Wednesday, November 30, 2022

A Survey of the Apocrypha and Reformation-era Bibles

English language

I examined the Coverdale (1535) through Bishops (1568) Bibles regarding the Apocrypha. The scans I have access to demonstrate the following.

The Coverdale Bible of 1535 has the Apocrypha distinguished from the Old and New Testaments, with the exception that the prophecy of Baruch is placed between Lamentations and Ezekiel.

Coverdale makes this statement regarding the Apocrypha: “APOCRIPHA: The bokes and treatises which amonge the fathers of olde are not reckened to be of like authoritie with the other bokes of the byble, neither are they founde in the Canon of hebrue.” Afterward these books are named—3rd Esdras, 4th Esdras, Tobias, Judith, Certain chapters of Esther, Book of Wisdom, Eccesiasticus, Susanna, Bell, 1st Maccabees, 2nd Maccabees. Then this note: “Unto these also belongeth Baruc, whom we have set amonge the prophetes next unto Jeremy, because he was his scrybe, and in his tyme.” Then this is followed by a longer translator to the reader message, which explains further about the Apocrypha.

The Matthew, Taverner, and Great Bibles move Baruch to the Apocrypha – so that they have all 14 apocryphal books in a distinct section. The Matthew Bible mentions that these books are in the common Latin translation, but not “in the Hebrue nor in the Chalde.” The Taverner Bible gives the same explanation. The 1540 Great Bible calls this section Hagiographa rather than Apocrypha. It follows with a longer explanation of how these books are not received by all, as the rest of the Old Testament, and that they are not in the Hebrew or Chaldee, and so on.

The Geneva Bible of 1560 has the Apocrypha in a distinct section with a note: “APOCRYPHA. The Argument. The bokes that follow in order after the Prophetes unto the Newe testament, are called Apocrypha, that is, bokes which were not received by a commune consent to be red and expounded publikly in the Church, nether yet served to prove any point of Christian religion, save in asmuche as they had the consent of the other Scriptures called Canonical to confirme the same, or rather whereon they were grounded: but as bokes proceeding from godlie men, were received to be red for the advancement and furtherance of the knowledge of historie, & for the instruction of godlie maners: which bokes declare that at all times God had an especial care of his Church, and left them not utterly destitute of teachers and meanes to confirm them in the hope of the promised Messiah, and also witnesse that those calamities that God sent to his Church, were according to his providence, who had bothe so threatened by his Prophetes, and so brought it to passe, for the destruction of their enemies and for the tryal of his children.”

For whatever reason, the Geneva Bible moved The Prayer of Manasseh out of the apocryphal section and placed it between II Chronicles and Ezra. It does, however, contain this note: “This prayer is not in the Ebrewe, but is translated out of the Greke.”

The 1568 Bishops Bible moves The Prayer of Manasseh back into the Apocrypha, so that all 14 apocryphal books now appear there as they were in the Matthew, Taverner, and Great Bibles.

Other languages

Luther 1535 German Bible

Title to Apocrypha section: “APOCRYPHA, Das sind Bücher, so der heiligen Schrift nicht gleich gehalten, und doch nützlich und gut zu lesen sind” (“These are Books which are not to be esteemed as the Holy Scriptures, yet are useful and good to read.”)

Olivetan 1535 French Bible

Fourteen apocryphal books were printed in this Bible (see Registre des livres Apocryphes). A note in “aux fideles lecteurs” (To faithful readers) specified that “And they also are not received or held as legitimate by the Hebrews or by the Church as a whole” (“Et que aussi ne sont point receuz ny tenus comme legitimes tant des Ebrieux que de toute leglise”).

Cipriano de Valera Spanish Bible of 1602

Los Libros Apocryphos. El que quisiere saber porque se llamen Apocryphos, y que autoridad tengan en la Iglesia de Dios elea la exhortacion al Christiano Lector, que esta al principio desta Biblia.

The Apocryphal Books. Whoever wants to know why they are called Apocrypha, and what authority they have in the Church of God, read the exhortation to the Christian Reader, which is at the beginning of this Bible.

Al Christiano Lector a leer la sagrada Escriptura. En la qual se muestra quales sean los libros Canonicos, o sagrada Escriptura, y quales sean los libros Apocryphos.

To the Christian Reader to read the sacred Scripture. In which it is shown which are the Canonical books, or Sacred Scripture, and which are the Apocryphal books.

Y assi el mismo S. Ieronymo lib. 1 contra Pelagian, reprehende a un cierro herege porquanto que el pretendiendo provar cierta cosa tocante al reyno de los cielos, avia alegado testimonios tomados de los libros Apocryphos.

And so the same St. Jerome, Book I against Pelagius, reprimands a certain heretic because he, claiming to prove a certain thing concerning the kingdom of heaven, had alleged testimonies taken from the Apocryphal books.

Statenvertaling 1537 Dutch Bible

De Boecken genaemt Apocryphe (The Books named Apocrypha) has 15 books, 3 books of Maccabees rather than two.

The Waerschouwinge Aen de Lesers Vande Apocryphe Boecken (Survey for the Readers of the Apocryphal Books) calls these books hidden, stating they are not canonical and do not have the characteristics of the canonical books.

DE Schriften die van oudts by een gevoeght zijn gheweest in het Boeck ghenaemt de BIBEL, ofte, de SCHRIFTVRE, zijn tweederley: sommige zijn van Godt selve in-gegeven, 2.Tim. 3. vers 16. ende geschreven van de Heylige mannen Godts, namelijck, Propheten ende Apostelen, Ephes. 2. vers. 20. gedreven zijnde door den Gheest Godts, 2.Petr. 1. vers 21. die den Geest der waerheydt is, Ioan. 15. vers 26. ende capit. 16. vers 13. ende die derhalven Goddelicke Schriften zijn, ende van ongetwijfelde ende onfeylbare waerheydt. Dese worden gemeynlick ghenaemt, met een Griecx woort, CANONYKE BOECKEN, om datse vervatten eene leere die de Canon, dat is, de Regel is van al het gene wy gelooven ende doen moeten ter saligheydt. Galat. 6.16. Philip. 3. vers 16. ofte, om dat’se staen in den Canon, dat is, in het Register der Goddelicke Boecken, het welck soo de Ioodsche, als de eerste Christelicke Kercke, altijt ghehadt heeft. Athanas. in Synopsi. Sommige zijn door eygen ingeven geschreven van menschen die in de leere dwalen konden: ende die des halven geenen reghel en konnen zijn van ons’ gheloove ende wandel. Ende dese worden genaemt APOCRYPHE BOECKEN, dat is, Verborgene: ofte om dat’se niet opentlick in de Ghemeynte en behooren ghelesen, maer veel eer verborghen te worden: ofte, om datse niet en zijn gheweest in de casse, daer in de Goddelicke Boecken van de Ioden bewaert ende verborgen wierden. Aengaende de Boecken des Nieuwen Testaments, die in den Bibel staen, hoewel eertijdts sommighe bysondere Leeraers, doch sonder reden, ghetwijfelt hebben aen den Sendt-brief tot den Hebreen, den Sendt-brief Jacobi, den tweeden Sendt-brief Petri, den tweeden ende den derden Sendt-brief Joannis, den Sendt-brief Jude, ende de Openbaringhe Joannis, of dese oock Canonijke Boecken waren, soo is het nochtans dat de oude Christelicke kercken in ’t ghemeyn daer aen noyt en hebben getwijfelt, ende en wort daer aen oock nu niet getwijfelt, maer worden alle voor Godlicke ende Canonijke Boecken van de geheele Christenheyt erkent ende ghehouden. Maer by de schriften des Ouden Testaments worden eenige boecken gestelt, die niet Canonijck en zijn, maer Apocryph: als daer zijn het derde ende vierde boeck Esdre, de historie van Tobias, ende Iudith, het boeck der Wijsheyt, Ecclesiasticus Iesu Syrach, seven capittelen ghevoeght by het boeck van Esther, het boeck van Baruch, ende de brief van Ieremias, eenige Aenhanghselen van het boeck Daniels, namelick de Historie van Susanna, van Bel ende den Draeck, het gebedt van Azarias, ende de lof-sanck der mede-gesellen Daniels in den vyerigen oven, het gebedt van Manasse, ende de dry boecken der Machabeen. Dat dese schriften gheen Canonijke, maer Apocryphe Boecken zijn, blijckt klaerlick, om dat in de selve niet gespeurt noch gevonden en worden de ken-teeckenen, waer door de Canonijke Boecken van andere onderkent ende onderscheyden worden. De ken-teeckenen van een Canonijck schrift des Ouden Testaments zijn dese. Eerstelick dat het gheschreven zy van een Propheet: waerom de Canonijke Boecken des Ouden Testaments ghenaemt worden de Prophetische Schriften. Romeyn. capit. 16. vers 26. ende het Prophetisch woordt. 2.Petr. capit. 1. vers 19. Ende dat het volgens dien niet geschreven en zy nae de tyden van Malachias, die de laetste Propheet is geweest. Siet Iosephum tegen App. lib. 1. ende Eusebium Histor. Eccl. lib. 3. cap. 10. II. Dat het geschreven zy in de Hebreeusche tale: want de Schriften des Ouden Testaments zijn geschreven voor de Israëlitische Kercke, die de Hebreeusche tale alleen gebruyckte. Siet Hieronym. praefat. in Paral. & in Esd. III. Dat het van de Ioodsche ofte Israëlitische Kercke voor een Canonijck boeck erkent ende gehouden zy geweest. want den Ioden zijn de woorden Godts toe-vertrouwt. Psal. 147.19. Rom. 3.2. ende zijn belast deselve getrouwelick te bewaren. Deuter. 31.30. ’t welck sy oock altijdt seer sorghfuldelick ghedaen hebben: soo dat de Heere Christus, hoewel hy haer over de quade uytlegginge der Heylige Schrifture dickwils bestraft heeft, nochtans haer noyt en heeft beschuldight, dat sy de Heylige Schrifture vervalscht ofte vermenght souden hebben: maer de menschen wijst tot die Schrifture, die’se doe hadden. Luc. 16.29. Ioan. 5.39. IV. Dat in het selve niet gevonden en worde dan dat heyligh ende waerachtigh zy, ende niet dat strijdigh zy tegen de waerheyt, ofte tegen de Goddelicke Leere in de Canonijke boecken begrepen. Dat nu dese ken-teeckenen in de voorschrevene Apocryphe schriften niet gevonden en worden, blijckt in deselve claerlick. I. Want geene van de selve en zijn geschreven van een Propheet, alsoo’se alle gheschreven zijn nae de tyden van Malachias: ende de autheurs van deselve boecken bekennen selve dat in haren tijdt geen Propheten en zijn geweest, ghelijck te sien is 1.Machab. 4.46. ende 9.27. Siet oock 2.Machab. 2.21. ende de voor-reden van Syrach. Den autheur van het boeck der Wijsheyt seght wel capit. 9. vers. 7, 8. dat hy de Coningh Salomon is, dien Godt geboden heeft den Tempel te bouwen, maer dat wort onwaerachtigh bevonden, alsoo dit boeck eerstmael in ’t Griecksch is geschreven, gelijck de stijl uytwijst, ende men claerlick can sien cap. 4. vers. 2. dat den autheur merckelick siet op de strijden ende camp-vechtingen der Griecken, die over de twee hondert jaren nae Salomons tyden eerst zijn in-ghestelt geweest. De oude Leeraers meynen dat dit boeck geschreven zy van Philo den Iode, die nae Christi geboorte gheleeft heeft, ende in hem niet en heeft gelooft. Siet Hieronym. in prologo galeato, in libr. Sap. ende praefat. in Proverb. Salomonis. II. Dese boecken en zijn oock niet in ’t Hebreeusch, maer zijn in ’t Griecx geschreven: ende het vierde boeck Esdre en wort niet dan in ’t Latijn ghevonden. III. Sy en zijn oock noyt gestelt geweest in het Register der Godtlicke boecken, dat de Israëlitische Kercke gehadt heeft: gelijck te sien is by den History-schrijver der Ioden Iosephum tegen Appionem, lib. 1. die aldaer twee-en-twintigh Canonijke boecken verhaelt, die de Ioodsche kercke voor sodanige gehouden heeft, onder welcke geene van dese boecken en zijn. Siet oock Euseb. Histor. Eccles. lib. 3. cap. 10. Sy en zijn oock noyt in de Synagogen der Ioden voor-ghelesen, noch van de Priesters ofte Schriftgeleerde den volcke verclaert. Het blijckt oock dat de Heere Christus, ende sijne Heylighe Apostelen, dese boecken niet en hebben voor Canonijke erkent, alsoo sy nergens uyt eenige der selve yet voort en brengen, gelijck’se doen uyt de andere Canonijke boecken, den welcken sy doorgaens van hare Goddelickheyt getuygenisse geven, ’t welck van dese Apocryphe noyt en geschiet. Ende alsoo de eerste Christelicke kercke de Canonijke boecken des Ouden Testaments ontfanghen heeft vande Israëlitische kercke, so siet men oock dat in de Registers der Canonijke boecken van de eerste Christelicke kercke, dese boecken oock niet gevonden en worden. Eusebius getuyght, Histor. Eccl. lib. 4. cap. 26. dat een oudt ende treflick Leeraer, Melito genaemt, Bischop te Sardis, daerom gereyst is in Orienten, om te vernemen nae het getal ende orden van de Canonijke boecken, ende dat onder deselve dese boecken niet en waren, gelijck uyt het Register aldaer te sien is. Desgelijcks oock het Concilium van Laodicea, gehouden in het jaer onses Heeren dry hondert ende achtien, verhalende Can. 59. het Register der boecken die doe vande Christelicke kercken voor Canonijke gehouden wierden, en stelt geene van dese boecken in het selve: gelijck oock niet en doen alle de oudste kerckelicke Schrijvers, als sy mede het Register der Canonijke boecken verhalen, als daer zijn onder andere Origenes, by Euseb. Hist. Eccl. lib. 6. cap. 24. Cyprianus in Symb. Athanasius in Synopsi. Hilarius in prol. Psal. Hieronymus in prol. galeato, in praefat. in lib. Estherae, lib. Salom. Daniel. et Machab. Nazianzenus in Carm. Epiphanius haeres. 8. et in l. de pond. et mens. Cyrillus Hierosolymitanus Catech. 4. Ruffinus in expos. Symb. IV. Waer by noch komt, dat in meest alle dese boecken gevonden worden verscheydene onware, ongerijmde, fabeleuse, ende tegen-strijdende saken, die met de waerheyt, noch met de Canonijke boecken niet over een en comen. Uyt seer vele connen dese weynige tot claer bewijs daer van zijn. Het geheele vierde boeck Esdre en is meest anders niet als een geduerigh verhael van versierde dingen, die noyt en zijn geschiet: gelijck insonderheyt is ’t gene den autheur verhaelt, capit. 6.49. etc. van die twee groote beesten Enoch ofte Behemoth, ende Leviathan; ’t welck claerlick smaeckt na Ioodsche fabelen. Ende wie soude connen gelooven waerachtigh te zijn ’t gene verhaelt wort capit. 14. vers. 21, etc. dat de Wet Godts geheel verloren was geweest, ende dat deselve van Esdra in den tijdt van veertigh dagen wederom is gedicteert geweest? Dat geseght wort cap. 4 vers. 41. dat de zielen der verstorvene in eenighe vertrecken ofte cellen onder de aerde bewaert worden, dat strijdt oock claerlick tegen de Canonijke schriften, Eccles. 12.7. 2.Reg. 2.11. Matth. 5.3. ende 12.

English Statements

Articles of Religion of the Church of England (1563). Sixth Article: “In the name of Holy Scripture we do understand those canonical books of the Old and New Testament, of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church. . . And the other books (as Jerome saith) the Church doth read for example of life and instruction of manners: but yet doth it not apply them to establish any doctrine.”

Westminster Confession (1647). Chapter 1 § 3: “The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the Canon of Scripture; and therefore are of no authority in the Church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved, or made use of, than other human writings.”

Hebrew Bible

The 14 Apocryphal books were not written in Hebrew or Aramaic, and were never part of the Hebrew Bible. Cf. Romans 3:2 ...unto them [the Jews] were committed the oracles of God.

See also What about the Apocrypha? Four Reasons the Apocrypha is Not Canonical

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

The apographa or copies of the originals

apograph, noun. A copy. The apographs or apographa (plural), in reference to the Bible, refer to copies as opposed to the original media (autographs or autographa) as first penned by the original writers.

The apograph of the book of Isaiah in the synagogue at Nazareth is scripture.

Luke 4 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written…And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down...And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

The apograph which Jesus asked the chief priests and elders whether they had read is scripture.

Matthew 21 And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching…Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?

The apograph to which the Jews at Jerusalem had access is scripture.

John 5 After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem… Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him…Then answered Jesus and said unto them…Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

John 10 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;

The apograph the eunuch of Ethiopia carried with him from Jerusalem is scripture.

Acts 8 … a man of Ethiopia…was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet… The place of the scripture which he read was this… Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture…

The apograph of the law at the the synagogue at Antioch Pisidia is scripture.

Acts 13 But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down. And after the reading of the law and the prophets...

The apograph in possession of the synagogue Thessalonica is scripture.

Acts 17 Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: and Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures

The apograph in possession of the synagogue at Berea is scripture.

Acts 17 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

The apograph available to Timothy is scripture.

2 Timothy 3 and that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God…

All scripture is given by inspiration of God

2 Timothy 3 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Additionally, these texts suggest a valid copy of scripture is scripture.

  • The copy of the book of the law made for the king of Israel is authoritative scripture (Deuteronomy 17:18-19).
  • The copy of the law of Moses written by Joshua upon stones at mount Ebal is authoritative scripture (Joshua 8:32).
  • The copy of the book of the law read by Ezra in Jerusalem is authoritative scripture (Nehemiah 8).
  • The proverbs of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah copied out is authoritative scripture (Proverbs 25:1).
  • The copy of the book of the law to which a certain lawyer and certain Pharisees had access is is authoritative scripture (Matthew 12:5; Luke 10:26).

Monday, November 28, 2022

6 Lessons, and other music & worship links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.
  • 6 Lessons from Luther on Congregational Singing -- “At every opportunity Luther and his colleagues were concerned to get the whole congregation—not just part of it—involved in the singing, teaching them of the need to sing the scriptural Word...”
  • Hark, Ten Thousand Harps and Voices - Thomas Kelly -- “Kelly was ordained in 1792 but was silenced by the established church because his preaching of justification by faith was considered too spiritual. He became one of Ireland’s finest preachers and spiritual poets of the 19th century.”
  • Isaac Watts’s ‘Psalms of David’, 19 years in the writing -- “Watts spent some 19 years on The Psalms of David. He had written the imitations of some Psalms by 1700. Versions of four appeared in the first edition of his Horae Lyricae (1706; withdrawn from subsequent editions) and an extra ten in the first edition of Hymns and Spiritual Songs (1707); Watts amended all of these for the Psalms of David.”
  • Oodles of Oompahs -- “To learn more about how this unique musical style keeps the beat, I headed to the Texas Polka Music Museum in downtown Schulenburg.”
  • Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs; what are they? -- “All the clear references in the NT refer to the book of psalms, or to individual psalms from that book. No reference clearly refers to something other than this.”
  • Sing the Psalms–A Free App for your Apple or Android Phone -- “However, if you are not able to get a physical copy, I am delighted to let you know that a quality app has been designed which includes the text and tunes of the 1650 Scottish Psalter.”
  • Singing the Psalms -- “The Psalms are so magnificent that it is difficult to know where to begin in describing their glory. Psalms is a peerless book. There is nothing like the Psalms in all of human literature.”
  • Sweeney Hosts ‘Sunny Side Up’ on Willie’s Roadhouse Radio -- “Longview native Sunny Sweeney hosts a new morning show on SIRIUS XM radio, manning the airwaves from 5 to 11 a.m.”
  • The Hymn Amazing Grace: New Testament Language Based Upon Old Testament Scripture -- “It is a little known fact that this well-known Christian hymn is actually based upon Old Testament scripture verses, specifically 1 Chronicles chapter 17, verses 16 and 17.”
  • The Story of the Anthem Sweet Home Alabama -- The melody for the song was written in about 15 minutes and the lyrics in less than two hours.
  • Ye Servants of God - Charles Wesley -- “Charles printed the hymn as the opening song in the section titled ‘Hymns to be Sung in a Tumult.’ It was written to encourage and strengthen his followers in their time of persecution.”

Love and Respect

A husband does not need to earn his wife’s respect any more than a wife needs to earn her husband’s love. A wife ought to respect her husband because he is her husband, just as he ought to love and honor her because she is his wife. Your husband might “deserve” it when you mock him, berate him, belittle him, and nag him, but you don’t marry someone in order to give them what they deserve. In marriage, you give them what you’ve promised.

This doesn’t mean that a man has a license to be lazy, abusive, or uncaring. Precisely the opposite. He is challenged to live up to the respect his wife has for him. But if his wife parcels out her respect on a reward system, the husband will feel demoralized and empty. He will not feel at home in his home. He will not have the sense of masculine purpose and fulfillment that his family life ought to afford him. After a while, he will dread coming home at night, preferring to remain at work where his contributions are appreciated and his talents are admired. Now the marriage has entered a very dangerous place. If a man feels more like a man when he’s away from his wife than when he’s with her, disaster is right around the corner. The marriage is already half-dead. It won’t take much to finish it off.

Matt Walsh, Facebook Post, 19 August 2022

Sunday, November 27, 2022

The Starry Firmament on High

British legalist Robert Grant (1779-1838) wrote “The Starry Firmament on High.” Though written earlier in the 1800s, the form of the hymn below is as it appears in Sacred Poems, By the Late Right Hon. Sir Robert Grant – published by his brother in 1839, and again by his children in 1868. There it is complete four stanzas in Long Meter Doubled. In many sources that use the hymn, it appears as four stanzas of Long Meter, without what is stanzas 2 and 3 below. In Sacred Poems it is titled simply “Psalm XIX,” with this notation:
(This is intended as a sequel or counterpart to the well-known hymn, ‘The Spacious Firmament;’ and corresponds to the latter portion of the 19th Psalm, as that hymn does to the former.)
Joseph Addison (1672-1719) wrote the hymn that begins “The spacious firmament on high.” An early tune suggested for this hymn is Orion by J. Zundel. The most common tune pairing seems to be with Uxbridge. This tune can be found on 265b in The Sacred Harp, 2012 Cooper Edition.

1. The starry firmament on high,
And all the glories of the sky,
Yet shine not to thy praise, O Lord,
So brightly as thy written word.
The hopes that holy word supplies,
Its truths divine and precepts wise—
In each a heavenly beam I see,
And every beam conducts to thee.

2. When, taught by painful proof to know
That all is vanity below,
The sinner roams from comfort far,
And looks in vain for sun or star;
Soft gleaming then those lights divine
Through all the cheerless darkness shine,
And sweetly to his ravished eye
Disclose the day-spring from on high.

3. The heart in sensual fetters bound,
And barren as the wintry ground,
Confesses, Lord, thy quickening ray;—
Thy word can charm the spell away,
With genial influence can beguile
The frozen wilderness to smile;
Bid living water o’er it flow,
And all be paradise below.

4. Almighty Lord! the sun shall fail,
The moon forget her nightly tale,
And deepest silence hush on high
The joyful chorus of the sky.
But, fixed for everlasting years,
Unmoved amid the wreck of spheres,
Thy word shall shine in cloudless day,
When heaven and earth have passed away.

Robert Grant was born in India, where his father was a director of the East India company. He was educated at Cambridge, and later served as governor of Bombay. He was knighted in 1834. Grant died at Dalpoorie, India in 1838, and is buried at Saint Marys Church in Pune, Maharashtra, India. Grant’s most famous hymn is “O Worship the King.”

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Three Modern Myths, 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.

You cannot destroy a popular belief, 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.)

“You cannot destroy a popular belief merely by proving it false.” -- Patrick Pringle

“A biblical methodology that proceeds from a biblical bibliology must fit what the Bible says about itself.” -- Kent Brandenburg

“My own paradigm of faith and reason accepts revealed things as true and recognizes my own limits in explaining through reason what I believe to be true.” -- Kent Brandenburg

“The last supper has become the lost supper.” -- Steve Atkerson

“The Lord’s rod hath a voice that speaks, as well as corrects; and it is a mark of wisdom to listen, as well as feel.” -- Robert Hawker

“A person’s scholarship is not determined by the name of the school he or she attended, but by the quality of that person’s writing, speaking, and teaching.” -- James R. White

“To the man who lives for God, nothing is secular; everything is sacred.” -- Charles H. Spurgeon

“Most shipwrecks of faith are not at root intellectual, but rather because I want what I want and Christianity is in the way.” -- John Piper

“We should not tailor what we teach to the goal of affirming everybody’s identity. That is therapy, not biology.” -- Jerry Coyne

“Defer not till tomorrow to be wise, tomorrow’s sun to thee may never rise.” -- William Congreve

Some lines from Alfred Lord Tennyson, in his poem “In Memoriam.”
I hold it true, whate’er befall;
   I feel it, when I sorrow most;
   ’Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.

Friday, November 25, 2022

Rufus Norton Grisham (reprise)

In June 2020, I posted a short piece on singer/songwriter Rufus Norton Grisham. Since that time, I have located a newspaper obituary of Grisham.

The Daily (Mississippi Coast) Herald, Saturday, September 26, 1936, page 1

Also here is a list of the songbooks with which I know he was involved in publishing:

  • Songs of Heaven: a Collection of the very Best Songs to be found, for Church, Sunday School, Revival, the Singing Conventions, and all Religious Gatherings, Greenville, SC: R. N. Grisham, circa 1924
  • Heavenly Light, No. 2: a Collection of the Best Songs to be found for Church, Sunday School, and all Religious Gatherings, Fort Worth, TX: Quartet Music Co, n.d.
  • Service Songs for Christian Work and Worship, ( J. W. Gaines, editor), Austin, TX: Firm Foundation (Memphis, TN: Showalter Publishing), 1929 
  • Our Bells of Heaven, Laurel, MS: R. N. Grisham, n.d.
  • Gospel Carols, Ellisville, MS: R. N. Grisham, n.d.
  • Heaven’s Message: a Collection of the very Best New, and Old Songs that can be found, for Church, Sunday School, Singing Conventions and all Religious Gatherings, Ellisville, MS: R. N. Grisham, n.d.
  • Heaven’s Highway, Ellisville, MS: R. N. Grisham, n.d.
  • The Gates of Glory: a Book with a Song for any Occasion where a real Spiritual Uplift is Desired (with J. L. Moore, J. R. Baxter), Ellisville, MS: R. N. Grisham, circa 1935

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Lift the strain of high thanksgiving

“Lift the strain of high thanksgiving” by John Ellerton.

1. Lift the strain of high thanksgiving!
Tread with songs the hallowed way!
Praise our father’s God, for mercies
New to us their sons to-day;
Here they built for him a dwelling,
Served him here in ages past,
Fixed it for his sure possession,
Holy ground, while time shall last.

2. When the years had wrought their changes,
He, our own unchanging God,
Thought on this his habitation,
Looked on his decayed abode;
Heard our prayers, and helped our counsels,
Blessed the silver and the gold,
Till once more his house is standing,
Firm and stately as of old.

3. Entering then thy gates with praises,
Lord, be ours thine Israel’s prayer:
“Rise into thy place of resting,
“Show thy promised presence there!”
Let the gracious word be spoken
Here, as once on Sion’s height,
“This shall be my rest forever,
“This my dwelling of delight.”

4. Fill this latter house with glory
Greater than the former knew;
Clothe with righteousness thy priesthood,
Guide us all to reverence true;
Let thy Holy One’s anointing
Here its sevenfold blessing shed;
Spread for us the heavenly banquet,
Satisfy thy poor with bread.

5. Praise to thee, almighty Father,
Praise to thee, eternal Son,
Praise to thee, all-quickening Spirit,
Ever blessèd Three in One:
Threefold Power and Grace and Wisdom,
Molding out of sinful clay,
Living stones for that true temple,
Which shall never know decay.


O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever. 1 Chronicles 16:34

Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High: Psalm 50:14

I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. Psalm 69:30

Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. Psalm 95:2

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. Psalm 100:4

Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto thy name: the upright shall dwell in thy presence. Psalm 140:13

But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord. Jonah 2:9

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. Philippians 4:6

We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, Colossians 1:3

Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; Colossians 4:2

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: 1 Timothy 4:4

saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. Revelation 7:12

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Mounce’s “unanimous agreement”

In researching the topic of defending missing verses in modern Bibles, I ran across a brief video by Bill Mounce (a little less than 10 minutes). In it, he is defending “missing” verses in his NIV. At one point, he claims that evangelical and liberal scholarship unanimously agree on one thing: that “versions of the Bible that were written closer to the first century are by default more reliable. There’s been less chance for changes to happen. They’re going to be more faithful because they’re closer to the actual writing.” (This starts at about 3:18 in the above-linked video.)

First, though not my main point here, I do not agree with Mounce’s premise. Marcion’s truncated Bible seems to be closer in time “to the actual writing” than anything we presently have (definitely preceded Sinaiticus and Vaticanus). It is NOT by default more reliable. It is, in fact, exceedingly unreliable and unrepresentative of the autographs.

However, notice primarily Mounce’s attitude toward anyone who takes a contrary position to his “unanimously agreed” scholars. If you are not part of the unanimous agreement, then you are not a serious or credible scholar.

I realize Critical Text guys like Mounce consistently dismiss those of us who support the Received Text as rubes. But shouldn’t Majority Text proponents such as Hodges, Farstad, Pickering, Pierpont, and Robinson be considered eminent scholars? They do not accept this so-called universal proposition posited by Mounce. Or does Mounce & Company just write out of the “academia” anyone who disagrees with them?

I deny that there is such a so-called unanimous agreement. The consensus is a mirage, achieved by excluding those who disagree. Sounds a lot like the government ploy that dismissed the opinions and findings of eminent physicians and medical researchers who did not spout the “party line” during the Covid scare!

[Just for fun, be sure to watch this with the captions on, where the Closed Caption understands Mounce to say “Bruce mess cursed” instead of what most of you will hear him say.]

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Review of a Bill Mounce lecture

Review of Bill Mounce’s lecture “Statistics Don’t Lie, Or Do They?” (I found this linked from Jeff Riddle’s blog, Word Magazine 238.)

I have mentioned Bill Mounce on my blog a few times – mostly in a general way, but once challenged his “Unhinged verbal herbal rant.” Mounce is doubtless a Greek scholar (though I recently saw Stephen Anderson trounce Mounce over the word “monogenes”). Mounce serves on the Committee for Bible Translation for the New International Version. He also was the New Testament Chair for the English Standard Version translation. He wrote Basics of Biblical Greek, a popular Greek textbook now in its fourth edition. Over the years, the more I have seen and read, the more I have increasingly become suspect of Bill Mounce as a scholar and theologian. Based on watching “Statistics Don’t Lie, Or Do They,” as well as a panel discussion at the Lanier Theological Library, Mounce does not strike me as a deep thinker. He often appealed to his friend Dan Wallace as his authority. He comes across as a “fanboy” of Dan Wallace.[i]

At one point the host, Mark Lanier, mentions they had invited Bart Ehrman to speak at the Library. This is illustrative of how these “scholarly” institutions find it educational to listen to their opponents from the non-Bible-believing side, but likely will never give the time of day to their opponents on the Bible-believing side – for example, those who defend the Traditional Texts of the Bible.

Each paragraph below will begin with the approximate hour, minute, and second marks (0:00:00) where the statements occur in the video. These are random things that caught my ear, with some brief associated comments. Folks like Bill Mounce think they are teaching people how to trust the Bible, while often introducing them to thoughts that make them doubt it.

0:07:50. Mounce talks about the principle of the shorter reading. He brings up the example of prayer and fasting in Mark 9:29. He claims there would be no reason to drop “and fasting” if it were original. Of course, this ignores that the copyist could have simply read over and missed it, or that he deliberately left it out. Mounce also later uses this in the example of a variant affecting no doctrine – something unnecessary unless you need to know whether to fast before performing an exorcism.

0:16:33. Mounce says he always wanted to preach a sermon series on the silly questions of Scripture, then brings up Jesus’s question to the invalid man, “Do you want to get well?” In effect, he says that our Lord Jesus asked a silly question. He backtracks on that, at least, probably indicating he was going for the laugh. Seems unbecoming.

0:16:54. Later, after John wrote his gospel, Mounce says two sentences were added to the manuscripts. John 5:3b-4 Some manuscripts include here, wholly or in part, paralyzed—and they waited for the moving of the waters. From time to time an angel of the Lord would come down and stir up the waters. The first one into the pool after each such disturbance would be cured of whatever disease they had. Mounce is “really happy” that John 5:3b-4 is removed. He says he would “have real trouble” with the idea of an angel coming and “magically stirring up the water and magically healing people apart from faith.” This shows he has an agenda; he likes to remove passages he does not like (Mark 16 is another such, since he indicates he does not like the statements about snakes and poison). So, no, Bill, you are not “just” following science.

0:18:08. Mounce points out the problem in Mark 1:2. The CT has “as it is written in Isaiah the prophet” yet only the 2nd half is Isaiah 40:3, and the first half is Malachi 3:1. After noting that difference, he says, “and yet Mark wrote ‘and in Isaiah the prophet’ – so a concerned scribe comes along and he decides to correct the original.” Mounce then asks, “Is it more likely the original said in the prophets and introduced an error and said just Isaiah,” or is it more likely a scribe would think it is an error and change it? So it appears that Mounce thinks that the reference to Isaiah by Mark (in Mark 1:2) was an original error corrected by a later scribe. In other words, the inspired writer Mark made a factual error!

0:21:52. Mounce says “these” guys (text critics who assign the UBS A-D rating for textual variants) are not flaming fundamentalists; they have no theological agenda; this is just science. So it seems Bill is well situated to “follow the science” if the “science” is promoted by liberals – just so they are not “flaming fundamentalists”! (This will come up again.)

0:34:00. Mounce called the Pericope Adulterae (John 7:53-8:11) a misogynist passage that was added to John’s gospel years later. “The Adulterous Woman” is a misogynist title, according to Mounce. “I hate the title of that thing.” Regardless of what he loves and hates, the story only recounts the woman being brought to Jesus.

0:35:32. Mounce talks about the variant reading in Mark 1: 41 “Jesus was indignant.” He complains about Bart Ehrman’s view of this passage, but then ultimately agrees with Ehrman that later scribes changed it to compassionate!

0:37:50. Here again Mounce “disagrees” with Ehrman claiming that we don’t know what the original words of the New Testament are. However, he immediately blunts this objection by indicating it is a matter of degree. He thinks Ehrman is overstating the case, but Mounce himself thinks that we don’t know what some of the original words were. Mounce thinks that though there are many differences in the manuscripts, only a few things are in question (0:40:20). Apparently, like his comrade Dan, he thinks what we have is “good enough.”

0:50:58. Mounce says Bibles should remove the Pericope Adulterae. “I don’t think it’s true.” Nevertheless, both Bibles with which he is associated as a translator – the ESV and NIV – have not removed them.

0:52:15. Mark Lanier points out that Bill Mounce is “not a rabid fundamentalist who says I’m gonna buy the King James.” They definitely have animus toward the KJV and toward fundamentalism as well.

0:53:00. Mounce says that Erasmus had only 3 manuscripts from 11th century. One had Matthew through Jude; one of Revelation without the last six verses, so Erasmus had to make up Greek for the last six verses. Then says he had a few other manuscripts but didn’t use them much. Mounce says Erasmus’s 1516 Greek text was “the worst published book in the history of publishing” and had many mistakes. The Critical Text world makes varied claims about how many manuscripts Erasmus had. Only 3 or 4? A half dozen? Seven? Twelve? Who knows!! This accusation repeated with such frequency makes it a commonly accepted “truth.” However, neither frequent repetition nor common acceptance makes something true.

0:54:05. Mounce tells the wild Tischendorf/Sinaiticus tale, but at least he admits it might not be exactly true.

0:56:20. Mounce laughs and says 1 John 5:7-8 is “a complete and total fabrication” – “there’s no question about it.” He goes on to bring up the Erasmus “rash wager” and claim that is the reason 1 John 5:7 was added to his Greek text. According to Mounce, “English is in a constant state of flux...This is one of the reasons why the CBT was originally formed with the mandate to meet every year and keep the NIV up-to-date with current English and biblical scholarship.” One would suppose he would try to keep his scholarship current on other things! Instead, he respreads like manure Erasmian myths that had been cleaned off our theological pastures. Though he wants to keep up-to-date with current biblical scholarship, Mounce seems unaware that Erasmian scholar Henk Jan de Jonge had cleaned up both the “rash wager” and “made-to-order” myths re the Comma Johanneum over forty years ago! Even up-to-date text critics like Peter Gurry admit this should be well known.

Among text critics, it’s fairly well known that no Greek manuscript was ever produced to order for Erasmus that included the long form of 1 John 5.7. continues to be perpetuated among students of the New Testament.

I doubt not that Bill Mounce is a better Greek scholar than I. But color me unimpressed with this total package. Too many “Myths and Mistakes.”

[i] fanboy (or, fan boy), noun. A male fan who demonstrates intense excitement at the mention or in the presence of a particular celebrity, film, product, etc.

Albert Wardin Obituary


The Tennessean, Sunday, November 20, 2022, p. 38A

Monday, November 21, 2022

In Memory of Albert Wardin

In July of 2016, I posted 3 tributes for 3 historians. At the time, one of the three was still living, Albert Wardin.

Albert William Wardin Jr. died November 14, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee, at 94 years of age. He was born in Portland, Oregon March 11, 1928, the son of Albert W. Wardin, Sr., and Anna Klemm. He spent a career in religious education at Western Baptist Seminary, Judson Baptist College, and Belmont College. He married Dorothy Lucile Peak in 1969.

Albert W. Wardin was an experienced and important Baptist historian, and a prolific writer in the field. Of all the Baptist historians I knew, he had the best understanding of the different groups of Baptists in the U.S.A, who they were, where they came from, and how they were related. He contributed several books in this field alone, and others in the broader field of Baptist history.

From the 1960s into the 2000s, Wardin produced many articles and books, including:

  • A History of Judson Baptist Church, Nashville, Tennessee, 1911-1986 (1986)
  • A Sixty-Fifth Anniversary History of the Oregon North American Baptist Association (1961)
  • Baptists Around The World: a Comprehensive Handbook (1995)
  • Baptist Atlas (1980)
  • Baptists in Oregon (1969)
  • Belmont Mansion: the Home of Joseph and Adelicia Acklen (1981)
  • Conservative Baptists of Oregon: a Twenty-Fifth Anniversary History (1973)
  • Evangelical Sectarianism in the Russian Empire and the USSR: a Bibliographic Guide (1995)
  • God’s Chosen Path: the Life of H. Franklin Paschall (2001)
  • Gottfried F. Alf: Pioneer of the Baptist Movement in Poland (2003)
  • On the Edge: Baptists and Other Free Church Evangelicals in Tsarist Russia, 1855-1917 (2013)
  • Tennessee Baptists: a Comprehensive History, 1779-1999 (1999)
  • The Heritage of the Wardin Family of Oregon (1986)

Dr. Wardin was a very gracious and helpful teacher who shared his knowledge with those who were interested. Beginning in the mid-1980s we corresponded by mail (the old-fashioned “snail mail”) and talked on the phone, as he tried to lead me along to understanding the taxonomy of the Baptists in the United States. I owe most of what I know about the subject to him.

Romans 13:7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due...

Seeking to destroy what you admire

“Do our opponents not admire that which they seek to destroy? Every time they spawn a new Bible, they compare it to the TR and KJV. Why? Because they admire the unity that the TR/KJV brought and brings but they want to destroy the TR/KJV for the same reason. What is more, textual criticism insists that it is an art to that end and the practitioners of which see the TR/KJV as a repressive mode of the text-critic’s expression.” 

Peter Van Kleeck, Jr.

In other words, banatees and banshees

  • alphanumeric, adjective. Consisting of letters and numbers (a portmanteau of alphabetic + numeric).
  • banatee, noun. The female head of a family or household; a housewife; a landlady or hostess (from Irish bean tí, ‘the woman of the house’).
  • banshee, noun. (from Irish folklore) A spirit in the form of a wailing woman who appears to members of a family as a sign that one of them is about to die.
  • charcuterie, noun. Cold cooked meats collectively; a delicatessen or store selling cold cooked meats.
  • concupiscence, noun. A strong desire; an ardent, usually sensual, longing.
  • conundrum, noun. A confusing and difficult problem or question.
  • cúpla focal, noun. A few words in Irish; especially a token Irish phrase used to introduce a speech that is otherwise in English (Irish, a few words).
  • eminent, adjective. (of a person) Famous and respected within a particular sphere or profession.
  • frippery, noun. A showy or unnecessary ornament in architecture, dress, or language; a tawdry or frivolous thing.
  • inane, adjective. Lacking sense, significance, or ideas; silly; stupid.
  • incandescent, adjective. Glowing or white with heat; intensely bright; brilliant; masterly; extraordinarily lucid.
  • interminable, adjective. Endless (often used hyperbolically); having or seeming to have no end; wearisomely protracted.
  • malware, noun. (Digital Technology) Software intended to damage a computer, mobile device, computer system, or computer network, or to take partial control over its operation (a portmanteau of malicious + software)
  • mosker, verb. (intransitive) To decay, rot; to crumble or molder.
  • napalm, noun. A highly incendiary jellylike substance used in fire bombs, flamethrowers, etc.; (figuratively) something deadly and unpleasant (a portmanteau of naphthene + palmitate).
  • nonplussed, adjective. (of a person) Surprised and confused so much that they are unsure how to react; (informal) not disconcerted; unperturbed.
  • theodicy, noun. The vindication of divine goodness and providence in view of the existence of evil.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

For Thanksgiving

7s meter. Written November 19, 2022.

1. Come, ye thankful people, come
Who have found a heavenly home;
Laud him—loud his praises swell:
“Jesus hath done all things well.”

2. Come, assemble, worship here.
Go, and spread the gospel cheer.
Of him speak, his mercies tell:
“Jesus hath done all things well.”

3. Come, and bow before the Lord,
Saviour he—beloved, adored;
Champion over death and hell:
“Jesus hath done all things well.”

4. Come, eternally extol
Maker, Saviour, of your souls.
Safe in heav’n forever dwell
“Jesus hath done all things well.”

More love to thee, O Christ

Elizabeth Payson Prentiss (1818-1878) wrote this devotional hymn in 1856, at a time when her daughter was very ill.

Baptist choir director, song writer, and manufacturer William Howard Doane wrote the tune commonly found with this popular hymn. The tune is usually designated as More Love to Thee. I believe it probably first appeared in Songs of Devotion for Christian Associations in 1870, edited by Doane. Christian Songs for the Sunday School connected the thoughts of the hymn to Jesus’s statement in John 15:9, “Continue ye in my love.”

Elizabeth Prentiss was the daughter of Congregationalist preacher Edward Payson and Ann Louisa Shipman Payson. She married George Prentiss, who was also a preacher. For more information on the author, see More Love to Thee - Elizabeth Prentiss at Melody Publications.

1. More love to thee, O Christ,  More love to thee!
Hear thou the prayer I make, On bended knee:
This is my earnest plea – More love, O Christ, to thee,
More love to thee!

2. Once earthly joy I craved, Sought peace and rest,
Now thee alone I seek, Give what is best:
This all my prayer shall be – More love, O Christ, to thee,
More love to thee!

3. Let sorrow do its work, Send grief and pain,
Sweet are thy messengers, Sweet their refrain,
When they can sing with me – More love, O Christ to thee,
More love to thee!

4. Then shall my latest breath Whisper thy praise,
This be the parting cry My heart shall raise:
This still its prayer shall be – More love, O Christ, to thee,
More love to thee!

In 1873, Mrs. Prentiss wrote: “To love Christ more is the deepest need, the constant cry of my soul. Down in the bowling alley, and out in the woods, and on my bed, and out driving, when I am happy and busy, and when I am sad and idle, the whisper keeps going up for more love, more love, more love!”

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Why I Wrote a Book, and other reviews

The posting of book, film, or other reviews does not constitute endorsement of the products, reviews, or sites that are linked.

Who said it?

Guess who said this. You might be surprised.

“The sermons of Bishop Bilson and Miles Smith [the two final reviewers of the King James translation, rlv] which have been preserved do not show this grace of language, this blend of mystery and simplicity. It must surely have been the awesome responsibility they faced and the enabling grace of the Holy Spirit that guided their final choice of language, for the version of the Bible they produced was so much more than the sum of their combined human skills.” p. 6

“But there is still a need for a standard Bible—one that is widely accepted and used, one that speaks clearly, yet does not bend to the quickly passing expressions of our time, one that preserves a sense of majesty and beauty.” p. 7

“The Editors” of the New King James Version, in Why the New King James Version, Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1982

Friday, November 18, 2022

Defining Confessional Terms

I’ll just sit this here.

Authoritas Divina Duplex: “twofold divine authority; a distinction between (1) the authoritas rerum, or authority of the things of Scripture, the substantia doctrinae (substance of doctrine); and (2) the authroitas verborum, or authority of the words of Scripture arising from the accidens scriptionis, the accident of writing.”

“The authority of the substantia, or res, is a formal, inward authority that belongs both to the text of Scripture in the original languages and to the accurate translations of scripture. The authoritas verborum is an external and accidental authority that belongs only to the text in the original languages and is a property or accident lost in translation. Thus the infallibilitas of the originals is both quoad verbum and quoad res, where as the infallibilitas of the translations in only quoad res.”

Textus Receptus: “Textus Receptus: the Received Text; i.e., the standard Greek text of the New Testament published by Erasmus (1516) and virtually contemporaneously by Ximenes (the Complutensian Polyglot, printed in 1514 but not circulated [i.e., published] until 1522), and subsequently reissued with only slight emendation by Stephanus (1550), Beza (1565), and Elzevir (1633).”

“The term was adopted as a standard usage only after the period of orthodoxy, although it does refer to the text supported by the Protestant scholastics as the authentic text quoad verba, with respect to the words of the text.”

Richard Muller, Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms: Drawn Principally from Protestant Scholastic Theology, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2017

Thursday, November 17, 2022

H. Ainsworth and J. Smyth

A Defence of the Holy Scriptures, Worship, and Ministry used in the Christian Churches separated from Antichrist, against the challenges, cavils, and contradictions of M. Smyth, in his book entitled “The Differences of the Churches of the Separation,” Henry Ainsworth, Amsterdam: Giles Thorp, 1609
Paul willeth the church to read his Epistles, yea chargeth them in the Lord, to read them to all the brethren; and writeth to them again, to keep the instructions, taught by his Epistle: M. Smyth sayth the meaning is not strictly literal, that the words which he wrote should be repeated: but the sense related. As if Paul wanted fit words to set down his meaning, & they that should read, could tell it better. He that readeth, must read words as they are written, specially in Gods book, & Epistles from the holy Ghost, wherein no one word is vaine, idle, or unprofitable, no word misplaced or out of order: and he that shall presume to add or diminish or change the order in reading Gods writings, doth wickedly, and is near unto the curse. If things in reading be difficult, God hath given gifts unto men to open and expound them, to the understanding of all: but this expounding is not reading. Reading is first, exactly to the letter; exposition cometh after with such words as God putteth in the expositors heart; as by Daniels practise, we may learn. Neither are the words of the expositor comparable to the words of the writer; these being divine, are all as silver fined seven times, no drosse mixed with them. The other being human, (I speak of ordinary men as we are) and shewing the mans judgement that expoundeth them, are mixed with human infirmities, mistakings, and sometime deadly errors. Wherefore reading of the Original scriptures wherof here we treat, must be strictly literal, as is in the book. Translations are after to be spoken of; and is here vainly inserted, for Paul wrote in Greek, which all in Colosse, Laodicea, Thessalonica, and the whole country over, used as their vulgar tongue, that they needed none to translate for them. p. 43

The first and only controversie between M. Sm. and us being about the scriptures translated or overset into other tongues, which he affirmed to be apocrypha and human writings: how ever he hath sought to excuse and hide his error, yet hath he no will to forsake it, as appeareth by this, that having spoken of writings 1. by men inspired of God, as the prophets and Apostles, and 2. by ordinarie men of all sorts; he shuffleth the translations of the holy scriptures among these latter; and affirmeth that there is no better warrant to bring translations of scripture written into the church, and to read them as parts or helps of worship, then to bring in expositions, resolutions, paraphrasts and sermons upon the scripture, seing all these are equally human in respect of the work equally divine in respect of the matter they handle.

Very impious is this comparison which thus matcheth a mans comment or written sermon, with Gods written word set over into an other tongue: for it debaseth the majestie of Gods law, and advanceth too high, the baseness of men. p. 45

For this cause the holy scriptures are necessarie for all Churches, to be read & expounded unto the people: & as every nation differeth in language, so to have the word spoken and written in their vulgar tongue, which change of the tongue or letter, changeth not the nature of the word spoken or written, but it is still divine and heavenly. Only because in this changing or translating, imperfections, wants, errors may fall in: therefore the first writings as the Prophets & Apostles penned them, are to be made the absolute canon, rule, touchstone, whereby all translations are to be tried: by which being tried & found faithful, it is the same word of God, in what language or letter soever, & differeth as much from human coommentaries or expositions, as heaven doth from earth. p. 47

Where first if M. S. mean the action of translating simply, without reference to the matter and thing translated, he doth but dally and seek to deceive: for writing, printing, translating are all alike human actions, but the things written printed translated, are different, some good some evil, some of God, some of men and of the devil. The books of Moses written printed or translated, are Gods law; the book of Mahomet written printed or translated, is the devils law: the actions of writing, printing, translating, are mere human actions in all of these. Now if because translating is an human action, therefore the thing tran∣slated must also be human, & the work of mans wit and learning: then also because writing and printing are human actions, therefore the bible written or printed in Hebreue, Greek, & all languages, must likewise be human, and the work of mens wit and learning: and then there can be no divine scriptures but the very first copies which the Prophets & Apostles wrote with their owne hands: And if Satan could perswade this; he would be glad. p. 48

There was one only difference between M. Smyth and us, when first he began to quarrel; though synce he have increast them, and increaseth daily, with deadly feud and open opposition, as all men may see.

That difference was this. He with his followers breaking off communion with us, charged us with sin for using our English Bibles in the worship of God; & he thought that the teachers should bring the originals the Hebrew and Greek, and out of them translate by voice. His principal reason against our translated scripture was this. Page  [unnumbered]

No Apocrypha writing, but only the Canonical scriptures, are to be used in the Church, in time of Gods worship. Every written translation is an Apocrypha writing, & is not canonical scripture. Therefore every written translation is unlawful in the Church in time of Gods worship. Page  [unnumbered]

...the Scriptures in English and other languages, rightly translated out of the Originals, are Canonical; & so to be read in the Church in the worship of God.  Page  [unnumbered]

Touching the first, namely, the use of translated scriptures in the worship of God: M. Smyth thus summeth up the difference, in the forefront of his book.

1. We hold (saith he) that the worship of the new testament properly so called, is spirituall, proceeding originally from the heart: and that reading out of a book (though a lawful ecclesiasticall action,) is no part of spiritual worship: but rather the invention of the man of sin, it being substituted for a part of spiritual worship.
2. We hold that, seeing prophesying is a part of spirituall worship: therefore in time of prophesying it is unlawfull to have the book as a help before the eye.
3. We hold that, seeing singing a Psalm is a part of spirituall worship; therefore it is unlawful, to have the book before the eye, in time of singing a Psalm. p. 4