An Alphabetical Analysis
Volume 10 - Practical Truth - Page 182 of 277
With 'the witness' as a 'symbol of service' we bring to a close this
phase of our subject.  Under the title of these studies: 'What manner of
persons ought ye to be', there is of course much more to be found than can be
comprised under the heading of 'Service', and these other aspects of
Christian Witness form the body of this practical volume.  Meanwhile, may
every reader realize the service he is called upon to perform as a
fellowmember in the One Body, and, conscious of the power at his disposal,
seek to use to the full whatever talent has been entrusted to him, until he
stands in the presence of Him Who came not to be ministered unto, but to
minister, and left us an example that we should follow His steps.
The English alphabet has twenty -six letters, but we have not slavishly
attempted to fit Q or X, Y and Z with a study; our endeavour is to be of
service, not to exhibit cleverness.  However, we did note with interest that
22 is the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet, and that there are a
number of alphabetic acrostics in the Old Testament notably Psalm 119, with
its twenty -two Stanzas, and the Book of Lamentations, which, while not
exhibiting the alphabet in the English version, does preserve the number of
verses to each chapter, namely 22, 22, 66, 22 and 22.  The central chapter
repeats each letter three times, thus verses 1, 2 and 3 begin with aleph,
verses 4, 5 and 6 begin with Beth, and so on.  This is made plain for the
English reader of The Companion Bible.
However, the alphabetical element in this series of articles is
immaterial.  They could quite as well have been written in the reverse order,
or in no obvious order at all.  The main question as we come to the close,
is, have we attained to some comprehension of 'What manner of persons we
ought to be?', and if we have, let us thank God and go forward in our
witness.  If we have not, 'Repentance to the acknowledging of the truth' is a
sure way that will lead back to acceptable service (2 Tim. 2:25).
The extreme importance of usage demonstrated
The English version of the Bible known as the Authorized Version, like
every work of man, however good it may be both in intention or execution,
contains evidences of human frailty.  Nevertheless, its influence for good
during the centuries following its publication cannot be adequately
expressed.  Lloyd's Encyclopaedic Dictionary says of it, that:
'It has held its place so long more by its own great merits than by the
artificial support of law; and while there are numerous minute defects,
which have been corrected in the Revised Version of the New Testament,
it remains, in all essential respects, the same Bible which for nearly
three centuries has been the most potent factor in the spiritual
education of the English -speaking race'.
When, therefore, one finds teachers and writers adopting the
'debunking' attitude of the modern, and referring, most ungraciously to the
Authorized Version as 'King James's Version', one suspects prejudice, and
senses discourtesy.  The very language in which such teachers discredit the
Authorized Version they owe to its influence.  Those who thus speak have no
conception of the blood and tears that represent the actual cost of the
English Bible.  However, our purpose in writing is not to defend the
Authorized Version, it can still look after itself; nor to sit in judgment on