The Berean Expositor
Volume 21 - Page 191 of 202
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The Latin Versions.--The necessity for a Latin version of the Scriptures did not arise
in Rome, but in the Roman province of Africa. There were a number of copies in use,
and these exhibited considerable differences. In order to correct the provincialisms and
other defects of the African translation, an edition was published in Rome, to which
Augustine refers as the Itala, which can be traced back as far as the second century.
To eliminate the differences and imperfections of the Latin copies, Jerome
commenced a revision of the text, as Origen had previously done for the Greek.
Realizing, however, the need for some more drastic change, he prepared a translation of
the O.T. in Latin direct from the original Hebrew, a work which occupied nearly twenty
years. This version of Jerome's became known afterwards as the Vulgate (or current
version), and was the Bible of Europe until the Reformation.
What light do these versions throw upon the text of the O.T Scriptures?
We observe that the Coptic, Ethiopic and Old Latin versions were made from the
LXX, and while helping us to ascertain the true text of that version do not throw any light
upon the Hebrew original. The Syriac and the Vulgate, though translated from the
Hebrew, can only give us the Massoretic text, a text which we already possess.
The Septuagint is much the most important of all the versions. Together with the
existing Massoretic text it provides us with sufficient material for arriving at a fairly clear
understanding of the true meaning of the original Scriptures. The believer may take
comfort in the fact that with all the mass of textual material available the divergences are
so slight, and their effect upon doctrine so negligible, that for all practical purposes we
may say that we posses to-day the Scriptures as originally given by inspiration of God.
We should be thankful for the great crowd of witnesses that gather around the sacred text
and testify that we still have in our hands "God's Word written".
#12.  The MSS and versions of the N.T.
With a brief survey of the history of the English Bible.
pp. 169 - 176
In this, the last paper of the series, we present in as concise a form as possible the
story of the manuscripts of the N.T., together with a survey of some of the most
important versions.  Into the question of textual criticism we do not enter.  The
conflicting theories and methods espoused by such critics as Scrivener, Greisbach,
Lachmann, Tischendorf, Tragelles, Westcott and Hort, will not submit to a condensed
presentation; the whole subject lies outside our scope. The interested reader who is
already sufficiently advanced to profit by any remarks that we could make here, is
already adequately equipped to go on alone. Textual criticism calls for the highest
scholarship, acumen and spiritual insight, and we should be sad indeed if what we have
written should cause any to lay unprepared hands upon so sacred a subject, with issues so