Weymouth New Testament in Modern Speech Third Edition 1913 Public Domain—Copy Freely
These files were produced by keying for use in the Online Bible. Proofreading was performed by Earl Melton. The printed edition used in creating this etext was the Kregal reprint of the Ernest Hampden-Cook (1912) Third Edition, of the edition first published in 1909 by J. Clarke, London. Kregal edition ISBN 0-8254-4025-4.
Due to the plans to add the Weymouth footnotes, the footnote markers have been left in the text and page break indicators. Other special markings are words surrounded with "*" to indicate emphasis, and phrases surrounded with "" to indicate bold OT qoutes. See WEYMOUTH.INT in WNTINT.ZIP for the introduction to the text, and information on Weymouth's techniques.
The most current corrected files can be found on:
Bible Foundation BBS 602-789-7040 (14.4 kbs)
If any errors are found, please notify me at the above bbs, or at:
Mark Fuller 1129 E. Loyola Dr. Tempe, Az. 85282 (602) 829-8542
—————- Corrections to the printed page ——————————-
Introduction says personal pronouns referring to Jesus, when spoken by other than the author/narrator, are capitalized only when they recognize His deity. The following oversights in the third edition were corrected in subsequent editions. Therefore we feel justified in correcting them in this computer version.
Mt 22:16 Capitalized 'him'. Same person speaking as in v.15. Mt 27:54 Capitalized 'he'. Joh 21:20 Capitalized 'his' Heb 12:6 Capitalized last 'HE' (referring to God).
==== changes made to printed page.
Lu 11:49 Added closing quote at end of verse as later editions do. Lu 13:6 come > came (changed in later editions) Ro 11:16 it > if (an obvious typesetting error corrected in later editions) 1Co 11:6 out > cut (an obvious typesetting error corrected in later editions) Php 4:3 the Word 'book' in 'book of Life' was not capitalized in various printings of the third edition, but it was in later editions. So we have capitalized it here.
2Ti 1:9 deserts > desserts (misspelling perpetuated in later editions)
==== no change made:
Eph 6:17 did not capitalize 'word' as in Word of God.
PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION
The Translation of the New Testament here offered to English-speaking Christians is a bona fide translation made directly from the Greek, and is in no sense a revision. The plan adopted has been the following.
1. An earnest endeavour has been made (based upon more than sixty years' study of both the Greek and English languages, besides much further familiarity gained by continual teaching) to ascertain the exact meaning of every passage not only by the light that Classical Greek throws on the langruage used, but also by that which the Septuagint and the Hebrew Scriptures afford; aid being sought too from Versions and Commentators ancient and modern, and from the ample et cetera of apparatus grammaticus and theological and Classical reviews and magazines—or rather, by means of occasional excursions into this vast prairie.
2. The sense thus seeming to have been ascertained, the next step has been to consider how it could be most accurately and naturally exhibited in the English of the present day; in other words, how we can with some approach to probability suppose that the inspired writer himself would have expressed his thoughts, had he been writing in our age and country. /1
3. Lastly it has been evidently desirable to compare the results thus attained with the renderings of other scholars, especially of course witll the Authorized and Revised Versions. But alas, the great majority of even "new translations," so called, are, in reality, only Tyndale's immortal work a little—often very litLle—modernized!
4. But in the endeavour to find in Twentieth Century English a precise equivalent for a Greek word, phrase, or sentence there are two dangers to be guarded against. There are a Scylla and a Charybdis. On the one hand there is the English of Society, on the other hand that of the utterly uneducated, each of these patois having also its own special, though expressive, borderland which we name 'slang.' But all these salient angles (as a professor of fortification might say) of our language are forbidden ground to the reverent translator of Holy Scripture.
5. But again, a modern translation—does this imply that no words or phrases in any degree antiquated are to be admitted? Not so, for great numbers of such words and phrases are still in constant use. To be antiquated is not the same thing as to be obsolete or even obsolescent, and without at least a tinge of antiquity it is scarcely possible that there should be that dignity of style that befits the sacred themes with which the Evangelists and Apostles deal.
6. It is plain that this attempt to bring out the sense of the Sacred Writings naturally as well as accurately in present-day English does not permit, except to a limited extent, the method of literal rendering—the verbo verbum reddere at which Horace shrugs his shoulders. Dr. Welldon, recently Bishop of Calcutta, in the Preface (p. vii) to his masterly translation of the Nicomachean Ethics of Aristotle, writes, "I have deliberately rejected the principle of trying to translate the same Greek word by the same word in English, and where circumstances seemed to call for it I have sometimes used two English words to represent one word of the Greek;"—and he is perfectly right. With a slavish literality delicate shades of meaning cannot be reproduced, nor allowance be made for the influence of interwoven thought, or of the writer's ever shifting—not to say changing—point of view. An utterly ignorant or utterly lazy man, if possessed of a little ingenuity, can with the help of a dictionary and grammar give a word-for-word rendering, whether intelligible or not, and print 'Translation' on his title-page. On the other hand it is a melancholy spectacle to see men of high ability and undoubted scholarship toil and struggle at translation under a needless restriction to literality, as in intellectual handcuffs and fetters, when they might with advantage snap the bonds and fling them away, as Dr. Welldon has done: more melancholy still, if they are at the same time racking their brains to exhibit the result of their labours—-a splendid but idle philological tour de force —in what was English nearly 300 years before.
7. Obviously any literal translation cannot but carry idioms of the earlier language into the later, where they will very probably not be understood; /2 and more serious still is the evil when, as in the Jewish Greek of the N T, the earlier language of the two is itself composite and abounds in forms of speech that belong to one earlier still. For the N.T. Greek, even in the writings of Luke, contains a large number of Hebrew idioms; and a literal rendering into English cannot but partially veil, and in some degree distort, the true sense, even if it does not totally obscure it (and that too where perfect clearness should be attained, if possible), by this admixture of Hebrew as well as Greek forms of expression.
8. It follows that the reader who is bent upon getting a literal rendering, such as he can commonly find in the R.V. or (often a better one) in Darby's New Testament, should always be on his guard against its strong tendency to mislead.
9. One point however can hardly be too emphatically stated. It is not the present Translator's ambition to supplant the Versions already in general use, to which their intrinsic merit or long familiarity or both have caused all Christian minds so lovingly to cling. His desire has rather been to furnish a succinct and compressed running commentary (not doctrinal) to be used sidc by side with its elder compeers. And yet there has been something of a remoter hope. It can scarcely be doubted that some day the attempt will be renewed to produce a satisfactory English Bible—one in some respects perhaps (but assuredly with great and important deviations) on the lines of the Revision of 1881, or even altogether to supersede both the A.V. and the R.V.; and it may be that the Translation here offered will contribute some materials that may be built into that far grander edifice.
10. THE GREEK TEXT here followed is that given in the Translator's Resultant Greek Testament.
11. Of the VARIOUS READINGS only those are here given which seem the most important, and which affect the rendering into English. They are in the footnotes, with V.L. (varia lectio) prefixed. As to the chief modern critical editions full details will be found in the Resultant Greek Testament, while for the original authorities—MSS., Versions, Patristic quotations—the reader must of necessity consult the great works of Lachmann, Tregelles, Tischendorf, and others, or the numerous monographs on separate Books. /3 In the margin of the R.V. a distinction is made between readings supported by "a few ancient authorities," "some ancient authorities," "many ancient authorities," and so on. Such valuation is not attempted in this work.
12. Considerable pains have been bestowed on the exact rendering of the tenses of the Greek verb; for by inexactness in this detail the true sense cannot but be missed. That the Greek tenses do not coincide, and cannot be expected to coincide with those of the English verb; that—except in narrative—the aorist as a rule is more exactly represented in English by our perfect with "have" than by our simple past tense; and that in this particular the A.V. is in scores of instances more correct than the R.V.; the present Translator has contended (with arguments which some of the best scholars in Britain and in America hold to be "unanswerable" and "indisputable") in a pamphlet On the Rendering into English of the Greek Aorist and Perfect. Even an outline of the argument cannot be given in a Preface such as this.
13. But he who would make a truly English translation of a foreign book must not only select the right nouns, adjectives, and verbs, insert the suitable prepositions and auxiliaries, and triumph (if he can) over the seductions and blandishments of idioms with which he has been familiar from his infancy, but which, though forcible or beautiful with other surroundings, are for all that part and parcel of that other language rather than of English: he has also to beware of connecting his sentences in an un-English fashion.
Now a careful examination of a number of authors (including Scottish, Irish, and American) yields some interesting results. Taking at haphazard a passage from each of fifty-six authors, and counting on after some full stop till fifty finite verbs—i. e. verbs in the indicative, imperative, or subjunctive mood—have been reached (each finite verb, as every schoolboy knows, being the nucleus of one sentence or clause), it has been found that the connecting links of the fifty-six times fifty sentences are about one-third conjunctions, about one-third adverbs or relative and interrogative pronouns, while in the case of the remaining third there is what the grammarians call an asyndeton—no formal grammatical connexion at all. But in the writers of the N.T. nearly two-thirds of the connecting links are conjunctions. It follows that in order to make the style of a translation true idiomatic English many of these conjunctions must be omitted, and for others adverbs, &c., must be substituted.
The two conjunctions for and therefore are discussed at some length in two Appendices to the above-mentioned pamphlet on the Aorist, to which the reader is referred.
14. The NOTES, with but few exceptions, are not of the nature of a general commentary. Some, as already intimated, refer to the readings here followed, but the great majority are in vindication or explanation of the renderings given. Since the completion of this new version nearly two years ago, ill-health has incapacitated the Translator from undertaking even the lightest work. He has therefore been obliged to entrust to other hands the labour of critically examining and revising the manuscript and of seeing it through the press. This arduous task has been undertaken by Rev. Ernest Hampden-Cook, M.A., St. John's College, Cambridge, of Sandhach, Cheshire, with some co-operation from one of the Translator's sons; and the Translator is under deep obligations to these two gentlemen for their kindness in the matter. He has also most cordially to thank Mr. Hampden-Cook for making the existence of the work known to various members of the OLD MILLHILIANS' CLUB and other former pupils of the Translator, who in a truly substantial manner have manifested a generous determination to enable the volume to see the light. Very grateful does the Translator feel to them for this signal mark of their friendship.
Mr. Hampden-Cook is responsible for the headings of the paragraphs, and at my express desire has inserted some additional notes.
I have further to express my gratitude to Rev. Frank Baliard, M.A., B.Sc., Lond., at present of Sharrow, Sheffield, for some very valuable assistance which he has most kindly given in connexion with the Introductions to the several books.
I have also the pleasure of acknowledging the numerous valuable and suggestive criticisms with which I have been favoured on some parts of the work, by an old friend, Rev. Sydney Thelwall, B.A., of Leamington, a clergyman of the Church of England, whom I have known for many years as a painstaking and accurate scholar, a well-read theologian. and a thoughtful and devout student of Scripture.
I am very thankful to Mr. H. L. Gethin. Mr. S. Hales, Mr. J. A. Latham, and Rev. T. A. Seed, for the care with which they have read the proof sheets.
And now this Translation is humbly and prayerfully commended to God's gracious blessing.
/1. I am aware of what Proffessor Blackie has written on this subject (Aeschylus, Pref. p. viii) but the problem endeavoured to be solved in this Translation is as above stated.
/2. A flagrant instance is the "having in a readiness" of 2 Cor. 10.6, A.V. althoglgh in Tyndale we find "and are redy to take vengeaunce," and even Wiclif writes "and we han redi to venge."
/3 Such as McClellan's Four Gospels; Westcott on John's Gospel, John's Epistles, and Hebrews; Hackett on Acts, Lightfoot, and also Ellicott, on various Epistles: Mayor on James; Edwards on I Corinthians and Hebrews; Sanday and Headlam on Romans. Add to these Scrivener's very valuable Introduction to the Criticism of the N.T.
PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION
For the purposes of this edition the whole volume has been re-set in new type, and, in the hope of increasing the interest and attractiveness of the Translation, all conversations have been spaced out in accordance with modern custom. A freer use than before has been made of capital letters, and by means of small, raised figures, prefixed to words in the text, an indication has been griven whenever there is a footnote. "Capernaum" and "Philadelphia" have been substituted for the less familiar but more literal "Capharnahum" and "Philadelpheia." Many errata have been corrected, and a very considerable number of what seemed to be infelicities or slight inaccuracies in the English have been removed. A few additional footnotes have been inserted, and, for the most part, those for which the Editor is responsible have now the letters ED. added to them.
Sincere thanks are tendered to the many kind friends who have expressed their appreciation of this Translation, or have helped to make it better known, and to the many correspondents who have sent criticisms of the previous editions, and made useful suggestions for the improvement of the volume.
ABBREVIATIONS USED IN THE NOTES
Aorist. Dr. Weymouth's Pamphlet on the Rendering of the Greek Aorist and Perfect Tenses into English. A.V. Authorised English Version, 1611. Cp. Compare. ED. Notes for which the Editor is responsible, wholly or in part. I.E. That is. Lit. Literally. LXX. The Septuagint (Greek) Version of the Old Testament. n. Note. nn. Notes. N.T. New Testament. O.T. Old Testament. R.V. Revised English Version, 1881-85. S.H. Sanday and Headlam's Commentary on 'Romans.' V.L. Varia Lectio. An alternative reading found in some Manuscripts of the New Testament. V.V. Verses.
In accordance with modern English custom, ITALICS are used to indicate emphasis. [In the etext, surounded by **]
Old Testament quotations are printed in small capitals. [In the etext, surrounded by ]
During Christ's earthly ministry even His disciples did not always recognize His super-human nature and dignity. Accordingly, in the Gospels of this Translation, it is only when the Evangelists themselves use of Him the words "He," "Him," "His," that these are spelt with capital initial letters.
The spelling of "me" and "my" with small initial letters, when used by Christ Himself in the Gospels, is explained by the fact that, before His Resurrection, He did not always emphasize His own super-human nature and dignity.
The Good News as Recorded by Matthew
There are ample reasons for accepting the uniform tradition which from earliest times has ascribed this Gospel to Levi the son of Alphaeus, who seems to have changed his name to 'Matthew' on becoming a disciple of Jesus. Our information as to his subsequent life is very scanty. After the feast which he made for his old friends (Lu 5:29) his name only appears in the New Testament in the list of the twelve Apostles. Early Christian writers add little to our knowledge of him, but his life seems to have been quiet and somewhat ascetic. He is also generally represented as having died a natural death. Where his Gospel was written, or where he himself laboured, we cannot say.
Not a little controversy has arisen as to the form in which this Gospel first appeared, that is, as to whether we have in the Greek MSS. an original document or a translation from an earlier Aramaic writing. Modern scholarship inclines to the view that the book is not a translation, but was probably written in Greek by Matthew himself, upon the basis of a previously issued collection of "Logia" or discourses, to the existence of which Papias, Irenaeus, Pantaenus, Origen, Eusebius and Jerome all testify.
The date of the Gospel, as we know it, is somewhat uncertain, but the best critical estimates are included between 70 and 90, A.D. Perhaps, with Harnack, we may adopt 75, A.D.
The book was evidently intended for Jewish converts, and exhibits Jesus as the God-appointed Messiah and King, the fulfiller of the Law and of the highest expectations of the Jewish nation. This speciality of aim rather enhances than diminishes its general value. Renan found reason for pronouncing it "the most important book of Christendom— the most important book which has ever been written." Its aim is manifestly didactic rather than chronological.
The Good News as Recorded by Mark
This Gospel is at once the briefest and earliest of the four. Modern research confirms the ancient tradition that the author was Barnabas's cousin, "John, whose other name was Mark," who during Paul's first missionary tour "departed from them" at Pamphylia, "and returned to Jerusalem" (see Ac 12:12,25; 15:37,39; Co 4:1O; 2Ti 4:11; Phm 1:24; 1Pe 5:13). His defection appeared to Paul sufficiently serious to warrant an emphatic refusal to take him with him on a second tour, but in after years the breach was healed and we find Mark with Paul again when he writes to Colossae, and he is also mentioned approvingly in the second Letter to Timothy.
Scholars are now almost unanimous in fixing the date of this Gospel between 63 and 70, A. D. There is no valid reason for questioning the usual view that it was written in Rome. Clement, Eusebius, Jerome and Epiphanius, all assert that this was so. That the book was mainly intended for Gentiles, and especially Romans, seems probable from internal evidence. Latin forms not occurring in other Gospels, together with explanations of Jewish terms and customs, and the omission of all reference to the Jewish Law, point in this direction. Its vividness of narration and pictorial minuteness of observation bespeak the testimony of an eye-witness, and the assertion of Papias, quoted by Eusebius, that Mark was "the interpreter of Peter" is borne out by the Gospel itself no less than by what we otherwise know of Mark and Peter.
In a real though not mechanical sense, this is "the Gospel of Peter," and its admitted priority to the Gospels of Matthew and Luke affords substantial reason for the assumption that it is to some extent the source whence they derive their narratives, although Papias distinctly affirms that Mark made no attempt at giving a carefully arranged history such as that at which Luke confessedly aimed.
In spite of the witness of most uncial MSS. and the valiant pleading of Dean Burgon and others, modern scholars are well nigh unanimous in asserting that the last twelve verses of this Gospel are an appendix. Yet less cannot honestly be said than that they "must have been of very early date," and that they embody "a true apostolic tradition which may have been written by some companion or successor of the original author." In one Armenian MS. they are attributed to Aristion.
The Good News as Recorded by Luke
Modern research has abundantly confirmed the ancient tradition that the anonymous author of the third Gospel is none other than "Luke the beloved physician" and the narrator of the "Acts of the Apostles" (see. Col 4:14; 2Ti 4:11; Phm 1:24). Even Renan acknowledges this, and the objections of a few extremists appear to have been sufficiently answered.
The date is not easy to settle. The main problem is whether the book was written before or after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70, A.D. Not a few scholars whose views merit great respect still think that it preceded that event, but the majority of critics believe otherwise. Three principal dates have been suggested, 63, A.D., 80, A.D., 100, A.D. If we accept 80, A. D., we shall be in substantial accord with Harnack, McGiffert, and Plummer, who fairly represent the best consensus of scholarly opinion.
There is no evidence as to where this Gospel was composed, although its general style suggests the influence of some Hellenic centre. Its special characteristics are plain. It is written in purer Greek than the other Gospels, and is manifestly the most historic and artistic. It has also the widest outlook, having obviously been compiled for Gentiles, and, especially, for Greeks. The Author was evidently an educated man and probably a physician, and was also a close observer.
Eighteen of the parables and six of the miracles found here are not recorded elsewhere. Those "portions of the Gospel narrative which Luke alone has preserved for us, are among the most beautiful treasures which we possess, and we owe them in a great measure to his desire to make his collection as full as possible." Luke's object was rather to write history than construct an "apology" and for this reason his order is generally chronological.
This Gospel is often termed, and not without reason, "the Gospel of Paul." Luke's close association with the great Apostle—an association to which the record in the Acts and also the Pauline Letters bear testimony—at once warrants and explains the ancient assumption that we have here a writing as truly coloured by the influence of Paul as that of Mark was by Peter. This is especially the Gospel of gratuitous and universal salvation. Its integrity has recently been placed beyond dispute. Marcion's edition of it in 140, A.D., was a mutilation of the original!
The Good News as Recorded by John
In spite of its rejection by Marcion and the Alogi, the fourth Gospel was accepted by most Christians at the end of the second century as having been written by the Apostle John. In the present day the preponderating tendency among scholars favours the traditional authorship. On the other hand the most recent scrutiny asserts: "Although many critics see no adequate reason for accepting the tradition which assigns the book to the Apostle John, and there are several cogent reasons to the contrary, they would hardly deny that nevertheless the volume is Johannine—in the sense that any historical element throughout its pages may be traced back directly or indirectly to that Apostle and his school."
As regards the date, no more definite period can be indicated than that suggested by Harnack—between 80, A.D., and 110, A.D. But that it was written in Ephesus is practically certain, and there is evidence that it was composed at the request of Elders and believers belonging to the Churches of Roman Asia.
The special characteristics which render the book unique in literature are unmistakable, but scarcely admit of brief expression. It is manifestly supplementary to the other Gospels and assumes that they are known and are true. The differences between the fourth Gospel and the other three may be easily exaggerated, but it must be acknowledged that they exist. They relate, (1) to the ministry of Christ, and (2) to His person. As to the former it is impossible to correlate all the references to distinct events, for whilst the Synoptics appear to contemplate little more than the life and work of a single year, from John's standpoint there can scarcely have been less than three years concerned. As to the person of Christ, it must be owned that although the fourth Gospel makes no assertion which contradicts the character of Teacher and Reformer attributed to Him by the Synoptics, it presents to us a personage so enwrapped in mystery and dignity as altogether to transcend ordinary human nature. This transcendent Personality is indeed the avowed centre of the whole record, and His portrayal is its avowed purpose. Yet whilst the writer never clearly reveals to us who he himself is, it is equally manifest that his own convictions constitute the matrix in which the discourses and events are imbedded, and that there is nothing in this matrix to render that which it contains unreal or untrustworthy.
The Acts of the Apostles
The authorship of this book has been much discussed, but it may now be affirmed with certainty that the writer of our third Gospel is also the author of "the Acts," and that he speaks from the standpoint of an eye-witness in the four we sections (16:10-17; 20:5-15; 21:1-18; 27:1—28:16), and is known in Paul's Letters as "Luke the beloved physician" (Col 4:14; 2Ti 4:11; Phm 1:24). The date necessarily depends upon that of the third Gospel. If the latter was written before the destruction of Jerusalem, then Luke's second work may well have been issued between 66 and 70, A.D. But the tendency, in the present day, is to date the Gospel somewhere between 75 and 85, A.D., after the destruction of the city. In that case "the Acts" may be assigned to any period between 80 and 90, A.D. The latter conclusion, though by no means certain, is perhaps the more probable.
The familiar title of the book is somewhat unfortunate, for it is manifestly not the intention of the writer to describe the doings of the Apostles generally, but rather just so much of the labours of Peter and Paul—and especially the latter—as will serve to illustrate the growth of the early Church, and at the same time exhibit the emancipation of Christianity from its primitive Judaic origin and environment.
It is plain that the writer was contemporary with the events he describes, and although his perfect ingenuousness ceaselessly connects his narrative with history, in no case has he been proved to be in error. The intricacy of the connexions between this record and the Pauline Letters will be best estimated from a study of Paley's Horae Paulinae. We know nothing definite as to the place where the Acts was written, nor the sources whence the information for the earlier portion of the narrative was obtained. But it may be truthfully affirmed that from the modern critical ordeal the work emerges as a definite whole, and rather confirmed than weakened in regard to its general authenticity.
Paul's Letter to the Romans
The four books of the New Testament known as the Letters to the Romans, Corinthians, and Galatians, are allowed by practically all critics, including some of the most "destructive," to be genuine productions of the Apostle Paul. Opinions vary as to the order of their composition. The latest research tends to put 'Galatians' first, and 'Romans' last, in the period between 53 and 58 A. D. The date generally assigned to the Roman Letter is 58 A.D., but recently Harnack, McGiffert, Clemen and others have shown cause for putting it some four years earlier. The chronology of the period is necessarily very complicated. It must suffice, therefore, to regard this Letter as having been written, at either of these dates, from Corinth, where Paul was staying in the course of his third missionary tour. He was hoping to go to Rome, by way of Jerusalem, and then proceed to Spain (15:24; Ac 24:21).
The object of this Letter was to prepare the Christians in Rome for his visit, and make a clear statement of the new doctrines which he taught. It is probable that the crisis in Galatia, to which the Letter sent thither bears witness, had driven the Apostle's thoughts in the direction of the subject of Justification, and he was apparently much troubled by the persistence of Jewish unbelief. Hence the present Letter has been well termed "the Gospel according to Paul."
We know really nothing about the Christians then in Rome beyond what we find here. It is, however, fairly certain that reports concerning the Saviour would be taken to that city by proselytes, both before and after the events described in Acts 2, and we know that there was a large Jewish population there amongst whom the seed would be sown. Some critics have thought "that a note addressed to Ephesus lies embedded in the 16th chapter," because, they say, it is "inconceivable that Paul could have intimately known so many individuals in a Church like that in Rome to which he was personally a stranger." But this is by no means demonstrated, nor is there evidence that the Church there was founded by any other Apostle.
Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians
The genuineness of the two Letters to the Corinthians has never been seriously disputed. The first was written by the Apostle Paul, probably in the early spring of 56 A.D., just before he left Ephesus for Troas in the course of his third missionary tour (Ac 19). The Church in Corinth had been founded by him during his previous tour (Ac 18). After some hesitation he had been induced to preach in Corinth, and in spite of the opposition of the Jews such great success attended his efforts that he remained there for more than eighteen months. The furious attack upon him which was frustrated by Gallio gave impetus to the new cause, so that when the Apostle left, there was a comparatively strong Church there, consisting mostly of Greeks, but including not a few Jews also. The dangers, however, arising out of the temperament and circumstances of the Corinthians soon manifested themselves. The city was the capital of Roman Greece, a wealthy commercial centre, and the home of a restless, superficial intellectualism. Exuberant verbosity, selfish display, excesses at the Lord's table, unseemly behaviour of women at meetings for worship, and also abuse of spiritual gifts, were complicated by heathen influences and the corrupting customs of idolatry. Hence the Apostle's pleas, rebukes, and exhortations. Most noteworthy of all is his forceful treatment of the subject of the Resurrection of Christ; and this only a quarter of a century after the event. Of the Letter mentioned in 5:9 we know nothing.
Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians
The second Letter to the Corinthians was probably written in the autumn of 56 A.D., the first Letter to them having been sent in the spring of that year. But there are other letters of which we have no clear account. One, lost to us, evidently preceded the first Letter (1Co 5:9). In our "second" Letter we find mention (2:2,4) of a severe communication which could not but give pain. Can this have been our "first" to the Corinthians? Some think not, in which case there must have been an "intermediate" letter. This some students find in 2Co 10 1-8:1O. If so, there must have been four letters. Some have thought that in 2Co 6:14-7:1, and 8, 9, yet another is embedded, making possibly five in all. The reader must form his own conclusions, inasmuch as the evidence is almost entirely internal. On the whole it would seem that our first Letter, conveyed by Titus, had produced a good effect in the Corinthian Church, but that this wore off, and that Titus returned to the Apostle in Ephesus with such disquieting news that a visit of Paul just then to Corinth would have been very embarrassing, alike for the Church and the Apostle. Hence, instead of going, he writes a "painful" letter and sends it by the same messenger, proceeding himself to Troas and thence to Macedonia, where, in great tension of spirit, he awaits the return of Titus. At last there comes a reassuring account, the relief derived from which is so great that our second Letter is written, with the double purpose of comforting those who had been so sharply rebuked and of preventing the recurrence of the evils which had called forth the remonstrance. In this way both the tenderness and the severity of the present Letter may be explained.
Paul's Letter to the Galatians
There is no question as to the genuineness of this Pauline Letter, but unlike most other writings of the Apostle it was addressed to "Churches" rather than to a single community.
Formerly it was not easy to decide the precise meaning of the term "Galatia." Opinions differed on the subject. The "North Galatian theory," contended for by some German scholars, maintained that the Letter was addressed to the Churches of Ancyra, Tavium, Pessinus and possibly to those in other cities. The "South Galatian theory," which now holds the field in English-speaking countries, is to the effect that the congregations intended were those of Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Derbe and Lystra; and this is strongly supported by the unique resemblance between this Letter and Paul's sermon in Pisidian Antioch (Ac 13:14-41). In any case the population was very mixed, consisting of Phrygians, Greeks, Romans, Gauls and Jews.
The date of the Letter cannot be exactly fixed. The periods assigned by recent scholarship vary from 46 A.D. to 58 A.D., but the medium estimate of 53 A.D., adopted by Harnack and Ramsay, satisfies all the requirements of the case.
The Apostle certainly visited Galatia during his second missionary tour, perhaps about 51 A. D., and, although suffering from illness, was received with enthusiasm. After a short stay he departed cherishing a joyful confidence as to his converts there. But when, less than three years afterwards, he came again, he found that the leaven of Judaism had produced a definite apostasy, insomuch that both the freedom of individual believers and his own Apostolic authority were in danger.
Even his personal presence (Ac 18:23) did not end the difficulty. Hence, possibly during his journey between Macedonia and Achaia, he sent this Letter. Its rugged and incoherent style shows that it was dictated under great stress of feeling, and the doctrine of justification by faith is stated more emphatically than in any other of his writings. But his earnest insistence upon the "fruit borne by the Spirit" proves that his ideal of practical holiness was rather strengthened than impaired by his plea for Faith as the mainspring of Christian life.
Paul's Letter to the Ephesians
This appears to have been a kind of circular Letter to the Churches in Roman Asia, and was not addressed exclusively to the Church in Ephesus.
Ephesus was a well-known seaport and the principal city in Roman Asia. It was famous alike for its wonderful temple, containing the shrine of Artemis, and for its vast theatre, which was capable of accommodating 50,000 persons.
Paul was forbidden at first to preach in Roman Asia (Ac 16:6), but he afterwards visited Ephesus in company with Priscilla and Aquila (Ac 18:19). About three years later (Ac 19:1) he came again and remained for some time—probably from 54 to 57 A. D.—preaching and arguing in the school of Tyrannus, until driven away through the tumult raised by Demetrius. He then went to Jerusalem, by way of Miletus, but was arrested in the uproar created by the Jews and was taken first to Caesarea (Ac 23:23), and thence to Rome (Ac 28:16). This was probably in the spring of 61 A.D.
Late in 62 or early in 63 A.D., this Letter was written, together with the companion Letters to the Colossians and Philemon.
Paul's Letter to the Philippians
This Letter was written shortly before that to the Ephesians, probably late in 61 or early in 62 A.D. Epaphroditus had been sent to Rome to assure the Apostle, in his imprisonment, of the tender and practical sympathy of the Philippian disciples (Php 2:25; 4:15,16). The messenger, however, fell ill upon his arrival, and only on his recovery could Paul, as in this Letter, express his appreciation of the thoughtful love of the Philippians.
The Apostle appears to have visited the city three times. In 52 A.D. it was the place of his first preaching in Europe (Ac 16:12); but he came again in 57 and in 58 A.D. (Ac 20:2,6), on the last occasion spending the Passover season there.
Two special traits in the Macedonian character are recognized by the Apostle in this Letter; the position and influence of women, and the financial liberality of the Philippians. It is remarkable that a Church displaying such characteristics, and existing in a Roman "colonia," should have lived, as this one did, "without a history, and have perished without a memorial."
Paul's Letter to the Colossians
This Letter belongs to the same group as those to the Ephesians and Philemon, and was probably written from Rome about 63 A. D. Colossae was a town in Phrygia (Roman Asia), on the river Lycus, and was destroyed by an earthquake in the seventh year of Nero's reign. The Church there was not founded by Paul himself (Col 2:1), but by Epaphras (Col 1:7; 4:12), and this Letter arose out of a visit which Epaphras paid to the Apostle, for the purpose of discussing with him the development, at Colossae, of certain strange doctrines which may possibly have been a kind of early Gnosticism. Paul here writes to support the authority and confirm the teaching of Epaphras.
Paul's First Letter to the Thessalonians
During his second missionary tour (Ac 17), Paul came to Thessalonica and preached the Good News there with no little success. The city—which had had its name given it by Cassander, after his wife, the sister of Alexander the Great—was the most populous in Macedonia, besides being a "free city" and the seat of the Roman pro-consular administration. Its modern name is Saloniki.
Very soon the unbelieving Jews stirred up the mob against Paul and Silas, and dragged Jason before the magistrates. Hence the brethren sent the missionaries away by night to Beroea, being alarmed for their safety. As the Apostle was naturally anxious about the persecuted flock which he had been obliged to leave behind, he made two attempts to return to them, but these being frustrated (1Th 2:18), he then sent Timothy, from Athens, to inquire after their welfare and encourage them.
The report brought back was on the whole satisfactory, but left occasion for the self-defence, the warnings and the exhortations of this Letter, which was then sent from Corinth, probably in 53 A.D.
Paul's Second Letter to the Thessalonians
This Letter was written from Corinth not long after the preceding one, and probably in the year 54 A.D. Its occasion was the reception of tidings from Thessalonica which showed that there had been a measure of misapprehension of the Apostle's teaching in regard to the Return of the Lord Jesus, and also that there was a definitely disorderly section in the Church there, capable of doing great harm.
Hence Paul writes to correct the error into which his converts had fallen, and at the same time he uses strong language as to the treatment to be dealt out to those members of the Church who were given to idleness and insubordination.
Paul's First Letter to Timothy
There has never been any real doubt among Christian people as to the authorship of the three "pastoral" Letters. But definite objections to their genuineness have been made in recent times upon the ground of such internal evidence as their style, the indications they present of advanced organization, their historic standpoint and their references to developed heresy.
Says one scholar, "While there is probably nothing in them to which the Apostle would have objected, they must be regarded on account of their style as the product of one who had been taught by Paul and now desired to convey certain teachings under cover of his name. The date need not be later than 80 A.D."
Yet a thorough examination of the matter does not support such objections. It is certain that the three Letters stand or fall together, and there is no sufficient reason for dismissing the ancient conclusion that they are all the genuine work of Paul, and belong to the last years of his life, 66-67 A.D.
This first Letter was probably written from Macedonia.
Paul's Second Letter to Timothy
The marks of genuineness in this Letter are very pronounced. For instance, the thanksgiving, the long list of proper names—twenty-three in number—the personal details and the manifest tone of sincerity and earnestness. Hence it is accepted as Paul's even by some who reject the former Letter and that addressed to Titus. But it is inseparable from the others, and was probably written from Rome during the Apostle's second imprisonment. It is his last Letter known to us, and its apparent date is 67 A.D.
Paul's Letter to Titus
This Letter was probably written from Ephesus in 67 A.D. Titus, who was a Greek by birth, is mentioned in eleven other places in the Pauline Letters and always with marked approval (2Co 2:13; 7:6,13,14; 8:6,16,23; 12:18; Ga 2:1,3; 2Ti 4:10). He was often a trusted messenger to the Churches, his last errand being to Dalmatia. Tradition confirms the inference commonly drawn from this Letter that he was long the Bishop of the Church in Crete, and regards Candia as having been his birthplace.
Paul's Letter to Philemon
This Letter (63 A.D.) was written as the result of Paul's deep interest in Onesimus, a slave who had fled from Colossae to Rome to get free from Philemon his master (Col 4:9).
"A Phrygian slave was one of the lowest known types to be found in the Roman world, displaying all the worst features of character which the servile condition developed. Onesimus had proved no exception. He ran away from his master, and, as Paul thought probable (verses 18,19), not without helping himself to a share of his master's possessions. By the help of what he had stolen, and by the cleverness which afterwards made him so helpful to Paul, he made his way to Rome, naturally drawn to the great centre, and prompted both by a desire to hide himself and by a youthful yearning to see the utmost the world could show of glory and of vice.
"But whether feeling his loneliness, or wearied with a life of vice, or impoverished and reduced to want, or seized with a fear of detection, he made his way to Paul, or unbosomed himself to some Asiatic he saw on the street. And as he stepped out of the coarse debauchery and profanity of the crowded resorts of the metropolis into the room hallowed by the presence of Paul, he saw the foulness of the one life and the beauty of the other, and was persuaded to accept the gospel he had so often heard in his master's house.
"How long he remained with Paul does not appear, but it was long enough to impress on the Apostle's mind that this slave was no common man. Paul had devoted and active friends by him, but this slave, trained to watch his master's wants and to execute promptly all that was entrusted to him, became almost indispensable to the Apostle. But to retain him, he feels, would be to steal him, or at any rate to deprive Philemon of the pleasure of voluntarily sending him to minister to him (verse 14). He therefore sends him back with this Letter, so exquisitely worded that it cannot but have secured the forgiveness and cordial reception of Onesimus" (Marcus Dods, D.D., New Testament Introduction).
The Letter to the Hebrews
As regards the date of this Letter, the only sure conclusion appears to be that it was before 70 A.D. The book itself claims to have been written at the end of the Jewish Age (1:2; 9:26), whilst the earthly temple was still in existence (9:8), and it is inconceivable that such an overwhelming comment upon the writer's whole position as that afforded by the destruction of Jerusalem would have been overlooked, had it been available. Hence 67-68 A.D. may with probability be alleged as the time of composition. The only fact clear as to the author is that he was not the Apostle Paul. The early Fathers did not attribute the book to Paul, nor was it until the seventh century that the tendency to do this, derived from Jerome, swelled into an ecclesiastical practice. From the book itself we see that the author must have been a Jew and a Hellenist, familiar with Philo as well as with the Old Testament, a friend of Timothy and well-known to many of those whom he addressed, and not an Apostle but decidedly acquainted with Apostolic thoughts; and that he not only wrote before the destruction of Jerusalem but apparently himself was never in Palestine. The name of Barnabas, and also that of Priscilla, has been suggested, but in reality all these distinctive marks appear to be found only in Apollos. So that with Luther, and not a few modern scholars, we must either attribute it to him or give up the quest.
There has never been any question as to the canonicity of this Letter, nor can there be any doubt as to its perennial value to the Church of Christ. Where it was written cannot be decided. "The brethren from Italy" (13:24) proves nothing. Nor is it possible to decide to whom it was sent. "The Hebrews," to whom it was addressed, may have been resident in Jerusalem, Alexandria, Ephesus, or Rome. The most remarkable feature of the Letter is manifestly its references to the old Covenant. Here there is a mingling of reverence and iconoclasm. The unquestionably divine origin of the Jewish dispensation is made use of for laying emphasis upon the infinitely superior glory of the Christian order. Thus an a fortiori argument pervades the whole —if the shadow was divine, how much more must the substance be! "The language of the Epistle, both in vocabulary and style, is purer and more vigorous than that of any other book of the New Testament" (Westcott).
Four persons bearing the name of 'James' are mentioned in the New Testament.
(1) The Apostle, the son of Zabdi. (2) The Apostle, the son of Alphaeus. (3) The son of Mary the wife of Clopas. (4) The Lord's brother, mentioned as such along with Joses, Simon and Judah, and prominent in the Acts (12:17; 15:13; 21:18).
The last-named was also known as 'James the Just' and is represented by tradition as having led an ascetic life, which ended in martyrdom. He was undoubtedly Bishop, or President, of the Church in Jerusalem and in all probability this Letter was written by him from that city.
There has been some difference of opinion as to the date of the book. The majority of scholars insist that both the internal and external evidence point to its having been written between 44 and 50 A. D., before the earliest of Paul's Letters. But, on the other hand, the solemn emphasis which the author lays upon the immediateness of the Lord's Return (5:7,8,9) may be regarded as a moral proof of a date very much nearer the winding up of the Mosaic dispensation in 70 A. D.
The Letter may have been a Jewish one, addressed to the Christian converts from Judaism who were scattered abroad, within or beyond the limits of the Roman Empire. Luther deemed it "an Epistle of straw," by reason of its insistence upon the vital importance of 'works.' But its practical ideal assumes the same basis of Christian faith as is found in the Letters of Paul. The opening references to severe trial seem to show that the persecution begun by Herod Agrippa had already been repeated elsewhere. If the later date of the book be admitted, the persecution must then, of course, have been that under Nero.
Peter's First Letter
The state of things described in this Letter answers to what we find in the first Letter to Timothy, and points to the same period. The "fiery trial" referred to is probably the persecution which, begun by Nero, in 64 A.D., in order to divert attention from himself, was continued throughout the Roman Empire.
The Letter seems to be primarily addressed to those who regarded Peter as the Apostle to the Jews, although it is manifest that he did not think of these alone. The fact that it is "full of Pauline thought and Pauline language," is accounted for by the well-grounded supposition that Peter arrived in Rome shortly before Paul was released. So that this Letter, probably written about 65-66 A.D., was definitely intended to set before the Churches of Roman Asia "the inspiring vision of the two Apostles working and planning together in the capital."
This would be at once the clearest lesson the Churches could have concerning their unity, and a great encouragement to those then undergoing tribulation and persecution on behalf of Christ.
Peter's Second Letter
It is impossible to speak with any certainty as to either the date or the authorship of this Letter. From the beginning there have been doubts as to its genuineness and canonicity, and these are represented to-day in the differing judgements of critics equally able and sincere.
It has, however, unquestionably had a place in the canon of the New Testament since the Council of Laodicea in 372 A.D., and there is certainly no such decisive evidence against it as to warrant our omitting it from the New Testament.
It would appear that the writer, whoever he was, had seen the Letter from Jude, and bore it in mind in this his plea for such character and conduct on the part of believers as were worthy of their faith and would prepare them for the Coming of the Lord. The whole Letter constitutes an earnest appeal for practical holiness.
John's First Letter
That this Letter was the actual work of the Apostle John, the son of Zabdi, has been abundantly testified from the very earliest times.
Some modern critics have doubted it, on the ground of internal evidence. But a calm survey of the whole case does not bear out their objections. Dr. Salmon well says that no explanation of the origin of the Epistle fits the facts so well as the one which has always prevailed. It seems to have been addressed to the Church at large, with perhaps special reference to the Churches in Roman Asia.
The connexion between this Letter and the fourth Gospel is "intimate and organic. The Gospel is objective and the Epistle subjective. The Gospel suggests principles of conduct which the Epistle lays down explicitly. The Epistle implies facts which the Gospel states as historically true."
This Letter appears to have been written from Ephesus, and critics have usually assigned 95 A. D., or some other year equally late in the Apostolic age, as the probable date of its composition. On the other hand the internal evidence points to a date immediately preceding the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. See 2:8 (last clause); 2:18; 4:3; and note the expectation of a speedy Coming of Christ (2:28; 3:2)—an expectation which seems almost to have ceased in the early Church after that date.
John's Second Letter
Although we are unable to fix the exact date of this Letter or the place at which it was written, there is sufficient evidence, both external and internal, to warrant our acceptance of it as a genuine work of the Apostle John.
Some have thought that the "lady" addressed stands for an unknown Church, but upon careful consideration it appears more reasonable and natural to regard the Letter as having been a private one. It is impossible to discover the name of the individual to whom it was sent, but both this and the following Letter may be taken as "precious specimens of the private correspondence of the beloved Apostle."
John's Third Letter
There can be no doubt that this Letter was addressed to an individual person. We cannot affix to it a definite date, or place, but the most natural supposition—which there is nothing to contradict—is that it came from the Apostle in Ephesus, about the same time as the preceding Letter.
The special mention of Diotrephes and his behaviour points indeed to a somewhat advanced development in the Church to which Galus belonged, but such characters are all too possible at any juncture to afford in this instance any guarantee of a later date.
In this, as in the preceding Letters, the writer's great concern is that transcendental truth should be embodied in practical holiness.
Of the time and place of the composition of this Letter we know nothing beyond what may be inferred from its contents. These seem to show that it was written in Palestine, and the absence of any reference to so striking an event as the destruction of Jerusalem points to a date earlier than 70 A. D.
It has, however, been thought that such a rebuke of error and licentiousness as that which this Letter contains can only apply to the forms of Gnosticism known to have existed in the first quarter of the second century. But there is no reason to doubt that the author was the man he asserts he was, the brother of James, the head of the Church in Jerusalem. He was, therefore, not an Apostle but one of the Lord's brothers.
The abiding value of the Letter consists in its severe condemnation of merely professional Christianity, and its remarkably beautiful doxology.
The Revelation of John
The Apocalypse was written either in 67, or in 96, A.D. An oft-quoted statement of Irenaeus that it, or its author— there is no word inserted to indicate which of the two he meant—"was seen" about the end of the reign of Domitian, is regarded by many as a conclusive proof of the later date. On the other hand, the "internal evidence"—the evidence, that is, furnished by the contents of the book itself—appears to point even more unmistakably to the earlier date. E.g-., in 11:1,2,8, the Holy City and the earthly Temple are spoken of as being still in existence, and as about to be trodden under foot by the Gentiles.
The language of the book has also a bearing upon the problem of its date. Although other explanations have been suggested, the many Hebrew idioms that it contains as compared with the much purer Greek of the fourth Gospel— which was probably by the same author—seem to indicate that it was written long before that Gospel, at a time when the Apostle had as yet only an imperfect acquaintance with the Greek language.
Dr. Stuart Russell, in his work The Parousia, has contended for the belief that the fall of Jerusalem and Judaism in 70 A.D. marked a stupendous epoch in the unseen world, a personal—although unrecorded—return of the Saviour to the earth then taking place (cp. Ac 7:55; 9:7; 1Co 9:1), accompanied by a spiritual judgement of bygone generations, a resurrection from Hades to Heaven of the faithful of past ages, and an ingathering of saints then on earth into the Father's House of many mansions (Mt 24:31; Joh 14:3; 1Th 4:17; 2Th 2:1).
If this belief ever obtains general acceptance the earlier date of the Apocalypse will also be regarded as fully established. For it will then be seen that the book describes beforehand events which took place in 70 A.D. and the years immediately preceding, partly on earth and partly in the spiritual world, and is mainly concerned with the downfall of the earthly Jerusalem and the setting up of Christ's heavenly Kingdom—the new Jerusalem. And its many mysterious symbols will be seen to have been a cipher of which the first Christians held the key, but which hid its meaning from their enemies.
Many scholars, however, regard the book as a document of Nero's time carefully incorporated in one written about 90 A.D.: "a Jewish Apocalypse in a Christian framework;" both perhaps being by the same author.—EDITOR.