Thursday, June 29, 2023

Who is the mean guy denouncing my Bible translation?

Notes on Hugh Broughton, the rejected translator.

In certain attempts to discredit the King James Bible, Hugh Broughton is brought forward as a “representative” Puritan scholar who opposed the King James translation. For example, Ed Hindson in The King James Version Today writes, “Puritans opposed it violently as a dangerous compromise with Episcopacy. Some branded the K.J.V. translators as ‘damnable corruptors of God’s Word.’ Even the great scholar Dr. Hugh Broughton rejected it, saying: ‘I require it to be burnt!’ preferring his ‘trusted’ Geneva Bible.”

Perhaps when Hindson found Broughton opposed the KJV he knew all he needed to know and discontinued further research. It is true that the new translation met early opposition, though this is often overblown. However, when “the great scholar Dr. Hugh Broughton” is invoked as representative of its rejection, it is time to learn a bit about Hugh Broughton (1549–1612).

Yes, Broughton was a Puritan, a language scholar, and he severely criticized the translation. I think no one will dispute his scholarship. To the former, though a Puritan in his theology, Broughton held the episcopal polity of the Church of England to be apostolic. Obviously, then, Hindson is wrong to imply Broughton is among the Puritans who saw the new translation as a “compromise with Episcopacy.”

In An Explication of the holy Apocalyps, p. 444, he says the apostles were episcopi and writes, “Our Lord useth that speech in making his Apostles Bishops, in giving them authority to teach what is loose, and what is bound. But Iscariot, let another take his Bishoprick, the rest were faithful Bishops.” In Certain Notes of diverse Nature, he indicates various Bishops, et al. “should rule in the Church.” p. 721.

In A Censure of the Late Translation for our Churches, Broughton starts in immediately, “The late Bible, Right Worshipful, was sent me to cēsure: which bred in me a sadnes that will greeve me while I breath. It is so ill done. Tell his Maiest. that I had rather be rent in pieces with wilde horses, then any such translation by my consent should bee vrged vpon poore Churches...” He soon follows, asserting, “The New edition crosseth me, I require it be burnt...”

Despite his fine scholarship, Hugh Broughton was a vain fractious man who thought very highly of himself.
“And two and twentie yeares agoe admired by French in London, and by them to Zurick, how by Iewes I cleared the text: and by my enemies in London, as my friends wrote vpon the advertisement, to super-admirable report: that none before me did, nor would after match my heed. And what a prank is this: That translaters sould so mocke with the King.”

“I will suffer no scholer in the world to crosse me in Ebrew and Greek, when I am sure I have the trueth. Men that meant quietnes, would never have dealt thus.” A Censure of the Late Translation for our Churches
It was probably for such reasons that he was not invited to be a translator of the new work, and he likely felt slighted. Additionally, Broughton had been involved in severe disputes with others involved in the new translation, including John Rainolds, Edward Lively, and Thomas Bilson. Michael Haykin says Broughton was not considered to work on the translation “probably because of his combative spirit and violent temper...”

Joseph Justus Scaliger (1540–1609), a French Calvinist religious leader and scholar, called Hugh Broughton “furiosuset maledicus” (abusive madman, frantic railer, raging maniac). Anglican theologian Richard Hooker called him vain. [Writing and footnote in “Giordano Bruno in England, Revisited,” Mordechai Feingold, in Huntington Library Quarterly, Vol. 67, No. 3, pages 329–346. © 2004 by the Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery. p. 337]

Broughton’s reputation was such that English playwright Ben Jonson happily satirized him in The Alchemist (1610). (In that day, those attending the play would readily get the Broughton reference.)
FACE. [the Housekeeper] You are very right, sir, she is a most rare scholar,
  And is gone mad with studying Broughton’s works.
  If you but name a word touching the Hebrew,
  She falls into her fit, and will discourse
  So learnedly of genealogies,
  As you would run mad too, to hear her, sir.
In Biblical Scholarship in an Age of Controversy: the Polemical World of Hugh Broughton (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021, p. 1), author Kirsten Macfarlane described Broughton’s activities as a “minefield.” He was “too friendly with the Jesuits, too quarrelsome with the Genevans; happy to denounce Theodore Beza as blasphemous, the English bishops as corrupt, and the Pope as Antichrist while also angling for a professorship in Geneva, begging Queen Elizabeth for a bishopric, and boasting of his favour with Cardinal Caesar Baronius.”

Even John Lightfoot, who collected and published Broughton’s works (The Works of the Great Albionean Divine, Renown’d in Many Nations for rare Skill in Salems & Athens Tongues, and familiar Acquaintance with all Rabbinical Learning, Mr. Hugh Broughton. 1662), and who Macfarlane (p. 2) describes as suppressing Broughton’s coziness with Catholicism, downplaying his “aggressive controversies,” and emphasizing his scholarship, nevertheless must assess him as “sharp and severe,” and could “withal be very angry with Scholars.” 

This creates an interesting apposition. King James Detractors who chide certain modern King James Defenders for being acerbic, crass and vain, nevertheless sheepishly bring in to testify on their behalf one of the most acerbic angry Ishmaels of all – Hugh Broughton. As I often say, “Pot, meet kettle.”

Note: I have seen “damnable corruptors of God’s Word” quoted several times in reference to the King James translators. However, up to this point I have not seen the source cited. It may be a completely bogus quote.

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Smyrna Baptist Church, 150th Anniversary.

In August of 2023, Smyrna Baptist Church of Rusk County, Texas celebrates her 150th Anniversary. The church was organized Saturday August 16, 1873. In recognition of this Anniversary, the church will have the following services:

Wednesday August 16, 2023, 7 p.m. Preaching by Pastor Charles Williams. 
Thursday, August 17, 2023, 7 p.m. Preaching by former pastor John Paul Little.
Friday, August 18, 2023, 7 p.m. Preaching by former pastor Joe Griffith. 
Sunday, August 20, 2023, 10 a.m.         Bible study by Brother Jim Nixon.
Sunday, August 20, 2023, 11 a.m.         Preaching by former pastor R. L. Vaughn.
Noon meal.
After noon meal, circa 1-1:30 p.m.        Church history, member memories, testimonials.

For the 1978 history of Smyrna Baptist Church, click HERE.

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Siloam Baptist, Greene County, formerly Smyrna

Historic Rural Churches of Georgia posted pictures of the building of Siloam Baptist Church of Greene County, Georgia. Siloam was originally called the Smyrna Church when it was organized in 1828, and was in the Smyrna Community. A later post office application changed the community name. Click HERE to see pictures and story. 

My ancestors Wyatt and Eliza Jane (Parker) Vaughn were early members of this church, as well as others of the Parker family. Several folks from Greene County populated the eastern portions of Rusk County, Texas, and some of the western portions of Panola. These folks became members of existing churches and/or organized new ones. They were in Baptist churches such as Liberty, Mt. Carmel, Mt. Zion, Shiloh, and so on. In August of 1873, some of the Parkers from Georgia, as well as others who had been members of the Mt. Carmel Church, organized the Smyrna Baptist Church. On August 19, Martha Frazier (originally of Greene County) joined by letter of recommendation. On February 14, 1874, my great-great-grandmother Eliza J. Vaughn came on letter of recommendation (her husband was already deceased).

I have long assumed that, in addition to choosing a Bible name, these Georgians named their church Smyrna because of their former connection to the Smyrna Church in Greene County, Georgia. This year, Smyrna Baptist Church of Rusk County, Texas will celebrate its 150th anniversary, Lord willing.


Organization minutes of Smyrna Baptist Church, Greene County:

December 19, 1828

A Presbytery being called met consisting of Brethren R. Pace, J. Roberts and J. Davis, in order to constitute a Church. Brother Pace Preached the Sermon from Colosians the 3rd & 1st. If ye then be risen with Christ seek those things which are above where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. After which, Bro. Davis made some appropriate remarks and prayer, and then Proceded to the Constitution of the Church. Bro. Roberts asked the necessary questions. Prayer by Bro. Pace

Charge by Bro. Davis.

Done the 19th December 1828
Vincent Sanford, Clerk P.T.
Presbytery: Richard Pace, Joseph Roberts, Jonathan Davis.


Organizational minutes of Smyrna Baptist Church, Rusk County:

Sat. before the 3rd Sun. in Aug. 16, 1873. 

A number of Brethren and Sisters met at Chinquapin for the purpose of organizing a Missionary Baptist Church. After divine service by Elder John Sparkman. Solicited brethren called for, none present. On motion Bro. John Deason was called to preside with Eld. John Sparkman, Bro. F. O. Galloway to act as clerk protem. Opportunity then extended to those wishing to unite whereupon 17 came forward with letters of recommendation and were received. Namely E. S. Parker, Rebecca Parker, Jasper Parker, G. A. Parker, M.  T. Wells, E. Wells, W. J. Parker, C. A. E. Parker, Martha Moore, J. F. M. Reid, Mary V. Reid, Robert P. Goldsberry, Nannie E. Goldsberry, G. W. McNew, Martha McNew, C. M. Holleman, F. O. Galloway.  After letters being read, fellowship for each other called for and was granted, then we extended to each other the right hand of Christian and church fellowship. Prayer being offered by Eld. John Sparkman for the preservation and the unity of the church. We then proceeded in conference, elected J. F. M. Reid church clerk. On motion the meeting was protracted. No farther business. Conference adjourned, Conference approved.

            John Sparkman Mod. J.F.M. Reid, C.C.

Monday, June 26, 2023

Or one tittle

Or one tittle ] Not a hair-stroke, an accent on the top of an Hebrew Letter, the bending or bowing thereof, as a little bit on the top of a horn. The Masorites have summed up all the Letters in the Bible, to shew that one hair of that sacred head is not perished.
John Trapp. A Commentary Or Exposition Upon All the Books of the New Testament, London: R. W., 1656, p. 71

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Come, by Christina Rossetti

Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830-1894) was an English poet. She wrote a good deal of devotional religious poetry, much of it designed for children. Her father was from Italy, and her mother also had Italian background. Some will recognize lines such as these:

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can give Him: give my heart.

The following poem can be found in The Poetical Works of Christina Georgina Rossetti, with a Memoir and Notes by William Michael Rossetti (London: Macmillan and Co., 1904), under the title “Advent,” on page 148. Underneath the poetry is the date “12 December 1851.”

1. “Come,” Thou dost say to Angels,
To blessed Spirits, “Come”
“Come,” to the lambs of Thine own flock,
Thy little ones, “Come home.”

2. “Come,” from the many-mansioned house
The gracious word is sent;
“Come,” from the ivory palaces
Unto the Penitent.

3. O Lord, restore us deaf and blind,
Unclose our lips though dumb:
Then say to us, “I come with speed,”
And we will answer, “Come.”

I am not aware that this poem has ever been set to music. However, it appears it could be rendered well with common meter tunes such as New Britain, Avon, and others. I especially liked trying it with Ortonville.

Friday, June 23, 2023

Only the King James Version

In 1952, Bert Harrison was a new preacher at the Oak Street Baptist Church in Ponca City, Oklahoma,[i] and the Revised Standard Version was a new Bible. Harrison and the Oak Street Church – an “Independent Fundamental Missionary” Baptist Church – wasted no time in opposing it. On September 24th, a journalist reported on the upcoming community-wide commemoration of the RSV on Tuesday, September 30, sponsored by the Ponca City Ministerial Alliance. On Wednesday, October 1st, the Oak Street Church placed this advertisement in the Ponca City News:

Then on October 19th, the church placed this warning in a newspaper advertisement, with a clear statement on their sole use of the King James Bible:

Walter Bert Harrison was born September 3, 1924 in Hale Center, Texas, and grew up in Chickasha, Oklahoma, graduating from the High School there in 1942. Harrison was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy in 1946, having served 24 months in the Pacific theater. He enrolled at the Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Missouri in 1950, and was pastoring in Ponca City by March of 1952. Bert Harrison pastored several churches, including 29 years at the Southwest Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He died October 26, 1997, as is buried at the Pioneer Cemetery in Norge, Grady County, Oklahoma

No longer on Oak Street, the former Oak Street Baptist Church of Ponca City is now called Central Baptist Church. The church still stands for the King James Version as the Bible for English-speakers, and uses only it in the pulpit and in classes.

[i] Harrison had possibly pastored in Missouri while attending the College in Springfield.

Thursday, June 22, 2023

In other words, anti-huff to transmarine

  • anti-huff, noun. A food additive used in the manufacture of skimmed milk cheese, intended to act as a preservative or to prevent expansion of gas bubbles within the cheese.
  • assignation, noun. The act of assigning; an appointment for a meeting, especially a tryst.
  • bonhomous, adjective. Characterized by bonhomie or cheerful friendliness; genial, affable.
  • casuistry, noun. Specious, deceptive, or oversubtle reasoning, especially in questions of morality; fallacious or dishonest application of general principles; the application of general ethical principles to particular cases of conscience or conduct.
  • cento, noun. A literary work made up of quotations from other works.
  • clerisy, noun. Learned persons as a class; literati; intelligentsia.
  • cordial, noun. A strong, sweetened, aromatic drink; a stimulating medicine.
  • creole (aka creole language), noun. A stable natural language that develops from the process of different languages simplifying and mixing into a new form to become a full-fledged native language of a speech community.
  • facile princeps, noun. (Latin phrase) Easily the first or best; the acknowledged chief.
  • feechie, adjective. Dirty, filthy; disgusting. Also (of weather), foul, rainy.
  • insouciant, adjective. Marked by blithe unconcern; carefree; nonchalant.
  • muso, noun. Diminutive of musician.
  • palimpsest, noun. A manuscript, typically of papyrus or parchment, that has been written on more than once, with the earlier writing incompletely scraped off or erased and often legible. 
  • parboil, verb. To cook partially by boiling for a brief period; to subject to intense, often uncomfortable heat.
  • pidgin (aka pidgin language), noun. An auxiliary language or grammatically simplified means of communication that develops between two or more groups of people that do not have a language in common.
  • pother, noun. An uproar, commotion, or fuss.
  • rhetorculist, noun. A mediocre orator.
  • solace, noun. Comfort or consolation in a time of distress or sadness.
  • thaumaturgy, noun. The performance of miracles: specifically, magic.
  • tiffin, noun. Any light meal, especially lunch.
  • transmarine, adjective. Crossing the sea; beyond or coming from across the sea.

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Truth is a straight line, 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.)

“Truth is a straight line that favors neither the right nor the left.” -- Aulton B. Brown

“We ought to be living as if Jesus died yesterday, rose this morning, and is coming back this afternoon.” -- Adrian Rogers

“Work hard in silence, let your success be your noise.” -- Unknown

“Everyone is in favor of free speech. Hardly a day passes without its being extolled, but some people’s idea of it is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone else says anything back, that is an outrage.” -- attributed to Winston Churchill

“God can pick sense out of a confused prayer...There is never a holy sigh, never a tear we shed, which is lost.” -- Richard Sibbes

“Every second someone leaves this world behind. We are all in the line whether or not we know it. You or I could be next. We never know how many people are before us. We cannot move to the back of the line. We cannot step out of the line.” -- Unknown

“Independent nations of free men, in friendly and voluntary cooperation, constitute the key to peace and freedom.” -- William Jennings Bryan

“Not doing more than the average is what keeps the average down.” -- William Winans

“The average man can stand adversity better than prosperity.” -- D. L. Moody

“Whosoever is indifferent to false doctrine is indifferent to the truth.” -- Kenneth W. Vertz

“The fruit of every fake gospel is moral corruption.” -- Mark Osgatharp

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Review of “What Makes a Bible Translation Bad?”

Review of “What Makes a Bible Translation Bad?” by Mark Ward, posted on the Text and Canon Institute site June 13, 2023.

A few days ago, Christopher Yetzer called attention to “What Makes a Bible Translation Bad?,” an article by Mark Ward posted on the Text and Canon Institute web site. In it, Mark creates two categories in which to dump Bibles that he is unwilling to recommend: sectarianism and crackpottery.[i] Ultimately this article (“What Makes a Bible Translation Bad,” part 1) comes off as “yes, I know I in principle recommend all kinds of translations, but here is a way to get around recommending translations I do not like.”

In doing so, Ward creates a strange mix of “sectarian” translations. Surely one who likes many translations still wouldn’t want to recommend a sectarian translation, would he?

Ward defines sectarian translations as “those that have more than the natural bias inherent in the effort of any person or group to do something as complex as translating the Bible.” Isn’t this definition somewhat circular and subjective? Your translation shows a bias that does not fit my bias, so your bias is biased toward a certain position that is not my position. There is no solid objective method of judgment. In the final analysis, it boils down to: “I do not like it,” and/or “my friends do not like it.” Working that way, one should be able to exclude any translation he does not want to recommend, even though in theory he should be able recommend all kinds of translations.

The strange mix of translations in this essay is:

  • The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (NWT). It is published by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, an arm of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, an unorthodox sect that denies the eternity and deity of Jesus Christ.
  • The New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition Bible (NRSVue). It was managed by the Society of Biblical Literature and published by the liberal ecumenical National Council of Churches. They sought broad representation of “faith-based constituencies” and consideration of “modern sensibilities.”
  • Certain Bible translations for Muslim nations. Ward mentions a couple by name, The True Meaning of the Gospel of Christ and The Honored Injil. These translations compromise the deity of Jesus Christ in deference to Muslim preferences (including references to Allah easily interpreted as Islam’s god).
  • The Tree of Life Version of the Holy Scriptures (TLV). It is produced by the Messianic Jewish Family Bible Society[ii] and The King’s University. It is created by Messianic Jews with a flavor of Messianic Jewish Christianity, a Bible that “speaks with a decidedly Jewish-friendly voice,” sprinkling in lots of transliterated Hebrew words not in common use in English.

Mark Ward begins well. Step No. 1 – Start with the NWT. Everyone except the Jehovah’s Witnesses will get on board. He seems to scrawl a fairly clear X over the NWT and “certain Bible translations for Muslim nations,” but equivocates regarding the NRSVue and TLV. Ward wants to keep folks “from using the NRSVue as the main pulpit Bible in our churches,” but “will happily check the renderings in the NRSVue in my Bible study in years to come.” He is “not saying that the TLV is a ‘bad Bible’,” but rather “mostly a traditional Protestant translation with a bunch of Hebrew transliterations bobbing up and down on the surface.” The conclusion is subjective: “But I will say that the effort falls completely flat for me.”

Mark thinks “Bible translations need to do what they can to avoid the appearance of sectarianism.” So does Shively T. J. Smith, a professor at Boston University School of Theology who worked on the “sectarian” NRSVue.[iii] She said that the NRSVue project “attempts to reverse the historic trend in translation history from the 19th and 20th centuries in which some Christian communities and scholars of the Bible were historically excluded from the translation endeavors of our English Bibles.”

Mark writes, “I like the tradition, going back at least to the NIV, of involving many Christian denominations—from complementarians to Messianic Jews—in a Bible translation committee, as a method of both eliminating and of appearing to the public to eliminate denominational bias.”

The “sectarian” NIV translation committee’s membership was restricted to those who were willing and able to subscribe to biblical inerrancy. The “sectarian” NRSVue update was a product “carefully reviewed and updated by a wide variety of the finest scholars in the academy today,” that welcomed “teams of translators that were both ecumenical and interfaith in their composition.” What makes one team more inclusive or more sectarian than the other? The subjective bias by which we assess the process and the product.

This piece is quivering with equivocation, and necessarily so. For example, Mark points to one bad or biased translation in the NRSVue, 1 Corinthians 6:9–10. However, he can also admit to a bad or biased translation in his own beloved “sectarian” English Standard Version in Genesis 3:16. Why recommend one and not the other? Our subjective bias.

Mark acknowledges that we have passed the stage of enjoying one standard English translation, but advises that “translators (or rather revisers, because we don’t need any more mainstream translations) should still aim for that possibility instead of giving in to the temptations of sectarianism.” I would argue that the fact we produce “New Bible Galore” is a testimony that we are “giving in” to something in a bad way.

The “sectarian” Bible claim is something of a misdirection. Mark needs more carefully crafted categories. But might such nuance defeat his purpose? The cited Bibles certainly are not all sectarian in the same sense, and in a broad sense all Bibles might be called “sectarian.” The issue finally comes down to how a person who happily encourages using multiple translations can restrict which of those multiple translations one uses. I don’t like it. My friends don’t like it.

Mark Ward is a regular chider of King James Defenders. He must criticize us for criticizing multiple Bible translations. Now he criticizes multiple Bible translations. Pot, meet kettle. Watch where you step.

[i] Sectarianism, “excessive devotion to a particular sect, especially in religion.” Crackpottery, “the behavior of a crackpot or loony person, madness.”
[ii] Apparently now called The Tree of Life Bible Society.
[iii] The NRSVue is founded on the RSV of 1952. Its translators had degrees from some big-name institutions, such as Harvard, Yale, and University of  Chicago. The guy criticizing the NRSVue got his degree from a school started by a man who called the RSV the biggest hoax the Devil ever pulled on Bible-believing Christians. If the average American decides for or against this version based on Credentialism, who wins?

Monday, June 19, 2023

Mr. Haney, 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 May Remember Him As Mr. Haney, But There’s a Lot More to Pat Buttram -- “The great Walt Disney called his voice one of the two most recognizable in the world. As an actor, he made appearances in hundreds of television episodes.”
  • The one and only password tip you need -- “The article summarizes how a lot of what you’ve been told about passwords over the years was either wrong, misguided, or counterproductive.”
  • The Need for Paying Attention to One Another -- “May we genuinely pay attention to one another, actively listen to each other’s stories, share experiences, partake in communal meals, and celebrate the grace of God.”
  • Surf Your Turf -- “Texas doesn’t have the best or the biggest waves, but that’s never stopped surfers.”
  • Standing Within ... and Without -- “The evangelicals felt they could no longer support the work being done and determined that an organization within the organization might be the answer, ‘the organization of an Association of Regular Baptists within the Baptist Convention of Ontario and Québec.’”
  • Saying the Blessing -- “Nearly every faith has a tradition of some type of Blessing, but it’s doubtful most are as animated, or as lengthy, as a Baptist preacher blessing the church’s Homecoming meal.”
  • Roman Catholicism Versus Protestantism: Candace Owens Show (part three) -- “Obviously, Farmer could just bring the authority of the Roman Catholic Church, the Pope, and tradition. When you can make it up as you go along, you can believe anything.”
  • Roman Catholicism Versus Protestantism: Candace Owens Show (part two) -- “Scripture is explicit that the Bible is the only infallible authority or the ultimate authority for faith and practice. When Stuckey loses on this point, she really does lose the debate, because all the extra-scriptural writing comes into play for Farmer.”
  • Roman Catholicism (part one). Church Perpetuity, Sola Scriptura, and Roman Catholicism Versus Protestantism: Candace Owens Show -- “For a show episode included on youtube, Candace Owens invited her husband, George Farmer, a Roman Catholic, to debate Allie Beth Stuckey, a Southern Baptist.”
  • On The Use Of Thou And You In The Revised Standard Version -- “...the translators compromised. They made the worst possible decision and thus introduced confusion and yielded the field to those who are not ready to confess clearly that the child born in Bethlehem and the Jesus who died on the cross is indeed our Lord and our God...”
  • On Juneteenth -- “A Pulitzer Prize-winning historian describes the holiday’s long path out of Texas...I confess here, that I was initially annoyed, at least mildly so, when I first heard that others outside of Texas claimed the holiday.”
  • Kiss the Royal Seal of “Or The Apparatus” -- “When boiled down our side is being castigated and ostracized because we exclude the ‘or the apparatus’ clause from confession of belief that we possess the whole of the New Testament between two covers.”
  • Is Your Preaching Tone Deaf? -- “...the tenderness of Psalm 23 is very different than the tension of lament in Psalm 13. The celebratory tone of the Song of Moses in Exodus 15 is worlds apart from the somber delivery of the 10 Commandments in Exodus 20.”
  • Battle for the Bible -- “The claim of belief in an infallible Scripture is a hollow one, for key truths concerning Scripture have been denied.”

Adders and Subtracters

Pharisees and Sadduccees, examples of those who adde to and dimimish from the words of God.
The earliest disciples had held Jesus, walked with Him, and learned directly from Him. This fostered a dedication that was unrivaled in the church age. Dedication and devotion marked the church as a unique body through the early portion of the church age. Martyrdom was common and fervor for the Lord ran rampant. However, during the days of the Byzantine church, the pureness of parts of the church strayed amongst many that identified themselves as Christians. This is easily identified in Deuteronomy 4:2 as adding to or subtracting from the Word of God.

Consider that the problem ran from Judaism into Christianity as Pharisees and Sadducees. The Pharisees added to the Word by adding rules that were not given in the Word, such as additional rules for Sabbath. The Sadducees subtracted from the Word by removing doctrines such as the resurrection. These problems have been accrued under the name of Christianity throughout the church age. While some remain steadfast to the Word of God alone, other groups have identified under Christianity while compromising the foundations of the Word.
“Church History” column, John Melancon, in The Baptist Monitor, Nov/Dec 2022, Vol. 74 No. 6, p. 18

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Dirk’s Decision, by John Kaiser

A True Story of Costly Christian Compassion

Excerpt from a story of Dirk Willems, as told by John A. Kaiser. Willems was an Anabaptist captured and imprisoned for his faith in 1569. This story is of his escape from his imprisonment.

Dirk Willems was born in Asperen, Gilderland, in the Netherlands, (southern Holland), about 500 years ago. So, why mention him now?

Hoping to escape his pursuers, Dirk ran across a frozen body of water which might have been expected to cause his pursuers to hesitate; but one bold fellow followed Dirk onto the ice. However, because he was heavier than Dirk, or because Dirk’s passage had weakened the ice, the ice broke underneath this pursuer, and with a shriek he sank into the freezing water, calling for help.

Dirk heard that call, and, knowing what it might cost him, he turned back and rescued his pursuer and helped him to shore. It is said that the rescued pursuer begged to allow Dirk to go free, but he was reminded of his oath to his master. And Dirk knew that if he turned and ran again, his pursuer might suffer further. So Dirk was taken to a different prison—one from which he could not so easily escape.

At his trial, Dirk was challenged to give up his beliefs and to conform to the doctrine and practice of the Roman Catholic Church. Because he refused to do so, he was condemned to be burned to death. We are told that he was tied to a stake and burned alive, and that he met his death bravely, repeatedly confessing his dependence upon God’s aid to bear his sufferings. Dirk paid a very great price to show kindness to his enemy.

After telling the story, John Kaiser calls attention to Dirk’s obedience to his Lord, our Lord’s obedience to his Father, and an hymn related to our Saviour’s love for us.

But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you. Luke 6:27

For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. Romans 5:6

But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

Such Scriptures and others inspired the following hymn.

1. My blessed Saviour, is thy love
So great, so full, so free?
Behold I give my love, my heart,
My life, my all, to thee.

2. I love thee for the glorious worth
In thy great self I see;
I love thee for that shameful cross,
Thou hast endured form me.

3. No man of greater love can boast
Than for his friend to die;
Thou for thine enemies wast slain!
What love with thine can vie?

4. Though in the very form of God,
With heav’nly glory crowned,
Thou didst a servant’s form assume,
Beset with sorrow round.

5. Thou wouldst like wretched man be made
In everything but sin,
That we as like thee might become
As we unlike had been:

6. Like thee in faith, in meekness, love,
In life in ev’ry phase;
From glory thus to glory changed,
Till we behold thy face.

7. O Lord, I’ll treasure in my soul
The mem’ry of thy love;
And thy dear name shall still to me
A grateful odor prove.

8. Thy friends, the excellent on earth,
Shall be my chief delight;
And when alone, I’ll make thy law
My study day and night.

9. Where thou dost pitch thy tent, and where
Thy honour deigns to dwell,
There I’ll fix mine, and there reside,
There thy love’s wonders tell.

10. The pledges of thy love shall there
Revive this heart of mine;
Thy love, more fragrant and more sweet
Than bowls of generous wine.

Joseph Stennett (1663-1713) wrote “Self-Consecration to God” / “My blessed Saviour, is thy love.” It first appeared in Stennett’s Hymns in Commemoration of the Sufferings of our Blessed Saviour Jesus Christ, Compos’d for the Celebration of His Holy Supper in 1697 (No. 22, pages 27-29). In the margins, Stennett lays out about two dozen references to Bible verses that are related to his hymn. They can be seen at the link above. The original has 10 stanzas, but most song books use only 4 or 5.

This common meter hymn has been set with a number of common meter tunes, including St. David by Thomas Ravenscroft. Sometimes the words are mistakenly attributed to his grandson, Samuel Stennett.

Joseph Stennett was an English Particular Baptist minister and hymnwriter. He pastored the Seventh Day Baptist Church in London from about 1690 until his death in 1713.

Saturday, June 17, 2023

Decoration days

For us June is a month full of homecomings – cemetery decoration days, and gathering funds for upkeep. In acknowledgement of that, a poem from 2010.

In a graveyard. (February 12, 2010).

1. Gone but not forgotten
Engraved upon the stone,
But the stone was broken
And lying all alone.

2. Who here beneath the ground
Sleeps in this silent tomb?
And shall we, too, be found
In such a lonesome gloom?

3. Gone and soon forgotten
As mem’ries fade away
Time goes on a-marching
And night replaces day.

4. Lying, unremembered—
Yes, O, how sad to see!
Nay, how glad unnumbered,
If God remember thee!

Friday, June 16, 2023

The Game-Changer

In studying the English Bible versions/translations issue and its history, I have concluded that the Revised Standard Version (NT & OT, 1952) was the real game changer. The RSV could not have been possible without the ancestral RV (1885) & ASV (1901) that preceded it. However, it seems that these two were otherwise mostly blips on the translation radar. Scholars referred to them, and common folks mostly ignored them.

The RSV changed all that. The idea of a revision of the ASV was commissioned by the International Council on Religious Education. (Eventually it was turned over to the National Council of Christian Churches.). The RSV whole Bible of 1952 was rolled out with great fanfare in a well-orchestrated promotional blitz. It was quickly met by stiff conservative resistance.

Why was the RSV the game-changer? In North America at least, it seriously divided the English-speaking Christians and their Bible. First, it divided the conservative/fundamental groups from the moderate/liberal groups. Surely there were some outliers, but this seems relatively consistent among those who liked it and who didn’t. Conservative Christians, churches, and denominations that couldn’t agree on much else stood unitedly against “The biggest hoax the Devil ever tried to put over on Bible-believing Christians,” as Bob Jones Sr called it.

However, the RSV aftermath spawned a split within the conservative/fundamental circles – between those who stood for the use of the King James Version and others who began calling for a new “conservative” revision of the ASV.

We cannot well understand where we are today without understanding where we have been.

The Dayton (Ohio) Daily News, Monday, September 29, 1952, p. 7.

Seminole Church objects to the RSV


The Seminole (Oklahoma) Producer, January 16, 1953, p. 6

Click the picture to enlarge it

Fairview Rejects RSV


The Decatur (Alabama) Daily, February 10, 1953, p. 10

Click the picture to enlarge it

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Bible Presbyterian Church, against the RSV, 1953

The following resolution was also adopted the 16th Synod of the Bible Presbyterian Church, meeting in Philadelphia, June 6, 1953:

Revised Standard Version 

WHEREAS, the Revised Standard Version of the Bible has been greatly publicized and recommended as the “authorized” revision; and 

WHEREAS, there is danger of bias entering into the production of any version; and 

WHEREAS, the committee producing the Revised Standard Version is composed of a group of men noted for their liberal views; and 

WHEREAS, the Revised Standard Version reveals a loose handling of the texts of the original languages often emending on the basis of arbitrary assumptions, and showing an unwarranted use of the lesser versions contrary to the sound principles of scholarly textual criticism; and 

WHEREAS, footnotes are often misleading or in some instances totally lacking; and 

WHEREAS, this Bible, especially in the Old Testament portion, has been consistently altered in the doctrinal parts relating to prophecy and the person and work of Christ so as to reflect a Unitarian position; and 

WHEREAS, one who is not capable of checking the renderings in the Revised Standard Version by the original languages has no means of ascertaining the truth behind the altered renderings; and 

WHEREAS, one who uses the Revised Standard Version will miss many great truths of God's revelation, especially the integral unity of the Old Testament and the New Testament on the doctrine of Christ. 

Be it resolved that this 16th General Synod of the Bible Presbyterian Church, meeting in Philadelphia, Pa., disapproves the Revised Standard Version and strongly urges Christians everywhere to reject the appeals being made for the use of the Revised Standard Version for public and devotional reading. 

This resolution was sent to the publishers of the Revised Standard Version. The clerk was instructed to place this resolution in the hands of any publication that would carry it.

Source: A Brief History of the Bible Presbyterian Church and its Agencies, Margaret G. Harden, n.p., n.d. (ca. 1966), p. 88.

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

“The old devil and his new Bible”

The title comes from an unattributed quote on page 320 in “The Revised Standard Version,” Chapter XXV, The Ancestry of Our English Bible, pp. 305-320, which see.

I am not a fan of the Revised Standard Version (RSV) of the Bible, but I have found its history fascinating – particularly the facts leading up to it, which previously about which I had cared little. In 1922, the International Sunday School Association and the Sunday School Council of Evangelical Denominations merged to form the International Council of Religious Education (ICRE). The ICRE was instrumental in developing the Revised Standard translation,. They obtained the copyright to the American Standard Version from Thomas Nelson Publishers as it was expiring in 1929. In February 1930 ICRE announced the forming of a committee of 13 “representative scholars” to advise what to do with the copyrighted translation they had obtained. This committee met, discussed, made plans, but the Great Depression ground the work to a halt. In 1936 the ICRE negotiated a deal with Thomas Nelson for advance royalties to finance the project. This gave Thomas Nelson Publishers exclusive publication rights for 10 years.

In 1937, the ICRE passed a resolution that provided the guide for the task of a revision of the 1901 American Standard Version of the Bible.

“That we record the conviction that there is need for a version which embodies the best results of modern scholarship as to the meaning of the Scriptures, and expresses this meaning in English diction which is designed for use in public and private worship and preserves those qualities which have given to the King James a supreme place in English literature. We, therefore, define the task of the American Standard Bible Committee to be that of revision of the present American Standard Edition of the Bible in the light of the results of modern scholarship, this revision to be designed for use in public and private worship, and to be designed for use in public and private worship, and to be in the direction of the simple, classic English style of the King James Version.” (The Ancestry of Our English Bible, Price, Irwin, Wikgren, 1956, p. 308)

The committee was reorganized – some members had died, and some felt they had become too old or infirm to serve. The committee met to begin their work in 1937. The New Testament was finished and available in 1946, the Old Testament in 1952, and the Apocrypha in 1957.

Revision committee chairman Luther A. Weigle gave this report of its history in 1946:

“When the International Council of Religious Education, on behalf of the forty Protestant denominations associated in it, accepted the responsibility for the renewal of the copyright of the American Standard Version in 1929, it appointed a committee of scholars to have charge of the text, and authorized this committee to make further revision if that should be deemed necessary. After extended investigation, experimentation, and debate, the conclusion was reached that there is need for a thorough revision of the Version of 1901, which would stay as close to the Tyndale-King James tradition as it could, in the light of our present knowledge of the Greek text and its meaning on the one hand, and our present understanding of English on the other.

“The Council authorized this revision in 1937, and the work has been pursued vigorously since that time. The Revised Standard Version of the New Testament is published today, February 11, 1946. Work upon the revision of the Old Testament is a bit more than two-thirds done, and will take about four years more. Thirty-one scholars have served upon the Committee which is responsible for the revision; they have had the counsel of an Advisory Board representing the communion, and the effective help of the chairman and general secretary of the Council, who have served as ex officio members of the Committee, charged with special responsibility for matters of general policy, finance, and public relations.” (The Brethren Evangelist, March 23, 1946, pp. 5-7)

The National Council of the Churches of Christ assumed sponsorship of the work in 1951. The National Council of Churches became a lightning rod for the opposition, especially through charges of liberalism and communism amongst them. The virgin birth, deity of Christ, and the inspiration of the Scriptures are major concerns highlighted by opponents of the Revised Standard Version.

Complaints had trickled in about the New Testament translation, but the floodgates burst open with the revealing of the Old Testament. Among other things, the RSV of Isaiah 7:14 reduced the virgin to merely a young woman. The opposition suddenly surged forward in the pulpit and in print. Concerning the RSV, Peter Thuesen writes, “New Scripture translations had always suffered a brief initial barrage of unfriendly reviews, but never before had a Bible endured such sustained vilification from the pens of so many and varied critics.” (In Discordance with the Scriptures, 1999, p. 97)

Many modern authors decry the rallies held against the RSV, while overlooking the rallies in favor of it. Often not called “rallies,” these events were nevertheless part of a well-oiled, well-organized and well-subsidized promotional blitz to gain status, sales, and security for the RSV. Regardless of which side one thinks was correct, the bear was asleep until the RSV proponents poked it. It awoke with a mighty roar, sinking most prospects for prominent use of the RSV in conservative circles.

Monday, June 12, 2023

The preservation of the writings

“…the providence of God hath manifested itself no less concerned in the preservation of the writings, than the doctrine contained in them. The writing itself being the product of his own eternal counsel for the preservation of the doctrine, after a sufficient discovery of the insufficiency of all other means for that end and purpose. And hence, the malice of Satan hath raged no less against the book, than the truth contained in it.” 

John Owen, The Works of John Owen, Volume 4, p. 383

“It is true, we have not the Αυτογραφα of Moses and the prophets, of the apostles and evangelists; but the απογραφα which we have, or copies, contain every iota that was in them.” 

John Owen, The Works of John Owen, Volume 4, p. 393

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Resigned to trust in God

John Bowring wrote the hymn below, which appeared without a title on page 251 of his Matins and Vespers with Hymns and Occasional Devotional Pieces (London: G. & W. B. Whittaker, 1823). Later hymn books have titled it variously as “Resignation,” “Trust in God, “Be Still to God,” and “Solid Rock.”

Bowring was born in Exeter October 17, 1792. He was a politician, linguist, translator, economist, and editor of The Westminster Review, among other things. He served as Governor of Hong Kong from 1854-1859. Bowring translated many foreign language poems into English metrical verse, and wrote some of his own original poetry.

John Bowring died November , 1872 in Claremont. He was buried in the Higher Cemetery of Exeter. 

1. O let my trembling soul be still,
While darkness veils this mortal eye;
And wait thy wise, thy holy will,
Wrapped yet in fears and mystery:
I cannot, Lord, thy purpose see;
But all is well—since ruled by thee.

2. When, mounted on thy clouded car,
Thou send’st thy darker spirits down,
I can discern thy light afar,
Thy light sweet beaming through thy frown:
And, should I faint a moment—then
I think of thee,—and smile again.

3. Thus trusting in thy love, I tread
The narrow path of duty on;
What though some cherished joys are fled,
What though some flattering dreams are gone?
Yet purer, brighter joys remain:
Why should my spirit then complain!

One tune paring for this hymn is The Solid Rock by William B. Bradbury, a hymn of 8s in 6 lines. Many hymnals use only the first and third stanzas. Some hymnals rearrange the 2nd and 4th lines of the hymn to change it to meter.

Friday, June 09, 2023

Scroll with me, and other book notices and reviews

The posting of book or film reviews does not constitute endorsement of the books or book reviews that are linked.

Thursday, June 08, 2023

Some mopping up on Matthew 27:9

In looking over the Jeremiah/Zechariah issue in Matthew 27:9, I noticed there are a great number of attempts to explain why “Jeremiah” is in that verse. Some fall within a reasonable attempt to understand the problem within the biblical inspiration and providential preservation. Others are outside the realm of consistency with these Bible doctrines. Here are 10 different suggestions.

  1. The book of Jeremiah was first in the prophetic scroll, and sometimes the works in that scroll were referenced by the name of the first book. (Jeff Riddle, David Kimhi, et al.)
  2. The prophecy began by Jeremiah (Jer. 18:1-6; 19:1-2, 10-12) was concluded by Zechariah (Zech. 11:12-13). (J. W. Griffith, et al.)
  3. Matthew quoted from memory and got either the name of the prophet and text wrong, or both. (For example, Alfred Plummer writes, “A slip of memory is much more probable.”)
  4. The prophecy is found in a lost writing or traditional saying of Jeremiah.
  5. Jewish scribes tampered with the text of Jeremiah, removing the prophecy from Jeremiah’s writing.
  6. The last three chapters in the book of Zechariah( 9-11) were written by Jeremiah. (Mede, et al.)
  7. Jeremiah prophesied it, but did not write it down; Zechariah later wrote it down.
  8. It was so written to teach us that all prophecies spring from one source, the Holy Spirit. (Augustine of Hippo, Christopher Wordsworth)
  9. It is a copying error; a scribe added Jeremiah in the place of “Zechariah” or “the prophet.”
  10. Matthew was originally written in Hebrew and later translated in Greek. The translator mistook Jeremiah for Zechariah, creating an error in this place.

This list is merely for informational purposes. Many of these explanations are obviously anti-biblical – from a standpoint of believing that the Bible is inspired, infallible, inerrant, and providentially preserved. I do not endorse or recommend them. See Tuesday’s post for what I see as the best understanding of Matthew 27:9.

Wednesday, June 07, 2023

More Matthew 27:9

Some comments of others on Matthew 27:9 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value;

Tertullian (ca 155-ca 220). Against Marcion, Book IV:

“And without a price might He have been betrayed. For what need of a traitor was there in the case of one who offered Himself to the people openly, and might quite as easily have been captured by force as taken by treachery? This might no doubt have been well enough for another Christ, but would not have been suitable in One who was accomplishing prophecies. For it was written, ‘The righteous one did they sell for silver.’ The very amount and the destination of the money, which on Judas’ remorse was recalled from its first purpose of a fee, and appropriated to the purchase of a potter’s field, as narrated in the Gospel of Matthew, were clearly foretold by Jeremiah: ‘And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of Him who was valued and gave them for the potter’s field.’”

Augustine of Hippo (354-430). The Harmony of the Gospels, Book III
“How, then, is the matter to be explained, but by supposing that this has been done in accordance with the more secret counsel of that providence of God by which the minds of the evangelists were governed? For it may have been the case, that when Matthew was engaged in composing his Gospel, the word Jeremiah occurred to his mind, in accordance with a familiar experience, instead of Zechariah. Such an inaccuracy, however, he would most undoubtedly have corrected (having his attention called to it, as surely would have been the case, by some who might have read it while he was still alive in the flesh), had he not reflected that perhaps it was not without a purpose that the name of the one prophet had been suggested instead of the other in the process of recalling the circumstances (which process of recollection was also directed by the Holy Spirit), and that this might not have occurred to him had it not been the Lord’s purpose to have it so written. If it is asked, however, why the Lord should have so determined it, there is this first and most serviceable reason, which deserves our most immediate consideration, namely, that some idea was thus conveyed of the marvelous manner in which all the holy prophets, speaking in one spirit, continued in perfect unison with each other in their utterances,—a circumstance certainly much more calculated to impress the mind than would have been the case had all the words of all these prophets been spoken by the mouth of a single individual. The same consideration might also fitly suggest the duty of accepting unhesitatingly whatever the Holy Spirit has given expression to through the agency of these prophets, and of looking upon their individual communications as also those of the whole body, and on their collective communications as also those of each separately. If, then, it is the case that words spoken by Jeremiah are really as much Zechariah’s as Jeremiah’s, and, on the other hand, that words spoken by Zechariah are really as much Jeremiah’s as they are Zechariah’s, what necessity was there for Matthew to correct his text when he read over what he had written, and found that the one name had occurred to him instead of the other? Was it not rather the proper course for him to bow to the authority of the Holy Spirit, under whose guidance he certainly felt his mind to be placed in a more decided sense than is the case with us, and consequently to leave untouched what he had thus written, in accordance with the Lord’s counsel and appointment, with the intent to give us to understand that the prophets maintain so complete a harmony with each other in the matter of their utterances that it becomes nothing absurd, but, in fact, a most consistent thing for us to credit Jeremiah with a sentence originally spoken by Zechariah? For if, in these days of ours, a person, desiring to bring under our notice the words of a certain individual, happens to mention the name of another by whom the words were not actually uttered, but who at the same time is the most intimate friend and associate of the man by whom they were really spoken; and if forthwith recollecting that he has given the one name instead of the other, he recovers himself and corrects the mistake, but does it nevertheless in some such way as this, ‘After all, what I said was not amiss;’ what would we take to be meant by this, but just that there subsists so perfect a unison of sentiment between the two parties—that is to say, the man whose words the individual in question intended to repeat, and the second person whose name occurred to him at the time instead of that of the other—that it comes much to the same thing to represent the words to have been spoken by the former as to say that they were uttered by the latter? How much more, then, is this a usage which might well be understood and most particularly commended to our attention in the case of the holy prophets, so that we might accept the books composed by the whole series of them, as if they formed but a single book written by one author, in which no discrepancy with regard to the subjects dealt with should be supposed to exist, as none would be found, and in which there would be a more remarkable example of consistency and veracity than would have been the case had a single individual, even the most learned, been the enunciator of all these sayings? Therefore, while there are those, whether unbelievers or merely ignorant men, who endeavor to find an argument here to help them in demonstrating a want of harmony between the holy evangelists, men of faith and learning, on the other hand, ought rather to bring this into the service of proving the unity which characterizes the holy prophets.”
Matthew Poole (1624-1679):
spoken by Jeremy the prophet is a harder knot. It is observable that Zechariah hath many things found in Jeremiah, and it is not improbable that the very same thing was prophesied by Jeremiah, though afterward repeated by Zechariah, and only in the writings of Zechariah left upon sacred record.”
John Gill (1697-1771):
“But what seems best to solve this difficulty, is, that the order of the books of the Old Testament is not the same now, as it was formerly: the sacred writings were divided, by the Jews, into three parts: the first was called the law, which contains the five books of Moses; the second, the prophets, which contains the former and the latter prophets; the former prophets began at Joshua, and the latter at Jeremy; the third was called Cetubim, or the Hagiographa, the holy writings, which began with the book of Psalms: now, as this whole third and last part is called the Psalms, Luke 24:44, because it began with that book; so all that part which contained the latter prophets, for the same reason, beginning at Jeremy, might be called by his name; hence a passage, standing in the prophecy of Zechariah, who was one of the latter prophets, might be justly cited, under the name of Jeremy. That such was the order of the books of the Old Testament, is evident from the following passage:

“‘it is a tradition of our Rabbins, that the order of the prophets is, Joshua and Judges, Samuel and the Kings, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, Isaiah, and the twelve.’” (a) T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 14. 2. Vid. Praefat. R. David Kimchici in Jer.
Adam Clarke (1760-1832):
“It was an ancient custom among the Jews, says Dr. Lightfoot, to divide the Old Testament into three parts: the first beginning with the law was called THE LAW; the second beginning with the Psalms was called THE PSALMS; the third beginning with the prophet in question was called JEREMIAH: thus, then, the writings of Zechariah and the other prophets being included in that division that began with Jeremiah, all quotations from it would go under the name of this prophet. If this be admitted, it solves the difficulty at once. Dr. Lightfoot quotes Baba Bathra, and Rabbi David Kimchi's preface to the prophet Jeremiah, as his authorities; and insists that the word Jeremiah is perfectly correct as standing at the head of that division from which the evangelist quoted, and which gave its denomination to all the rest.”
Albert Barnes (1798-1870):
“Much difficulty has been experienced in explaining this quotation. In ancient times, according to the Jewish writers, ‘Jeremiah’ was reckoned the first of the prophets, and was placed first in the ‘Book of the Prophets,’ thus: Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, and the twelve minor prophets. Some have thought that Matthew, quoting this place, quoted the Book of the Prophets under the name of that which had the ‘first’ place in the book, that is, Jeremiah; and though the words are those of Zechariah, yet they are quoted correctly as the words of the Book of the Prophets, the first of which was Jeremiah…Others have supposed that the words were ‘spoken by Jeremiah,’ and that ‘Zechariah’ recorded them, and that Matthew quoted them as they were – the words of Jeremiah.”
John Albert Broadus (1827-1895):
“Hengstenberg thinks that as the later prophets often reproduce earlier predictions, so Zech. was here really reproducing Jer. 18:2 and 19:2, and Matt. intentionally refers to the original source, though adopting mainly the later form…On the whole the last seems the most nearly satisfactory theory; but some of the other are possible, even plausible. If not quite content with any of these explanations, we had better leave the question as it stands, remembering how slight an unknown circumstance might solve it in a moment…”

 Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892):

“Even the disposal of the thirty pieces of silver fulfilled an ancient prophecy. The dark sayings of the prophets as well as their brighter utterances shall all be proved to be true as, one by one, they come to maturity.”

Herman Hanko:
“The truth of Scripture’s infallibility does not rest on our ability to solve problems created by this passage—and others like it. The proof of Scripture’s infallibility rests on the testimony of Scripture itself and the testimony of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of believers (John 10:35; 17:17)… we are not going to examine the text to find out whether Scripture is infallible or fallible. We are going to assume, before even beginning to examine the text, that Scripture is infallible and contains no mistakes. Whether we find a satisfactory answer or not makes no difference… There is an explanation offered by James Montgomery Boice, which seems to me to be the true solution. Boice writes, ‘The verses [in Zechariah] are not about a person who betrays the Messiah, and they say nothing about buying a field. On the other hand, Jeremiah 19 describes a symbolic action in which Jeremiah buys and then breaks a potter’s jar, symbolizing the destruction of the nation, and chapter 32 describes the purchase of a field ... The best explanation is probably that Matthew was putting together a number of passages that add significance to the death of Jesus’ false but well-known disciple Judas. The reference to Jeremiah 19 seemed appropriate because it refers to ‘innocent blood’ and because the place where the prophet broke the jar would eventually be used as a burial ground for those who were to die in the siege of Jerusalem. The reference to Zechariah and his role as a shepherd of the people adds the ideas of the rejection of Jesus as the true shepherd of the flock, his being valued at the price of a mere slave, and the betrayal money being cast into the temple.’”
Jeff Riddle:
“Matthew 27:9 was not considered a controversial matter in the days of early Christianity. As Metzger put it, the traditional text was ‘firmly established,’ and it raised no serious questions about the infallibility of Scripture.

“We can safely assume this same pre-critical posture in our generation.

“In the end, the most reasonable explanation as to why the reference is given in Matthew 27:9 to Jeremiah when the quotes which follows is taken from Zechariah, is the fact that Matthew and his hearers would have been accustomed to making reference to the whole of the prophets by use of the name Jeremiah as a reference to the whole corpus of prophetic writings.”