Ruckman teaching that the KJV can correct the Greek (including the TR)

One of Ruckman’s teachings that often goes ignored consists of teaching that the KJV can correct the main source its New Testament came from—the Textus Receptus (TR). Since there are some cases when the KJV does not follow the TR to the letter, Ruckman has no choice but to teach this as part of holding to the inerrancy of the KJV. Over the years we’ve had many Ruckman defenders state that when Ruckman says the KJV can correct the Greek, he is not referring to the TR, but rather the Critical Text. In this article, we shall document what Ruckman teaches regarding this in his own words, proving his defenders wrong.

In the following quote Ruckman mixes various TR editors with Critical Text editors and advocates:

Observe how accurately and beautifully the infallible English text straightens out Erasmus, Griesbach, Beza, Nestle, Aland, Metzger, Trench, Vincent, Davis, Wuest, Zodhiates, Elzevir, and Stephanus with the poise and grace of a swan as it smoothly and effectively breaks your arm with one flap of its wings. Beautiful, isn’t it? If the mood or tense isn’t right in any Greek text, the King James Bible will straighten it out in a hurry. (Ruckman, Peter. The “Errors” in the King James Bible. Pensacola, Bible Baptist Bookstore, 1999, p. 353.)

In the above list, the editors Erasmus, Beza, Elzevir, and Stephanus represent the Textus Receptus. In the next quote Ruckman expresses similar sentiment:

To blazes with “THE GREEK TEXT.” It is so inferior to the English text they are not worthy of standing on the same shelf. I put Nestle, Hort, Aland, Metzger, Alford, Souter, Erasmus, Stephanus, Elzevir, and the rest on a shelf below my original edition of the Authorized Version from 1613. (Ruckman, Peter. The Christian’s Handbook of Biblical Scholarship. Pensacola, Bible Baptist Bookstore, 1988, p. 338)

In this quote, Ruckman presents the TR as being practically worthless:

Never use the Textus Receptus to settle anything; THE BOOK will settle it. (Ruckman, Peter. How to teach the Bible. Pensacola, FL: Bible Baptist Bookstore, 2000 reprint, p. 15)

In some of his teachings, Ruckman uses convoluted arguments that are hard to follow. In the following case he goes to the other extreme, using a simplistic argument:

Now, “Ruckman” believes that the KJV, the Book he holds in his hand, is the Final Authority in all matters of “faith and practice.” That means when Erasmus disagrees with Beza, the AV decides which reading is correct. When Stephanus differs with Elzevir, the KJV tells you which one to follow. And if you have to choose between the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus and the AV text, if you stick with the AV text, you will be right every time. (Ruckman, Peter. Bible Believers’ Bulletin. Feb. 2008, p. 1

The above simplistic approach actually leaves us with more questions than it answers. For example:

  • How can he prove that is the biblical view and not merely his personal opinion?
  • What about foreign language Bibles?
  • What about before 1611?
  • What about the rare cases in which there are slight differences between KJV editions?

These are the types of questions that strike at the heart of Ruckmanite teachings about the KJV. Do not expect Ruckmanites or Ruckman himself to be specific when pretending to answer those questions. Here is a quote from Ruckman in which his answers to some of these questions are as vague as can be:

If the King James reading is with Beza (where he disagrees with Erasmus) we take Beza. If the King James reading agrees with Erasmus but doesn’t agree with Stephanus, we take Erasmus.
We have a standard of final authority by which we judge Greek manuscripts. It’s a King James 1611 Authorized Version. That is our final authority. That is final. Not even our opinion about it is final. It itself is final. This makes Bible-believing Christians the only Christians in the world, as far as we know, that have a final authority that isn’t just somebody’s opinion. When the King James wasn’t around, then certainly God gave those Christians, in their language, a Book for their final authority; but when you consider the majority of human beings instead of a minority, you can see why He finally gave them a Bible in the universal language of the Twenty and Twenty-first Centuries—English. That’s our final authority. You say, “Which edition?” That is very simple: any edition. You say, “Well, what do you do when the two don’t agree?” They wouldn’t have to agree as long as they didn’t contradict. (Bible Believers’ Bulletin March 2008, p. 12)

Notice how worthless the following answer was from the above quote: “When the King James wasn’t around, then certainly God gave those Christians, in their language, a Book for their final authority;” It was essentially a non-answer to a question that Ruckmanites can’t answer. Ruckman teaches that “the A.V. 1611 is necessary to recover the original text…” (Manuscript Evidence, 1970, p. 120) Too bad for those who lived before 1611 or speak other languages!

Also Ruckman’s “any edition” of the KJV is another attempt at avoiding specifics. When Ruckman critiques disagreements between the KJV and other translations, he treats those disagreements as contradictions. However, if there are disagreements between KJV editions, they cannot be contradictions. Ruckman loves changing the rules when they would otherwise invalidate his arguments.

At times Ruckman acknowledges that there are differences between editions of the TR. Observe how he proposes dealing with these cases:

“Well, when Erasmus, Colinaeus, Stephanus, Beza, and Elzevir disagree among themselves, how do you know which reading is right?” God the Holy Spirit let you know the correct text by the one on which He put His approval—the King James Authorized Version of 1611 (cf. Jer. 36:32). (Bible Believers’ Bulletin Nov. 2011, p. 3)

Now, “Ruckman” believes that the KJV, the Book he holds in his hand, is the Final Authority in all matters of “faith and practice.” That means when Erasmus disagrees with Beza, the AV decides which reading is correct. When Stephanus differs with Elzevir, the KJV tells you which one to follow. And if you have to choose between the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus and the AV text, if you stick with the AV text, you will be right every time.
(Ruckman, Peter. Bible Believers’ Bulletin Feb. 2008, p. 1)

Wasting time with Greek and Hebrew never did anything for a Bible believer but make an infidel out of him. (Ruckman’s Bible References: Personal Notes on Salient Verses in the Bible, p. 85)

If any doubt were to remain as to whether Ruckman believes the KJV corrects the TR, the following statement will remove all doubt:

Correct the Greek Textus Receptus with the AV, exactly as you would correct the Alexandrian text with the AV—always. (Bible Believers’ Bulletin
Jan 2006, p. 5)

Many Ruckman defenders will insist that Ruckman believes in studying the Greek, and takes it seriously. However, the following quote demonstrates that any study of the original languages by Ruckman is done with an ulterior motive in mind:

Use “the Greek” where it will magnify, apply, glorify, and explain the infallible English, and where it doesn’t, pass it like a beer can on the highway. (The Christian’s Handbook of Biblical Scholarship. 1988, p. 343)

Ruckman accusses virtually everyone else of also “correcting the Greek with the English,” and therefore accuses them of hypocrisy for criticizing Ruckman on this matter. Notice this example:

… is setting himself up as a “savior” and “liberator” from “Ruckmanism” when the dirty rotten hypocrite has been correcting the TR all of his life with a King James Bible. He has been a “Ruckmanite” for more than twenty years. (Bible Believers’ Bulletin Aug. 1998, p. 7)

Now notice an example of how he accuses his detractors of “correcting the Greek with the English:”

There is no “God” in Stephen’s death in Acts 7:59 in ANY TR Greek manuscript. …has been correcting Acts 7:59 every time he mentioned it in or out of the pulpit; any pulpit. (Ibid., p. 7)

In the above case involving Acts 7:59, “God” is in italics in the KJV, but Ruckman does not point that out. See how Ruckman continues to berate one of his detractors accusing him of doing exactly what Ruckman is criticized of doing:

Can we correct “the” (a lying misnomer) TR Greek with the English? Yessiree, buddy boy! We sure can if YOU can. Don’t think you are superior to any of us when it comes to “executive privilege.” You have done it all of your life, you lying hypoctrite, and your attempts to force others, now, to adopt your profession—which is a lie—or else be branded as a “Ruckmanite” only shows what an inferior stripling you are. (Ibid., p. 7)

Ruckman tries to present correcting the Greek with the English as something normal and commonplace, practiced even among those he labels as Alexandrians. It is an attempt to make the concept sound innocent to condition his readers to think of his strange views as not being so strange after all. It is unfair to portray his detractors of practicing “correcting the Greek with the English,” when many of them do not consider the KJV to be absolutely inerrant or given by inspiration.

Ruckman’s simplistic approach is to arbitrarily decide that the KJV is superior to the source it came from, thereby invalidating the serious study of Greek and Hebrew, the various editions of Greek and Hebrew texts, and the Bible manuscripts. Ruckman’s easy way out appeals to those who are intimidated by the thought of diligent study of the biblical languages and associated manuscripts. Ruckman believes he has single-handedly solved the textual problems that have afflicted textual critics, Bible translators, revisers, commentators, preachers, and Bible students throughout the ages. Ruckman will go as far as to mock current and past dedicated Bible teachers who disagree with him, even though his view brings more questions to the surface than it claims to answer.

23 Responses to “Ruckman teaching that the KJV can correct the Greek (including the TR)”

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  1. Kenneth M. Johnson says:

    I have worked with a man who was raised in the home of a Ruckman student. He has very hard views on life and the world. He is a staunch believer in KJV only. This really baffles me and it is very hard to have this conversation with him when I myself happen to love the KJV. It is my favorite translation. I have posed some of the same questions to him that I read in your above outline, ie, 1) Is KJV only scriptural? Where? How? I have prayerfully read the Bible through three years running and have read nothing of this. 2) Was the work of William Carey in vain? 3) What makes the KJV the word of God and all others not the word of God?
    It is question number 3… where the disconnect comes. He honestly and truly believes the KJV was inspired by God and that all other versions are from Satan. He completely refuses to hear any discussions about “more reliable texts” that maybe advantageous in compiling a better, easier to read and understand translation – even if it helps bring people to the cross and eternal salvation. To this I say, “Ye shall no them by their fruit.” (Matt.7:16)

  2. Jeff says:

    You have intentionally selected the weakest parts of “ruckmanism” to set up a straw man opponent. The bulk of his very prolific output is not antagonistic to the Receptus family. Dr. Ruckman is many things, but he ain’t stupid. I wish you would address why he corrects Greek texts, mostly the Alexandrian families, with the AV. But his opponents just won’t do that.

    At least entertain the notion that there might be a spiritual element in this controversy and that Satan may have an interest in whether there is an authoritative Book that is the inspired Word of God. That’s what I consider to be Dr. Ruckman’s main contribution to this debate. Do we have the inspired Word of God or not?

    As he says in Manuscript Evidence, translations can be inspired. Else when the New Testament quotes the Old, even the autographs were not inspired.

    • Jeff A. says:

      There is certainly a spiritual element. A house divided against itself can not stand. Peter Ruckman’s teaching does just that. It casts off translations that have led people to Christ as being of Satan. I must say that Satan does not care to put an end to the KJV only controversy, and Ruckman is playing into his hand. Notice, I did not say Ruckman is of Satan nor am I casting out judgment on whether or not he is saved.

      Call it his weakest points if you will, but it is Ruckman’s own words and statements and they show the true spirit of Ruckman’s teaching. That spirit is that we only need the KJV and if we don’t know English then we had better learn it.

      • Michael says:

        If Dr. Ruckman defends a Bible that is older than the versions that he is against, then the one who introduced the newer versions are the source of the division. Someone somewhere had to say that the KJV was insufficient, if there is a division, it started at that point, not with those who already trusted the bible they had. I still trust the bible I was born with, and I trusted it before I knew a Dr. Ruckman. I will not move from that faith, and if that means controversy, someone else started it, not me. Nobody is saying that others are not allowed to use another bible. But we believe the KJV is right, inspired, and sufficient. If you have a different view, it is a late view and therefore we are not responsible for any division that it causes.
        Its like blaming the colonist for being divisive for not being open to the stamp act.

  3. Danny says:

    If we “don’t know English then we had better learn it” is a silly way of looking at the picture. Rather, the “original manuscript(s)” folks BELIEVE “if you don’t know Hebrew and/or Greek (varies by camp) then you had better learn it”. That is the spirit of the picture I see. Rather than having to learn English to know “every word of God”. The POOR are a big deal to the God of the King James Holy Bible. The POOR has the same grace of God as the rich has to “live…by every word of God” as The Lord Jesus Christ himself commanded. If the poor didn’t have enough money to earn the words of God (if that were required which it is NOT) and God used his (God’s) words to judge him then that God wouldn’t seem just. Jesus Christ himself warns rich men. The poor do NOT have a chance (they are poor and have no money) they have no chance to ever learn Hebrew nor Greek. Forget what other languages say and be thankful to God for “his unspeakable gift”.

    Also someone commented that the KJV that came from the TR (if it did or not doesn’t concern me) can’t be superior to the the TR. QUESTION: Didn’t the “only begotten Son” get “a name that is above every name? What about the Father? Doesn’t a sinner “believe on The Lord Jesus Christ”, “the Son of God” to be saved from eternal hell fire? Why not the One who begat him? Why is the Son which came forth from the Father “the way, the truth, and the life”? Why through the ONLY BEGOTTEN SON and not through the Father for salvation from eternal damnation? I want the truth! So it could be possible that the words of the KJV are where every word of God (all of them) are found rather than in the source they came from?

    • Ann says:

      I am poor and never went past 8th grade and have a good grasp of Hebrew and Greek. Why? Because GOD is with the poor and needy. Most American kids will be edified and understand the NIV and be able to stay away from sin a whole lot easier using somwthing othet than KJV. Why? Because it is their vernacular. I have asked youth from KJV only groups what fornication meany and they were clueless. On the other hand they knew what sexual immorality was.

  4. Michael says:

    Whoever wrote the article above keeps repeating the line “the source it came from” referring to the source of the KJV. The KJV does not have a source. It has multiple sources. In other words the KJV is not a translation from a single text. It is a translation from a diverse set of texts but also the KJV text went through rigid comparisons with English translations so as not to lose uniformity. Any work done in this manner will provide a highly superior text, as opposed to one which favors a particular text and does not regard former translations. For example the NIV and the Vatican manuscript. There is no original text. There are no original copies of the biblical works produced by the authors. Therefore the KJV was put together in a superior way, with a superior technique.

    • Marty McCoy says:

      AMEN! The TR is a HUGE compilation of sources that, when they were being assembled, was far superior in the modern Westcott-Hort text because the men who compiling it were able to compare one to another and see where the weight of evidence led. I have often thought that, when the modern texts were discovered after being “lost” for centuries, why were they lost? Why were they put on a back shelf in a back storage room instead of, like most other texts, worn out from being used? Because they were recognized by the church fathers as being corrupted and useless. I told someone that, someone missed the trash can and that is why those manuscripts survived for hundreds of years.

  5. James says:

    Moses smashed the Originals when he came off Mt. Sinai. So as soon as someone starts saying things like “In the Originals”…..just walk away because they don’t know what they are doing.

  6. Bobby Adams says:

    Concerning the thought(s) mentioned above about the English of the KJB, and what about those of other languages are left out; for these types of comments, even if you disagree please consider this thought. When God had the OT written in Hebrew, less than 1% of the than known world spoke that language. So, why was God not concerned with making a copy in their own language? If they even knew about it, than they would have to had obtained a copy in Hebrew, right? As far as for today, English is a universal language, as is the Big Ben in England, and the British Thermal Unit is the absolute temperature-you’d have to learn how to use it-England-English, and the same goes for English Location: longitude/latitude, it’s all English. Flying coordinates is English. The NT was written in Koine Greek, the language than predominate, and so on it goes. Are there exceptions, sure, but facts are facts. Where was the KJB before 1611, all over the world in dozens of different language versions ecetera. Disagree or not, you still get the point.

    • Webmaster says:

      Proving that English is becoming the most universal language does not make Ruckman right on this point. It’s interesting to note, but it does not fulfill any Biblical prophecy nor make Greek or Hebrew any less authoritative. When you stated that the “KJB 1611” was all over the world in dozens of languages, you did not give a single specific example.

      • Gerard says:

        ".. but it does not fulfill any Biblical prophecy.."
        By prophecy do you mean something like: "And the Lord said unto Isaiah, (of course He didn't) seest thou that you departest not from my original language (tongue, dialect etc) in this word that I give unto thee forever that I might not smite thee with a….' etc, etc??!!
        I haven't come across anything in my AV yet?
        Please feel free to correct me in on this if I err.

        what about straight forward new testament Pauline warnings:

        1Tim 5: 4 Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do. 5Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: 6From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; 7Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.

        1Tim 6:20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science (Linguistic science?) falsely so called: 21Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.

        "..nor make Greek or Hebrew any less authoritative. "

        Yes it does. If the Lord God almighty decides He wants His final infallible word in 1611 english, (you do believe His Word must be infallible do you?) then the Greek and Hebrew must become subserviant to that. That is Ruckman's argument. If you reject that premise, you will forever be wrestling with "Hath God said?" won't you? Of course the vatican hopes you (we) will think that, because they agree, and have the perfect solution which is: "The 'church tradition' overrules the scripture". Easy fix.
        Martin Luther wasted his time then didn't he?

         

         

        • Webmaster says:

          None of the verses you quote prove that God chose to switch final authorities from the original languages to English. Notice how you were forced to include an “if” in the following statement of your conclusion: “If the Lord God almighty decides He wants His final infallible Word in 1611 English.” If! If! If!

  7. edward says:

    Ruckman is correct regarding the superiority of the AV over any Greek and Hebrew texts.
    There is no perfect Greek or Hebrew text. There is a perfect KJB.
    The AV is now the Received TR text in English.
    There is no need for Greek or Hebrew.

    • Webmaster says:

      Is it true because Ruckman says so? God did not say so. What God says is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, but Ruckman’s opinions disguised as settled facts are not.

      • edward says:

        I didn’t say it was true because Ruckman said it was, but because the facts support that view.
        You have to supply a single Hebrew or Greek text that is superior to the KJB to prove otherwise.

        • Webmaster says:

          What is your criteria for determining that the KJV is superior to any single Hebrew or Greek text? You also better not ignore the questions that Ruckman either doesn’t answer or glosses over in a vague manner:

          •How can you prove that it is the biblical view and not merely your personal opinion?
          •What about foreign language Bibles?
          •What about before 1611?
          •What about the rare cases in which there are slight differences between KJV editions?

    • Particular Baptist says:

      If there is no need for Hebrew in the Second Rabbinic Bible or Byzantine text in Greek? Why did God preserve them? From WHAT are translators such as those at the Trinitarian Bible Society to use to make a new version in a foreign language?

      The 1689 Second London Confession offers this about “vulgar translations”: “Paragraph 8. The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old),14 and the New Testament in Greek (which at the time of the writing of it was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God, and by His singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentic; so as in all controversies of religion, the church is finally to appeal to them.15 But because these original tongues are not known to all the people of God, who have a right unto, and interest in the Scriptures, and are commanded in the fear of God to read,16 and search them,17 therefore they are to be translated into the vulgar language of every nation unto which they come,18 that the Word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship Him in an acceptable manner, and through patience and comfort of the Scriptures may have hope.19
      14 Rom. 3:2
      15 Isa. 8:20
      16 Acts 15:15
      17 John 5:39
      18 1 Cor. 14:6,9,11,12,24,28 19 Col. 3:16”

      The 1615 Irish Articles speak similarly: “4. The Scriptures ought to be translated out of the original tongues into all languages for the common use of all men: neither is any person to be discouraged from reading the Bible in such a language as he doth understand, but seriously exhorted to read the same with great humility and reverence, as a special means to bring him to the true knowledge of God and of his own duty”.

      While indeed as the LCF makes clear in I.9 the Scriptures are the only infallible rule of themselves, this is what the majority of creeds reveal this is the belief of Christians in all ages that God’s sheep have a right and intrest in the scriptures of truth. I have a whole article on this of confessions reading the same from 1561 in the Second Helvetic Confession to the 1689 Second London Confession.

  8. D.E.T. says:

    If it corrects the ancient Hebrew & Greek, shouldn’t Isaiah 61:1-2 be identical to Luke 4:18-19 in the KJV?

    As we can see, there are some minor differences & at least one major difference between the two passages. Here is how they read:

    61:1-2: The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

    Luke 4:18-19: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

  9. Achreionon says:

    I love those who talk about “no need for the Greek or Hebrew”. Ask any of them what the word “church” means. Go ahead ask; I’ll wait… Not a single one of them can answer without difining the word “ecclesia”. They can NOT define the word church. So, yes, keep your TR. Ask ANY of them where the word “baptize” comes from, or blaspheme, or prophet. These words, among many others, only have meaning because of beeing in our beloved KJV. These words were not translated, but merely transliterated. TThat meanss to keep the spelling and carry straight over to the actual translated part. There were differing reasons why this occured, dependding on the individual word. In some cases there was no Engllish wordx to translate into.
    You cannot accurately or correctly define “baptize” without your TR, so no, don’t throw it away. After all, to some, “baptize” means “to pour”, or “to sprinkle” or “to swat on the head with a wet rose”. Your KJV gives you examples of the action in some cases, but not always. Here’s another goodie: what do you do when your child asks you who Esaias was? Or Jeremy? Or Noe? You can’t say, :”Well, son, that’s just the Greek form for Jewish names” because, for some weird reason, we don’t to put it in the poor child’s head that there was another language called Greek that the Gospels were originally written in. Or this golden nugget: Anathema Maranatha. Or the title, Christ, for that matter. (Now don’t you DARE get your TR out.) Quick, what do those words mean? Come on, come on!
    Quick, now, what do they mean? What’s the bottom line? Your KJV has UNTRANSLATED words, and is therefore not “perfect”, and has serious need, not of the NIV, (God forbid), but your wonderful, blessed TR.
    Always remember; ALWAYS remember: “Forever, O Lord, thy word is settled in HEAVEN. (NOT in ANY book.) Also remeember: there is no such thing in this century of KJV only. There may have been when it first came out, but not now. Even the most staunch KJVer has to have his [shh, dictionary]. So declaring himself to be KJV only, is misleading. He can have his dictionary, but I can’t have my TR, or my lexicon? And this makes sense, because…why, again? I forgot.

  10. If the Authorized Version can correct the Greek, why is it the translators did not share this view? 

    They write in Translators to the Reader

    There are infinite arguments of this right Christian and Religious affection in your MAJESTIE: but none is more forcible to declare it to others, then the vehement and perpetuated desire of the accomplishing and publishing of this Worke, which now with all humilitie we present unto your MAJESTIE. For when your Highnesse had once out of deepe judgment apprehended, how convenient it was, That out of the Originall sacred tongues, together with comparing of the labours, both in our owne and other forreigne Languages, of many worthy men who went before us, there should be one more exact Translation of the holy Scriptures into the English tongue; your MAJESTIE did never desist, to urge and to excite those to whom it was commended, that the worke might be hastened, and that the businesse might be expedited in so decent a maner, as a matter of such importance might justly require.

    But how shall men meditate in that, which they cannot understand? How shall they understand that which is kept close in an unknowen tongue? as it is written, Except I know the power of the voyce, I shall be to him that speaketh, a Barbarian, and he that speaketh, shalbe a Barbarian to me. The Apostle excepteth no tongue, not Hebrewe the ancientest, not Greeke the most copious, not Latine the finest. Nature taught a naturall man to confesse, that all of us in those tongues which wee doe not understand, are plainely deafe; wee may turne the deafe eare unto them. The Scythian counted the Athenian, whom he did not understand, barbarous: so the Romane did the Syrian, and the Jew, (even S. Jerome himselfe calleth the Hebrew tongue barbarous, belike because it was strange to so many) so the Emperour ofConstantinople calleth the Latine tongue, barbarous, though Pope Nicolas do storme at it: so the Jewes long before Christ, called all other nations, Lognazim, which is little better then barbarous. Therefore as one complaineth, that alwayes in the Senate of Rome, there was one or other that called for an interpreter: so lest the Church be driven to the like exigent, it is necessary to have translations in a readinesse. 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 curtaine, that we may looke into the most Holy place; that remooveth the cover of the well, that wee may come by the water, even as Jacob rolled away the stone from the mouth of the well, by which meanes the flockes of Laban were watered. Indeede without translation into the vulgar tongue, the unlearned are but like children at Jacobs well (which was deepe) without a bucket or some thing to draw with: or as that person mentioned by Esau, to whom when a sealed booke was delivered, with this motion, Reade this, I pray thee, hee was faine to make this answere, I cannot, for it is sealed.

    While God would be knowen onely in Jacob, and have his Name great in Israel, and in none other place, while the dew lay on Gideons fleece onely, and all the earth besides was drie; then for one and the same people, which spake all of them the language of Canaan, that is, Hebrewe, one and the same originall in Hebrew was sufficient. But when the fulnesse of time drew neere, that the Sunne of righteousnesse, the Sonne of God should come into the world, whom God ordeined to be a reconciliation through faith in his blood, not of the Jew onely, but also of the Greeke, yea, of all them that were scattered abroad; then loe, it pleased the Lord to stirre up the spirit of a GreekePrince (Greeke for descent and language) even of Ptolome Philadelph King of Egypt, to procure the translating of the Booke of God out of Hebrew into Greeke. This is the translation of the Seventie Interpreters, commonly so called, which prepared the way for our Saviour among the Gentiles by written preaching, as Saint John Baptist did among the Jewes by vocall. For the Grecians being desirous of learning, were not wont to suffer bookes of worth to lye moulding in Kings Libraries, but had many of their servants, ready scribes, to copie them out, and so they were dispersed and made common. Againe, the Greeke tongue was wellknowen and made familiar to most inhabitants in Asia, by reason of the conquest that there the Grecians had made, as also by the Colonies, which thither they had sent. For the same causes also it was well understood in many places of Europe, yea, and of Affrike too. Therefore the word of God being set foorth in Greeke, becommeth hereby like a candle set upon a candlesticke, which giveth light to all that are in the house, or like a proclamation sounded foorth in the market place, which most men presently take knowledge of; and therefore that language was fittest to containe the Scriptures, both for the first Preachers of the Gospel to appeale unto for witnesse, and for the learners also of those times to make search and triall by. It is certaine, that the Translation was not so sound and so perfect, but that it needed in many places correction; and who had bene so sufficient for this worke as the Apostles or Apostolike men? Yet it seemed good to the holy Ghost and to them, to take that which they found, (the same being for the greatest part true and sufficient) rather then by making a new, in that new world and greene age of the Church, to expose themselves to many exceptions and cavillations, as though they made a Translation to serve their owne turne, and therefore bearing witnesse to themselves, their witnesse not to be regarded. This may be supposed to bee some cause, why the Translation of the Seventie was allowed to passe for currant. Notwithstanding, though it was commended generally, yet it did not fully content the learned, no not of the Jewes. For not long after ChristAquila fell in hand with a new Translation, and after him Theodotion, and after him Symmachus: yea, there was a fift and a sixt edition the Authours wherof were not knowen. These with the Seventie made up the Hexapla, and were worthily and to great purpose compiled together by Origen. Howbeit the Edition of the Seventie went away with the credit, and therefore not onely was placed in the midst by Origen (for the worth and excellencie thereof above the rest, as Epiphanius gathereth) but also was used by the Greeke fathers for the ground and foundation of their Commentaries. Yea, Epiphanius above named doeth attribute so much unto it, that he holdeth the Authours thereof not onely for Interpreters, but also for Prophets in some respect: and Justinian the Emperour enjoyning the Jewes his subjects to use specially the Translation of the Seventie, rendreth this reason thereof, because they were as it were enlighted with propheticall grace. Yet for all that, as the Egyptians are said of the Prophet to bee men and not God, and their horses flesh and not spirit: so it is evident, (and Saint Jerome affirmeth as much) that the Seventie were Interpreters, they were not Prophets; they did many things well, as learned men; but yet as men they stumbled and fell, one while through oversight, another while through ignorance, yea, sometimes they may be noted to adde to the Originall, and sometimes to take from it; which made the Apostles to leave them many times, when they left the Hebrew, and to deliver the sence thereof according to the trueth of the word, as the spirit gave them utterance. This may suffice touching the Greeke Translations of the old Testament.

    There were also within a few hundreth yeeres after CHRIST, translations many into the Latine tongue: for this tongue also was very fit to convey the Law and the Gospel by, because in those times very many Countreys of the West, yea of the South, East and North, spake or understood Latine, being made Provinces to the Romanes. But now the Latine Translations were too many to be all good, for they were infinite (Latini Interpretes nullo modo numerari possunt, saith S. Augustine.) Againe they were not out of the Hebrew fountaine (wee speake of the Latine Translations of the Old Testament) but out of the Greeke streame, therefore the Greeke being not altogether cleare, the Latine derived from it must needs be muddie. This moved S. Jerome a most learned father, and the best linguist without controversie, of his age, or of any that went before him, to undertake the translating of the Old Testament, out of the very fountaines themselves; which hee performed with that evidence of great learning, judgement, industrie and faithfulnes, that he hath for ever bound the Church unto him, in a debt of speciall remembrance and thankefulnesse.

    Now though the Church were thus furnished with Greeke and Latine Translations, even before the faith of CHRIST was generally embraced in the Empire: (for the learned know that even in S. Jeroms time, the Consul of Rome and his wife were both Ethnicks, and about the same time the greatest part of the Senate also) yet for all that the godly-learned were not content to have the Scriptures in the Language which themselves understood, Greeke and Latine, (as the good Lepers were not content to fare well themselves, but acquainted their neighbours with the store that God had sent, that they also might provide for themselves) but also for the behoofe and edifying of the unlearned which hungred and thirsted after Righteousnesse, and had soules to be saved as well as they, they provided Translations into the vulgar for their Countreymen, insomuch that most nations under heaven did shortly after their conversion, heare CHRIST speaking unto them in their mother tongue, not by the voyce of their Minister onely, but also by the written word translated. If any doubt hereof, he may be satisfied by examples enough, if enough will serve the turne. First S. Jeromesaith, Multarum gentiu linguis Scriptura antè translata, docet falsa esse quæ addita sunt, &c.i. The Scripture being translated before in the languages of many Nations, doth shew that those things that were added (by Lucian or Hesychiusare false. So S. Jerome in that place. The same Jerome elsewhere affirmeth that he, the time was, had set forth the translation of the Seventy, suæ linguæ hominibus.i. for his countreymen of Dalmatia. Which words not only Erasmus doth understand to purport, that S. Jerome translated the Scripture into the Dalmatian tongue, but also Sixtus Senensis, and Alphonsus à Castro (that we speake of no more) men not to be excepted against by them of Rome, doe ingenuously confesse as much. So, S. Chrysostome that lived in S. Hieromes time, giveth evidence with him: The doctrine ofS. John (saith he) did not in such sort (as the Philosophers did) vanish away: but the Syrians, Egyptians, Indians, Persians. Ethiopians, and infinite other nations being barbarous people, translated it into their (mother) tongue, and have learned to be (true) Philosophers, he meaneth Christians. To this may be added Theodorit, as next unto him, both for antiquitie, and for learning. His words be these, Every Countrey that is under the Sunne, is full of these wordes (of the Apostles and Prophets) and the Hebrew tongue (he meaneth the Scriptures in the Hebrew tongue) is turned not onely into the Language of the Grecians, but also of the Romanes, and Egyptians, and Persians, and Indians, and Armenians, and Scythians, and Sauromatians, and briefly into all the Languages that any Nation useth. So he. In like maner, Ulpilas is reported by Paulus Diaconus and Isidor (and before them by Sozomen) to have translated the Scriptures into the Gothicke tongue: John Bishop of Sivil by Vasseus, to have turned them into Arabicke, about the yeere of our Lord 717: Beda by Cistertiensis, to have turned a great part of them into SaxonEfnard by Trithemius, to have abridged the French Psalter, as Beda had done the Hebrew, about the yeere 800: King Alured by the said Cistertiensis, to have turned the Psalter into SaxonMethodius by Aventinus(printed at Ingolstad) to have turned the Scriptures into ll Sclavonian: Valdo, Bishop of Frising by Beatus Rhenanus, to have caused about that time, the Gospels to be translated into Dutch-rithme, yet extant in the Library of CorbinianValdus, by divers to have turned them himselfe, or to have gotten them turned into French, about the yeere 1160: Charles the 5. of that name, surnamed The wise, to have caused them to be turned into French, about 200. yeeres after Valdus his time, of which translation there be many copies yet extant, as witnesseth Beroaldus. Much about that time, even in our King Richard the seconds dayes, John Trevisa translated them into English, and many English Bibles in written hand are yet to be seene with divers, translated as it is very probable, in that age. So the Syrian translation of the New Testament is in most learned mens Libraries, of Widminstadius his setting forth, and the Psalter in Arabicke is with many, of Augustinus Nebiensis setting foorth. So Postel affirmeth, that in his travaile he saw the Gospels in the Ethiopian tongue; AndAmbrose Thesius alleageth the Psalter of the Indians, which he testifieth to have bene set forth by Potken in Syrian characters. So that, to have the Scriptures in the mother-tongue is not a quaint conceit lately taken up, either by the Lord Cromwell in England, or by the Lord Radevil in Polonie, or by the Lord Ungnadius in the Emperours dominion, but hath bene thought upon, and put in practise of old, even from the first times of the conversion of any Nation; no doubt, because it was esteemed most profitable, to cause faith to grown in mens hearts the sooner, and to make them to be able to say with the words of the Psalme, As we have heard, so we have seene.

    Now the Church of Rome would seeme at the length to beare a motherly affection towards her children, and to allow them the Scriptures in their mother tongue: but indeed it is a gift, not deserving to be called a gift, an unprofitable gift: they must first get a Licence in writing before they may use them, and to get that, they must approve themselves to their Confessor, that is, to be such as are, if not frozen in the dregs, yet soured with the leaven of their superstition. Howbeit, it seemed too much to Clement the 8. that there should be any Licence granted to have them in the vulgar tongue, and therefore he overruleth and frustrateth the grant of Pius the fourth. So much are they afraid of the light of the Scripture, (Lucifugæ Scripturarum, as Tertullianspeaketh) that they will not trust the people with it, no not as it is set foorth by their owne sworne men, no not with the Licence of their owne Bishops and Inquisitors. Yea, so unwilling they are to communicate the Scriptures to the peoples understanding in any sort, that they are not ashamed to confesse, that wee forced them to translate it into English against their wills. This seemeth to argue a bad cause, or a bad conscience, or both. Sure we are, that it is not he that hath good gold, that is afraid to bring it to the touch-stone, but he that hath the counterfeit; neither is it the true man that shunneth the light, but the malefactour, lest his deedes should be reproved: neither is it the plaine dealing Merchant that is unwilling to have the waights, or the meteyard brought in place, but he that useth deceit. But we will let them alone for this fault, and returne to translation.

    Many mens mouths have bene open a good while (and yet are not stopped) with speeches about the Translation so long in hand, or rather perusals of Translations made before: and aske what may be the reason, what the necessitie of the employment: Hath the Church bene deceived, say they, all this while? Hath her sweet bread bene mingled with leaven, her silver with drosse, her wine with water, her milke with lime? (Lacte gypsum malè miscetur, saith S. Ireney,) We hoped that we had bene in the right way, that we had had the Oracles of God delivered unto us, and that though all the world had cause to be offended and to complaine, yet that we had none. Hath the nurse holden out the breast, and nothing but winde in it? Hath the bread bene delivered by the fathers of the Church, and the same proved to be lapidosus, as Seneca speaketh? What is it to handle the word of God deceitfully, if this be not? Thus certaine brethren. Also the adversaries of Judah and Jerusalem, like Sanballat in Nehemiah, mocke, as we heare, both at the worke and workemen, saying; What doe these weake Jewes, &c. will they make the stones whole againe out of the heapes of dust which are burnt? although they build, yet if a foxe goe up, he shall even breake downe their stony wall. Was their Translation good before? Why doe they now mend it? Was it not good? Why then was it obtruded to the people? Yea, why did the Catholicks (meaning Popish Romanists) alwayes goe in jeopardie, for refusing to goe to heare it? Nay, if it must be translated into English, Catholicks are fittest to doe it. They have learning, and they know when a thing is well, they canmanum de tabulá. Wee will answere them both briefly: and the former, being brethren, thus, with S. JeromeDamnamus veteres? Minimè, sed post priorum studia in domo Domini quod possumus laboramus. That is, Doe we condemne the ancient? In no case: but after the endevours of them that were before us, wee take the best paines we can in the house of God. As if hee said, Being provoked by the example of the learned that lived before my time, I have thought it my duetie, to assay whether my talent in the knowledge of the tongues, may be profitable in any measure to Gods Church, lest I should seeme to have laboured in them in vaine, and lest I should be thought to glory in men, (although ancient,) above that which was in them. Thus S. Jerome may be thought to speake.

    The Tranlsators beleived in Translations. Why do not Ruckmanites?

     

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