Keith Hunt - The New Testament Translation #10 - Page Ten   Restitution of All Things

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The New Testament Translation #10 KJV born in Tribulation

Struggles over the Jesuit version

                Compiled with added comments as felt needed

Wilkins PhD - written 1930.

All CAPITAL letters are mine unless otherwise stated (Keith Hunt)


     THE hour had arrived, and from the human point of view,
conditions were perfect, for God to bring forth a translation of
the Bible which would sum up in itself the best of the ages.     
     The heavenly Father foresaw the opportunity of giving His
Word to the inhabitants of earth by the coming of the British
Empire with its dominions scattered throughout the world, and by
the great American Republic, both speaking the English language. 
     Not only was the English language by 1611 in a more
opportune condition than it had ever been before or ever would be
again, but the Hebrew and the Greek likewise had been brought up
with the accumulated treasures of their materials to a splendid
working point. The age was not distracted by the rush of
mechanical and industrial achievements. Moreover linguistic
scholarship was at its peak. Men of giant minds, supported by
excellent physical health, had possessed in a splendid state of
perfection a knowledge of the languages and literature necessary
for the ripest Biblical scholarship.
     One hundred and fifty years of printing had permitted the
Jewish rabbis to place at the disposal of scholars all the
treasures in the Hebrew tongue which they had been accumulating
for over two thousand years. In the words of the learned
Professor E.C.Bissell:

"There ought to be no doubt that in the text which we inherit
from the Massoretes, and they from the Talmudists, and they in
turn from a period when versions and paraphases of the Scriptures
in other languages now accessible to us were in common use - the
same text being transmitted to this period from the time of Ezra
under the peculiarly sacred seal of the Jewish canon - we have a
substantially correct copy of the original documents, and one
worthy of all confidence." 1

     We are told that the revival of Massoretle studies in more
recent times was the result of the vast learning and energy of
Buxtorf, of Basle.2 He had given the benefits of his Hebrew
accomplishments in time to be used by the translators of the King
James Version. And we have the word of a leading Revisionist,
highly recommended by Bishop Ellicott, that it is not to the
credit of Christian scholarship that so little has been done in
Hebrew researches during the past 300 years.3

     What is true of the Hebrew is equally true of the Greek. The
Unitarian scholar who sat on the English New Testament Revision
Committee, acknowledged that the Greek New Testament of erasmus
(1516) is as good as any.4 It should here be pointed out that
stephens (A.D. 1550), then Beza (1598), and Elzevir (1624), all,
subsequently printed editions of the SAME Greek New Testament.
Since the days of Elzevir it has been called the RECEIVED TEXT,
or from the Latin, TEXUS RECEPTUS. Of it Dr. A.T. Robertson also

"It should be stated at once that the Textus Recept is not a bad
text. It is not an heretical text. It is substantially correct.'5


"Erasmus seemed to feel that he had published the orginal Greek
New Testament as it was written. The third edition of Erasmus
(1522) became the foundation of the Textus Receptus for Britain
since it was followed by Stephens. There were 3300 copies of the
first two editions of the Greek New Testament of Erasmus
circulated. His work became the standard for three hundred

     This text is and has been for 300 years the best known and
most widely used. It has behind it all the Protestant scholarship
of nearly three centuries. It ought to be pointed out that those
who seem eager to attack the King James and the Greek behind it,
when the enormous difficulties of the Revised Greek Testament are
pointed out, will claim the Revised Text is all right because it
is like the Greek New Testament from which the King James was
translated: on the other hand, when they are not called to
account, they will say belittling things about the Received Text
and the scholars who translated the King James Bible.


1. Chambers, Comp. to Revised O.T., pp. 63, 64
2. A New Testament by Bishop Gore and Others, Part 1, p.651
3. Chambers Comp. To Revised, p. 66
4. Rev. G.Vance Smith, Nineteeth Century, July, 1881
5. Robertson, Introduction, p.21
6. Idem, pp.18,19


     We now come, however, to a very striking situation which is
little observed and rarely mentioned by those who discuss the
merits of the King James Bible. The English language in 1611 was
in the very best condition to receive into its bosom the Old and
New Testaments. Each word was broad, simple, and generic. That is
to say, words were capable of containing in themselves not only
their central thoughts, but also all the different shades of
meaning which were attached to that central thought. Since then,
words have lost that living, pliable breadth. Vast additions have
been made to the English vocabulary during the past 300 years,
so, that several words are now necessary to convey the same
meaning which formerly was conveyed by one. It will then be
readily seen that while the English vocabulary has increased in
quantity, nevertheless, single words have lost their many shades,
combinations of words have become fixed, capable of only one
meaning, and therefore less adaptable to receiving into English
the thoughts of the Hebrew which likewise is a simple, broad,
generic language.   
     New Testament Greek, is, in this respect, like the Hebrew.  

     When our English Bible was revised, the Revisers labored
under the impression that the sacred writers of the Greek New
Testament did NOT write in the everyday language of the common
people.        Since then the accumulated stores of
archaeological findings have demonstrated that the language of
the Greek New Testament WAS the language of the simple, ordinary
people, rather than the language of scholars; and is flexible,
broad, generic, like the English of 1611. Or in the words of

"It is sometimes regretted that our modern English has lost, or
very nearly lost, its power of inflection; but whatever may have
been thus lost to the ear has been more than compensated to the
sense, by our wealth of finely shaded auxiliary words. 
     There is no differentiation of wish, will, condition,
supposition, potentiality, or possibility representable in
syllables of human speech, or conceivable to the mind of man,
which cannot be precisely put in some form of our English verb.
But here, again, our power of precision has been purchased at a
certain cost. For every form of our verbal combinations has now
come to have its own peculiar and appropriate sense, and no
other; so that, when we use any one of those forms, it is
understood by the hearer or reader that we intend the special
sense of that form, and of that alone. In this respect, as in the
specific values of our synonyms, we encounter a self-evident
difficulty in the literal translation of the Scriptures into
modern English. For there is no such refinement of tense and mood
in the Hebrew language; and, although the classical Greek was
undoubtedly perfect in its inflections, the writers of the New
Testament were either ignorant of its powers, or were not capable
of using them correctly."7

     The above writer then points out that the authors of the New
Testament did not always use that tense of the Greek verb, called
the aorist in the same rigid, specific sense, in which the
Revisers claimed they had done. Undoubtedly, in a general way,
the sacred writers understood the meaning of the aorist as
distinguished from the perfect and imperfect; but they did not
always use it so specifically as the Revisers claim. I continue
from the same writer:
"The self-imposed rule of the Revisers required them invariably
to translate the aoristic forms by their closest English
equivalents; but the vast number of cases in which they have
forsaken their own rule shows that it could not be followed
without in effect changing the meaning of the original; and we
may add that to whatever extent that rule has been slavishly
followed, to that extent the broad sense of the original has been
marred. The sacred writers wrote with a broad brush; the pen of
the Revisers was a finely pointed stylus. (Not so at all - the NT
writers wrote with exactness of the Greek tense - they said what
they meant and meant what they said - Keith Hunt). The living
pictures of the former furnish a grand panorama of providential
history; the drawing of the latter is the cunning work of fine
engravers, wrought in hair lines, and on polished plates of
steel. The Westminster Version is not, and, as its purpose was
conceived by the Revisers, could not be made, anything like a
photograph of the originals. The best of photographs lacks life
and color, but it does produce the broad effects of light and
shade. It has no resemblance to the portrait of the Chinese
artist, who measures each several feature with the compass, and
then draws it by the scale. The work of the Revisers is a purely
Chinese work of art, in which the scale and compass are applied
to microscopic niceties, with no regard whatever to light and
shade, or to the life and color of their subject. It follows that
the more conscientiously their plan was followed, the more
certainly must they fail to produce a lifelike rendering of the
living word of the original."8 (Hence today works are available
in the Greek/English Interlinear that give you the :tense" used
in the Greek - the tense is VERY important to the correct
understanding of what the writers of the NT were telling us as to
the time of events. A basic Greek NT teaching book will give you
the importances of the Greek NT tenses - Keith Hunt).


7. John Fulton, Forum, June, 1117,
8. Idem.


     After the life and death struggles with Spain, and the hard
fought battle to save the English people from the Jesuit Bible of
1582, victorious Protestantism took stock of its situation and
organized for the new era which had evidently dawned. A thousand
ministers, it is said, sent in a petition, called the Millenary
Petition, to King James who had now succeeded Elizabeth as
sovereign. One author describes the petition as follows:

"The petition craved reformation of sundry abuses in the worship,
ministry, revenues, and discipline of the national Church ....
Among other of their demands, Dr.Reynolds, who was the chief
speaker in their behalf, requested that there might he a new
translation of the Bible, without note or comment."9

     The strictest element of Protestantism, the Puritan, we
conclude, was at the bottom of this request for a new and
accurate translation, and the Puritan element on the committee
appointed was strong."10

     The language of the Jesuit Bible had stung the sensibilities
and the scholarship of Protestants. In the preface of that book
it had criticized and belittled the Bible of the Protestants. The
Puritans felt that the corrupted version of the Rheimists was
spreading poison among the people, even as formerly by
withholding the Bible, Rome had starved the people."11


     The first three hundred years of the Reformation produced a
grand array of scholars, who have never since been surpassed, if
indeed they have been equaled. Melanchthon the coworker of
Luther, was of so great scholarship that Erasmus expressed
admiration for his attainments. By his organization of schools
throughout Germany and by his valuable textbooks, he exercised
for many years a more powerful influence than any other teacher.
Hallam said that far above all others he was the founder of
general learning throughout Europe. His Latin grammar was "almost
universally adopted in Europe, running through fifty-one editions
and continuing until 1734," that is, for two hundred years it
continued to be the textbook even in the Roman Catholic schools
of Saxony. Here the names might be added of Beza, the great
scholar and coworker with Calvin, of Bucer, of Cartwright, of the
Swiss scholars of the Reformation, of a host of others who were
unsurpassed in learning in their day and have never been
surpassed since.


9. McClure. The Translators Revived. pp, 57,58
10.Idem. pp. 130,13I.    
11.Brooke's Cartwright, p. 274.

     It was said of one of the translators of the King James that
"such was his skill in all languages, especially the Oriental,
that had he been present at the confusion of tongues at Babel, he
might have served as Interpreter General."12
     In view of the vast stores of material which were available
to verify the certainty of the Bible at the time of the
Reformation, and the prodigious labors of the Reformers in this
material for a century, it is very erroneous to think that they
had not been sufficiently overhauled by 1611.

     It is an exaggerated idea, much exploited by those who are
attacking the Received Text, that we of the present have greater
sources of information, as well as more valuable, than had the
translators of 1611. The Reformers themselves considerede their
sources of information perfect. Doctor Fulke says:

"But as for the Hebrew and Greek that now is, (it) may be proved
to be the same that always hath been; neither is there any
diversity in sentence, howsoever some copies, either through
negligence of the writer, or by any other occasion, do vary from
that which is commonly received in some letters, syllables, or
words." 13

     We cannot censure the Reformers for considering their
sources of information sufficient and authentic enough to settle
in their minds the infallible inspiration of the Holy Scriptures,
since we have a scholar of repute today rating their material as
high as the material of the  present. Doctor Jacobus thus
indicates the relative value of the King James, and to the
Revisers of 1900:

" On the whole, the differences in the matter of the sources
available in 390, 1590, and 1890 are not very serious." 14


12. McClure, p. 87
13. Fulke's defense, 1583, p.73
14. Jacobus, cath. and Prot. Bibles, p.41


     So much has been said about the Alexandrinus, Vaticanus, and
Sinaitic Manuscripts being made available since 1611, that a
candid examination ought to be given to see if it is all really
as we have repeatedly been told.
     The Alexandrinus Manuscript arrived in London in 1627, we
are informed, just sixteen years too late for use by the
translators of the King James.

     We would humbly inquire if a manuscript must dwell in the
home town of scholars in order for them to have the use of its
information? If so, then the Revisers of 1881 and 1901 were in a
bad way. Who donated the Alexandrines Manuscript to the British
Government? It was Cyril Lucar, the head of the Greek Catholic
Church. Why did he do it? What was the history of the document
before he did it? An answer to these inquiries opens up a very
interesting chapter of history.

     Cyril Lucar (1568-1638) born in the east, early embraced the
principles of the Reformation, and for it, was pursued all his
life by the Jesuits. He spent some time at Geneva with Beza and
Calvin. When holding an important position in Lithuania, he
opposed the union of the Greek Church there and in Poland with
Rome. In 1602 he was elected Patriarch of Alexandria, Egypt,
where the Alexandrinus MS. had been kept for years. It seems
almost certain that this great Biblical scholar would have been
acquainted with it. Thus he was in touch with this manuscript
before the King James translators began work. Later he was
elected the head of the Greek Catholic Church. He wrote a
confession of faith which distinguished between the canonical and
apocryphal books. He was thoroughly awake to the issues of
textual criticism. These had been discussed repeatedly and to the
smallest details at Geneva, where Cyril Lucar had passed some
time. Of him one encyclopedia states:

"In 1602 Cyril succeeded Meletius as patriarch of Alexandria.
While holding this position, he carried on an active
correspondence with David le Leu, de Wilelm, and the Remonstrant
Uytenbogaert of Holland, Abbot, archbishop of Canterbury, Leger,
professor of Geneva, the republic of Venice, the Swedish King,
Gustavus Adolphus, and his chancellor, Axel Oxenstierna. Many of
these letters, written in different languages, are still extant.
They show that Cyril was an earnest opponent of Rome, and a great
admirer of the Protestant Rotormotion. He sent for all the
important works, Protestant and Roman Catholic, published in the
Western countries, and sent several young men to England to get a
thorough theological education. The friends of Cyril in
Constantinople, and among them the English, Dutch, and Swedish
ambassadors, endeavored to elevate Cyril to the patriarchal see
of Constantinople ...
"The Jesuits, in union with the agents of France, several times
procured his banishment, while his friends, supported by the
ambassadors of the Protestant powers in Constantinople, obtained,
by means of large sums of money, his recall. During all these
troubles, Cyril, with remarkable energy, pursued the great task
of his life. In 1627 he obtained a printing press from England,
and at once began to print his Confession of Faith and several
catechisms. But, before these documents were ready for
publication, the printing establishment was destroyed by the
Turkish Government at the instigation of the Jesuits. Cyril then
sent his Confession of Faith to Geneva, where it appeared, in
1629, in the Latin language, under the true name of the author,
and with a dedication to Cornelius de Haga. It created throughout
Europe a profound sensation." 15


15. MaClintock and Strong, Encyl., Vol.2, p. 635

     We think enough has been given to show that the scholars of
europe and England, in particular, had ample opportunity to
become FULLY AQUAINTED by 1611 with the problems involved in the
Alexandrinus Manuscript.

     Let us pursue the matter a little further


To be continued

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