How We Got Our Bible

How We Got Our Bible

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by Adlai Loudy

TO TRACE the story of the Sacred Scriptures from the days when the first inspired autographs were made by godly men, divinely chosen for the work, down through the stormy vicissitudes of the centuries, to this era in which we enjoy them in the English language printed and bound in handy book form, is a story without a parallel in the whole range of sacred or secular history. As I have explained before–through the many streams, Hebrew, Chaldee, Greek, Syriac, Latin, Anglo­Saxon–the Sacred Word has flowed increasingly onward.
In the scope of this article, we purpose to deal with versions and translations. Many have the conception that God inspired the King James “Bible.” Not long since a “professor” wrote me saying that the King James version was ninety­nine and four­fifths per cent pure! It is passing strange that men, claiming to be informed, will indulge in such loose statements. Let it be remembered that God inspired the original documents of the Scriptures, but He did not inspire versions made of them by men.

 

VERSIONS

It is a rather appalling condition that so many are ignorant of the fact that there were many versions of the Scriptures made before the King James “Bible.”
Keeping in mind that God inspired the sacred originals in Hebrew, Chaldee, and Greek, we now give our attention to versions made from them. The ancient versions or translations of the Scriptures into the language of the early saints, shows us the “Bible” as used by men, some of whose parents might easily have seen the apostles themselves. They are of great value in determining the original in some instances.

 

THE SYRIAC (ARAMAIC) VERSION

The Syriac or Aramaic Version is the most important, and dates from as early as A. D. 170. It is called the Peshitto, and means a very simple and plain version without the addition of the allegorical or mystical glosses. The people among whom our Lord moved were “bi­lingual,” and this version very nearly represents the dialect used in the familiar talk of the household. However they all understood Greek, which was almost a universal language at that time.

 

THE EGYPTIAN (COPTIC) VERSION

Before the close of the second century A. D., at least two translations of the Scriptures had been made into the Egyptian dialects–the Bohairic and Sahidic.

 

THE GOTHIC VERSION
About 350 A.D., Ulfilas, Bishop of the fierce Gothic tribes, made a version from the Septuagint. This beautiful silver­lettered book, with its leaves of purple parchment, is most precious to the student of language, as the long fragments of the gospels and Pauline epistles contain the oldest specimens of Teutonic literature.

 

THE ARMENIAN VERSION

The translation of the Scriptures into the Armenian language falls between 354-441 A. D. It was begun at Edessa by Mesrop and continued by his nephew of Khoren. It was based on the Septuagint.

 

THE ETHIOPIC VERSION

In the fourth century, missionaries from Tyre evangelized Ethiopia, and by the fifth and sixth centuries A.D., the Scriptures had been translated into Ethiopic.

 

THE LATIN VERSIONS

Several Latin versions saw the light in the early part of the fourth century, but were very imperfect, and, in 383 A. D., Pope Damasus of Rome commissioned Eusebius Hieronymus, better known to us as St. Jerome, to revise the Latin version, which became known as the Vulgate. No other work has had such an influence on the history of the “Bible.” For more than a thousand years it was the parent of every other version of the Scriptures in Western Europe, and its influence is quite perceptible, even in the King James “Bible” of today.

Yet we wish to note just here that, in that day, Jerome’s version was attacked as heretical, revolutionary, and impious, a work that was calculated to undermine the faith of the church! The church people of that day had their old “Bible,” which they venerated highly and believed to be quite correct. Probably the sound of its sentences was as musical in the ears of those who could associate them with the holiest moments of their lives, as the King James “Bible” of today is to us. But Jerome fought his battle, perhaps with more temper than necessary, insisting that no amount of sentiment could be a plea for a faulty “Bible.” In writing to Marcella, he mentions certain poor creatures (homunculos), who studiously calumniate him for his correcting words in the “Gospels.” “I could afford to despise them,” he says, “if I stood upon my rights; for a lyre is played in vain to an ass. If they do not like the water from the pure fountainhead, let them drink of the muddy streams.”
There were multitudes then, as now, who could not apprehend that every new version of the Scriptures was a means divinely used to enlighten mankind as to what God had really spoken. They would cling to their old “Bibles” just as their successors of today cling to the King James Version in preference to the better and more accurate American Standard Revised or some other later version.

 

ENGLISH VERSIONS

We now pass over eight or nine hundred years, bringing us to the twelfth century, which produced several translators and revisionists, but it was not until 1380 that John Wycliffe, with the aid of a staff of competent assistants, gave the English­speaking world the first complete Scripture revision and translation.
In the midst of his labors, he was compelled to stop and stand trial for heresy! One of the charges brought against him was that he had made the Bible common and more open to the laymen and even women (!) than it was wont to be by clergy, well learned and of good understanding, so that “the pearl of the gospel is trodden under foot of swine.” Though fiercely derided and criticized, nevertheless, even in manuscript form, it reached the truth­loving people and was loyally read throughout the kingdom.

 

TYNDALE’S VERSION

In 1525, William Tyndale, a contemporary of Luther, began work on his famous version of the Scriptures. Printing had been invented by this time, and Tyndale wished to put his version into the hands of the people, for, as he says, “It is impossible to establish the lay people in any truth, except the Scriptures be laid before their eyes, in their mother tongue.” But everywhere he encountered discouragement, especially among churchmen, preachers, and bishops! It was a dangerous period for Scripture translation. Men were imprisoned and even executed for reading a copy of Luther’s writings. So Tyndale was forced to leave England to finish his work. Yet after many perilous adventures, this brave revisionist produced at Worms, Germany, about 1526, the first printed English New Testament. An octavo edition of 6000 copies was made and smuggled into England.
The whole world knows the story of Tunstal, Bishop of London buying up and burning Tyndale’s New Testaments at St. Paul’s cross in London. We are informed that the London Bishop, perceiving he could not hinder the version from coming into England, conceived what he termed a “brilliant” idea! He engaged a merchant trading at Antwerp to “buy up all the copies across the waters.” As the Bishop gave the merchant money to buy all the “unsold copies across the waters,” he would take it to Tyndale, who furnished him with a good supply each trip, and used the money to print more! As the version began to reach England more abundantly the Bishop inquired of his merchant friend how this could be. Upon which, the merchant replied: “My lord, were best for your lordship to buy up the stamps too by which they are imprinted.”
The clergymen and bishops throughout the land began frantic pulpit denunciations of the version. Yet in spite of all the opposition, the book was being talked about sought, and read everywhere. One bishop wrote, “It passeth my power, or that of any spiritual man to hinder it now.” The path of the “Bible” was opened at last and no king nor bishop could stay its progress. God’s due time for light to dawn upon England’s long night of error and superstition had arrived.
But the light­bringer did not live to see that day. For long dreary years he had labored for it, a worn, poverty­stricken exile in a far away German town, and now when it came, his life was over–the prison and stake had done their work! And the serious part of the matter to be noted is that the tragedy was schemed and enacted by the clergy and bishops of the church! A traitorous clergyman, by the name of Phillips, won the confidence of the unsuspecting exile, enticing him some distance from his house, where lurking assistants sized and hurried him away to the dungeons of the castle of Vilvorden. It is pitiful, indeed to read of the poor prisoner there, in his cold and misery and rags, writing the governor, begging: “Your lordship, and that by the Lord Jesus, that if I am to remain here during the winter, you will request the procurer to be kind enough to send me from my goods which he has in his possession a warmer cap, for I suffer extremely from perpetual catarrh, which is much increased by this cell. A warmer coat also, for that which I have is very thin; also a piece of cloth to patch my leggings–my shirts too are worn out . . . Also that he would suffer me to have my Hebrew Bible and Grammar and Dictionary.”
There was no hope for escape, and the clerical influence in England was too strong against him to appeal for help in that quarter, and on Friday the sixth of October, 1536, he was strangled at the stake and then burned to ashes, fervently praying with his last words, “Lord open the king of England’s eyes.”
The chief aids Tyndale used were the Greek New Testament of Erasmus (1519, 1522), the German New Testament of Luther (1523) and the Latin Vulgate. All subsequent scholars have done nothing more than improve the details of the translation. He fixed for all subsequent workers the standard of diction and style of the English “Bible.” The vast bulk of the words we still read are his. For example, in his version of John 10:7-10, out of eighty­seven words, the King James retained eight and the Revised Version retained seventy­seven that are identical with the 1525 New Testament of Tyndale.

 

OTHER ENGLISH VERSIONS

About the time Tyndale was martyred, Myles Coverdale compiled a version from five others, yet he followed Tyndale’s lines very closely. Soon after, John Rogers issued what is known as “Matthew’s Bible,” which was almost wholly copied from Tyndale’s version. A little later another Tyndale imitation appeared in what was called “Taverner’s Bible.”
None of these versions were satisfactory to the people, so that about three years after the death of Tyndale, what is known as the “Great Bible” was planned with Coverdale in charge of the work. This famous version, issued by authority of the king, was a compilation from Tyndale, Matthew, and Coverdale, but with Tyndale as the principal basis. So the prayer of the old martyr had been answered!
We will pass over the various revisions of the Scriptures that followed in the next few generations–the principal ones being the “Geneva Bible,” 1560; the “Bishop’s Bible,” 1568, and the “Rheims­Duoay Bible,” 1582-1610–and will come down to the most eventful period of modern history in which the King James “Bible” saw the light.

 

AUTHORIZED VERSION

When King James VI of Scotland became King James I of England, there were three versions of the Scriptures in use. The “Great Bible,” “Geneva Bible,” and the “Bishop’s Bible.” The king, a man of fair abilities, but vain and cherishing to the fullest extent a belief in the “divine right of kings,” resolved to exercise his authority as God’s anointed. So, in order that his dutiful subjects should have a uniform version of the Scriptures, by his kingly power he set aside all three of the versions then in use, and authorized a new revision of the entire Scriptures to be made, which should bear the name of himself–the King James Version.
The next few years saw stirring times in England. The king was twice in peril of his life. The Catholics hatched the infamous “Gun­Powder Plot” to blow up the king and Parliament and pave the way for the restoration of Romanism. The plan was narrowly frustrated. But amid the internal and external turmoil, the people of the united kingdom–Scotland and England–awoke one morning in 1611, to the fact that the one great act of King James’ reign was complete and accomplished–the King James “Bible” had arrived.
It is little known, yet it is an incontrovertible fact, that the Authorized Version of King James was not a translation, but simply a revision of the “Bishop’s Bible.” The translators say in their preface, “Truly, good Christian Reader, we never thought from the beginning that we should need to make a new translation, nor yet to make a bad one a good one, . . . but to make a good one better.”
The scholars of King James’ day did not have access to the treasuries of ancient manuscripts, versions, and quotations which present day scholars possess; they did not have the science of textual criticism which teaches the value and the best methods of dealing with the ancient documents, all of which has sprung up since; neither did they possess the wide and thorough acquaintance with the sacred languages and the ability to distinguish and express the delicate shades of meaning that scholars of today are capable of doing. They were also circumscribed by fourteen rules devised by King James, as to how they should proceed. Some withdrew and refused to serve when the rules were submitted. They had no system by which to effect a true version, but simply trusted to their own judgment in the matter, and when not certain, they simply arrived at an agreement among themselves on their “opinions” and put it in!
When issued, Dr. Broughton, one of the foremost Hebrew scholars of that era, wrote King James. “I would rather suffer my body to be rent in pieces by wild horses than to have such a version forced upon the church.” He also said, “In fifteen verses of Luke 3 (verses 24-38), the translators have fifteen score of idle words to account for in the Day of Judgment.” The italicized words of this chapter are not to be found in the original.

 

NEW VERSIONS

Within a comparatively recent time, so great has been the increase of knowledge concerning ancient lands and languages that Germany, France, Holland, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark have made revisions of their “Bibles.” These were not changes of the original Scriptures themselves, but rectifications of their old translations so they would conform more perfectly and express more exactly the thought of the originals, the meaning and spirit of which had not been understood before.

 

THE REVISED VERSION

The Revised Version was made because of the following reasons given by the Committee: (1) Because the Greek Testament had been carefully studied in the manuscripts and existing authorities, and many weak points in the Authorized Version had thus become evident. (2) Because in the course of nearly three hundred years, words or phrases had become obsolete or changed in meaning. (3) Because Greek and Hebrew scholarship had developed to a much higher degree than was possible in the seventeenth century.
It was objected by some, when the revision was first proposed, that it would be dangerous to unsettle men’s faith by showing them that the old “Bible,” they so reverenced, contained many passages wrongly translated, and some even which had no right to a place in it at all. But our faith should be founded on the divine verities. It is no disparagement if we discover that fallible men in studying and translating these words, have sometimes made mistakes, and it is certainly no honor to the words which we profess to reverence, if we knowingly allow the mistakes to remain uncorrected!
The English work was issued in parts, the New Testament in 1881 and the Old Testament in 1885. A recension of this work, called the American Standard Edition, and embodying many important emendations made by the American Revision Committee, was issued in 1901.
The system used in this work was a two-thirds majority, which often hindered the better and more correct renderings from going into the text, as may be noted by considering the renderings given in the footnotes.

 

MODERN VERSIONS

Many versions have been issued in recent years. All have some good qualities and many have much that is to be deplored. The most important of these are as follows: Wilson’s Diaglott, Ferrar Fenton, Darby, Rotherham, Weymouth, the R.S.V., Moffatt, Phillips, the New English Bible, and the New American Standard.

 

THE CONCORDANT VERSION

The question may be asked, with all the versions enumerated, what room is there for another? This question leads us to the consideration of the Concordant Version of the Sacred Scriptures. More than a half century since, the late A. E. Knoch, an earnest student of the Scriptures, desiring to understand the word of God, made the discovery that practically all solid progress in the recovery of truth during the last century had come through the concordance. He found that tracing words through all their occurrences was the safe and satisfactory method of becoming assured of the real meaning God intended by their use. Thus it was that the idea of a concordant version suggested itself to his mind. No one could honestly object to this method, for it is the only one not based on human scholarship, but on a worshipful recognition of the divine Author’s ability to make Himself understood. The Concordant Version is the only one which practically acknowledges that “All scripture is inspired by God”–literally, “God-spirited” (2 Tim, 3:16), by using a method of translation based on the denial of human ability to sound its depths or scale its heights, and insisting on its superhuman perfection to the minutest detail–considering every element and listening to every letter.

 

A RESTORED GREEK TEXT

The concordant method of studying the Scriptures uses a concordance to discover the meaning of a word, not in any version, but in the original Hebrew, Chaldee, and Greek, and discovers its usage and fixes its signification by its inspired associations, according to the laws of language, and turns it into English. To do this the three great witnesses to the text of Holy Writ, have been used–the Codex Sinaiticus, the Codex Vaticanus, and the Codex Alexandrinus–by which a restored Greek Text has been effected, conforming as closely as possible to the inspired autographs.
A concordance of every form of every Greek word was made and systematized and turned into English. The whole Greek vocabulary was analyzed and translated, using a STANDARD English equivalent for each Greek element. The Greek grammar was entirely revised in accord with the findings made in this task of transcribing into English precisely what God has really revealed in the sacred original. The result of this arduous and exhaustive work is the Concordant Version of the Sacred Scriptures, which is at once scientific, systematic, uniform and consistent–a standard by which all other translations may be tested–truly the most valuable work ever printed. Never before has such earnest endeavor been made to give the people the revelation of God with the unvarying uniformity, consistency, and purity found in the Concordant Version, enabling the reader to establish his faith on divine verities rather than human authority.

 

COMPARISON

Only by comparison can one appreciate the Concordant Version, so we propose a few examples with brief comments for consideration. Let us look at Genesis 1:1,2. As given by the King James “Bible,” it reads:

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth, And the earth was without form and void; and darkness [was] upon the face of the deep.

The way this verse reads, practically all readers get the impression that God created the earth “without form and void.” In the celebrated “Evolution Trial” at Dayton, Tennessee, Mr. Darrow requested of the late Mr. Bryan to describe something that could be created “without form and void!” Scientists have poked fun at the “Bible” because of this statement, and pious reverence for a “book” rather than the truth, constrained them to accept and believe it because it was in there! The Concordant clarifies the matter:

IN A BEGINNING created by God [Elohim] were the heavens and the earth. Yet the earth became a chaos and vacant, and darkness was on the surface of the submerged chaos.

 

That this is the correct rendering, is confirmed by Isaiah 45:18, as given by the American Standard Revised Version, which speaks of the primal creation before the earth “became a chaos and vacant.

For thus saith Jehovah that created the heavens, the God that formed the earth, and made it, that established it and created it not a waste, that formed it to be inhabited: I am Jehovah and there is none else!

This Scripture confirms the truth that the earth was created “not a waste” in the first verse of Genesis, but “to be inhabited,” and at a later date, through some cataclysmic judgment, is disrupted—“becomes waste and sterile, and darkness is on the surface of the abyss.” Compare Jeremiah 4:23-26 and 2 Peter 3:5,6.
In John 20:1, the King James reads:

“The first day of the week . . .”

It is little known to Christendom that this is a “bogus” translation foisted upon the church by the translators, a “camel” that has been swallowed by scholars and students alike. The writer had a well-meaning brother in the Lord, who became so concerned about me and my teaching that he traveled a long distance to go over the matter with a view to readjusting me in the truth. After patiently listening to all that he had to say, I suggested a few things to him, one of which was the fact that the Scriptures, correctly translated, knew nothing about “the first day of the week.” He threw up his hands in astonishment that I would make such an irreverent indictment of the “Bible!” After facing the facts. He apparently preferred “error” to the truth, as he made no attempt to reply and quit the subject without any explanation whatever.
The original, in all three of the oldest manuscripts, reads: mia ton sabbaton, ONE OF THE SABBATHS. Our translators presumed to know more than the great Author and corrupted the word of God. They altered “one” to read “first,” inserted the word “day,” for it is not in the original and is not needed in the translation, and changed “sabbaths” to the singular “week.” Can one imagine a more perfidious and deceptive act of man? It truly is repugnant to those who reverently regard the original as the very word of God, and want it to speak to them as He was pleased to give it.
In Acts 2:40 we read:

And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, save yourselves from this untoward generation.

It has been my experience to sit and listen to a great preacher use this as a text to preach a “self­help,” “boot­strap” salvation sermon. In his superficial knowledge of God’s word, he little realized he was “despoiling” the saints “through philosophy and empty seduction, in accord with human tradition, in accord with the elements of the world, and not in accord with Christ,” in Whom they are complete (Col. 2:8-17). The passage should read:

Besides with more and different words, he conjures and entreated them, saying, “Be saved from this crooked generation.”

In Acts 19:2 the Authorized Version reads:

Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?

Due to the sense conveyed by this incorrect translation, a false and misleading philosophy has been deduced to despoil the saints, causing them to look for some marvelous “second blessing.” It should read:

Did you obtain holy spirit when believing?

It is a condition that does not apply to us today; it belongs to the Pentecostal Administration, covered by the book of Acts. In this Secret Administration of God’s grace, Paul says: “In whom you also—when hearing the word of truth, the evangel of your salvation—in Whom when believing also, you are sealed with the holy spirit of promise (which is an earnest of the enjoyment of our allotment, until the deliverance of that which has been procured) for the laud of His glory” (Eph.1:13,14).
In Romans 1:16,17 Paul speaks of not being ashamed of the evangel and states, as given by the King James Version:

For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith.

Again in chapter 3:22, they translate:

Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe.

The grand truth God has been pleased to reveal in these Scriptures has been beclouded and covered over by the translators. They should read:

For in it [the evangel] God’s righteousness is revealed out of faith for faith.

Yet a righteousness of God, through Jesus Christ’s faith, for all and on all who are believing.

Our translators apparently did not believe that the Lord Jesus Christ had faith, and glossed it over in these passages to accord with their opinions. Christ is called “the Inaugurator and Perfecter of faith” (Heb.12:2), for He not only did good and kept the law, but He believed God even when He smote Him for our sins. Therefore, the righteousness of God is revealed “out of faith for faith,” that is, “through Jesus Christ’s faith for all and on all who are believing.”
The Authorized Version renders Romans 7:24 thus:

O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Since the King James “Bible” was made, this question has been read and reread by the saints of God, but the answer has been lacking. THE CONCORDANT VERSION, following the editor of Sinaiticus, restores the answer that has been lost all these years. It reads:

A wretched man I am! What will rescue me out of this body of death? Grace! Now I am thanking God, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

They render Romans 8:30 thus:

Moreover, whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified.

This verse is full of difficulties to the close student of the Scriptures. The “did predestinate” cannot be questioned, but how can Paul say that these were called (in the past) when Romans was penned? If this is strictly true, then we have no place in this Scripture, for we were not called until the far future from that time! The concordant method discovered that the Greek “aorist” was an indefinite, changing acts to facts, transforming deeds into truth. Notice how simply and grandly the whole passage responds to a true translation:

Now whom He disignates beforehand, these He calls also, and whom He calls, these He justifies also; now whom He justifies, these He glorifies also.

The whole transaction is taken out of time and circumstance into the higher realm of eternity and truth. There is no confusion created with the time the epistle was written. The rendering blends beautifully with the great truth of the chapter, and imparts permanence and majesty to God’s method of drawing us to Himself.
Consider 2 Corinthians 8:1:

Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia.

We might as well quote the Greek in this verse and expect people to understand it today as to quote it as rendered by the King James here. Let us note the understanding, immediately, by the Concordant Version:

Now we are making known to you, brethren, the grace of God which has been bestowed in the ecclesias of Macedonia.

Note the reading of Ephesians 1:3:

Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ . . .

In the early years of the writer’s experience with the Scriptures, the rendering “heavenly places” or “heavenlies” gave no little trouble as to its meaning. I waded through the works of the great expositors of the “Bible,” figuratively speaking, but got little save “weariness of the flesh.” But let us note the light unfolded in the Concordant Version:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who blesses us with every spiritual blessing among the celestials, in Christ . . .

In Christ, we are blessed with every spiritual blessing among the vast host of celestial beings in heaven—the celestials.
An important passage is Ephesians 3:5-7:

Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto His Holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that the gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel: whereof I was made a minister.

The wonderful truth of this passage is lost to Christendom through faulty translation and punctuation. As it stands, it says the revelation was made known “by the Spirit.” But in what way is revelation made known other than “by the spirit?” Hence, there is no purpose accomplished by stating the fact here. And again, the gentiles are said to become “partakers of the promise in Christ by the gospel: whereof I was made a minister,” destroying the sense of the revealed truth in this passage also. The Concordant Version clarifies the matter:

Which is not made known to other generations of the sons of humanity as it was now revealed to His holy apostles and prophets: in spirit the nations are to be joint partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the evangel of which I became the dispenser.

The careful student will observe that this passage is concerned with making known the truth that the “nations” become “joint” allottees, and a “joint” body, and “joint” partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus “in spirit,” rather than how the revelation was given. All revelation is “by the spirit,” be it remembered. Furthermore, they become partakers of these blessings “through the evangel of which Paul was made the dispenser.”
Another text is 1 Timothy 3:16:

And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

This seems to be a favorite text of many preachers who talk much and think little. Concordantly translated it reads:

And avowedly great is the secret of devoutness, which was manifested in flesh, justified in spirit, viewed by messengers, proclaimed among the nations, believed in the world, taken up in glory.

Not only is the manuscript evidence against reading “God manifest in flesh,” but other considerations force us to the same conclusion. In the typical teaching of the tabernacle, the “veil” represented His flesh (Heb.10:20). Yet the “veil” did not reveal. But rather hid the divine presence. It could not be said to manifest it. The phrase “justified in spirit” is very inapt when applied to Christ. The “proclamation among the nations” is out of place, as no such ministry was attempted until long after He had been “taken up in glory.”
The whole passage is concerned with conduct. The secret of devout conduct is traced in its various manifestations in those who are its subjects. It should be manifested in flesh by ideal acts which it produces, it enjoys justification in spirit, is the subject of angelic inspection (Eph.3:10), is proclaimed among the nations, and will be removed from the world before the Lord appears to judgment.
The Revised Version of 2 Timothy 1:9 reads:

Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before times eternal.

If “time” is eternal, as the Revised Version translators have made it here, the psychological puzzle remains to be solved as to how something could take place “before” it! The King James says “before the world began.” This, in a way, expresses more clearly the truth than the Revised Version. The original is speaking of “times” aionion, that is, “eonian.” It should read:

Who saves us and calls us with a holy calling, not in accord with our acts, but in accord with His own purpose and the grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before eonian times.

“Before eonian times” shows conclusively that the “eon,” or “ages,” were not eternal in the past, but had a definite beginning. In fact, the Scriptures reveal that “time” has three grand divisions, “Pre-Eonian Times,” “Eonian Times,” and “Post-Eonian Times.” The “Eonian Times,” or the “times of the eons,” is bounded in the past by the “beginning” and in the future by the “consummation.” Before the “beginning” was the “Pre-Eonian Times,” and after the “consummation” will be the “Post-Eonian Times.”
A problem is presented in Hebrews 9:26:

But now once in the end of the world hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

This clearly and unequivocally states that the “world ended” when Christ was manifested in His sacrifice! It is appalling to see the contortions preachers and expositors go through, in order to justify this faulty translation. The Concordant Version clarifies the matter:

yet now, once, has He been manifested through His sacrifice, for the repudiation of sin at the conclusion of the eons.

 

There is no need of explanation here. What we need is faith to believe what is revealed. How can anyone believe Hebrews 11:1?

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

“Faith” is neither “substance” nor “evidence,” as it is rendered in this passage. Faith is intangible, the very opposite of substance. It cannot become “substance” without being transmuted into sight, and is no longer faith. Later versions changed “substance” to “confidence,” yet this is not at all suitable for some of the other contexts where the word occurs. The Concordant Version renders it uniformly:

Now faith is an assumption of what is being expected, a conviction concerning matters which are not being observed.

 

The word “assumption” fits every passage in which this word occurs, and opens up a marvelous vista of truth. Faith assumes that to be truth which it expects to become fact in the future. The Authorized Version of Revelation 1:1 reads:

The Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave unto Him to show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass.

Christendom is groaning under the burden of the many expository works that have been written on Revelation. And there are nearly as many expositions as there have been books written. The writer spent ten years preparing a treatise on the book, which was withdrawn just before going to press and destroyed. This was done because he became acquainted with what the Lord had really revealed, and could do nothing less than follow His word. It should read:

The Unveiling of Jesus Christ, which God gives to Him, to show to His slaves what must occur swiftly.

“What must occur swiftly”—not soon, but with speed. This is made more luminous by going entirely away from this setting and finding where the same word is used again in the original and seeing its meaning there. On the morning of the resurrection, John and Peter started together, but John ran more swiftly(not “shortly”) than Peter (John 20:4). If this prophecy started soon after John wrote, it has moved very slowly indeed. When it does commence, it will run with great rapidity. God lingers in dispensing grace, but hastens in executing judgment. This calls for an entirely future fulfillment of Revelation, after the “full complement of the nations may be entering” (Rom.11:25-27).

 

COMPARISON OF VERSIONS

Having shown many examples of how standardized, consistent translation opens God’s Word to our understanding, we will now quote one more verse—1 Corinthians 10:13 —as rendered in the original editions of eight versions, that we may note the improvements made in spelling, punctuation, diction, etc., over a period of about five hundred years.

WYCLIFFE—1380

temptacioun take not zou’ but mannes temptacioun’ for god is trewe whiche schal not suffre zou to be temptid aboue that that ze moun’ but he schal make with temptacioun also puruyaunce that ze moun suffre.

TYNDALE—1534

There hath none other temptacioon taken you’ but soche as followeth the nature of man. But God is faythfull’ which shall not suffer you to be tempted above youre strength: but shall in the myddes of the temptacion make awaye to escape out.

CRANMER—1539

Ther hath none other temptacyon taken you, but soche as followeth the nature of man. But God is faythfull whych shall not suffer you to be tempted aboue youre strength: but shall in the myddes of the temptacion make a waye, that ye may be able to beare it.

GENEVA—1557

There hath none other tentation taken you, but such as appartayneth to man: but God is faithful, which shal not suffer you to be tempted aboue your stengthe: but shal in the middes of the tentation make away, that ye may be able to beare it.

RHEIMS­DUOAY—1582

Let not tentation apprehend you, but humane, and God is faithful, vvho vvil not suffer you to be tempted aboue that vvhich you are able: abut vvil make also vvith tentation issue, that you may be able to susteine.

AUTHORIZED (King James)—1611

There hath no temptation taken you, but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted aboue that you are able: but wil with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may bee able to beare it.

AMERICAN STANDARD REVISED—1901

There hath no temptation taken you but such as man can bear: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation make also the way of escape, that ye may be able to endure it.

CONCORDANT VERSION—1976

No trial has taken you except what is human. Now faithful is God, Who will not be leaving you to be tried above what you are able, but, together with the trial, will be making the sequel also, to enable you to undergo it.

It is evident that God does not make “a way of escape.” As many of his saints have found by experience. If He did, why or how could that enable them to bear it? They could not endure it if He took them out of it! He makes the sequel. All the great examples of trial were sustained by the contemplation of the blessed outcome which they were designed to produce.

CONCLUSION

These examples could be multiplied many times, but this will suffice to show that we should be very careful about building divisive articles, dogmas and doctrines on such imperfections, as are manifest in these older versions. Since the King James “Bible” was issued in 1611, some forty new dictionaries have been issued to keep pace with the growth and changes in the English language. The English and American revision committees made 36,191 changes —rectifications — of the King James Version that more closely conform to the original, after which President Schaff said the work was still far from perfect!
One deplorable condition that has arisen, is that of making a god out of a book (the King James “Bible” ) rather than finding God through His revelation. Paul admonishes Timothy to “hold fast to a pattern of sound words which you hear from me” (2 Tim.1:13). Now if it was necessary for Timothy to hold fast to the particular Greek expressions given by Paul, how are we to fulfill this admonition with a version like the King James, both inconsistent and inaccurate in its translation?
Regardless of how much we may prize the King James “Bible” for its sacred memories, when we know that it does not bear out the final and crucial test of faithfulness to the original text, we should not be slow in discarding it for a newer and more accurate version. Truth lovers desire that the old Hebrew and Greek writings should speak to them as they spoke to their first readers in the days of the apostles, freed from the human traditions imposed upon them by later eras, and from unconscious errors of imperfect scholarship. Regardless of sacrifice, we should ever seek for the version that will give the clearest and purest expression of the original. A version that fails to meet this demand may serve the needs of a few for sentimental purposes, but it will fail to fill the hearts of a wider humanity who love the truth so deeply they will be satisfied only with a version that expresses exactly what God has really spoken.

 

Adlai Loudy ‘God’s Eonian Purpose’ pp 29-53

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