The New Testament Revision -- By: Frederic Gardiner

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 038:151 (Jul 1881)
Article: The New Testament Revision
Author: Frederic Gardiner


The New Testament Revision1

Rev. Frederic Gardiner

The book which most nearly touches the deepest interests of the whole human race is now, after years of expectation, placed before the English-speaking world in a carefully revised translation. It is issued in great variety of size and binding to suit all tastes and purses, and in all of them with the greatest perfection of the typographical art. It has the charm, novel to the larger number of its readers, of being arranged in a form convenient to be read, not broken up into the modern abomination of separate verses, and the paragraphing; has been admirably done. In these days of reputed “decline of faith,” it is cheering to find that 2,000,000 copies were immediately called for in England, and that American publishers also have judged it to their profit to put forth with all speed a great number of editions. The New Testament has never in the history of the ages found such an innumerable body of readers as in the days immediately following the 20th of May,

In speaking of the work, it must first of all be assumed that some revision of the “Authorized Version “was called for. The question of its necessity was discussed for many years by many able writers, and became so much a res adjudicata that even a body as conservative as the Convocation of Canterbury was ready to take the initiative; while a large number of distinguished scholars, both in England and America, were willing to devote for ten years a large amount of their time and thought and labor to the task. It is unneces-

sary now to repeat the arguments which have justified so much toil; the question is not, whether a revision is needed, but, whether the present work has been well done.

The object of any revision is to present the writings of the New Testament to the English reader more nearly in the exact language of the writer, and success in accomplishing this must be the main test of its value. Other considerations, however, cannot be neglected, and in view of the present position of the Authorized Version, the rules laid down by the Convocation of Canterbury through its Committee were obviously wise, that no alteration should be made in its language except when it should be judged necessary, and “that in such necessary changes, the style of the language employed in the existing version be closely followed.”

The first question before the revisers when they entered upon their task must have been, What Greek text shall be followed? That they could not honestly confine themselves to the Textus Receptus was self-evident. Had they attempted to do so, a further question...

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