- Chart of Manuscripts and Versions]
TO TRACE the story of the Sacred Scriptures from the days when the first
inspired autographs were made by godly men, divinely chosen for the work, down through the
stormy vicissitudes of the centuries, to this era in which we enjoy them in the English
language printed and bound in handy book form, is a story without a parallel in the whole
range of sacred or secular history. As I have explained before--through the many streams,
Hebrew, Chaldee, Greek, Syriac, Latin, Anglo-Saxon--the Sacred Word has flowed unceasingly
In our first chapter, we dealt with the Sacred Scriptures-- how they were
written, and their inspiration. In the scope of this chapter, we propose to deal with
versions and translations.
Many have the conception that God inspired the King James "Bible." Not long
since, a "professor" wrote me saying that the King James version was ninety-nine
and four-fifths per cent pure! It is passing strange that men, claiming to be informed,
will indulge in such loose statements. Let it be remembered that God inspired the
original documents of the Scriptures, but He did not inspire versions made of them
It is a rather appalling condition that so many are ignorant of the fact that there
were many versions of the Scriptures made before the King James "Bible."
See the chart of Original Manuscripts and Versions.
Keeping in mind that God inspired the sacred originals in Hebrew, Chaldee, and Greek,
we now give our attention to versions made from them. The ancient versions or translations
of the Scriptures into the language of the early saints, shows us the "Bible" as
used by men, some of whose parents might easily have seen the apostles themselves. They
are of great value in determining the original in some instances.
THE SYRIAC (ARAMAIC) VERSION
The Syriac or Aramaic Version is the most important, and dates from as early as A. D.
170. It is called the Peshitto, and means a very simple and plain version without the
addition of the allegorical or mystical glosses. The people among whom our Lord moved were
"bilingual," and this version very nearly represents the dialect used in the
familiar talk of the household. However, they all understood Greek, which was almost a
universal language at that time.
THE EGYPTIAN (COPTIC) VERSION
Before the close of the second century A. D., at least two translations of the
Scriptures had been made into the Egyptian dialects the Bohairic and the Sahidic.
THE GOTHIC VERSION
About 350 A. D., Ulfilas, Bishop of the fierce Gothic tribes, made a version from the
Septuagint. This beautiful silver-lettered book, with its leaves of purple parchment, is
most precious to the student of language, as the long fragments of the gospels and Pauline
epistles contain the oldest specimens of Teutonic literature.
THE ARMENIAN VERSION
The translation of the Scriptures into the Armenian language falls between 354-441 A.
D. It was begun at Edessa by Mesrop and continued by his nephew of Khoren. It was based on
THE ETHIOPIC VERSION
In the fourth century, missionaries from Tyre evangelized Ethiopia, and by the fifth
and sixth century A. D., the Scriptures had been translated into Ethiopia.
THE LATIN VERSIONS
Several Latin versions saw the light in the early part of the fourth century, but were
very imperfect, and, in 383 A. D., Pope Damascus of Rome commissioned Eusebius Hieronymus,
better known to us as St. Jerome, to revise the Latin version, which became known as the
Vulgate. No other work has had such an influence on the history of the "Bible."
For more than a thousand years it was the parent of every other version of the Scriptures
in Western Europe, and its influence is quite perceptible, even in the King James
"Bible" of today.
Yet we wish to note just here that, in that day, Jerome's version was attacked as
heretical, revolutionary, and impious, a work that was calculated to undermine the faith
of the church! The church people of that day had their old "Bible," which they
venerated highly and believed to be quite correct. Probably the sound of its sentences was
as musical in the ears of those who could associate them with the holiest moments of their
lives, as the King James "Bible" of today is to us. But Jerome fought his
battle, perhaps with more temper than necessary, insisting that no amount of sentiment
could be a plea for a faulty "Bible." In writing to Marcella, he mentions
certain poor creatures homunculos, who studiously calumniate him for his correcting
words in the "Gospels." "I could afford to despise them," he says,
"if I stood upon my rights; for a lyre is played in vain to an ass. If they do not
like the water from the pure fountainhead, let them drink of the muddy streams."
There were multitudes then, as now, who could not apprehend that every new version of
the Scriptures was a means divinely used to enlighten mankind as to what God had really
spoken. They would cling to their old "Bibles" just as their successors of today
cling to the King James Version in preference to the better and more accurate American
Standard Revised or some other later version.
We now pass over eight or nine hundred years, bringing us to the twelfth century, which
produced several translators and revisionists, but it was not until 1384 that John
Wycliffe, with the aid of a staff of competent assistants, gave the English- speaking
world the first complete Scripture revision and translation.
In the midst of his labors, he was compelled to stop and stand trial for heresy! One of
the charges brought against him was that he had made the Bible common and more open to the
laymen and even women (!) than it was wont to be by clergy, well learned and of good
understanding, so that "the pearl of the gospel is trodden under foot of swine."
Though fiercely derided and criticized, nevertheless, even in manuscript form, it reached
the truth-loving people and was loyally read throughout the kingdom.
In 1525, William Tyndale, a contemporary of Luther, began work on his famous version of
the Scriptures. Printing had been invented by this time, and Tyndale wished to put his
version into the hands of the people, for, as he says, "It is impossible to establish
the lay people in any truth, except the Scriptures be laid before their eyes, in their
mother tongue." But everywhere he encountered discouragement, especially among
churchmen, preachers, and bishops! It was a dangerous period for Scripture translation.
Men were imprisoned and even executed for reading a copy of Luther's writings. So Tyndale
was forced to leave England to finish his work. Yet after many perilous adventures, this
brave revisionist produced at Worms, Germany, about 1526, the first printed English New
Testament. An octavo edition of 6000 copies was made and smuggled into England.
The whole world knows the story of Tunstal, Bishop of London, buying up and burning
Tyndale's New Testaments at St. Paul's cross in London. We are informed that the London
Bishop, perceiving he could not hinder the version from coming into England, conceived
what he termed a "brilliant" idea! He engaged a merchant trading at Antwerp to
"buy up all the copies across the waters." As the Bishop gave the merchant money
to buy all the "unsold copies across the waters," he would take it to Tyndale,
who furnished him with a good supply each trip, and used the money to print more! As the
version began to reach England more abundantly, the Bishop inquired of his merchant
friend how this could be. Upon which, the merchant replied: "My lord, it were best
for your lordship to buy up the stamps too by which they are imprinted."
The clergymen and bishops through the land began frantic pulpit denunciations of the
version. Yet in spite of all the opposition, the book was being talked about, sought, and
read everywhere. One bishop wrote, "It passeth my power, or that of any spiritual man
to hinder it now." The path of the "Bible" was opened at last and no king
nor bishop could stay its progress. God's due time for light to dawn upon England's long
night of error and superstition had arrived.
But the light-bringer did not live to see that day. For long dreary years he had
labored for it, a worn, poverty-stricken exile in a far away German town, and now when it
came, his life was over--the prison and stake had done their work! And the serious part of
the matter to be noted is that the tragedy was schemed and enacted by the clergy and
bishops of the church! A traitorous clergyman, by the name of Phillips, won the confidence
of the unsuspecting exile, enticing him some distance from his house, where lurking
assistants seized and hurried him away to the dungeons of the castle of Vilvorden. It is
pitiful, indeed, to read of the poor prisoner there, in his cold and misery and rags,
writing the governor, begging: "Your lordship, and that by the Lord Jesus, that if I
am to remain here during the winter, you will request the procureur to be kind enough to
send me from my goods which he has in his possession a warmer cap, for I suffer extremely
from a perpetual catarrh, which is much increased by this cell. A warmer coat also, for
that which I have is very thin; also a piece of cloth to patch my leggings--my shirts too
are worn out...Also that he would suffer me to have my Hebrew Bible and Grammar and
There was no hope for escape, and the clerical influence in England was too strong
against him to appeal for help in that quarter, and on Friday, the sixth of October, 1536,
he was strangled at the stake and then burned to ashes, fervently praying with his last
words, "Lord, open the king of England's eyes."
The chief aids Tyndale used were the Greek New Testament of Erasmus (1519, 1522), the
German New Testament of Luther (1523) and the Latin Vulgate. All subsequent scholars have
done nothing more than improve the details of the translation. He fixed for all subsequent
workers the standard of diction and style of the English "Bible." The vast bulk
of the words we still read are his. For example, in his version of John 10:7-10,
out of eighty- seven words, the King James retained eighty and the Revised Version
retained seventy-seven that are identical with the 1525 New Testament of Tyndale.
OTHER ENGLISH VERSIONS
About the time Tyndale was martyred, Myles Coverdale compiled a version from five
others, yet he followed Tyndale's lines very closely. Soon after John Rogers issued what
is known as "Matthew's Bible," which was almost wholly copied from Tyndale's
version. A little later another Tyndale imitation appeared in what was called
None of these versions were satisfactory to the people, so that about three years after
the death of Tyndale, what is known as the "Great Bible" was planned with
Coverdale in charge of the work. This famous version, issued by authority of the king, was
a compilation from Tyndale, Matthew, and Coverdale, but with Tyndale as the principal
basis. So the prayer of the old martyr had been answered!
We will pass over the various revisions of the Scriptures that followed in the next few
generations--the principal ones being the "Geneva Bible," 1560; the
"Bishop's Bible," 1568, and the "Rheims-Douay Bible," 1582-1610--and
will come down to the most eventful period of modern history in which the King James
"Bible" saw the light.
When King James VI of Scotland became King James I of England, there were three
versions of the Scriptures in use. The "Great Bible," "Geneva Bible,"
and the "Bishop's Bible." The king, a man of fair abilities, but vain and
cherishing to the fullest extent a belief in the divine right of kings, resolved to
exercise his authority as God's anointed. So, in order that his dutiful subjects should
have a uniform version of the Scriptures, by his kingly power he set aside all three of
the versions then in use, and authorized a new revision of the entire Scriptures to be
made, which should bear the name of himself--the King James Version.
The next few years saw stirring times in England. The king was twice in peril of his
life. The Catholics hatched the infamous "Gun-Powder Plot" to blow up the king
and Parliament and pave the way for the restoration of Romanism. The plan was narrowly
frustrated. But amid the internal and external turmoil, the people of the united
kingdom--Scotland and England--awoke one morning in 1611, to the fact that the one great
act of King James' reign was complete and accomplished--the King James "Bible"
It is little known, yet it is an incontrovertible fact, that the Authorized Version of
King James was not a translation, but simply a revision of the
"Bishop's Bible." The translators 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
The scholars of King James' day did not have access to the treasuries of ancient
manuscripts, versions, and quotations which present day scholars possess; they did not
have the science of textual criticism which teaches the value and the best methods of
dealing with the ancient documents, all of which has sprung up since; neither did they
possess the wide and thorough acquaintance with the sacred languages and the ability to
distinguish and express the delicate shades of meaning that scholars of today are capable
of doing. They were also circumscribed by fourteen rules devised by King James, as to how
they should proceed. Some withdrew and refused to serve when the rules were submitted.
They had no system by which to effect a true version, but simply trusted to their
own judgment in the matter, and when not certain, they simply arrived at an agreement
among themselves on their "opinions" and put it in!
When issued, Dr. Broughton, one of the foremost Hebrew scholars of that era, wrote King
James, "I would rather suffer my body to be rent in pieces by wild horses than to
have such a version forced upon the church." He also said, "In fifteen verses of
Luke 3 (verses 24-38), the translators have fifteen score of idle words to account for in
the Day of Judgment." The italicized words of this chapter are not to be found in the
Withal a comparatively recent time, so great has been the increase of knowledge
concerning ancient lands and languages that Germany, France, Holland, Norway, Sweden, and
Denmark have made revisions of their "Bibles." These were not changes of
the original Scriptures themselves, but rectifications of the translations they had
so as to conform more perfectly and express more exactly the thought of the originals,
the meaning and spirit of which had not been understood before.
THE REVISED VERSION
The Revised Version was made because of the following reasons given by the Committee:
(1) Because the Greek Testament had been carefully studied in the manuscripts and existing
authorities, and many weak points in the Authorized Version had thus become evident. (2)
Because in the course of nearly three hundred years, words or phrases had become obsolete
or changed in meaning. (3) Because Greek and Hebrew scholarship had developed to a much
higher degree than was possible in the seventeenth century.
It was objected by some, when the revision was first proposed, that it would be
dangerous to unsettle men's faith by showing them that the old "Bible," they so
reverenced, contained many passages wrongly translated, and some even which had no right
to a place in it at all. But our faith should be founded on the divine verities. It is no
disparagement if we discover that fallible men in studying and translating these words,
have sometimes made mistakes, and it is certainly no honor to the words which we profess
to reverence, if we knowingly allow the mistakes to remain uncorrected!
The English work was issued in parts, the New Testament in 1881 and the Old Testament
in 1885. A recension of this work, called the American Standard Edition, and embodying
many important emendations made by the American Revision Committee, was issued in 1901.
The system used in this work was a two-third majority, which often hindered the better
and more correct renderings from going into the text, as may be noted by considering the
renderings given in the foot-notes.
Many versions have been issued in recent years. All have some good qualities and many
have much that is to be deplored. The most important of these are as follows: Wilson's
Diaglott, Ferrar Fenton, Darby, Rotherham, Weymouth, The Twentieth Century, Moffatt, and
THE CONCORDANT VERSION
The question may be asked, with all the versions enumerated, what room is there for
another? This question leads us to the consideration of the CONCORDANT VERSION of the
Sacred Scriptures. More than a quarter of a century since, Mr. A. E. Knoch, an earnest
student of the Scriptures, desiring to understand the Word of God, made the discovery that
practically all solid progress in the recovery of truth during the last century had come
through the concordance. He found that tracing words through all their occurrences was the
safe and satisfactory method of becoming assured of the real meaning God intended by their
use. Thus it was that the idea of a concordant version suggested itself to his mind. No
one could honestly object to this method, for it is the only one not based on human
scholarship, but on a worshipful recognition of the divine Author's ability to make
Himself understood. The Concordant Version is the only one which practically acknowledges
that "All scripture is inspired by God"--literally, "God-spirited" (2
Tim.3:16), by using a method of translation based on the denial of human ability to sound
its depths or scale its heights, and insisting on its superhuman perfection to the
minutest detail--considering every element and listening to every letter.
A RESTORED GREEK TEXT
The concordant method of studying the Scriptures uses a concordance to discover the
meaning of a word, not in any version, but in the original Hebrew, Chaldee, and
Greek, and discovers its usage and fixes its signification by its inspired associations,
according to the laws of language, and turns it into English. To do this, the three great
witnesses to the text of Holy Writ, as described in Chapter One, have been used--the Codex
Sinaiticus, the Codex Vaticanus, and the Codex Alexandrinus--by which a restored
Greek Text has been effected, conforming as closely as possible to the inspired
A concordance of every form of every Greek word was made and systematized and turned
into English. The whole Greek vocabulary was analyzed and translated, using a STANDARD
English equivalent for each Greek element. The Greek grammar was entirely revised in
accord with the findings made in this task of transcribing into English precisely what God
has really revealed in the sacred original. The result of this arduous and exhaustive work
is the CONCORDANT VERSION of the Sacred Scriptures, which is at once scientific,
systematic, uniform and consistent--a standard by which all other translations may be
tested--truly the most valuable work ever printed. Never before has such earnest endeavor
been made to give the people the revelation of God with the unvarying uniformity,
consistency, and purity found in the CONCORDANT VERSION, enabling the reader to establish
his faith on divine verities rather than human authority.
A SPECIMEN EXCERPT
We here give a specimen excerpt from this version, taken from the third chapter
of Paul's epistle to the Romans.
Only by comparison can one appreciate the CONCORDANT VERSION, so we propose a
few examples with brief comments for consideration. Let us look at Genesis 1:1,2. As given
by the King James "Bible," it reads:
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was
without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep."
The way this verse reads, practically all readers get the impression that God created
the earth "without form and void." In the celebrated "Evolution Trial"
at Dayton, Tennessee, Mr. Darrow requested of the late Mr. Bryan to describe something
that could be created "without form and void!" Scientists have poked fun at the
"Bible" because of this statement, and pious reverence for a "book"
rather than the truth constrained them to believe and accent it because it was in there!
The CONCORDANT VERSION clarifies the matter:
"In the beginning God creates the heavens and the earth. Now the earth becomes
waste and barren, and darkness is on the surface of the abyss."
That this is the correct rendering, is confirmed by Isaiah 45:18, as given by the
American Standard Revised Version, which speaks of the primal creation before the
earth "becomes waste and barren:"
"For thus saith Jehovah that created the heavens, the God that formed the earth,
and made it, that established it and created it not a waste, that formed it to be
inhabited: I am Jehovah and there is none else!"
This scripture confirms the truth that the earth was created "not a waste" in
the first verse of Genesis, but "to be inhabited," and at a later date, through
some cataclysmic judgment, is disrupted--"becomes waste and barren, and darkness is
on the surface of the abyss." Compare Jeremiah 4:23-26 and 2 Peter 3:5,6. This will
be treated more in detail in Chapter IV.
In John 20:1, the King James reads:
"Now on the first day of the week...."
It is little known to Christendom that this is a "bogus" translation foisted
upon the church by the translators, a "camel" that has been swallowed by
scholars and students alike. The writer had a well-meaning brother in the Lord, who became
so concerned about me and my teaching that he traveled a long distance to go over the
matter with me and readjust me in the truth. After patiently listening to all that he had
to say, I suggested a few things to him, one of which was the fact that the Scriptures,
correctly translated, knew nothing about "the first day of the week." He threw
up his hands in astonishment that I would make such an irreverent indictment of the
"Bible!" After facing the facts, he apparently preferred "error" to
the truth, as he made no attempt to reply and quit the subject without any explanation
The original, in all three of the oldest manuscripts, reads: mia toon sabbatoon,
ONE OF-THE SABBATHS. Our translators presumed to know more than the great Author and corrupted
the Word of God. They altered "one" to read "first," inserted the word
"day," for it is not in the original and is not needed in the translation, and
changed "sabbaths" to the singular "week." Can one imagine a
more perfidious and deceptive act of man? It truly is repugnant to those who reverently
regard the original as the very Word of God, and want it to speak to them as He was
pleased to give it.
In Acts 2:40 we read:
"And with many other words did he testify and exhort saying, Save yourselves from
this untoward generation."
It has been my experience to sit and listen to a great preacher use this as a text to
preach a "self-help," "boot-strap" salvation sermon. In his
superficial knowledge of God's Word, he little realized he was "despoiling" the
saints "through philosophy and empty seduction, in accord with human tradition, in
accord with the elements of the world, and not in accord with Christ," in Whom they
are complete (Col.2:8-17). The passage should read:
"Besides with many more and different words, he conjures and entreated them,
saying, `Be saved from this crooked generation.'"
In Acts 19:2 the Authorized Version reads:
"Have you received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?"
Due to the sense conveyed by this incorrect translation, a false and misleading
philosophy has been deduced to despoil the saints, causing them to look for some marvelous
"second blessing." It should read:
"Did you obtain holy spirit when believing?"
It is a condition that does not apply to us today; it belongs to the Pentecostal
Administration, covered by the book of Acts. In this Secret Administration of God's grace,
Paul says: "In Whom you also--when hearing the word of truth, the evangel of
your salvation--in Whom, when believing also, you are sealed with the holy spirit of
promise (which is an earnest of the enjoyment of our allotment, until the deliverance of
that which has been procured) for the laud of His glory" (Eph.1:13,14).
In Romans 1:16,17 Paul speaks of not being ashamed of the evangel and states, as given
by the King James Version:
"For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith."
Again, in chapter 3:22, they translate:
"Even the righteousness which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all
them that believe."
The grand truth God has been pleased to reveal in these Scriptures has been beclouded
and covered over by the translators. They should read:
"For in it [the evangel] God's righteousness is revealed out of faith for
faith." "Yet a righteousness of God, through Jesus Christ's faith, for all and
on all who are believing."
Our translators apparently did not believe that the Lord Jesus Christ had faith, and
glossed it over in these passages to accord with their opinions. Christ is called
"the Inaugurator and Perfecter of faith" (Heb.12:2), for He not only did good
and kept the law, but He believed God even when He smote Him for our sins. Therefore, the
righteousness of God is revealed "out of faith for faith," that is, "out of
Jesus Christ's faith for all and on all who are believing." This will be exhaustively
treated when dealing with the evangels.
The Authorized Version renders Romans 7:24 thus:
"O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I
thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Since the King James "Bible" was made, this question has been read and reread
by the saints of God, but the answer has been lacking. The CONCORDANT VERSION, following
the editor of Sinaiticus, restores the answer that has been lost all these years. It
"A wretched man am I! What will rescue me out of this body of death? Grace!
Now I am thanking God, through Jesus Christ, our Lord."
They render Romans 8:30 thus:
"Moreover, whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them
He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified."
This verse is full of difficulties to the close student of the Scriptures. The
"did predestinate" cannot be questioned, but how can Paul say that these were called
(in the past) when Romans was penned? If this is strictly true, then we have no place in
this Scripture, for we were not called until the far future from that time! The
concordant method discovered that the Greek "aorist" was an indefinite,
changing acts to facts, transforming deeds into truth. Notice how simply and grandly the
whole passage responds to a true translation:
"Now whom He designates beforehand, these He calls also, and whom He calls, these
He justifies also; now whom He justifies, these He glorifies also."
The whole transaction is taken out of time and circumstance into the higher realm of
eternity and truth. There is no confusion created with the time the epistle was written.
The rendering blends beautifully with the great truth of the chapter, and imparts
permanence and majesty to God's method of drawing us to Himself.
Consider 2 Corinthians 8:1:
"Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed upon the
churches of Macedonia."
We might as well quote the Greek in this verse and expect people to understand it today
as to quote it as rendered by the King James here. Let us note the understanding,
immediately, by the CONCORDANT VERSION:
"Now we are making known to you, brethren, the grace of God which has been
bestowed upon the ecclesias of Macedonia."
Note the reading of Ephesians 1:3:
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath blessed us with
all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ..."
In the early years of the writer's experience with the Scripture, the rendering
"heavenly places" or "heavenlies" gave no little trouble as to
its meaning. I waded through the works of the great expositors of the "Bible,"
figuratively speaking, but got little save "weariness of the flesh." But let us
note the light unfolded in the CONCORDANT VERSION:
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who blesses us with every
spiritual blessing among the celestials, in Christ..."
In Christ, we are blessed with every spiritual blessing among the vast host of
celestial beings in heaven--the celestials. This will be considered in
detail in a later chapter.
An important passage is Ephesians 3:5-7:
"Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now
revealed unto His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that the gentiles should be
fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel:
whereof I was made a minister."
The wonderful truth of this passage is lost to Christendom through faulty translation
and punctuation. As it stands, it says the revelation was made known "by the
Spirit." But in what way is revelation made known other than "by the
Spirit?" Hence, there is no purpose accomplished by stating the fact here. And again,
the gentiles are said to become "partakers of the promise in Christ by the gospel:
whereof I was made a minister," destroying the sense of the revealed truth in this
passage also. The CONCORDANT VERSION clarifies the matter:
"which is not made known to other generations of the sons of humanity as it was
now revealed to His holy apostles and prophets): in spirit the nations are to be joint
enjoyers of an allotment, and a joint body, and joint partakers of the
promise in Christ Jesus through the evangel of which I became the dispenser."
The careful student will observe that, this passage is concerned with making known the
truth that the nations" become "joint" allottees, and a "joint"
body, and "joint" partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus "in spirit."
rather than how the revelation was given. All revelation is "by the
Spirit," be it remembered. Furthermore, they become partakers of these blessings
"through the evangel of which Paul was made the dispenser." We
will treat this in detail when dealing with the evangels.
Another text is 1 Timothy 3:16:
"And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in
the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed
on in the world, received up into glory."
This seems to be a favorite text of many preachers who talk much and think little.
Concordantly translated it reads:
"And avowedly great is the secret of devoutness, which was manifested in flesh,
justified in spirit, viewed by messengers, proclaimed among the nations, believed in the
world, taken up in glory."
Not only is the manuscript evidence against reading "God manifest in
flesh," but other considerations force us to the same conclusion. In the typical
teaching of the tabernacle, the "veil" represented His flesh (Heb.10:20).
Yet the "veil" did not reveal, but rather hid the divine presence. It
could not be said to manifest it. The phrase "justified in spirit" is very inept
when applied to Christ. The "proclamation among the nations" is out of place, as
no such ministry was attempted until long after He had been "taken up in glory."
The whole passage is concerned with conduct. The secret of devout conduct
is traced in its various manifestations in those who are its subjects. It should be
manifested in flesh by ideal acts which it produces, it enjoys justification in spirit, is
the subject of angelic inspection (Eph.3:10), is proclaimed among the nations, and will be
removed from the world before the Lord appears in judgment.
The Revised Version of 2 Timothy 1:9 reads:
"Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our
works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus
before times eternal."
If "time" is eternal, as the Revised Version translators have made it
here, the psychological puzzle remains to be solved as to how something could take place
"before" it! The King James says "before the world began."
This, in a way, expresses more clearly the truth than the Revised Version. The original is
speaking of the "times" of the aioonoon, that is, "eons," or
"ages" It should read:
"Who saves us and calls us with a holy calling, not in accord with our acts, but
in accord with His own purpose and the grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before
"Before eonian times" shows conclusively that the "eons," or
"ages," were not eternal in the past, but had a definite beginning.
In fact, the Scriptures reveal that "time" has three grand divisions,
"Pre-Eonian Times," "Eonian Times," and "Post- Eonian
Times." The "Eonian Times," or the "times of the eons," is
bounded in the past by the "beginning" and in the future by the
consummation." Before the "beginning" was the "Pre-Eonian
Times," and after the "consummation" will be the "Post-Eonian
Times." This subject will be exhaustively treated in Chapter IV.
A problem is presented in Hebrews 9:26:
"But now once in the end of the world hath He appeared to put away sin by the
sacrifice of Himself."
This clearly and unequivocally states that the "world ended" when Christ was
manifested in His sacrifice! It is appalling to see the contortions preachers and
expositors go through, in order to justify this faulty translation. The CONCORDANT
VERSION clarifies the matter:
"yet now, once, has He been manifested through His sacrifice, for the repudiation
of sin at the conclusion of the eons."
There is no need of explanation here. What we need is faith to believe what is
How can anyone believe Hebrews 11:1?
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not
"Faith" is neither "substance" nor "evidence," as it is
rendered in this passage. Faith is intangible, the very opposite of substance. It cannot
become "substance" without being transmuted into sight, and is no longer faith.
Later versions changed "substance" to "confidence," yet this is not at
all suitable for some of the other contexts where the word occurs. The CONCORDANT
VERSION renders it uniformly:
"Now faith is an assumption of what is being expected, a conviction concerning
matters which are not being observed."
The word "assumption" fits every passage in which this word occurs, and opens
up a marvelous vista of truth. Faith assumes that to be truth which it expects to become
fact in the future.
The Authorized Version of Revelation 1:1 reads:
"The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him to show unto His servants
things which must shortly come to pass."
Christendom is groaning under the burden of the many expository works that have been
written on Revelations. And there are nearly as many expositions as there have been books
written. The writer spent ten years in writing a treatise on the book, which was withdrawn
just before going to press and destroyed. This was done before he became acquainted with
what the Lord had really revealed, and could do nothing less than follow His Word. It
"The Unveiling of Jesus Christ, which God gives to Him, to show to His slaves what
must occur swiftly."
"What must occur swiftly"--not soon, but with speed. This is made more
luminous by going entirely away from this setting and finding where the same word
is used again in the original and seeing its meaning there. On the morning of the
resurrection, John and Peter started together, but John ran more swiftly (not
"shortly") than Peter (John 20:4). If this prophecy started soon after John
wrote, it has moved very slowly indeed. When it does commence, it will run with great
rapidity. God lingers in dispensing grace, but hastens in executing judgment.
This calls for an entirely future fulfillment, after the "full complement of the
nations may be entering" (Rom.11:25- 27).
COMPARISON OF VERSIONS
Having shown many examples of how standardized, consistent translation opens God's Word
to our understanding, we will now quote one more verse--1 Corinthians 10:13--as rendered
in the original editions of eight versions, that we may note the improvements made in
spelling, punctuation, diction, etc., over a period of about five hundred years.
temptacioun take not zou' but mannes temptacioun' for god is trewe
whiche schal not suffre zou to be temptid aboue aboue that that ze moun but he schal make
with temptacioun also puruyaunce that ze moun suffre.
There hath none other temptacion taken you' but soche as followeth the
nature of man. But God is faythfull' which shall not suffer you to be tempted above youre
strength: but shall in the myddes of the temptacion make away to escape out.
Ther hath none other temptacyon taken you, but soch as followeth hte
nature of man. But God is faythfull whych shall not suffer you to be tempted aboue youre
strength: but shall in the myddes of the temptacion make a waye, that ye may be able to
There hath none other tentation taken you, but such as appartayneth to
man: but God is faithful, which shal not suffer you to be tempted aboue your strengthe:
but shal in the middes of the tentation make away, that ye may be able to beare it.
Let not tentation apprehend you, but humane, and God is faithful, vvho
vvil not suffer you to be tempted aboue that vvhich you are able: but vvil make also vvith
tentation issue, that you may be able to susteine.
AUTHORIZED (King James)--1611
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but
God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted aboue that you are able: but wil
with the temptation also make a way of escape, that ye may bee able to beare it.
AMERICAN STANDARD VERSION--1901
There hath no temptation taken you but such as man can bear: but God is
faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able: but will with the
temptation make also the way of escape, that ye may be able to endure it.
No trial has taken you except what is human. Now faithful is God, Who
will not be leaving you to be tried above what you are able, but, together with the trial,
will be making the sequel also, to enable you to undergo it.
It is evident that God does not make "a way of escape", as
many of His saints have found by experience. If He did, why or how could that
enable them to bear it? They could not endure it if He took them out of it! He
makes the sequel. All the great examples of trial were sustained by the
contemplation of the blessed outcome which they were designed to produce.
These examples could be multiplied many times, but this will suffice to
show that we should be very careful about building divisive articles, dogmas and doctrines
on such imperfections, as are manifest in these older versions. Since the King James
"Bible" was issued in 1611, some forty new dictionaries have been issued to keep
pace with the growth and changes in the English.