Translators to the Reader

Topic:   KJV Type:   Articles Translator: A. Allison Lewis


Many men’s mouths have been opened a good while (and yet are not stopped) with speeches about the translation so long in use, or rather perusals of translations made before. They ask what is the reason, what is the necessity, of the new translation. Has the Church been deceived, say they, all this while? Has her sweet bread been mingled with leaven, her silver with dross, her wine with water, "her milk with lime?", said Irenaeus. We hoped that we had been in the right way, that we had had the oracles of God delivered to us, and that though all the world had cause to be offended, and to complain, yet that we had none. Has the nurse held out the breast with nothing but wind in it? Has the bread been delivered by the Fathers of the Church, and the same proved to be stones, as Seneca spoke? What is it to handle the Word of God deceitfully, if this be not it? Thus say certain brethren. Also the adversaries of Judah and Jerusalem, like Sanballat in Nehemiah, mock, as we hear, both at the work and the workmen, saying, What do these weak Jews, … will they make the stones whole again out of the heaps of dust which are burnt? Although they build, yet if a fox go up, he will even break down their stony wall [NEH 4:3]. Was their translation good before? Why do they now mend it? Was it not good? Why then was it pushed upon the people? Yes, why did the Catholics (meaning Popish Romanists) always put themselves in danger by refusing to go to hear it? No, if it must be translated into English, Catholics are best suited to do it. They have learning, and they know when a thing is well done, they can "handle the writing tablet." We will answer them both briefly. The former, being brethren, thus with Jerome we say, "Do we condemn the ancient? In no case: but after the endeavors of those who were before us, we take the best pains we can in the house of God." And as he added, "Being provoked by the example of the learned who lived before my time, I have thought it my duty to examine whether my talent in the knowledge of the languages may be profitable in any measure to God’s Church, lest I should seem to have labored in them in vain, and lest I should be thought to glory in men (although ancient) above that which was due them."

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This Page Last Updated: 06/25/05 A. Allison Lewis