Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Reading the 1611 Bible

“I have seen an original 1611 King James Version. I cannot read it. It looks like a foreign language.”

These and similar words roll off the tongues of otherwise intelligent people who do not appreciate and often even oppose the use of the King James Bible. If you claim some measure of scholarship and cannot read it, I am afraid of you. I’m no genius, but I can read the 1611 King James Bible. I use it in research, and have read it once from Genesis to Revelation. If a so-called Bible teacher is not educated enough to read a 1611 KJV, then he is not educated enough to lecture folks about texts and translations of the Bible.

However, there are sincere folks who might want to read the 1611 King James Bible, but struggle with the typography, spelling, etc. It has some variations from modern English printing that may initially be off-putting. Understanding these variations before beginning will remove some of the difficulties. Perseverance will remove many of the rest. Below I will give some visual samples from (as well as links to) pages of a 1611 Bible printed by the Kings printer, Robert Barker.

1611 Bible typeface

A typeface is a particular set of characters (alphabet, numerals, punctuation, etc.) that share a common design. In modern times, we often think in terms of “font.” Font is a specific size and style of a particular typeface. In Microsoft Word, Old English Text MT will produce a typeface similar to the typeface used in the 1611 translation.)

The 1611 Robert Barker printing of the new Bible translation uses three different types. The Bible translation itself is blackletter typeface. Blackletter is sometimes referred to as Gothic script or Old English, but it is not a typeface limited to English. It was common in the western European countries, and remained the popular typeface in Germany, Norway, and Sweden long after it had gone out of style in England and the United States.

Roman type

The dedication, preface, chapter headings, summaries, genealogies, etc. are in roman type (and some italic), providing an intriguing visual distinction between the text of the Bible and its related materials. The first letter in each chapter is a very large roman letter. Illustration 1 shows large and small roman type used in the preface, “The Translators to the Reader.” 

Illustration 1. Translators to the Reader.

Blackletter type

The text of the 1611 Bible is printed in blackletter type, and added target language words are in smaller roman type. These represent words that were added by the translators to more understandably translate from the source languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek) into the target language (English). For examples, see the word “and” in Illustration 4, as well as “are” and “to bee” in Illustration 7. (When printers began to set the King James Bible in roman type instead of blackletter, italics were used to distinguish the added words, as appears in our modern printings of the KJV.) This was explained by Samuel Ward to the Synod of Dort, thusly:

“Sixthly, that words which it was anywhere necessary to insert into the text to complete the meaning were to be distinguished by another type, small roman.” Reported by translator Samuel Ward to the 1618 Synod of Dort

Illustration 2. John 19:19

Illustration 2 shows the blackletter type in the first part of John 19:19, followed by small roman type.  The superscription placed over the crucified Messiah is furnished in roman type and in all caps (Matthew 27:37; Mark 15:26; Luke 23:38; John 19:19). See Illustration 2. Notice also in the John 19 example above, that when “U” is capitalized, even within a word, it appears in the “V” style. These (u & v) are not two distinct letters in this Early Modern English blackletter typeface of the King James Bible.

Small roman type is used in the New Testament at least twice to designate a phrase found in the Greek text from the Syriac (or Aramaic) language: Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani (Matthew 27:46, but not in Mark 15:34), and Talitha cumi (Mark 5:41).

Italic type

Various places in the explanatory materials use italic type, including the introductions, as well as in the marginal references to more literal translations, and the alternate readings.

1611 Bible alphabet

The letter i

There is no “J” or “j” in the 1611 English Bible, only an “I” or “i”. The capital “I” looks much like the later capital “J”. That is a stylistic flourish, however, rather than a different letter. The “j” look also appears as an extended ornamental flourish, as on the letter “i” at the end of Roman numerals. For example, XXIIJ or xxiij is Roman numeral 23.

Illustration 3. “I” flourish in 1 Kings Chapters 13-14

Illustration 4. Genesis 24:1

Illustration 5. 1 Samuel 18:5-6

1 Samuel 18:5-6 in Illustration 5 exhibits several traits of printing style of the 1611 Bible, including the capital “I” in Israel. Notice also, (1) the capital “S” in Saul, (2) the lack of apostrophe in “Sauls servants”, (3) some symbols for marginal readings, and (4) at the beginning of verse 5 there is a pilcrow (⸿, a character marking the start of a paragraph).

The letter r

Illustration 6. Rounded “r”, Ephesians 1:6-7

The rotunda or rounded r (ꝛ) is a stylized “r”, probably used by printers to save space. In the example from Ephesians 1:6-7 (Illustration 6), both types of “r” are used, the regular “r” and the rounded “r”. In verses six and seven, “ꝛ” is found in the words “praise”, “glorie”, “through”, “forgivenesse”, and “according”. The regular “r” is found in “grace”, “wherein”, “redemption”, “riches”, and “grace”. The rounded “r” (ꝛ) follows letters with curved strokes – “p”, “o”, and “h” in this example (and a “w” in Illustration 2). Other than style, it is no different than the regular “r”. The regular “r” always begins words (i.e., when “r” is used as the first letter). A 1611 capital “R” is seen in the word LORD in Illustration 4.

The letter s

The small letter “s” comes in two forms. The long “s” ( ſ ) letter looks similar to “f” letters, and is often so confused by modern readers. The long “s” is a small letter “s”, either at the beginning of a word or used internally within a word. The capital “S” looks different (see Illustration 5), as well as the short “s” letter used when “s” is the last letter of a word (which, interestingly, is also a trait of the Greek sigma, σ and ς. See Illustration 7, “sonnes” in verses 18 and 19). A short or round “s” is always used at the end of a word ending with “s”, and possibly sometimes used when the letter “s” is adjacent to a letter “f” (though this was not true in the examples I checked, “satisfaction” in Numbers 35:31-32, “satisfied” in Isaiah 53:11, “offspring” in Acts 17:28-29).

Illustration 7. Genesis 9:16-20

The words “five” and “second” (et al.) in Genesis 7:11 (Illustration 8, below) depict how easily the “f” might be confused with a long “s” (ſ), and vice versa.

Illustration 8. Genesis 7:11-13

Several points are demonstrated in Illustration 8, this snip of Genesis 7:11-13. The pilcrow is used. There are no apostrophes (’) to show possession, as we punctuate modern words. Notice “Noahs life” in verse 11 and “Noahs wife” in verse 13. Verse 13 gives an example of the capital “S” beginning the name “Sem”, as well as the use of the long “s” and short “s” in the word “sonnes”. “Iapheth” shows how the capitalized “I” looks quite like a modern “J” (though it is not).

The letter u

The “u” and “v” are interchangeable letters, according to their placement in a word. When it is the first letter of the word, “v” style is used. When within the word, “u” style is used. “V” is used when the letter is capitalized (See Illustration 2). 

In some roman type “w” is a double u (that is, two of them side by side, and the “u” usually appears like a “v” – thus “vv”, – vvhen, vvhere, etc.). I do not believe this type printing occurs anywhere in the 1611 King James Bible.

The letter þ (called thorn)

Illustration 9. John 3:16

A “y” (i.e., what appears to be one), when used with a superscript “e” (i.e., above the “y”, yͤ; see Illustration 9.) or in an abbreviation “yt” (yͭ, for “that” as in 2 Cor. 13:7), represents the Old English letter “thorn” (þ). In those cases, the “y” works as a “th” sound rather than “y”. It means “the” (not “ye”) and “that” (not “yet”). The word should not be confused with the second person plural pronoun “ye” (and it is pronounced with a “th” rather than “y” sound). This usage can be found in a number of places, such as in 1 Kings 11:1, Job 1:9, Ezekiel 32:28, John 3:16; 15:1, Romans 15:29, Colossians 1:1, and James 3:12. Illustration 10 shows the one place where I have found the abbreviation “yt” (yͭ) for “that”. There might be other cases.

Illustration 10. 2 Corinthians 13:7

The letter æ (called ash, Æ æ) 

This letter is used at least three times in the 1611 Bible, in the words Ænon (John 3:23) and Æneas (Acts 9:33-34).

In Modern English orthography, both the thorn (þ) and ash (æ) are obsolete. Though the æ occasionally appears in words like encyclopædia, it is not now considered a letter in the English alphabet. Technically, though not obviously, the use of þ (thorn) can still be seen in signs such as “Ye Olde Tavern” (meaning “The” Olde Tavern, though most readers may not realize it).

1611 Bible symbols


Illustration 11. The tilde abbreviation, Mark 1:5

A tilde or macron (~ -) is used in some words as a sort of abbreviation. An “m” or “n” following a vowel may be replaced by placing the tilde or macron over the vowel, as cõfessing in Mark 1:5. This is the equivalent of “confessing,” abbreviated. This usage probably was a printer’s decision, to save space; compare Matthew 3:6 where it is confessing rather than cõfessing. In 2 Corinthians 13:7 what appears to be a “y” is a form of the letter “thorn” (þ) The “yt” (yͭ) is an abbreviation for “that”.

Marginal notes

Illustration 12. Isaiah 53:5-6

These two verses in Isaiah 53 in Illustration 12 show three different symbols used to lead to marginal notes: asterisk, cross or dagger, and double bar (*, †, ||). The asterisk (*) denotes a cross reference to a related scripture or scriptures. The cross, or dagger, (†) indicates a more literal translation (prefaced by Heb., Chal., or Gr., followed by a word or words in italics).The double bar (||) points to an alternate reading (|| Or, followed by a word or words in italics).


Illustration 13. Catchword under 2 Kings 22:7

At the bottom right of pages in the 1611 Bible, you will find a “catchword.” A catchword is a word placed at the right-hand foot of the page that anticipates (records or repeats) the first word on the following page. See Illustration 13. This was common in early printed texts up into the 18th century. It probably helped both the printer and the reader to make the connection between the two pages.

In the 1611 Bible, there are no quotation marks (“ ”) for dialogue, quotes, etc. If you use a modern KJV printing, this is the same, not a difference. Some of these typographical or orthographical traits may be seen continuing much later and even in printings in roman type, such as the long “s” and the “i” instead of “j”.

1611 Bible words

Extended discussion of Bible words is too cumbersome to include here. In 1611, English spelling was not standardized to the point is has now developed. Therefore, a number of variant spellings appear throughout the 1611 printing. An “e” word ending that has dropped out of use is a very common trait. Nevertheless, it should be rare that the average reader cannot discern what the word is, despite the variant spelling. The sound of the word is often the same or very similar.

A few examples

  • beleeveth = believeth
  • crosse = cross
  • doe = do
  • euery = every
  • fortie = forty
  • iniquitie = iniquity
  • layd = laid
  • moneth = month
  • onely = only
  • owne = own
  • riuer = river
  • shalbe = shall be
  • sonne = son
  • warre = war
  • windowes = windows
  • yerre = year

Final notes

You can view and examine for yourself a digital image of a 1611 printing of the Bible. Here is one online option:

In addition to online images, facsimile reprints are also available. Kings printer Robert Barker made several printings of the new translation, some of which may vary slightly from the visual examples I give. If you find something that is slightly different, do not be surprised.

I am not advocating that one must read the 1611 printing of the King James, but rather offering some advice to those who want to do so. There is also an accommodation for those wishing to read the 1611 Bible while avoiding the blackletter type. A Bible reprint is available in print of the original 1611 except that it is set in roman type rather than blackletter. (It may or may not be available online.) Also, there is a “modernized” Online Blackletter Edition which “give(s) the reader a feel for the original 1611 King James Bible” without including “all the typographic representations found in the original.”

I do not claim any expertise, just learning by trial and error (including what others said about these trials and errors). I may have gotten some minor details wrong, or I may have left off something I should have addressed. This kind of stuff intrigues me, even when only in relation to the English language and its history. I hope this essay might benefit someone, and not just about quirks in our language – but most especially regarding the Bible. May the Lord bless you.

Monday, May 16, 2022

In other words, to zed

  • adorbs, adjective. (Informal) Inspiring great delight; charming, cute, or adorable (e.g., totes adorbs is slang  for totally adorable).
  • blagging, noun (Caribbean). An informal conversation in a public place, often deceitful.
  • catchword, noun. A word under the right-hand side of the last line on a book page that repeats the first word on the following page; a word printed or placed so as to attract attention.
  • emprise, noun. An adventurous enterprise; knightly daring or prowess.
  • fabulate, verb (used without object). To tell invented stories; create fables or stories filled with fantasy.
  • feculence, noun. The accumulation of dirt, sediment, or waste matter.
  • flatulence, noun. The accumulation of gas in the alimentary canal; inflated or pretentious speech or writing; pomposity.
  • internecine, adjective. Destructive to both sides in a conflict; relating to conflict within a group or organization.
  • lionize, verb. Give a lot of public attention and approval to (someone); treat as a celebrity.
  • phantasmagoric, adjective. Having a fantastic or deceptive appearance; having the appearance of an optical illusion; changing or shifting, as a scene made up of many elements.
  • philological, adjective. Related to or having to do with the branch of knowledge that deals with the structure, historical development, and relationships of a language or languages.
  • pilcrow, noun. A symbol (e.g. ¶) used to mark a new paragraph or section of text.
  • pore, verb. (intransitive) To gaze intently; to read or study attentively; to reflect or meditate steadily.
  • stagflation, noun. Persistent high inflation, high unemployment, and stagnant demand in a country’s economy.
  • Tarmac, noun. A brand of bituminous binder, similar to tarmacadam, used for surfacing roads or other outdoor areas, consisting of crushed rock mixed with tar; (lower case) a runway or other area surfaced with tarmac.
  • typography, noun. The style and appearance of printed matter.
  • zed, noun. (chiefly British) The letter z.

Constructing a biblical theology

“...the believers’ churches have never really been noted for their contributions to the scholastic artistry of summa theologia. This is not so much a failure as a continual rebuke to the aridity to which academic theology is too commonly subject...the focus of the believers’ church theologian is upon the church rather than the academy. And the church is busy about reading the Bible and living from it. Indeed, the undisciplined evangelical academy is recognized for what it has imported into the church, an unbiblical order...In the believers’ churches the idea that constructing a biblical theology is the responsibility of every believer is accompanied by the idea that theological judgment is best carried out by the church.”

Malcolm Yarnell III in The Formation of Christian Doctrine, pp. 76-77.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Love of Jesus

The author of this hymn, William Edensor Littlewood, was the son of George Littlewood and Catherine Stothart, born August 2, 1831, and died September 3, 1886. He married Laetitia Thornton and they had several children. According to John Julian in his Dictionary of Hymnology, Littlewood was educated at Pembroke College, Cambridge, and served as Vicar of St. James, Bath, from 1872 to 1881, resigning because of his wife’s ill health.
The hymn first appeared in A Garland from the Parables in 1858. It is Hymn XXVI on page 56, with the heading from the text of John 10:11 - “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.”
1. There is no love like the love of Jesus,
Never to fade or fall
’Till into the rest of the house of God
He has gathered us all!
2. There is no heart like the heart of Jesus,
Filled with a tender lore;
No throb nor throe that our hearts can know;
But he suffered before!
3. There is no eye like the eye of Jesus,
Piercing far away;
Never out of the sight of its tender light
Can the wanderer stray!
4. There is no voice like the voice of Jesus,
Ah! how sweet its chime;
Like musical ring of some rushing spring
In the bright summer-time!
5. O might we listen to the voice of Jesus!
O might we never roam;
’Till our souls should rest in peace on his breast,
In the heavenly home!

The following chorus or refrain appears with the hymn in Songs of Salvation by Theodore E. Perkins and Alfred Taylor, but not in A Garland from the Parables. Perkins, who wrote the tune, likely wrote or added the chorus. In Songs of Salvation, the song is titled Love of Jesus and associated with John 15:13a, “Greater love hath no man than this...”

Jesus’ love, precious love,
Boundless, and pure, and free;
Oh, turn to that love, weary wand’ring soul;
Jesus pleadeth for thee.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Ballot Harvesting, and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Do 2 Samuel 10:18 and 1 Chronicles 19:18 contradict?

Q. Do 2 Samuel 10:18 and 1 Chronicles 19:18 contradict?

2 Samuel 10:18 “And the Syrians fled before Israel; and David slew the men of seven hundred chariots of the Syrians, and forty thousand horsemen, and smote Shobach the captain of their host, who died there.”

1 Chronicles 19:18 “But the Syrians fled before Israel; and David slew of the Syrians seven thousand men which fought in chariots, and forty thousand footmen, and killed Shophach the captain of the host.”

A. The two verses do not contradict, though it may appear so without due consideration.  2 Samuel 10:18 describes the deaths of an unspecified number of men who rode in “seven hundred chariots.”  1 Chronicles 19:18 describes the deaths of “seven thousand men” who rode in an unspecified number of chariots.  In other words, 2 Samuel 10:18 gives the number of chariots and 1 Chronicles 19:18 gives the number of men.

  • 2 Samuel 10:18 describes the number of chariots, 700. The men of seven hundred chariots.
  • 1 Chronicles 19:18 describes the number of men, 7000. Seven thousand men which fought in chariots.

Another comparison, 2 Samuel 8:4 and 1 Chronicles 18:4

“And David took from him a thousand chariots, and seven hundred horsemen, and twenty thousand footmen: and David houghed all the chariot horses, but reserved of them for an hundred chariots..” 2 Samuel 8:4

“And David took from him a thousand chariots, and seven thousand horsemen, and twenty thousand footmen: David also houghed all the chariot horses, but reserved of them an hundred chariots.” 1 Chronicles 18:4

Thoughts of others

John Gill’s Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:4 - here are meant the ranks and companies of horses David took, which were seven hundred; and these having ten in a company or rank, made seven thousand; and there the complement of soldiers in those companies and ranks are intended.

Matthew Poole’s Annotations on 2 Samuel 8:4 - Seven hundred horsemen; Or, seven hundred companies of horsemen, that is, in all seven thousand; as it is 1 Chronicles 18:4, there being ten in each company, and each ten having a ruler or captain.

Another comparison, 1 Kings 4:26 and 2 Chronicles 9:25

“And Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen. 1 Kings 4:26 

“And Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen; whom he bestowed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem.” 2 Chronicles 9:25

This shows that Solomon had 40,000 stalls for the horses of his chariots and he had 4,000 stalls for teams of horse and chariot together. That comparison shows a string of 10 horses per chariot.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Tyndale’s biblical archaism

For his translation of the New Testament, William Tyndale revived archaic pronoun and verb ending usage. Here is a quote from The Diachrony of Written Language Contact: A Contrastive Approach by Nikolaos Lavidas (Brill Academic Publishing, 2021, p. 41), which I think makes the same point.

“Tyndale’s texts, translations and polemical texts, contains examples of syntactic archaisms (Canon 2016), that is, borrowings and re-introductions of obsolete forms from an earlier period of the language—what one would characterize as evidence of a type of written contact with earlier forms of English. One such example is the use of the early/archaic second person singular and plural pronouns in Tyndale’s texts: the second person plural pronoun had begun to appear in all, singular and plural, contexts in Early Middle English. Tyndale used the verbal forms for second singular and plural number productively, as well as the distinction between the subject pronoun ye and the object pronoun you, following earlier texts. However, the first attestations of the nominative you, instead of ye, appeared in the 14th century and was productively used in the literary language by the 1540s.”

This settled into English Bibles the precision of grammar present in the Greek New Testament (and later, Old Testament Hebrew as well). The valuable decision of Tyndale remains for our benefit in the King James Version.

[Note: The “Canon” reference is to a journal article: Elizabeth Bell Canon, “Buried Treasure in the Tyndale Corpus: Innovations and Archaisms,” Anglica, an International Journal of English Studies, 2016, 25/2, pp. 151-165.]

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Writings of Edward Freer Hills

This began as an effort to document the writings of E. F. Hills. I decided there should be a brief bit of biography.

Edward Freer Hills (1912–1981) was a preacher and scholar in the Presbyterian & Reformed tradition. He is perhaps best remembered as a defender of the Textus Receptus or Greek Received Text of the New Testament.

Hills pastored Presbyterian churches at Handsboro and Ocean Springs, Mississippi in the late 1940s and early 1950s, as well as Crossroads Fellowship Christian Reformed Church (then known as Des Moines Christian Reformed Church) from 1954 to 1962. He also served as president of Iowans for Moral Education (Des Moines Register, October 29, 1979, p. 3A).

Edward F. Hills died in December of 1981 and is buried at the Glendale Cemetery at Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa.

  • “The Teaching of the Scriptures concerning Slavery: the Attitude of the Church toward it, and their Significance for Present-day Social Problems,” Edward F. Hills, ThM Dissertation, Columbia Theological Seminary, 1941
  • “The Caesarean Family of New Testament Manuscripts,” Edward F. Hills, ThD Dissertation, Harvard University, 1946.
  • “Harmonizations in the Caesarean Text of Mark,” Edward F. Hills, Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 66, No. 2 (June, 1947), pp. 135-152
  • “The Inter-Relationship of the Caesarean Manuscripts,” Edward F. Hills, Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 68, No. 2 (June, 1949), pp. 141-159
  • “A New Approach to the Old Egyptian Text,” Edward F. Hills, Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 69, No. 4 (December, 1950), pp. 345-362
  • The King James Version Defended: A Christian View of the New Testament Manuscripts, Edward F. Hills, Des Moines, IA: Christian Research Press, 1956
  • Space Age Science, Edward F Hills, Des Moines, IA: Christian Research Press, 1964
  • Believing Bible Study, Edward F. Hills, Des Moines, IA: Christian Research Press, 1967
  • Evolution in the Space Age, Edward F Hills, Des Moines, IA: Christian Research Press, 1967
  • “Introduction” (pp. 17-67) and “Bibliographical notes” (pp. 69-72), Edward F. Hills in The Last Twelve Verses of the Gospel according to S. Mark, John William Burgon, Grand Rapids, MI: Associated Publishers and Authors, circa 1971
  • Text and Time: A Reformed Approach to New Testament Textual Criticism, Edward F. Hills, Mary E. Hills Mueller (editor), Ankeny, IA: Christian Research Press, 2018 (Kindle Edition with original title; same book as The King James Version Defended)

Des Moines Register, December 28, 1979, p. 4C

See also Forgotten Pilgrim of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and Edward Freer Hill’s Contribution to the Revival of the Ecclesiastical Text by Theodore P. Letis (Emory University, Philadelphia, PA: Institute for Renaissance and Reformation Biblical Studies, 1987).

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Old Testament verses in Syriac/Aramaic

Q. Are there verses in the Old Testament that are written in a language other than Hebrew?

A. Yes. Some texts in the Old Testament are in Syriac, more commonly called Aramaic today.

According to language experts, the earliest inscriptions in the Syriac or Aramaic language use the Phoenician alphabet. Over time it developed into the square style we know as the Hebrew alphabet. I would illustrate the biblical Syriac as somewhat like our reading something in English, then running across a portion in Latin, Spanish, or such like – using the same alphabetical letters but with different vocabulary.

There are four undisputed passages of the Old Testament written in Syriac/Aramaic:

  • Ezra 4:8–6:18. This passage begins with a letter written to King Artaxerxes (“Rehum the chancellor and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter against Jerusalem to Artaxerxes the king”), followed by other letters and official documents. Ezra includes some of the narrative in this language as well. 
  • Ezra 7:12-26. This writing in Syriac is a copy of the letter that King Artaxerxes gave unto Ezra, which Ezra inserted into the record.
  • Jeremiah 10:11. This is the only verse in Syriac in the book of Jeremiah. This warning is one sentence that occurs in the midst of Hebrew text. This certainly would have grabbed their attention.
  • Daniel 2:4b–7:28. This section includes five stories about Daniel and his friends, as well as a prophetic vision (chapter 7).

In addition, these words are considered Syriac/Aramaic words, and some researchers might suggest and include a few others.

  • Genesis 31:47 – translation of a Hebrew place name, Jegar-sahadutha (Syriac) versus Galeed (Hebrew).
  • Proverbs 31:2 – the Syriac word “bar” is used instead of the Hebrew word “ben”, both of which mean “son”.

It is correct that some of the Old Testament is written in Syriac/Aramaic rather than Hebrew – though this constitutes only a small portion of the total. Though no passages (sentences, paragraphs, chapters) of the New Testament are written in Syriac/Aramaic, it does include some words and phrases – including Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani (Matthew 27:46), Talitha cumi (Mark 5:41), and Maranatha (1 Corinthians 16:22). This creates an appealing affinity of Syriac as a “second language” of both the Old and New Testaments.

Monday, May 09, 2022

Are You Being Tracked, and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

Nothing added or taken away

“The holy Scriptures...being of such perfection, that nothing may be added unto them, nor any thing taken away from them: of such infallible certainty, that heaven and earth shal sooner passe away, than one tittle fall to the ground: so pleasant and delightfull, that they exceed the hony and the honycombe: and so profitable that no treasures may be compared unto them: seeing they are able to make us wiser than our enemies, than the aged, than our teachers; to make us wise unto salvation, to give us an inheritance among them that are sanctified: nay, able to save our soules.”

From the Dedication to Robert, Lord Rich, Baron of Leeze, by Rodolfe Cudworth, in A Commentarie or Exposition upon the Five First Chapters of the Epistle to the Galatians, William Perkins, p. 154 (contained in The Works of That Famous and Worthy Minister of Christ in the University of Cambridge, M. William Perkins. The Second Volume, London: John Legatt, 1631)

Sunday, May 08, 2022

Savior, Breathe an Evening Blessing

Savior, Breathe an Evening Blessing, by James Edmeston in 1820.

1. Saviour, breathe an evening blessing,
Ere repose our spirits seal;
Sin and want we come confessing;
Thou canst save, and thou canst heal.

2. Though the night be dark and dreary,
Darkness cannot hide from thee;
Thou art he who, never weary,
Watchest where thy people be.

3. Though destruction walk around us,
Though the arrow past us fly,
Angel guards from thee surround us,
We are safe if thou art nigh.

4. Should swift death this night o’ertake us,
And our couch become our tomb,
May the morn of glory wake us,
Clad in light and deathless bloom.

Saturday, May 07, 2022

Beware of hurried prayers, and other quotes

The posting of quotes by human authors does not constitute agreement with either the quotes or their sources. (I try to confirm the sources that I give, but may miss on occasion; please verify if possible.)

“Faith and repentance can be distinguished, but cannot be disentangled or divided, and no one should attempt to do so.” -- Jeremy Walker

“He who kneels the most, stands best.” -- D. L. Moody

“The church of God can be established only where the Word of God rules.” -- John Calvin

“May we then have the courage to make students unfit for the modern world.” -- Richard M. Gamble

“Success is serving and doing and being where God wants you; it could be in India preaching to thousands or a small assembly of eight in Possum Trot, Kentucky.” -- Mike Slone

“Toxic femininity has made the womb a war zone and children are the victims.” -- Lila Rose

“Progressive Christianity is a doorway out of Christianity.” -- Mike Winger

“I try not to pick fights, but I do finish them.” -- Elon Musk

“The trouble about always trying to preserve the health of the body is that it is so difficult to do it with out destroying the health of the mind. Health is the most unhealthy of topics.” -- Gilbert K. Chesterton in Come to Think of It

“Health is not valued till sickness comes.” -- Thomas Fuller

“Free speech is the oxygen that liberty and freedom must have to survive, if a society wants to be or remain free.” -- Unknown

“Free speech is the oxygen of democracy. Without it freedom suffocates and dies.” -- Unknown

“Proclaim the truth and do not be silent through fear.” -- Catherine of Siena

“On other people’s graves it is written, ‘Here lies so-and-so,’ but of Christ’s tomb it is recorded, ‘He is not here.’” -- C. H. Spurgeon

“Beware of perpetual hurried prayers, hurried Bible-reading, hurried church-going, hurried communions.” -- J. C. Ryle

In other words, eminently imminent

  • betide, verb. Happen, or happen to.
  • contronym, noun. A word with two opposite meanings.
  • credent, adjective. (Archaic) Believing; credible.
  • eminent, adjective. High in station, rank, or repute; prominent; distinguished; conspicuous, signal, or noteworthy.
  • grasshoppering, noun. With allusion to the fable of the ant and the grasshopper: the practice of living in a frivolous manner, without planning or preparing for the future; the improvident passing or wasting of time.
  • imminent, adjective. Likely to occur at any moment; impending.
  • income, noun. Money received, especially on a regular basis, for work or through investments.
  • interlocutor, noun. One who takes part in dialogue or conversation.
  • lagoon, noun. An area of shallow water separated from the sea by low sandy dunes.
  • laguna, noun. A bay, inlet, or other narrow or shallow body of water (often used in place names).
  • ludology, noun. The study of games and gaming, especially video games.
  • ludonarrative dissonance, noun. The conflict between a video game’s narrative told through the story and the narrative told through the gameplay (ludonarrative, a portmanteau of ludology and narrative).
  • narrative, noun. A spoken or written account of connected events; a story.
  • nonjuring, adjective. Not swearing allegiance (especially, historically, of a member of the Anglican clergy refusing the oath of allegiance to William and Mary and their successors after the Glorious Revolution of 1688).
  • outgo, noun. Outlay, expenditure. Frequently opposed to income.
  • petrichor, noun. The distinctive scent which accompanies the first rain after a long warm dry spell.
  • presbycusis, noun. The gradual loss of hearing in both ears, especially when age-related.
  • psithurism, noun. The sound of wind in trees rustling leaves.
  • psyop, noun. Military actions designed to influence the perceptions and attitudes of individuals, groups, and foreign governments.
  • recidivate, verb. Relapse; (of a convicted criminal) reoffend.
  • riposte, noun. A quick, clever reply to an insult or criticism; (In Fencing) a quick return thrust following a parry.
  • scrum, noun. (British) Aa place or situation of confusion and racket; hubbub.
  • tradent, noun. One who is responsible for preserving and handing on the oral tradition.

Friday, May 06, 2022

Beware, beware, beware

Philippians 3:2 tells us of three fiends of which to be aware and beware! “Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.”

Beware (βλέπετε be) means to be on guard against; be cautious and alert to the dangers of; be wary or careful.

We can understand this of one class of men described in three aspects, cf. Phil. 3:3ff.
  • in character, dogs
  • in works, evil
  • in the spirit, uncircumcised
Notice these texts of scripture:
  • τοὺς κύνας Revelation 22:15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. Matthew 7:6; 2 Kings 8:13 (despicable person)
  • τοὺς κακοὺς ἐργάτ 2 Corinthians 11:13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. workers - They have a zeal, but not according to knowledge.
  • τὴν κατατομήν (a cutting off; the cutting in pieces) Ephesians 2:11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; Galatians 5:12 I would they were even cut off which trouble you.
  • wanting in the inner, spiritual circumcision
May we bravely and cautiously heed Paul’s warning.

Thursday, May 05, 2022

Leaked “Queer Inclusive” Presentation

Leaked “Queer Inclusive” Presentation EXPOSES What Kids Are Being Taught in Schools

Matt Walsh: “Leaked audio from a ‘queer inclusive’ presentation at a major education conference reveals exactly what our kids are being subjected to at school.”

The material referenced by Walsh is from a National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) conference. (Note, independent schools as opposed to public schools.) Listen at your own risk of hearing some vile stuff that many teachers are being trained to do in private schools. Here are at least three takeaways.

1. With this mayhem and madness being foisted on children beginning in preschool, it is no wonder how much gender dysphoria children are now experiencing. “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

2. Don’t think the problem is solved simply by putting children in private and/or religious schools. Many of those teachers are trained in the same places as the public-school teachers. “know them which labour among you”

3. Don’t believe that bills such as the Florida “Parental Rights in Education” bill are not needed just because there are some people who claim this is not happening in our schools. It is happening. This shows it is. “ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

“A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him, saying, ‘You are mad; you are not like us.’”

Wednesday, May 04, 2022

Hogs and Dogs

2 Peter 2:22

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, by now you have heard of the leaked Supreme Court draft. Politico (a political “journalism” company) leaked it to the public on Monday. Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged that the leak is of a legitimate draft, and said, “This was a singular and egregious breach of that trust that is an affront to the Court and the community of public servants who work here.” I have a few thoughts. Roberts has directed the Marshal of the United States Supreme Court to investigate the leak.

The leaked document is a draft – unfinished business – despite Politico leading the article with Supreme Court has voted to overturn abortion rights. This may indicate the outcome of Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, but it is not final or official. It’s not over till it’s over.

This is an unprecedented breath of trust.

Politico should be excoriated for their hypocrisy. They try to provide cover regarding one worldview and try to expose things regarding another worldview. They are not journalists, but political hacks working to promote their own worldview and their associated political outcomes.

Politico and its authors Josh Gerstein & Alexander Ward ought to be ashamed of their lack of integrity (they will not be). The only reason to leak a draft document seems to be to work up enough opposition to frighten the Court into changing their opinion. Courts must provide judgement on the merits of the law, not public opinion.

All the Congress in Washington, D.C., if they have an ounce of integrity, ought to denounce this breach of the America’s trust, regardless of their personal and political opinions about abortion. Many have shown the opposite tact, that they will not let a good “crisis” go to waste.

The Far Left are howling like a hit dog, squealing like a stuck hog, as if this is the end of the world. If the opinion in the draft comes to fruition, it actually only means that the question of abortion goes back where it belongs – to the states. Constitutionally, in the United States, individual states define and dispose of criminal matters such as murder.

Constitutionality aside, killing an innocent life is biblically and morally wrong.

[Note: Josh Gerstein acknowledges that he knows what he is doing to cause controversy, stating, “No draft decision in the modern history of the court has been disclosed publicly while a case was still pending. The unprecedented revelation is bound to intensify the debate over what was already the most controversial case on the docket this term.”]

Tuesday, May 03, 2022

On the Early Christians and Bible Quotes

I ran across “On the Early Christians and Bible Quotes” report at In it Mark McCabe researches whether early Patristic Bible quotations support one Greek text-type over another – such as whether the quotes of scripture are Alexandrian versus Byzantine.[i]

McCabe’s purpose.

“This Report seeks to determine the original text of the New Testament as written by the Apostles, as far as is possible, by going back directly to the first non-biblical Christian writings and thereby bypassing not only the oldest extant manuscripts but also the consolidations and harmonisations of the text. By doing so, therefore, this Report seeks to identify the underlying text used and relied on in the early Church, in order to identify which, if any, English translation of the Bible is nearest to the original as written as can be best determined.”

McCabe’s scope.

For his research, McCabe used the writings of thirteen early Christians:

  1. Clement of Rome (c. 96 CE)  
  2. Ignatius of Antioch (c. 35-107 CE)
  3. The Didache or, the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles (c. 50-c. 110 CE)
  4. Polycarp of Smyrna (c. 69-c.155 CE)
  5. Papias of Hierapolis (c. 100 CE)
  6. Epistle of Barnabas (c. 70-c. 131 CE)
  7. 2 Clement (c. 95-c. 140 CE)
  8. Justin Martyr (c. 100-165 CE)
  9. Tatian the Assyrian (c. 120-c. 180 CE)
  10. Aristides of Athens (c. 124 CE)
  11. Mathetes (c. 130-c. 170 CE)
  12. Athenagoras of Athens (c. 133-190 CE)
  13. Irenaeus of Lyons (c. 130-c. 202 CE)

“The Greek (or, in some cases, the Latin) of the early Christians writings have been relied on instead, to avoid the bias of translators and to compare text with text directly. Thus, this Report is not concerned with the work of the early Christians in themselves. The original language of the early Christians writings are compared to the Greek of the New Testament, as contained in the Westcott-Hort text of 1881 representing the Alexandrian Text and in the Patriarchal Text of 1912 of the Orthodox Church representing the Byzantine Text.”

McCabe’s conclusions.

35. If one takes all the conclusions and adds them together, the following picture is formed:

(1) over twice as many quotes of the early Christians at an early date are of the Byzantine Text rather than the Alexandrian Text:

(2) the lack of the geographical spread of Alexandrian variants:

(3) the widespread distribution of the Byzantine Text in all decades, by all the early Christians, in all places to the full extent of Mediterranean Christendom:

(4) the systematic absence of the Alexandrian Text in all decades, by some early Christians, in some places in Mediterranean Christendom:

(5) the links in the chain are unbroken for the Byzantine Text in all early Christians, in all places and in all decades, which cannot be said of the Alexandrian Text:

(6) the chain of custody of the Byzantine Text is unbroken through all early Christians, in all places and in all decades, which cannot be said of the Alexandrian Text.

36. All this points to the Byzantine Text being the original text of the autographs written or dictated by the apostles themselves, and it therefore seems more likely than not, more probable than not, indeed virtually certain, that the Byzantine Text is the original text of the autographs.

37. With the constant chain of evidence supporting the Byzantine Text over any other, it appears that the only reasonable inference that can be drawn is that the Byzantine Text is, mindful of and discounting the errors that have crept in over centuries of hand-copying, the direct descendant of the original autographs.

38. The Byzantine Text has been demonstrated to be the original text of the autographs, the text which today underlies the Textus Receptus, which itself underlies the King James Version and the New King James Version. The text underlying all other modern Bibles, the Alexandrian Text, started to be used definitively after around 90 CE, when the readings distinct to that text began to appear.

39. However, one must add a strong word of caution. One is not saying and does not argue that the current text of the Byzantine Text is free from error. Some well-known corruptions have crept into the text over the centuries (such as 1 John 5:7-8). The corruption just mentioned is absent in the leading compilation of the Byzantine Text, the Patriarchal Text, and so the Patriarchal Text must be considered, it seems, the best representative of the Byzantine Text, the text of the autographs. The Patriarchal Text is a compilation of all the manuscripts held in the Orthodox Church’s possession.

This report is dated 2014. I am not in that research loop, but I have not noticed that any text critics have acknowledged McCabe’s work. It seems reasonable to me that the Bible quotes of the earliest Christians should tell us something about the scriptures they possessed.

McCabe is not a conservative, fundamentalist, or Textus Receptus proponent. In the course of his report he indicates he believes there are corruptions in the preserved text, he does not believe that the Bible has been protected by God in a particular text, or that the Bible is infallible. He sees the Bible as a writing of an historical record of religious belief, and does not even consider the canon of the New Testament is closed (i.e., in theory, other apostolic writings could be discovered and added to the biblical canon). Certainly, he is a clear candidate of research in the style of modern textual criticism, working solely from a naturalist academic perspective. However, he seems to contradict some of their own foundational ideas.

[i] University of Glasgow, 2014. At, McCabe describes himself as an independent researcher with an honours degree in theology, a graduate of the University of Glasgow, Scotland.

Monday, May 02, 2022

Amazon Targets Conservative Children’s Book, and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.