Some Merits of the American Standard Bible -- By: William M. Langdon

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 070:279 (Jul 1913)
Article: Some Merits of the American Standard Bible
Author: William M. Langdon


Some Merits of the American Standard Bible

William M. Langdon, M.A.

Since the American Standard Bible, which will celebrate its twelfth anniversary on August 26th, is still unacceptable to many readers, the attention of those who make the two objections most frequently urged against it is invited to the following suggestions.

I. Paragraph, Instead of Verse, Form.

One objection has reference to the fact that its matter has been printed in logical, paragraph form, like modern books and periodicals. Professor Moulton has said of the King James Version that it is “the worst printed book in the world”! Modern printers of the sacred writers have endeavored to give them the advantage of all known devices for representing thought on the printed page. An analysis of the thought of the writer is essential to its comprehension; and this analysis is expressed partly in the division into logical paragraphs. If you dash a beautiful vase on the ground, you break it into a myriad fragments and destroy its beauty. Can then Moses and Paul and their collaborators feel grateful to the mediaeval blunderers who marred the beauty of their writings by breaking them up into bits,— into illogical divisions of chapter and verse? One would not

thank the tailor who brought home a suit in a multitude of strips a few inches in size, instead of in the logical divisions of coat and skirt. Imagine then the feelings of an author who sent the pet child of his brain to a publisher and later sees it mutilated in Bible-verse style; of a teacher whose pupil brings him a composition divided in like fashion; of a friend who receives a letter thus written; or a reader who opens his morning paper to find his daily news served up like minced meat! What an insult to one’s intelligence! And then think of the complacency with which the world reads its sacred classic from such a page; yes, marvel at the perverted taste which demands that the publishers shall thus print it!

It is true that the minute division of such a classic is necessary for purposes of reference. But this division is effectively accomplished by marginal or inserted numerals, which do not vitiate the logical representation of the thought, as do the senseless divisions into uniform verses and ill-marked chapters.

A corollary to this objection comes from those who think this Version unsuited for responsive reading, and who have not considered the uses for which different portions of Scripture were intended. Mr. Marion Lawrance, in replying to an inquiry about concert reading in the Sunday school, assumes the advisability of reading the lessons responsively. This mode of reading has long been customary in public and soci...

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