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Posts tagged ‘Oral tradition’

The Nazarene master teacher learning people how they should behave

Soon after the Nazarene Jeshua (Jesus Christ) had started his public life and had chosen some disciples, he found them following him and receiving more followers who wanted to hear him talking about many things which concerned them or which where about the general customs and religious life of the people.

Jesus went all over Galilee and used open as well as covered spaces, like synagogues but also planes and mountain slopes. Jesus knew his divine task, having placed in a special way on this earth to show people the Way to God. Jesus knew very well Who that One True God is all people should come to know.  He very well knew his own place, being lower than angels and being a son of God, the Most High without Jesus could do nothing.

He must have been special. Though the religious leaders despised him but the people wondered who this man could be and where curious for what they could hear from others about miracles he could perform.

Sites of Christianity in the Galillee - Ruins of the ancient Great Synagogue at Capernaum (or Kfar Nahum) on the shore of the Lake of Galilee, Northern Israel.jpg

Capernaum synagogue

Jesus went from one place to an other telling about his heavenly Father, the Only One True God of Israel. He taught people the truth of God and God’s kingdom was his theme. He also healed people of their diseases and of the bad effects of their bad lives. Those actions he did, got many curious about this personage and word got around the entire Roman province of Syria. People brought anybody with an ailment, whether mental, emotional, or physical. Jesus healed them, one and all. More and more people came, the momentum gathering. Besides those from Galilee, crowds came from the “Ten Towns” across the lake, others up from Jerusalem and Judea, still others from across the Jordan. (Matthew 4:23-25)

Mount of Beatitudes, seen from Capernaum

When he was in the region of Capernaum again there were a lot of people who had come to see him and who where eager to hear what he had to tell.  Jesus saw all those crowds, coming from different places, following him and went up the mountain or hill (the Greek word can mean either) the Mount of Beatitudes.

Some commentators see here an intended contrast to Sinai, where the Law was given. However, there are no grounds, implicit or explicit, for identifying the mountain as a “New Sinai.” {Newman, B. M., & Stine, P. C. (1992). A handbook on the Gospel of Matthew (p. 103). New York: United Bible Societies.}

From Matthew’s choice of verbs we can imagine that the situation was all about a moment of teaching, Jesus tutoring. It does not matter so much if Matthew and Luke wrote about the same or of a different occasion where Jesus taught about the kingdom of heaven, its subjects and their life.

There have been and are today scholars who regard the sermons recorded in Mt and Lk as collections of sayings spoken on different occasions, and maintain that they do not represent any connected discourse ever delivered by Jesus. In their view the Sermon is either a free compilation by the evangelists or a product of apostolic teaching and oral tradition.
The prevailing opinion among NT scholars is, however, that the gospel accounts represent a genuine historical discourse. The Sermon as recorded in Mt bears such marks of inner unity of theme and exposition as to give the appearance of genuineness. That Jesus should deliver a discourse of this kind accords with all the circumstances and with the purpose of His ministry. Besides, we know that in His teaching He was accustomed to speak to the multitudes at length, and we should expect Him to give early in His ministry some formal exposition of the kingdom, the burden of His first preaching. That such a summary of one of His most important discourses should have been preserved is altogether probable. {Miller, R. B. (1915). Sermon, on the Mount, The. In J. Orr, J. L. Nuelsen, E. Y. Mullins, & M. O. Evans (Eds.), The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia (Vol. 1–5, p. 2733). Chicago: The Howard-Severance Company.}

In any case even when it is a summary it is a teaching every Christian should seriously take at heart. Jesus was not afraid to talk at length, but this discourse could easily be delivered in a few minutes.

There is evidence that the account in Mt 5–7 contains some sayings not included in the original discourse. This view is confirmed by the fact that a number of the sayings are given in Luke’s Gospel in settings that appear more original. It is easy to believe that related sayings spoken on other occasions may have become associated with the Sermon in apostolic teaching and thus handed down with it, but if the discourse were well known in a specific form, such as that recorded in Mt, it is hardly conceivable that Luke or anyone else would break it up and distribute the fragments or associate them with other incidents, as some of the sayings recorded in both Gospels are found associated in Lk. {Miller, R. B. (1915). Sermon, on the Mount, The. In J. Orr, J. L. Nuelsen, E. Y. Mullins, & M. O. Evans (Eds.), The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia (Vol. 1–5, p. 2733). Chicago: The Howard-Severance Company.}

Because there is written that the disciples came to sit by Jesus many think Jesus was mainly addressing them. Even when this is the apparent meaning of the account of both evangelists, the separation from the multitudes and the direction of Jesus his words to the disciples seem clear, and the distinction appears intentional on the part of the writer. However, it must be observed that in the closing comments on the Sermon the presence of the multitudes is implied. In Luke’s account the distinction is less marked; being the night of prayer in the mountain, the choice of the twelve apostles, the descent with them into the presence of the multitude of his disciples and a great number of people from Judaea, Jerus and the coast country, the healing of great numbers, and, finally, the address. While the continued presence of the multitudes is implied, the plain meaning of the words,

“And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said,”

is that his address was intended especially for the latter.

This view is borne out by the address itself as recorded in both accounts. Observe the use of the second person in the reference to suffering, poverty and persecution for the sake of the Son of Man. Further the sayings concerning the “salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” could hardly have been addressed to any but His disciples. The term disciple, however, was doubtless employed in the broader sense by both evangelists. This is clearly the case in Matthew’s account, according to which the Twelve had not yet been appointed. {Miller, R. B. (1915). Sermon, on the Mount, The. In J. Orr, J. L. Nuelsen, E. Y. Mullins, & M. O. Evans (Eds.), The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia (Vol. 1–5, p. 2733). Chicago: The Howard-Severance Company.}

Today we should look at those texts also as a lesson to all those who want to call themselves “Christian” which means “to be a follower of Christ“. Christians too should be disciples of Christ Jesus and should follow the words of the Nazarene master teacher. Not especially being a digest of Christ his teaching the account in Matthew 5 delivers a short of the attitudes a Christian should take.

Today because so many people calling themselves Christian, but more following human doctrines instead of keeping to the Biblical doctrines, may find Jesus’ words very hard to understand and even harder to follow in our modern culture which preaches that happiness or luck comes from material wealth, absence of sorrow, and which teaches revenge or retaliation and exorbitant punishments far in excess of the wrong suffered. Lots of people do find it right to punish wrongdoers and even would not mind if their life was taken away, though on other occasions they are totally against women taking contraceptives considering this murder or killing an unborn life.

The writer who records the most challenging command Jesus ever gave his followers:

“Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

looks at the teaching of Jesus on our behaviour and living and presents an ethic code for his disciples and a measure for the behaviour of all believers.

Each time Jesus opens with the word, which is recorded in Greek as “makarioi”, “blessed” or “happy”, which occurs nine times in verses 3–12. Many also call it “beatitudes”. Each beatitude having three parts: an ascription of blessing (happiness), a specific virtue to be cultivated (the practice of each produces a positive result), and a promise relating to the kingdom (reward or special comfort as a reason for the promised happiness).

In the sermon we find that the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the gentle, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, those who receive insults, are falsely accused and are persecuted on account of the Messiah may count on it that they are all blessed.

Certainly in Christendom we can find many true believers in Christ, those who accept Jesus for whom he really is, a man of flesh and blood who put his will aside to do the Will of the One God Who sent him to this world. Very often those real Christians are spit at and very often it are the trinitarian Christians who take on a very un-christian attitude to those believers. Those name Christians who prefer to keep to human doctrines and want to keep to the pagan rites and festivals, are often the worst in their attitude to the real or non-trinitarian Christians. Look around you and hear how your surroundings react to such Christians as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christadelphians or others who spread the Good News by giving pamphlets and by talking to people on the streets or by going from door to door. Often those who laugh at such Christians are not the gentle, and often they have more interest in the looks of people and the material wealth of themselves and others, instead of looking for the spiritual wealth.

In the world we can see many who sincerely love God and want to prefer to worship Him alone, who are therefore being harassed or molested. Be them Jews, Christians or Muslims, those who not like to take part in the pagan rituals, like Halloween, Christmas, Easter, are often looked at with a bad eye, or even spit on. They are laughed at, being considered compliant meek, soft ones and not by the time. To be meek does not mean to be weak. Jesus with his words concerning the meek ones looks at “meekness” meaning gentle restraint. it  Holds in a person can be showing gentlenessmildness, forbearance, submissiveness, humility or humbleness, modesty, submission and trying to bring peacefulness, sometimes even with acquiescence. We should remember that there it is about those who dare to take on an attitude which does not insist on one’s own rights but is giving itself for others, always ready to waive its privileges in the interests of others. “The meek” person is willing to wait for God’s timing being sure that God’s promises will become a reality and that God shall provide better times for all those who live according to God His commandments. That is our sacred hope we may find in Christ his offering, opening the gates to the Kingdom of God.

As Christian we should be taking every effort to follow Christ, to become in unity with him and his teaching, doing our utmost best to obey our heavenly Father. Living according to God’s commandments we can live with the promise to be able to live in the kingdom here on earth (“inherit the earth”). Though we should be well aware that this is not promised to the pushy, proud, ambitious, and domineering and to scourge those who do not believe in God or those who prefer to live differently than us.

Those who are humble and willing to undergo all the suffering in name of Christ or those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, may look forward for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. They or we may rejoice, and be glad, for our reward in heaven shall be great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before us. (Matthew 5:3-12)

Jesus Christ in Capernaum

Jesus Christ in Capernaum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jesus knew or knows we are not perfect, but that does not mean we should be happy with who we are at a certain moment. Every day we should work at ourselves and strive to become better. It is quite ready to love those who love us, but what about loving those who hate us? Concerning doing good, many unbelievers are doing good, so what would be the difference between a non-believer and a Christian? How many name Christian today we do hear speaking low about other coloured people or about people of an other religion? How many so called Christians do not despise other Christians and other believers or atheists and want them away from their community or surroundings. Lots of name Christians do not welcome others.

So many people consider them higher than others or more special. Often they consider themselves perfect or faultless and are not interested in changing their own world view, their mindset, their inclination or habit, their ethos and their assumptions. Lots of them even do not want to challenge themselves in any way and do not want to see that nobody is foolproof. Today we do find lots of so called Christians who are against the refugees and who wrong or oppress strangers, though they should know that is against the Will of God (Exodus 22:20-21). They are not interested in the war victims, the orphans and widow, though a lover of God should stand up for them and defend them (Isaiah 1:16-17). Several people who call themselves Christian should better ask themselves what this really should mean and should check if they can come under that denominator.

Christianity is all a matter of “love“.

Jesus asks his followers to consider the aspects of real love and of the will to work at the inner self, the way how to react to others and daring to put your own will aside to be there for others. Looking at the habits that have entered our life, Jesus requires to examine ourself and to become aware of our attitude we should take on in life.

God requires of us to worship Him as the Only One True God of gods and to keep His commandments, doing justice and to offer loving kindness or mercy to others, walk humbly with God. Jesus requires of us also to honour his heavenly Father and to worship Him alone. He also requires us to become like him and to hunger and thirst for righteousness, work for peace, and stand in solidarity with those who are persecuted; to be merciful and comfort mourners; to be humble in spirit, meek, and pure in heart.

So let us listen very carefully to the Bible text in “Commentary Matthew 5:1-12 Nazarene Mountain teachings: Blessed and legal commentaries” and work at ourselves to become more like Christ fulfilling the Wish of God.

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Preceding article

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:23-25 – Kingdom Preaching and Healing Draws Crowds

There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving

Next:

Commentary Matthew 5:1-12 Nazarene Mountain teachings: Blessed and legal commentaries

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Additional reading

  1. Being Religious and Spiritual 8 Spiritual, Mystic and not or well religious
  2. Salvation, trust and action in Jesus #2 What you must do
  3. Words to inspire and to give wisdom
  4. A season of gifts
  5. Wishing lanterns and Christmas
  6. Are you being swept along by the world
  7. Let us become nothing, and Christ everything
  8. Outflow of foundational relationship based on acceptance of Jesus
  9. the Bible – God’s guide for life #8 Looking to Jesus #1 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus
  10. The meek one riding on an ass
  11. When having found faith through the study of the Bible we do need to do works of faith

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Further reading

  1. Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount
  2. Sermon from Matthew 5
  3. What Love Says and Does
  4. Loved Are We
  5. Beatitudes
  6. Beatitudes / Blessed are: (Matthew 5:3-12)
  7. Blessed Are… – Sermon on Matthew 5:1-12
  8. What Does God Require? A Christian Manifesto (Matt 5:1-12, Micah 6:1-8)
  9. What does the Lord require…?
  10. Blessed are the merciful: 4 Epiphany A
  11. Children’s Sermon: Matthew 5:4 (Beatitudes)
  12. Sermon for January 29, 2017
  13. Sermon for 29 January 2017 on Matthew 5:1-12
  14. NBFMC Sermon Review (1/15/2017) – ‘Sermon on the Mount’ Series: “Being Salt and Light”
  15. NBFMC Sermon Review (1/22/2017) – ‘Sermon on the Mount’ Series: “Jesus and The Law”
  16. NBFMC Sermon Review (2/05/2017) – ‘Sermon on the Mount’ Series: “Lust and Relationships”
  17. 4th Sunday, Year A | Being peacemakers in a divided society
  18. Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (January 29th, 2017)
  19. 4th Sunday After Epiphany, January 29, 2017
  20. 5th Sunday Ordinary Time Year A 2017
  21. Sermon on the Mount: Part 1
  22. Sermon on the Mount Part 1: Beatitudes
  23. Sermon on the Mount: Part 2
  24. 2017.01.15 Sermon On The Mount Part 1
  25. Bible Study: Insights on the Sermon on the Mount: The Beatitudes Part 1
  26. Bible Study: Insights on the Sermon on the Mount: The Beatitudes Part 2
  27. Bible Study: Insights on the Sermon on the Mount: The Beatitudes Part 3
  28. Bible Study: Insights on the Sermon on the Mount: The Light
  29. True Worship: Justice, Kindness, Walk Humbly
  30. Sunday Devotional: Who are our ‘neighbors’ and our ‘enemies’? How are we to ‘love’ them?
  31. Blocking your own witness
  32. How to deal with others
  33. What Jesus Says When You’ve Been Burned
  34. “I’m telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder.” ~~Jesus
  35. Reconciling Jesus
  36. Be Perfect
  37. Radical Love in the Face of Injustice
  38. “Make something happen!”: The restless spirit
  39. Giving and Getting It All
  40. Day 33 -This Little Light of Mine
  41. Be Nice to Me
  42. A Godly Response To Ungodliness
  43. Our Relationship to the World
  44. The Love Question
  45. Love?
  46. A Life Well-Lived
  47. “No & Yes”
  48. Truth, love, and justice
  49. Salt and Light: Matthew 5
  50. We’re Salt & Light: But are we?
  51. Anger and murder
  52. “An ‘Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.’ Is that going to get us anywhere?” ~~Jesus
  53. Blessed are the Refugees
  54. What Does the Lord Require? :: Prayers of the People
  55. The Joy of Mercy
  56. “You are God’s field, God’s building”
  57. Evangelize: Downtown Boise With Love
  58. …I’m gonna let it shine
  59. A toddler’s tale
  60. The Beatitudes are Like Yogurt
  61. Why does Jesus say “the poor in spirit” are blessed?
  62. An Accurate Measurement for Your Life
  63. Authentic Christianity

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Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #5 Further steps to women’s bibles

In the Wild West women took care their children got a knowledge of the Word of God. In the growing states of the New World the oral tradition of the Word of God ensured the Gospel-readings spreading.

For millennia prior to the invention of writing, which is a very recent phenomenon in the history of humankind, oral tradition served as the sole means of communication available for forming and maintaining societies and their institutions. Moreover, numerous studies — conducted on six continents — have illustrated that oral tradition remains the dominant mode of communication in the 21st century, despite increasing rates of literacy. {Encyclopaedia Britannica}

The States got some very strong ladies, creating schools and congregations where women told in their own words what was written in the Holy Scriptures. In the early nineteenth century, at the European continent and in the colonies where the largest, most influential churches like Catholics and Church of England reigned, they like Presbyterians, and the Episcopalians (or Anglicanism and Episcopal Church in the United States of America) forbade women to preach. In the New World women proved their necessity for leading everything in good directions. Searching the bible and having met people from different denominations many came to conclusions which made them to form newer groups. In a small number of those denominations, particularly the Congregationalists, the restrictions on women’s religious speech became challenged. Professor of Religions in America and the History of Christianity in the Divinity School of the University of Chicago, Catherine Brekus whose works have included a history of female preaching in America, entitled Strangers and Pilgrims: Female Preaching in America, 1740 – 1845 (1998) and a history of early evangelicalism based on a woman’s diaries, entitled Sarah Osborn‘s World: The Rise of Evangelicalism in Early America (2013), writes.

“Anti-authoritarian, anti-intellectual, and often visionary, they deliberately set themselves apart from the ‘worldliness’ of established churches by insisting that God could choose anyone — even the poor, uneducated, enslaved, or female — to spread the gospel.”

She briefly traces the story of evangelicals — especially Free Will Baptists, Christian Connection, northern Methodists, African Methodists, and Millerites — who allowed women to preach.

Benjamin Randall (1749-1808) main organizer of the Freewill Baptists (Randall Line) in the Northeastern United States.

Inspired by the preaching of the lay exhorter Benjamin Randall in New Hampshire that Free Will Baptist Association was formed in 1782. By 1780 the various Baptist groups had formed around 450 churches, a number exceeded only by Congregationalists with about 750 and Presbyterians with some 490. With the disappearance of a Puritan orthodoxy at the beginning of the eighteenth century the Congregational churches, whose ideas were based on the priesthood of all believers, developed by Robert Browne and Henry Barrow, and were Calvinist in tone, had opened the way for women preaching and for people telling with their own words what was written in the Bible.

The gradual collapse of state religious establishments after ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1789 served Baptist purposes, and by 1800 they had become for a while the largest denomination in the nation, with almost twice as many adherents as the second-ranked Congregationalists. Those Baptists supported the creation of colleges, seminaries, tract societies, and missionary agencies. Educated leaders provided the impetus for the creation in 1814 of a General Missionary Convention, soon called the Triennial Convention, to sponsor home and foreign missions. Before long, it had allied itself with other agencies to promote publication and education. Several groups considered themselves to be a continuation of the first church where followers of Christ, men and women tried to bring people to God and have them baptised by immersion, the only true form of Christian baptism. At the end of the 20th century it would be the pressure of the major trinitarian Baptist groups, like the 13.9 million Southern Baptist Convention which would make the non-trinitarian Baptists looking for other congregations, but still leaving 26,7 million U.S.A. Baptists.

Brekus notes how fearing the colonies’ established churches had “quenched the spirit” by requiring college education for ministers, evangelicals said

“God could communicate directly with people through dreams, visions, and voices,”

and appealed to Joel’s promise (quoted by Peter at Pentecost) to invest

“female preaching with transcendent significance. Whenever a woman stood in the pulpit, she was a visible reminder that Christ might soon return to earth.”

Yet influenced by the wider culture, they did not think the Bible sanctioned their equality with men in Church, home, or political life. Rather than seeking ordination and settled pastorates, they remained itinerate evangelists. So, these biblical feminists were caught between two worlds — too radical to be accepted by evangelicals, but too conservative to be accepted by women’s rights activists. {Christian Reflection; A Series in Faith and Ethics}

Waves of Irish Presbyterians flooded into the middle and southern colonies, which tolerated their religious beliefs, and flowed into the unoccupied western regions. Some were established congregations who brought their ministers with them; most immigrated as individuals or in small family groups and were followed by clergymen. But the Presbyterian Church in England, re-established in 1844, was reported to have only 76 places of worship in 1851 — one-fifth the number of quaker meeting-houses. {J. A. Cannon; The Oxford Companion to British History; 2002}
A Plan of Union with the Congregational associations of New England that existed from 1792 until 1837 was disrupted when the Old School Presbyterians, favoring separate denominational agencies for missionary and evangelistic work, prevailed. The Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions was then established.

The P.C.U.S.A split in 1837 to become New School Presbyterians and Old School Presbyterians.

The P.C.U.S.A split in 1837 to become New School Presbyterians and Old School Presbyterians.

Placing great importance upon education and lifelong learning the Presbyterians and their missionary schools also prepared others to think about the Word of God and to spread it around.

Several men and women brought their notes to the bible words and also did not mind when preaching to quote freely from the bible. In this way the Americans got used to an easy fluent language to tell about God His sayings and wonders.

Gradually, the evangelicals’ educational systems, church organizations, and worship styles became more like those of churches that had been established and wealthy in the colonial era but many Bible students, followers of Dr. John Thomas and of Charles Taze Russell continued to spread the Word of God in their own words and in Bible fragments translated to American English in tracts and magazines.

The Christadelphians offered people the Wilson’s polyglot translation for free. When Benjamin Wilson died in 1900, his heirs inherited the plates and copyright. When they were approached by Charles Taze Russell, then president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, he via a third party obtained the copyright, and at some later point, the plates. The Society published the Diaglott in 1902, and later had the type reset for publication on its own presses in 1927, with an additional printing in 1942.

Much discussion went on between the other Bible-student parties involved in the first edition and still using the version in their churches or ecclesia. Unto the exclusiveness to reprint the polyglot for public release the Christadelphians and Wilson his church had to keep reproduction only for their own members.
In 2003 the MiamiChurch of the Blessed Hope with support from Christadelphians in the United Kingdom and the United States published their own edition, with a new preface, and where pleased the Emphatic Diaglott at last came home again.

Christadelphians, Watchtower Biblestudents and others looked at the return of Christ, a terrible war where nations would get against many other nations, but also were aware that Jerusalem would be restored after some time.

Cyrus Ingerson Scofield (1843–1921) American theologian, minister, and writer whose best-selling annotated Bible popularized futurism and dispensationalism among fundamentalist Christians.

From English and Puritan descent the American orphan Cyrus Ingerson Scofield (1843–1921) converted to evangelical Christianity through the testimony of a lawyer acquaintance. He came under the mentorship of James H. Brookes, pastor of Walnut Street Presbyterian Church, St. Louis, a prominent dispensationalist premillennialist. He also attempted with limited success to take charge of Dwight L. Moody‘s Northfield Bible Training School, and served as superintendent of the American Home Missionary Society of Texas and Louisiana; and in 1890, he helped found Lake Charles College (1890–1903) in Lake Charles, Louisiana and in 1914 founded the Philadelphia School of the Bible in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (now Cairn University)

Scofield’s premillennialism seemed prophetic.

“At the popular level, especially, many people came to regard the dispensationalist scheme as completely vindicated.”

Scofield Reference Bible, page 1115. This page includes Scofield’s note on John 1:17, which some have interpreted to mean that Scofield believed in two means of salvation.

The first bible translation, since the Geneva Bible (1560), to bring a commentary on the biblical text alongside the Bible instead of in a separate volume, also attempted to date events of the Bible in its second edition (1917) eight years after its first edition. This Scofield Reference Bible, published by Oxford University Press in 1909 contained the entire text of the traditional, Protestant King James Version, and became a widely circulated study Bible edited and annotated by this American Bible student Cyrus I. Scofield, whose notes teach futurism and dispensationalism, a theology that was systematized in the early nineteenth century by the Anglo-Irish clergyman John Nelson Darby, one of the influential figures among the original Plymouth Brethren (Christian brethren, or Darbyites) and the founder of the Exclusive Brethren, (who like Scofield had also been trained as a lawyer).

John Nelson Darby (1800–1882) Anglo-Irish Bible teacher, one of the influential figures among the original Plymouth Brethren and the founder of the Exclusive Brethren.

In 1867 ex curate in the Church of Ireland parish of Delgany, County Wicklow, Darby had presented a translation of the New Testament which he revised for the editions in 1872 and 1884.  He declined however to contribute to the compilation of the Revised Version of the King James Bible. After his death, some of his students produced an Old Testament translation based on Darby’s French and German translations in which we may see Darby’s dependence on W. H. Westcott’s Congo vernacular Bible, Victor Danielson’s Faroese work and the Romanian Bible published by G.B.V. and Dillenburg, Germany (GBV)

It was after 25 years serious research that in 1881 the British bishop, biblical scholar and theologian, and Bishop of Durham, Brooke Foss Westcott (1825–1901) with Irish-born theologian and editor Fenton John Anthony Hort (1828–1892) had presented their “New Testament in the Original Greek” on the believe that the combination of Codex Bezae with the Old Latin and the Old Syriac represents the original form of the New Testament text. Brooke Foss Westcott and Fenton John Anthony Hort their Greek translation was used as the base fro many later translations.

The Revised Version of the New Testament translators, 1881.

They also were asked to become translation committee members for the Revised Version which in the United States was adapted and revised as the “Revised Version, Standard American Edition” (better known as the American Standard Version) in 1901.

Those translations using the advanced knowledge of the newly found ancient manuscripts and better insight in the old language, received until today opposition from fervent “King James Only” people. Up to today those King James only people say that is the only worthy and true Bible, also forgetting that other people who speak an other language than would be deprived of God’s Word in the Bible. Those KJV-only people complaining that the or a new translation did not base their text on the 1611 KJV forget that it should not be based on that text but on the most original bible manuscripts we can find. The last straw is that many who swear by only the KJV itself do not use themselves the original version and worse even do not know what print edition they use and that this has many differences against the 1611 edition.

Problem with those KJV-only believers is that they want to have their church doctrines still confirmed in the new translations though those versions using the Name of God where it was placed, makes it clear about whom is spoken and about who speaks, so that no confusing is being made between God and Jesus and shows clearly that it are two different characters. Therefore, it mostly are ardent trinitarians who do not want to accept versions which come closer to the original ancient writings, because this way people believing in the Trinity may come to see that it is a human doctrine and not a Biblical doctrine, and as such they may come to see that the non-trinitarian churches are much more following God’s Word than their church want them to believe.

Lots of KJV-only people also do not want to have the real translation or a synonym for a word they use wrongly, like sheol or the hell which just means the grave or sepulchre, but when a bible translation like the NIV translates it with the “grave” they consider an attack on the KJV word of “hell” they understanding it to be a place of eternal doom and torture.

The KJV-only people believe that this English translation of the Authorised King James Version should never be changed, but do not see or forget that they themselves use also a changed version and not the original 1611 first version.

A staunch Seventh-day Adventist missionary, theology professor and college president was even more stepped on his toes when the Bible Students of the Zion’s Watchtower dared to bring out a modern English translation based on that Westcott-Hort translation and on the Greek texts of Nestle, Bover, Merk and others.

Not only women and children had asked for a less archaic Bible translation.

On December 2, 1947 a “New World Bible Translation Committee” was formed, composed of Jehovah’s Witnesses who professed to be anointed.

The New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures was released at a convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses at Yankee Stadium, New York, on August 2, 1950. The translation of the Old Testament, which Jehovah’s Witnesses refer to as the Hebrew Scriptures, was released in five volumes in 1953, 1955, 1957, 1958, and 1960. The complete New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures was released as a single volume in 1961, and has since undergone minor revisions and standing strong between the 55 new English translations of the Christian Greek Scriptures which were published between 1952 and 1990.

They also reproduced The Greek transliterations for the Christian Greek Scripture portion of the Bible from the Westcott and Hort text in The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures (1969).

While critical of some of its translation choices, , associate professor of religious studies at Northern Arizona University, in Flagstaff, Arizona, U.S.A., Jason BeDuhn called the New World Translation a “remarkably good” translation, “better by far” and “consistently better” than some of the others considered. Overall, concluded BeDuhn, the New World Translation

“is one of the most accurate English translations of the New Testament currently available”

and

“the most accurate of the translations compared.”

in his 2003 book, Truth in Translation: Accuracy and Bias in English Translations of the New Testament, which has generated considerable controversy for highlighting cases of theological bias in the translation process, by which, he argues, contemporary Christian views are anachronistically introduced into the Bible versions upon which most modern English-speaking Christians rely.

BeDuhn noted, too, that many translators were subject to pressure

“to paraphrase or expand on what the Bible does say in the direction of what modern readers want and need it to say.”

On the other hand, the New World Translation is different, observed BeDuhn, because of

“the greater accuracy of the NW as a literal, conservative translation of the original expressions of the New Testament writers.”

The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures by 2004 had been made available in 32 languages plus 2 Braille editions and two years later already in 57 languages.

The 1984 revised edition of the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures richly enhanced accurate Bible knowledge by means of several distinctive features such as the marginal (cross) references, an extensive footnote apparatus, a concordance (Bible Words Indexed) and an appendix. Modern computerization has assisted greatly in preparing these features.

In the New World Translation an effort was made to capture the authority, power, dynamism and directness of the original Hebrew and Greek Scriptures and to convey these characteristics in modern English. They also made an end to the used of  now-sanctimonious formal pronouns thou, thy, thine, thee and ye, with their corresponding verb inflections.

Many trinitarians were not pleased with that translation which tried to give as literal a translation as possible where the modern-English idiom allows and where a literal rendition does not, by any awkwardness, hide the thought, but which also placed in the Hebrew text everywhere the tetragrammaton יהוה (YHWH) was notated, printed God’s Holy Name Jehovah. As such God His Name was again visible, like in the ancient manuscripts,  6,973 times in the Hebrew Scriptures and 237 times in the Christian Greek Scriptures. Though it may be called a pity that they also did not take the effort to put Jesus name right, not going for the Issou or “Hail Zeus“, but printing his real original name Jeshua.

With this word-for-word statement of the original in the hand the real followers of Christ could show those who call themselves Christian, but do follow the human doctrine of the Trinity, where they went wrong in their thinking and could show them that Jesus is the way to God and not God himself.

But in this clear up-to-date contemporary version many churches saw a danger for their followers who could be brought to other thinking than their denomination’s doctrines.

In the previous decades several paraphrased bible book translations had seen the light and many bible students also had used free translations in their pamphlets. This time taking liberties with the texts for the mere sake of brevity, and substituting some modern parallel when a literal rendering of the original makes good sense, had been avoided. Uniformity of rendering has been maintained by assigning one meaning to each major word and by holding to that meaning as far as the context permits. At times this has imposed a restriction upon word choice, but it aids in cross-reference work and in comparing related texts.

In rendering the sense and feel of the action and state of Hebrew verbs into English, it is not always possible to preserve the brevity due to a lack of corresponding colour in English verb forms. Hence, auxiliary words that lengthen the expression are at times required to bring out the vividness, mental imagery and dramatic action of the verbs, as well as the point of view and the concept of time expressed by the Bible writers. In general the same is true of the Greek verbs. Thus, imperfect verbs have been kept in the imperfect state denoting progressive action. Participles have been rendered as participles involving continuous action.

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Preceding articles:

Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #1 Pre King James Bible

Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #2 King James Bible versions

Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #3 Women and versions

Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #4 Steps to the women’s bibles

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Additional reading

  1. Codex Sinaiticus available for perusal on the Web
  2. Bible Translating and Concordance Making
  3. Looking at notes of Samuel Ward and previous Bible translation efforts in English
  4. Written and translated by different men over thousands of years
  5. Rare original King James Bible discovered
  6. King James Bible Coming into being
  7. Celebrating the Bible in English
  8. TheBible4Life KJV Jubileum
  9. What English Bible do you use?
  10. The Most Reliable English Bible
  11. 2001 Translation an American English Bible
  12. NWT and what other scholars have to say to its critics
  13. New American Bible Revised Edition
  14. The NIV and the Name of God
  15. Archeological Findings the name of God YHWHUse of /Gebruik van Jehovah or/of Yahweh in Bible Translations/Bijbel vertalingen
  16. Dedication and Preaching Effort 400 years after the first King James Version
  17. Hebrew, Aramaic and Bibletranslation
  18. Some Restored Name Versions
  19. Anchor Yale Bible
  20. iPod & Android Bibles
  21. Missed opportunity for North Korea
  22. What are Brothers in Christ
  23. Wanting to know more about basic teachings of Christadelphianism
  24. Around C.T.Russell
  25. A visible organisation on earth
  26. Grave, tomb, sepulchre – graf, begraafplaats, rustplaats, sepulcrum
  27. Jesus three days in hell
  28. Dead and after
  29. Sheol or the grave
  30. This month’s survey question: Heaven and Hell
  31. Interpreting the Scriptures (Part 5)
  32. Leaving the Old World to find better pastures (1)
  33. Leaving the Old World to find better pastures (2)
  34. Approachers of ideas around gods, philosophers and theologians
  35. To remove the whitewash of the Jehovah Witnesses as being the only true Bible Students and Bible Researchers
  36. Archaeology and the Bible researcher 2/4

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Further reading

  1. The Bible
  2. Where was the Bible before 1611? How can we know God endorsed the KJV?
  3. Earliest Known Draft of 1611 King James Bible Is Found
  4. KJV Onlyism: What It Does And Doesn’t Mean
  5. What’s wrong with the New King James?
  6. Is it true no doctrines are changed in modern versions?
  7. The King James AV 1611 Bible vs. The New International Version
  8. King James version (1)
  9. King James Version 2
  10. I got saved reading the NIV. How can you say it’s no good?
  11. Christian Scholars Admit To Corrupting The Bible
  12. Why should God’s Word be restricted to English?
  13. Some Notes on Bible Translations
  14. Which Bible Translation?
  15. Is Christianity a paradox?
  16. Migration in a context of colonisation
  17. The sorrow and burden of it all
  18. A Belgian refugee in Maidenhead finds work
  19. When the boys come home…
  20. Do not be dissuaded by so paltry a matter as a change of time
  21. “I often wonder why I joined up”
  22. Dedicating the Powner Hall
  23. A dinner treat for the Congregational men
  24. Church Hill
  25. That We May All Be One: World Communion Sunday, 2015
  26. History, Empathy, and Race in America
  27. Empathy, racial reconciliation, and the study of history
  28. “The End of White Christian America”
  29. The calling we have in culture
  30. A. W. Tozer and the Historic Trinity
  31. Tozer’s Critique of Evangelical Christians
  32. Corporate Evangelicalism – Where did it come from?
  33. Defining Evangelicalism
  34. Decline and Fall
  35. Fundamentalism Will Kill You
  36. Progressive Evangelicals: Who We Are And What We Believe
  37. How Evangelicals are Losing an Entire Generation – by Amy Gannett
  38. On celebrating diversity within the church
  39. Evangelicalism is no longer growing–why?
  40. The Scofield Bible—The Book That Made Zionists of America’s Evangelical Christians
  41. Becoming a Liberal Christian Part I: High Church and Militant Evangelicalism
  42. Reformed Baptists and the Purity of the Church
  43. The Westminster Factor
  44. Of Polls, Presbyterians, and Seventh-Day Adventists
  45. Understanding the Presbyterian Model (Reformed the web)
  46. Understanding the Presbyterian Model (Chanty notes)
  47. “Episcopals Now Second Class Christians”: Anglicans Demote Episcopalians As Global Christianity Gets More Polarized
  48. Am I a Presbyterian?
  49. Daniel’s 70-Week Vision Series #18 – Part 94 of Riddles, Enigmas & Esoteric Imagery of Revelation
  50. At the resurrection who is left behind?
  51. A Thousand Years
  52. News brings great joy
  53. Confirmation
  54. Bible Wars
  55. How Trustworthy Are Bible Translations?
  56. How I Know The King James Bible is the Word of God
  57. King James Only–Refuted part 2
  58. King James Only–Refuted (part 3)
  59. Ways in which Fundamentalists are discriminated against
  60. Between Christians
  61. Repentance From Dead Works: 3 – Don’t Forget Good Works Are Dead Works
  62. Communion – the most terrifying sacrament in the IFB church
  63. Spirit of our times.
  64. King James XX
  65. I believe the King James Bible is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice.  
  66. Is Modern Really Better?
  67. How some preachers trick you when defining Greek words!
  68. What’s wrong with the New King James?
  69. Is it true no doctrines are changed in modern versions?
  70. I got saved reading the NIV. How can you say it’s no good?
  71. Why should God’s Word be restricted to English?
  72. Transilvania în 1865, prin ochii lui Edward Millard – blogul unui duh întarâtat

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