The Berean Expositor
Volume 23 - Page 172 of 207
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#23.  The Revised Version.
"Our task was revision, not re-translation"
(Revisers' note).
pp. 229 - 231
The first consideration before the Revisers was that of the Greek Text. This, to use
their own language, "was the necessary foundation of our work":--
"Textual criticism, as applied to the Greek New Testament, forms a special study of
much intricacy and difficulty, and even now leaves room for considerable variety of
opinion among competent critics . . . . . In the early part of the work every various
reading requiring consideration was discussed and voted upon by the company. After a
time the precedents thus established enabled the process to be safely shortened; but it
was still at the option of every one to raise a full discussion on any particular reading, and
the option was freely used . . . . . Many places still remain where, for the present, it would
not be safe to accept one reading to the absolute exclusion of the others. In these cases
we have given alternative readings in the margin, wherever they seem to be of sufficient
importance or interest to deserve notice" (Reviser's Preface).
Passing from the question of the text to the translation, the Revisers were enjoined
"to introduce as few alterations as possible, consistently with faithfulness". Their task, to
use their own language, "was revision, not re-translation", and this fact must be given due
place in any consideration of the resulting Version. Speaking of the changes that were
necessary in spite of this enjoinder, the Revisers say:--
"In the application however of this principle to the many and intricate details of our
work, we have found ourselves constrained by faithfulness to introduce changes which
might not at first sight appear to be included under the rule."
The alterations found in the R.V. may be roughly grouped in five principal classes:--
(1) Alterations positively required by change of reading in the Greek Text.
(2) Alterations made where the A.V. appeared either to be incorrect, or to have chosen
the less probable of two possible renderings.
(3) Alterations of obscure or ambiguous renderings into such as are clear and express in
(4) Alterations of the A.V. in cases where it was inconsistent with itself in the renderings
of two or more passages confessedly alike or parallel.
(5) Alterations rendered necessary by consequence, that is, arising out of changes
already made, though not in themselves required by the general rule of faithfulness.
The frequent inconsistencies of the A.V. caused the Revisers much embarrassment,
where even in the same chapter the same Greek word would be rendered several ways.
Their alterations made necessary by consequence they explain as follows:--
"When a particular word is found to recur with characteristic frequency in any one of
the Sacred Writers, it is obviously desirable to adopt for it some uniform rendering.
Again, where, as in the case of the first three Evangelists, precisely the same clauses or