Bands and Cords
by Glenn Conjurske
A Sermon Preached on January 5, l992, Recorded, Transcribed,
Open with me to the second Psalm. Why do the heathen rage, and the
people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and
the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed,
saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from
Let's pray. Father, I pray that this morning you will anoint me with the
power of the blessed Holy Spirit of God, and enable me to preach the Word
of God this morning. Oh God, I pray that you will warm my heart with the
precious things of the gospel of Christ, and enable me to preach them
as they need to be preached here this morning in order to accomplish your
work. Oh Father, use this holy Word of God this morning to actually do
your work by it. Amen.
Now, there's a question in the scripture that I read to you this morning.
It begins with a question. WHY? I'm going to first dilate a little
bit on that question, and then answer it for you. Why do the heathen rage,
and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his
----that is, against his Christ. Against his Messiah.
Here we've got the kings of the earth and the rulers of the people, and
of course the people themselves, gathered together against the Lord, and
against his Christ. We've got the people raging against the Lord, and
against his Christ. We've got the people imagining vain things against
the Lord, and against his Christ. And the text begins with, Why? Why would
anybody set themselves against the Lord? Who is the Lord? Well, he is
the God of all encouragement. He is the God of all grace. He is the God
whose mercy endureth forever. He's the God concerning whom the Scriptures
say, Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down
from the Father of lights. He is the God who loved the world and gave
his only begotten Son
----so loved the world that he gave his only begotten
Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting
life. Who is his Christ? He is the Christ who loved me, and gave himself
for me, who went to the cross to save my soul. He is the Christ who says,
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give
you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, and ye shall find
rest for your souls. He is the one who stood in the last day of the
feast and cried, and said, If any man thirst, let him come unto me and
drink. As the Scripture hath said, He that believeth on me, out of his
belly shall flow rivers of living water. He is the Christ who stood
beside the well at the noon day and talked to the poor, corrupt woman
who was there, and said to her, If you had known who it is that speaks
to you, you would have asked of him, and he would have given you living
Now the question rings in our ears, Why? Why would the whole human race
rage against this God, and against his Christ? Why would they imagine
vain things against this God, and against his Christ? Why? This is the
God who created this wonderful earth that we live in. He's the God who
put every beautiful-colored feather into the birds that flit about us,
and put the beautiful songs into their throats. Some day when you stand
outside and listen to a mocking bird sing song after song after song,
never two alike, there you see the hand of God. Can't do that in this
latitude, but you can listen to a thrasher or a catbird, and they sing
about the same way. The God who put every beautiful-colored scale into
the wing of the butterfly, and dozens of different kinds of them. What
for? Why did God do that? Do you think God did that for skunks and turtles
to look at. Or was that for the eye of man? The God who filled the paradise
with delicious fruits for the man to eat, whose goodness and love is manifest
everywhere in his creation. Why would the human race rage against him?
Why would the human race set themselves against the Lord and against his
Christ? The God whose name is love, who created love
----whether it's the
love of parents and children, whether it's romantic love, whether it's
the love for that newborn baby that you hold in your arms, or the love
of a close friend ----God created that. You know what it is. You know how
to enjoy it. So does the rest of the human race. Why would they rage against
this God, and imagine vain things against him?
Now let me tell you, there is an answer to this question. We have read
it. We'll read it again in a minute. The human race doesn't have anything
against all of the good things that God lavishes out upon them. In fact,
they're glad to take all those things from God's hand. Not thankful, but
still glad to take all those things from God's hand. In fact, if they
don't get quite enough of it they tend to blame God for it. But why is
it that the human race will have to do with a God who has lavished out
his love upon them
----it's visible everywhere, in the lower creation,
and in our own selves ----it's visible in this book, and it's visible in
the cross of Christ ----nobody has any argument with God on that score,
and yet in spite of all of God's love and goodness, the human race rages
against him, imagines vain things against him, and sets itself against
Now if you'll read in the next verse, it will answer that question, Why
do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? Why do the kings
of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against
the Lord and against his Christ? This is the counsel that they take. They
say, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from
us. BANDS AND CORDS! This is what the human race has against God. The
human race is just like your little rebellious three year old. He's glad
to have Mommie bake him a batch of cookies. He's glad to have Mommie buy
him a new toy
----glad to have Mommie tuck him into bed at night ----gald
to have Mommie there when he's afraid and cries during the night ----glad
to have the good warm supper that she cooks for him and the good warm
clothes that she dresses him in ----but he doesn't want her to tell him
what to do. Bands and cords. Bands that tie us down. Cords that bind us ----that
restrict us, and inhibit us, and limit us, and tell us, This is what
you must do, and this you can't do. That is what the human race has
against God, and that is the answer to this question, WHY ----why do the
heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The human race doesn't
have anything against all the good things that God has created, and that
the hand of God lavishes out upon them, filling our hearts with food and
gladness, as Paul says. It doesn't have anything against that. It's the
bands and cords. It doesn't have anything against the love which God has
created. Happy to enjoy that. And you know, the whole world is capable
of this ----knows how to enter into it. One of our own dear sisters spoke
a little bit ago of the ecstasy of holding her new little baby girl. Well,
the whole world feels that. But they don't glorify the God that gave the
little baby. They don't have anything against the little baby. It's the
bands and cords they don't want. Don't want the Thou shalt's and the Thou
shalt not's. Don't want the strait gate. Don't want the narrow way. Very
happy to take everything that God's hand lavishes out upon them, but they
say, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from
You know, when Adam and Eve were in the garden of Eden, they certainly
didn't have any quarrel with God over all the delicious fruits which he
had provided for their taste, but it was the bands and cords. Maybe I
should just say the band. He only gave them one commandment, and they
decided to take that one band that God had given them and break it
away his cords from them, and so plunge themselves and all of their heirs
into all of the misery that the world is now in.
The prodigal son, you know, manifested exactly this same spirit. He said,
Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. You know
what we see in that? Just a perfect picture of the whole human race. Everybody
knows how to pray when they want something. Father, give me the portion
of goods that falleth to me
----thought he had something coming from
God, thought he deserved it. The portion of the goods that falleth to
me. It's my right ----my inheritance ----just give it to me. That's the
way the human race treats God. Every good thing they happen to want, they
think it's their right, and they know how to pray for that. Oh, but he
didn't want the bands and the cords! He wanted everything good and pleasant
that his father could load upon him. He wanted the money bags ----but he
didn't want his father's authority. So when his father gave him the portion
of goods that he had his heart set upon, not many days after ----he
had to wait a few days, you know, to try to make it look good ----he gathered
all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted
his substance with riotous living. A perfect picture of the human race.
The human race doesn't have any objection to receiving the fresh air that
God gives them to breathe
----doesn't have any objection to receiving the
cold water that he gives them to drink ----doesn't have any objection to
receiving the turkey dinner, or the roast beef, or any other good thing
which God has created for them to eat ----but they take their journey into
a far country, and eat it there, and breathe God's air there, and drink
his water there. They don't want his bands and his cords. Don't want God
saying, Thou shalt, and Thou shalt not.
This is the spirit of the whole world. Let us break their bands asunder,
and cast away their cords from us. This is where the human race is,
by nature, by choice, by practice. You want to get back to God? Well,
you've got to take those bands and those cords back upon you. You know
Christ says, Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden
as it may be translated, all ye that are weary and burdened down ----with
the cares and troubles of life, or with a guilty conscience ----he says,
Come unto me, all ye that are weary and burdened down, come to me, and
I will give you rest. But the next verse says, Take my yoke upon you ----submit
to the bands and the cords ----put your neck back under my authority, and
let me rule over you ----and ye shall find that rest for your souls.
Now God in this scripture (Psalm 2) particularly addresses the kings of
the earth. It says, The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers
take counsel together against the Lord, and against his Christ, saying,
let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
It happens all the time, every day in the legislatures all over this country.
It seems that the purpose of the legislatures that are sitting is to break
the bands of God and cast away his cords from us. I've observed this for
years in the laws that the legislatures in this land make (generally now,
I'm not saying in every instance, but generally), the trend is to give
the people more and more liberty to do that which is wrong, and less and
less liberty to do that which is right. Legislatures convened in solemn
sessions to make laws for the land, and what they are doing is breaking
the bands of the Lord and casting his cords away from them.
Well, it says (verse 4), He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh:
the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in
his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. And when he speaks
to them in his wrath, this is what he says, Yet have I set my king upon
my holy hill of Zion. You kings and rulers of the earth, that have set
yourselves against the Lord and against his Christ, and have determined
to break his bands and cast his cords away from you, you're not getting
anywhere. God says, I have set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
And then this king speaks. He says in verse 7, I will declare the decree:
the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten
thee. Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance,
and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. In other words,
all of the vain things that the heathen rulers have imagined are indeed
vain. They're not going to overthrow the authority of God, or take his
throne from him. God is going to set his king on his holy hill of Zion,
and have them in derision, and laugh them to scorn, and he is going to
give to his king all the nations in the uttermost parts of the earth.
And verse 9, these are the instructions that he gives to his king: Thou
shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like
a potter's vessel. A potter's vessel is a piece of pottery, a clay vessel.
Here we have the human race in its present condition, raging against the
Lord and against his Christ, imagining vain things, determined to cast
away God's cords and to break his bands asunder
----content to take the
portion of the goods that falleth to them, every good thing that God gives ----breathe
his air, drink his water, eat his food, walk on his earth, enjoy the love
and the friendship that he has created ----but break his bands asunder,
and cast his cords from them.
God says he will laugh you to scorn, have you in derision. You're not
going to get anywhere. God is going to set his king on his holy hill of
Zion, and the first thing that his king is going to do when he takes the
authority over this earth is to take a rod of iron and break the people
in pieces like a potter's vessel. You want to go your own way, and break
the commandments of God, break his bands, and cast away his cords from
you? Here is your destiny, spelled out for you. You are just a vessel
----a frail little cup or vase of clay ----and God's king is coming
with a rod of iron, to break you in pieces.
But verse 10 says, Be wise NOW, therefore, O ye kings; be instructed,
ye judges of the earth
----and all of you who have followed the kings
and judges of the earth, and gone your own way, and broken the bands of
the Lord, and cast his cords away from you, be wise NOW. You see,
we change here from the future tense. Verse 9, Thou shalt break them
with a rod of iron. Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.
This is what the Lord's Christ will do when he comes back. He will execute
judgement upon all the ungodly, and break them in pieces with a rod of
iron. But now ----there's a little time left before he comes back to do
this, and he says, Be wise now, therefore, O ye kings; be instructed,
ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath
is kindled but a little. Kiss the Son means to be reconciled to
him. Come to him, and take his yoke upon you. Say, I'm all done breaking
God's bands. I'm all done casting his cords from me. I come back to
God as a humble penitent, and I say, God, just lay those bands and those
cords back on me. Put your yoke on my neck. I'm going to serve you. I'm
not going to go my own way any more ----not going to do as I please ----not
going to break your commandments. Lay those bands and those cords upon
me. Just tie me up tight. Bind me on a short chain. Don't let me run all
over the field and do as I please. I'm going to serve the Lord with fear.
That's what being wise is. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of
wisdom. (Prov. 9:10). Be wise now, therefore
----while there is still
a little time before that promised judgement falls. Be wise now. Take
those bands and those cords back upon yourself. Lest he be angry.
Oh! this same God who created all the good things that are all around
you, who gives you the fresh air to breathe, and fills your heart with
food and gladness ----this same God is angry to be so spurned and slighted
and trampled upon by ungrateful wretches. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry,
and YE perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little.
When man, woman, or child says, I am going to break God's bands asunder ----I'm
going to cast his cords away from me ----I'm not going to be tied down
and restricted and inhibited and restrained, God's wrath is kindled,
and it will burn even to the nethermost hell.
But let's turn again to the other side. Blessed are all they that put
their trust in him. Blessed means happy. The way to happiness is the
way of holiness. To put your trust in him does not mean merely to believe,
while you go on breaking his bands and casting away his cords. It can't
mean that. We do not have one little sentence tacked on to the end of
this Psalm in order to contradict everything else in it. No, this final
sentence is to confirm all the rest. And that it in fact does confirm
all the rest is as plain as the noonday sun to anyone who understands
what faith is. The man who has faith in God never will cast away his cords
or break his bands asunder. He trusts God
----trusts that God is good,
trusts that God's commandments are good, trusts that God loves him and
cares for him, and trusts, therefore, that to submit to the bands and
cords of the Lord is the best way to secure his own good, and his own
happiness. Any faith which can cast away the bands and cords of the Lord
is no faith in God, but faith in the world, the flesh, and the devil ----confidence
that the devil is more able, or more willing, to give happiness than God
is, faith that there is more good in sin than there is in the will of
God, trust in the world to give me that fulfillment which I do not expect
to find in God and all his ways. This is faith in the devil. This is the
faith which moved Eve when she ate the forbidden fruit. By this faith
the multitudes walk the broad way to destruction. They believe there is
good in the broad way. They believe there is happiness in sin. Faith in
God leads men without fail in the opposite direction ----to submit to the
bands and cords of the Lord, however unpleasant they may be to the flesh,
in confidence that this is the sure way to secure all of their own best
interests. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.
William Tyndale on the Conditions of
written and compiled by the editor
William Tyndale was unquestionably Lutheran so far as it concerns the
doctrine of justification by faith only. In his first doctrinal treatise,
The Parable of the Wicked Mammon, published in 1527, he sets forth this
doctrine forcefully, and even wrests a number of scriptures from their
plain sense in order to maintain the doctrine. Yet in spite of this doctrinal
weakness and one-sidedness, he never dreamed that any man who continued
in sin was saved. He never did descend to the stark antinomianism which
is so commonly preached today, but always insisted upon the fact that
none but the righteous are saved, and that the mercy of God in Christ
is extended to us only on condition of our actual submission to God to
do his will and keep his commandments. Though he may have seemed to deny
this when engaged in doctrinal controversy with the Romanists, yet when
he spoke as a faithful shepherd of souls he was always careful to maintain
In his Brief Declaration of the Sacraments he writes, Matthew, in the
twenty-sixth, thus saith: `When they were eating, Jesus took bread, and
gave thanks, and brake, and gave his disciples, and said, Take, eat; this
is my body: and he took the cup, and thanked, and gave it them, saying,
Drink ye all of this; for this is my blood, which is of the new testament,
that is shed for many for the remission of sins.' First, ye see by these
words, that the body was given to death, and the blood shed, for the remission
of sins, and that for many. But who are these many? Verily, they that
turn to God, to believe in him only, and to endeavour themselves to keep
his law from henceforth. Which many yet, in respect of them that love
not the law, are but very few, and even that little flock that gave themselves
wholly to follow Christ. Wherefore if any man think he believe in Christ,
and have not the law written in his heart, to consent that his duty is
to love his brother for Christ's sake as Christ loved him, and to endeavour
himself so to do, the faith of that same man is vain, and built upon sand
of his own imagination, and not upon the rock of God's word; for his word,
unto which he hath bound himself, is, that they only which turn to God,
to keep his laws, shall have mercy for Christ's sake.
Again, Now if any man, that submitteth not himself to keep the commandments,
do think that he hath any faith in God, the same man's faith is vain,
worldly, damnable, devilish, and plain presumption, as is above said,
and is no faith that can justify, or be accepted before God. And that
is it that James meaneth in his epistle. For `how can a man believe,'
saith Paul, `without a preacher?' (Rom. x.) Now read all the scripture,
and see where God sent any to preach mercy to any, save unto them only
that repent, and turn to God with all their hearts, to keep his commandments.
Unto the disobedient, that will not turn, is threatened wrath, vengeance,
and damnation, according to all the terrible acts and fearful examples
of the bible.
In his exposition of the Sermon on the Mount (published in 1532) he writes
on Matthew 7:21-27, Christ hath two sorts of hearers, of which neither
nother do thereafter. The one will be saved by faith of their own making,
without works; the other with works of their own making, without faith.
The first are those voluptuous, which have yielded themselves up to sin,
saying, `Tush, God is merciful, and Christ died for us; that must save
us only, for we cannot but sin without resistance.' The second are the
hypocrites; which will deserve all with their own imagined works only.
And of faith they have no other experience, save that it is a little meritorious
where it is painful to be believed: as that Christ was born of a virgin,
etc., and in the margin next to this he says, Believers without works,
and workers without faith, are built on sand. W. T.
Tyndale's maturest views may be supposed to be contained in the marginal
notes to his revised New Testament, which was published in 1534, shortly
before his imprisonment and death. In these notes he frequently and succinctly
sets forth the conditions of salvation in such a way as to leave no doubt
as to what his mind was. He holds with many of the best divines of later
days that though our good works do not merit our salvation, yet those
works are the condition of it. I give these notes just as they appear
in the precious volume, ancient orthography and all.
On Romans 2:6 he says, The deseruing of Christ is promysed to be the
rewarde of oure good dedes: which rewarde yet oure dedes deserue not.
On Romans 10:10 he says, Though fayth iustifie from synne & though
christ deserued the rewarde promised[,] yet is the promyse made on ye
condicion yt we embrace Christes doctrine and confesse him with worde
and dede. So that we are iustified to do good workes, and in them to walke
to the saluacion promysed.
On Galatians 5:6, Fayth which worketh thorow loue is the true fayth
and all that god requireth of vs. Though some might wish to take this
on the side of those who contend for justification by mere faith, clearly
Tyndale's meaning is wrapped up in faith which worketh. So he writes
on Be not deceived in Galatians 6:7, The couenant of mercie in christ
is made onlye to them that will worke. This is clear enough.
Next to Ephesians 2:8-9 he pens, The promyses of mercye in Christes
bloude, are made vs on that condicion that we kepe ye lawe & loue
one another as christ loued vs.
At the end of the second chapter of Colossians he says, All the mercie
that is set forth in ye two vpper chapters, is promysed to them onlye
that will folowe christ and lyue as hereafter foloweth
----that is, as
followeth in the practical precepts and exhortations of the third and
On James 4:17 he writes, He that knoweth and yet doth not is withoute
excuse. For God hath promised no mercie: but to him that wyll do his godlye
At the beginning of First Peter he writes, Here Peter (as other true
apostles do) fyrst setteth forth the treasure of mercye which god hath
bounde him selfe to geue vs for christes sake & then oure dutie what
we are bounde to do agayne yf we wil be partakers of the mercie.
Chats from my Library
By Glenn Conjurske
Tyndale and Coverdale
William Tyndale (1494?-1536) was the translator of the first New Testament
printed in English, which appeared in 1525 or 6. Myles Coverdale (1488-1569)
was the translator and editor of the first printed edition of the whole
Bible in English, which was published in 1535. Tyndale died a martyr in
1536, after more than a year of imprisonment. Coverdale lived to become
a bishop in the Church of England.
Biographical works on these men are few, but the ones which exist are
excellent. Those on Tyndale are of course and of necessity superior to
those on Coverdale, merely because Tyndale was the greater man, and the
subject matter is therefore superior. There are two standard works on
Tyndale, which leave little to be desired. The first is William Tyndale,
by Robert Demaus (who also gave us a good biography of Hugh Latimer).
The preface is dated 1871. The book has 504 pages, and includes a facsimile
of the book of Titus, and of Tyndale's epistle To the Reder, from
the first printed New Testament. The other, by J. F. Mozley, is also titled
William Tyndale. It was published in 1937, and has 364 pages. This is
excellent in scholarship, and, contrary to what we would expect in a scholarly
work of that era, is warm and heartful, and in evident sympathy with Tyndale's
spirit. Both of these books are well indexed. Another title worth mentioning
is The Work of William Tindale, by S. L. Greenslade, a book of 222 pages
published in 1938. This contains a brief sketch of Tyndale's life, an
essay on Tyndale and the English language, and extracts from Tyndale's
works, including his translations of the Bible. Greenslade was collecting
material for a new biography of Tyndale, but was forestalled by the appearance
of Mozley's work. We may be heartily thankful that the reverse did not
occur, for Greenslade could not have given us what Mozley did.
Mozley also gave us a good work on Coverdale, entitled Coverdale and His
Bibles. (To Mozley we are also indebted for an excellent vindication of
the much maligned Reformer John Foxe, and his Acts and Monuments, or Book
of Martyrs. This is entitled John Foxe and His Book.) Mozley's book on
Coverdale was published in 1953, and has 359 pages, including a good index.
After a brief sketch of Coverdale's life, the book deals mainly with his
Bibles, and is full of excellent information. The only other substantial
work on Coverdale is Memorials of Myles Coverdale, an anonymous book of
259 pages, published by Samuel Bagster in 1838.
The most important and enduring work of both Tyndale and Coverdale was
in the field of Bible translation, but they also published other works.
Coverdale's, indeed, are meager, consisting mostly of translations of
other authors into English. They were published in two substantial volumes
by the Parker Society in 1844 and 1846. The first is entitled Writings
and Translations, and the second Remains. The second volume contains a
small number of Coverdale's letters, and Goostly Psalmes and Spirituall
----no doubt one of the earliest hymn books printed in English.
Tyndale's writings are of more merit and importance than Coverdale's.
They were published by the Parker Society in 1848, 1849, and 1850. The
first volume (Doctrinal Treatises and Introductions to Different Portions
of the Holy Scriptures) contains two major doctrinal works, The Parable
of the Wicked Mammon (partially borrowed from Luther, and solifidian in
doctrine), and The Obedience of a Christian Man, along with prologues
to the books of the Bible, and other matter. The second volume (entitled
Expositions and Notes, etc.) contains expositions of the Sermon on the
Mount and the First Epistle of John, and a major polemic work, The Practice
of Prelates. The third volume contains (with some smaller works) another
major polemic, An Answer unto Sir Thomas More's Dialogue (which forms
the title of the volume). Tyndale (of course), being a whole-souled man,
opposes the corruptions of the papacy with his whole soul, and so (of
course) has been accused of using language which is unchristian, intemperate,
bitter, vituperative, etc. Of that Mozley speaks thus: No one who fairly
considers Tyndale's situation will severely blame him...for the growing
sharpness of his language....Are men to be made of stone? Is it any wonder
that those who were suffering under this cruel tyranny, upon which to-day
we look back with the mild interest of historians, burst into cries of
anger and denunciation? Harsh words are not so terrible to bear as exile,
or the dungeon, or the sword, or the flame.
Tyndale translated the entire New Testament into English from Greek, and
was engaged in bringing it into print in the city of Cologne in 1525 when
the work was arrested by the Catholic authorities. Tyndale fled with the
printed sheets, containing the gospel of Matthew and evidently at least
a part of Mark. It is apparently of this aborted printing that one solitary
and fragmentary copy remains extant. This was reprinted in facsimile in
1871 by Edward Arber, as The First Printed English New Testament, with
a very excellent introduction of 70 pages, much of it in microscopic type.
A. W. Pollard also reprinted this fragment in facsimile in 1926. Tyndale
commenced to print anew in Worms, this time finishing the New Testament,
and successfully importing many copies of it into England. The Catholics
burned all of these which they could buy or confiscate, and only a single
complete copy remains. This was reprinted in 1836 by Samuel Bagster, under
the title, The New Testament of our Lord Jesus Christ: Published in 1526;
Being the First Translation from the Greek into English, etc. This is
Reprinted verbatim, with a Memoir of his Life and Writings by George
Offor. Mozley says that the spellings are not always trustworthy
in this book. The text of this New Testament was reprinted in New York
in 1837, under the editorship of J. P. Dabney, and titled, The New Testament
of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. By William Tyndale, The Martyr.
The Original Edition, 1526, etc. Dabney has given the essential variations
of the other English versions in footnotes, but these cannot be depended
upon for completeness. In 1862 Francis Fry printed the whole of this New
Testament in facsimile, under the title, The First New Testament Printed
in the English Language, etc. But alas, the good man only put forth 177
copies, so that the reprint must be nearly as scarce as the original.
I have never seen it. Tyndale's 1534 revision was printed in The English
Hexapla, which first appeared in 1841, from the prolific press of Samuel
Bagster. The text of this seems to be reliable, though some points of
orthography are ignored.
Francis Fry also produced in facsimile The Prophet Jonas, which Tyndale
published in 1531. The only other part of the Bible published by Tyndale
during his lifetime was the Pentateuch. A supremely excellent edition
of this was edited by J. J. Mombert and published by Samuel Bagster in
1884, entitled, William Tyndale's Five Books of Moses, called the Pentateuch,
being a Verbatim Reprint of the Edition of M.CCCCC.XXX. Compared with
Tyndale's Genesis of 1534, and the Pentateuch in the Vulgate, Luther,
and Matthew's Bible, with Various Collations and Prolegomena.
Coverdale's 1535 Bible consisted of Tyndale's New Testament and Pentateuch,
revised by Coverdale, and the rest of the Bible translated by Coverdale
himself, from the Latin and German versions. This was reprinted by Samuel
Bagster in 1838 and again in 1847. Of these I have seen but one copy.
A friend who lives in Grand Rapids informed me by letter that Kregels
had a copy of the 1847 edition for $350, and I immediately called Ken
Kregel to secure it for myself. It had been the property of a theological
seminary, and when I bought it most of the pages of the New Testament
were uncut. Coverdale was also the editor of the Great Bible, first printed
in 1539. The 1539 New Testament is in Bagster's English Hexapla, and the
1540 New Testament is in The New Testament Octapla, edited by Luther Weigle,
and published by Thomas Nelson in 1962. I do not believe the Old Testament
has been reprinted in modern times, but all of these are available on
---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- -----
Dealing with the Faults of Others
by Robert Cleaver Chapman (1803-1902
If we would wisely reprove the flesh in our brethren, we must first,
after the Lord's example, remember and commend the grace in them.
Those who are much acquainted with the cross of Christ, and with their
own hearts, will be slow to take the reprover's office: if they do reprove,
they will make it a solemn matter, knowing how much evil comes of the
unwise handling of a fault.
Let us begin by searching ourselves, if we would be profitable reprovers
In reproving sin in others, we should remember the ways of the Holy Spirit
of God towards us. He comes as the Spirit of Love; and whatever His rebukes,
He wins the heart by mercy and forgiveness through Christ.
To forgive without upbraiding, even by manner or look, is a high exercise
----it is imitation of Christ.
If I have been injured by another, let me bethink myself
----How much better
to be the sufferer than the wrongdoer!
The flesh would punish to prevent a repetition of wrongs; but Grace teaches
us to defend ourselves without weapons. The man who seventy times seven
forgives injuries, is he who best knows how to protect himself.
If one do me a wrong, let me with the bowels of Christ seek after him,
and entreat God to move him to repentance.
We partake in the guilt of an offending member of Christ, until we have
confessed his sin as our own (Dan. ix.), mourned over it, prayed for its
forgiveness, and sought in the spirit of love the restoration of the erring
If our tongue have been betrayed into speaking contemptuously or even
slightingly of an absent brother, let us quickly say, Alas! we have wounded
If in love I speak to a brother of his fault, it is because I hate the
sin. If I speak of it with backbiting tongue, it is self-pleasing that
If under the law, when the bond was only in the flesh, the Israelite must
not suffer sin upon his brother (Lev. xix.17), how much less should it
be suffered under the Gospel, which binds the saints together spiritually
The figure of the mote in the eye shows what skill and tenderness he has
need of who would be a reprover to his brother. Who would trust so precious
a member as the eye to a rough unskilful hand?
The Lord loves to manifest peculiar tenderness towards those who have
been brought low, even though it may have been through their own folly.
Go tell His disciples, and Peter. (Mark xvi.7.)
----Choice Sayings, by R. C. Chapman; London: Morgan and Scott, n.d.,
---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- -----
The Remarkable Testimony of Josephus to Christ
[Josephus was not a Christian, but an unbelieving Jew, as may be seen
even in this brief quotation. The following paragraph is, I believe, his
only reference to Christ or Christianity in over a thousand pages of writings.
Coming from such a source, what he says is truly remarkable, indeed, we
might say incredible. But observe, there are thousands among us today
who have all of the same knowledge and conviction concerning Christ Jesus
which Josephus had, and are no more committed to him than Josephus was.
Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man; if it be lawful to call
him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, and a teacher of such
men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many
of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ. And when Pilate,
at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to
the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him: for
he appeared to them alive again, the third day: as the divine prophets
had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning
him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, is not extinct at
----The Works of Flavius Josephus, translated by William Whitson; New
York: American Book Exchange, 1880, vol. II, pg. 74.
The Historical Lineage of the King James
A triple verticle line indicates that the former version (or part of
it) was incorporated bodily, with slight revision. A double line indicates
that the former version was largely followed, but with substantial revision.
A single line indicates that there was some degree of influence. The whole
is necessarily oversimplified. The same kind of line does not necessarily
indicate the same amount of influence, and in some cases the influence
cannot be indicated at all, lest the chart be too complicated to be intelligible.
The Composite Character of the King
Version as a Source of Its Excellence
by Glenn Conjurske
C. H. Spurgeon calls the King James Version almost miraculously good,
and of course there are plenty in our day who regard it as not only almost,
but altogether miraculously good. While we regard the King James Version
as in fact excellent, and thankfully believe it was God that wrought to
make it so, we do not suppose there is anything miraculous about it. There
are, however, real causes which contributed to its excellence, and one
of the most important of those is its composite character. The King James
Version is not a fresh translation, but a revision of revisions of revisions.
The revisers had no intention of producing a new translation. They 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 of a bad one a good one, ...but to make a good one better, or
out of many good ones, one principal good one, not justly to be excepted
against; that hath been our endeavor, that our mark. To that purpose there
were many chosen [as translators], that were greater in other men's eyes
than in their own, and that sought the truth rather than their own praise.
That very humility would naturally keep them to their purpose, which was
not to display their own ingenuity or superiority, but to produce a good
version of the Bible. That humility kept them from the love of change
so apparent in the modern versions of the Bible. It kept them from despising
the labors of those who had gone before them, and they continually incorporate
into their own version all that is best from the many good ones that
The adjoining table will give a general idea of the various revisions
of the English Bible, which contributed to the composite character of
the book which has held the supreme place as the English Bible for nearly
four centuries. The chart cannot tell the whole story, for there are numerous
minor revisions which must go unnoticed in it. William Tyndale revised
his own 1526 New Testament twice (in 1534 and 1535). Coverdale revised
his 1535 Bible at least once (in 1537). The Great Bible (1539, also the
work of Coverdale), underwent a major revision in 1540, and minor revisions
nearly every time it was printed. The New Testament of the Geneva Bible
was revised by Laurence Tomson in 1576, and Tomson's New Testament replaced
the original in many later printings of the Geneva Bible. The Bishops'
Bible (1568) underwent a major revision in 1572. The King James Version
itself has been subjected to a number of minor revisions since 1611.
Now all of this revising and re-revising, by competent hands, over a period
of nearly a century, could not help but secure the increasing excellency
of the English Bible. In the New Testament that end was secured by the
fact that the revisions came down from William Tyndale in two distinct
lines of descent, one through the Great Bible and the Bishops' Bible,
and the other through the Geneva Bible. Added to this was also the influence
of the independent Roman Catholic Rheims New Testament, published in 1582.
Thus the King James Version, besides contributing a great number of excellent
renderings of its own, was able to draw off the best from three distinct
sources. The significance of this becomes very apparent when the distinct
nature of those sources is understood:
What may be considered the main line of transmission came through Coverdale,
Matthew, the Great Bible, and the Bishops' Bible, each of these respectively
being a revision of the former, and the King James Version being a revision
of the last, the Bishops' Bible. Conservatism is the main characteristic
of this line. Now conservatism is a very valuable thing
thing ----in the revision of the Bible. Too much change removes people
from the old familiar territory and puts them at sea. This is one of the
egregious faults of the many modern versions which have flooded the church
in our day. But this line of transmission was too conservative. In verses
innumerable we may read Coverdale, Matthew, the Great Bible, and the Bishops'
Bible, and find them all word for word the same ----even where revision
would have been very advantageous.
The other line, through the Geneva Bible, was much more sweeping in its
revisions. Accuracy was its main concern and its main characteristic.
Yet it was conservative enough that the English people could usually still
feel on familiar ground in it
----could still feel that it was their own
Bible ----and it quickly surpassed the other versions as the Bible of the
English people. Yet the Geneva Bible was too bald, lacking the literary
qualities of the versions in the other line.
The Rheims version was of course an independent work, in no sense a revision
of any former English translation, though of course influenced by the
former versions. It was translated from the Latin Vulgate rather than
from the Greek. It was designed to compete with and displace the existing
English versions, and was purposely made to be unlike them. But in this
lay its chief value, for though it was overall an inferior translation,
lacking in literary beauty, and often scarcely intelligible, yet it introduced
a great host of renderings never before seen in an English New Testament,
and many of those renderings were truly excellent. Nor did the King James
Translators hesitate to adopt them where they perceived their excellence.
The contribution of the Rheims New Testament was small, though it was
generally of a very excellent character. It usually consists of single
words (such as confess in I John 1:9, where all the earlier English
versions have knowledge or acknowledge), or small turns of expression,
such as the hidden manna in Rev. 2:17, where all the previous English
versions have manna that is hid, or Babylon the great in Rev.
17:5, where the previous versions have great Babylon or that great
It is to the Rheims New Testament that we owe the excellent phrase the
reproach of Christ in Heb. 11:26, where all the previous English versions
had the rebuke of Christ.
It is to the Rheims version that we owe the phrase he that will love
life in I Pet. 3:10, where the earlier versions struggled with he
that doth long after life, if any man long after life, whoso listeth
to live, and he that listeth to live
----none of which are either
as simple or as literal as he that will love life.
To Rheims we owe propitiation in I John 2:2, where the earlier versions
in English had labored with that obtaineth grace, a mercy stock,
reconciliation, and atonement. The same again in I John 4:10,
where the earlier versions struggled with agreement, reconciliation,
to make agreement, and sacrifice.
To Rheims we owe tormented in Rev. 11:10, where all earlier versions
----bridle in James 1:26, the previous versions all
having refrain ----and upbraideth not in James 1:5, where the Geneva
versions read reproacheth no man, and all the rest, from Tyndale to
the Bishops' Bible, have casteth no man in the teeth.
To Rheims we owe, if they cannot contain I Cor. 7:9, all the previous
versions having if they cannot abstain. And in this instance we also
see the facility with which the King James Version combines two renderings
to create one superior to both. The Rheims exhibits the inferior if
they do not contain themselves, the only thing superior about it being
the word contain. This the King James Version lays hold of, combining
it with if they cannot abstain, thus to produce the superior if
they cannot contain.
The King James translators, of course, were not infallible, and occasionally
they follow the Catholic version (as they often do the Protestant versions)
in a reading which is inferior or wrong. One example must suffice here.
At the end of Rev. 18:13 The King James Version follows the Rheims New
Testament in saying slaves instead of the correct translation bodies
(relegating bodies to the margin). The Rheims version was translated
from the Latin Vulgate, and the reading slaves comes from mancipiorum
of the Vulgate. The Greek says swmavtwn, bodies. Tyndale's New Testament
said boddyes and soules of men, and this was followed by all English
versions except the Geneva, which defected to seruants (servants).
This was no doubt under the influence of Beza's Latin, which has mancipia,
Beza, in turn, no doubt having been influenced by the Vulgate. In any
case, it is an error.
But it is my purpose to speak here of the excellence of the English Bible,
not of its defects, and to demonstrate how its composite character secured
that excellence. I begin with a verse hopefully familiar to the readers
of this magazine, Jeremiah 6:16. The first published translation of this
verse was in Coverdale's Bible in 1535, where we read, Thus saieth the
LORDE: go in to the stretes, considre and make inquisicion for the olde
way: and yf it be the good and right waye, then go therin, that ye maye
fynde rest for youre soules. Matthew, Taverner, the Great Bible, and
the Bishops' Bible, in accordance with their usual conservatism, followed
Coverdale word for word (with variations in spelling, of course). Only
the Geneva Bible ventured to offer any revision, reading, Thus saith
the Lord, Stand in the waies and behold, and aske for the olde waie, which
is the good waye & walke therein, and ye shal finde rest for your
soules. The King James Version adopted all of this revision, and added
some of its own: Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the wayes and see,
and aske for the old paths, where is the good way, and walke therein,
and ye shall finde rest for your soules. Here we see five minor revisions,
some of them, as stand ye for stand, and see for behold
adding only to the literary effect; but varying from way to path
and from the singular to the plural, is according to the Hebrew.
The first two verses of Genesis will illustrate the same process, in that
portion of the Old Testament which was first translated by William Tyndale:
Tyndale, 1530. In the begynnynge God created heaven and erth.
The erth was voyde and emptie, and darcknesse was vpon the depe, and the
spirite of god moved vpon the water.
Coverdale, 1535. In ye begynnynge God created heauen & earth:
and ye earth was voyde and emptie, and darcknes was vpon the depe, &
ye sprete of God moued vpon the water.
Matthew, 1537. In the beginnyng God created heauen and erth. The
erth was voyde and emptye, and darcknesse was vpon the depe, & the
spirite of God moued vpon the water.
Taverner, 1539. In the begynnynge created God heuen & erth.
The erth was voyde and emtye, and darknes was vpon the depe, and the spirite
of God was borne vpon the waters.
Great Bible, 1541. In the begynning God created heauen & erth.
The erth was voyd and empty & darcknes was vpon the face of the depe,
& the spiryte of god moued vpon ye face of the waters.
Geneva Bible, 1560. In the beginning God created ye heauen and
the earth. And the earth was without forme & voyde, and darkenes was
vpon the depe, & the Spirit of God moued vpon the waters.
Bishops', 1568. In the beginnyng GOD created ye heauen and the
earth. And the earth was without fourme, and was voyde: & darknes
[was] vpon the face of the deepe, and the spirite of God moued vpon the
face of the waters.
King James, 1611. In the beginning God created the Heauen, and
the Earth. And the earth was without forme, and voyd, and darkenesse was
vpon the face of the deepe: and the Spirit of God mooued vpon the face
of the waters.
Here again observe the usual things. Much of the portion stands as it
first came from the pen of Tyndale. The revisions which followed contributed
each their touch, and the King James Version took the best of all of them.
Taverner's slight revisions were usually ignored by his successors, and
it is probable he was not consulted by most of them, but it is interesting
to note that here he was the first to change water to waters.
But heaven which is also plural in the Hebrew, was left untouched
by all of them, including the King James Version. And indeed, there are
numerous words, and phrases, and verses which in the midst of all of this
revising have remained untouched as they came from the first translators.
Witness the following from the Psalm 2:4-6 in Coverdale's Bible: ...the
LORDE himself shall haue them in derision. Then shal he speake vnto them
in his wrath, and vexe them in his sore displeasure. Yet haue I set my
kynge vpon my holy hill of Sion.
Another familiar passage which was first Englished by William Tyndale
is the account of the fall of man in Genesis 3:4-7:
Tyndale, 1530. Then sayd the serpent vnto the woman: tush ye shall
not dye: But God doth knowe, that whensoever ye shulde eate of it, youre
eyes shuld be opened and ye shulde be as, [sic] God and knowe both good
and evell. And the woman sawe that it was a good tree to eate of and lustie
unto the eyes and a pleasant tre for to make wyse. And toke of the frute
of it and ate, and gaue vnto hir husband also with her, and he ate. And
the eyes of both of them were opened, that they vnderstode how that they
were naked. Than they sowed fygge leves togedder and made them apurns.
Coverdale, 1535. Then saide the serpent vnto the woman: Tush, ye
shall not dye the death. For God doth knowe, that in what daye so euer
ye eate of it, youre eyes shalbe opened, and ye shal be as God, and knowe
both good and euell. And the woman sawe that ye tre was good to eate of,
and lustye vnto the eyes, and a pleasaunt tre to make wyse, and toke of
the frute of it, and ate, and gaue vnto hir husbande also therof, and
he ate. Then were the eyes of them both opened, and they perceaued that
they were naked, and sowed fygge leaues together, and made them apurns.
Matthew, 1537. Then sayde the serpent vnto the woman: tush ye shall
not dye: but God doth knowe yt when soeuer ye shuld eate of it, youre
eyes shulde be opened, & ye shulde be as God, and knowe both good
& euell. And the woman sawe that it was a good tree to eate of, &
lusty vnto the eyes, & a pleasant tree for to geue vnderstondynge.
And toke of the frute of it & ate, and gaue vnto hyr husband also
with her, and he ate. And the eyes of bothe them were opened, that they
vnderstode how that they were naked. Than they sowed fygge leues togedder
and made them apurns.
Taverner, 1539. Then sayd the serpent vnto the woman: not so, ye
shal not dye: for God doth knowe that when so euer ye sholde eate of it,
your eyes sholde be opened, and ye shold be as goddes, and knowe bothe
good and euyll. And the woman sawe that it was a good tree to eate of,
and fayre vnto the eyes, and a pleasaunt tre for to gyue vnderstandyng.
And toke of the fruyte of it & ate, and gaue vnto her husbande also,
& he ate. And the eyes of bothe them were opened, that they vnderstode
they were naked. Then they sowed fygge leues togyther, and made them apurns.
Great Bible, 1541. And the serpent sayd vnto the woman: ye shall
not dye the death, but God doeth knowe, that the same daye that ye eate
thereof, youre eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be euen as goddes, knowynge
good and euyll. And so the woman (seing that the same tree was good to
eate, and lusty to the eyes, and that the same tre was pleasaunte to get
wysdome) tooke of the frute therof, and dyd eate, and gaue vnto her husband
beinge with her, whiche dyd eate also. And the eyes of them both were
opened, and they knewe that they were naked: and they sowed fygge leaues
togyther, and made them selues aprons.
Geneva Bible, 1560. Then the serpent said to the woman, Ye shal
not dye at all, But God doeth knowe, that when ye shal eat thereof, your
eyes shalbe opened, & ye shalbe as gods, knowing good and euil. So
the woman (seing that the tre was good for meat, and that it was pleasant
to the eyes, & a tre to be desired to get knowledge) toke of the frute
thereof, and did eat, and gaue also to her housband with her, and he did
eat. Then the eyes of them bothe were opened, & they knewe that they
were naked, and they sewed figtre leaues together, and made them selues
Bishops' Bible, 1568. And the serpent sayde vnto the woman: ye
shall not dye the death. For God doth knowe, that the same day that ye
eate therof, your eyes shall be opened, and ye shalbe euen as gods, knowyng
good and euyll. And so the woman, seing that the same tree was good to
eate of, and pleasaunt to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one
wise, toke of the fruite therof, and dyd eate, and gaue also vnto her
husbande beyng with her, and he dyd eate. Then the eyes of them both were
opened, and they knewe that they were naked, and they sowed fygge leaues
together, & made them selues apernes.
King James, 1611. And the Serpent said vnto the woman, Ye shall
not surely die. For God doeth know, that in the day ye eate thereof, then
your eyes shalbee opened: and yee shall bee as Gods, knowing good and
euill. And when the woman saw, that the tree was good for food, and that
it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise,
she tooke of the fruit thereof, and did eate, and gaue also vnto her husband
with her, and hee did eate. And the eyes of them both were opened, &
they knew that they were naked, and they sewed figge leaues together,
and made themselues aprons.
Most of the changes made in this passage over the years were small ones,
yet little by little it was improved. One alteration which I hold to be
erroneous and detrimental is the change from God to gods. Adam
and Eve knew but one God, and it is doubtful they would have known the
meaning of gods. Yet the King James retains this. Breeches of
the Geneva Bible (which caused the Geneva Bible to be commonly called
the Breeches Bible) they wisely reject.
Exodus 34:6-7 will illustratre the vicissitudes of a difficult passage,
first translated by Tyndale.
Tyndale, 1530. And when the Lorde walked before him, he cryed:
Lorde Lorde God full of compassion and mercy, which art not lightly angrye
but abundant in mercy and trueth, and kepest mercy in store for thousandes,
and forgeuest wikednesse, trespace and synne (for there is no man ynnocent
Coverdale, 1535. And whan ye LORDE passed by before his face, he
cryed: LORDE LORDE, God, mercifull & gracious, & longe sufferinge,
and of greate mercy and trueth, thou that kepest mercy in stoare for thousandes,
and forgeuest wickednes, trespace and synne (before whom there is no man
Matthew, 1537. (As Tyndale.)
Taverner, 1539. (As Tyndale).
Great Bible, 1541. And when the Lorde walked before hym, he cryed,
Lorde Lorde God, mercyful and gracyous longe sufferynge, and aboundaunt
in goodnes & truth, and kepyng mercy in store for thousands forgeuynge
wyckednes, vngodlinesse and synne and not leauyng one innocent.
Geneva, 1560. So the Lord passed before his face, and cryed, The
Lord, ye Lord, strong, merciful, and gracious, slow to angre, & abundant
in goodnes and trueth, Reseruing mercie for thousands, forgiuing iniquitie,
& transgression and sinne, and not making the wicked innocent.
Bishops', 1568. And the Lorde passed by before hym, and cryed,
Lorde, Lorde, God, strong, mercyfull and gracious, long suffering, and
aboundaunt in goodnes & trueth, And kepyng mercy in store for thousandes,
forgeuing wickednes, vngodlynes and sinne, and not leauing one innocent.
King James, 1611. And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed,
The LORD, The LORD God, mercifull and gracious, long suffering, and abundant
in goodnesse and trueth, Keeping mercie for thousands, forgiuing iniquitie
and transgression and sinne, and that will by no meanes cleere the guiltie.
It is interesting that all four of my Jewish translations of the Old
Testament (1853, 1917, 1928, & 1936), retain intact will by no means
clear the guilty, though varying in other parts of the passage. I believe,
however, the wicked of the Geneva Bible to be better than the guilty.
The New Testament presents a more interesting field for comparison, there
being a greater number of revisions, and a greater amount of revision
within them. I Corinthians 5:2 very well illustrates the process:
Tyndale, 1526. And ye swell and have not rather sorowed, that
he which hath done this dede myght be put from amonge you.
Coverdale, 1535. And ye are puft vp, and haue not rather sorowed,
that he which hath done this dede mighte be put from amonge you.
Matthew, 1537. And ye swell, & haue not rather sorowed, that
he which hath done this dede, might be put from amonge you.
Coverdale, Latin-English, 1538. And ye be pufte vp, & haue
not rather had sorowe, that he which hath done this dede, might be taken
awaye from among you.
Taverner, 1539. And ye swell, and haue not rather sorowed, that
he which haue done this dede might be put forth of your company.
Great, 1540. And ye swell, and haue not rather sorowed: that he
which hath done thys dede, myght be put from amonge you.
Jugge's Tyndale, 1552. And ye swel, and haue not rather sorowed,
that he which hath done thys dede, might be put from among you.
Geneva, 1557. And ye swel, and haue not rather sorowed, that he
which hath done thys dede, myght be put from among you.
Geneva, 1560. And ye are puffed vp & haue not rather sorowed,
that he which hathe done this dede, might be put from among you.
Bishops', 1568. And ye swell, and haue not rather sorowed, that
he that hath so done this deede, myght be put from among you.
Bishops', 1572. And ye are puffed vp, and haue not rather sorowed,
that he that hath donne this deede, myght be taken away from among you.
Rheims, 1582. And you are puffed vp: and haue not mourned rather,
that he might be taken avvay from among you, that hath done this deede.
King James, 1611. And yee are puffed vp, and haue not rather mourned,
that he that hath done this deed, might bee taken away from among you.
Observe first, that the basic structure of the verse, along with much
of the wording, remains unchanged from Tyndale through all his successors
(except the Rheims, which is independent). This is usual.
The conservatism of the main line of transmission is also very evident
in the sameness which we see in all of these versions. This also is usual,
so that after perusing them we are ready to heartily wish for a version
which exhibits a little of independence. We do see a little of independence
in Coverdale, but Matthew used Tyndale's New Testament, not Coverdale's,
and when Coverdale edited the Great Bible, he set aside his own New Testament
in favor of Matthew's, as the basis of the work. His excellent puft
vp was therefore lost. In this particular verse Taverner exhibits more
independence than he usually does, but his version had little or no influence
with his successors, and in this verse his proffered revision has less
literary merit and less accuracy than the other versions anyway. The independence
for which we wish is found in both the Rheims and the Geneva versions.
The Geneva Bible of 1560 revived Coverdale's excellent revision (and this
may have been due to the fact that Coverdale aided in revising the Geneva
Bible), but left the rest of the verse untouched. The Bishops' Bible contributed
only one slight touch, the changing of which to that. (The so
in the Bishops' version is a mistake, displaced from the following verse,
and corrected in the 1572 edition.) The Rheims, though inferior in structure,
contributed mourned for sorrowed, and revived from Coverdale's
diglot taken away for put, which is certainly more accurate than
the old reading.
I offer I Cor. 3:12-13 as another example:
Tyndale, 1526. Yff eny man bilde on this foundacion, golde, silver,
precious stones, tymber, haye, or stuble: every mannes worke shall apere.
for the daye shall declare it, and it shalbe shewed in fyre, and the fyre
shall trye every mannes worke what it is.
Coverdale, 1535. But yf eny man buylde vpon this foundacion, golde,
syluer, precious stones, tymber, haye, stobble, euery mans worke shal
be shewed. For the daye of the LORDE shal declare it, which shal be shewed
with fyre: and the fyre shal trye euery mans worke what it is.
Matthew, 1537. If eny man bylde on this foundacion, golde, syluer,
precious stones: tymber, haye or stoble: euery mannes worcke shall appere.
For the daye shall declare it, and it shalbe shewed in fyre. And the fyre
shall trye euery mannes worcke what it is.
Coverdale, Latin-English, 1538. But yf any man buylde vpon thys
foundacion, golde, syluer, precious stones, wodd, hey, or stubble, eueri
mans worke shall be manyfest: For the daye of the Lord shall declare it.
For it shalbe disclosed in fyre, & the fyre shall trye euery mans
worke what it is.
Taverner, 1539. Yf any man buylde on this foundacion, gold, siluer,
precious stones: tymber, haye or stoble: euery mans worke shall appeare.
For the day shall declare it, and it shalbe shewed in fyre. And the fyre
shall trye euerye mannes worke what it is.
Great Bible, 1540. If eny man buylde on this foundacyon, golde,
syluer, precyous stones, tymber, haye or stoble: euery mannes worcke shall
appeare. For the daye shall declare, whych shalbe shewed in fyre. And
the fyre shall trye euery mannes worcke, what it is.
Jugge's Tyndale, 1552. If any man build on this fundation, golde,
syluer, precious stones: tymber, haye, or stoble: euery mannes worcke
shall appere. For the daye shall declare it, and it shalbe shewed in fyre.
And the fyre shall trye euery mannes worcke what it is.
Geneva, 1557. If any man build on this foundation, golde, syluer,
precious stones, tymber, haye, or stoble: Euery mans worcke shal appear.
for ye day shal declare it, and it shalbe reueled by the fyre: and the
fyre shal trye euery mans worcke what it is.
Geneva, 1560. And if anie man buylde on this fundacion, golde,
siluer, precious stones, tymber, haye, or stubble, Euerie mans worke shalbe
made manifest: for the daye shal declare it, because it shalbe reueiled
by the fyre: & the fyre shal trye euerie mans worke of what sorte
Bishops', 1568. If any man buyld on this foundation, golde, syluer,
precious stones, tymber, haye [or] stubble: Euery mans worke shal appeare.
The day shall declare it, because it shalbe reuealed by the fire: And
the fire shall trie euery mans worke what it is.
Rheims, 1582. And if any man build vpon this foundation, gold,
siluer, pretious stones, vvood, hay, stubble, the vvorke of euery one
shal be manifest: for the day of our Lord vvil declare, because it shal
be reuealed in fire: and the vvorke of euery one of vvhat kinde it is,
the fire shal trie.
King James, 1611. Now if any man build vpon this foundation, gold,
siluer, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble: Euery mans worke shall be
made manifest. For the day shall declare it, because it shall bee reuealed
by fire, and the fire shall trie euery mans worke of what sort it is.
Here again we observe that the wording and sentence structrure of Tyndale
is generally retained intact. We observe also the same conservatism in
most of the versions, in spite of the advantage which was to be gained
by a little change. That change began with the Geneva New Testament, which
altered shewed to the more expressive revealed. The Geneva Bible
revived (and slightly revised) from Coverdale's diglot the excellent be
made manifest in place of the obscure appear, took a step in the
right direction in printing or in italics, and replaced what with
the more accurate of what sort. But all of these still left the apparently
incongruous timber, hay, stubble. Timber hardly seems to belong with
hay and stubble, and here we might with advantage have turned the calendar
back two centuries to Wycliffe's stickis, hey, or stobil. The Rheims
version, though very inferior in structure, did excellent service in reviving
the better word wood, from Coverdale's Latin-English Testament, and
the King James translators had wisdom enough to adopt it.
Another brief passage from I Cor. 4:9 well illustrates the process:
Tyndale, 1526. My thynketh that god hath shewed vs which are apostles,
for the hynmost off all, as it were men apoynted to deeth, for we are
a gazingstocke vnto the worlde.
Tyndale, 1534. Me thinketh that God hath set forth vs which are
Apostles, for the lowest of all, as it were men appoynted to deeth. For
we are a gasyngestocke vnto the worlde.
Coverdale, 1535. Me thynketh that God hath set forth vs Apostles
for the lowest off all, euen as those that are appoynted vnto death. For
we are a gasynge stocke vnto ye worlde.
Matthew, 1537. Me thynketh that God hath set forth vs which are
Apostles, for the lowest of all, as it were men apoynted to deeth. For
we are a gasynge stocke vnto the worlde.
Taverner, 1539. Me thinketh that god hathe set forthe vs, whiche
are Apostles, for the lowest of all, as it were men appointed to death.
For we are a gasynge stocke vnto the worlde.
Great Bible, 1540. For me thynketh, that God hath set forth vs
(which are the last Apostles) as it were men appoynted to deeth. For we
are a gasynge stocke vnto the worlde.
Geneva, 1557. For I thynke that God hath appoynted vs the laste
Apostles, as it were men destinate to death. for we are a gasyng stocke
vnto the worlde.
Geneva, 1560. For I thinke that God hathe set forthe vs the laste
Apostles, as men appointed to death: for we are made a gasing stocke vnto
Bishops', 1568. For me thynketh, that God hath set foorth vs, whiche
are the last apostles, as it were men appoynted to death. For we are made
a gasyng stocke vnto the worlde.
Rheims, 1582. For I thinke that God hath shevved vs Apostles the
last, as it vvere deputed to death: because vve are made a spectacle to
King James, 1611. For I thinke that God hath set forth vs the Apostles
last, as it were approued to death. For wee are made a spectacle vnto
Observe that Tyndale and the other early versions give the true sense,
but by means of an unnecessary paraphrase (lowest of all, evidently
after Luther's German). The Great Bible returns to a literal translation
of the words, but loses the sense. Not till the Rheims New Testament is
the correct sense regained, by putting the words in proper order. The
King James Version follows their lead in this, but very much improves
the expression by dropping the article. Rheims also contributed spectacle,
which is excellent, but probably no more so than gazingstock. Approved
in the King James Version may be a printing error, though it appeared
in both of the 1611 editions, and also those of 1612 and 1613. It was
altered to appointed in 1616. Scrivener regards approved as the
true and intended reading, and calls the alteration to appointed a
deliberate but needless correction.
A verse which was rough and obscure in all of the earlier English versions,
from Tyndale on, is I Pet. 1:11:
Tyndale, 1526. Searchyng when, or att what tyme the sprete of
Christ which was in them shulde signifie, which sprete testified before,
the passions that shulde come vnto Christ, and the glory that shulde folowe
Coverdale, 1535. Searchinge whan or at what tyme the sprete off
Christ that was in them, shulde signifye, which (sprete) testified before
the passions that shulde come vnto Christ, and the glory that shulde folowe
Matthew, 1537. Searching when or at what tyme of ye sprete of Christ
which was in them, shuld signifie, which sprete testified before, the
passions that shuld come vnto Christ, & the glory that shulde folowe
Taverner, 1539. Serching when or at what tyme the spiryte of Chryste
whiche was in them sholde signifye, whiche spirite testifyed before the
passions that sholde come vnto Chryst, and the glorye that sholde folowe
Great Bible, 1540. Searching when or at what tyme the sprete of
Christe (which was in them) shuld signify, which spret testified before,
the passions that shuld happen vnto Christ, & the glory that shulde
Geneva, 1557. Searchyng when or what tyme that for warning Sprite
of Christ which was in them, should declare the suffrings that should
come vnto Christe, & the glorie that shoulde folowe them.
Geneva, 1560. Searching when or what time the Spirit which testified
before of Christ which was in them, shulde declare the suffrings that
shulde come vnto Christ, and the glorie that shulde followe.
Bishops', 1568. Searchyng when or at what tyme the spirite of Christ
which was in them, shoulde signifie, which spirite testified before, the
passions that should happen vnto Christe, and the glorie that shoulde
Rheims, 1582. Searching vnto vvhich or vvhat maner of time the
Spirit of Christ in them did signifie: foretelling those passions that
are in Christ and the glories folovving.
King James, 1611. Searching what, or what maner of time the Spirit
of Christ which was in them did signifie, when it testified beforehand
the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.
Revised Version, 1881. Searching what time or what manner of time
the Spirit of Christ which was in them did point unto, when it testified
beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glories that should follow
It was with evident skill that the King James revisers drew the best
from each source, and it was well that they had such sources from which
to draw. When or what time, of every version but the Rheims, is inaccurate
as well as tautological. When is not a proper translation of tivna,
which means what, nor is what the best rendering of poi'on, which
means what kind of. The Rheims also stood alone in rejecting the subjunctive
should signify for the indicative did signify, which is true to
the original. Both of these the King James translators adopt. What
is their own, though the Rheims had marked out the way for them with which.
The Geneva versions stood alone in displacing passions with the much
better sufferings, and this also was adopted. Translating the participle
when it testified instead of the which testified of most of the
former versions was their own move, and a good one.
Yet for all of this, the King James Version is not as accurate here as
it should be. Glory is plural in the Greek, and rendered so by the
Rheims, but the King James Version rejected this. Further, the Greek says
searching into, not merely searching. The Rheims New Testament
had marked out the way here also, with searching unto, but the King
James Version did not follow suit. Even the Revised Version, generally
so careful of small points, leaves eij" (into) untranslated,
so that among all of the major versions in English in history, the Rheims
stands alone in translating the preposition at all. The modern versions
replace the words with a paraphrase, as seeking to know in the New
American Standard, which also alters what time or what manner of time
(of the old American Standard) to what person or time (after the Revised
Standard Version). This is typical of modern temerity, person being
inserted without note against the judgement of the ages, while the accurate
what manner of is reduced to what. Meanwhile, this version is
boasted of for its accuracy.
One final illustration of our thesis may be found in a familiar passage
from the gospels, and I offer Luke 2:13-14:
Tyndale, 1526. And streight waye there was with the angell a multitude
of hevenly sowdiers, laudynge God, and sayinge: Glory to God an hye, and
peace on the erth: and vnto men reioysynge.
Coverdale, 1535. And straight waye there was by the angell a multitude
of heauenly hoostes, which praysed God, and sayde: Glory be vnto God an
hye, & peace vpon earth, and vnto men a good wyll.
Coverdale, Latin-English, 1538. And sodenly was there wyth the
angell a multitude of the heauenly hoost, praysynge God and sayenge: Glory
be vnto God in the hyghest, and peace be in earth vnto men of a good wyll.
Great Bible, 1540. And streyght waye ther was wyth the aungell
a multitude of heauenly sowdyers, praysynge God: & sayinge: Glory
to God on hye, and peace on the earth, & vnto men a good wyll.
Jugge's Tyndale, 1552. And strayghtwaye there was with the aungel
a multitude of heauenly souldiers, laudynge God, and sayinge: Glorye to
God on hye, and peace on the earth, and vnto men good wyll.
Geneva, 1557. And strayghtway there was with the Angel a multitude
of heauenly souldiers, laudyng God, and saying, Glorie be to God in the
hye heauens, and peace in earth, and towardes men good wyl.
Geneva, 1560. And straightway there was with the Angel a multitude
of heauenlie souldiers, praying [sic] God, and saying, Glorie be to God
in the high heauens, and peace in earth, & towards men good wil.
Bishops', 1568. And straightway, there was with the Angel, a multitude
of heauenly souldiers, praysyng God, and saying. Glorie to God on hye,
and peace on the earth, and vnto men a good wyll.
Bishops' 1572. And sodeynlye there was with the Angel a multitude
of heauenly souldiers, praysyng God, and sayeing, Glorie to God in the
hyghest, and peace on the earth, and among menne a good wyl.
Rheims, 1582. And sodenly there vvas vvith the Angel a multitude
of the heauenly armie, praising God, and saying, Glorie in the highest
to God: and in earth peace to men of good vvil.
King James, 1611. And suddenly there was with the Angel a multitude
of the heauenly hoste praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace, good wil towards men.
It may appear from the examples I have given that the Bishops' Bible
made but little contribution, and this is generally the case. Not always,
however. In I Thess. 3:8, for example, William Tyndale read, For nowe
are we alive if ye stonde steadfast in the lorde, and this was followed
verbatim by Coverdale, Matthew, Taverner, the Great Bible, and the Geneva
New Testament of 1557. The Geneva Bible of 1560 altered stande stedfast
to stand fast. The Bishops' Bible retained this, and added one change
of its own, altering now we are alive to now we live
small touch, but really a master stroke, and one which took a rather tame
(if not obscure) verse, and made it live. This really cannot be improved
upon, and the King James Version, of course, retained it. Alas, the modern
versions could not be content with this, but must alter it to now we
really live, thus greatly detracting from its forcefulness, and insulting
our intelligence, after their usual manner.
---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- -----
C. H. Spurgeon on Praying for Our Children
Pray with your children separately, and it will surely be the means of
a great blessing. If this cannot be done, at any rate there must be prayer,
much prayer, constant prayer, vehement prayer, the kind of prayer which
will not take a denial, like Luther's prayer, which he called a bombarding
of heaven; that is to say, the planting a cannon at heaven's gates to
blow them open, for after this fashion fervent men prevail in prayer;
they will not come from the mercy-seat until they can cry with Luther,
Vici, I have conquered, I have gained the blessing for which I strove.
The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by
force. May we offer such violent, God-constraining, heaven-compelling
prayers, and the Lord will not permit us to seek His face in vain!
----The Soul-Winner; Passmore & Alabaster, 1897, pg. 161.
Old articles are reprinted without alteration (except for corrections
of printing errors), unless stated otherwise. The editor inserts articles
by other writers if they are judged profitable for scriptural instruction
or historical information, without endorsing everything in them. The editor's
own views are to be taken from his own writings.