Epistle Of James.
Why should the Revisers perpetuate the traditional blunder of “The General Epistle of James”? The best critics drop
καθολική, following B K, A C being defective, but A also dropping it at the end: so many Latin copies, and the Pesch. Syr. It is not “general,” but specially addressed to the twelve tribes.
James 1:1 has neither the closeness of a literal rendering, nor the freedom of the Authorised Version. If we are to adhere to the letter, it is in, not “of,” the dispersion. The faith of James rises above all the present circumstances of God’s ancient people, and addresses the nation as a whole, though distinguishing such of Israel as have the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ. He thus maintains and expresses God’s right over the entire people, wherever and whatever they may be. — In 3 “proof” or proving is better than “trying” in the Authorised Version. — In 4 “her” has properly given way to “its.” — In 6 “doubting,” “doubteth” are better than “waver,” though
κλύδων seems rather “a wave” or billow, than “the surge.” — The punctuation, as expressive of the connection of 7, 8, is questionable, though the Authorised Version is hardly correct either in its representation of 8. It is rather a description of him that doubts. — Verses 9, 10 are given somewhat loosely, and with uncalled for neglect of the anarthrous construction. Why not an “flower of grass”? — In 11 the Revisers depart from the simple “scorching heat,” not “wind,” given to the word in Matthew 20:12, and Luke 12:55; but “goings” is better than “ways.” — In 12 it should be not “tried,” but the result “proved,” or as the Revisers say “approved.” “He” would have sufficed instead of “the Lord.” The later uncials and almost all the cursives, etc., read “the Lord.” — Why not in 13 “by evils” or evil things, rather than “with evil” as in the Authorised and Revised Versions?
- In 15 the Revisers overlook the abstract force of the article in Greek, where we leave it out in English. The Authorised Version is right. They follow nearly the Authorised Version in separating
ἄνωθέν ἐστι from
καταβαῖνον, but the Authorised Versions in 3:15 seems just as correct, which they do not follow. It is known that in the oldest uncials, supported by the Latins, the reading is
ἵστε, “ye know,” not
ὥστε, “so that.” Then we would proceed, “But let,” etc. The anarthrous form of 20 is ill reflected in the Revised Version, as in the Authorised Version. — In 21 “implanted” is correct. — In 23 and 24 it is to “consider” or contemplate, rather than “behold.” — In 24 does not
ὁ π. mean more than “he that looketh”? In 26
θρ. “among you” (
ἐν ὑμῖν) is rightly rejected. But as distinct from
εὐσεβεία, piety, it means the outward service of God, which “religion” inadequately expresses, though it is hard to find a better. — In 27 it is well to note this, lest ignorance — should treat the verse as a definition of true “religion,” as men speak. The meaning is, that this is a pare and unsullied service before Him who is God and Father: to visit orphans and widows, etc. But the article is omitted before
θ. καὶ π. in p.m. Ccorr. K L, very many cursives, etc.; it is read in other MSS. of the highest authority, as also in Text. Rec.
James 2:2 of the Revised Version has rightly “synagogue,” according to the peculiar bearing of the Epistle. — In 4 “partial” in yourselves of the Authorised Version goes too far; but “divided in your own minds” in the Revision scarcely hits the mark. The true force seems that they became divided, or made a difference “among themselves.” For judges “of” evil thoughts, which is the literal rendering of the Authorised Version, the Revisers give “with.” Of course the meaning is that they had evil thoughts, according to an idiom found sometimes in English. — In 5 the true reading on the best authority is
τῳ κ. (“as to the world”), not
τοῦ κ., still less
τ. κ. τούτου, as in Text. Rec. followed in the Authorised Version “of this world.” — In 7 is not the literal force preferable “that was called upon you”? — In 11 the Revisers rightly follow ancient authority in “dost” not and “killest,” contrary to Text. Rec. — In 12 recurs the old inability to set forth the anarthrous construction: “a” law of liberty is not the sense but erroneous, though seemingly more accurate than “the” in the Authorised Version. The copulative of the Text. Rec. rightly vanishes. — In 14 it is a nice question whether the true thought be “faith” as in the Authorised Version, or “the faith”: the Greek admits of either, and it becomes a question of contextual propriety. But “that faith” of the Revised Version is strong beyond warrant. It is the more strange, as in the same connection (17, 20, 22) they give “faith” as an abstraction or personification, and quite rightly.
- In 18
σου of R. Steph. (“thy,” Authorised Version) is well omitted: why then should the Revisers interpolate “thy”? It was this feeling, no doubt, which led the scribes of C K L, and most of the cursives to insert the word. The real question is as to a final
μου which B C and a few cursives omit. — In 20
ἀργή, “barren,” as against
ν., “dead” of the Text. Rec. and Authorised Version, is supported by B Cp.m. 27, 29, the best Latin copies, the Sah., and Arm. of Zohrab: slender in number, but grave, especially as assimilation easily accounts for the more popular reading. — In 21 would it not be less cumbrous to take
ἀν. as on, or in, offering up? Compare 25 also. — In 22 they are right in preferring the margin to the text of Authorised Version. — In 23 there is no reason to say more than that A. was called “friend of God.” — “The” is needless before spirit in 25, and of course its omission more exact.
In James 3:1 “teachers” is correct, and judgment.” — In 3 they rightly read
εἰ δέ “now if,” probably changed into
ἰδού, through 4. — In 4 the Authorised Version needlessly adds “which,” corrected by the Revisers, and “steersman” displacing “governor.” — In 5, 6, the confusion of the copies and the editors is great; so that one may judge the more moderately of the Revisers’ text and margin. “A” world, etc. of the Authorised Version is clearly wrong, and here set right. — In 8 they reject “unruly” of the Authorised Version for “restless.” In 9 they accept “Lord” for God of the Authorised Version. — It is “the” fountain in 11, and “from the same “opening,” not place merely. — In 12 it is “a” fig tree, and the last clause does not speak of a fountain, like Text. Rec. and Authorised Version, but says, with the Revisers, neither can salt water yield sweet. — The Authorised Version of 15 appears to me quite as exact as the change here. Compare James 1:17. There is much difficulty in deciding the true force of
ἀδ., whether it be without doubt, variance, or hypocrisy; as the verb of which it is compounded admits of a great variety of meaning. — The question in 18 is whether “in peace” should not, as in the Greek, precede “is sown.”
James 4:1 has in the Revised Version the more vigorous, critical text, but hardly in as terse English as is desirable. “Whence [are] wars, and whence fighting among you? [Are they] not hence, from your pleasures that war in your members?” For the margin of the Authorised Version is right in giving “pleasures.” — In 2
ζ. when used in a bad sense, is “ye envy,” or “are jealous.” The first word means “ye lust,” or “covet.” — In 3 it is difficult to distinguish in our tongue the active and the middle of
αἰτ. Dean Alford went too far in calling it “an unaccountable interchange;” whereas it is really an intended, though delicate, and, of course, intelligible difference. The middle as often has an intensive force. In 2 they did not ask with earnestness; in 3 they asked with indifference, and received not; or, if there was any earnestness, it was of an evil kind, to spend in their pleasures. 4 is an instance of a valuable correction. The weighty authorities, both MSS. and Versions, reject
μοιχοὶ καί. The one designation, though in the feminine, embraces all men or women who sought the world in unfaithfulness to God and their own relationship of privilege. But both the Authorised and the Revised Versions failed to give the full force; for it is really friendship with the world as distinctly as enmity with God, which they rightly say. None of our English versions is right, 1 though none is here so wrong as the Rhemish, which, following the Vulgate, confounds
ἐχθρά. But is there sufficient energy in the Revision, any more than the Authorised Version of
βουληθῃ? It is “shall have chosen,” or be minded.
- 5 seems in the Revised Version rightly divided, as had been long suggested. There are two grave objections to the more ordinary division: (1) Who can tell the Scripture alleged to be in view? (2) Where else is
φθ. used in a good sense? I think, however, that the margin of the Authorised Version gives the best sense of
π. φθ., “enviously.” And why bring in “the scripture” into 6? Have the Revisers done well in adhering to “Be afflicted” in 9? Surely “Be miserable” would be more in keeping with their own version of Rom. 3:16, and our next chapter, (James 5:1), as well as with the deeper expression of wretchedness in the word. — In 11 is the correction “or” judgeth his brother; for an evil feeling might work in this rather than in speaking against him either was to judge the law. — In 12 also the Revisers rightly say, One is the lawgiver, etc.; but why “only” or “even?” They rightly give “but” in the last clause on authority ample as well as ancient, and “thy neighbour” instead of “another,” as in Text. Rec. — In 13, it is not “such a” but “this” city, this city here, and “trade” or “traffic” is better than “buy and sell.”
- In 14, “ye are” a vapour seems the best attested by far, if the copies be allowed to have misspelt; and, Bengel and Griesbach notwithstanding,
ἔσται seems simply intolerable. It was probably meant for
ἐστε, a much more emphatic phrase than
ἐστιν, as in L, some cursives, and the Latin copies. Does not the text of 15 begin with obsolete English? The margin is not according to the Greek only, but intelligible according to our present speech. In this verse the reading strangely differs. The Revised Version bows to the general judgment of the critics, who follow AB P, etc. in adopting
ζήσομεν instead of
ζήσωμεν with K L, the mass of cursives, the Latins, etc. There is no doubt among unbiassed minds that the interchange of the long and short vowels is very common in the oldest MSS., which are, therefore, to be trusted in such a question less than in any other. I, therefore, incline to “If the Lord will, and we live, we shall also do this or that.” R. Stephens even read
π. in the subjunctive, but this appears to yield no sense, though read by many authorities.
James 5. Have not the Revisers, by too close adherence to the Authorised Version, lost some of the graphic force of verse 1? “Weep, howling over your miseries that are coming on.” — In 6, “as” of the Text. Rec. is rightly excluded, though not a few authorities favour its insertion. — In 9, it is rather “groan” or “complain” than “judge;” and certainly it is “judged,” not “condemned.” — In 11, it is “endured,” not “endure.” — In 12, it is not “into condemnation,” but “under judgment.” — In 13, is it not praise, not psalms, that the cheerful soul was to sing? Godly order had been secured in 14; and the “saying” of the sick man (15), in answer to the prayer of faith, is “healing,” which is, perhaps, in this case and the like the less equivocal word. “Confess,” therefore (omitted in Text. Rec.), your sins one to another is the remarkable conclusion; it is confidence in mutual love, and in no way official requirement or sacramental efficacy for the soul at departure. The saints are to pray one for another, that they might be healed (16). The question as to the last word is whether it means fervent or in its working. The Authorised Version seems to have conveyed both, the Revised Version the latter. — In 19, the Revisers properly add “My,” and say “a,” not “the,” sinner in 20.
The First Epistle Of Peter.
1 Peter 1:1. Our language is not so lacking in power to characterise that it should be necessary to introduce “a” or “the” where Greek does not. Thus Peter, apostle of Jesus Christ” is really more expressive and correct than “an” apostle. Of course a similar remark applies to 2 Cor. 1:1, Gal. 1:1, Eph. 1:1, Col. 1:1, 1 and 2 Tim. 1:1, Titus 1:1, Phil. 1:1, James 1:1, if not to Rom. 1:1, and 1 Cor. 1:1, where the context modifies. 2 Peter 1:1 and Jude 1 have nothing to render the indefinite article needful. Again “to the elect who are sojourners” is surely to go beyond the text which speaks only of “elect sojourners” dispersed in Pontus, etc. — In 2 we come to an important matter. What is the meaning of “in” sanctification of the Spirit? The Revisers have misrepresented the truth in several instances of dogmatic moment through a fancied accuracy, but mere literality, condemned by their own practice elsewhere. We have seen this in Col. 1:16 and Heb. 1:3, where “in” gives a false sense or nonsense, opening the door to grave error, which, where positive truth is lost, enters in often under cover of the vague or obscure. Now the Revised Version of Matt. 3:11, Matt. 5:13, Matt. 6:34, 35, 36, Matt. 6:7, Matt. 7:2, 6, Matt. 9:34, suffices to show that the Revisers knew they were in no way limited to “in,” for they admit freely “with” “by,” etc. But they too often overlook this, where their rendering yields no just sense or opposes other Scriptures. It was the more desirable to be right here, because some early Protestant translators had grievously failed as to it. Take Beza, who, swayed evidently by his theological views, gives us “ad sanctificationem Sp. per obedientiam,” etc., which is doubly a falsification of God’s word. Him followed our Geneva Version of 1555, “unto sanctification of the Spirit through obedience,” etc. The Rhemish says, “unto sanctification of the Spirit, unto the obedience,” etc. This would be inexplicable, as being destitute of just meaning, if we did not know that the Vulgate has “in sanctificationem Sp. in obedientiam,” etc. The Version of Rheims of course follows it dutifully. The late Dean Alford seems to have been the most influential offender in this assumption of accuracy, adhering to “in” for
ἐν, when the Authorised Version had idiomatically and correctly “by” or “with.” To talk of the conditional element as environing, or the like, is mere jargon to excuse a translation which conveys no sound meaning. It is cloud and not light. Here the apostle lets the dispersed believers of the circumcision know that, instead of being externally separated in the flesh by rites as the chosen people of Jehovah, they were elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. The contrast is with Ex. 24:7, 8, when Israel stood to obey the law under the blood which threatened death as the penalty, instead of cleansing from every sin those whose one desire was to obey as Christ obeyed. Compare 1 Cor. 6:11, where “sanctified” is before “justified,” as here sanctification is before obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus. It is the absolute setting apart of the soul to God from the first. Practical holiness is relative, and is pressed lower down in this very chapter, ver. 15, 16.
- In 3 it is “living,” not lively, hope; not in this world, but above it by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. In 7 “of” gold is rightly dropt. — But in 10 it should he “prophets,” not “the” prophets, as in the Authorised and Revised Versions, not the class viewed in their totality, but persons coming under that category. — In “they rightly say “glories.” — In 12 “you” displaces “us” with reason as being more homogeneous: one way or another a common confusion in the MSS. — In 17 they correct the Authorised Version, “the” Father for “him as Father,” and “every.” for “each,” man’s work, “here “ being quite an expletive. — In 22 the omission of “pure” rests on A B and the Vulgate, a feeble basis as against p.m. C K L P, all the cursives, and the mass of ancient versions and ecclesiastical writers, one perhaps excepted. But earlier in the verse “by the Spirit” is an addition without due warrant, as is “for ever” at the end of 23, and “of man” for “its” in 24.
1 Peter 2:2 affords some difficulty for translation in the word
λογικόν, unless we take it with the Authorised Version as “of the word.” “Reasonable” as in the Authorised Version of Rom. 12:1 falls too low, but is not the Revisers’ “spiritual” too high? At least, it is not inherent in the word nor necessitated by its usage. “Unto salvation” at the end is sure on ample authority; for salvation, in Peter’s writings — save in one exception that proves the rule, by the modification of the phrase to ensure a difference of meaning — looks onward to the final victory at Christ’s revelation. — In 5
εἰς “for,” is read by high and ample authority, and adopted by the Revisers in their phrase ‘to be.” — Verse 6 begins with “Because” on almost universal suffrage, “wherefore also” as in Text. Rec. has scarce a shadow of authority. But what is more important, the beautiful force of the first clause of 7 was lost in the Authorised Version, and even the marginal alteration was a mistranslation. Tyndale unhappily misled, and all the public English versions followed. Faith sees according to God. Christ is in God’s eyes a chief corner stone, elect, precious. “To you therefore that believe [is] the preciousness.” — Was it needful to define the general phrase
εἰς π. in 9 by interpolating “God’s own?” In the same verse “excellencies” is right.
- In 12 “which they behold” is not much in advance of the lax Authorised Version, “which they shall behold,” as a reflexion of
ἐποπτεύοντεσ. “Being spectators” would seem more correct — If “your freedom” be the necessary force of
τὴν ἐλ., why not “your” wickedness, or malice, of
τῆς κ. in 16? They are really common cases of abstracted usage. Dean Alford is more consistent in claiming the same possessive or quasi-possessive force for the articles with both words. And here it may not be uninstructive to note the weak and unsound attempt of that same dignitary to account for
τῶν ἀφρ. ἀνθρ. in 15, as limited to such as reviled Christ as evil doers. For the apostle really speaks of men as a whole, and declares the race as such senseless. The phrase imports nothing less. — In 21 it is “you” twice, not “us” as in Authorised Version following Steph. (not Elz). The last clause supports the reading of the ancient MSS. — The margin of 24 ignorantly repeats the unfounded alternative of the Authorised Version, for both word and tense forbid the idea of a carrying up of our sins in Christ’s body to the tree. Usage in the Septuagint, as in the New Testament, limits
ἀνή . . . ἐπὶ to the single great act of bearing them on the tree.
1 Peter 3. In 1 and 2 “behaviour” is no doubt more intelligible English for our day than the obsolete “conversation” for manner of life in the Authorised Version. But is it correct to soften the force of the past participle in 2 in this case? — In 3 “jewels of gold,” not gold merely. — The last word of 8 should be not “courteous,” but “humble-minded,” on ample authority, an evident link of connection with the gracious endurance which knows how to bless in presence of injury. — In 13
ζ. is more than “followers” or “imitators” (as in the Text. Rec.
μ.) meaning neither, but zealous or emulous of good. — In 15 it is “the Christ,” not God as such, who is to be sanctified as Lord in their hearts.
- In 18 to print “spirit” without a capital initial is matter for regret, if there be no real ground to doubt that the Spirit of God is meant. Had the phrase been as in the Text. Rec.,
τῳ πν., there might so far have been a better ground for supposing the spirit of Christ as man, though it would not have been decisive against the Holy Spirit. But the anarthrous phrase distinctly points to that Divine Person, though presented in character rather than objectively; and what is added conclusively proves this — “in which (or in the power of which Spirit) also he went and preached to the spirits in prison,” etc. As the Spirit of Christ in the prophets (1 Peter 1:11) testified beforehand of Christ’s sufferings and the glories that should follow, so did His Spirit in Noah (Gen. 6:8) strive with the antediluvians on the sure coming of the flood that was to take them all away from the earth. But this was not all; for disobedient as they were, they were to be, as they are, reserved in prison (certainly not paradise) for a judgment far more solemn. So the unbelieving Jews now might taunt those who believed, with a Christ rejected on earth and absent in heaven, as well as with their fewness; but the apostle reminds them that there were still fewer saved when the flood came, and rebellious unbelief entails a judgment graver far than anything which befalls the body, as illustrated by a time of waiting and testimony which the Lord also compares with that which precedes His return in power and glory.
- Is it accurate to render the beginning of 20,
ἀπ. π., “which aforetime were disobedient”? Would not this require
τοῖς ἀπ.? Is not the force rather “disobedient as they once proved when,” etc.? Their being in prison was in consequence of their previous disobedience to God’s patient warning. At the close of the verse “through water” is right, not “by” it. Water was the destructive element. through which grace saved Noah and those with him in the ark: cf. Cor. 3:15. — In 21 the Authorised Version followed Beza (as did Elz,) in rejecting Stephens’ reading, which is the ancient one, the Sinaitic cutting the knot by rejecting both. “You” is probably right; but
ἐπερώτημα is rather “demand,” anything interrogated, than the interrogation which suggests a dubious or misleading sense.
1 Peter 4:5: why more than “living and dead?” Why “the”? Is it not equally good in English as in Greek? It is not the same sense. “The” makes judgment universal; whereas Scripture contrasts it with eternal life and salvation. See John 5 and Heb. 9 — Why “even” to dead? Why not “also”? As in 3:19, 20, the apostle spoke of wicked dead, so does he here of righteous dead, as is implied in living according to God in the Spirit? Here also we have good news brought, not preaching only. — Ver. 11 is given fairly well. The meaning is that when one gifted of God speaks, it should be as oracles of God; not according to the oracles of God, the Scriptures (which is not in question, though in itself of course most right), but as expressing God’s mind on that before us, as His mouthpiece: a serious, but not too serious, consideration; for has He not also given us His Spirit? And wherefore? Truly it supposes dependence on and confidence in God. Ministry also, it is well to remark, is distinguished from speaking, which is apt to become everything among idle people or the active-minded, and knowledge taking practically the place of faith as well as of love.
1 Peter 5:2. “Tend” is better, as being more comprehensive, than “feed,” cf. John 21 — never to he forgotten by Peter any more than by John. — But is the rendering of 3 exact? It is incomparably better than what the Authorised Version here gives, but “over the charge allotted to you” might be construed into one’s church or chapel, one’s congregation or parish or diocese. Now
τῶν κλ. Very simply means the (i.e. your) possessions; and the point is that the elders should not lord it over the saints as their belongings, but ever tend them as the flock of God. Thus were they to be models for them. 4 it is of course “the” unfading crown of glory. — In 5 the needless addition of
ὑποτ. “be subject and” in the Authorised Version, following the Text. Rec., is with reason excluded to the unimpeded and energetic flow of the exhortation. — In 8 the added
ὅτι of the Text. Rec. clogs the vigour of words clear and ringing as a trumpet call.
- In 9 the difficulty of the article reappears, with the unhappy result of the old rendering put in the margin, and a worse adopted in the text. The real question seems to be between “in” or “with” faith. Take Rom. 14:1: have not the Revisers rightly said “weak in faith”? It is the counterpart of the phrase before us. Here, not content with “the,” they descend to “your.” These things ought not so to be. — They rightly give “you” for “us” in 10, as the context ought to have shown, in confirmation of the best external authority, Further, it is “shall,” not the opt. as in Text. Rec. with a few copies of slight account. — In 12 “as I suppose” or “account” is no slight or doubt of Silvanus, but the contrary. “Stand” is the reading of high authority, uncial and cursive, instead of the more popular “ye stand.” — It is singular that the Sinaitic is not without a slight support in the margin of two cursives, and some of the oldest Latin copies say expressly what the Authorised Version gives in italics. But the Revisers seem justified in holding it to be some well-known sister, perhaps Peter’s wife: the salutation of Marcus that follows confirms this. Dogmatically too it is difficult to suppose elect, or co-elect, said after Christ came otherwise than of individuals. In the Old Testament we have it said corporately or nationally; in the New Testament individually.
The Second Epistle Of Peter.
2 Peter 1. 1 has the great defect of an equivocal or erroneous rendering of
ἐν, (that frequent stumbling-block of the Revisers), and this in a text so much the more important as it is often pressed dogmatically, not seldom wrongly, owing to this very error. I do not dwell on “a” more than ones used needlessly here, as this has been frequently noticed elsewhere; but “faith with us in the righteousness” suggests in our idiom the object believed in. This is not the aim of the passage. The Apostle means that the Christian Jews, to whom he is for the second time addressing himself, obtained like precious faith with us “your apostles” (2 Peter 3:2) in virtue of (or through) the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ; as the Revisers rightly give the last words in their text, though not in the margin. There were special promises to the fathers about the blessing of their seed, and God was righteous in fulfilling them. There has always been a believing remnant of that people, if of no other continuously. Jesus, not more truly man than the Lord God of Israel, has been faithful to that word of distinguishing favour; and if those Jews to whom Peter was writing received faith, like precious faith with the apostles, it was in virtue of His making good the promise to them and their children by giving them to believe. Such is the righteousness here meant. Hence “through” in the Authorised Version is substantially correct, as being less ambiguous than “in” of the Revised Version, which is apt to mislead by suggesting His righteousness as the thing believed in, instead of pointing out His fidelity to promise in bestowing faith on them. — It may be well to make no abrupt severance of 3 from 2; but surely it is still more requisite not to mar the connection of 3, 4, with 5, the former being a sort of protasis, as the latter is an apodosis in sense. Hence, if it be right to close 2 with a semicolon, it is intolerable to put a period after 4, and to begin 5 as a new sentence. “Since His divine power hath granted to us all things that are for life and godliness . . . . yea, and for this very reason, adding on your part all diligence, in your faith furnish,” etc. All our old English Versions fail in this; none more than the Revised Version.
There is, however, an important correction which closes verse 3 (the margin of the Authorised Version being better than its text), as it had been in Tyndale and Cranmer. But the Geneva Version went all wrong, following Beza who know the true reading but plighted it for an inferior one, and even mistranslated the inferior one through his inability to make out its meaning “
ἰδίᾳ δόξῃ καὶ
ἀρετῃ, quae lactio in pancis admodum codicibus, iisque dubiae fidei, a nobis est inuenta: neque mihi sane probari potest.” Now there are a dozen cursives at least, not to speak of four of the great uncials, in favour of
ἰδίᾳ δ. κ. ἀ.; so that there is ample and excellent authority. And any reasoning on God’s being denied elsewhere to call us to His glory cannot swamp the clear force here of being called by it. Then follows fresh reasoning on
ἀρετῃ, the upshot being “mihi quidem multo probabilis videtur,
διὰ praepositionem pro usurpatam, sicut etiam annotatiuimus Rom. 6 a. 4, et
ἀρετὴν idem atque
ἁγιασμὸν declarare,” etc. No doubt the majority of copies support
διὰ δ.κ.ἀ. In meaning the only difference that results is that the more ancient text adds “His own,” but in any case it is “by,” not “to.” Adam innocent enjoyed the good around and gave God thanks; Israel was governed as well as tested by the law. God called us “by His own glory,” outside and above all that is seen, and “by virtue,” the spiritual courage that refuses the snares which would entice us from the path that leads there. Compare Rom. 3:23, Rom. 5:2.
In 2 Peter 4 is corrected the error of Tyndale, etc., and of the Authorised Version following them. They ought to have gathered from the preceding verse that
δεδ. is, if not a deponent, middle in sense, not passive. The change of order in, “precious and very great promises” is abundantly sustained; indeed, the precise form in the Text. Rec. has scarce any support, but with a slight change many copies give it, some however having
ἡ. mistakenly. — In 5 “And beside this” of the Authorised Version is as untenable as any other of the older English. The Revised Version is much better, save as we have seen the dislocation by their punctuation. But “in” your faith is right, as well as “supply,” not “add to,” and so throughout 6 and 7. Only the italic “your” six times over is needless. — In 8 “idle [marg. Authorised Version] nor unfruitful” is an improvement without “to be;” but surely
εἰς here means “as to” or “as regards,” not “unto” of the Revised Version any more than “in” of the Authorised Version. — The Revisers give, like the Authorised Version, rather a paraphrase of 9 than a close version. — In “the sense is “richly furnished” or supplied, not “ministered.” — In 12 the true reading is
μελλήσω, “I shall be ready,” (
A B C P etc., with the most ancient versions), not
οὐκ ἀμ. etc. as in the Text. Rec. and the Authorised Version, “I will not be negligent.” The change at the close seems uncalled for, due probably to Dean Alford. — The rendering of 16, 17, is loose, not only in general form but even to the diluting
ὑπό “by,” to
ἀπό “from” at the close. — But 19 is given much better by the Revisers, the inspired contrast of the lamp of prophecy with daylight dawning and the day or morning star arising in the heart being clearly given. — But it may be doubted whether the textual “private” or the marginal “special” of 20 gives the true force of
ἰδίας. Divine prophecy is a vast connected whole, and. none of it comes of its own or an isolated solution. — For none (21) was ever (“in old time” was the error of Beza, etc.) brought by man’s will; but moved by the Holy Spirit men spoke from God. It all converges on Christ’s glory. There is no doubt a serious conflict of readings:
ἅγιοι (Text. Rec.
οἱ ἅ) instead of
ἀπὸ has K L etc.,
ἅγιοι τοῦ Α. ἀπὸ Θ. ἅγιοι C. etc. But the critics generally prefer the text of B and several cursives supported by the Bodleian Syr. and the Coptic, which omit
In 2 Peter 2:1 the Revisers give rightly “the Master” (
δεσπότην) that bought them; for it is purchase, not redemption, which is in question. Purchase is universal; not so redemption, which is inseparable from faith in Christ and the forgiveness of offences. It is clear from the passage before us that the most wicked are “bought” by the Master, whom they deny to their own swift destruction; that they were “redeemed” is more assumption, and, in fact, a grave error. — In 2 it is “the” truth. In 4 it is “angels when they sinned,” not “the angels that sinned,” which would require
τῶν ἀ. τῶν ἁ. and then would mean the whole; whereas the apostle speaks only of a part even of those that fell.
Ταρταρώσας is the word translated “cast down to hell,” and occurs here only in the New Testament. It means hurling into the lowest abyss. In the same verse there is a question of reading on which turns either “pits” or “chains,” the more ancient copies inclining to the former, while the expression of Jude may have suggested the latter. — In 5 “N. an eighth” means with seven others. — If the Revisers render
τηρουμένους in 4 “to be reserved,” and in 2 Peter 3:11
λυομένων “to be destroyed,” why not
κολαζομένους in 9 “to be punished”? Does not this suit
εἰς ἡμ. κρ. better than “under punishment”? It is a class so characterised. — In 11 it is not “which are greater,” etc., but “greater as they are,” etc.
- In 12, 13 are hazardous changes, not “shall utterly (or, also) perish in their own corruption,” as in the Authorised Version, but “shall in their destroying surely be destroyed,” and “suffering wrong as the hire of wrong-doing,” instead of receiving as they shall wages of unrighteousness.” Here the Revisers have been induced, probably by Drs. Westcott and Hort, not without other support, of course, to accept the reading of p.m.
ἀδικούμενοι. But will the reading, even if feasible on so slender a basis, bear the version? — “In the day-time” is a questionable reading of
ἐν ἡμ. in this connection, and, as has been remarked, hardly consistent with
τρυφήν, delicacy or indulgence of life, which might be by day quite as much as by night. Hence interpreters who differ widely in general, Calvin, Estius, Grotius, C. à Lap., De Wette, etc., prefer “ephemeral.” There is another singular choice, not of rendering but of reading in the verse,
ἀγάπαις A corr B against the overwhelming evidence of A D C K L P, almost all the cursives, and most ancient Versions, not to speak of early citations, for
ἀπάταις followed by the Authorised Version. — Is “stayed,” in 16, a real improvement on “forbad” of the Authorised Version, as rendering
ἐκώλυσεν? “Withstood might represent it better than either, or Mr. Green’s checked.” — In 17 “springs” and “mists” are right; but the evidence in favour of “for ever” is strong. — In 18
τ. ὀλίγως ἀποφεύ. is
the true text, not
τ. ὄντως ἀποφυ. They were just escaping, not “clean escaped,” or even “just fled.” — In 20
γέγονεν “is become,” not merely “is.” — In 22 the Revisers may rightly omit the copula, but there is the usual laxity in expressing both the presence and the absence of the article: there hath happened to them the [import, pith, spirit] of the true proverb, A dog turned again to his own vomit, and, A sow washed to wallowing in mire.
In 2 Peter 3:2 the Revisers rightly read and translate “the command of the Lord and Saviour through your apostles,”
ἡμῶν having quite inconsiderable support, even if it could then bear the Authorised Version. — In 3 the Authorised Version after Text. Rec. wrongly omits “with mocking.” — The rather difficult verses 5-7 seem to be fairly given, though connecting
τεθη., rather than
τη. as in the Authorised Version and most others. Of course “his” supplants “the same” in 7. — In 9 it is rightly “to you” on preponderant authority; but there is some question between
εἰς, the former of which Tischendorf adopts in his last edition with A, half a dozen cursives, and the ancient Versions generally. It would mean “on your account.” — In 10 the Revised Version omits rightly “in the night.” Here again we see how lax are their views of the article. — In 11 “there,” not “then,” is preferred by the Revisers on small but good authority, the copies greatly differing. “All” is an effort in the Revised Version, as in the Authorised Version, to express the plural which expresses every form of behaviour and godliness. — In 12 they justly discard the influence of the Vulgate in “hasting unto” (as indeed the margin of the Authorised Version suggests); but whether “earnestly desiring,” as in the Bodleian Syriac adequately conveys the meaning is another matter. If they mean hastening the coming of that day in heart, for aught more seems far-fetched or worse, I believe them right; but this is rather exposition or application than rendering. — Nor is their version of
δι᾽ ἥν, “by reason of which,” though of course correct grammatically, the only one that is sure. The temporal sense is no less just. It is a question of context which suits best here. Bengel construes it with
παρουσία. — The Revisers scarcely seem justified in giving
αὐτῳ (14) so defined a force as “in His sight.” Even Winer does not go so far. It might be “for” no less than “of” Him.
- From 15 we learn that Paul wrote to the Jewish Christians, as Peter did in big two Epistles. For it is idle to argue from 2 Peter 1:14, 2 Peter 2:10, or 2 Peter 4:3, to set aside the plain force of the address. Nobody doubts that every word is for us who were Gentiles; but as little should it he doubted that they are both addressed simply to the Jewish dispersion in the parts designated. These scattered Jews had, before they believed, fallen largely into the evil and even heathen ways of those who surrounded them, Wieseler’s notion of Gentiles in 2 Peter 2:25 is at issue with both Paul and Peter. But if this be so, the reference to St. Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews is unmistakable, which speaks much of “the day.” — The Revisers translate
ἐν χ. κ.τ.γ. (18) no better than the Authorised Version. They have no right to say “in the grace,” etc., any more than the Authorised Version “in the knowledge.” The insertion of our definite article bore misleads. It is more correct to say “in grace and knowledge,” etc.
The First Epistle Of John.
1 John 1:1 stands better in the Revised Version, which not only makes each verse more distinct, but correctly distinguishes the tenses. It is in each “that which;” whilst the two later are not perfects, but simply preterites. — But there is no need for the awkwardness of “the life, the eternal life” in 2, any more than for “that eternal life” in the Authorised Version. Nor should the verse open with “For,” but “And.” — In 3 is not the true force “report” rather than “declare,” or “show?” “Yea,” etc., well represents
καὶ δέ. — The first serious difference of reading is in 4,
ἡμεῖς, “we,” (
Ap.m. B P etc.) for
ὑμῖν, “unto you” (Acorr C K L etc.); and again,
ὑμῶν, “our” ( B L., many cursives and versions), for
ὑμῶν (A C K P, the majority of cursives, and many ancient versions). R. Stephens followed the Complutensian editors in preferring “our,” Elzevir followed Erasmus and Beza in adopting “you;” and so respectively the Revised Version and the Authorised Version. If “our” be right, it would join the believers with the apostles in the same joy through fellowship with the Father and with His Son. — But is it not strange,. that the Revisers adopt a text so ill supported as
αὕτη ἐστίν (A, etc.), when there is such strong and united authority for the more emphatic
ἔστιν αὕτη ( B C K L P, the mass of cursives, etc.), “And there is this message,” etc.? Certainly the early editors, Erasmus, the Complutensian, and Colinaeus all give the emphatic form according to ancient authority, but not R. Stephens, Beza, and Elzevir. Was it Beza that influenced the Authorised translators in “This then?” He ventures in his notes to take
καί as equivalent to
οὖν where it is clear that it merely adds an entirely new subject; and this a “message,” not “promise,” as would be true if the text of all the older editors could stand. But it is really
ἐπαγγ., in spite of C P and some cursives. It is remarkable that our translators, in misrendering their text, stumbled on the version of the right text. — There is good authority (
B C P, etc.) for omitting “Christ” in 7, though most witnesses insert it: which one would think should have been stated in the margin.
1 John 2:2 is a great improvement on the Authorised Version, where the words added in italics overstep the truth, and unwittingly imply a serious error. If “the sins of” the whole world were expiated, what would there be to judge? Never does Scripture so teach, save as to believers. Yet Christ died for every man — gave Himself a ransom for all; but only of believers is it said that He died and suffered for their sins, or bore them in His body on the tree. But He is the propitiation for the whole world, as well as for our sins; and so the gospel can go forth freely to all the creation. — Is 3 adequately rendered by the Revisers? Who could gather the difference between the present and the perfect in the opening clause? Even the Authorised Version makes a faint effort; the Revised Version none. Surely
ἐγν. (the second “know”) means “we acquired and possess the knowledge of.” So it is at the beginning of 4 also.
Further, is it an intelligent division of the Epistle to make 3-6 a part of the paragraph beginning with 1 John 2? To my mind verses 1, 2, form the necessary supplement to the doctrine of 1 John 1 in both its parts (1-4, and 5-10), intimating not only the responsibility of the family of God, but the provision of grace to restore in the case of sin. Then 3 begins to unfold the qualities or characteristic ways of the life given us in Christ, the eternal life of the believer: obedience (3-6) and love (7-11), with their opposites. But this points to two paragraphs to be marked accordingly, which the Revisers have utterly missed by grouping 1 John 2:1, 2 with 3-6 as if they were continuous; whereas the great break is after 2; and 3-11 might better have gone together, though it is perhaps more strictly correct to give first 3-6, and then 7-11 as distinct.
In 7 the true reading “beloved” is rightly followed, as fitly introducing the commandment — love. Also the Revisers as rightly expunge “from the beginning” at the end of the verse, however important these words are in the middle of it. — In 8 the rendering of the Revised Version is correct — “passing away,” not “past,” as in the Authorised Version. Past it will never be till Christ reigns in power and glory. Yet the same thing being true in Him and in the saints (whatever the difference of measure), the darkness passes away, and the true light does now shine.
Is not the arrangement of 12-29 objectionable? It gives evidence that the structure of the Epistle was not understood. For 12 is the comprehensive address to all the family of God (
τεκνία) on the ground of their sins forgiven for Christ’s name. Then 13 divides the family into the three classes of (1) fathers, (2) young men, and (3) babes (
παιδία), respectively and specifically addressed again in (1) 14, (2) 14-17, and (3) 18-27; 28 and 29 resuming the general designation to the entire family as in 1 John 2:1, 1 John 3:7, 18, 1 John 4:4, and 1 John 5:21. Clearly therefore, if this be true as I feel assured, a new paragraph should not begin at 18 as in the Revised Version; as it might also have conduced to clearness if 12 had stood alone, and a new paragraph had begun with 28. No doubt the Revised Version has sought to distinguish
τεκνία from the class contained under it (
παιδία) by adding “my;” but is this the best way of marking the distinction? — Is it not due to the same lack of appreciating the truth intended that the Revisers like others adopt the well nigh absurd variant
ἔγραψα instead of
γράφω in the last part of 13? It is contrary to the plain facts of the context, and the necessary bearing of the verse. The Apostle had not written before to the babes; he was now writing to them as such for the first time, as in the same verse to the fathers and to the young men. Then he goes over the ground again to the three in 14-27, where
ἔγραψα is requisite, not
γράφω. It is granted that diplomatic evidence is decidedly in favour of the misreading
ἔγ the end of 13. In fact, only K, a Moscow uncial, with a fair amount of cursives and some ancient versions, stands opposed to the great mass of ancient authority. It is one of the very few cases where a few witnesses of loss value contain the true reading disfigured from an early date, so that the error was widely diffused. The effect is most disastrous on the interpretation, as any English reader may see in Dean Alford’s work, where we are thereby landed in the bewildering conclusion that we have three classes of readers, denoted the first time by
πατέρες, νεανίσκοι, and the second time by
παιδία, πατέρες, νεανίσκοι: a strange confusion, where the fathers are made. the central group, first introduced by
τ. and then by
π. as if these were identical, whereas there is the necessity of admitting that
π. are differently addressed; a singular thing if they were the same clasp, to the loss of the truth that the first is the general designation, as the latter described particularly the youngest class. The inference is that
π. address all the readers alike 1 and that “nothing satisfactory” comes out, which is very true. If
γράφω be accepted till through 13, light dawns, and the beautiful order of the truth shines unmistakably. After speaking of all in 12, the writer first briefly addresses each of the three subdivisions, and then a second time more fully, as need required, which gives so much the force to the “fathers” where he could only repeat, without adding one word more; for Christ is all. — In 18 “there have arisen” or “come” is better than the Authorised Version, as last “hour” is more vivid. — In 19 it is rightly “they all are not of us,” none are of us. The margin, like the Authorised Version, is in error, if not nonsense. — In 23 the true text is reinstated from the ignominy of italics on ample and unimpeachable authority ( B C P, about thirty-five cursives, Vulg. Cop. Syrr. Arm. Aeth, etc.). — In 24
οὖν, “therefore,” is rightly dropt. — In 27 “the same” or “his” is a rather evenly-balanced question; but it is “true,” not “truth;” and it is a question between “abide,” or “shall abide,” at the end.
In 28 “if” is better than “when,” as the question is one of contingent consequence, and not exactly time. The margin has to be brought in to supply the deficiency of the Revised Version in rendering
ἀπ᾽ αὐτοῦ. “From before Him” has been suggested. — In 29 the imp. form of the margin is, better than the ind. of the Revised Version; but there is no indication of the difference between the two words for “know.” “Also” is by the Revisers adopted in the last clause; but in this epistle we have the older authorities agreeing in strange readings.
1 John 3:1 is an instance of what appears to be an enfeebling gloss appended to the first part of the verse.
ἐσμεν is admirable in 2; but here
καί ἐσμεν seems justly questioned, though attested by A B C P, many cursives, and the Vulgate with other ancient versions. The Revisers rightly say “children,” not “the sons” as in the Authorised Version. The apostle John brings out eternal life and to be burn of God; not the position of sons in contrast with slaves. Compare John 1:12, 13. — In 2 they have corrected “it doth not yet appear” into “it is not yet made manifest,” though it does not accord with their claim of precision for the aorist, which Dean Alford would render “it never yet was manifested.” Of course actual appearing is meant, not making known by the word to faith, for this is already and clearly made; as the next clause indeed declares, without the copula of the Text. Rec.: “We know that, if He shall he manifested, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” The “it” of the margin for “He,” though approved by Tyndale, etc., seems uncalled for. — In 3 there is a strong effort to guard against the misconstruing of
ἐπ᾽ αὐτῳ, “on him,” by the italic addition of set.
- At length there is an adequate public version of 4, so long misrendered to the inculcation of endless error in theology: “Every one that doeth [or, practiseth] sin doeth [or, practiseth] also lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness,” not the transgression of the law, which is not imperfect only but false. Compare Rom. 2:12, Rom. 4:15, Rom. 5:13, 14; and 1 Cor. 9:20, 21. — In 6 “knoweth” in the text is a loose rendering of
ἔγνωκεν, inferior to the Authorised Version. — From 13 “my” is rightly omitted; but the omission of
τὸν ἀδελφόν near the close is questionable, the general truth being reserved for a later statement. — In 16 again we have the perfect
ἐγν. rendered “know;” but while permanent effect is meant, a past act ought also to be implied: “We have known” or “have come to know.” — The Text Rec. adds
μου in 18: why should the Revisers supply “my”? — In 19 it is “shall we know,” not “we know” as in the vulgar text followed by the Authorised Version. — I doubt greatly the soundness of the rendering of 20, though it is plain that the Authorised Version is rather free and breaks the connection. Some critics and grammarians are much perplexed to find or make the construction smooth, as omission seems to have been resorted to with the same purpose by the copyists. That Lachmann and Tischendorf should make a new paragraph after this verse, breaking the manifest and weighty link between 20 and 21, might seem incredible if it were not before our eyes. — I do not see how one can evade rendering 23 as in the margin, not as in the text, however unusual it may sound, which no doubt led to the tampering in 5. 58 lect
εἰς τὸ ὄνομα. Compare John 5:24, and other instances of like construction.
1 John 4:2 is badly rendered, repeating the old failure of all our English Versions from Wiclif downward, the Rhemish being as often the worst. As the proposition stands in them all, the result is a grave and manifest error. For evil spirits do not shrink from confessing the bare fact stated. What they do not own is the person thus predicated; for this supposes His glory, yet in the humiliation of manhood. It would be senseless to talk of Moses or David, of Homer, Alexander, or Caesar, coming in flesh; for not one of them could have come otherwise. But the Son of God might have come in His own glory, or as an angel, or in any form He pleased. He was pleased to come in flesh, to come of woman, in the accomplishment of infinite grace. Hence the point here is the person that came in flesh, not the fact that He so came, which would be expressed by the infinitive or an equivalent and appended statement, whereas here we have the participle. It should be therefore “confesseth Jesus Christ come in flesh.” — This is confirmed in the most direct manner, if we accept (as most modern critics do) the words
τὸν Ἰησοῦν without further addition in 3. It is easy to understand in copies accretion more or less from the preceding verse.
- In 5 there is an effort by inserting “as” to guard against the inference which the Authorised Version might convey, that it is about (
περί) the world, whereas it means out of it (
ἐκ): a worldly source rather than subject. — But “in us” will never do for 9, though a seemingly faithful or literal rendering, as in the Rhemish alone of English Versions. It either deprives of all sense, or conveys a false idea. The true force of
ἐν ἡμῖν in this connection is “in regard to us,” or in our case. The Authorised Version renders as if the Greek were
εἰς ἡμᾶς the converse of their error in Rom. 8:18, where from the English we might suppose
ἐν ἡμῖν must have been in the text. — See the some thing again in 16.
- In 17 the Revisers of course rightly say “with us,” nearly as in the margin of the Authorised Version 1 instead of their barbarous textual rendering “our love,” which is the destruction of the truth intended. Our love could never give us boldness in the day of judgment; whereas if divine love has been perfected with us, even to the giving the Christian now to be in this world as Christ is, we may well have such boldness. How wondrous is our identification with Him who is perfect! More wondrous if this be so now in this world that we should have boldness in that day. — There is in 20 a rather bold adoption of
οὐ on small but good authority, instead of
πῶς, but doctrine is not affected by it.
In 1 John 5:5 the Revisers may be justified in introducing the copula, for which there is good authority. — In 6 there is a difficulty in fitly representing the change from
δι᾽ ὕδατος καὶ αἵματος to
ἐν τῳ thrice in the latter clauses (
ἐν being omitted in the last instance in Text. Rec. with most copies, but not the oldest save 8). Christ came by water and blood, not in the power of the water only, but in the power of the water and in the power of the blood. The believer’s blessing is through the death of the Second man, not of the first; and this in virtue of His death, not only to purify but to atone. We need expiation, as well as purification; and both we have in the death of Christ; as the Spirit also bears witness, who is, and because He is, the truth. — It is needless to discuss verses 7, 8, as it is clear and known that the last half of the former and the first half of the latter are spurious: three (not six) witnesses, and one testimony. Without the living energy of the Holy Spirit the other two witnesses to the death of Christ were of no avail for us. The three unite to assure the believer on God’s part that life is in the Son and nowhere else, as His death alone purifies and expiates. — There is needed correction in the text and translation of 13, which is encumbered in the Text. Rec. and Authorised Version, where there ought to be nothing about “and that ye may believe,” etc. — Minor points might be added after this as before; but nothing further occurs to me just now as of any great moment in the revision of this deep and blessed epistle.
The Second Epistle Of John.
I. The Authorised and Revised Versions are questionable as to “lady.” Kyria8 is not without claim as a proper name instead of the apellative “lady”; while the idea of some that Eclecta is meant seems unfeasible, and indeed refuted by 13. But the Revisers rightly say “in truth” as characteristic of the apostle’s love. Loving in truth supposes the truth known, but it goes farther and so stamps the love. Thus in fact the Authorised Version renders the same phrase in verse 4. Again, it is not well to confound
γιν., the perfect with the present part. “That have the knowledge of” might fairly represent the force. — In 2 the Revisers say “it” in the last clause to mark the change of construction. — In 3 they give correctly the future: “Grace shall be with us,” etc. For
ἡμῶν (A B L P etc., and so Stephens) they read here, instead of
ὑμῶν as in K, most cursives, and so Elz. followed by the Authorised Version. Undoubtedly “you” is the more usual wish; but this is rather an assurance, and the peculiar form well admits of the apostle’s putting himself with those addressed, as in the preceding verse. “The Lord” (
κυρίου) is doubtful, though strongly supported, as some of the best uncials, cursives, and versions do not sanction it.
- In 1 “I rejoice” is a dubious rendering of the aorist, though I presume its adoption was mainly grounded on the perf. that follows,
εὕρ., which certainly must mean, not “I found” only, as in the Authorised Version, but “I do find.” The Revisers rightly give “we received.” — “That we love one another” in 5 goes back from the entreaty of the apostle to the commandment of the Lord when on earth. — In 6 divine love is shown to be identified with obedience, or at least inseparable from it, as it really is in the new nature, eternal life in Christ. What created the need for thus pressing the truth is the fact (ver. 7) that many deceivers went forth into the world, those that confess not Jesus Christ coming [
ἐρχ.] in flesh. The received text
εἰσῆλθον, though supported by most, and in the Authorised Version, must yield to the more ancient and truer
ἐξῆλθον. Of course the last clause should be “The” deceiver and “the “ Antichrist. Here, too, it will be noticed that those who so wrongly contend for a continuous force in
ἁγιαζόμενοι, the Revisers included, are obliged to own that the present part. is timeless in this instance. Compare 3 John 3, where it is really no question of epoch. At any rate the late Dean Alford very properly shows that in these cases the present has nothing to do with time, but represents the great truth of the Incarnation itself, as distinguished from its historical manifestation [
ἐλθών, 1 John 5:6], and from the abiding effect of that manifestation [
ἐληλυθότα, 1 John 4:2); as all three are confessions of the Person
Ἰησοῦς χριστός, distinguished from the acuss. with infin. construction, which would have reduced the confession to simply the fact announced; whereas in each case it is the PERSON who is the primary predicate, the participle carrying the attributive or secondary predicate.
- There has been sad tampering with the MSS. in 8, and the text accordingly varies in the hands of the editors also. Thus Lachmann, Tischendorf, Tregelles, and Wordsworth follow A, eight cursives, and other good authorities, in the reading
εἰργάσασθε, which gives the at best commonplace sense “ye wrought.” These and others also, as Colinaeus and Alford with the Revisers, give “ye lose not” and “ye receive,” but “we wrought.” The text adopted by Erasmus and the Complutensian editors, by Stephens, Beza, and Elz., yields a touching appeal to those addressed, that the apostles and all who labour in the truth and for Christ might receive full recompense. Copyists, commentators, and critics missed the meaning, which is as delicate as it is forcible, though Beza was dull enough to say, in alluding to the text with the uniform second person, that the sense is the same. The Complutensians interpolate
εἰργ., as does the Antwerp Polyglott; but not Goldhagen’s edition, which seine have supposed a reprint of the Greek Testament in either. Romanist theology sought to draw from the verse a Scriptural ground for their Pelagian notion of the meritoriousness of good works. Its real drift was, as one might expect, generally misunderstood. — The correction in 9 is most important, “Whosoever goeth “onward,”
προάγων ( A B 98m.g. the best Latin, Sah. Aeth.), not
παραβαίνων, as in the Text. Rec. and the more ordinary copies. “Transgression “is not the point, but development as to Christ, instead of abiding in the doctrine of Christ, His deity and humanity. It is really more forcible to Omit the second
τοῦ χριστοῦ or
αὐτοῦ, and so the oldest MSS. and versions, etc. — “Greeting” is the better rendering in 10, 11. — In 12 LA confirms K L P with most cursives in reading
ἡμῶν, “our,” with Erasmus, Compl., Steph., Elz.; but
ὑμῶν, “your,” has good and ancient authority.
The Third Epistle Of John.
1, A similar remark applies here as to 2 John 1. — There is in 2 the better rendering of “in (lit. concerning) all things,” not “above all things” as in Homeric usage. Thus simply is a strange difficulty, as others before had shown it ought to be, banished from our version. — In 3 it is rightly “brethren.” Compare 2 John 7. The literal rendering “thy truth” would hardly convey the meaning, and “the truth that is in thee” as in the Authorised Version is not quite the thought, but “thy [abiding in the] truth, even as thou walkest in truth.” — In 4 an omission is supplied, “these things,” or “this.” Only here Text. Rec. omits
τῃ, which is read by A B C etc., and this the Revisers rightly follow, “in the truth.” The marginal alternative of “grace” for “joy” would scarcely have received notice if the combined Vatican and Vulgate had not stood so high with the Cambridge school. — The correction in 5 is important, for the ordinary text is almost senseless, “to the brethren and to strangers.” It is really toward the brethren, and that, strangers,”
τοῦτο instead of the second
εἰς τούς. Gaius, or Caius, was thus open-hearted toward the preaching or teaching brethren, and this if strangers; and John would have him go on in that faithful work of love. He would have Gains, not merely to receive them, but to set them forward (6) on their journey worthily of God, who loves such men and such ways.
- In 7 “the Name” is the true reading on almost all authority worth speaking of, without “his”
(αὐτοῦ), which is due to the Complutensian editors (not to Erasmus), followed by Beza and Elz. The best authorities give, not
ἐθνικῶν, “of those of the nations” or Gentiles. — In 8 it is not
ἀπολ., as in Text. Rec., but
ὑπολ., to bear up or welcome. It may be well to mention here that p.m. and A join in the absurd misreading
ἐκκλησία, instead of
ἀληθείᾳ. This error may have been through the words that follow. How vain to idolize these venerable documents! Had B instead of A been one, we might have heard more on behalf of the variant. — From 9 the Text. Rec. drops
τι, “somewhat,” which the Revisers of course accept on excellent authority. They have done well to mark
ἐπιδέχεται as distinct from
ὑπολ. in 8. It is used for recognition or admission of authority, and sometimes for entertaining people. Never was a mistake greater than to conceive the Greek Testament lacking in precision. — So in 10, “bring to remembrance” is more correct than “remember,” as “wicked” is preferable to “malicious.” The casting out those who would receive the travelling brethren appears to have been an arbitrary rejection or declaring out, not a Scriptural expulsion or putting out on the part of the assembly. — Gaius was not to “imitate” the evil but the good (11). The copula of Text. Rec. should disappear. — In 12 it is rightly the sing. “thou knowest,” not “ye know” as in the Authorised Version following Text. Rec. — It seems strange that in 14, as in 2 John 12, the margin does not represent, as in the Authorised Version, the literal rendering “mouth to mouth.” — In 14 we find “the” friends rightly in the Revised Testament on both occasions. In the second epistle we have the children of the elect sister saluting; here as writing to Gains the apostle brings in the friends saluting and saluted. How refined and sincere is the love that is of God!
1. The Authorised Version has “the,” the Revised Version “a,” servant. Judas, bondman, etc., is best, as often pointed out. “To them that are called” would answer to
τοῖς κεκλημένοις rather than to
τοῖς κλητοῖς, the called. But “for” Jesus Christ, though grammatical, is open to question; “in” as parallel would seem better, or perhaps “by.” “Sanctified “in the Authorised Version is the right version of a wrong reading displaced on good authority by “beloved.” — 3. It seems strange that Lachmann should by punctuation so divide the sentence as to impair or destroy what is otherwise simple and weighty. He puts a comma after the twofold
ὑμῖν, the effect of which is to falsify the epistle; for it does not treat of the common salvation, but is an earnest contention for the faith once for all delivered to the saints. Mere scholarship without a spiritual mind is untrustworthy in divine things. In Text. Rec. followed by the Authorised Version
ἡμῶν is wrongly omitted: the Revised Version inserts it correctly on high authority, and renders the text better in more than one word. — In 4
κρῖμα is rather the “charge” for which they were to be judged than “condemnation.” Hence it came to mean the sentence or doom, as with us crime.
- In 5 the marginal rendering appears to be better than that of the text; but
θεόν of the Text. Rec. is rightly rejected on ample authority. — The Revisers correct the double error of the Authorised Version in 5, “once knew.” It should be “know once for all.” “This” is an error, not of rendering like those just named, but of the Text. Rec. followed by Authorised Version. It should be
πάντα, “all things,” not
τοῦτο, “this,” as in the later copies. It is a mercy that the love of paradox with deference to A B etc. did not as in Lachmann and Alford introduce
Ἰησοῦς here, where
Κύριος without the article, Jehovah, is the true reading. But why
τὸ δ., “afterward”? Why not “in the second place?” In 6 “angels” rightly in the Revised Version, not “the” as if all were concerned. It is a defined set among the angels. But is “hath kept . . . unto” good English? “He hath in keeping” might do better perhaps; and so I see, nearly, Mr. T. S. Green.
- In 8 the Revisers rightly give us “yet,” and drop “filthy,” which is implied in the context, as they represent well the anarthrous force of
οὗτοι ἐνυπν., which can hardly bear “these dreamers,” but means rather “these in their dreams,” or “dreaming as they do.” — In 12 I think there cannot be a doubt of the article as the genuine reading, which gives vividness and objectivity to the
σπιλάδες, whether sunken rocks or blots be meant. But it is not correct to impute to Beza simply the Authorised Version which construes
ἑαυ. π., inasmuch as the Syriac and ancient versions in general so take it, except perhaps the Vulgate followed by the Rhemish alone of English versions, which takes it with
εὐωχού. — In 13 it should be the plural form “shames” or “disgraces,” which is more usual in English, to guard from the equivoque; for they can clearly have no sense of shame. It means shameful things.
Do not the Revisers furnish an unnatural and misleading version of
τούτοις in 14? What is the sense of “to these?” One can imagine a far-fetched way of supposing that Enoch prophesied to the corrupting apostates who shall meet their doom when the Lord is come in judgment, But a dative of reference is far simpler, “for,” “as to,” “of” as in all the English versions like others. They of course give “came” as in prophetic vision, not “cometh,” which is to confound the tense system; and they translate
ἐν here rightly with (i.e. amidst) His holy myriads. And here be it noted that Professor Volkmar’s assumption that Jude quoted from the so-called Book of Enoch is not only unfounded but gross ignorance; for while the words in our epistle fall into harmony with all revelation, those of the Aethiopic document are as different from Jude’s as they are opposed to the truth. The apocryphist makes the Lord come in judgment of His holy myriads! instead of His enemies, contrary to all scripture, but the not unnatural thought of any unbeliever, Jew or Gentile. It is untrue that Jude quoted from this pretended Book of Enoch. The
κατὰ πάντων of our epistle (15) resists any such idea. Not improbably it was a Jewish forgery; and men who could resort to such iniquity have no true perception of the truth, as here we see that, if the forger meant to incorporate the words of Jude into his fable, he failed even to accomplish this seemingly mechanical task, and taught heterodoxy in the change he introduced, however slight in appearance. Compare either the English version of Laurence (chap. ii. p. 2, Oxford, 1821) or the Aethiopic (cap. ii. p. 2, Oxon. 1888). M. de Sacy renders the passage correctly enough, “Et venit cum myriadibus sanctorum, ut faciat judicium super eos,” etc. His note adds: “Au reste, on pourrait supposer que 1’auteur du livre d’Enoch aurait emprunté ce passage de Saint Jude.” Very likely the author imitated Jude, and incorrectly borrowed, as we have seen. Certainly Jude did not quote from this apocryphal book, as Professor Westcott like others seems to suppose.
In this same 15 Tischendorf retains
ἀσεβεῖς as in the Text. Rec. contrary to his critical note (Ed. viii.), which rejects it on the highest authority, but he reads
λόγων against weighty witnesses. — In 18 there is a question of text and of translation. Text. Rec., in accordance with the majority, reads
ἐν ἐ. χ., in the last time; but the ancient copies give
ἐπ ἐσχάτου [
Χ., etc. attesting the article, B C etc. omitting it, which the Revisers follow. Compared with other varieties of the phrase, it would seem to mean “at the end of the time.” — In 19 the true reading is
ἑαυτούς, as Eras. Compl. and Stephens edited, but Colinaeus even before Beza and Elz. added it. The Rescript of Paris supports it and a few cursives, which may have been Beza’s three old copies. But this sort of separatist is not to be confounded with the
Titus 3, 1 Cor. 11, Gal. 5, for the mischief was according to the context from their being within, not from their going out. They were certainly far from the mind and grace of Christ; but if they separated the saints from themselves or themselves from the saints, it was not, it would appear, by an outward breach: they carried on their deadly and corrupting work inside. They were “sensual,” as the Authorised and Revised Versions say, or rather “natural” men. Dean Alford reasons from the words, not from the written word, when he treats
ψυχικοί as midway between
σαρκικοί. For 1 Cor. 2, 3 plainly prove that
σ. is the true midway term, and means one unduly deferring to intellect or fleshly feeling, but a saint (like the Corinthian believers); whereas
ψ. means man in his natural and absolutely unrenewed estate, as indeed here described
πν. μὴ ἔχ.
- In 22, 23, the authorities are most conflicting. Some like the Text. Rec. make but two classes, others three. One could not gather from the Greek or the English of the Revisers that some of the most venerable and best documents, supported by the oldest versions and other witnesses. point to
ἐλέγχετε (A C, many cursives and versions), not
ἐλεᾶτε), in 22; or yet more to
διακρινομένους ( A B C etc., which they rightly follow. The Vulgate represents the ancient text fairly, save that it deserts its own rendering of
δ. in verse 9, which substantially suits 22 far better than “judicatos.” Dr. Wells and Bengel first vindicated the true text, in which the critics wonderfully agree. Lachmann, Tischendorf, Tregelles, Wordsworth, Griesbach and Scholz are poor enough, Westcott and Hort worst of all; for what can be more absurd than for scholars to present, as an inspired text, such a jumble of readings as
οὕς μὲν ἐλεεᾶτε διακρινομένους σώζετε ἐκ π. ἁρπά., κ.τ.λ.? For to construe this at all we must take the first words as a strict relative, and the first verb as an indicative, to the utter dislocation of the rest of the sentence, and the destruction of any just sense from it as a whole. The twofold
ἐλεᾶτε of B cannot stand, nor the omission of
οὕς δέ in 13 before
σώζετε. The Revisers did adopt unhappily the first
ἐλεᾶτε, but the rest of their text is all right. It seems surprising that they should not have named in their margin the good and ancient evidence for
- In 24 both Authorised and Revised Versions agree in adopting “you” as in B C L, many cursives, and all the versions of note, though Eras., the Compl., Colinaeus, Stephens, Bengel, etc. preferred
αὐτούς, “them,” with K P and some forty cursives. — In 25 there is no reasonable doubt that
σοφῳ in the Text. Rec., followed by the Authorised Version, is well left out by the superior authority of the older MSS. and versions. It probably crept in from Rom. 16:27, where it is as perfectly in place as here superfluous. But there are two omissions also of the Text. Rec., which are properly supplied by the Revisers,
Ἰ. Χ. τ. κ. ἡμῶν and
πρὸ π. τ. αἰῶνος, which rest on ample and sure authority, giving of course additional force and beauty to this solemn yet comforting epistle, with its closing doxology.
8 Dean Alford’s reasoning (Prolegg. 186, vol. iv. ed. 3) seems open to exception, as he argues from the usage in the LXX. and New Testament as to
Κύριος said of Jehovah to
κυρία said of a woman.