The English Version Of The New Testament, And The Marginal Readings -- By: Charles F. Schaeffer

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 026:103 (Jul 1869)
Article: The English Version Of The New Testament, And The Marginal Readings
Author: Charles F. Schaeffer


The English Version Of The New Testament, And The Marginal Readings

Charles F. Schaeffer

The history both of the ancient, and of the modern versions of the Greek Testament, is deeply interesting. It furnishes us with new views of “the grace of God that bringeth salvation, and hath appeared to all men,” and teaches us to admire the ways of the Providence of Him “who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” After the Gospel had been proclaimed in lands in which other languages than the Greek prevailed, various translations of the New Testament were successively made, in order to supply a want which the believing heart deeply felt. Similar causes rendered a translation into the English language absolutely necessary. It is true that Popery almost invariably placed impediments in- the way of a translation of the Holy Scriptures into a modern language; but a higher power defeated its unholy plans, and the work of translating the Bible into various tongues is still continued with wonderful success.

All those who have attempted to produce a faithful translation of the Scriptures in a modern language, have complained of the extraordinary difficulties which they en-

countered, far surpassing those with which the translator of a Latin or Greek classic author must contend. These embarrassments of the translators of the Old or New Testament are well known, and need here no special statement. But the position of the later translators presented advantages which their predecessors could not possibly enjoy. When, for instance, the German version of the New Testament, now in common use, and published at Wittenberg in 1522, was made by Luther, he struggled with difficulties, of which some had ceased to be equally formidable, and others had almost entirely disappeared, eighty-nine years afterwards, when, in 1611, our present “Authorized Version” first appeared. A comparison of the text of the latter with that of Tyndale’s first edition of 1526 discloses the fact that the grammatical structure and other features of the English language had, during the intervening eighty-five years, acquired a stability and wealth which time and unusually propitious circumstances alone could furnish.

The English translators of the reign of King James were also fortunate in other respects. The ancient languages were studied with unusual success in their day, and many eminent scholars afforded them substantial aid. They had, moreover, the “former translations,” mentioned on their title-page, before them in their own language, and thereby found their labors greatly facilitated. Nevertheless, they were often embarrassed in deciding on the rendering of a Hebrew or Greek word or...

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