The Berean Expositor
Volume 24 - Page 173 of 211
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#28.  The Revised Version.
The marginal notes, and the American Readings.
pp. 214 - 217
We are apt to look upon the marginal references of the R.V. as of slight importance,
but we must remember that unless of two-thirds' majority was obtained for any alteration,
the reading of the A.V. was retained. Matter placed in the margin of the R.V., therefore,
indicates that it came up for serious consideration, but, failing to command the stipulated
majority, could not be placed in the text, though it was of sufficient importance not to be
passed undiscussed. It follows that in many instances, more votes must have been cast
for the marginal note than for the text itself, as it now stands. The margin must therefore
be considered as an integral part of the Revision of 1881.
The first use of the margin is to observe where there is an absence of notes. This may
appear a strange remark, but it is nevertheless worthy of consideration.
Take for example the omission of the words, "Who is preferred before me" in
John 1: 27. The fact that the Revisers here felt themselves under no necessity to give a
marginal note shows that the general consent of the Revisers went with this emendation.
In verse 28, however, the A.V. "Bethabara" is altered to "Bethany", but, as there was
considerable debate over the alteration, the statement is made in the margin that "Many
ancient authorities read Beth-abarah, some Beth-arabah".
Or again, look at verse 18 of the same chapter. The text is identical with the A.V.,
"The only begotten Son", but the margin informs us that "Many very ancient authorities
read God only begotten". Thus we know that at least one third of those who voted, if not
more, were in favour of retaining the A.V. reading, but that the majority of the English
Revisers were in favour of the alteration. To reiterate, many times the marginal note
received more votes than did the text as it now appears, but so conservative were the
rules, that while the votes of one-third were sufficient to secure the retention of the A.V.
reading, the votes of two-thirds were necessary to alter it.
The whole of I John 5: 7 is omitted from the R.V. without marginal comment. This
indicates unanimity and should not be treated lightly. Verse 37 is omitted from the
account of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:, but the margin says, "Some
ancient authorities insert wholly or in part verse 37". The words "and in your spirit,
which are God's" are omitted from I Cor. 6: 20 without marginal note: so also are the
words "of his flesh, and of his bones" from Eph. 5: 30. There is evident unanimity in
omitting from Rom. 8: 1 the words, "who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit".
While the omissions may outnumber the additions to the Received Greek Text, it is
well to remember and to look out for any additions that have been made by the Revisers.
The gracious words "even as ye do walk" of I Thess. 4: 1 are a precious reflection