‘he walked the whole journey’: ‘we saw His star.’ The participle, with the auxiliary, embodies in the person spoken of, as a present thing, the character or thing which is the subject spoken of in the sentence; only, when God’s counsels are spoken of, very constantly the thing spoken of is spoken of as existing, because it exists and is certain in His mind. Its being there is a reality. This is well known in the prophetic writings. Thus, “Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me;29 … then said I, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God.” These were the counsels of God freely accepted of the Son, written in the volume of the book; but it is said, “A body hast Thou prepared.” So Psalm no: so frequently. In time comes the accomplishment, the actual realisation in time, of God’s eternal thought. The Father loveth the Son, and hath put all things into His hand. This is God’s mind and counsel, which we have seen was connected in its accomplishment with the cross—the proof of the total sinfulness of man, the close of the Messiahship of Christ, as a relationship with Israel on the ground of their responsibility, come according to promise. As said in the Hebrews, “He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.” It was a Man despised and rejected of men (so that all connection of God with them was broken on that ground for ever, the fig-tree never to bear fruit), but, through the cross and suffering even to death, entering into the glory purposed of God from everlasting for Christ, and that on high.
Now John 13 and 17 give us the moment of this change. Chapter 13 is not my direct object now, save as presenting the moment in question, and what attached to it. The hour was come that Jesus should depart out of this world unto the Father. The history of the sufferings of Christ is not the subject of John’s Gospel, but nothing can be clearer than the passage from the old position of Christ to the new—His position of humiliation, and position of glory, which enabled Peter to say (1 Pet. 3:22), “Who is gone into heaven… angels, and principalities and powers being made subject unto him.” In the other Gospels you get allusions to it, as in Matthew n, and what is connected with it, as the change from Matthew 12 to 13, but there more connected with His Person, but here we find precision as to the time and way in which the change took place. He would not desert His disciples, nor cease to serve them; if He could not be associated with them here, He must fit them to have a part with Him where He was going. Clean they were by the word, as to what they were, but their walk in a defiling world might render them unfit to have a part with Him, for He was going to God, and He girds Himself, and washes their feet—a beautiful and blessed expression of grace, but it must not detain us here—for His hour was come that He should depart out of this world to the Father, and He knew that the Father had delivered all things into His hand, and that He was going to God. That which we have seen doctrinally stated in Ephesians 1, 1 Peter 3, and elsewhere, is now presented as a fact in the consciousness of Jesus,30 a fact in the counsels of God, and now historically realised. His time was come, when He should take the place—His in God’s counsels—where everything was delivered into His hands, according to the statement in John 3, Hebrews 1, etc. Here it is connected with His work, and the position based on the righteousness of God; John 13:31, 32.
Henceforth the Son of man was to sit on the right hand of power. In His lifetime, in virtue of the dignity of His Person, and His perfectness, angels came and ministered unto Him; the time was coming when all things would be put under Him, but His present glory was to be immediate. In chapter 17 the connection is with the Father, and Christ’s place of Son, but the event is the same. The hour was come for Christ to take His glory, according to the purpose of God. The Son was to be glorified, and this lays the basis of the whole chapter, which treats of the new place of the saints, up even to the glory, and being where Christ is, and as distinct (though both were the Son’s) from what had been while He had been on earth. Now here they have changed the word into the preterite. “As thou gavest him power.” This is merely an historical fact at some distant epoch of past time, and may have been merely temporary. It merely recites a past fact at some period distinct and separate from the present. If I read, “As thou hast given him authority over all flesh,” etc., it is the counsels of God as to His Son as Son of man (which I have therefore gone through) but withal His being now—for the hour was come to glorify Him—clothed with the purposed glory in which He was to have dominion; the whole chapter stating what had been, and the change now taking place. All this—the counsels as abiding in the mind of God, their accomplishment in clothing the Saviour with glory consequent on the cross, the glorious arrangement by which every attribute of God [had been revealed and glorified], the judgment of man’s estate, what had been done already in the Person and service of Christ here below, a service now closed, with the consequent position of the disciples, as developed in the chapter—all is lost to give us a very inadequate translation of a Greek aorist. Some time or other God had given Him this power, effectually exercised, when given is not said. As the present moment of change for the accomplishment of God’s counsels, expressed in “Thou hast,” all is clear. The Father had been revealed in Him (John 14), could not before the Son came, for in whom was it, or could it be?
God’s rule for man had been given in the law. Jehovah’s will was made known. He had preserved in faithful mercy, as the Almighty, the patriarchs He had called. He had warned by prophets, and spoken to Israel of a Saviour to come—had given precious revelations of His ways and goodness, and by grace met the faith of those that trusted in Him; but He was not there, or, if there, professedly hidden behind the veil where it was death to intrude. The law and the prophets were until John, and he came—still, earthly—before the face of Jehovah, to prepare His way before Him. And the clouds broke: and the Sun of Righteousness was there (though not yet in judgment, as in Malachi). The Father Himself revealed in the Son, only in humiliation, that He might in grace be close to man, as He touched the leper, saying, “I will, be thou clean.” And the knowledge of the Father thus revealed, and of Him who came down as life from Him, was eternal life. It was not the just and perfect law of God, and obedience to it, required from men; it was He in whom was life come down to manifest it to men, and communicate it in grace to them. (See 1 John 4:9; ch. 1:2; ch. 2:8.) He came also to make propitiation for our sins, but this regarded our being made fit for the presence of God, and though not separated from, yet not in itself life. That was in the Person of the Father, and of the Son revealing Him. And now note, that while it was the eternal purpose of the Father thus to glorify the Son, and that the title over all creation belonged to the Son as Creator, yet this supremacy was to be in the hands of the Son of man. Thus, till the Son was on earth, the Father was not, and could not be, revealed; nor could the Son till He was a man hold it; nor, though personally qualified, could He, in point of fact, take it into possession till He had suffered, and was risen.
Hence the historical vagueness of the preterite is quite out of place. It was the hour of His being glorified in order to His taking it, and the whole matter was confined to His life here, and His glorious position which followed His faithfulness in it; as I have said, at the moment of passing from one to the other, He declares what belonged to each. “Father, the hour is come, glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee.” First, the Father, in grace infinite, original, and uncaused save by what was in Himself, sent His Son, before which the passage has no application. The Father was known in Him; the Son, in absolute obedient grace, came, at all cost, to do His will, not sparing Himself, that the Father might be glorified, and we, poor sinners, blest. The Sent One had come. He had glorified the Father on the earth, but to this time only it applies, and to the place of the obedient Sent One. “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” The hour is now come that this is closed, but now He can say as to that definite time and place, now presently closed, I have finished the work, and glorified Thee in what Thou sentest Me to do.
Here is a true aorist, no time, but the object of sending. Had it been said, “Thou hast given me to do,” it would be a present unfinished task; and yet, “I glorified thee on the earth, I finished,” etc., is a past historical time. From fancied, not real, accuracy as to Greek, they have constructed what is no grammatical English at all: ‘I finished a work some time ago (namely, a time apart from this), which Thou hast given me to do,’ which has a present sense. The reading they adopt makes no difference. ‘I glorified (past historical) Thee, having finished the work,’ etc. Indeed, reading as they do makes it worse, because the finishing is in the same historical time, and has the causative sense common to this participle. He ‘glorified His Father’ is past time, ‘having finished the work.’ This destroys the whole force of the passage, that the hour was come.
There are only two states of the Son of man (though many details may be added, as His taking the kingdom, giving it up, etc.); but as to His own state only two: a sent, humbled Christ, obedient unto death; and Man exalted consequently into the glory which, as Son, He had with the Father before the world was. It is of the moment of the change from one to the other He is speaking. He looks to the Father to glorify the Son in the glory which had been His before the worlds, but in a new place and state, as Man; one of these states was then closed, the other just about to begin, and He states what He had done in the state now passing away for ever. But it is not, ‘I glorified Thee on the earth when I was there’ —perhaps a long time ago, at any rate apart from the present—which is the sense of the revision; it is what He had been doing up to the moment of change now come, and could be no other time. He had glorified the Father on earth, seeking that the Father should now glorify Him with Himself, had finished (or, if the reading be preferred, ‘having finished’) the work the Father had given Him to do: and this could only be just then, if Christianity be in question. And now that the work was finished, the Father was to glorify Him—this between Him and the Father. Then, as to the disciples, He had manifested the Father’s name to them, which indeed could only be done then. Now they knew that what the Father had given Him was of the Father to the Son, not of Jehovah to Messiah, for all the words the Father had given to the Son as Man down here He had communicated to them, and they had believed in His coming out from the Father. Now He prayed for them as left down here, when He was going, for they were the Father’s, and He was glorified in them. In verse 12 you have the difference of the preterite (imperfect) and ‘have.’ “I kept” is historical. “I have kept” up to now, so that none (save Judas) is lost. He has prayed for them as put in immediate relationship with the Father, like His own (v. 9). He then prays for them as set in the place of testimony with the Father’s word, as He had been (v. 15), and thus sets them, in both respects, in His own place, they being formed by His now being sanctified in glory. Then, He prays for those who believed through their word, that they may be all one; and finally, gives them the glory given to Him—in everything put in His place, and associated with Him—loved as He was loved; and at last will have them— blessed be His name!—where He is; gives them to enjoy this love meanwhile, when the world does not know it as it will when they are seen in the same glory. It was the present full revelation of the Father’s name, for their place with Him and testimony in the world: and lastly, brought where Christ was going. The Father’s name is the key to the whole chapter. All depends on its being the present moment of change, as stated in the first verses. It is a chapter of known, of imperfectly known, blessedness, but presents the disciples as loved of the Father as Christ was, and Christ in us, that we may enjoy it; and the whole counsels of God in this, and their accomplishment, are sacrificed, as far as such splendour of grace can be, for a fancied Greek aorist.
A detail in verse 18 here shews the absurdity of it, and how the point of the chapter is lost. “I sent them into the world”—whereas the only time He sent them out in His lifetime, historically, they were strictly forbidden to go near it, or to any but Israel; so utterly were the Revisers ignorant of the mind of God here. And while, in many passages, the preterite, or participle with ‘has,’ may be a matter of taste, or delicacy of apprehension, yet often it is of all-importance. I might go to other examples, but I have taken one where the fulness of the grace into which we are brought on Christ’s going away is unfolded, that we may see of what moment it is; and that where the foundation is laid in Romans 1, and in crowning the blessing in John 17, the Revisers have wholly missed the mind of God. I do not the least deny they have rightly corrected many sentences—I think they have—but it is not a translation to be trusted, as giving us the mind of God; and this alone has made me write these remarks.
A few special cases have caught my eye in the revision, which I notice. 1 Corinthians 15:49 they have translated “we have borne,” quite rightly, but proving that their rule of adapting the preterite to the aorist cannot be carried out as a general rule. Here, too, also—I doubt not rightly—they have not followed mere diplomatic criticism, and read “let us bear” for “we shall bear.” Even if the Vatican MS. opposed, it is a pity they were not equally bold in Romans 5:1; [where they have put ‘let us have peace’].
In Acts 2:36 we have a passage rightly, I believe, translated, but which shews the fallacy of their rule, the observance of which in John 17 has deprived it of all its force. “God hath made this Jesus whom ye crucified both Lord and Christ”— one of the verbs they translate by a preterite, the other by ‘has,’ and the participle. But this passage proves also clearly an ignorance of Greek, which has destroyed the sense of a passage, which, if not fundamental, is one of the richest parts of the structure of truth—Ephesians 2:21, where they have translated “every building,” not, “all the building.” One would have thought that the whole tenor of the passage which insists on the middle wall of partition being broken down, and both reconciled in one body to God, would have guarded them from such a blunder—for blunder it is, but a blunder affecting the whole doctrine of the church, the absence of unity being ostentatiously put forward in the epistle consecrated to its establishment. Every tyro knows that, as a general thing, pas in Greek, with an article, is ‘the whole’—without it, ‘every,’ but to make it an absolute rule is only ignorance. The received text has it, with very good authorities, as A,C,P, correction of the Sinaiticus, and many others; and if not the original reading, it was added to make plain what the Revisers have set aside. But it is false that it is a universal rule as to pas. Where there is a genitive which determines, the article is left out—for example, “every house of Israel,” is nonsense on the face of it; indeed, where the noun stands as a composite whole in itself, no article is added, as Romans 1:29. Oikodome (building), though one word, is a composite word, and oikos is a practical genitive after dome, and the whole word a composite whole in itself. The doctrine is false. No particular church is the habitation of God through the Spirit; nor can what is said of oikodome here be said of any particular church, that each is growing to a holy temple. Was Thyatira doing so? Was Laodicea doing so? to say nothing of Ephesus and Sardis. And where are all the early Christian churches? The attempt to make it “every house,” in Acts 2:36 (marg.), is a want of common sense, and ignorance of Greek.
I confess I am surprised with men, some of whom (and, I doubt not, others whom I do not know, are so) I sincerely believe to be much better Hellenists than myself, that such evidence of want of scholarship should crop up. They have not attempted it—not even in the margin—in Romans n; it would have been too absurd; and in Ephesians 2 there was doctrinal purpose, for they have, “each several building,” and “every building,” in the margin. Why, if “every” was a universally binding rule, as to the meaning, not stick to it? But to make it, after the verses 19 and 20, from which it cannot be separated, “each several building” is perversion, not translation. Oikodome is not a classical word, and does not receive an article at all, but in special cases, even where we might expect it, in Greek—only three times in the New Testament, where it is plural, and refers to the various constructions of the temple: Romans 14:19, where it is specified in character by the Greek article following, not used in the abstract, and 2 Corinthians 12:19, where it is also specially determined by the Greek pronoun for your. Taken simply it qualifies the act, and is not a direct specified fact; nor does an article after pas always make it signify ‘the whole,’ but distinctly the contrary, as with participles, as Romans 2:10; ch. 10:4; ch. 1:16. It characterises pas; so Romans 12:3; but I need not multiply instances. There is another case, where pas is used without an article, not in the sense of ‘every’: moral ideas, which embrace a number of thoughts or acts composing the idea, as people compose the house of Israel; as “in all goodness and righteousness and truth”; Ephesians 5:9; “all deceit,” Acts 13:10; where there are four other cases; “all wisdom and understanding,” Colossians 1:9, and “all power” verse 11; “all lowliness,” Eph. 4:2; “all fear,” 1 Pet. 2:18; “all honour,” 1 Tim.6:1; “all joy,” James 1:2. Probably others which are not recorded in the books which furnished me with these. ‘Whole,’ in the sense of holos, which is often used, would not do; nor would ‘every’; the thought is composite, and “all “is justly used, but’ every ‘would be false, as in power, lowliness, fear, so in “joy and peace,” in Romans 15:13, where compare “the hope,” in the same verse. To make pas without an article, as necessarily always ‘every,’ is a blunder, and in the Revision it is put in the margin, Acts 2:36, as we have seen, as if this were the case, where it would be simple nonsense. ‘All,’ and in German allerlei, which Luther uses, specially the English, all convey the meaning. I had nearly forgotten one instance of a different character—flesh, used as denoting men, in Matthew 24:22, etc., in English, ‘no flesh’—an article could not be used. It is, again, a word embracing many individuals in one thought, “all flesh,” and then, viewed as a whole, the verb as to it, negatived what is said.
Let me add here, as the subject has been before us in the passage, that we must not confound the “house” (church) built by man, according to 1 Corinthians 3, and the “house of God “built by Christ (Matt. 16), against which the gates of hell cannot prevail. The latter is found in the passage which occupies us (Eph. 2:21), Matthew 16, and 1 Peter 2— I am not aware of any other place. In these it is Christ who builds, or no one else is spoken of; the “living stones” come, or “the house” grows.
The more their use of the word en is examined, the more erroneous it will be found. In 1 Corinthians 8:11 they have been forced to put ‘through’; in chapter 6:11, ‘in,’ as to the Spirit, hardly makes sense; but such passages as Colossians 1:16, 17, as indeed others, are not only wrong, but shew they have not seized the force of en, where not used locally or materially at all. Compare 2 Corinthians 6, where en and dia, and a third reciting form are used, with substantially the same sense; in en and dia, the latter with the genitive is the instrumental means, en the character or power of that in which a thing is done. Either would often do. ‘His graciousness was shewn by his kindness to those who deserved nothing, in his kindness to,’ etc.—either would do; not that they ever mean the same; one was the means of shewing; the other, the character of that ‘in’ (‘by,’ ‘through’) which it was shewn, but the result is the same. They are really changed for style in 2 Corinthians 6; one may suit one word better than the other, but, ‘in much patience,’ or ‘by much patience,’ though not the same idea, if analysed, is the same thing: in verse 7, “through the arms of righteousness,” en would not do so well, and the apostle changes to dia, and then uses it four times, where en would do very well, and where dia has pretty much the sense of en—his mouth was opened. But for this reason— to make en mean simply ‘in’ is a gross mistake. “In spirit”— “in flesh” have a sense difficult to put in English, but which in many cases ‘in’ could not render. I pray “in (en) spirit”; so 2 Corinthians 7:1, “in (en) the fear of God.” Here the English use of ‘in’ answers to en, but it is characteristic of the moral state in which the perfecting was done.
But what is the force of 2 Corinthians 7:7? The Revisers are obliged to say ‘by.’ But the attempt to force the use of ‘in,’ as if that was the literal translation always of en, has falsified different passages. To “baptise into” is not the sense of the preposition eis with baptise; it is that to which you are brought, and with which you are associated. “All baptised into Moses” is flat nonsense, or, “baptised into John’s baptism.” This is simply prejudice. Were I to go through the book, many things might call for remark.
I think Galatians 4:13 a complete mistake; verse 14 makes it plain, I think, comparing, too, other passages; but controversy on particular passages is not my object, but what affects fundamentally the whole character of the translation and that as affecting the foundations of truth. I have just come across another case, which has a peculiar character, but shews their rule to be untenable. John 3: “We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen”; and again, “What he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth, and no man receiveth his testimony.” Now there is no aorist to the Greek verb horao, “to see” or “take heed,” but the irregular tense, which is found in the conjunctive in Luke 13:28, only there in the New Testament, I believe. In John 3:32 we have “what he has seen and heard”; the first a perfect, the second an aorist. They have translated, “What he hath seen and heard,” to which I have no objection; but their rule is given up—could not be applied. They may take the form of the word as used for the aorist, for the reason above mentioned, but then the rule is doubly given up, as it is in verse 11. The truth is, the preterite is historical of past facts, and when the aorist is so used is all well—“Jesus having entered,” but ‘has’ is much more so, which states a past fact, present to the mind, but whose object is not time at all.
But in the first passage which struck me in Matthew 2:2, their rule fails, or their translation—it should be, ‘was born,’ and verse 3, ‘was troubled’; and again, if they put ‘saw,’ they should put ‘came.’ Now in this case it is not of any consequence, save the force of the language; I use it to shew that their rule is a fallacy, and that they cannot maintain it. And this affects the whole translation, and in John 17 deprives us of the true force of one of the most blessed portions of scripture. There is a use of the aorist which is a conditional future in English, as where hina (that) is used (John 3:20,21), but it is a delicacy of language difficult to reproduce, though often of moment; it is not that the thing may take place, but that it may have taken place. (See Matt. 3:13, 14.) It is found in exhortation, not as the desire that they become so, but so have acted as that the subject of the exhortation may be already true of them: there, with hina, John 3:17; Matthew 5:18—here a future perfect might do.
I may cite some passages to shew a false licence in translating, which wholly spoils and destroys the sense. Thus, Ephesians 2:6, they have added ‘him,’ which is not in the Greek at all, and makes nonsense of the passage, “made us to sit with him [Christ] in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” The passage means that the Jew by nature is a child of wrath, like the Gentile, being quickened with Christ, is raised with (the Gentile), a state in which there is no difference—both are sitting in heavenly places ‘in’ Him; ‘with’ Him, neither are. Then, in Romans 5:1, I have not the smallest doubt that “we have” should never have been changed into “let us have”—indeed the Fathers, who quote it thus, cannot give a simple sense to it, and I affirm that it has none. ‘Let us have peace.’ What does that mean? I am exhorted to have peace with God. How? And in what state is the Christian, or any one, when he is exhorted? Grace was at once forgotten after the apostles were gone—often before, as Galatians shews— and all made to depend on man; but He has made peace by the blood of His cross. They have not ventured to accept the reading, “we should bear,” 1 Corinthians 15:49 (which would have made nonsense); yet, though they have the Vatican MSS. (corrected) for “let us have” in Romans 5:1, not for “we should bear,” they have the Sinaiticus and others for the latter. I am glad they have not accepted it, but the reasons were not the manuscripts, but the spiritual absurdity of our being called to bear the glorious image of Christ here. But Tischendorf, 8th edition (not 7th), and Tregelles give us “we should bear” they go by manuscripts; spiritual apprehension would have taken “we have” in Romans 5 too; Tischendorf, till the Sinaiticus MSS. influenced him, had this.
I add, in passing, we have the usual perversion of the text, ‘We have had our access,’ of which not a word in the Greek: so, in our tribulations—I suppose ignorance of the abstract use of the article. I notice this passage because of such importance to souls. In Luke 2:49 they translate “I must be in my Father’s house,” putting the evident sense “about my Father’s business,” in the margin; indeed, often the margin is only proper to lead the reader to uncertainty where there is none. “Extort no more” (Luke 3:13) is nonsense. Luke 1:35 is, I have no doubt, false. Chapter 3: and “he shall thoroughly cleanse” should at least be in the margin. Chapter 2:14: There is no possible ground for translating, “in whom he is well pleased,” even if—which I do not believe—we should read, as the Revisers have. I am satisfied it is a corruption, as all theirs are, to exalt man. I do not accept their critical text; it is the vulgar acceptance of the Sinaiticus and the Vatican—valuable manuscripts if used with discrimination, and testing them by others and versions, but which it is now the fashion to swallow down undigested. We have no manuscripts which have not been tampered with by the clergy, and that when the church was thoroughly corrupt; for our Puseyite friends know—if they were honest enough to own it—that the church was, and had long been, thoroughly and utterly corrupt in doctrine and in practice; doctrines which denied the foundations of Christianity read in the churches, and practices and habits not fit to be left in English on the drawing-room table. But I do not enter into the criticism of the text, it is too wide a subject, on the one hand, and I have learnt that I am not competent to form a clear and decided judgment, but know enough to judge those who pretend to do so.
I do not doubt the value of the Sinaitic and the Vatican manuscripts, but I do not accept their authority as conclusive; I confine myself therefore to the translation, and I must say, that I judge it to be a bad book, and that those who trust to it will lose in their knowledge of divine truth. I do not see the Spirit of God owned, nor the effect of owning it produced, nor the acquaintance with the mind of God drawn from Scripture, which qualifies for the performance of it, and the discovery of the force of particular passages. It is private interpretation, and very often only such. Much is lost by needless changes in the language, but this is a trifle comparatively. I will instance, “Jesus advanced in wisdom and stature.” Authorised Version, “increased”; the sense is the same; but, besides the prestige of the old, the change is for the worse. I take this merely as an example. I believe that a person who takes it up for his daily use will injure his own soul. I have no doubt that Ephesians 5:13 is wrong. Whatever “is made manifest is light” is not merely not true, but it is not the object of the passage—it is speaking of being made manifest by the light. I admit the passage is difficult, but I believe the sense to be, “what makes everything manifest is light”; or, “it is the light which makes everything manifest”: the form of the Greek word is found only here, and would be a middle with an active sense. There is no article with pan (everything); the sense would be different, and out of place—it would be the universe. Philippians 2:4 is, I believe, a mistake. What he seeks is, owning the good and gifts in others. Verse 10: ‘At’ is the sense—‘in’ has none. What is “bowing in his name”? They violate their rule of the preterite twice over: Acts 2:36; Romans 6:7. “United with him by the likeness” (v. 5) gives no sense. What does ‘unite by a likeness’ mean? No one who knew what being livingly united by the Holy Ghost to Christ is, could have penned such a sentence. “Be in bondage to sin” is not what is said; verse 6. In verse 10, “The death that he died” is not what is said; the margin, or old translation, is alone right. Verse 16: “Present yourselves” is very bad; ‘yield,’ or ‘give up,’ or ‘deliver up.’ Verse 4: “through the glory” is also bad—better, as in the Authorised Version, “by.” Verse 17: “Ye have been instructed,” the commonest use of the Greek word with Paul. Chapter 7:3, 4: “joined “better left out. Verse 13: “by” not in Greek—better left out. Chapter 8:4: “ordinance” very bad; in walking after the Spirit the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled. Verse 5, and elsewhere—Spirit with a small s misleads and confuses; their rule for it is badly imagined. “They that walk after the spirit, mind the things of the spirit,” Romans 8:5; and then “the Spirit of God”; and even there “in the spirit” (v. 9) with a small s. Romans 8:26, 27: “how” is wrong, and the big S here makes the little one totally wrong elsewhere, and seriously so.
In 2 Timothy 2:26—a confessedly difficult passage, they have introduced words, without any warrant at all, most unwarrantably. The margin, with their words in the text, makes it worse. The “Lord’s servant “; margin, or “the devil.” The Greek word in 1 Corinthians 5:1 does not mean ‘actually,’ but’ commonly.’ I merely give all these as leading to an estimate of the character of the work.
There is another point, not unimportant, I would notice: “the Lord added those that were being saved,” Acts 2:47. It is not correct. We have a different translation of the same words in Luke 13:23: “Are they few that be saved?” The article, with the present participle, has constantly the same character, without reference to time. With the past participle it is so in English; ‘the saved’ and ‘the lost.’ In 2 Corinthians 2:15, “are being saved.” Both this and Luke 13 cannot be right—in truth neither are. Revelation 21:24, they leave out, “of the saved”; if they are in the right, the common text shews the use of the word—it always means those who have this character, as also “those perishing,” in 2 Corinthians 2:15; so “him that was to come,” Rom. 5:14; “who is to come,” Rev. 1:4, i.e., ‘the coming One,’ of Christ. See 1 Thess. 5:7; ch. 3:5; Matt. 10:20 for other examples. Instances without number may be found. As to the particular word, it refers to the spared remnant among the Jews, the number of whom was much discussed amongst the Jews. (See Lightfoot and Schoettgen.) In Ephesians 1:11, they have translated “we were made a heritage.” Besides the false preterite already sufficiently spoken of, the Authorised Version is alone right, and the revision a false rendering. The Greek means, ‘we have been placed by lot in possession of,’ ‘have obtained a lot, or inheritance,’ and the point is of importance. We are joint-heirs with Christ.
On the whole, then, I accuse the Revisers of having mischievously erred as to the use of prepositions, particularly en, to have been entirely ignorant of the force of the definite article, and to have made a complete mess of the Greek aorist, blundering as to Greek and English.
26 Chapter 13 gives the ground in God’s righteousness, and the wider general place given of the Father. In chapter 17 it is the Son’s title, and the place of sons with Him, and first of all the disciples, and that on to their glory.
27 This is an aorist passive, where the Revised Version puts ‘have been’ quite rightly. But if it is right here, it is right elsewhere. On their system it should have been ‘were.’
28 Here we may see the force of the difference of the preterite and ‘has.’ ‘God highly exalted Him’ is a past historical fact; ‘has exalted Him’—He is in the glory.
29 So translated in LXX, and quoted in Hebrews. It is not, ‘Hast thou opened,’ but ‘Thou hast dug ears for me’; that is, put me in the place of a servant—that was in taking a body. (See Phil. 2.)
30 We have an example here (John 13:3) that it is impossible to render the aorist by the preterite. The Revisers have changed the T.R. perfect into the aorist, but it was impossible to use the preterite, and they have properly translated it, “had given,” as in T.R.; but then their grammatical rule is gone. In edoka and dedoka the readings are perpetually interchanged: Tischendorf says Luke constantly prefers the perfect.