Preface to Various Testaments

Preface to the German Testament
Preface to the Second Edition
Preface to the Vevay New Testament, 1859
The Sinai MS and Tischendorf's English New Testament

Preface to the German Testament

J. N. Darby.

<13012G> 167

In order to enable the reader to use this new translation with full profit, it is necessary to notice the end we have proposed in it, the means employed in reaching that end, and some other particulars.

To publish a new translation is to declare oneself dissatisfied with existing ones. We are far from wishing to seek out and uncharitably to judge the defects of the work of others, but the repeated citations from the pulpit of the original of various passages, the improvements on the Lutheran translation, and finally the various new versions which have appeared of late years, prove most clearly the need of our times.

When God at the beginning of the sixteenth century caused His light to break forth on a world deeply sunk in darkness, Martin Luther was the instrument specially chosen by Him to spread the truth in Germany. This labourer, full of faith, occupied himself principally with the work with which God had entrusted him. To gain this object he used the Bible, which he himself translated for this end. Others followed him in this, in various lands, some of whom were even compelled to forfeit their lives in attaining the object of their holy zeal. Far be it from us to despise the toil and labour of love of these blessed instruments in the Lord's hand! Surely God Himself has not despised them, and many lands have enjoyed for these three centuries the fruit of their labours. But the requirements of our day are new. While the energy of the Holy Ghost three centuries ago was directed to laying bare the foundations of truth, hitherto buried under a countless multitude of human institutions and traditions, and Luther's translation was blessed as a valuable instrument in this work, the Spirit is active at the present time in meeting other wants. In our days men go farther than formerly. Everything is sought into; the scriptures are searched: and who will blame this? Men desire to understand (not only some truths such as are indispensably necessary for salvation, but) the whole truth, and therefore the mind and will of God in so far as His counsels and revelations with regard to the world and with regard to the Church are concerned.

The Holy Ghost Himself calls our attention to the necessity of understanding the divine will as a means of safety in the last days; and regard for the holy scriptures is in these days a proof that God is honoured. The efforts of the enemy also are chiefly directed against His word. Now whilst the learned can examine the original text, this privilege is out of the reach of the unlearned, and of those unacquainted with that text. It has therefore been our endeavour and object to give a helping hand to the latter class, and to furnish them at a small cost with as faithful and exact a representation as possible of the divine word in their own language. Undoubtedly every translation must be more or less defective, and we by no means value our work so highly as that we would set aside one more perfectly executed by another hand. How great the difficulties are of conveying the expressions of one language, especially of the rich Greek, in another, those alone can tell who have tried to make a translation. We can nevertheless maintain with good conscience, that we have devoted the utmost care to the work of presenting the word of God as faithfully as possible, and we therefore cherish the hope that even the most unpractised reader will find our translation simple and comprehensive. We might indeed have clothed many passages in more elegant German, but, without being in bondage to words, we have been governed throughout by the thought that the faithful rendering of the original text outweighs every other consideration; and the more so because we believe with the very fullest conviction the divine inspiration of the holy scriptures as the revelation of the infinite wisdom of God, and the expression of His gracious character in Jesus Christ. But since no one is able to grasp the whole expanse of this revelation, and often a meaning beyond the comprehension of the translator lies hidden in a sentence, which would be lost in a free translation but may be found in a more literal one, through deeper teaching of the Holy Spirit — it is evidently necessary to reproduce the original text as in a mirror. Yet of course the limits of this literalness or exactitude must not be drawn so close as to render the sentence translated into another language altogether incomprehensible, and to remain consequently destitute of meaning.

Another ground for making the translation as literal as possible was the conviction that it would not be without profit to a reader unacquainted with the original to learn something of the style, the customs, the thoughts and the manners of the writers of the Gospels. For since the heart, as well as the mind, finds food in the word of God, the forms of expression chosen by the writers are not without importance; and by changing them, even if the meaning of the sentence remains unchanged, the sensibilities of the heart's feelings may often be lost. Above all we have been throughout influenced by the deep sense that it was the word of God which occupied us, and we have therefore striven to accomplish our work as intelligibly, and at the same time as literally, as was at all possible, submitting it to the judgment of thoughtful critics.

169 To this end we translated directly from the original; but we also made use of the translations of Luther, De Wette, Von de Heydt, and also of Meyer's emendation of the Lutheran translation; besides these, the generally very literal Berleburg, the Dutch and English translations, which two latter are both very exact and excellent, and finally the Polyglot Bible of Stier, which, besides the above mentioned German translations, contains several others. We make no pretensions to publishing a critical edition of the word, but we wished to afford to the reader unacquainted with the Greek language the opportunity of enjoying the fruit of the labours of the learned. A few words on the history of the text will better explain what we have attempted to this end.

Till the end of the fifteenth century, when printing was invented, the holy scriptures, like all other books, were to be found only in manuscript. We owe the first printed Bible to Cardinal Ximenes. This was a great work, compiled from manuscripts in Spain, which was called (after Complutum, the Latin name of the place, Alcala, where it was completed) Complutensian. It is also said that some manuscripts were sent from Rome, but this is, on the other hand, denied; so that we do not know with certainty from what sources the scholars, employed at the expense of the Cardinal, drew. These manuscripts were long lost, and are only recently asserted to have been discovered at Madrid. This edition is also accused of having too closely followed the Vulgate, that is, the Latin translation; but the learned, to whom alone that work is suited, are not agreed upon this. Although this costly and learned work was the first that was printed, a smaller one, as to the New Testament, was published two years previously by Erasmus, but since manuscripts were not so accessible at that time as in our days, he could only make use of a few and imperfect ones — indeed, for the Revelation, of only a single bad manuscript, in which besides a part was wanting at the end; so that to complete his work, notwithstanding, he was compelled to supply what was wanting by translating the Vulgate into Greek.

170 In the middle of the sixteenth century R. Stephens published an edition in Paris, which he had prepared by comparing thirteen manuscripts discovered in the Royal French Library, and also another which was examined by his son Henry; the latter belonged at that time to Beza, but is now preserved at Cambridge. Later in the sixteenth century Beza himself published five editions of the New Testament, accompanied by a translation of the same. Most of the European translations have therefore been made from one or other of these earlier editions. An edition of the original text of the New Testament appeared some time after in Holland, which differed little from that of Stephens, although it was entitled, with hardihood enough, "Textus ab omnibus receptus" (the universally received text), by which it is still known.

Afterwards Mill (a learned Englishman) had many manuscripts in various places examined, and without altering the Textus Receptus, placed the reading which was in his opinion the most exact, below the text.*

{*He assumes as his text the third edition of Stephens, folio, Paris, 1550.}

The pious and learned Bengel, in Germany, endeavoured to obtain a more exact text by a deep study of manuscripts, etc., and was the first, so far as we know, to turn his attention to the classes (commonly called families) into which they may be divided. We must not here go farther into particulars on this subject, but only make the general remark that two main classes of Greek manuscripts, the so-called Alexandrian and the Constantinopolitan, are the commonest. To the first class belong almost all the oldest manuscripts; to the latter by far the greater number, which, with few exceptions, were written later.

Then followed Wetstein in Holland, who also left the Textus Receptus unchanged, and placed the readings he preferred below the text, but examined many more manuscripts, and added observations which, if on the one hand often unworthy of credit, are on the other very useful, because they contain passages quoted from Greek, Latin, and Jewish writers to illustrate the use of words and expressions found in the text. We may, however, here pass over some more or less important editions which are quite beside our object, and notice the labours of Griesbach, who prosecuted with great industry the examination begun by Mill and Wetstein, of several valuable manuscripts, and also examined others, carefully collating them so as to obtain the text as exactly as possible. Without speaking further of Birch, a Danish scholar, who made rich collections of a similar kind, and especially collated the Vatican manuscript in Rome,* from which also Bentley, an English critic, had obtained readings; or of Matthaei, who compared the Russian manuscripts and published an edition founded upon them;** or again of Alter, who collated and published the most excellent manuscripts in the imperial library of Vienna; or finally of many other less known editions in Germany and England; we will also mention the work of Scholz in Bonn, who greatly increased the number of manuscripts examined; and further, those of Tischendorf and Lachmann, who continued these investigations. To these researches we owe it that, instead of those thirteen manuscripts, some of which are not quite to be trusted, for their authenticity has not been established, we have now about six hundred of the whole or parts of the New Testament, which have been more or less compared, in order to correct the errors which have crept in through frequent copying.

{*In consequence of a fire at Copenhagen, Birch only published the Gospels, together with his various readings of the remainder of the New Testament.}

{**These belonged to the numerous and later class of manuscripts called the Constantinopolitan.}

171 In order to give the unlearned reader a further view of the available sources of information, we may add that the New Testament has been translated ever since the first centuries. We may name the Syriac,* and the Latin translation, probably made in the second century; but the latter, corrected in the fifth century by Jerome, has thenceforth been known by the name of the Vulgate, and has always been used by the Roman Catholics. To these means of assistance must be added the numerous quotations from the sacred books which occur in writers after the death of the apostles, in one of them before the death of John, as they furnish us with more or less exactitude as to the readings of scripture in their time.

{*That called Peschito. Another was made later.}

The above named editors of the New Testament have also made diligent use of these means in order to ascertain the text as exactly and perfectly as possible, and it is remarkable that, except a few passages which remain uncertain, in spite of the different systems and theories existing with regard to the manuscripts, they are agreed in almost all material alterations. The providence of God has, notwithstanding the weakness of man, watched over His word, so that while few manuscripts even of the most celebrated and widely read classics could be found (as for example only about six of Virgil), of the New Testament (little read by and unknown to the world) we have already become possessed of about six hundred codices. And even the fact that these manuscripts, preserved in convents and public libraries, have remained unused, has been the means of their coming the more safely and unaltered into our hands. Thanks be to God! The worst and most carelessly written manuscript contains the whole truth, and all that is necessary unalloyed, and the errors that have crept in through copying are almost all set aside by the comparison of so great a number. Besides these evident and apparent mistakes, others have arisen from words, introduced as marginal notes (in order to make certain passages of the text more easily understood by a clearer expression), becoming by degrees incorporated in the text. Some of the manuscripts are from 1,200 to 1,300 years old.

Griesbach, before mentioned, not only carried his researches farther than his predecessors, but also introduced an important change in their plan, by adopting as his own the text he had by careful examination proved to be the original, instead of the one they had formed from a few manuscripts of uncertain worth, yet shewing the changes by smaller type, and adding the readings which he rejected beneath the text. Most editors have since followed this plan, inasmuch as they edited the text which according to their opinion was the most exact.

We could see no reason for giving the reader the translation of an imperfect text, founded on but slightly known manuscripts, instead of that which careful toil and research has made as exact as possible, and which is, therefore, nearest to perfection. As before remarked, we could not undertake a critical edition, but we did as follows: —

Where learned men, after the comparison of many manuscripts, and the use of all other means at hand which could aid them to attain to an exact text, were agreed upon a reading, we have followed them; and we greatly rejoice to say that, with the exception of a few passages, they are agreed as to the reading in all important cases. We have also given the rejected readings, that is, the translation of the imperfect text (Textus Receptus) which former translators made use of for want of a better, at the end of the book, indicated by the letters T.R. The unlearned reader need not pay attention to these notes, as we have not added them as marking something uncertain or doubtful, but in order to meet the objection that we had arbitrarily or from carelessness altered this or that passage. Only where the editors are not agreed upon a change in the reading, have we translated according to the Textus Receptus. When, also, the reader finds the note preceded by the word "Or," it is to be understood that the words or sentences in question admit of another translation. In the same way, when it is said in the note, "Literally," it is to be understood that a literal translation of the text would be too obscure in meaning, and we have therefore preferred to append it as a note, because there nevertheless is often a hidden power concealed in the literal expression. Finally, the smaller letters shew the words added which are not found in the text, but which were necessary to make the sentence comprehensible in the German language.

173 Since we have begun to speak of particulars, we will, besides explaining some points, add a little which may be helpful to the reader in his use of our work.

We have already remarked that where it appeared to us admissible, we have left the style peculiar to each of the several inspired writers unaltered, in accordance with our principle of translating the written word as faithfully as possible. We have always, where the reader could not fail to understand, retained the sentence in its primitive form as we found it in the original text, and only where an imitation of this form would occasion ambiguities have we admitted a change, so as to give the sense to the best of our ability. Thus, for example, we find in Luke, in several places, the word "and" where we, in order to be understood, must translate it by "that." (See Luke 2:15;  5:1, 16;  9:28;  14:1.) Where a form of speech indicates the customs of the East, we have not sought to accommodate it to those of the West; because by a true picture of the former all the circumstances there mentioned are placed more distinctly before the eye of the reader's mind.

We also believe that the representation of manners and customs, in their original character (as for example, "To lie at table," instead of "To sit at table"), not only often pictures the whole scene more vividly before us, but also, even though at first sight it seems most strange, is calculated to place many passages in a clearer light. Thus, for example, the expression "To lie at table," given literally, explains how Lazarus lay in Abraham's bosom, and John in the bosom of the Lord; and other similar examples may be discovered without much trouble.

174 Some words require a more ample explanation. Mark 14:73 we translate, "When he thought thereon he wept." But the opinion of many, as to the meaning of the words rendered "as he thought thereon," is very divided, some translating it by "he went suddenly out"; others, "he covered his face"; others, "sore," "much"; others, "he began"; others, "looking at [Jesus]," "beholding [Jesus]." As the literal sense is "he cast on," some have said, adding an object, "he cast a glance on him," or, "he cast his mantle over his head"; while others again seek an idiomatic use of the word, as, for example, "he began."

In the Acts of the Apostles we find the word "way" employed in a special sense (Acts 19:9; 24:22). We have not, however, felt induced, in any way, to paraphrase this expression, as the reader will soon perceive that it was at that time employed in a similar manner to that in which the word "pietist" now is to designate Christians.

But to justify the translation of some passages, on account of the peculiarity of the evangelist Luke's style, and also to explain a passage which is difficult for many to understand, we call attention to the fact that Luke not unfrequently employs the third person plural of an active instead of a passive verb, and that even where there is no question of action. We may here adduce several passages in proof of this. Luke 6:38, we read, "They will give," and in the same verse, "They will measure," which is equivalent to "It will be given," "It will be measured," and might here, though not in all cases, be as suitably expressed by "Men will give." The passage (ver. 44), "Figs are not gathered from thorns," or "Men do not gather figs from thorns," is in the Greek "They do not gather," etc. Chapter 14:35, "They cast it out," means only "It is cast out," or "Men cast it out." Chapter 12:20, is, "To-night they require thy soul of thee." Here it would not do to say, "Men will require thy soul of thee," but, "It will be required." See also chapter 21:16; and Acts 27:42. These two last examples are indeed not so distinct; but, supported by the many others, we have ventured to translate Luke 16:9 by "That ye may be received"; and this remark explains the reason why we have thus rendered δέξωνται.

As to the Lord's prayer, its long use amongst Christians hardly permits any change in it without thereby giving offence. Although it certainly cannot be doubted that some sentences are wanting in Luke, we have, according to our rule, altered nothing where the learned critics are not agreed.* We content ourselves with giving in this place the reading of Luke, which, in our opinion, is to be preferred: — "Father, hallowed be thy name; let thy kingdom come; give us to-day our bread till (or, for) to-morrow; and forgive us our sins for we also forgive every one who is indebted to us; and lead us not into temptation."

{*[In a comparison of the above with the text of the first edition, it appears that the following words originally came in here: —

"The word ἐπιούσιος, however, calls for a remark here. It will be found rendered, 'bis zum Morgen,' or, 'für Morgen' (until the morrow, or, for the morrow), and appended as a note: as we find the kindred word ἐπιοῦσα, (hemera) in Acts 7:26;  20:15;  21:18;  23:11, and rendered 'on the day following.' Whereas, however, the word 'To-day,' may be considered as extending until the day following, we have retained the word 'daily.'"

I add it in a note only, because the second edition is not at hand to consult also. — Ed. P. T. It can hardly be doubted however that this is an inadequate explanation of a term which only occurs in the prayer, Matt. 6 and Luke 11. Far more probably it was coined by contrast with περιούσιος, "superfluous," and so means what is actually needed, or necessary, not over and above need. The Syriac thus understood, and the context perfectly agrees; whereas the notion of "tomorrow's" is incongruous if not directly inconsistent. And such is the author's conclusion in his French and English versions; and so it will probably, as it ought to, be found in the latest German. — Ed.]}

175 It will in some measure appear strange to the reader not to find in the Revelation the rejected readings given below as notes, as is the case in the other books. Among other existing causes there were two which introduced a great number of errors into former editions of this book. The first was that the text, as printed by Erasmus, was from a damaged manuscript, in which even, as has been already remarked, part of the end was wanting, and had to be retranslated from the Latin, whereas we are now able to collate ninety-three manuscripts of this book, three of which are very old.* A second cause is the extreme irregularity of the grammatical construction of the Revelation, which in a great measure is occasioned by the nature of the book, because the author, guided by divine inspiration and occupied with the object which was "in vision" before his eyes, writes without paying so much attention to the grammatical connection of the sentences he writes. Thus, for example, if he sees a person in his "vision," the verb or participle stands in grammatical connection with the object seen, and not with the preceding substantive.** The grammarians who sought to correct these expressions have only introduced confusion into the text; and as soon as the result of these efforts of human wisdom could be set aside by the collation of manuscripts, all these corrections were unanimously rejected. It therefore appeared to us a superfluous labour to add them as notes, because the book was at first printed from a manuscript containing all these corrections, so that the true text must necessarily appear as a recorrection. In general they have nothing to do with the sense of the passage, and often do not appear in a translation.

{*Also now the very old Sinaitic manuscript. [It may be here remarked that a hundred cursive Greek manuscripts are now known (but not a few remain only examined in part), in addition to five uncial copies. — Ed.]}

{**Similarly we find in German, that the pronoun agrees with the natural gender of a personal noun, as for example, "Sie führen ein Weib zu Ihm, und stellten sie (not es) in die Mitte" (John 8:3). The Revelation, however, goes still farther.}

176 We may also remark that in the Revelation, the word "to give" (δίδωμι) is used in a peculiar manner, and signifies "To give power, strength," or, "To render valid" (chap. 8:3; 11:3). In other passages we might, perhaps, have given the preference to a reading with respect to which the editors are not agreed. But here also we have followed our rule, and have altered nothing, where there was not unanimity amongst the principal critics.

We now introduce a remark for those who understand Greek. It is that we are not content with the translation of the expression in Hebrews 9:1, "a worldly sanctuary," because "sanctuary," ἅγιον, according to the order of the sentence, ought to be an adjective. There are, it is true, some few examples of this unusual order, as ζωὴ αἰώνιος, if this reading is indeed correct, and there is no ground for using κοσμικός as an adjective. We have not, however, altered the usual translation; for if this were done, the Greek word denotes a "universal holy order."

An almost insuperable difficulty presented itself in the preposition εἰς in connection with "baptism," because the German language has no word which in all cases corresponds to the Greek. The Jews were baptized εἰς Moses (1 Cor. 10:2). The apostle asks, Acts 19:3, "To what were ye baptized?" (Wotzu). They answer, "To the baptism of John" (zu); an answer which in German is entirely without euphony. In connection with the name of Jesus, some translate the Greek εἰς by "unto" (auf ), others, by "in" (in) ("unto the name of Jesus," or, "in the name of Jesus"). In Romans 6:3-4, the apostle says, "we are baptized εἰς Christ Jesus … εἰς death," and thus, "buried by baptism εἰς death." If one be translated "baptized into (in) Christ," it must also be said, contrary to the object of this act, "baptized into (in) Moses"; and a similar difficulty would be presented by the expression, "to (an) Christ," for it must then be contrary to all usage of language, "to (an) death." For the translator it is not, however, a question of the doctrine of baptism, but of the most exact translation possible, which is exceedingly difficult to be arrived at, because, as before stated, the German language has no corresponding word for the Greek εἰς. This word, denoting a direction, can, when used of place, be translated without difficulty; as, for example, "I go to Rome" (nach). When, however, it relates to a moral object to be reached, or to a person or a thing to which one would attach oneself, the difficulty cannot be overcome by the translator in a satisfactory manner. This question of the apostle (Acts 19) clearly and distinctly expresses the meaning of the word. "To what" (wotzu), says he, "were ye baptized?" How shall we answer? A word perfectly suitable in every respect is wanting, which would express to our satisfaction the purpose, viz., the direction, or the attachment to some person or doctrine, which is intended, be it to Moses or Christ, to the doctrine of John or to death. We are therefore, like several other translators, compelled to answer the question with auf or "unto," however little the choice may satisfy us.

177 The expression, "second first sabbath" (Luke 6:1), at first sight presents some difficulty, which, however, disappears upon a closer attention to Jewish customs. The year, as regards the worship of God amongst the Jews, began with the month Abib (Heb. "green corn"), which lasted from the middle of March to the middle of April. In Leviticus 23, in which we find the Jewish feasts described, we may observe that in addition to the general and weekly recurring feasts of the sabbath, the chief feasts begin with the passover (the 14th of Abib), and that, in immediate connection with it, it was ordained that on the day after the following sabbath the first-fruits of the corn should be offered in the ear, a foreshadowing of the resurrection of Jesus which took place on the morrow after the sabbath of the passover week, or feast of unleavened bread. The sabbath immediately following the passover was therefore the "first" or great sabbath, and after the offering of the first-fruits on the morrow after the sabbath, the first day of the week, the harvest might be commenced, and the new corn eaten, which was not permitted before, even though corn stood ripe in the fields. On the following sabbath, the "second" after the "first" or great sabbath, we see that the disciples ate ears of corn on the way, for the offering of the first-fruits had already taken place on the first day of the week; and, as seven weeks or sabbaths were counted from this day to the feast of Pentecost, it was therefore the "first" of these seven sabbaths, or the "second" with reference to the great sabbath of the Passover. By these explanations we have, we think, justified the expression, "second first sabbath," and removed any difficulty to the reader's understanding.

178 We pass on to some other remarks. The word δαιμόνιον, universally rendered "devil" where we read that Christ cast out "devils," is different from that used in speaking of the devil, διάβολος (Satan). The word "devil" means slanderer or evil accuser; therefore the great accuser of the brethren, who is also an evil spirit, is called "the devil." "The devils" (δαιμόνια) are, however, connected with Satan or Beelzebub (Matt. 12:22-27; Mark 3:22-26). The word δαιμόνια was employed by the heathen for certain intermediate spirits whom they regarded in a good sense as powerful ruling spirits affording protection to a nation or an individual. Scripture teaches us (Deut. 32:17; 1 Cor. 10:20) that the gods of the heathen were of these evil spirits. And as such Beelzebub, the god of the Philistines and of other Gentiles related to this tribe, is known to us. As we, however, could find no word in German corresponding to δαιμόνιον in Greek, we were compelled, like others, to translate it by "devil" (Teufel) in German, which is rather the equivalent of διάβολος in Greek.

The somewhat strangely sounding expression used by us, "The Christ," instead of "Christ," has been purposely chosen, in order to mark the distinction between the office and the name of the Lord. "Christ" has become in the parlance of the present day a simple name; in earlier days this was not the case. "Christ" (Greek), or "Messiah" (Hebrew), means "the Anointed," who, according to the promise of God, was expected. This word therefore expresses more than merely the name of a person, although this use of it had already appeared at the time the scriptures of the New Testament were written; and since, in our opinion, the designation of the office and the name should not be confounded, in order to retain the force of the word, we have written "Christ" when it is used as a proper name, and "the Christ" when it designates the office of the Messiah, the Anointed. In the Greek, the article ὁ marks the distinction.

179 We have, in like manner, often used the word "law" without an article, or added one in small type. The distinction is very important, because the expression, "the law," always suggests to the mind the law of Moses. The apostle, however, often speaks of law as a general principle, and not of the law of Moses, and then we have used "law" without an article, or added one in small type.

The reader will further find — that we have translated "nations" (nationen) instead of "heathen" (Heiden), and for this reason, that the latter designation, used in our days as the term for unconverted idolaters, is not always its representative. Undoubtedly, in former times, all not Jews were idolaters; for men had turned away from God. The grace which has visited the nations has, however, changed all; and although, in contrast to the Jews, they have not ceased to be "nations," they are now no longer "heathen." This is the reason why we chose "nations" as a general designation, although this word is an imported one. We could not say "peoples" (völker), because the Jews were "the people" (volk). In the passages in which τὰ ἔθνη signifies a class and not the peoples, we have translated the word by the expression "those of the nations."

The application of the foreign word "hades" will be thought no less striking. The cause of our choice is here important enough. That is, Luther has translated two words by "hell" (hölle), although their meaning is altogether and entirely distinct; one expression being employed for the place of future torment prepared for the devil and his angels; the other in general for the unseen or invisible world of spirits, upon which till the coming of Christ darkness and obscurity rested, as we may see in the Old Testament, where this word is "scheol." De Wette has employed the rather heathenish designation "lower world" (unterwelt). But as we find the same word applied to Christ who went into paradise, we have preferred to retain the Greek word itself, "hades," that it might not be confounded with "hell" (γέεννα) which is the place of eternal torment. In "hades" there may be joy as well as torment. The rich man and Lazarus were both in hades. In hell there is only torment.

180 We must consider more at length the word ἐκκλησία, usually rendered "congregation or church," but by us "assembly." Though we might in general be indifferent about this expression, we dare not be so ever about a false rendering of the word of God.* The Greek word ἐκκλησία means "assembly"; and especially denotes an assembly of those who in the Greek states, as also in some modern republics, had the rights of citizenship in contradistinction to those inhabitants who had them not, and who bore the not easily translated name πάροικος, which we have rendered "foreigner" or "without citizenship." We have not translated ἐκκλησία by "congregation" (gemeinde), because this designation does not represent the true meaning of the word in its original character. In order therefore to obviate any embarrassment of understanding, we have translated it by "assembly"; and the reader will find it used unmistakeably in this sense in Acts 19:41, where we read, "The town clerk dismissed the assembly." We felt ourselves compelled, in order not to weaken its true force, to use the same term in every case. It is therefore used for every kind of assembly, whether of the children of Israel in the wilderness, or of the tumultuous persons rushing into the theatre, or for the "lawful assembly" at Ephesus (Acts 19); both for the general assembly of Christians in heaven, and for the so-called church-congregation (gemeinde) on earth, whether it be the assembly in a place or in a private house. Thus scripture has applied the word, commonly used to denote the gatherings of the citizens, to the assembly of God.

{*Here also in the first edition occurs a sentence: —

"Kirche — κυριακήis by origin a Greek word, and signifies 'belonging to the Lord,' whilst it is used in the parlance of the day to indicate a building devoted to preaching and other purposes of worship. The scripture likewise uses it with regard to Sunday and the Lord's supper; where one might read 'church-day' instead of Lord's-day, and 'church-supper' instead of Lord's supper."

[No copy of the second edition being at hand, this is added in a note. — Ed. P. T.]}

We now turn our attention to the word "repentance" (busse-penance), an expression which, though we have adopted it, does not suffice, because it has too much of an external character, and denotes a work-doing (werke-thun). "Conversion" (bekehrung) was proposed as a suitable rendering; but, although several translators have adopted it, we have not followed them, because conversion is not the signification of the word μετάνοια. In Jeremiah 31:19 we read, "After I was converted (turned), I repented." Μετάνοια is the moral judgment of the soul upon all the past, upon all that it is as in the flesh before God. Others have preferred "change of mind," and have certainly approached somewhat nearer to the real meaning. But since in this designation the judgment of the soul with respect to the past is wanting, we felt ourselves obliged to retain the word "repentance" (busse). We make no further objection if anyone prefer "change of mind," because this meaning is included in μετάνοια, although it does not, as we have said, express the judgment of the soul.

181 In Mark 2:26, and 12:26, we find the expressions "in Abiathar" and "in the bush"; the former expression has frequently been translated by others, "in [the time of] Abiathar." In this passage ἐπί may indeed be translated by the addition of the words "the time of"; but we could never say "in the time of the bush." This latter expression, "in the bush," and also Romans 11:2, where the word is "in Elias," point rather, according to our judgment, to the conclusion that a passage of the Old Testament is alluded to by the use of this form; which is the opinion of several learned men.

The word Aelteste, "elder" (literally eldest), does not completely answer to the Greek πρεσβύτερος, because the latter, though undoubtedly used for an office in various places, stands also in contrast with νεώτερος (the younger), which is entirely lost in the German expression. The expression "die eltern" (parents), literally, elders, the real force of the Greek πρεσβύτερος, has, however, quite another signification in German. It is true πρεσβύτερος is not merely an old man (πρεσβύτης), but is used for the whole class of the old in contrast with the younger. Among the Jews who became Christians there is no trace to be found of any distinct office of "elders."

In the Acts the word "worshipper," σεβομένος, frequently occurs, as the name of a numerous class of Gentiles who, acknowledging the vanity of Gentile idolatry, and detesting its disorders, attended the Jewish worship, seeking in it a refuge in their moral distress, and in spite of the unfaithfulness of the Jews — so mighty is the truth of God — finding one, though an insufficient one. We therefore find many of this class who followed the apostle Paul and other servants of God. "Proselytes" is another word, although these "worshippers" may also have been such. We might have translated the word as others, "fearing God," but this would rather describe a state of soul than be, as in the Acts, the title of a class of men who, although Gentiles by birth, attended the Jewish worship.

182 In 2 Corinthians 2:16 the unusual expression, "sweet savour of death," will strike the reader. He will be assisted in understanding it by the remark that the expression is a figurative one, alluding to the Roman triumphal processions. They used on these occasions sweet odours, and often killed many captives, while others, on the other hand, were spared. The "sweet savour" was therefore a "savour of death" or of "life." In like manner, says the apostle, is the gospel, when received, a means of life; but when not received — however sweet it be — it is only a cause for condemnation.

The reader, but little acquainted with the manners, customs, and arrangements of ancient times, may find difficulty in several other expressions, which, as we could not without circumlocution render into German, need, we think, a short explanation. They follow in order: —

1. The "praetorium." This word was applied to the headquarters of a Roman camp, where the commander had his official residence, or in Rome to those of the imperial guard. It was therefore in general the fortified head quarters of the soldiery; and because the provincial governors who were dependent upon the emperor were called "praetors," the hall in which they issued regulations and gave judgment, as the commander did at the head quarters, was also called "praetorium." The word is used in the New Testament in all these significations but the first, and we have therefore left it unchanged.

2. The "sanhedrim" was the chief council of the Jews held in Jerusalem, which, consisting of seventy-two members, was formed of priests, scribes, and elders, and presided over by the high priest.,

3. The "synagogue" was among the Jews what is called a church in Christendom. Sacrifices were indeed only offered in the temple, but the ordinary divine service took place in the synagogues. Here they read the word and preached, and hence proceeded the discipline which cast out those who were not regarded as faithful Jews.

4. "Asiarchs" were officers in the province of proconsular Asia (a part of Asia Minor), who were yearly chosen from the chief men of the province, to take the place of presidents over the various idolatrous services, and to arrange the games dedicated to the honour of the gods.

183 5. The "Areopagus" was a tribunal established by Solon the lawgiver of Athens, both to watch over the morals of the Athenians, and to see that due honour was paid to the gods. This institution, although deprived of its importance, was retained under the Roman rule. This tribunal held its sessions on the hill of Mars or Ares, whence is derived the name "Areopagus," Ares' (or Mars') Hill, and Acts 17:19 may therefore be translated, either "They led him to Mars' Hill," or, "before the tribunal called Areopagus."

6. "Sandals" are soles bound to the feet by leather thongs. As Roman luxury extended, men wore shoes or half boots, called ὑποδήματα κοῖλα, and as it appears later, merely ὑποδήματα. In the New Testament "ὑποδήματα" is used as well as "sandals." It does not, however, appear probable that this luxury had reached the disciples; and, as the writers of the New Testament have employed two words for the same thing, the reader will understand by "sandals" those soles bound to the feet by leather thongs.

As to coins and measures, an exact knowledge of the value of the different coins is not very important, because in the New Testament they are only employed in general to denote larger or smaller sums, and this distinction is apparent in the passages themselves. As we have, however, used some Greek names, we give here the value of the different coins, but without seeking to be perfectly accurate. We only remark with respect to the drachma, that some estimate its value at less than we do. "Lepton" is a 1/2 pfennig ( 1/5 of a farthing) or even less; the smallest coin. "Quadrans" is equal to 2 lepta. Assarion: the value of this coin is uncertain. Some give 4, some 2 Pfennigs (1/5 or 2/5 of a penny). Drachma (100 to a mina) is about 7 groschen, (8 1/2d.). Didrachma is 2 drachmas = 14 groschen. The Mina (60 to a talent) is about 22 1/2 to 23 thalers (£3  7s. 6d. to £3 9s.). But the worth of a talent was different in different countries. The Babylonian talent had 12 minas more than the more generally used Attic talent. In the New Testament it is probably the Syrian talent. The silver talent was valued in Syria at something over 320 thalers (£48), the golden talent at 3,935 thalers (£590 8s.). [A. Böckh reckons the drachma at 7 1/2 Sg. (9d.); the mina at 25 thalers (£3 15s.); and the Attic talent at 1,500 thalers (£225).] The Choenix is commonly what a man needs for a day's sustenance. Bath = 6 hins, or about 1 eimer (bushel?). Corus = 10 baths. [written 1855]

184 We now think we have given sufficient information as to the object before us in this translation, the means therein employed, and finally the way and method in which various passages are translated.* In publishing our work, we commend it heartily, and with confidence, not for the first time, to Him from whom alone blessing comes, and whose approval is worth more than that of all men. We by no means presume to look upon our book as free from errors, but we hope it will be of some use to every upright and christian reader. Our aim has been exactitude throughout, and we have therefore, as before remarked (while making use of several translations, in order to find suitable expressions, and to arrive at the force of the passages in question), from the beginning to the end, exclusively translated from the original Greek. Should anyone think it worth while, either privately or publicly, to make remarks upon any errors, we shall gladly use them hereafter for the purpose of rendering the word of God as exactly as possible in the German language.

{[*A third and last addition, according at least to the first edition, is here presented.

"We further remark that at the outset we only had proposed to translate the epistles, in order to present Christians with something more accurate, touching weighty points of Christian doctrine; an undertaking which would have been far less pretentious. In order, however, to obviate the inconvenience, obvious to all, which it would have occasioned the reader, were he compelled to have another Testament at hand besides the epistles, we decided upon a full translation of the New Testament. This intention is now fulfilled."

This is given in a note, for the same reason as was stated before, viz., uncertainty whether or not it occurs in the second edition. — Ed. P. T.]}


We cannot publish the second edition of this translation of the New Testament without praising the Lord that He has impressed the seal of His approval on the first. We have good hope that this work is the fruit of His will and of His grace, and that it has been useful and welcome to many believing souls. We have little to add to the preface of the first edition, for all things essential have remained unaltered in this second. Yet we have carefully revised it, strictly re-examined the translation, and corrected the style in various places, always remaining true to our principle, viz., to give the word of God as exactly as possible in a language in which it was not written. The most essential alteration we have made is the change of a number of participles, as the too frequent use of them is not common in the German language. The word "saying," for instance, occurs continually in the Greek Testament, and we have almost everywhere changed it to "and said," or "as he said," etc. We have done the same with many other participles, where the sense would not be lost, always keeping the object before us of giving the meaning of the words exactly. In some passages, where the exactness and force of the rendering seemed to be endangered by this change, we have given the Greek form literally in a note. But there are sentences where euphony cannot be satisfied without losing the true meaning; as, for example, 2 Corinthians 5:19: "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself." In such cases we have sacrificed the style to the true meaning. We hope that the translation in general is somewhat clearer, and in some minor things more exact: otherwise, except the changing of the participles, it remains the same. We have still a few short observations to make.

185 We had translated Revelation 2:20 by "thy wife," following the majority of the manuscripts and editions; but as the very old Sinaitic manuscript, published since our first edition, has "the woman," we have returned to the old reading. The same reason has led us to translate chapter 22:14 by "who have washed their clothes."

With regard to the words πλεονεξία and πλεονέκτης, which all have translated by "covetousness," and "covetous man," we have also retained this meaning. We are, however, convinced that this word, indicating an unbridled inclination (or affection) for that which does not belong of right to the one filled with πλεονεξία, signifies "fleshly lust," as well as "covetousness." See Ephesians 5:3, 5; Colossians 3:5; 2 Peter 2:3, 14; 1  Thessalonians 4:6; 1 Corinthians 5:10-11; Ephesians 4:19. The last passage explains the general use of the word. Some of the passages quoted are not so distinct, but they may help the reader.

Another word is ὑπηρέτης, translated by "servant." Besides this word there are two others, δοῦλος and διάκονος, which are translated in the same way. Δοῦλος is a slave; διάκονος, an ordinary servant, at table, etc.; but ὑπηρέτης is more official. The first meaning of the word is a "rower," and it therefore in general denotes some one who has a distinct service. As we could only translate this word by "servant," we give the passages in which it occurs: Matthew 5:25; Mark 14:54; Luke 1:2; 4:20; John 7:32, 45, 46; 18:3, 12, 18, 22, 36; 19:6; Acts 5:22, 26; 13:5; 26:16; 1 Corinthians 4:1.

186 Finally, one more short observation on the little word "so," οὕτω, in John 3:16. It is possible that this word relates to the preceding, "have eternal life," and then the following clause expresses a consequence, and the "so" denotes more the object, the kind of love, than its strength, so that we might say, "for God has loved the world in such a manner," etc.

Heartily thanking the Lord that He has caused His blessing to rest on our work, it having been received by many Christians, and read, as we hope, with profit, we now place this second edition in His hand, and entreat Him to crown with His rich blessing our effort to place His word before souls as exactly as possible.


{The parts which refer only to the French language are printed thus, in brackets [*] with a star inside them. — Ed. P. T.}

In presenting to the reader this new translation of the second part of the holy scriptures, it is well to give him some information as to the plan which we have followed, and the principles which have guided us in our undertaking. With regard to the details of this work, we will only mention those which have appeared to us as needing some explanation.

Thoroughly convinced of the divine inspiration of the scriptures, we have endeavoured in translating them to reproduce as exactly as possible in French, that which God has given us in another language, unknown to the greater part of those who read the Bible. We have rendered the Greek as literally as was consistent with the perspicuity needed for the understanding of what is said. The depth of the word of God is infinite, and the connection that exists between all the parts of the divine mystery is not less admirable; although this mystery is not revealed to us as a whole, for "we know in part and we prophesy in part." Therefore it is that we often meet in the word with expressions that, flowing from the depth of the mystery in the mind of the inspired writers, make us perceive (under divine teaching) the connection of the different parts with each other, and that of each of these parts with the whole. To retain these Greek expressions is sometimes disadvantageous to the style of the version; but, when the clearness of the sentence was not injured by it, we have allowed some to stand which might help the reader to apprehend all the meaning and bearing of what is written in the Greek. In other cases, when the French language would not admit of a literal translation, and where the form of the Greek phrase appeared to contain thoughts that might be more or less lost or modified in the French expression, we have given the literal translation in a note.

There is another point which relates to the Greek text itself, and which it is needful to mention. Until the end of the fifteenth century, at which period printing was invented, the holy scriptures — as well as all other books — existed only in the form of manuscripts. The first impression of the Bible was due to Cardinal Ximenes, but the sources from which he drew are still very little known to us. Two years previous to its publication, Erasmus had already given an editio princeps of the Greek text, but he had been able to consult only a very few manuscripts, and indeed for the Apocalypse he possessed but one, and this very incorrect and incomplete. About the middle of the sixteenth century, R. Stephens (Stephanus) published in Paris an edition of the Greek text, founded upon the comparison which he had made of thirteen manuscripts that he had found in the royal library, and of a fourteenth which his son Henry had examined, and which afterwards, from the hands of Theodore Beza, found its way into the Cambridge library. Theodore Beza himself published, at about the same time, an edition of the New Testament with a fresh translation in Latin. Also in 1633 a new edition of the Greek text was published in Holland, differing little from that of Stephens, to which they were bold enough to give the title of "Textus ab omnibus Receptus," the text received by all. If, at the present day, we put aside the translations from the Vulgate or ancient Latin version, we may say that in so far at least as we know, all modern translators of the New Testament have hitherto taken as the basis of their labours, either the text which is called "Text received by all," or another which is even less correct. Now this "Received Text" is founded on a very limited number of MSS. At the time of its publication criticism had made but little progress. The anxiety also of some who feared that the common faith might thereby be shaken prevented the raising of the question as to the accuracy of the existing text thus presented. But since that period many hundred MSS, some of which are of great antiquity, have been carefully examined and compared. Those faults could thus be corrected which copyists had introduced into the thirteen MSS to which Stephens had access, or which, by any other means, had crept into the "Received Text." The learned men who have thus employed their time and their sagacity in purging the text from those errors, which had found their way into it through the carelessness or presumption of men, have formed a corrected text; classifying, according to different systems, and judging, each according to his own point of view, the numerous MSS known at present.

188 We will name here the most distinguished among these learned men. The first, perhaps, whom we should point out, is Mill, who accumulated an immense number of different readings, by examining the MSS that he found in divers European libraries. Next came Bengel, who suggested the principle, turned afterwards to good account, of classifying the MSS in different families. After him Wetstein added many more readings, and published an edition of great critical value. Then Griesbach, Scholz, Tischendorf, Lachmann, availed themselves of the resources furnished by their predecessors in this field of labour, making also fresh researches themselves. We may add to the preceding names those of Birch, Matthaei, Alter, who have also contributed their share to the reconstruction of the text. Other men, no doubt, have laboured in the same way; but it suffices to have pointed out the principal ones among the number.

189 We have then thought it good to profit by all the means which learned and hard-working men have put within our reach. Some among them have preferred to form their text entirely on the most ancient MSS. It is true that every copy tends to multiply mistakes; but a MS which is more modern than some other one may happen to be an exact copy of a MS much more ancient than the latter. The MSS from which a copy was made at a comparatively modern period, may also have been less corrupted by deliberate alterations, so that the true way of having a text as pure as possible is to make use of all the resources that are at one's disposal. There are versions more ancient than the most ancient of the known MSS. Those versions control the text of the MSS. A work has been recently published by Mons. Rilliet, on perhaps the most ancient of all MSS, called the Vatican. His work appears to us very well done, and in many respects interesting; but no one MS can, by itself, furnish a satisfactory text of the New Testament.

We will very briefly point out the character of those editions which, when they agree together, have formed the basis of our text.

Griesbach rests principally on the ancient MSS in uncial letters; but he has weighed the other authorities. His edition, published after the labours of Mill, Bengel, and Wetstein, has certainly laid the foundations of modern criticism. He sees it right to distinguish from each other three families or classes of readings or of MSS, the Alexandrian, the Constantinopolitan, and the Western. The greater number of the ancient MSS, that is, those in uncial letters, are of the Alexandrian family; and it is on this family that Griesbach has founded his text; but the learned critic did not confine himself to this source.

190 Scholz professes to follow the readings of the Constantinopolitan MSS, which are followed by the mass of modern or western MSS, which, far more than the Alexandrian, countenance the "Received Text." Nevertheless, in reality he often diverges from that family, so that his text differs little from that of Griesbach: his edition is disfigured by many faults of type.

Tischendorf, like Griesbach, follows principally the MSS in uncial letters. In his first edition he is a little rash, but he becomes much more sober in the subsequent editions, in which he has re-established many readings that he had previously rejected.

Lachmann has pursued a line of his own, laying it down at first as a principle, that the autographic text is not to be found; he has endeavoured not precisely to come as near to it as possible; but, holding it for certain that the MSS of the first four centuries must be the most correct, he would not examine any that did not belong to those four centuries. This system is too absolute to be safe.

Matthaei has founded his edition on the MSS that are in the possession of the Russian synod, and that belong to the Constantinopolitan family. He also has followed an absolute system, and has even combated strenuously against those who attached themselves in preference to the Alexandrian text. Nevertheless, the successors of Griesbach have availed themselves of the labours of these two last-named men, who have furnished criticism with fresh resources. In result, all these learned men have helped to improve the text of the New Testament, so that we now possess the precious word of our God, purged from many of the faults which the carelessness of copyists had introduced into it.

The MS of the Vatican, which Professor Rilliet has recently translated, is of the Alexandrian family. The MS which bears the special name of Alexandrian is on the contrary not so throughout; the Gospels belong to one family, the Acts to another, and the Epistles to a third. We have merely given general ideas on these points, referring those who wish to study the subject to those books and prolegomena from which, trusting to our memory, we have drawn the substance of these brief remarks.

The result of all the labours of which we have been speaking has been most happy for all those who rightly value the integrity of the word of God. No doubt human weakness has left its traces here also, as is the case wherever anything has been entrusted to man; but the providence of God has watched over His word, so that, in spite of the great differences between the systems which learned men have followed for the revision of the text, they have nevertheless arrived at almost identical results. Apart from one or two passages, the various editions of the Greek text are almost everywhere in accordance with each other as regards the different readings which have any importance. The variations we meet with are few in number, of a secondary order, and, in a translation, would often be almost imperceptible; and the labours of the learned men who have compared the numerous MSS known at present have had the happy effect of removing the mistakes with which the first editions of the Greek text were disfigured.

191 These few remarks will make the reader understand our reasons for abandoning a text which was known to be inexact in more than one place. It was fit, however, not to give way to an uncertain or venturesome criticism; whenever therefore the principal editions, such as those of Griesbach, Scholz, Tischendorf, Lachmann, and often some others less known, are agreed, we have followed the text exactly as they have given it, as we have no motive that attached us to a less pure text. On the other hand, as criticism was not our object, we have simply and entirely retained the received text wherever these principal editors were not agreed. Moreover, we have always been careful to point out in a note the passages in which we have departed from the received text, giving the translation of the latter at the same time.

It remains for us to explain to the reader why, in the Apocalypse, we have no longer given at the bottom of the page the readings of the received text. As we have already stated, that of the Apocalypse was printed by Erasmus, from one very incorrect MS that did not even contain all the last chapter, which this learned man translated from the Latin. At present, on the contrary, ninety-three MSS have been collated with more or less care, three of which are in the uncial letters.* We have not, therefore, thought it well to reproduce all the faults of one imperfect MS. Erasmus did his best, but there was no need to re-produce errors which he had no means of avoiding.

{*[I let this stand as in the French, though somewhat inexact, as it is corrected in the preface of the German Version, see page 175 — Ed.]}

192 We have now to furnish some explanations on points or detail. And, first, it may appear singular that, excepting as it depends on the punctuation, we have excluded the capital letter from the beginning of every word which is not a proper name, as such. Thus we have written our god, our father, the son, the word, the spirit.

We desire that our readers should fully understand the motive that induced us to print these words in a manner which is not agreeable to ourselves, and which will perhaps be a matter of surprise to them. We have adopted this plan in order to avoid what appears to us a still greater impropriety. In speaking of the spirit, we find more than one passage in which the state of the soul and the Spirit of God are so united and mingled together, that it would have been rash or even impossible to decide between a small s or a capital S. Now if we had put a small s to the word spirit, and a capital G to the word God, the result would have been most grievous, and, in appearance at least, a denial of the divinity of the Holy Ghost. We had no other resource than to follow the example of the Greek, and to use capitals only for proper names: thus, when the word "God" is a proper name, it has a capital; when it is appellative, it has a small g. We have followed the same rule with respect to the word "Christ," which may be a proper name, or may have the sense of "anointed." This plan is, we repeat, disagreeable to ourselves, but it maintains the ground of truth, which would have been impossible on any other plan. Those who are in the habit of reading the Greek Testament will not be stumbled at it. The passages, Romans 8:15 and John 4:24 (and there are many others), will suffice to mark the difficulty; in these two passages, in fact, to make the difference between Spirit with a capital S and spirit with a small s, and then to put the one or the other would in either case falsify the meaning.

It is with design that we have sometimes written "Christ," and sometimes "the Christ," that is, the Anointed One, the Messiah. An attentive study of the word will shew that, in the Gospels, the word Christ is almost always preceded by the article, and generally expresses that which a Jew would have called "the Messiah." In the Epistles, on the contrary, the use of the article is rare, and in most instances may simply depend on the grammatical exigencies of the Greek language, without taking away from the word "Christ" the character of a proper name. In the latter case French rejects the article, and the translator has therefore to form a judgment as to the intention of the sacred writer. We cannot affirm that we have always succeeded in discerning it; but in the greater number of the passages the reader will easily distinguish between the office and the name of the person.

193 The Septuagint has used the word κύριος for "Jehovah," translated usually "the LORD" in the Old Testament. It is rendered also by "the Lord" in the New Testament, and is confounded with the same name applied to Jesus, viewed as a man. "God has made him," it is said, "both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36). Not doubting but that this word is often the proper name "Jehovah," we think that it will be a service to the reader if we furnish him with a list of the passages in which κύριος presents this meaning: those among them which, in this respect, appear more or less doubtful, are followed by a note of interrogation.

Matthew 1:20, 22, 24;  2:13, 15, 19;  3:3;  4:7, 10;  5:33;  21:3 (?), 9, 42;  22:37, 44;  23:39;  27:10;  28:2.

Mark 1:3;  11:3 (?), 9, 10;  12:11, 29, 30, 36;  13 20;  16:20 (?).

Luke 1:6, 9, 11, 15, 16, 17, 25, 28, 32, 38, 45, 46, 58, 66, 68, 76;  2:9, 15, 22, 23, 24, 26, 38, 39;  3:4;  4:8, 12, 18, 19;  5:17;  10:27;  13:35;  19:38;  20:37, 42.

John 1:23; 12:13.

Acts 1:24 (?); 2:20-21, 25, 39, 47 (?); 3:19, 22; 4:26, 29 (?); 5:9, 19; 7:30-31, 33, 37, 49; 8:25 (?), 26; 9:31 (?), 10:4 (?), 14 (?); 12:7, 17 (?), 23; 15 17; 17 27

Romans 4:8; 9:28-29; 10:9, 12, 13, 16; 11:3, 34; 12:19; 14:11; 15:11.

1 Corinthians 1:31; 2:16; 3:20; 14:21; 15:47 (?).

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 (peculiar character); 6:17-18; 10:17.

Hebrews 1:10; 7:21; 8:2, 8-11; 10:16, 30; 12:5-6.

James 5:4, 11.

1 Peter 1:25; 3:12, 15.

2 Peter 2:9 (?), 11; 3:8.

Jude 5, 9.

Revelation 1:8;  4:8, 11;  11:15 (?), 17;  15:3-4;  16:5 (?), 7;  18:8;  19:6;  21:22;  22:5-6.

194 In the Acts the word is used in an absolute and general way, and applied to Christ. It is usually the same in the Epistles, see 1 Corinthians 8:5-6.

[*We have hesitated whether to translate the word "λόγος" by "verbe" or by "parole," the use of a feminine noun being undesirable in speaking of God, of the incarnation, of creation, etc. On the other hand, the connection which exists between the word of revelation and the Word as a person, such as is seen in Hebrews 4:12-13, is likely to be lost by the use of the word " verbe." This last consideration has induced us to employ the word "parole" in spite of its feminine form: custom has, besides, in a great measure removed the unsuitableness of the expression.

After some hesitation we have retained the word "évangile," instead of using such terms as "bonne nouvelle," or "heureux message," which, though they would have given more exactly the Greek sense, seemed to us, at the same time, both too harsh and too familiar.*]

The use we have made of the word "gospel" (εὐαγγέλιον) is not without its danger, and requires that the attention of the reader should be called to the proper meaning of the word, as well as to some facts connected with it. We commonly say, "to preach the gospel" — "this or that is not the gospel"; and by "gospel" is understood a certain system of doctrine. The word, however, means simply "glad tidings," "good news" brought by some one. Thus when Timothy brought to Paul good news of the faith and love of the Thessalonians (1 Thess. 3:6), it is said that he εὐηγγελίσατο (evangelized) Paul as to the faith and love of the Thessalonians.

On the other hand, in the same way that the word "Christ," used at first as a title in the sense of the Anointed One, became afterwards a proper name; so the pre-eminently good news, the good news of the love of God and of His intervention in the person of Christ to save men, is called "the good news," "the gospel." It is important that the reader, when he meets with this expression, should bear in mind the idea of a communication of good and glad tidings, as a message from God; and that he should also remember that the word εὐαγγέλιον, translated "gospel," is used to designate various glad tidings or good news. When, for instance, we read of "the gospel of the kingdom" (that is to say, of the good news that God was going to establish His kingdom on earth), this is quite a different good news from that of the intervention of God in grace for salvation. It must also be observed that when we find the expression "the gospel of God," the word speaks to us of God as the source of the good news; whilst when the expression is "the gospel of Christ," it is Christ who is presented as being the subject of this good news. Some other analogous modes of expression will not be passed unnoticed by the attentive reader.

195 We should add that this word εὐαγγέλιον (gospel) is not common to all the sacred writers, and that we do not find it in the Greek text of Luke, John, James, or Jude. Peter only makes use of it once; in Paul, on the contrary, that great herald of the glad tidings, we meet with it very frequently, but in different acceptations. Matthew uses it four times, always adding the words "of the kingdom." Of all the evangelists, Mark is the only one who employs this word several times in the sense which we now usually give it; and this is readily accounted for by the fact that Mark is particularly occupied with Christ as proclaiming the word, and that he makes no mention of the circumstances which accompanied the birth of our Lord, but begins with the glad tidings at once, and ends his narrative with the commission entrusted by the Lord to His disciples, without giving — as the other evangelists have done — an especial character to that mission. He says merely, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the glad tidings to every creature." The reader will however observe that even in Mark the word is not used independently of the idea of the coming of the kingdom, for it is there written "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has drawn nigh; repent ye, and believe in the glad tidings." This coming of the kingdom is a very different thing from the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, although these events took place before the setting up of the kingdom, and were in fact necessary to it. It is evident that, before the accomplishment of the fact, the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus could not be preached as glad tidings, men being then called on to believe in a living Christ.

Finally and in a general way it may be said that the word "gospel," having by itself the meaning of good news declared, serves to express the preaching of the truth, as well as the truth preached; and that the word is used sometimes in the one, and sometimes in the other, of these two senses. Thus the study of the text will shew that there are, both in Mark and in the Epistles of Paul, some passages in which the word "gospel" is used to point out a system of doctrine, the purport of the message of glad tidings, and not the act of proclaiming it. Elsewhere, when Paul says (1 Cor. 9:14) that "the Lord has ordained that they who preach the gospel should live of the gospel," these men preach a doctrine, but they do not live of a doctrine; it is of their service that they live, while preaching the doctrine. In verse 18 of the same chapter Paul speaks of "his right in the gospel," that is, in his service as a preacher; and again, in Philippians 4:15, he points out by the expression "the beginning of the gospel" the beginning of the preaching of these glad tidings.

196 It was important to preserve the distinction which the word makes between the expression (an extremely vague one however) of ἅδης, the invisible place, where the souls of men go after death, and that of γέεννα, the place of torment. We have therefore retained the Greek word ἅδης, hades.

Neither ought we to lose sight of the important difference that exists between the expressions, δοῦλος, διάκονος, and ὑπηρέτης. We have retained for the first, the term (of evil sound in the present day) of slave; the διάκονος was a man who served at table or elsewhere, without being, on that account, a slave; the ὑπηρέτης, originally a rower in a galley, was an official servant, such for instance as an "apparitor." When the text does not allow us to render these differences into French, we have given the Greek word in a note.

The reader will find the somewhat singular expression "the way" in Acts 9:2; 19:9, 23. We have translated it literally from the Greek, not doubting but that it was a nickname given to Christianity, as at all times the world has invented one for true piety.

We have rendered the Greek word προσκυνέω, by "do homage"; this expression applying in Greek to every kind of reverential action, from the simple act of bowing to a superior up to the adoration of God Himself. The reader will easily decide on the character of the homage, by considering who the person is to whom it is rendered, and who it is that renders it.

We frequently find in the Acts the participle of the verb σέβεσθαι with the sense of "who serves God." We call attention to this expression because it indicates a class of persons who, although they were not Jews, shunned the vanity and the defilements of Paganism, and took part in the Jewish worship. See Acts 13:43, 50; 16:14; 17:4, 17; 18:7, 13. We also find the same expression in Matthew 15:5; Mark 7:7; and Acts 19:27; used in the ordinary sense of worshipping, whether it be a Jew worshipping Jehovah, or a heathen his false gods.

197 The equivocal meaning of the word "call," which signifies alike "to give a name," or "to invite a person to come to us, or into some position," makes the use of this word difficult when it is attached to the term "saint" or "apostle." In the absence of a better expression we have nevertheless retained it. Romans 1:6-7;  8:28; 1 Corinthians 1:1-2, 24; Jude 1; Revelation 17:14. To translate it, as has been done, by "called [to be] saints," is to pervert the sense; "who are called saints" is still worse. To give the exact meaning, it should be said "saints by call," the persons in question having become saints by the call of God; and the reader will do well to remember this in the passages we have named.

The meaning of the adjective ψυχικός, animal, which the reader will find in 1 Corinthians 2:14; 15:44, 46; and James 3:15; may present some difficulty when thus applied, whether to the moral condition, or to the body, of a man. We think it well, therefore, to remark that, in these passages, the word indicates that which, like the first Adam, lives by virtue of the possession of a soul, and not by the mighty energy of the Holy Ghost. The same Greek word ψυχικός is found also in Jude 19, where we could hardly employ the term "animal," and have therefore replaced it by "natural."

The Greek word ὅσιος demands also a little explanation, as in Acts 13:34-35. There is no question but that the word is used in the New Testament, as also in the Septuagint, in the sense of "holy," (see 1 Tim. 2:8; Titus 1:8; Heb. 7:26; Rev. 15:4), although the word usually translated "holy" is ἅγιος. The proper sense of ὅσιος is pious, compassionate, that which is not profane, and it is applied to Christ, in whom is summed up all the benevolence and the goodness of God towards men, as well as perfect piety. This application of the word comes out in a very remarkable way in Psalm 89, where the expression is used by the sacred writer to designate the lovingkindnesses of God towards Israel, which are centred in David, and the promises made to David and his seed, that is to say, to Christ (verses 1-4). The same expression is applied in verse 19 to the person in whom all these mercies are centred, in contrast with the other word that is usually rendered by "holy," and which is employed in verse 18 with respect of Jehovah. The word in Acts 13:34 that is translated "the sure mercies of David" is the same as that which is translated "thine Holy one" in verse 35 of the same chapter, as well as in Acts 2:27; and these holinesses or mercies, which are made sure by the resurrection of Jesus, the Holy One who was not to see corruption, are the same mercies which are set forth in Psalm 89; see verses 29-39.

198 The reader will remember that the words enclosed in brackets [ ] are added to the text. They are not found in the Greek. The genius of the French language requires the addition. But we desire to call the reader's attention more particularly to a few cases of this, especially in Paul's Epistles, and chiefly in those to the Romans and Galatians, in which the introduction of the article might possibly alter the meaning. Thus, for instance, before the word "law," the article tends to make the reader think that it is the law of Moses which is spoken of. In these cases, and in others of the same nature, the reader must not fail to notice the brackets, which indicate that the article is not found in the original. This is particularly to be attended to when he meets with such expressions as "under [the] law," or "under [a] law," "by [the] law," etc.

The expression "under sin" (Rom. 3:9) is peculiar, but we have retained it in order not to weaken the moral force of the term, which, in the text, points out the sinful condition (as God views it) which presses upon us, a weight, a power, and on every side; the meaning would be lost if it were translated "in sin," or "subjected to sin."

[*In Romans 6 and elsewhere, we have translated "si nous sommes morts avec Christ," and not "si nous mourûmes avec Christ," being convinced that we render thus more accurately the mind of the apostle, though the true form of the verb is altogether lacking in French. "Nous mourûmes," as an historical tense, presents to the mind only an act which was accomplished at a given moment.*]

Acts 20:28 has been a great perplexity both to critics and translators. It seems to us that this has arisen from not paying sufficient attention to one of the ordinary senses of τοῦ ἰδίου. We read with all the modern editors διὰ τοῦ αἵματος τοῦ ἰδίου, not taking this last word as an adjective agreeing with αἵματος, but as a genitive after αἵματος. Ἴδιος is that which belongs to any one, and, consequently, his family, the people of his house: τὸ ἅιμα τοῦ ἰδίου is the blood of some one who belongs to a person; as a son to a father. The French language requires the addition of a name to the words "his own." We have therefore said "his own [son]," because we know that He who belonged to God, and whom God gave, was His Son.

199 By comparing the expressions ἐπὶ Ἀβιάθαρ (Mark 2:26), ἐπὶ τοῦ βάτου (Mark 12:26), and the analogous form ἐν  Ἠλίᾳ (Rom. 11:2), we have arrived at the conclusion (evident to ourselves at least) that the first should not be rendered "in the days of Abiathar," but that all three designate a section or heading of a book — a section or heading in which is found the recital of the fact in question. We have therefore departed from the ordinary translation, and have said "in [the section, or heading, of] Abiathar"  "in [the section of] the bush."

The translation of Luke 16:9, "that ye may be received," requires justification. The reader can easily convince himself that Luke, in his Gospel, frequently employs the active verb, with the third person of the plural, to express the simple fact which is usually rendered by the passive form, "that they may receive you," for "that ye may be received." Compare chapter 6:38, 44 (twice); 12:20; 14:34, etc.

The expression, "the ends of the ages," which will be found in 1 Corinthians 10:11, is rather strange; but to preserve the sense of the Greek, we could not say, "the last times," any more than "the end of the ages," still less "the end of the world." The end of the ages was not yet come; but all the different dispensations by which God had put Himself in relation with man, so far as they were connected with man's responsibility, had come to one point, and were brought to an end in the death of the Lord Jesus. After that — great as had been His long-suffering — God established a new creation. We have therefore used the literal translation, "the ends of the ages."

In the same epistle to the Corinthians we have used the expression, "speaking with tongues," and our excuse is that the thing designated by this term is as unusual as the term itself. To speak languages, or in different languages, is not at all the apostle's meaning. The divine gift, by which they spoke divers languages without having learnt them, required a name of its own.

We have not known how to avoid the use of the words "offence," "offend," in an acceptation which is not properly French. The Greek word σκάνδαλον means literally a trap, a pitfall, into which animals are drawn by means of a bait; but there are many passages in which this word is used, which could not be rendered by employing the word "snare." In these we have therefore retained (in the absence of a better expression) the usual translation "offend," taking the word σκάνδαλον in its moral sense, as presenting an occasion of falling; or, passively, of finding something to be an occasion of falling.

200 [*The reader who compares our translation with the Greek, will observe, especially in John 6, that we have often omitted the ἐγώ. The Greek language generally admits of the omission of personal pronouns, unless the person designated is to be made prominent; but John often uses this pronoun without the least intention of giving the emphasis which the use of it would give in French. We fear we have even used the word "moi" too frequently after all; but, as its use is a peculiarity of John's style, we were anxious to leave it in wherever this was possible.

There are other expressions in the Gospel of John to which it may be well to draw the reader's attention, because it is difficult to give the force of the Greek in French. Thus the word " venu" in the sentence "venu de Dieu" (John 16:30) is the same as "sorti" of verses 27 and 28 of the same chapter, where we read " Je suis sorti d'auprès de Dieu," the only difference being that of the accompanying preposition. Verses 27 and 28 express the consciousness which the Saviour had of His position with the Father before coming down here; verse 30 the knowledge which the disciples had that He had come from God. Without pretending to have succeeded, we have at least sought to express this difference, which is one of real importance.*]

In the latter chapters of John's Gospel it will be found that in order to maintain the distinction, frequently important, between ἐρωτάω and αἰτέω, we have translated the first by "demand," the second by "ask." There are cases in which either the one or the other word may be used indiscriminately, at other times each is used in a sense peculiar to itself: ἐρωτάω expressing a familiar request where intimacy exists; αἰτέω, the request rather of an inferior with regard to his superior. The disciples employ both of these words in their relations with Jesus; but, in His relations with His Father, Jesus demands, ἐρωτάω, whilst He never employs the word αἰτέω with regard to His Father. For the difference between the two, compare John 16:23.

The words πλεονεκτέω, πλεονέκτης, πλεονεξία, have sometimes a peculiar sense, which it is well to notice. The general idea expressed by the verb πλεονεκτέω, is that of making a gain at the cost of another, appropriating to oneself the goods of another; it is the desire of possessing oneself of something, and often with the accessory idea that crooked means are used for the purpose; and this desire may apply to the wife as well as to the goods (property so called) of another. We have ourselves the conviction that this is the meaning of Ephesians 4:19, 1 Thessalonians 4:6, and perhaps of yet other passages, such as Ephesians 5:3. Nevertheless, as we cannot rest this interpretation on any acknowledged authority, we have not ventured on introducing it into the text. We confine ourselves to the expression of our convictions on this point, adding that the thing in question is at any rate an unlawful desire to possess oneself of something in opposition to good morals; and that, in 1 Thessalonians 4:6, the word "matter" refers to relations with women.

201 The translation of 1 Corinthians 16:15 does not satisfy us. The word ἔταξαν, which we have rendered by "have devoted," signifies to appoint an officer to a regiment, or, in general, a man to any post; but here it concerns a service of love. The family of Stephanas — the first converts in Achaia — moved by their desire to serve the Lord, and by their love for the saints, had placed themselves in that which related to service at the head of the saints. They had taken this place with regard to the saints in order to serve them with all their heart. They were thus established over the saints for the purpose of serving them, but they had appointed themselves to it; and Paul beseeches the saints to obey them.

"Many waters" in Revelation 17:1, is feeble; but we have been unable to do better. The Greek says, "the many waters," that is to say, the great extent, with all its windings and various seas.

In 1 Timothy 5:17, we have found no better word for προίστημι than "preside," although this expression but poorly gives the sense of the Greek, which does not imply any relation with an assembly as does the French word "preside." The word is used to point out the direction or guidance which a father gives to his family, and is applied in general to all those who undertake to direct others in any way whatever. See Romans 12:8; 1  Thessalonians 5:12; 1 Timothy 3:4-5, 12; and, in a different sense, Titus 3:8, 14.

202 [*A difficulty is presented by the Greek preposition following the word βαπτίζω, which cannot possibly be satisfactorily expressed either in French or German. A person is baptized εἰς — becomes attached to something — adjoins himself to something, rallies to it. One adheres to a person by baptism. Thus one is baptized εἰς to the death of Christ, εἰς to Christ Himself, and again εἰς to Moses, εἰς to the remission of sins. The εἰς expressing the object proposed in the baptism, it has been said, " baptiser dans sa mort," but one could not say baptized in Christ, or in Moses; and, moreover, in His death is not the meaning. We have used the word "pour," "for," but it is not quite satisfactory in some cases; for example, "baptisés pour Moïse," though it may be everywhere in such a way so as to give the nearest used approach to the idea of the word εἰς.

There is another Greek form of expression which demands a few words, the meaning being difficult to render into French. I refer to the use of the article before the words πλοῖον, ὄρος, οἶκος, literally in English "boat, mountain, house." The expression "à la maison," and that used in Switzerland, "à la montagne," are analogous idioms: "à la maison" does not mean any particular house, but "at home," "not abroad." In the same way "the mountain" means, in Switzerland, "in the mountains" in general, in contrast with the plains. We are convinced that this is usually the force of the article in the cases we are speaking of (the house, the boat, the mountain). He was on the mountain, not in the plain; on a boat, not on terra firma; in the house, not out of doors. We fear we have now and then been inconsistent with this view. However, "on a mountain" does not quite answer to the force of the Greek, nor does "on a boat." But "the boat," "the mountain," supposes a particular boat and a particular mountain, which supposition is unfounded in the cases we refer to. See Matthew 5:1;  8:23;  9:1; 14:22, 32, where one might have said, "en nacelle" ; 4:21, and 13:2, where one must say "une nacelle"; Mark 1:19;  4:1;  5:18;  6:32;  8:10, 13;  Luke 8:22, 37;  John 6:17, 22, 24;  21:3.

It may be well to add a few words on the Lord's prayer in Luke. We accept, with the majority of the critical authorities, the alterations made in the text by Griesbach, Tischendorf, and others; but, faithful to our principle of altering nothing as to which the chief editors are not agreed, we have retained the received version. We give here what we believe to be the true reading: —

"Père, que ton nom soit sanctifié; que ton règne vienne; donne-nous chaque jour le pain qu'il nous faut; et pardonne-nous nos péchés, car nous-mêmes aussi nous remettons à quiconque nous doit; et ne nous induis pas en tentation." "Father, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; give us day by day our necessary bread; and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive every one that is in debt to us; and bring us not into temptation."*]

203 These few observations made, we place our translation, beloved reader, in your hands. If it contribute to a more exact understanding of the word, it will be owing to the blessing of God having been with us in our undertaking; and it is to God that we also commend the result, in order that He may bestow on it His blessing. We earnestly entreat Him that, by the grace of His Spirit, He will help you to profit by His good and holy word. We trust that we have felt the greatness of our responsibility in venturing to translate the word of God, although we took the work in hand with the desire of reproducing it more faithfully than has yet been done in the French language; but the confidence we felt in the grace of God emboldened us to undertake that which might be useful to souls and tend to glorify Him who alone can bless. May He deign to bestow His blessing on His own word and on yourself in the use of that word!



As many are now interested in such researches through the recovery of the Cod. Sin., I send you a word upon it. It has naturally been a pet child of Tischendorf's, as he found it, and no one can question its value as a witness of importance. But it seems to me, as far as I have examined it, that it is overrated. The Vatican MS is much more correctly written, and in every respect it seems to me superior. There is a considerable number of serious mistakes and omissions in Cod. Sin. I do not know whether I have been more observant from having remarked this somewhat in the synoptical Gospels; but it is particularly faulty in John, or at any rate I have observed the faults. It agrees in a good many readings with D, when D has been alone. The variations in οὖν, δέ, καί are innumerable, but it may be right here; so in the presence and absence of ὁ before proper names. But there are many readings which are clearly wrong. Its family is the same as B, still B stands alone. Of all MSS, for beauty and correctness the Dublin one is the best: I found but one fault in it. It agrees with the Sinaiticus and B in character, but is superior to both. Whether all its readings be correct is another question. But according to this family it is the first in correctness. The Sinaiticus very often agrees with Vercel. among the Latins. I would mention another fact: Brixianus as a rule always agrees with the ordinary modern text, as A in the Gospels. I do not pretend to account for this and other facts connected with the history of the text as one learned in such matters; but I thought the facts I have observed might be interesting to some of your readers.

As many have been disposed to think they could judge of the text by Tischendorf's publication in English, let me add that, much as we are indebted, as everyone knows, to Tischendorf for his diligent and careful labours (which I should be the first to acknowledge), this publication seems to me an unhappy one. We have the text according to that ordinarily received (T. R.), and then three ancient MSS to throw doubt on all and decide nothing. Ordinary facts, such as A being not Alexandrian in the Gospels, are of course unknown to ordinary readers, who are then in uncertainty without resource. Now while the most ancient MSS will as a general rule have the most weight, and where A and B agree (in the Gospels) go far to decide a question, yet the simple fact of diplomatic or documentary evidence cannot decide everything. Some of the MSS which exist were made before so large a destruction of Bibles took place in the last persecution, and versions earlier than any come in as a check on MSS. There is nothing to make any serious person uneasy as to the text, but it is laborious care, not rapid decision, which secures what is right. When I find such facts as this — two leaves torn out of Veronensis — a translation made in the second century, and a MS as early perhaps as any we have, so that what precedes is lost too — in order to take away John 8:1-11; gaps left in others designedly, and Augustine telling us of copies of little credit leaving out for the sake of morality — these documentary evidences do not suffice to shew it an interpolation. So in the end of Mark it will be found that Matthew takes the disciples to Galilee, and there is no ascension; Luke on the other hand gives the ascension, the Lord leading them out to Bethany — introducing two distinct and important characters of Christ's connection with His disciples. Now Mark up to the end of verse 8 gives us the view found in Matthew; from verse 9 to the end the heavenly associations of Christ with His disciples. I am not prepared to say as to the history of the text how this was so arranged, nor do I (to say the truth) find that others can; nor do I blame them. But while MS authority must be our main resource, no one can deny that tendencies that vitiated the text were as early as any MS, and such we have to watch. Cod. Sin. is in one place evidently changed to avoid a question as to the Virgin Mary's having had other children. Let not the simple reader be dismayed at this: other MSS are a counter check; and while there is the imperfection of copyists, there is not the uncertainty which many would gladly say there is, and which the absence of research would lead persons to fancy.

J. N. D.