THIS edition is a Revision of the English New Testament based on the Greek text as established by BIBLE NUMERICS.
2. The method of settling the text by means of NUMERICS is expounded in the Introduction, which is to form the Second Part of this edition, as well as in numerous monographs by the writer printed elsewhere. The standard used for comparison was: for the Greek, the Revision by Westcott & Hort; and, for the English, the American Revised Version. (Editor’s note: Now called the American Standard Version and so elsewhere.) In spite of the onslaught thereon by Dean Burgon, Westcott & Hort (with the exception of some spellings, and of all but two of their fifteen double-bracketed passages stamped by them as ‘Interpolations’) present a text which on the whole approaches the autographs nearer than any extant copy of the New Testament. So that, humanly speaking, but for the twenty-eight years’ faithful toil of these two lovers of Holy Writ, with their excellent clearing of the ground for him, the writer could have hardly furnished at last an indisputable New Testament text.
3. The chief aim of this edition, next to that of furnishing a pure text, is to place, as far as possible, the English reader on the same footing with the Greek. This already implies a standard of translation rather different from those commonly accepted, if indeed each translator is not usually a law unto himself. But BIBLE NUMERICS having demonstrated that in the Bible not only the books and their words as well as their order, but the very syllables also and letters, are dealt out by measure as well as weight, new standards are thus set up for the translator: he not being free any longer to avail himself of paraphrase, interpretation, or even of the elsewhere so desirable idiomatics, which latter are here specially quite sure to mislead. Here the translator’s business is first of all to transcribe not what the Divine Author might have said had He written in English, but what He does say in Greek. Accordingly, two problems are at once to be met: How to present the Greek New Testament to the English reader faithfully; and, How to present nevertheless the English so that it shall read not as a foreign but as a native work, not as a translation but as an original work.
4. Subject to the consideration that the meeting of the second problem must always be subordinated to the first, the Authorized Version on the whole leaves only little to be desired with its manner of solution. And any version that does not take it as a basis at once rules itself out of court as incompetent to deal with the problem at hand: the one sound rule being that the Authorized Version be never departed from unless purity of text and faithfulness of rendering demand it. And here the Revised Version is head and shoulders above its competitors, silly (and there is at least one silly one by an entire company, with wisdom enough, however, to withhold their names), or pretentious, but ever inadequate. The work of the Revisers has some grievous faults, since no one can handle the Book other than lamely who is not convinced to his very bones that the Bible is God-breathed, inspired in its every letter. This the Revisers as a body did not believe: two of its noblest members deeming it even needful to go out of their way to speak in print against Verbal Inspiration. But after all is said this still remains: (a) It is still incomparably superior to any other version the writer knows of. (b) Its defects are mere surface defects, disfiguring particles of dust as it were (at times alas! far from odoriferous), which a goodly brushing by skilled hands would readily remove. (c) After nigh thirty years of abuse and neglect it is still the fittest version for public reading, specially if most of its notes are permitted to fade away in the light shed upon them by Bible Numerics.
5. But any version of Scripture, however excellent otherwise, must still fail to render the WORD OF GOD faithfully if it neglect, as all versions have hitherto done, certain details carefully attended to in the present revision. The definite article ό, the, is in the Greek permitted where the English refuses it. Thus the Greek says, Abraham begat the Isaac. But the rendering Abraham begat Isaac, is not a true account of the matter, since the very next word, Isaac begat the Jacob, has not the article. It is fair neither to Author nor to reader, not to apprize the reader that of the two Isaacs side by side one has the article, and the other has not. Unfair to the Author, since Matthew (not to say the Holy Spirit Himself), like any serious writer, may be presumed to have had a reason for such marked distinction. Unfair to the reader, since he has a right to know that in the original a bell as it were is rung to attract his attention: Here, forsooth, give heed, reader, Article here, no article there: a distinction, and it is for thee to find wherein it is.
6. As such cases of the article occur oft on every page, with hardly a paragraph without it, it became imperative to give systematic heed to this distinction. Accordingly the expedient of a colon (:) before a word was adopted as indicating that the article absent in English before that word is present in the Greek. A classic example of this is furnished by the very first two New Testament pages, on almost every line, while a vital example is found in the first verse of the Gospel of John.
7. Akin to this is the frequent unwarranted and even unnecessary use of the article, even by the Revisers, when not in the Greek. In this revision, where rigorous police duty has been kept up against all manner of intruders, special care is given to the English article not found in the Greek. Every article admitted into the present revision was made to give strict account of itself; and if in the absence of a Greek passport it claimed admission on the score of the English need thereof, it was made to don an Italic garb, that none be misled as to its status. Thus the very first line in the New Testament, with only eight words, has foisted upon it, even by the Revisers, as many as four interlopers of the article. The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham, and all this without warning to the reader. The exact Author says a book, not the book. There is another book, or roll, or Genealogy of the Lord in the New Testament. ‘Son of David’ is in the New Testament an official designation of the Christ. Of its fifteen occurrences, fourteen apply to the Lord, Joseph being also thus addressed by the angel for reasons quite obvious. Only thrice has this expression the article. No reason can be given for so needlessly wiping out a distinction kept up in the original.
8. Accordingly, in this Revision the article wanting in the original is inserted only when demanded by the English, and then it appears only in Italic. Examples are frequent: before Lord, Holy Spirit, &c., beginning with Matthew 1:18, 20. The same method is applied to the copula is, are, of which the Greek is more sparing than the English; to the expletive thing after This, these, &c. An instructive example for the copula is furnished by the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:3-11, where the first eight Blesseds are not followed by are, while the ninth is. This distinction is wiped out by even the Revisers.
9. The Greek for thing is πρâγµα. But it never is part of the English Everything, All things, Anything, for which the adjective alone suffices in the Greek. Now it so happens that in at least two passages, Hebrews 10:1 and 11:1 sheer honesty drove the Revisers to put one things in Italics, owing to the fact that the second stands for the real thing, πρâγµα. But the reader is entitled to the same honesty elsewhere. How softly one must tread here in the presence of the WORD OF GOD is readily seen from the fact that the Revisers stumbled at the very first occurrence of πρâγµα, Matthew 18:19, in rendering παντòς πράγµατος anything, not even any thing, as if the word were τι! This slip, not to say blunder, is the more remarkable since only two or three lines before όσα is twice rendered by them whatsoever things: thus needlessly substituting first paper for specie, and then debasing real gold into paper, and all this without the least warning to the reader.
10. “Ανθρωπος ήν means There was a man, as well as A man was; άνθρωπος ήν έκεî thus means, A man was there; and, There was a man there: one there thus being real coin, the other being only a sort of paper currency. The but too frequent occurrence of these illegitimate theres necessitated their being italicized, where they could not be eliminated, to save the reader needless confusion. Other cases of Italics will readily explain themselves. All English words, therefore, which have no corresponding word in the Greek are given here in Italics.
11. Είµί means I am. But έγώ είµί, unless translated, It is I that am, is most conveniently rendered also I am. The emphasis which thus attaches to the additional presence of the personal pronouns with the verb is thus wholly lost. The Revisers only rarely heed these numerous cases. Here the following expedient is adopted: The emphatic pronouns are given in small capitals; thus λέγεις is, thou sayest; but σύ λέγεις is, THOU sayest. This expedient does not apply to the first person singular, where accordingly the emphasis is designated by a note. For the first example of such emphasis see Matthew 1:21, HE. For a vital example of emphasis outside the verb pronouns see the Beatitudes, Matthew 5:3-10, where the THEIRS, THEY, warn the reader that the blessings need be expected by none other.
12. The same person has in the Greek at times not only two different names (like Judas, Thaddeus; Silas, Sylvanus; Prisca, Priscilla, &c.), but the same name has also at times different spellings: Maria, Mariam; Raab, Rachab, &c. In this edition these differences are everywhere retained. For a classic example of the importance of such variations see the cases of Hesrom, Aram, Aminadab, Salmon, and Boes, in Matthew’s Genealogy, which become in Luke Hesron, Arnei, Admein, Sala, Boos: changes without which many features would be wholly lost from the numeric schemes now pervading not only each genealogy separately, but the two when combined into one. The variation of Matthew’s lema in 27:46 from Mark’s lama in 15:34 gives a similar account of itself; and the same is true of cases like James and Jacob, which are only different forms of the same name.
13. Proper names are transliterated from the Greek as nearly as possible, whenever this could be done without pedantry. But as in the Greek the sounds e and o have each two distinct letters, ε, η, ο, ω, the long vowel in such names is designated by ē, ō, but only at the first occurrence of the name. For examples see the first two pages of the New Testament. When a name is already naturalized in the English tongue, it is given in its English equivalent. But at its first occurrence the Greek is given in a note. In this manner the reader is reminded that though ‘Abraham’ correctly represents the Hebrew in the Old Testament, only ‘Abraam’ correctly represents the Greek in the New. In like manner, the names Ίακώβ and Ίάκωβος are only the declinable and indeclinable forms of the one name Jacob. But the declinable form has become naturalized in the English James. It is only proper that the reader be not left in ignorance of the identity of ‘Jacob’ and ‘James’. Where, however, the name has not become naturalized in English, it is transliterated to the nearest English. Hence ‘Phares’, ‘Zara’, rather than Perez, Zerah, &c. Masculines in ας, ης, &c., like Ζαχαρίας, Μανασσής, are best uniformly rendered Zachariah, Manasseh. As to Hebrew names beginning with Iota, regard must be had to the Hebrew letter it represents. If Yod, its equivalent is J; so that Ίερεµίας is Jeremiah, but Ίωβήδ is not Jobed, neither must it be Obed, but Iobed.
14. In Matthew’s Gospel, 1:6, Solomon is begotten έκ τής τού Ούρίου, of her of Uriah. The Authorized and Revised versions render it ‘of her that had been the wife of Uriah’, justly italicizing what is not in the original. Alford and the Baptist version (which the writer regrets to say is not as ‘improved’ as it deems itself to be) retain the phrase without italicizing. The Douai version italicizes only ‘the wife’. Now it is true that when Bathsheba was married to David, Uriah was already dead, and she thus only had been Uriah’s wife. But the Greek tells nothing of this her history. All it tells is that she was Uriah’s dame; but whether wife, daughter, or sister, is here at least left indefinite. Now it is a sound canon of translation, specially of God’s Book, not to mix interpretation with translation. One translator boldly describes the unnamed mother of Solomon as Uriah’s—widow, thus adding to SCRIPTURE, and also wholly missing the eloquence of a most effective bit of Scripture silence. For a reason for keeping Bathsheba in the background, whether as wife, or mother, is to emphasize all the more the terrible sin against URIAH. The offspring of Thamar, the Spirit is almost heard to say here, is bad enough; but her sin was at least not voluntary. Rahab’s is worse, she being harlot by profession. But David’s—the blackness of his sin can be made dark enough only by shutting off all from it, and concentrating the whole luridness on the one name URIAH. And it is into such scenes of sin that the Holy One descended from His glory for the sake of sinful man. . . . But if in is thrust the officious widow, or even wife, corresponding distraction is made from the here all-important Uriah, and forthwith havoc is made of one of the finest Scripture parables thus acted out by its very silence. For the same reason the µετοικεσία Βαβυλώνος of Matthew 1:11, 12, 17, rendered by the Revisers Removal to Babylon, is a permissible interpretation, but not the right translation. As it stands, the phrase ‘the Babylon Removal’, apart from signifying the removal of Babylon itself (which, however, it cannot mean here) may also mean only the removal caused by Babylon. That this city, or even province, was the sole place of deportation may be, but is not necessarily the meaning here. The rendering ‘the Babylon Removal’ leaves the English exactly where the Greek leaves it. So dangerous a thing it is to meddle ever so slightly with the words of—GOD. Uzzah at the Ark is still a warning.
15. In this revision, therefore, what is indefinite in the Greek is left indefinite in English, specially when punctuation is involved. In a few such cases punctuation was even withheld altogether, leaving the reader free to interpret for himself. Help needed here, if any, is given in a note. A striking illustration of the need of safety from even well-meaning Uzzahs is found in Acts 12:25: Βαρνάβας θέ καί Σαύλος ύπέστρεψαν είς Ίερονσαλήµ πληρώσαντες τήν διακονίαν. Now Barnabas and Saul returned to Jerusalem having fulfilled the ministration. The Uzzahs forthwith cry out, This must not be: the return must be from Jerusalem, which is true enough. The Revisers accordingly give it thus. The usually keen-eyed Alford joins them here, with goodly floundering thereover in his notes. And even Westcott & Hort for once lose here their wonted poise, and give from in the margin, though not as a strict alternative, its attestation being rather slender. But a comma after ύπέστρεψαν gives not only the true meaning, but relieves the passage of all difficulty: Now Barnabas and Paul returned, Jerusalemward having fulfilled the ministration. Unto (είς) Jerusalem was not the return, but the ministration: this thought that their ministration is unto Jerusalem, the mother church, dominating this labor of love in more than one passage. This meaning of direction toward in εις is so fundamental that it wholly does away with the notion coming into vogue, that είς into is often interchangeable with έν, in. In profane papyri, with their writing in everyday speech—perhaps, but not in accurate Holy Writ. Πίστις είς Ίησούν (see specially Acts 24:24) is indeed Faith in Jesus, but contemplated only as Trust [put] into Jesus, faith Jesusward, eyes ever toward Him. So that έδίδασκεν είς συναγωγήν cannot mean merely He taught in the synagogue, but He taught [having come] into the synagogue, the thought of having got there being as prominent as the fact of the teaching itself or its place.
16. Great care, therefore, is here taken with the rendering of prepositions. Thus λέγει αύτώ is He tells him, in everyday speech, the English with its working clothes on; He says to him, in somewhat literary speech, the English in promenading dress; but He saith to him is the Sunday attire of the noble Authorized version; but never He saith unto him. For this there is the regular πρός αύτόν quite frequently. This distinction is often wiped out even by the Revisers, who at times even confuse: rendering πρός to, and the bare dative unto. In this revision these and other distinctions are carefully kept up, the only exception being the Lord’s formula λέγω ύµίν, which the writer did not feel free to degrade from the noble, I say unto you, to the plebeian, I say to you.
17. Of similar distinctions the following need be only pointed out: (a) Έθνη, nations, the Revisers often render Gentiles, for which έθνικοί does already excellent service. No good reason can be given for thus confusing things that differ. (b) Όχλος is a crowd, it is πλήθος that is a multitude The Revisers seldom distinguish here, even though in Acts 21:35-36 these two terms are placed almost side by side to warn the reader that distinguished they were meant to be. (c) Both ίδε and ίδού can be correctly rendered either lo, or behold, provided each is given uniformly only one of the two renderings. The Revisers have not heeded here their own protest against the one sin of the Authorized Version of multiplying confusion in such cases. In this revision ίδού is uniformly lo, and ίδε, behold. (d) The phrase Jesus of Nazareth, literally thus, occurs only thrice in the New Testament: Matthew 21:11; Mark 1:9; Acts 10:38. The other eighteen cases are divided thus: In six it is Jesus the Nazarene; in twelve the Nazorean. These distinctions have been kept to.
18. Thus in general this principle has been closely held to: Every Greek word has been uniformly rendered by the same English word, whenever practicable; and, Every English word is made to stand for only one Greek word if possible. In his desire, however, to depart from the Revisers as little as possible, the writer was content, but only for the present, to retain not a few of their inconsistencies here as elsewhere; specially in the case of δέ, where an almost uniform rendering of and is particularly unfortunate. Καί is nearly always safely and; but the Protean δέ, never safely ignored, needs for its proper treatment the apostolic equipment of Matthew 10:16. For an illustration see the Genealogy of Matthew, where the writer felt constrained to render it some forty times by the unusual in turn in order to do at all justice to this most-abused particle.
19. The numerous cases like άποκριθείς είπεν, having answered he said, the Revisers, to avoid such frequent awkwardness, wisely render He answered and said: thus incurring two inaccuracies, an interloping and, and obliterating the participial form. The second is unavoidable, but the first is easily avoidable by italicizing. This has accordingly been done here; and the reader is thus apprized that an Italic and between two verbs designates the first as a participle, as well as its own status as a foreigner.
20. Аίώνιος can be safely rendered eternal, but its noun in είς τόν αίώνα cannot be rendered unto eternity or forever; since eternity, like excellent, admits of no comparison (hence only Excellent Theophilus, or Felix, and not most excellent). Hence the αίών phrases are rendered literally, with their comparative degrees: unto the age, the age of the age (only once, Hebrews 1:8), the age of the ages (only once, Ephesians 3:21), the ages of the ages. These four distinct phrases surely designate four divisions in eternity, but not four kinds of eternities. 21. The writer considers neither himself, nor any single scholar, competent to make a translation worthy of the Book of God. This demands not only a company of Christian folk (and none who approach God other than in the blood of Jesus have right to that name,
maugre the melancholy scene enacted by the Revisers at Westminster) but of a devout, praying, yea, fasting company. And any attempt by any one man to put forth in these days a new English translation of Holy Writ is only, in sorrow be it said, a piece of other than pertinence. The Revised Version even is not itself an original translation, any more than the Authorized: both only carry on a work begun centuries ago and by some of Christ’s own, and continued through the centuries by the like with tears and amidst blood. . . . Not lightly, therefore, does the present writer approach here the task of adding if even only his little to the labors of the goodly fellowship thus gone before him, each to his reward. For the Bible, like the great God Himself, is not to be approached with chatter and clatter and bustle, à la modern ‘Introductions’, Bible Dictionaries, or Cyclopedias Biblical; but with contrite spirit, bruised heart, and prostrate form; but above all with shoes off the feet, rather than shod with the boots of modern ‘criticism’ (euphemism for guessage mostly) of patent leather, and high heeled, and—creaking at that.