The Gospel According To St. Matthew.
The first thing that strikes the mind, as undesirable in an accurate version of the Scriptures, is, that words supplied by the translators, which have no counterpart in the original, should not be designated as such by italics as attempted more or less fully in the Authorised Bible. Dr. Scrivener’s Cambridge Paragraph Bible sought this more systematically, and therefore is happier in this respect. In the Revised New Testament, on the contrary, the indication of supply is less than ever. It would have been better for the reader had the amount indicated been far greater. Take the instance of “the Lord” so common in the Synoptic Gospels, especially Matthew and Luke, where the Greek word is anarthrous, and means Jehovah. (See Matt. 1:20, 22, 24.)1 Not so the official title of Christ, unless employed predicatively which would of course deprive it of the article. Again, in 1:20 we have “take unto thee,” and in 21 “took unto him,” without indicating, that the pronouns are supplied. So with “our” in Matt. 3:9. It seems, arbitrary to print “it” in Roman in Matt. 2:3, and in Italics in Matt. 3:15. Many an unlettered preacher is thus exposed to dwell with emphasis on words merely inserted by the translators as if they were the veritable expressions of the Holy Spirit, from which error they were better guarded by the Authorised Version, and ought to have, been yet more now. It is allowable in a version of Greek or Latin Classic or of any human composition to supply what seems idiomatically requisite in our tongue without distinct notification to the reader. But Scripture stands alone, and deserves the homage of carefully distinguishing what man judges necessary in the language which reflects the original. In some cases it may prove a danger signal; in all it seems due to God and man. As the tendency of the day is to deny the difference between the word of God and any other book, it is the more imperative.
It is singular that the Revisers have left Matt. 2:1 as it stands in the Authorised Version, when a slight and lawful change of rendering would guard the reader from a really groundless misapprehension of the history. As it stands one might infer, with superficial poets and painters, according to tradition, that the visit of the magi followed close upon the Messiah’s birth. And this error has been greedily misused by sceptics. But a comparison of Luke 2 shows that it was not so; confirmed by the accurate ascertainment of the time by Herod, and his consequent slaughter of the male babes at Bethlehem from two years old and under. Room must be left for several months’, if not a year’s, interval. As we know, the parents came up to Jerusalem for the passover every year; and is anything more intelligible than the interest which would draw to Bethlehem those who knew that the Child was the promised son and heir of David’s throne? Then, on a subsequent occasion, came the magi who had seen the star in the east, and gone to Jerusalem in consequence. They had learnt, through Herod, from the scribes that Bethlehem was the predicted spot; and the star, to their joy, re-appears to guide them, till it stood over the place where the Child was. The aorist participle leaves the sense quite open, where “Now when,” etc., limits it in this case unduly. Translate, therefore, “Now Jesus having been born,” or “Now after Jesus was born,” etc.
In Matt. 4:18, 20, 21, the difference between a “net”
(ἀμφίβληστρον) and the “nets”
(δίκτυα) is not marked even in the margin (both distinct from Matt. 13:47); whereas they have properly done so as to the “baskets” in Matt. 16:9, 10. So there is no attempt even in the margin to distinguish between
καλός, both indiscriminately rendered “good;” though the one means “kind,” “beneficial,” “excellent,” the other “upright” or “honourable.”
In Matt. 6:11 (as in Luke 11:3) the rendering is “daily,” which the context seems to refute as tautology. “Needful” or “sufficient” I believe to be the true thought, in contrast with
περιούσιος, “abundant,” “superfluous,” “more than enough.” Doubtless the word is unusual, coined (Origen thought) for the purpose. Bishop Lightfoot argues against this source, as if the form in that case should be
ἐπιετής is opposed to this rigidity of derivation, being as far as we know a word of late formation like
ἐπιούσιος, without question of the digamma. Hence
οὐσία does not require the derivation
ἐπούσιος. Still less must we restrict
οὐσία to mean “essential being” or “substance” in that sense; for the New Testament itself uses it only in the meaning of “subsistence;” and its application in well-known orators, etc., to “property” real
(φανερά) or “personal”
(ἀφανής) is certain and common. It is unnecessary therefore to trace the word to
ἐπιοῦσα (ἡμέρα) “the morrow,” and if we did, we could not without harshness make it mean “till tomorrow,” that is of today, which (as we have seen) does not suit the context. Nor is the mystical sense, founded either on
ὁ ἐπιὼν κ. (the coming world) or on
ἐπιούσιος (supersubstantial) worthy of serious argument. Nor is it worthy reasoning, finally, to say that, because the disciples were not to be anxious for the morrow, they were not to pray for their bread today.
It would have been well, if so small a point as “wine-skins” (Matt. 9:11) is carefully substituted for “bottles,” that “demons” and “demoniacs” (Matt. 8:28, 31) had always taken the place of “devils,” etc., keeping the word “devil” for the different term which scripture gives to their chief.
A seriously mistaken change of reading is adopted in Matt. 11:19,
ἔργων, “works,” on the authority of Bp.m. 124 (a Vienna cursive of cent. xii.) and of some ancient versions, instead of
τέκνων is in all other authorities, not to speak of Luke 7:35. Even Origen lends “works” no support, any more than Chrysostom. It is monstrous to suppose that we are carried back in thought to the moment when Wisdom’s works were planned. The contrast is with “this generation;” as the Lord also in the verses following sets forth, the latter as objects of more than outward judgment, whilst the former are objects of the Father’s sovereign grace. That the Wisdom of God should be justified of its works seems a truism — of its children is a weighty truth.
Timidity, or want of knowledge, is manifest in perpetuating (Matt. 13:30 and elsewhere) “the end of the world,” and relegating to the margin the unquestionably true rendering, “the consummation of the age.”
In Matt. 28:1 the old and common error reappears, which has created immense confusion in arranging the order of the facts of the resurrection. The word
ἐπιφώσκειν applies equally to the dusk as to the dawn, the context alone deciding. The Jewish day began with the evening. Here it is assuredly the dusk, for the dawn of the first day could not be
ὀψὲ σαββάτων. The women came to the tomb on Saturday evening as here, as well as on Sunday morning early to which no doubt the earthquake in verse 2 belongs, when they were there again.
It is a pleasanter task to note some of the improvements of the Revisers, though almost all of moment are familiar to Christians for many years, and may be found in versions of private men. Thus it has long been felt well that Old Testament names, as in chapter 1, should follow the Hebrew rather than the Greek form. Again, the tendency to assimilate the Gospels has been watched against, as in Matt. 1:25 (cf. Luke 2:7); Matt. 5:41 (cf. Luke 6:27, 28); Matt. 9:13 and Mark 2:17 (cf. Luke 5:32); Matt. 17:21 (cf. Mark 9:29); Matt. 18:11 (cf. Luke 19:10); Matt. 19:16, 17 (cf. Mark 10:17, 18, Luke 18:18, 19); Matt. 20:16 (cf. 22:16); Matt. 20:22, 23 (cf. Mark 10:38, 39); Matt. 23:14 (cf. Mark 12:40, Luke 20:47); Matt. 25:13 (cf. Matt. 24:42, 44). The repetition of our Lord’s name, Jesus, is corrected as in Matt. 4:12, 18; Matt. 8:5; Matt. 13:36; Matt. 14:14, 25; Matt. 15:16, 30; Matt. 16:20; Matt. 17:11; Matt. 22:37; Matt. 24:2. This was probably owing to ecclesiastical influence, like the doxology fit the end of the prayer for the disciples (Matt. 6:13), and the “Amen” at the end of the Gospel, and indeed of all the Gospels.
The Gospel According To Mark.
In Mark 1:2 the Revisers have rightly abandoned “in the prophets” though given in the Alex. and most other MSS, because it is an evident correction made to ease the difficulty. The Sinai, Vatican, Cambridge of Beza, Parisian (L) and St. Gall uncials, with some twenty-five cursives, the most ancient versions and express early citations, preserve the true text, “in Isaiah the prophet.” Even on human ground it is absurd to suppose that the writer did not know that the first words quoted were from Malachi 3:1; and if inspiration be allowed, the only question is as to the principle of thus merging a secondary in a primary quotation. Compare the somewhat different use of “Jeremiah” rather than Zechariah in Matthew 27:9, 10. There is purpose in both, which cursory readers have not seen; and so they have been quick to impute a slip, as the later copyists were to eliminate it. But it is as irreverent as unwise and evil to obscure or deny the truth even in such points as these, because the modes of scripture application differ from those of ordinary men, and we may not at a first glance be able to appreciate or clear up the profound wisdom of inspiration. Kuster’s conjecture that the reading was originally “in the prophet” seems a mere effort to get rid of what he did not understand; which really, like such attempts generally, leaves the chief point where it was. — Verse 14, “of the kingdom” disappears with good reason, though most uncials and cursives insert the words, the old versions being pretty evenly divided. It is an addition borrowed from Matthew, whose Gospel it suits perfectly.
In Mark 2:1, 20 an article is needlessly inserted. Translate “at home” in contrast with being abroad or elsewhere, and “days will come.” — At the end of the latter verse “in that day” has the best authority, not “in those days,” which came in from the corresponding passage of Luke 5 — The end of verse 12 is simply “thus,” “on this fashion” being antiquated.
In Mark 3:13, as in Matthew 5:1, the indefinite article appears wrongly in the Authorised Version, the Revised gives “the” correctly, not meaning any particular mountain, but the high land as contrasted with the low or plain, as on board ship or on the sea is in contrast with on the shore. — In verse 14 the Revisers rightly give “appointed” instead of the equivocal “ordained.” They are no less fair in striking out the “ordained to be” of Acts 1:22, and in changing “ordain” to “appoint” in Titus 1:5. They would have done better in giving “chosen” in Acts 14:23 and 2 Corinthians 8:19, as they do in Acts 10:41, though “appoint” is no doubt a legitimate rendering of
χειροτονέω. — The chief change of text is in verse 29, “guilty of an eternal sin,” instead of “in danger of,” or “subject to eternal judgment.” “Damnation,” as is well known, is not the true force of
κρίσεως, though its effect. But the true reading on excellent authority appears to be
ἁμαρτήματος, “sin” or “guilt,” which might naturally be toned down into judgment. It is more forcible and absolutely expressed than even in Matthew, where blaspheming against the Spirit is said to be irremissible, either in this age, that is, of the law, or in that which is to come, that is, of Messiah reigning over the earth, when all other iniquities are forgiven, and all diseases are healed.
There are many minute changes in Mark 4, but the only correction of version one would notice is the unquestionably right one of “in the stern sleeping on the cushion,” instead of “in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow” in verse 38.
In Mark 5:36 it is well to remark the
παρακούσας of the critical editors instead of the [
ἀκ. of the common text. But it is doubtful whether the marginal “over-hearing” should not rather have taken the place of the Revisers’ text “not heeding,” which would have suited if the Lord had said nothing. But He heeds the word spoken enough to bid the synagogue-ruler, “Fear not, only believe.”
The latter half of Mark 6:11 seems an accommodation from Matthew 11 and Luke 10 with changes. Yet the ancient testimony is so ample (eleven uncials, nearly all the cursives, and some of the best versions) that it surprises one to see no remark on such a difference in the margin of the Revisers. In the footnotes of the corresponding Greek text Mr. E. Palmer of course gives the words. — The rendering of a phrase in verse 20 as well as the reading after it is questionable. Does
συνετήρει αὐτόν mean “kept him safe,” or “paid close attention to him”? and is the true reading “was perplexed,”
ἠπόρει ( B L Cop.) or the far more largely supported
ἐποίει which their margin renders?
Mark 7:3 presents a difficulty of translation if not of reading. Tischendorf now adopts
πυκνά from the Sinaitic copy, confirmed perhaps by some Latin and other versions; but the mass of authority sustains
πυγμῃ, lit. “with the fist,” or “up to the elbow,” the usual construing being “diligently” or “frequently,” with “vigour” or “with nicety.” — The addition in italics at the end of verse 11 is rightly omitted by the Revisers, as in Matthew 15:5 also; but a serious Italic supplement appears in verse 19, This he said. Here again is the preliminary question of
καθαρίζον, the former undoubtedly carrying much the most weight externally, if one did not bear in mind how carelessly the best MSS interchange
ο, which almost nullifies their suffrages on the point. The strange version of the Revisers seems due to Origen (Comm. in Matt. 15:10). K. usually is regarded, if in the neuter, as in apposition with the sentence; if in the masculine, as appended in an independent construction, with the gender conformed to
τὸν ἀφεδρῶνα, the departure from formal grammar giving the more force to the participle. Indeed
καὶ καθαρίζει are found in some copies, all indicative of the difficulty presented by the construction.
In Mark 8:24, 25, of the Revised Version, we have the healing of the blind man more graphically than in the common text and version. “I see men; for I behold them as trees, walking.” Then again he laid his hands upon his eyes, and he looked stedfastly (
διέβλεψε) and was restored and saw all things clearly
(ἐνέβλεπε τηλαυγῶς [Tisch.
In Mark 9:23 the oldest and best authorities omit
πιστεῦσαι, though it has large uncial support. Perhaps its difficulty may have led to the omission. If genuine, the true meaning is not the muddle of two clauses as in the Authorised Version, but rather “the If thou canst [is] to believe.” The question of power turns on faith. In verse 24, 29, the evidence is strong against
μετὰ δακρύων (“with tears”), weak against
καὶ νηστείᾳ, “and fasting;” but the Revisers leave both out, as they do verses 44, 46, none omitting verse 48. Some of these witnesses leave out the latter half of 49, followed by our Revisers. The substance of the truth abides no doubt; but the solemnity of the warning appears to be enfeebled in the curtailed form; and the distinction between the wicked and righteous as tested by God’s judgment moral in grace or final in verse 49.
The Revisers, on few but first-rate authorities, read in Mark 10:1 “and” beyond Jordan, for the A. V. “by.”
In Mark 11:8 they read “fields” (
ἀγρῶν) instead of “branches” (
δένδρων) with other small changes.
In Mark 12:6 the Revisers omit “his,” and in verse 20 “therefore” on firm grounds, and for “God” give “He” in verse 32.
There is no doubt that “spoken of by Daniel the prophet” is an importation into Mark 13:14 from Matthew 24. But there is an interesting though dubious reading in the same verse, “standing where [he] ought not”
ἑστηκότα ( B L and so Tisch. Tregelles, Alford), instead of
ἑστώς (Elz. Griesbach, Scholz),
ἑστηκός Lachmann and Green),
στηκόν (seven cursives). If the masculine be well founded, it points to the Antichrist, the lawless one of 2 Thessalonians 2:4. But why should the Revisers perpetuate “her parable,” “her branch with its leaves” here, verse 28, as in Matthew 24:32? Why not “its,” especially as in Revelation 22:2 they correct “her” into “its fruit”?
In Mark 14 among other changes less noteworthy are the omission of “eat,” verse 22, and of “now,” verse 24, at the Lord’s Supper, and the insertion of “thou” emphatically, verse 30, the best MSS substituting
ἔλαβον “received” for
ἔβαλλον for “did strike” in verse 65, and omitting the last clause of verse 70.
In Mark 15:7 they follow
ἀναβάς “going up,” for crying out,” and omit “to drink” in verse 23 as well as verse 28 (from Luke 22:37).
The Revisers put most undeservedly a certain stigma on Mark 16:9-20, because B omit these verses, L with a break adding a miserable compendium, and many cursives giving them with more or less doubt, No good version of antiquity omits. But few fathers on harmonistic grounds talk of the accurate copies ending with
ἐφοβοῦντο γάρ. We need not now discuss the alleged internal reasons against the paragraph. The positive external proofs are really overwhelming; and the internal prove not only that it is inspired scripture, but from none other than Mark himself.
The Gospel According To Luke.
There is more to court remark in the third Gospel. In Luke 1:17 is the first change of version to be weighed:
ἐν φ. δ. can hardly bear “to” the wisdom of the just, as in the Authorised Version. The Revisers are obliged to intercalate “to walk” in the wisdom, etc., in order to give the force. Some suggest “by” or “according to;” but the sense fails in this connection, if the preposition could bear it. — In verse 28 there are two changes of text — the exclusion of “the angel,” though supported by much and good authority, and of “blessed art thou among women,” which incontestably appears in verse 42; in 29 also, “when she saw him” was probably suggested by verse 12. — But the rendering of the last clause of verse 35 is strange and objectionable, that of the margin (which is in main the Authorised Version), or the American suggestion, being better. — In verse 37 is a bold change of reading (
τοῦ θ. for
τῶ. θ.) which necessitates the rendering “no word from God shall be void of power.”
In Luke 2 are changes of text or translation much to be considered. In verse 2 they give, “This was the first enrolment when Quirinius,” etc. It would seem really to be a parenthetic statement to guard from confusion. God caused the decree to bring about the presence of Mary with her affianced husband at Bethlehem, and so accomplish the prophecy of Micah years before the enrolment was completed. — Of course they have in verse 10 “all the people,” that is, the Jews. — Verse 14 follows the later editors, or their few but first-rate authorities,
ἐν ἀνθρώποις ἐνδοκίας “among men in whom he is well pleased.” But Luke was given to magnify the grace of God, not to seal human righteousness. There is good and ample authority for the common text, only rendered “good-will in men,” which incarnation proved. — Passing over minor points we have in verse 22 “their” instead of the common “her,” but hardly the exact shade of verses 31, 32. “All the peoples” is better than “all peoples,” and revelation of Gentiles” is the true meaning, not “to all the Gentiles.” Before the Word was made flesh Gentiles were in the dark is regards the light of God; as the Jews who despised the true light have fallen into darkness, till the word is made good, “Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of Jehovah is arisen on thee.” The Revisers prefer, in verse 38, “redemption of Jerusalem” to “redemption in it,” though the witnesses are very few. “To Jerusalem” in verse 42 is probably a repetition from the verse preceding.
Luke 3:2 should be “in the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas,” the true text being singular, not plural. — A good many small corrections follow. It is surprising that few as yet see that the true parenthesis, marked or not, in verse 23 is not merely “as was supposed” but “being the son as was supposed of Joseph,” so as to connect the genealogy that follows directly with the Lord through Mary. For Joseph was the son of Jacob, in the Solomon line, as Mary was daughter of Heli, in the Nathan line; and our Lord needed to be thus born in order to be unequivocally heir of David and true man. To have been son of Mary was essential to the truth, the means and demonstration as well as the display of the good pleasure of God in men; to inherit the royal, or Solomonic, right to the throne depended on Mary’s espousal to Joseph; whilst His being Son of God in the highest sense was the ground and turning-point of all blessing. Had He been really Joseph’s son, as He was not, all the truth of His person would have been denied; had He been, as He was not, Mary’s son only, He had been true man but not true Messiah. He must therefore be Joseph’s son legally, Mary’s son truly, and God’s Son supremely, in order to satisfy the word and accomplish the purposes of God; and all this the scriptures show plainly that He was. But the proof is enfeebled by not seeing the connection in Luke 3:23, and this in the Revised Version as much as in that of 1611, the only expressed
υἱός being in the parenthesis, and the proper genealogical line uniformly elliptic, as is often the case in such statements.
In Luke 4 the most striking change is in verse 8, where the common text and all versions founded on it have
ὕπαγε ὀπίσω μου, Σατανᾶ, taken from Matthew 16:23, and confounded with Matthew 4:10, where it is rightly
ὕπαγε, Σ. Here however these were left out in the wisdom of the Spirit, who inspired Luke to place second what was in fact the third temptation. This made the omission necessary; as otherwise we should have had in Luke the Lord bidding the enemy depart, and instead of it the enemy making another assault immediately after. Perhaps not one of the critical editors saw the impossibility of the words of Matthew re-appearing in Luke, though they rightly left them out on grounds purely diplomatic. Luke as usual presents the circumstances in their moral order, (the natural, the worldly, and the religious temptation respectively,) whilst Matthew, as is his wont, gives them dispensationally, and this fell in here with the order of fact.
The Revisers in Luke 5 do not distinguish more than the Authorised Version
μέτοχοι, verse 7, and
κοινωνοί, verse 10, though the latter is the more formal “partners,” the former rather “companions.”
In Luke 6:1 they omit, save in their margin, the word “second-first.” Now the witnesses ( B L) which omit the word are few, though high; and the difficulty of understanding a word nowhere else occurrent, and in itself hard to explain without an exact knowledge of Jewish scripture and usage, accounts readily for the tampering hand of copyists prone to cut knots instead of untying them. The sabbath before the wave-sheaf was offered the Jews ever regarded as great (John 19:31); the sabbath after the wave-sheaf was also in high esteem, but not equal to the former. It was
δευτεροπρῶτον. Nobody would or could create a needless difficulty by inserting this into A C D E H K M R S U V X
Γ Δ Λ Π; but we can easily account for a few omitting what was hard in their eyes, as it is to most readers still. — In verse 17 they rightly translate “a level place,” not a plain, as in the Authorised Version. It was a plateau on the mountain, which upsets the notion of two sermons: one on the mount, the other on a plain. Not so, but the Spirit gave Matthew to present the discourse suitably to his design, and to Luke another method equally in keeping with his aim.
Verse 35 is the most remarkable innovation, as far as translation is concerned, which as yet occurs in the Revision. “But love your enemies . . . . and lend, never despairing,” with the still stranger marginal alternation, “despairing of no man,”
α) ἀπελπίζοντες. The Authorised Version is “hoping for nothing again.” Now we cannot reason on the usage of the word elsewhere in the New Testament, for this is its only occurrence. What influenced the Revisers is the fact that the word occurs in Polybius and the like in the sense of despairing or giving up in despair, and in the Authol P. ii, 114 of driving to despair. But even Liddell and Scott furnish, from Diog. L. i. 1-59, an instance of the modification, hoping that a thing will not happen. The fact is, that words thus compounded admit of meanings so widely different as to include senses nearly opposed. Thus
ἀπάγειν means to take away, or to bring home;
ἀπαλλάσσειν to release, to destroy, to escape;
ἀπαυρᾶν to take away from, or receive;
ἀπειπεῖν to speak out, deny, forbid, disown, or fail;
ἀπελαύνειν to drive away, or to march;
ἀπέρχεσθαι to go away, or to come back;
ἀπεσθίειν to eat off, or up, and to leave off eating;
ἀπέχειν to keep off or hinder, or to receive in full;
ἀποβαίνειν to throw away, and to throw back;
ἀποβλέπειν to look on, or at, or away;
αποδακρύειν to weep much or to cease weeping;
ἀποδαρθάνειν to sleep a little, or to wake up;
ἀπόκεισθαι to be laid up in store, or aside;
αποκλαίεσθαι to bewail oneself, or to cease wailing, etc. This induction suffices to show that verbs compounded with
ἀπό admit of flexibility enough in sense to cover the meaning attached to the word in our old and other Versions.
The question then mainly turns on the requirement of the context. And when one weighs verses 30-34 with care, it seems surprising that a sense so unnatural here should be attached to the word in verse 35. Especially consider the immediately preceding verse: “and if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? even sinners lend to sinners, to receive again as much.” What can be simpler than the converse call of grace, love, do good, lend, “hoping for nothing again.” (Cf. Luke 14:12.) What worthy sense in such a connection is there in “never despairing”? Does it mean that, whatever we may give thus unselfishly in faith, we are to have no fears of coming short for ourselves? If so, it seems needless, mean, and out of character with all the rest. Never despair because of giving or lending to others! Even a generous man might be beyond such fears, not to speak of a son of the Highest exhorted by the Only-begotten of the Father. And what here is the force of the margin “despairing of no man”? If the Revisers understand despairing of no man’s honesty or gratitude in repayment, it seems quite contrary to the spirit of verse 30, not to mention that the sequel of verse 35 casts the believer wholly on God’s great recompense.
Have the Revisers caught the idiom in 38, 44; Luke 14:35; Luke 16:4, 9; Luke 23:31? The Authorised Version followed by themselves takes it rightly in Luke 12:20. To give the plural literally misleads the English reader. It is meant to be general, and for us an impersonal or passive turn best expresses the thought. In several cases God is really meant without saying so.
In Luke 7:31 the Revisers properly drop, among lesser additions without due warrant, the spurious words which begin the verse, which were inserted by copyists who did not perceive that verses 29, 30 are a parenthesis of the evangelist, and that the Lord continues from the end of verse 28.
In Luke 8 one of the most weighty corrections is in verse 51, where “put them all out and” should not be, though rightly in Mark 5:40.
In Luke 9:35 “chosen” takes the place of “beloved Son” as in Matthew and Mark. Verses 55, 56 are simply thus: “But he turned and rebuked them. And they went to another village.” But the end of verse 55 in the vulgar text has more authority than the beginning of verse 56. The Revisers even omit the last words of verse 54.
In the parable of the good Samaritan the Revisers, on good authority, strike out additions of the common text, in verses 32 and 35 especially.
But Luke 11 affords more cases, especially in Luke’s form of the prayer, where “Father” alone is read, not “Our Father which art in heaven,” an importation from Matthew, as is “Thy will be done as in heaven so in earth,” and “but deliver us from evil:” all of which petitions had special interest and value for Jewish disciples. Ought there not to have been a more distinctive version of
ὁ ἐξ οὐρανοῦ in verse 13 than the “heavenly” of the Authorised Version here followed? (Compare Matt. 5:16, 44, 48; Matt. 6:1, 9.)
No doubt cases are not infrequent where an anarthrous form in Greek requires the definite article in our idiom. But the tendency even in the Revised Version is to introduce it needlessly. Thus in Luke 11:31, 32 (as in Matt. 12:41, 42) it is enough and even more exact to say “a queen” and “men of Nineveh.” The article might have been used in Greek if the intention had been to refer to them as those well-known in Old Testament history or prophecy. But as it is not, “the queen” and “the men” seems uncalled for. On the other hand, why should we have “mint and rue,” etc. (and in Matt. 23:23, “mint and anise and cummin”) when the Greek article is so expressly introduced to mark the minutious exactitude of Jewish legalism. Between these however may be noticed in verse 33, “a cellar,” an improvement on “a secret place”; and in verse 41, for “such things as ye have” or “your property,” an unquestionally sound rendering of
τὰ ἐνόντα, “those things which are within” and in the margin “ye can,” neither of which seems at all so suitable to the context. Of course those who advocate the revised textual rendering might point to the preceding verses in its justification; but to give for alms those things which are written is really a paradox, instead of the simple dealing with the Pharisee’s conscience, which to plain minds is the thing intended. “Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts and these defile the man, anything but a suitable material for alms, leaving all things clean to him.
In Luke 12:31 it is “his [your Father’s] kingdom” rather than “the kingdom of God,” though the authorities are not numerous.
In Luke 13:15, Hypocrites, not “hypocrite;” and omit desolate in verse 35, brought in from Matthew 23.
In Luke 14:5 the Revisers have resisted the temptation of following the mass of ancient authority and of modern critics, and retain “ass,” giving “son” in the margin.
In Luke 15:22 they add “quickly” on good, but not large, authority, and omit “again” in verse 32.
“It fails” in Luke 16:9 has beyond doubt preponderant authority over “ye fail;” but it is difficult to see its superior force or even propriety.
“Against thee,” in Luke 17:3, came in probably from Matthew 18:15, though even there B omit, as here also with A L. Omit verse 36, borrowed from Matthew 24:40.
In Luke 18:1 the Revisers rightly translate “that they ought” etc., not “men.” — In verse 28 they follow a few very ancient copies in giving “our own” instead of “all,” which however is supported by A and many other uncials.
I am surprised
ἐν τῳ ἐγγίζειν αὐτόν is not represented in its vagueness, “while he was nigh,” so as to suit going out of Jericho as truly as coming in. (Cf. Matt. 20:29; Mark 10:46.) Perhaps they and the Authorised Version were deterred by the story of Zacchaeus afterwards as the Lord passed through Jericho; but this is no sufficient obstacle. To my mind the aim of the Spirit appears to be the bringing together this story and the parable of the Pounds (Luke 19) to illustrate the moral ways of God in the two advents of Christ, which would have been marred by the interposition of the blind man healed in its actual historic place.
In Luke 20:13 there is good authority for omitting “when they see him,” with lesser points before and after; also “why tempt ye me?” from Mark, with other omissions. It seems singular that
κρίμα should be confounded in verse 47 with
κατάκριμα: “sentence” (often included in “charge” also) is the true thought. (Cf. Luke 23:40.)
In Luke 21:19 the Revisers have adopted a reading and a rendering at least questionable. A B are but slender authority for
κτήσεσθε, as against
κτήσασθε differing only by one letter; and their own rendering of 1 Thessalonians 4:5 sustains the Authorised Version, “possess,” against their own “win” here.
There is in Luke 22:31 the precarious omission of the opening words “And the Lord said” with no more than three uncials (B L T). Thus they render, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan asked to have you that he might sift you as wheat; but I made supplication for thee, that thy faith fail not: and do thou, when once thou hast turned again, stablish thy brethren,” consigning to the margin the notion of Alford, etc., that
ἐξαιτέομαι should here convey the sense of “obtained you by asking;” which is clean contrary to the context and indeed to the truth generally. They give the addition, on better evidence, of “today” in verse 61, whilst all but the same manuscripts omit “struck him on the face and” in verse 64.
Luke 23:17 is rejected with the best authorities and critics; it was founded probably on Matthew and Mark, with a good many changes of words here and there.
It is strange that any critics should have been moved by an erratic uncial to doubt Luke 24:12 and 40. Many more instances of lesser moment might be added; but these selections may suffice.
The Gospel According To John.
The corrected rendering of John 1:9 seems not only clumsy, but so ambiguous that many readers will doubt or misunderstand what the Revisers really mean by it. “There was the true light, even the light which lighteth every man, coming into the world.” If the comma after “man” is intended to sever “coming into the world” from “man,” and to connect the phrase as a predicate with the true light or the relative that follows, it is all well; but is not so slight an intimation — likely to be misapprehended? This at any rate, if so meant, aims at the true sense. John was not the light in question. The true light was that which lightens every man, not absolutely nor always, but on coming into the world. It is the character or effect of the Incarnation. The Authorised Version is unquestionably incorrect, besides giving a tautological meaning if the article could be dispensed with. Further to be a man, and to come into the world, are said to be equivalent in Rabbinical usage. But does any Rabbi add [the article in such cases]? It is not correct. They may employ “those that come into the world” to express “all men;” but where do they employ both phrases “every man coming into the world,” as John is presumed to say here? The truth is that in one form or another
ὁ ἐρχόμενος regularly applies to the Lord Jesus, as in John 1:15, 27; John 3:31 (bis), as also in Matthew 11:3; Luke 7:19, 20; yet more fully and definitely
ὁ ἐρχ. εἰς τὸν κ., John 6:14, where it would be idle to take it for any man as such, and not as appropriated to the Messiah. (Cf. John 11:27.) It would be well also to note John 3:19; John 9:39; John 12:46; John 16:28; John 18:37. These instances ought to leave no doubt in any careful mind that our evangelist habitually uses the phrase of Christ to the exclusion of every other, it must be connected here not with
π. ἄνθρωπον, but with
τὸ φῶς τὸ ἀλ. The nearest approach is John 16:21, which is pointedly different, not to speak of any ulterior mystery in its figure.
It is surprising under such circumstances that the Five Clergymen should say it is impossible to determine with certainty whether the particle
ἐρχόμενον is to be taken with
φῶς or with
ἦν in the nominative case neuter, or with
ἄνθρωπον in the masculine accusative. They, too, while adopting the same sense as the Authorised Version, strive not to exclude a quite different reference, the converse of the Revisers.
But if the Revisers intended in their text to convey that Christ is the true light which coming into the world lighteth every man, they give in the margin, “The true light, which lighteth every man, was coming” into the world: a rendering grammatically possible, though not probable, but contextually excluded by the verse following which speaks of the Lord in immediate connection as in the world, and not to come, or in mere process of coming. Next, the margin adds another alternative, indicative of the uncertainty of the Revisers, “every man as he cometh.” But is this serious? It is no question of a reasonable soul or conscience, but of Christ the true light. Is it orthodox that Christ enlightens “every man as he cometh,” etc.? What do they suggest by it? What can any one infer but that, if this be true, Christ gives His own light to every man on his coming into the world? A doctrine less defensible and more unworthy than the delusion of every man’s being born again by baptism. Here a signal spiritual blessing is bound up with every man’s birth of nature. Would it not be nearer the truth of God to say that no man as he comes into the world is enlightened by Christ?
In result, then, we see that the Revisers reject apparently the Authorised Version, and give us in the text the right sense so obscurely that most readers will confound it with the only meaning meant to be shut out, while the margin gives the choice between a version possible and harmless, but quite unsuitable to the context, and another directly opposed to any creed in Christendom, unless it be that of Quakers. It is probably due to their adherence to the order of the Greek words that they have in the revised text left their meaning anything but clear and express. They have thus sacrificed their own principle not to leave any translation or arrangement of words which could adapt itself to one or other of two interpretations, but rather to express as plainly as possible that interpretation which seemed best to deserve a place.
They are also somewhat capricious in representing the article or the anarthrous construction. Thus in John 1:12 they say “the right to become children of God,” where they properly drop it before “children,” and needlessly insert it before “right.” They give us “a woman” in John 4:27, and “a servant” in John 13:16; but they do not say “the woman” in John 16:21, though they do say “the child,” whereas the one like the other is used generically, like “the bondservant” and “the son” in John 8:35.
Slight but generally accredited changes occur not seldom in John 1, 2, which call for no particular remark. In verse 11 of John 2 “signs” is rightly given, and throughout this Gospel, rather than “miracles;” but why should
ἐξουσία be rendered “right” in John 1:12, “authority” in John 5:17, and “power” (margin, “right”) in John 10:18?
In John 3:15 they adopt “believeth may in him have eternal life,” whilst in verse 16 they retain “believeth on him should not perish but have eternal life.” It is a question of readings, and it cannot be doubted that they have good authority. In John 4:42 they properly, with all critics and on good grounds, discard “the Christ,” the true force being far clearer without that title; so do they, on ample authority, omit other additions of loss moment.
But the omission of the last clause of verse 3, and the whole of verse 4 in John 5, is grave. No doubt a few of the oldest and best MSS and versions omit all or nearly all this portion. Still the unquestionable answer of the sufferer in verse 7 seems hardly compatible with the omission, which ancient rationalism might desire, as does the same spirit in our own day. There seems nothing unworthy of God in the omitted clause, while, on the contrary, what is there falls in with the scope of what is undoubted, if it be not requisite to give the full force. God under the law had not left Himself without witness of mercy; but sin wrought havoc, and strength was needed to avail oneself of any remedy afforded. What the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin condemned sin in the flesh, and so gave us deliverance. Jesus with a word heals the man whom no angel’s help, no ordinance, could avail to meet.
In the body of the Lord’s discourse, wherein He shows Himself the source of life now to faith, vindicated by the execution of judgment by-and-by, we have the Revisers very properly exhibiting “judgment” where the Authorised Version had “judgment,” “condemnation,” and “damnation.” (Vers. 22, 24, 27, 29.)
John 6 affords many small points of correction as to which most are agreed; and so does John 7. But on these details there is little reason to dwell.
The most noteworthy and important omission is of course the end of John 7 and beginning of John 8 to verse 11 inclusively. Here confessedly most of the old uncials are adverse, and not a few versions are silent, as ancient commentators also. But it is painful to add that Augustine at an early day, and Nicon, an Armenian abbot of the tenth century, bear their distinct testimony to the subjective reasons which led to leaving out the story, even where it was well known to exist in the Gospel. Nothing on the other hand can account for its insertion if it were not the inspired word of God; and in no place does it fit in, spite of strong and repeated efforts to dislodge it, save as the fact introductory to the discourse of our Lord in this chapter. The internal objections to the style or language are as weak as those alleged against Mark 16:9-20. The words, which viewed superficially afford occasion, turn out when duly weighed to be powerful evidences of their own genuineness as well as authenticity; as is indeed the case invariably with true scripture for all who value the truth.
But there is a difficulty of translation in the central part of this chapter which should not be lightly passed over. The Jews say to the Lord (ver. 25), “Who art thou? Jesus said unto them, Even that which I have also spoken unto you from the beginning,”
τὴν ἀρχὴν ὅτι καὶ λαλῶ ὑμῖν. Such is the Revisers’ translation and Mr. Palmer’s text, pretty much as the Authorised Version, 41 even the same that I said unto you from the beginning.”2 It is the more strange, as Tyndale followed by Cranmer had rendered it not only in better keeping with the context but with less violence to grammatical propriety: “Even the very same thing that I saye (C. speake) unto you.” The Geneva Version introduced the error which still taints the Revision: “Even the very same thing that I sayde unto you from the begynnyng,” which rendering appears to give a twofold meaning to
τὴν ἀρχήν, besides that one of these meanings leads to the violation of the time of the verb. This the Five Clergymen seek to avoid in “That which I also say unto you from the beginning.” But even if this were otherwise allowable, how can
τὴν ἀρχήν = ἐξ = (or
ἀπ᾽ ἀρχῆς? It is common enough to see
ἀρχάς, with or without
κατά, in the sense of at first, in the beginning, to begin with; and no doubt the assumption that so it means here gave occasion to “I said” or “I have spoken” as the rendering of
λαλῶ. Were all this permissible and feasible, where is the propriety of the sense that results? Plato’s Lysis (recogn. Baiter. Orell. & Wink. 367, col. 2) proves that it is too hasty to say that the phrase cannot mean absolutely, altogether, save in negative and quasi-negative sentences; and Elsner adds a few more occurrences in later Greek. This alone gives a worthy meaning: “Who art thou? Absolutely what I am also speaking to you.” Jesus is the Word, the Truth: what He speaks corresponds wholly with His being. He is what He says, as none other: not only the truth in itself, but precisely what comes out from first to last in this chapter, where He first acts as the light, then reveals Himself as such, and shows that He is the truth, the Son, and finally God, the Eternal One: before Abraham was (
γενέσθαι) I am (
There is little calling for notice in the Company’s work on John 9 save the reception of
ἡμᾶς “us” in verse 4 instead of the first “me” without even a caution in the margin. Also they might have avoided both text and marginal alternative of John 10:2 by giving simply “is shepherd of the sheep.” It is not often perhaps that English answers to the anarthrous Greek without the definite, or even the indefinite, article; but here it seems to be unequivocally preferable. They have adopted a better text than the Received in verse 4: “When he hath put forth all his own,” reading “all” and dropping “sheep.” So in verses 14, 15, they have given the undoubtedly requisite correction on good authority, which beautifully connects the two verses now severed;3 excluding the gross blunder of “fold” instead of “flock” for
ποιμνή in verse 16, where Tyndale was right. — To verse 29 it seems rather surprising they should have deemed it advisable to give in the margin, “That which my Father hath given unto me,” even though read by some ancient authorities, seeing that this is not really “greater than all,” and that it also wholly breaks the context. No doubt Tischendorf, Tregelles and Alford adopt this unreasonable variation; but, strange to say, Dr. S. Davidson, who translates the text of the first, follows the ordinary readings here, and so does the last in his revised New Testament. And is there not a purposed omission of the object in both parts of the verse, which should be heeded by the translator instead of supplying “them” twice, as the Revisers do? The omission gives force to the gift, and strongly negatives wresting out of the Father’s hand. Minor points may be left.
In John 11 nothing appears to detain us.
In John 12 why not “the” grain of wheat, as they themselves give “the” mountain, “the” rock, “the” bushel, “the” lampstand, “the” sower, “the” bason, “the” sop, etc.?
Nor is there in John 13 anything special to notice, “during supper” being certainly the true force of
δείπνου γιν., not “supper being ended.” Even if
γεν. (A D and a dozen uncials more, and almost all cursives, etc.) be read, it would mean “supper being come.”
In John 14:23 they of course give “my word,” not “words;” on 15 and 16 we need not dwell.
In John 17:4 “having accomplished” is well known to rest on excellent authority, but differs very slightly in sense from the more general text; so in verse 11, “keep them in thy name which” is accepted ordinarily instead of the common reading. Surely it would have been better in verse 16 to have adhered to the emphatic Greek order, “Of the world they are not,” as compared with the same words in verse 14. In verse 19 they say “sanctified in truth,” rightly omitting the article, as others did before them. They drop
ἔν, “one in us,” verse 21, and read in their text of verse 24, “
ὅ, that which,” instead of “
οὕς, those whom” (cf. John 6:37, 39), only that in the earlier chapter each form is used distinctly, not blended, as they would be here were the critical reading accepted as certain.
In the four closing chapters are corrections of slight blemishes in the common text, but happily nothing of sufficient moment to call for remark. “Simon, son of John” rather than Jonas, as in John 1:42. “Perceivest” is a poor alternative in the margin for “knowest,”
γινώσκεις as compared with
1 Here, is a list of these occurrences: Matthew 1:20, 22, 24; Matt. 2:13, 15, 19; Matt. 3:3; Matt. 4:7, 10; Matt. 5:33; Matt. 21:9, 42; Matt. 22:37, 44; Matt. 23:39; Matt. 27:10; Matt. 28:2. Mark 1:3; Mark 11:9; Mark 12:11, 29 (bis) 30, 36; Mark 13:20. Luke 1:6, 9, 11, 15, 16, 17, 25, 28, 32, 38, 45, 46, 58, 66, 68, 76; Luke 2:9 (bis), 15, 22, 23 (bis), 24, 26, 38, 39; Luke 3:4; Luke 4:8, 12, 18, 19; Luke 5:17; Luke 10:27; Luke 13:35; Luke 19:38; Luke 20:37, 42. John 1:23; John 12:13, 38. Acts 2:20, 21, 25, 34, 39; Acts 3:22; Acts 5:9, 19; Acts 7:31, 33, 37, 49; Acts 8:26, 39; Acts 12:7, 11, 17, 23; Acts 15:17 (bis). Rom. 4:8; Rom. 9:28, 29; Rom. 10:13, 16; Rom. 11:3, 34; Rom. 12:19; Rom. 14:11. 1 Cor. 1:31; 1 Cor. 2:16; 1 Cor. 3:20; 1 Cor. 14:21. 2 Cor. 3:16, 17, 18; 2 Cor. 6:17, 18; 2 Cor. 10:17. Heb. 1:10; Heb. 7:21; Heb. 8:2, 8, 9, 10, 11; Heb. 10:16, 30 (bis); Heb. 12:5, 6. James 5:10, 11. 1 Peter 1:25; 1 Peter 3:12 (bis), 15. 2 Peter 2:9, 11; 2 Peter 3:8, 10. Jude 5, 9, 14. Rev. 1:8; Rev. 4:8; Rev. 11:17; Rev. 15:3, 4; Rev. 16:5, 7; Rev. 18:8; Rev. 19:6; Rev. 21:22; Rev. 22:5. It is only, it appears, when the Greek answers to Adon, not Jehovah, that the article is used of God. As said of Christ, it follows ordinary rules, Jehovah being regard as a proper name, to which it approached in “the Lord” as a title also. He too is Jehovah. But, Winer notwithstanding, a preposition or a genitive can have nothing really to do, with its anarthrous usage, any more than with
Θεός, or other words of the kind.
2 The Vulgate has, Principium qui (some copies, quia) et loquor vobis; and this of course Wiclif follows, and the Rhemish yet more closely. No one can doubt that they are all absurdly wrong, though Augustine and Ambrose misused their liberties to extract a tolerable sense from what must have been wholly ungrammatical. To bear such a version the Lord must have said
ἡ ἀρχή, not to speak of anything else. The Greek ecclesiastics, not comprehending the connection, have apparently evaded coming to close quarters.
3 Of English versions here Wiclif is the best, and the Rhemish the worst, though both were founded on the Vulgate.