Our Bible

FFF 13:2 (Feb 1967)

Our Bible

Edward F. Armstrong

“For the scripture came never by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” — 2 Peter 1:21 (Tyndale Translation —1534.

Thus did Peter explain the origin of the Old Testament Scriptures, and by clear implication, that of the New Testament also. The Holy Ghost is, therefore, the author of the Scriptures, Old and New Testaments. “Why has God given us the Bible? This is the question which meets us when we have marked how, and from whom, the Bible has come to us. If God has in very truth performed this miracle — if Holy Men of God spake as they were borne along by the Holy Spirit — then we may rest assured that the Bible supplies a want which nothing else can satisfy.”

From “The Bible Whence It Came”

J. Urguhart (J. Richie)

When the authorized Bible, 1611, King James, which we use was finished, it had a long preface called, “The Translators to the Reader,” which is not now printed with our Bibles. In it Dr. Miles Smith, chief translator, in the name of his colleagues, brings before the reader a great variety of topics connected with the translation of the Scriptures which had been made in former times. Let us read carefully what the preface says, for it is important to all of us:

“The Scriptures we are commanded to search: Gospel of John 5:39 and Isaiah 8:20.

They are commended that searched and studied them: Acts 17:11.

They are reproved that were unskillful in them, or slow to believe them: Matthew 22:29 and Luke 24: 25.

If we be ignorant, they will instruct us; if out of the way, they will bring us home; if out of order, they will reform us; if in heaviness, comfort us; if dull, quicken us; if cold, inflame us.”

The preface continues: “The original Scriptures being from Heaven, not from earth; the author being God, not man; the editor, the Holy Spirit, not the wit of the Apostles or Prophets; God’s word, God’s testimony, God’s oracles, the Word of Truth, the Word of Salvation, and the effects light of understanding, stableness of persuasion, repentance from dead works, newness of life, holiness, peace, joy in the Holy Ghost. Lastly, the end and reward of the study thereof, fellowship with the Saints, participation of the heavenly nature, fruition of an inheritance immortal, undefiled, and that never shall fade away. Happy is the man that delighteth in the Scripture, and thrice happy that meditateth in it day and night.”

Translation necessary:

“But how shall men meditate in that which they cannot understand? How shall they understand that which is kept close in an unknown tongue? As it is written ‘Except I know the power of the voice. I shall be to him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian to me’—1 Corinthians 14. The Apostle excepteth no tongue; not Hebrew, the Ancientness, not Greek, the most copious, not Latin, the finest. The Scythian counted the Athenian, whom he did not understand barbarous; so the Roman did the Syrian.

“Translation it is that openeth the window, to let in the light; that breaketh the shell, that we may eat the kernel; that putteth aside the curtain, that we may look into the most Holy place; that removeth the cover of the well, that we may come by the water.”

The translators bring before us the three languages; Hebrew, Greek and Latin. See the Gospel of John 19:20, as this is an important verse regarding the following translations.

“While God would be known only in Jacob, and have His Name great in Israel, and in none other place, which spake all of them the language of Canaan, that is, Hebrew.

“But when the fullness of time drew near, the Son of God should come into the world, whom God ordained to be a reconciliation through faith in His blood, not of the Jew only, but also of the Greek, yea, of all them that were scattered abroad; then, Lo, it pleased the Lord to stir up the spirit of a Greek prince, (Greek for descent and language), even of PTOLEMY PHILADELPHUS 285 B.C. to procure the translating of the book of God out of Hebrew into Greek. This is the translation of the seventy interpreters, or Septuagint, LXX, commonly so called, which prepared the way for our Saviour among the Gentiles by written preaching, as John the Baptist did among the Jews By Vocal.”:

It may be of interest to our readers to know there was a Greek Hexapla in which the LXX, Septuagint, was a part, compiled by Origin. Howbeit, the Edition of the Seventy, LXX, went away with the credit, also was used by the Greek Fathers for the ground and foundation of their commentaries.

“Justinian, The Emperor, enjoining the Jews, his subjects, to use especially the translation of the Seventy, LXX, render for the reason thereof, because they were, as it were, enlightened with Prophetical grace, and delivered the sense thereof according to the truth of the Word, as the Spirit gave them utterance. This may suffice touching the Greek translation of the Old Testament.” Pages 2-3 Preface to our Authorized Bible.

The Septuagint was displayed at the World’s Fair in 1965 and it was opened at the 23rd Psalm and read by thousands of people, some of whom had never seen a Bible before. What a beautiful translation:

Verse 1: “The Lord tends me as a Shepherd, and I shall want nothing.

Verse 2: “In a place of green grass, there He has made me dwell; He has nourished me by the water of rest.

Verse 3: “He has restored my soul: He has guided me into the paths of righteousness, for His Name’s sake.

Verse 4: “Yea, even if I should walk in the midst of the shadow of death, I will not be afraid of evils; For Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, these have comforted me.

Verse 5: “Thou has prepared a table before me in the presence of them that afflict me; Thou has thoroughly anointed my head with oil; and Thy cup cheers me like the best wine.

Verse 6: “Thy mercy also shall follow me all the days of my life; and my dwelling shall be in the House of the Lord for a very long time.”

“We now come to the translations of Hebrew and Greek into Latin. There were also within a few hundred years after Christ, many translations into the Latin tongue; for this tongue also was very fit to convey the law and the Gospel by, because in those times very many countries of the West, yea, of the South, East, and North, spoke or understood Latin, being made provinces to the Romans. But now the Latin translations were too many to be all good, for they were infinite. This moved Eusebius Hieronymus, better known to us as Jerome, a most learned man, and the best linguist without controversie, of the age, or of any that went before him, to undertake the translating of the Old Testament out of the very fountains themselfes; which he performed with that evidence of great learning, judgment, industry and faithfulness”. (Preface Page —Authorized Bible).

“Jerome was not willing at first to undertake this translation. ‘It is a thankless task,’ he said, ‘and will only arouse bitter prejudice amongst those who will think that ignorance and holiness are one and the same.’ However, he was persuaded to attempt it, amid much advice to be very tender of the prejudice of the Weak Brothers, whose consciences were so sensitive about meddling with the Scripture.

“It was a very serious undertaking, and no other scholar in the Church of those days would have been competent to attempt it. But Jerome was a man of great resources. He was no novice in the task of translating; he had learned the Hebrew from the Palestine Rabbis; he had teachers from the College of Tiberias; he had access to Hebrew manuscripts. He produced the most valuable translation of the Bible that has ever been made before modern days. “No other work has had such an influence on the history of the Bible. For more than a thousand years it was the parent of every version of the Scriptures in Western Europe, and even now, when the original Greek and Hebrew manuscripts are so easily accessible, the Rhemish and Douai testaments are translations from this famous ‘Vulgate Bible of Jerome’.”

(The Old Testament — J. P. Smyth, Dublin)

The writer has a well preserved copy of a small Vulgate “Biblia Cum Concordantus” (Bible with Concordance) printed in Lyons, France in 1526, and was formerly owned by the Chancellor Chichester Cathedral, England. Many of the Catholic faith, high and low have seen this wonderful Holy Book that God has preserved for us all these years — 440 to be exact.