"AS I SEE IT" 

Volume 13, Number 6, June 2010

 

“I too will have my say; I too will tell what I know.

For I am full of words, and the spirit within me compels me;

Inside I am like bottled-up wine, like new wineskins ready to burst.

I must speak and find relief; I must open my lips and reply.

I will show partiality to no one.  Nor will I flatter any man.”

Job 32:17-21

 

“That which ordinary men are fit for I am qualified in, and the best of me is diligence.”

Earl of Kent

Shakespeare’s King Lear

Act I, scene iv, ll. 32-34

 

[“As I See It” is a monthly electronic magazine compiled and edited by Doug Kutilek.  Its purpose is to address important issues of the day and to draw attention to worthwhile Christian and other literature in order to aid believers in Jesus Christ, especially pastors, missionaries and Bible college and seminary students to more effectively study and teach the Word of God.  The editor’s perspective is that of an independent Baptist of fundamentalist theological persuasion.

 

AISI is sent free to all who request it by writing to the editor at: DKUTILEK@juno.com.  You can be removed from the mailing list at the same address.  Back issues sent on request.  All back issues may be accessed at http://www.KJVOnly.org

 

All articles are by the editor (unless otherwise noted) and are copyrighted but may be reproduced for distribution, provided the following conditions are met: 1. articles must be reproduced in unedited, unabridged form; 2. the writer must be properly credited; and, 3. such reproduction must be for free distribution only.  Permission to distribute in any other form must be secured in writing beforehand.  Permission for reproduction in Christian print periodicals will generally be given upon request.]

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The Greek New Testament--the Greatest Book in the World

 

“The second secret of a successful life, here unveiled to us, is familiarity with the Holy Scriptures.  It is said of [E. W.] Hengstenberg [1802-1869], the famous [OT] scholar, that on one occasion in the presence of his students, he took up a Greek New Testament and said, ‘Young gentlemen, within the covers of this book, all the wisdom of the ages is concentrated.’  If I might contribute my little word of witness on this great subject, I have found in the patient study of the Word of God in the original tongues, which began when I was twelve years of age, the fountain of the highest knowledge and wisdom--knowledge is only the accumulation of information, but wisdom is skill and sagacity in the use of knowledge.  That one book imparts both, and is itself a library as well as an encyclopedia.  To the fervent, devout and careful student that one book brings the advantages of a university education.  All the treasures of divine wisdom and knowledge that can be communicated to man, are hid in this thesaurus or treasury of God.  And those who, from beginning to end, revere it as the Word of God, those who study it daily, systematically, and prayerfully, those who believe it to be the utterance of the Holy Ghost, and therefore to be illumined properly to our understanding and heart only by the Holy Ghost, and who both expect and receive divine guidance in searching into these wonders, will find in the Bible everything that stimulates the noblest thought, the purest love, the most correct conscientious judgment, and the holiest and firmest resolve.”

A. T. Pierson,

From the Pulpit to the Palm-Branch

[funeral services for Charles H. Spurgeon]

edited by W. Y. Fullerton

London: Passmore and Alabaster, 1892

pp. 251-2

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A Mentor’s Recommendations

 

Note: I was recently asked to serve as “mentor” for a student taking courses in a Bible college.  I compiled a selection of practical suggestions for this student.  Perhaps my suggestions to him may be of some use to others.

 

1. Begin keeping a journal, to record your thoughts, life events, ideas, quotes found in reading, observations, plans, etc.  This will serve you well for review, reflection, and more.  I have kept a regular (though not daily) journal since 1977.  I have tried bound (blank-book) and spiral notebooks, and prefer the latter (I have about 60 volumes of journals).  And you should go back from time to time and re-read what you wrote (I recently re-read my journal for most of 2009).  It will remind you of things that ever-so-quickly slip from memory.

 

2. Keep a list of all books you read, noting author, title, date, total pages, and an evaluation (“review”) of the book, noting good and bad points.  I commonly make my own index--written inside the back cover--of every book I read of thoughts, quotes, information, etc. that were of interest to me, or that I may wish to access in the future.  Often times, a mere glance at a list of books I read 5, 10, even 20 years ago will stir up memories of their contents, memories buried deep in my mind and not consciously remembered in years.  This list can be kept either as a computer file or as a hard copy.  Keeping this list of books read as a database allows sorting by author, title, date, etc., which facilitates answering the questions--how many books have I read by this author?  When did I read such and such a book?  How many times have I read this volume?  Obviously, what we read affects what we know, and how we perceive things.  Tell me what books a man has read, and which ones he values most, and I will tell you what he is.

 

3. Compile a continuing list of books you need / ought / want to read, and then actually set about to read them.  I almost always write up on January 1 a list of 15-20 books I want to read “this year” though I rarely get more than a handful of them read--other books snatch away my attention.  A couple of years ago, I without design had read 7 of the top 10 books on the New York Times non-fiction best-sellers list (I’m sure that has never happened before, and will almost certainly never happen again).  There are some authors of whom, over a period of years or even decades, you will want to read the whole of their literary output.

 

Set an annual goal of reading that you are capable of, and then set it a bit higher, to challenge yourself.  I personally try to read 50 books / year, or 1,000 pages per month.  I usually come close to one or the other, and occasionally exceed them both (though this past year was my poorest in quantity of reading in a decade or more).  Of course, it is better to read fewer good books well, than to merely gorge your mind with reading.  As Sir Richard Baxter is quoted as having said, "It is not the reading of many books which is necessary to make a man wise or good, but the well-reading of a few, could he be sure to have the best."

 

In an average lifetime at 50 books / year, a man could read 3,000 books, more or less.  Since you are mortal and your time limited, and the number of “worthwhile” books (to say nothing of the mediocre ones) greatly exceeds your reading capacity, read the best whenever you can find it, and don’t waste time--or money--on inferior and second-rate works.  Seek out and get and read the best, even if they are more expensive or more challenging.

 

Of course, determining what books are worth reading, are “essential reading,” or “not worth reading” is the problem.  The best guide is to ask people who read a lot.  You will soon discover whose opinion is worthwhile and whose isn’t.  Seek to read the best two or three books on a subject; read them closely, and you will be well-informed on the subject they cover

 

Constantly be on the lookout for areas of deficiency in your personal knowledge, and set about to fill these deficiencies.  It may seem a bit odd to ask yourself--“What is it that I ought to know, but do not?” but do so anyway, and then seek to repair the defect.  Of course, there is nothing which so exposes a man’s ignorance as extensive reading--you discover whole vast territories of information that you didn’t even know that you didn’t know.  In reading, knowledge increases arithmetically, while discovered ignorance grows geometrically.

 

Deliberately seek out old “classics” and read them along with newer books. C. S. Lewis suggested alternating in read--first a “modern” book, then an old.  While a “classic” has been cynically defined as “a book everyone has heard about but nobody reads,” many such books have attained lasting fame for reasons of real merit. 

 

Keep a list of books you “want”; birthdays and Christmas happen to every one, and someone just might ask--“what do you want for your birthday?”  A list ready to hand makes the answer easy.

 

4. Begin to build a good personal library of reference books.  A library need not be large to be adequate, assuming it has been well-chosen and well-used.  More than half the books I own are such that I could dispose of them without loss were I on campus at a Bible college or seminary with access to their library for occasional reference, but since I am isolated and am forced to fall back on my own resources, I have acquired and kept a large number of “just in case the subject comes up” books.  And sure enough, from time to time, a subject comes up, and I have at hand the necessary resources to address the matter.  This happened about 15 years ago.  I was scheduled to teach in Romania a course on “cults,” including the Jehovah’s Witnesses.  I had in my library three good books on that cult, all purchased in the 1970s, and all unused until the teaching of that course fell to me.  And in the mid-1990s, all three were out of print and unavailable.  Had I not purchased them 20 years earlier, I would not have had them when I needed them.

 

I have compiled a list of about 100 or so essential books for reference purposes and if a man had nothing more, he could exhaust himself for decades thoroughly mastering these.  I will send the list by e-mail [and on request to any readers--editor].  Many of these as well as other books are often available on CD or in some other electronic format.  I personally very much prefer “paper and ink” books over anything displayed on a computer screen (unless it is otherwise not accessible). 

 

5. Begin a chronological list of every Bible message you teach or preach, noting text (or topic), date, place, occasion and attendance (estimate this latter figure).  Again, this can be kept manually or on computer (but be sure and regularly back up and keep a copy remotely if you do).  This list is valuable for a number of reasons--it will keep you from giving the same message to the same audience (I’ve done that before!); negatively, it will show you what subjects you have neglected to teach or preach.  Etc.  I did not start to keep such a list until the early 1990s when I began going to Romania (there it proved essential, since I speak so often in so many places--in some places just once, in others hundreds of times).  Your list can also be consulted when you are looking for a message topic or text--in the nature of the case, I taught the same lesson to jail inmates about once every 7-8 months when I was active in that ministry, since there was constant turn over in the jail, and many Biblical passages are ideally suited for such an audience.  When I was preparing for a Bible study at the jail and was stuck for a text or topic, consulting my list brought ideas immediately to mind.

 

And keep on file a copy of every outline you prepare, though I will admit to having trouble deciding how to file them--in Biblical order by text?  In chronological order by date?  In logical order by topic?  A copy under each of these orders?  Being mostly unable to decide, many of my hardcopy outlines are conserved in a jumbled stack several inches thick.

 

6. Read well-selected periodicals.  I receive about 8-10 periodicals (some monthly, some bimonthly, some quarterly), some I read all through, others just what interests me.  Among those I read are The Biblical Evangelist edited by Robert Sumner; Acts & Facts from the Institute of Creation Research; Answers from Answers in Genesis; Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society; Biblical Archaeology Review; and a small handful of others.  Let me also recommend to you “As I See It” which I edited and publish myself.  It is impossible to read anything more than a small fraction of the flood of periodic literature, but reading from it selectively will help you keep “current” with trends and news, etc.  By the way, I don’t read the daily newspaper, partly because its news is mostly stale, and besides I don’t like the leftist political slant of the local paper (I get most of my news electronically--television, radio, internet).  And the newspaper can be quite time-consuming (G. Campbell Morgan never read the newspaper in the morning--he reserved that time for his ministry studies).

 

7. Prepare a plan of what you currently think you want to do ministry-wise for the next 5, 10, 20 and 50 years (such schemes are always subject to revision and mid-course changes).  And then write out the means necessary to reach these goals.  Having specific aims, goals, or direction always motivates me to try just a bit harder and achieve a bit more.

 

8. Make it a fixed purpose in your heart that you will study and learn as opportunity presents itself (or you make your own opportunity) Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic and Latin, plus one or two modern foreign languages (Spanish and German are both good, as would be French or Italian or Romanian--the list is endless!).  Knowledge of languages, besides facilitating Bible study, will greatly improve your knowledge and mastery of English, and enhance your writing and speaking style.  The older I get, the more I value my knowledge of foreign languages, and the more I see the need to expand it yet more.

 

9. Begin writing regularly--topical studies, technical research papers, devotional articles, etc.  Then go back and revise, correct, improve, etc. (and keep a list of all your writings that get published).  At first, you might find it beneficial to imitate the style of one or more good writers, as you develop your own style.  The spoken word is ephemeral at best; the written word is more permanent.  “The writing that men do lives after them.”

 

10. Keep a daily and an annual list of your Bible reading--I do this on a pocket calendar.  In my case, I record any chapters completed, and the language read in (last year I read more of the Bible in Spanish, and Romanian than in English, and almost as much in German).  At the end of the year, I compile the numbers and examine them.  This will help you evaluate your Bible reading.  Again, reading intensively (closely and carefully) is better than merely reading extensively (much, but not with attention).  Not uncommonly, I may read the same Bible chapter four times in a single day, in as many different languages.  This compels close attention, and yields a fuller understanding than a single reading, or even multiple readings, in English alone.  It would also be worth your while over a period of years to read in their entirety four or five of the best English versions--NIV, NASB, ESV, HCSB, etc.--regardless of what version you regularly read from.

 

11. Begin a topical filing system for the collection of clippings, articles, etc. on topics that are likely to come up in your ministry or that interest you, and make a separate folder for each topic (my filing system, in some disarray, probably has 500-800 separate folders, maybe more, in half a dozen filing cabinets.  I’ve been needing to up-date it, purge it of some extraneous stuff, and reorganize it, but how much fun would that be?).

 

12. Become “expert” in one or more areas that interest you--I myself have an above average knowledge of Spurgeon, Baptist history, Bible versions, textual criticism, the American Civil War, Scientific creationism and apologetics, trees and grasses, agriculture and gardening, linguistics, Samuel Johnson, etc.  I have read and continue to read extensively in all these areas (on the other hand, I know next to nothing about counseling, church growth techniques, church administration, Oriental history and culture, oceanography, etc.).

 

In all of these suggestions, there is the common thread of progress in usefulness, growth in knowledge, efficiency in ministry, and avoiding that deadly sin of stagnation.  This isn’t all the advice I have to give, but it is a start.

---Doug Kutilek

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Blissful Ignorance

 

TVA Erosion Man: “Perhaps we can show you a little something about scientific agriculture.”

 

Georgia Cracker: “Well, sir, I’ve run through three farms, and pretty well used up this one.  You can’t tell me nothing about farming.”

 

Rich Land, Poor Land by Stuart Chase

New York: Whittlesey House, 1936; p. 281

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“Sticking by the Stuff”

 

It is not uncommon to hear, when someone is commending a preacher or a Christian worker who has persevered through many years under very trying circumstances, such circumstances as would make most people quit, that “He stuck by the stuff,” meaning, he was faithful in spite of the trials and troubles. 

 

The phrase, to "stick by the stuff" is a quasi-Biblical phrase, albeit not at all in the sense in which it is commonly and regularly used by preachers.  In I Samuel 25:13, KJV, we read about some of David's men who "abode by the stuff"; in I Samuel 30:24, KJV, there were men who "tarrieth by the stuff” (the change from "abode" or "tarrieth" to "stuck" in common parlance is probably due to the alliteration and assonance of “stuck” with "stuff").  In the latter passage, especially, these were men too weak and faint to go in pursuit of marauders who had raided David's camp and plundered it, so David left them behind to guard the camp, a thing for which they were harshly criticized by some who did go to battle. 

 

More recent translations clarify the meaning: the NIV, for example, has "stayed with the supplies" in both cases.  In short, in the quaint archaic language of the KJV, "to stick by the stuff" is no compliment, but a declaration that a person did not go forth and participate in the battle and struggle with the enemy.  David did come to their defense when they were set upon by others of his men.  Yes, I know, “they also serve who only stand and wait,” as Milton put it.

---Doug Kutilek

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Pathological “Narcissism”

 

"Narcissism, in a simplified sense, can become pathological, either by excess or defect.  The pathological excess of narcissism expresses itself in traits of pride, hypersensitivity, demandingness, a sense of entitlement and specialness, the expectation of privilege, special consideration, and the desire for recognition beyond what has been merited." (Quoted from "The Character of Erasmus" by Nelson H. Minnich and W. W. Meissner, The American Historical Review, 83:3, June 1978, p. 602, n. 16)

 

Can you say Bill Clinton?  Hillary?  the Obamas?  Al Gore?  All of the Kennedys?  Many of the news media talking heads?

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Do Text Variants in Greek New Testaments Affect Doctrine?

 

“Mr. Kutilek:

 

Re: your claim that there are no doctrinal issues in the different published Bible texts--

 

You obviously haven't really looked for doctrinal issues in the Bible texts, or don't know the definition of "doctrine."

 

Listen to Dr. D.A. Waite, who has affectively [sic] pointed out the doctrinal differences of the TR and the Westcott and Hort texts.  biblefortoday.org.

 

J---- S-----“

 

---

 

Mr. S-----:

 

Let me call to the "witness stand" Dean John William Burgon, whose name and reputation Mr. Waite has co-opted for the name of his KJVOnly society.  On the subject of whether the English Revised Version NT (1881) with all its variations from the KJV and the textus receptus corrupts or distorts Bible doctrine, Burgon wrote: "Let it be also candidly admitted that, even where (in our judgment) the Revisionists have erred, they have never had the misfortune seriously to obscure a single feature of Divine Truth," (The Revision Revised, p. 232).

 

I have never found Burgon--EVER--to attack the theology of either Westcott or Hort as heterodox (they were all Anglicans, after all, just like the KJV translators).  And your appeal to Waite as authority is laughable--this is the same D. A. Waite who assured the world that Gail Riplinger was the real deal, a reliable and respected authority, who, as it turns out, just happened to publicly LIE about whether she had been thrice married and twice divorced.  This same Waite was "particeps criminis" is helping the now-dead D. O. Fuller obscure and conceal the fact that Benjamin G. Wilkinson, author of nearly half of "Which Bible?" was a high-ranking member of the Seventh-day Adventist cult.

 

And Waite himself has a horrible track record of willfully misrepresenting the views of Westcott on the inspiration of the Bible, the Deity of Christ and His bodily resurrection, as Jim May has fully documented and demonstrated, after reading some 4,200 pages of Westcott's writings [see May’s articles posted at www.kjvonly.org].  The only person worse in this regard is D. O. Fuller who knowingly severely distorted Spurgeon's views, and grossly misrepresented those of Robert Dick Wilson.  Apparently you, Waite and Fuller are unclear on the definitions of honesty, integrity, and accuracy.

 

If you have any interest in the facts, see the attached items I have written.

 

Doug Kutilek 

 

Attachments:

 

--“What Did John William Burgon Really Believe about the Textus Receptus and the King James Version?”  AISI 1:6

 

--An Answer to David Otis Fuller: Fuller’s Deceptive Treatment of Spurgeon Regarding the King James Version.  Pilgrim Publications, 1991

 

--“Robert Dick Wilson: How Fuller Misrepresented His Views,” AISI 7:11

 

--“The Great ‘Which Bible?’ Fraud,” Baptist Biblical Heritage, Summer 1990, Vol. I, No. 2]

---

Note: I have specifically addressed in previous issues of “As I See It” the question of textual variants in printed Greek New Testaments, and whether these affect the Bible doctrines of blood atonement (see “Do ‘Critical’ New Testament Greek Texts Subvert the Doctrine of Blood Atonement? AISI 5:8) and the virgin birth (“Variant Readings and the Virgin Birth,” AISI 7:3).  My conclusion is that they do not in the least alter the Bible doctrines involved.--editor   

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BOOK REVIEWS

 

Sword of San Jacinto: A Life of Sam Houston by Marshall de Bruhl.  New York: Random House, 1993.  446 pp., hardback.

 

In a previous issue, we reviewed another biography of Sam Houston (1793-1863), namely Sam Houston and the American Southwest by Randolph B. Campbell (AISI 4:4), in which we briefly sketched the extraordinary life and career of this famous man.  Later we wrote on the life of Houston in more detail, with considerable attention to Houston’s religious conversion in his 60s, along with some accounting of several Houston biographies in “Sam Houston: Sinner Saved by Grace,” (AISI 7:2).  Therefore, we will refrain from a detailed treatment of his life as presented in this current work, other than to say that this book is worthwhile reading, more up-to-date than Marquis James’ biography, and more readily available, though de Bruhl, as with all previous biographers, failed to unravel the mysterious cause of the break-up of Houston’s first marriage after just 3 months.  De Bruhl also is unjustifiably more cynical and less sympathetic toward the Baptist faith of Houston’s third wife, and Houston’s own religious conversion than the other authors I have read.  Unfortunately, the documentation is shoved to the back of the book, rather than being placed at the foot of the page where it of right belongs.  There are numerous illustrations and photos enhancing the book’s value.

 

The reader unfamiliar with the life of Houston is encouraged to remedy this defect; this present volume will serve well toward that end.

---Doug Kutilek

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Arrows of Desire by F. W. Boreham.  London: Epworth Press, 1951.  143 pp., hardback.

 

It is a rarity for me, at considerably past 50, to discover a “new” (to me at least) author whose writings are genuinely worthwhile, interesting and informative, but F. W. Boreham (1871-1959) decidedly fits that description.  I first read about him in Warren Wiersbe’s Walking with the Giants (Baker, 1976), pp. 152-160, and thought then about getting a book or two of his and giving him a try, but the used copies I found seemed considerably over-priced, and so I let it slide.  Besides, I’m not much of a sermon reader since experience has taught me that published sermons rarely have the freshness or depth of instruction necessary to make the time invested in reading them worth the while, at least for me.  More recently an editor friend gave Boreham a high recommendation, which was reinforced the same day by a pastor who had read virtually the whole of Boreham’s works.  So, I threw caution to the wind and bought two used volumes (I got them at a discount, to boot).  I was not disappointed, but was in fact very much pleased.

 

A native of England, Boreham grew up in the Anglican religion, but being convinced of the truth of believer’s immersion for baptism, he became a Baptist.  In preparing for the ministry, he sought and gained admission to Spurgeon’s Pastors’ College--reportedly the last student personally interviewed and admitted by Spurgeon before his own death in January 1892.  After graduation, Boreham entered the ministry in New Zealand, later also serving as pastor in Tasmania and Australia.  He retired from the pastorate at 57 in 1928, but continued writing and publishing until his death more than 30 years later.  And prolific author he was.  He wrote some 3,000 essays / editorials for publication in Tasmania and Australia over a period of 47 years, and published 46 books.  Some of these books are sermons, including a famous series of 122 sermons on Biblical texts that transformed individual lives (e.g., Isaiah 45:22, Spurgeon’s text), while other volumes were from the beginning in written, rather than spoken, form.

 

Boreham was a voluminous reader--he aimed at reading at least one book per week, and had a great interest in biographies and autobiographies--no doubt the major source of wealth of interesting information he fills his pages with. 

 

In this my first exposure to Boreham, I found him consistently informative, interesting, and readable--things I cannot often say when encountering a new religious writer.  I discovered previously unknown details about numerous famous people (including Spurgeon, Gladstone, Dickens and Lewis Carroll), and was introduced to others whose names I had never before heard.  I shall be reading my second Boreham book shortly, and hunting up others of his titles.

---Doug Kutilek

 

(Wiersbe’s sketch of Boreham, to which can be added the Wikipedia entry under “Frank W. Boreham,” will provide all the necessary details for the reader interested in acquainting himself further with Boreham).

---

Quotes from Arrows of Desire--

 

“A cannibal sees no essential or fundamental difference between a man and a beast: they are both good to eat, especially the man.” (p. 10)

 

“What is the ultimate end of all education?  It is good, of course, to initiate a child’s mind into the mysteries of cube roots, physical geography and algebraic equations.  But all this is largely a means to an end.  That end is the development of his mind and character.  He must be taught reading and writing and arithmetic; but he must also be trained, in the fuller light that his teachers bring to him, to detect the difference between the beautiful and the gaudy, between courage and bravado, between liberty and license.  It is for want of such insight that a man may mistake a daub for a masterpiece, a plausible scoundrel for a knight in shining armour, a hypocrite for a saint.” (p. 10)

 

“Following the same line of personal evolution, he will learn, as the light grows from dawn to noon-day, to distinguish between Faith and superstition, between a well-grounded Hope and a nebulous, Micawber-like expectation, and between Love on the one hand and sentimentality on the other.” (p. 10)

 

“The Cross never finds its rightful place in a man’s heart until, as in the experiences of Francis and of Spurgeon, it takes his breath away.” (p. 46)

 

“The two [i.e., Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver] were alike also in their profound conviction, reached quite independently, that their kith and kin were heading for stark tragedy unless, by careful education and vocational training, they could be fitted for the freedom they were destined to enjoy.” (p. 58)

 

“[George Washington Carver] used to say that the transformation of the plantations [of the American South] began on the day on which, falling upon his knees, he asked God to tell him why He had created the peanut.” (p. 61)

 

“Literature, like Nature, is red in tooth and claw.  Writers are a savage race.  If the best authorities are to be believed, the woman who is thinking of marrying an author had far better take her chance with a gorilla, a boa constrictor, a hyena or a polar bear.” (p. 120)

 

Quoting Charles Dickens’ letter to his youngest son, written in 1868 as the son departed England for Australia: “I need not tell you that I love you dearly, and am very, very sorry in my heart to part with you.  I have put a New Testament among your books because it is the best book that ever was, or will be, known in the world.  As your brothers have gone away, one by one, I have written to each such words as I am now writing to you, entreating them all to guide themselves by this Book.  Only one thing more.  Never abandon the practice of private prayer.  I know the comfort of it.” (p. 129).

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The English Bible: An External and Critical History of the Various English Translations of Scripture, vol. II, by John Eadie.  London: Macmillan & Co. 1876.  Reprint by BiblioLife, Charleston, SC.  No date.  504 pp., paperback.  $28.14

 

I sought long and hard for a copy of this highly-praised important work on the history of the translation of the Bible into English, and only recently met with success, locating via Amazon this reprint of vol. II only (whether volume I has also been reprinted, I cannot discover).  Its contents exceeded my high expectations.

 

John Eadie (1810-1876), a Scottish Presbyterian, was both pastor and professor, and a voluminous writer, most famous today for his warm-hearted exegetical commentaries on several of Paul’s epistles, commentaries often reprinted, and still available.  Eadie served, until his death, as one of the translators of the English Revised Version of the NT (published 1881). [See both The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge and Wikipedia for informative articles about Eadie’s life and labors].

 

This volume simply overflows with detailed information about English Bible translations, beginning with the Geneva versions (NT-1557; whole Bible 1560; with later revisions), then treating the Bishops’ Bible, the Roman Catholic Douay-Rheims version, the King James Version, and finally the English Revised Version of 1881 (in progress at the time of original publication).  We are informed regarding each of these versions on the subjects of its translators, their designs and intent, their achievements and failures, the various subsequent editions of each version, its historic influence and destiny.  Particular attention is given to the numerous variants in the many editions of the KJV and the lack of anything approaching a “standard” edition. 

 

The latter part of the work is a series of chapters justifying, indeed showing the absolute necessity of undertaking a thorough revision of the KJV, as the ERV committee was then doing, due to the KJV’s archaisms, excessive use of synonyms, failures to draw distinctions found in the original, inaccuracies, defective readings, misprints, and more.  Eadie’s criticisms of the KJV are hardly ever tied to textual variants, which he rarely addresses, but to how the translators failed to adequately and accurately translate the Greek text before them.  He demonstrates that even if there were no textual variants between the textus receptus / KJV on the one hand, and Westcottt-Hort / ERV (or later similar texts and versions, such as Nestle / NASB) on the other, the KJV would still have demonstrable failures in translation--yes, genuine errors and mistranslations--that cry out for correction and revision.

 

I would challenge all KJVOnly advocates to read with care and attention--and an open mind--chapters 50-58, pp. 337-484, in which Eadie sets forth the causes which compelled making a revision of the KJV, and then let them try to still defend the claim that the KJV is a perfect version, beyond correction or improvement.

 

There are occasional errors in Eadie’s work.  He accepts the discredited story that the KJV NT was printed in America as early as 1742 (which edition allegedly bore a bogus title page, falsely naming the place of publication as London), repeatedly mis-identifies the printer of the first English Bible in America as “Arthur” rather than “Aitken” and claims, against all evidence I can discover, that the Geneva Bible was printed in America in 1743 (pp. 309, 310). 

 

Of the many variant readings in the various KJV editions which Eadie lists, one that was new to me, and of considerable interest, was the printer’s error (in I Timothy 2:5?--he doesn’t give the reference): “three is one God” for the correct “there is one God,” a reading found in three KJV editions published by Eyre & Strahan in 1812, 1820 and 1822.  No doubt, if the original KJV had had this misprint, today’s modern KJVO partisans would insist that this is the correct reading, because it supports the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity, regardless of its lack of Greek manuscript support (KJVOers still blindly defend as correct the printer’s error of “at”--“strain at a gnat” for the certainly correct “out” [Matthew 23:24] and the probable type-setter’s error of “faith” for the correct “hope” [Hebrews 10:23]).

 

There is so much detailed and reliable information about English Bible translations from the 1550s to the 1870s in this volume that it must be deemed “essential reading” if one is to be well-informed on this needlessly controversial topic.

---Doug Kutilek

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Quote from The English Bible, vol. II, by John Eadie-

 

In evaluating Brian Walton’s Polyglot Bible, John “Owen totally mistook the nature of textual criticism, when he defined it as an attempt ‘to correct the Scriptures . . . to correct the Word of God . . . to amend it at the pleasure of men, so that men have no choice but to turn atheists or papists.’  The mistake is a glaring one, for the aim of criticism is not to amend the original, but simply to restore it, if possible, to its first and genuine shape.  The question was not one of speculation, but of fact and eyesight.” (p. 340)

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