Appen. 94 from the Companion Bible
I. INTRODUCTION. While modern critics are occupied with the problem as to the origin of the Four Gospels, and with their so-called "discrepancies", we believe that MATTHEW, MARK, and JOHN got their respective Gospels where LUKE got his, viz. another = "from above" (Luke 1:3. see note there); and that the "discrepancies", so called, are the creation of the Commentators and Harmonists themselves. The later particularly; for when they see two similar events, they immediately assume they are identical; and when they read similar discourses of our Lord, they at once assume that they are discordant accounts of the same, instead of seeing that they are repetitions, made at different times, under different circumstances, with different antecedents and consequences, which necessitate the employment of words and expressions so as to accord with the several occasions. These differences thus become proofs of accuracy and perfection.
The Bible claims to be the Word of God, coming from Himself as His revelation to man. If these claims be not true, then the Bible cannot be even "a good book". In this respect "the living Word" is like the written Word; for, if the claims of the Lord Jesus to be God were not true, He would not be even "a good man". As to those claims, man can believe them, or leave them. In the former case, he goes to the Word of God, and is overwhelmed with evidences of its truth; in the latter case, he abandons Divine revelation for man's imagination.
II. INSPIRATION. In Divine revelation "holy men spoke from God as they were moved (or borne along) by the Holy Spirit" (2 Pet.1:21). The wind, as it is born along among the trees, causes each tree to give forth its own peculiar sound, so that the experienced ear of a woodman could tell, even in the dark and blindfolded, the name of the tree under which he might be standing, and distinguish the creaking elm from the rustling aspen. Even so, while each "holy man of God" is "moved" by One Spirit, the individuality of the inspired writers is preserved. Thus we may explain the medical words of "Luke the beloved physician" used in his Gospel and in the Acts of the Apostles (Col.4:14).
As to Inspiration itself, we have no need to resort to human theories, or definitions, as we have a Divine definition in Acts 1:16 which is all-sufficient. "This scripture must needs (=it is necessary) have been fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit, by the mouth of David, spoke before concerning Judas." The reference is to Ps.41:9.
It is "by the mouth" and"by the hand" of holy men that God has spoken to us. Hence it was David's voice and David's pen, but the words were not David's words.
Nothing more is required to settle the faith of all believers; but it requires Divine operation to convince unbelievers; hence, it is vain to depend on human arguments.
If a person want's to know the truth about God's plan and eternal salvation God will lead him to you. Be a good fisherman, throw out a little bait. If the fish does not bite, he is not hungry. Don't hit him over the head with the anchor (the whole thing at once). You will never catch any fish that way.
III. THE LANGUAGE. With regard to this, it is generally assumed that, because it comes to us in Greek, the N.T. ought to be in classical Greek, and is then condemned because it is not! Classical Greek was at its prime some centuries before; and in the time of our Lord there were several reasons why the N.T. was not written in classical Greek.
1. The writers were Hebrew; and thus, while the language is Greek, the thoughts and Idioms are Hebrew. These idioms or Hebraisms are generally pointed out in the notes of The Companion Bible. If the Greek of the N.T. be regarded as an inspired translation from Hebrew or Aramaic original, most of the various readings would be accounted for and understood.
2. Then we have to remember that in the tim of our Lord there were no less than 4 languages in use in Palestine, and their mixture formed the "Yiddish" of those days.
(a) There was HEBREW, spoken by Hebrews;
(b) There was GREEK, which was spoken in Palestine by the educated classes generally;
(c) There was LATIN, the language of the Romans, who then held possession of the land;
(d) And there was ARAMAIC, the language of the common people.
Doubtless our Lord spoke all these (for we never read of His using an interpreter). In the synagogue He necessarily use Hebrew; to Pilate He would naturally answer in Latin; while to the common people He would doubtless speak in Aramaic.
3. ARAMAIC was Hebrew, as it was developed during and after the Captivity in Babylon (*1).
There were two branches, known roughly as Eastern (which is Chaldee), and Western (Mesopotamian, or Palestinian).
This latter was known also as Syriac; and the Greeks used "Syrian" as an abbreviation for Assyrian. This was perpetuated by the early Christians. Syriac flourished till the seventh century A.D. In the eighth and ninth it was overtaken by the Arabic; and by the thirteenth century it had disappeared. We have already noted that certain parts of the O.T. are written in Chaldee (or Eastern Aramaic): viz. Ezra 4:8-6:18; 7:12-26; Dan. 2:4-7:28. Cp. also 2 Kings 18:26.
Aramaic is of three kinds :-- 1. Jerusalem. 2. Samaritan. 3. Galilean.
Of these, Jerusalem might be compared with High German, and the other two with Low German. There are many Aramaic words preserved in the Greek of the N.T., and most of the commentators call attention to a few of them; but, from the books cited below, we are able to present a more or less complete list of the examples to which attention is called in the notes of The Companion Bible (*2).
1. Abba (*3). Mark 14:36. Rom. 8:15. Gal. 4:6.
2. Ainias. Acts 9:33, 34.
3. Akeldama. Acts 1:19. Akeldamach (LA). Acheldamach (T Tr.). Hacheldamach (WH). See Ap. 161. I. Aram. Hakal dema', or Hakal demah.
4. Alphaios. Matt. 10:3. Mark 2:14; 3:18. Luke 6:15. Acts 1:13.
5. Annas. Luke 3:2. John 18:13, 24. Acts 4:6.
6. Bar-abbas. Matt. 27:16, 17, 20, 21, 26. Mark 15:7, 11, 15. Luke 23:18. John 18:40, 40.
7. Bartholomaios. Matt. 10:3. Mark 3:18. Luke 6:14. Acts 1:13.
8. Bar-iesous. Acts 13:6.
9. Bar-iona. Matt. 16:17. See No. 27, below.
10. Bar-nabas. Acts 4:36, &c. 1Cor. 9:6. Gal. 2:1, 9, 13. Col. 4:10.
11. Bar-sabas. Acts 1:23; 15:22 (Barsabbas all the texts).
12. Bar-timaios. Mark 10:46.
13. Beel-zeboul. Matt. 10:25; 12:24, 27. Mark 3:22. Luke 11:15, 18, 19.
14. Bethesda. John 5:2. (Bethzatha, T WH; Bethsaida, or Bethzather, L EH Rm.)
15. Bethsaida. Matt. 11:21. Mark 6:45; 8:22. Luke 9:10; 10:13. John 1:44; 12:21.
16. Bethphage. Matt. 21:1. Mark 11:1. Luke 19:29.
17. Boanerges. Mark 3:17. (Boanerges, L T Tr. A WH.)
18. Gethsemanei. Matt. 26:36. Mark 14:32.
19. Golgotha. Matt. 27:33. Mark 15:22. John 19:17.
20. Eloi. Mark 15:34.
21. Ephphatha. Mark 7:34.
22. Zakchaios. Luke 19:2, 5, 8.
23. Zebedaios. Matt. 4:21, 21; 10:2; 20:20; 26:37; 27:56. Mark 1:19, 10; 3:17; 10:35. Luke 5:10. John 21:2.
24. Eli. Matt. 27:46. (Elei (voc.), T WH m.; Eloi WH.)
25. Thaddaios. Matt. 10:3. Mark 3:18.
26. Thomas. Matt. 10:3. Mark 3:18. Luke 6:15. John 11:16; 14:5; 20:24, 26, 27, 28, 29; 21:2. Acts 1:13.
27. Ioannes. John 1:42; 21:15, 16, 17. (Ioanes, Tr. WH.) See Bar-iona. (Iona being a contraction of Ioana.)
28. Kephas. John 1:42. 1Cor. 1:12; 3:22; 9:5; 15:5. Gal. 2:9.
29. Kleopas. Luke 24:18.
30. Klopas. John 19:25.
31. Lama. Matt. 27:46. Mark 15:34. (Lema, L. Lema, T Tr. A WH).
32. Mammonas. Matt. 6:24. Luke 16:9, 11, 13. (Mamonas, L T Tr. A WH.)
33. Maran-atha. 1Cor. 16:22 ( = Our Lord, come!). Aram. Marana' tha'.
34. Martha. Luke 10:38, 40, 41. John 11:1, &c.
35. Mattaios. Matt. 9:9; 10:3. Mark 3:18. Luke 6:15. Acts 1:13, 26. (All the critics spell it Maththaios.)
36. Nazareth (-et). Matt. 2:23; 4:13 (Nazara, T Tr. A WH); 21:11. Mark 1:9. Luke 1:26; 2:4, 39, 51; 4:16 (Nazara. Omit the Art. L T Tr. A WH and R.) John 1:45, 46. Acs 10:38.
37. Pascha. Matt. 26:2, 17, 18, 19. Mark 14:1, 12, 12, 14, 16. Luke 2:41; 22:1, 7, 8, 11, 13, 15. John 2:13, 23; 6:4; 11:55, 55; 12:1; 13:1; 18:28, 39; 19:14. Acts 12:4. 1Cor. 5:7. Heb. 11:28. The Hebrew is pesak.
38. Rabboni, Rabbouni (Rabbonei, WH). Mark 10:51. John 20:16.
39. Raka. Matt. 5:22. (Reyka' is an abbreviation of Reykan.)
40. Sabachthani. Matt. 27:46. Mark 15:34. (Sabachthanei, T Tr. WH.)
41. Sabbata (Aram. sabbata'). Heb. shabbath. Matt. 12:1, 5, 10, 11, 12, &c.
42. Tabitha. Acts 9:36, 40.
43. Talitha kumi. Mark 5:41. (In galilaean Aramaic it was talitha' kumi.)
44. Hosanna (in Aram. = Save us; in Heb. = Help us). Matt. 21:9, 9, 15. Mark 11:9, 10. John 12:13.
IV. THE PAPYRI and OSTRACA. Besides the Greek text mention ought to be made of these, although it concerns the interpretation of the text rather than the text itself.
We have only to think of the changes which have taken place in our own English language during the last 300 years, to understand the inexpressible usefulness of documents written on the material called papyrus, and on pieces of broken pottery called ostraca, recently discovered in Egypt and elsewhere. They are found in the ruins of ancient temples and houses, and in the rubbish heaps of towns and villages, and are of great importance.
They consist of business-letters, love-letters, contracts, estimates, certificates, agreements, accounts, bills-of-sale, mortgages, school-exercises, receipts, bribes, pawn-tickets, charms, litanies, tales, magical literature, and every sort of literary production.
These are of inestimable value in enabling us to arrive at the true meaning of many words (used in the time of Christ) which were heretofore inexplicable. Examples may be seen in the notes on "scrip" (Matt. 10:10. Mark 6:8. Luke 9:3); "have" (Matt. 6:2, 5, 16. Luke 6:24. Philem. 15); "officer" (Luke 12:58); "presseth" (Luke 16:16); "suffereth violence" (Matt. 11:12), &c. (*4)
V. THE MANUSCRIPTS of the Greek New Testament dating from the fourth century A.D. are more in number that those of any Greek or Roman author, for these latter are rare, and none are really ancient; while those of the N.T. have been set down by Dr. Scrivener at not less than 3,600, a few containing the whole, and the rest various parts, of the N.T.
The study of these from a literary point of view has been called "Textual Criticism", and it necessarily proceeds altogether on documentary evidence; while "Modern Criticism" introduces the element of human opinion and hypothesis.
Man has never made a proper use of God's gifts. God gave men the sun, moon, and stars for signs and for seasons, to govern the day, and the night, and the years. But no one to-day can tell us what year (Anno Mundi) we are actually living in! In like manner God gave us His Word, but man, compassed with infirmity, has failed to preserve and transmit it faithfully.
The worst part of this is that man charges God with the result, and throws the blame on Him for all the confusion due to his own want of care!
The Old Testament had from very early times official custodians of the Hebrew text. Its Guilds of Scribes, Nakdanim, Sopherim, and Massorites elaborated plans by which the original text had been preserved with the greatest possible care. But though, in this respect, it had advantages which the Greek text of the N.T. never had, it nevertheless shows many signs of human failure and infirmity. Man has only to touch anything to leave his mark upon it.
Hence the MSS. of the Greek Testament are to be studied to-day with the utmost care. The materials are :--
i. The MSS. themselves in whole or in part. ii. Ancient versions made from them in other languages. (*6) iii. Citations made from them by early Christian writers long before the oldest MSS. we possess (see Ap. 168).
i. As to the MSS. themselves we must leave all palaeographical matters aside (such as have to do with paper, ink, and caligraphy), and confine ourselves to what is material.
1. These MSS. consist of two great classes : (a) Those written in Uncial (or capital) letters; and (b) those written in "running hand", called Cursives.
The former are considered to be the more ancient, although it is obvious and undeniable that some cursives may be transcripts of uncial MSS. more ancient than any existing uncial MS.
This will show that we cannot depend altogether upon textual criticism.
2. It is more to our point to note that what are called "breathings" (soft or hard) and the accents are not found in any MSS. before the seventh century (unless they have been added by a later hand).
3. Punctuation also, as we have it to-day, is entirely absent. The earliest two MSS. (known as B, the MS. in the Vatican and a the Sinaitic MS., now at St. Petersburg) have only an occasional dot, and this on a level with the top of the letters.
The text reads on without any divisions between letters or words until MSS. of the ninth century, when (in Cod. Augiensis, now in Cambridge) there is seen for the first time a single point which separates each word. This dot is placed in the middle of the line, but is often omitted.
None of our modern marks of punctuation are found until the ninth century, and then only in Latin versions and some cursives.
From this it will be seen that the punctuation of all modern editions of the Greek text, and of all versions made from it, rests entirely on human authority, and has no weight whatever in determining or even influencing the interpretation of a single passage. This refers also to the employment of capital letters, and to all the modern literary refinements of the present day (*7).
4. Chapters also were alike unknown. The Vatican MS. makes a new section where there is an evident break in the sense. These are called titloe, or kephalaia (*8).
There are none in a (Sinaitic), see above. They are not found till the fifth century in Codex A (British Museum), Codex C (Ephraemi, Paris), and in Codex R (Nitriensis, British Museum) of the sixth century.
They are quite foreign to the original texts. For a long time they were attributed to HUGUES DE ST. CHER (Huego de Sancto Caro), Provincial to the Dominicans in France, and afterwards a Cardinal in Spain, who died in 1263. But it is now generally believed that they were made by STEPHEN LANGTON, Archbishop of Canterbury, who died in 1227.
It follows therefore that our modern chapter divisions also are destitute of MS. authority.
5. As to verses. In the Hebrew O.T. these were fixed and counted for each book by the Massorites; but they are unknown in any MSS. of the Greek N.T. There are none in the first printed text in The Complutensian Polyglot (1437-1517), or in the first printed Greek text (Erasmus, in 1516), or in R. Stephens's first edition of 1550.
Verses were first introduced in Stephens's smaller (16mo) edition, published in 1551 at Geneva. These also are therefore destitute of any authority.
VI. THE PRINTED EDITIONS OF THE GREEK TEXT. Many printed editions followed the first efforts of ERASMUS. Omitting the Complutensian Polyglot mentioned above, the following is a list of all those of any importance :--
1. Erasmus (1st Edition) 1516 2. Stephens 1546-9 3. Beza 1624 4. Elzevir 1624 5. Griesbach 1774-5 6. Scholz 1830-6 7. Lachmann 1831-50 8. Tischendorf 1841-72 9. Tregelles 1856-72 10. Alford 1862-71 11. Wordsworth 1870 12. Revisers' Text 1881 13. Westcott and Hort 1881-1903 14. Scrivener 1886 15. Weymouth 1886 16. Nestle 1904
All the above are "Critical Texts", and each editor has striven to produce a text more accurate than that of his predecessors.
Beza (No. 3 above) and the Elzevir (No. 4) may be considered as being the so-called "Received Text" which the translators of the Authorized Version used in 1611.
VII. THE MODERN CRITICAL TEXTS. In the notes of The Companion Bible we have not troubled the general English reader with the names of distinctive characters or value of the several MANUSCRIPTS. We have thought it more practical and useful to give the combined judgment of six of the above editors; viz. Lachmann, Tischendorf, Tregelles, Alford, Westcott and Hort, and the Greek Text as adopted by the Revisers of the English N.T., 1881, noting the agreement or disagreement of the Syriac Version therewith.
A vast number of various readings are merely different spellings of words, or a varying order of two or more words. These are not noticed in The Companion Bible, as they do not affect the sense.
There are many more, consisting of cases of nouns and inflections of verbs, &c., but these are noticed only when they are material to the interpretation. All are noted in cases where it really matters, but these are not numerous. A few are the subject of separate Appendixes. The number of these Appendixes may be found under the respective passages, such as Matt. 16:18. Mark 16:9-20. Acts 7:17. Rom. 16:25. 1Pet. 3:19. Rev. 1:10.
The six critical Greek texts are indicated in the notes by their initial letters (see below). Where the reading is placed within brackets by the respective editors, the initial letter itself is also placed within brackets, and it is followed by "m" were the reading is placed in the margin.
It will thus be seen which of the above editors retain, insert, or omit a particular reading; and which of these expresses his doubts by placing it within brackets or in the margin.
To enable the reader to form his own judgment as to the value of any particular reading, it remains only to give a brief statement of the principles on which the respective editors (*9) framed their texts.
GRIESBACH (*9) based his text on the theory of Three Recensions of the Greek manuscripts, regarding the collective witness of each Recension as one; so that a Reading having the authority of all three was regarded by him as genuine. It is only a theory, but it has a foundation of truth, and will always retain a value peculiarly its own.
LACHMANN (L.), disregarding these Recensions, professed to give the text based only on the evidence of witnesses up to the end of the fourth century. All were taken into account up to that date; and all were discarded after it, whether uncial MSS., or cursives, or other documentary evidence. He even adopted Readings which were palpably errors, on the simple ground that they were the best attested Readings up to the fourth century.
TISCHENDORF (T.) followed more of less the principles laid down by Lachmann, but not to the neglect of other evidence as furnished by Ancient Versions and Fathers. In his eighth edition, however, he approaches nearer to Lachmann's principles.
TREGELLES (Tr.) produced his text on principles which were substantially the same as Lachmann, but he admits the evidence of uncial manuscripts down to the seventh century, and includes a careful testing of a wide circle of other authorities. The chief value of his text lies not only in this, but in its scrupulous fidelity and accuracy; and it is probably the best and most exact presentation of the original text ever published.
ALFORD (A.) constructed his text, he says, "by following, in all ordinary cases, the united or preponderating evidence of the most ancient authorities."
When these disagree he takes later evidence into account, and to a very large extent.
Where this evidence is divided he endeavours to discover the cause of the variation, and gives great weight to internal probability; and, in some cases, relies on his own independent judgment.
At any rate he is fearlessly honest. He says, "that Reading has been adopted which, on the whole, seemed most likely to have stood in the original text. Such judgments are, of course, open to be questioned."
This necessarily deprives his text of much of its weight; though where he is in agreement with the other editors, it adds to the weight of the evidence as a whole.
WESTCOTT AND HORT (WH). In this text, the classification of MSS. into "families" is revived, with greater elaboration than that of Griesbach. It is prepared with the greatest care, and at present holds a place equal in estimation to that of Tregelles.
Where all these authorities agree, and are supported by the Syriac Version, the text may be regarded as fairly settled, until further MS. evidence is forthcoming.
But it must always be remembered that some cursive MSS. may be copies of uncial MSS. more ancient than any at present known. This fact will always lessen the value of the printed critical editions.
The Revisers of the N.T. of 1881 "did not deem it within their province to construct a continuous and complete Greek text." They adopted, however, a large number of readings which deviated from the text presumed to underlie the Authorized Version. In 1896 and edition known as the Parallel N.T. Greek and English, was published by the Clarendon Press for both Universities. In the Cambridge edition the Textus Receptus is given, with the Revisers' alternative readings, in the margin. In the Oxford edition, the Revisers give their Greek with the readings of the Textus Receptus in the margin.
(*1) It is so called because it was the language of Aram, or Mesopotamia, which is Greek for Aram Naharaim = Aram between the two rivers (Gen. 24:10. Deut. 23:4. Judg. 3:8. Ps. 60, title). It is still called "The Island". There were other Arams beside this : (2) Aram Dammasek (north-east of Palestine), or simply Aram, because best know to Israel (2Sam. 8:5. Isa. 7:8; 17:3. Amos 1:5); (3) Aram Zobah (not far from Damascus and Hamath), under Saul and David (1Sam. 14:47. 2Sam. 8:3); (4) Aram Beth-rehob (N. Galilee, 2Sam. 10:6; (5) Aram Maachah (1Chron. 19:6, 7); (6) Aram Geshur (2Sam. 15:8).
(*2) Further information may be found in the following works :-- AD. NEUBAUER : On the dialects spoken in Palestine in the time of Christ, in Studia Biblica ... by members of the University of Oxford. Vol. I, pp. 39-74. Oxford, 1885. F.W.J. DILLOO : De moedertaal venounzen heere Jesus Christus en van zyne Apostelen, p. 70. Amsterdam, 1886. ARNOLD MEYER : Jesu Mutter-Sprache. Leipzig, 1896. G. DALMAN : Die Worte Jesu, mit Berucksichtigung des nathkanonischen judischen Schrifttums und der aram. Sprache erortert. Vol. I. Leipzig, 1898. Also Grammatik des judisch-palastinischen Aramaisch. 2. Auflage. Leipzig, 1905. In the Index of Greek words.
(*3) The order of the words is that of the Greek alphabet.
(*4) The examples given in the notes are from Deissmann's Light from the Ancient East, 1910; New Light on the New Testament, 1901; Bible Studies, 1901. Milligan's Selections from the Greek Papyri, &c. Cambridge Press, 1910.
(*5) Ancient copies of the Septuagint reveal two other orders : that of Diorthotes (or Corrector) and the Antiballon (or Comparer). But these attended chiefly to "clerical" and not textual errors.
(*6) Of these, the Aramaic (or Syriac), i.e. the Peshitto, is the most important, ranking as superior in authority to the oldest Greek manuscripts, and dating from as early as A.D. 170.
Though the Syrian Church was divided by the Third and Fourth General Councils in the fifth century, into three, and eventually into yet more, hostile communions, which have lasted for 1,400 years with all their bitter controversies, yet the same version is read to-day in the rival churches. Their manuscripts have flowed into the libraries of the West, "yet they all exhibit a text in every important respect the same." Pehsitto means a version simple and plain, without the addition of allegorical or mystical glosses.
Hence we have give this authority, where needed throughout our notes, as being of more value than the modern critical Greek texts; and have noted (for the most part) only those "various readings" with which the Syriac agrees. See VII, below.
(*7) Such as are set forth in the Rules for Compositors and Readers at the University Press, Oxford.
(*8) There are sixty-eight in Matthew; forty-eight in Mark; eighty-three in Luke; and eighteen in John.
(*9) We include Griesbach's principles, though his edition is not included in the notes of The Companion Bible.
above taken from appendix 94 of the Companion Bible
I. THE NEW TESTAMENT IN RELATION TO THE BIBLE AS A WHOLE.
The word "Testament", as a translation of the Greek word diatheke (which means covenant), has been nothing less than a great calamity; for, by its use, truth has been effectually veiled all through the centuries; causing a wrong turning to be taken as to the purpose and character of this present Dispensation, by which the errors of tradition have usurped the place of important truth.
The word "Testament" as s name for a collection of books is unknown to Scripture. It comes to us through the Latin Vulgate. This was the rendering in the older Latin Versions before JEROME'S time; but, JEROME, while using foedus or pactum for the Heb. berith in the O.T., unfortunately reverted to testamentum in his revision of his N.T. translation (A.D. 382-405). Some of the Latin Fathers preferred instrumentum, much in the sense of our legal use of the word (*1). RUFINUS uses the expression novum et vetus instrumentum (*2), and AUGUSTINE uses both words instrumentum and testamentum (*3).
From the Vulgate, the word testament passed both into the English Bibles and the German. The Greek word is diatheke, which means "covenant", and the R.V. substitutes this meaning in every place except two (Heb. 9:16, 17, on which see the notes). But even this word was never used as the title for the collection of books which make up the New Testament so called.
When these books were placed beside the books of the Hebrew Canon it became desirable, if not necessary, to distinguish them; and, as the then two Dispensations were already spoken of in Scripture as "old" and "new" (2Cor. 3:6. Heb. 8:6-13), so the books, which were connected with them, came to be called by the same names also.
In Ex. 24:7 and 2Kings 23:2, 21, we read of "the book of the covenant" (*4), and this distinction of the two covenants was already confirmed by 2Cor. 3:16, 14, where the Apostle speaks of "the reading of the old covenant".
The term "New Covenant" is indeed a Scriptural expression, but it is not used of a collection of books. It is used of the great prophecy and promise of Jer. 31:31-32:40 and Ezek. 37:26 (which is referred to in Heb. 8:8-12; 9:15-21; 10:15-18).
The time for the making of this "New Covenant with the House of Israel and the House of Judah was drawing near. The last prophet, MALACHI, had spoken of the coming of the "Angel of the Covenant", and of the "Messenger" who was to prepare His way before Him (Mal. 3:1). He announces also the sending of ELIJAH the prophet to prepare the way of MESSIAH, and connects his name with that of MOSES (Mal. 4:4, 5).
In due time JOHN THE BAPTIST was sent "in the spirit and power of ELIJAH" (Luke 1:17); and, had the people "received" him and obeyed his call to national repentance, he would have been counted for Elijah the prophet (Matt. 11:14; 17:11-13). In like manner we may well conclude that the act and word of MESSIAH at the last supper was the making of the New Covenant itself; for the Lord said of the cup "this is [i.e. represents] My blood of the New Covenant" (Matt. 26:28. Mark 14:24. Luke 22:20), thus fulfilling the prophecy of Jer. 31:31-34, as testified by Heb. 8:8-12; 9:15-21; 10:15-18.
The use of blood was confined to two purposes :--
(1) Atonement for sin (Lev. 17:11. Heb. 9:22), (*5) and
(2) the making of a covenant (Ex. 24:6-8. Heb. 9:16-22).
The use of the Greek word diatheke (covenant) in relation to a collection of books is appropriate only so far as these books are regarded as belonging to the "new covenant" foretold by Jeremiah, and as being "new covenant" foretold by Jeremiah, and as being distinct from "the book of the (old) covenant", made in Ex. 24:6-8.
The one great fact, which stands out in connection with the whole of the books which we call the Bible, is that they form the "Word of God", and are made up of the "words" of God (Jer. 15:16. John 17:8, 14, 17).
This is the claim that is made by the book itself, and it is ours to receive it as such. We, therefore, neither set out to discuss it, nor to prove it. "God hath spoken"; and this, for our learning, and not for our reasoning; for our faith, and not for our questioning; still less for our criticism : for the Word which He hath spoken is to be our judge in that day (John 12:48, Deut. 18:19, 20, and Heb. 4:12, where it is declared to be "able to judge" (A.V. "a discerner", Gr. kritikos; hence our "critic")).
Thousands of infidels to-day believe and teach that the Council of Nice, held in A.D. 325, separated the "spurious" scriptures from the genuine ones, by some vote, or trick, when the sacred books were placed under a communion table, and, after prayer, the inspired books jumped upon the table, while the false books remained beneath.
This story originated with one "John Pappus", and infidels make a great mistake in identifying him with "Papias", or "Pappius", one of the earliest Fathers, called by Eusebius (iii. 36) a "Bishop" of Hierapolis, who wrote about A.D. 115. The Encycl. Brit., 11th (Camb.) ed., vol. xx, p. 737, suggests about A.D. 60-135 as the period of his life.
But John Pappus, who gave currency to the above story, was a German theologian born in 1549. In 1601 he published the text of an Anonymous Greek MS. This MS. cannot be older than A.D. 870, because it mentions events occurring in 869. Now the Council of Nice was held 544 years before, and all its members had been dead and buried for some five centuries. The Council of Nice was not called to decide the Canon. Nothing relating to the Canon of Scripture can be found in any of its canons or acts. And, even if it were otherwise, the votes of Councils could no more settle the Canon of the New Testament than a Town Council could settle the laws of a nation.
The great outstanding fact is that
If we rightly divide these (according to 2Tim. 2:15) we have
A1 DIVINE. By the FATHER Himself. The "times" being from Gen. 2:16 to Ex. 3:10. The "manner" being to individuals from Adam onward. B1 HUMAN AGENCY. "By the Prophets.". The "time" being from the call and mission of Moses (Ex. 3:10) to that of John the Baptist, "greater than them all" (Matt. 11:11). The "manner" was by human agency. A2 DIVINE. "By HIS SON" (Heb. 1:1, 2. Cp. Deut. 18:18, 19). The "time" being from the beginning of His ministry (Matt. 4:12) to the end of it (Matt. 26:46). See Ap. 119. B2 HUMAN AGENCY. "By them that heard HIM", ("the Son", Heb. 2:3, 4). The "time" from Acts 1-28. The "manner" was by apostolic testimony and writings, contained in the General Epistles; and in the earlier Pauline Epistles written during that "time". A3 DIVINE. By "THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH" (as promised in John 16:12-15). The "time" from the end of the Dispensation covered by the Acts of the Apostles, when He revealed "the things concerning Christ"; which could not be spoken by Him until the events had taken place, which were the foundation of the doctrines revealed in the later Pauline Epistles (Eph., Phil., Col.). See esp. Eph. 2:4-7 (*7). In these Epistles the Holy Spirit "guided" into all the truth, and thus fulfilled the promise of the Lord, in John 16:12-15. B3 HUMAN AND ANGELIC AGENCY. By "HIS SERVANT JOHN", who bare record of the Word of God, and of all things that he saw (Rev. 1:1, 2). The "time" was that covered by the giving the Book of the Revelation in Patmos. The "manner" was that it was "sent and signified (showed by signs) by His angel (*8)."
Since this written Word -- "the Scripture of Truth" -- was thus complete, God has not spoken directly or indirectly to mankind, either by Himself or by human agency. "The Silence of God" during this Dispensation is a solemn reality.
But He is going to speak again when this Dispensation comto a close, and in Psalm 50 we are told what He is going to say when the silence is broken.
According to the division of the "times" exhibited above (p. 138), it will be seen that they are six in number (the number of "man", Ap. 10). And it will be noted that the order of the Divine three is FATHER (A1), SON (A2), and HOLY SPIRIT (A3).
When the "time" comes for Him to speak "once again", it will be apart from human agency. This will make these "times and manners" seven in all (the number of spiritual perfection)
Until, therefore, God shall speak once more, we have God's word --written. To this we are now shut up; to this we do well "to take heed in our hearts" (2Pet. 1:19). We may not add to or take away from it (Rev. 22:18, 19). We may not receive any other writing purporting to have come from God. There are many such in the present day; some of the authors being bold impostors and deceivers (*9), others being deceived by "automatic" writings through demons and evil spirits (1Tim. 4:1-3).
To all such we are to say "Anathema", and to treat them as accursed things (Gal. 1:6-9).
II. THE ORDER OF THE BOOKS OF THE NEW "TESTAMENT".
Our English Bibles follow the order as given in the Latin Vulgate. This order, therefore, depends on the arbitrary judgment of one man, Jerome (A.D. 382-405). All theories based on this order rest on human authority, and are thus without any true foundation.
The original Greek manuscripts do not agree among themselves as to any particular order of the separate books, and a few of them have most remarkable differences.
We are, however, on safe ground in stating that the books are generally divided into
FIVE WELL-DEFINED GROUPS.
For the most part these groups are in the following order :--
1. The Four Gospels. 2. The Acts of the Apostles. 3. The General Epistles (*10). 4. The Pauline Epistles (*11). 5. The Apocalypse.Even the order of these five groups varies in very few cases (*12). But these are so exceptional as not to affect the general order as given above; indeed, they help to confirm it.
While the order of these five groups may be regarded as fairly established, yet, within each, the order of the separate books is by no means uniform, except in the fourth, which never varies (*12). (See notes on the chronological and canonical orders of the Pauline Epistles, preliminary to the Structure of ROMANS, as a whole.)
Even in the first group, while the Four Gospels are almost always the same as we have them in the A.V. and R.V., yet in the Codex Bezae (Cent. 6) John follows Matthew; and in another, precedes it.
When we divide the Pauline Epistles (Group 4 above), and re-combine them in their chronological and historical order, we find that they re-arrange themselves so as to be distributed between the fourth and sixth of the six groups (*13) The five groups of the New Testament order of books (shown above) thus fall into four chronological groups, being the same as the last four of the whole Bible, corresponding with A2, B2, A3, and B3 :--
C THE FOUR GOSPELS : where the SON is the Divine Speaker, according to Heb. 1:2-. D THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES, THE GENERAL EPISTLES, THE EARLIER PAULINE EPISTLES : Where human agency is employed in "them that heard" the Son (Heb. 2:3, 4), and Paul also, who both heard and saw Him.
C THE LATER PAULINE EPISTLES :-- EPHESIANS, PHILIPPIANS, COLOSSIANS : Where "the Spirit of Truth" is the Divine Speaker, Teacher, and Guide, according to John 16:12-15. D THE APOCALYPSE : where human agency is again employed in the person of John the Apostle and Evangelist, instructed by angelic agency.
From these four groups we may gather the one great scope of the New Testament books as a whole.
Corresponding with the above we may set them out as follows :--
C THE KING and the KINGDOM. Proclaimed to the Nation in the LAND. The Kingdom rejected and the King crucified in JERUSALEM, the capital. D The re-offer of both (Acts 2:38; 3:19-26) to the Dispersion among the Gentiles; and their final rejection in ROME, the capital of the Dispersion (Acts 28:16-28).
C The KING exalted, and made the Head over all things for the Church, which is His Body (Eph. 1:20-23. Phil. 2:9-11. Col. 1:13-19), in the Kingdom of His beloved Son (Col. 1:13). The mystery revealed (Eph. 3:1-12. Col. 1:24-29). The Kingdom on earth in abeyance. "Not yet" (Heb. 2:8). D The KINGDOM set up in judgment, power, and glory. The King enthroned. Set forth as the great subject of the Apocalypse.
(*1) Tertullian (A.D. 150-200), Adv. Marc. iv. 1. In iv. 2, he uses it of a single gospel (Luke).
(*2) Expos. Symb. Apostol.
(*3) De Civ. Dei, xx. 4.
(*4) See also 1Macc. 1:57 and Ecclus. 24:23.
(*5) "Washing in blood" would defile, not cleanse. Sprinkling with blood, and washing in water, alone known to the O.T. (save in Ps. 58:10). As to Rev. 1:5 and 7:14, see notes there.
(*6) While the divisions shown in the Structure are true as a whole, it is not denied that there may be exceptions to the general rule; but these only go to establish the truth of the rule itself.
(*7) The other later Epistles of Paul were written to individuals, and to a special class of Hebrew believers.
(*8) Not by "the Spirit of Truth". His mission, in A3, was to guide into the truth, while, in Acts of the Apostles (B2), it was to bear witness by miracles to the confirmation of them that heard the Son. In the Apocalypse it was not Divine speaking by "the Spirit of Truth", but the showing by an Hierophant.
(*9) Such as Swedenborg, Joanna Southcote, Joe Smith (of Mormonite fame), the author of "The Flying Roll", Mrs. Eddy, Dowic, and others.
(*10) James usually coming first, following next after the Acts of the Apostles.
(*11) Invariably in their present, canonical order, as given in the A.V.
(*12) For example : the fourth follows the second; the second and fourth are followed by the first; and in one case the fifth comes between the second and third.
(*13) Except that, in the best and oldest Codices, Hebrews follows 2Thess. (instead of Philemon); while in one (that from which Cod. B was taken) Hebrews follows Galatians.
above taken from appendix 95 of the Companion Bible
A1 MATTHEW. The lord presented as Yahaveh's KING. "behold YOUR KING (Zech. 9:9). "Behold . . . I will raise to David a Righteous BRANCH, and a KING shall reign and prosper" (Jer.23:5,6; 33:15). Hence the Royal genealogy is required from Abraham and David downward (1:1-17): And He is presented as what He is-before man (relatively)-the highest earthly position, the King. B1 MARK. The Lord presented as Yahaveh's SERVANT. "Behold MY SERVANT" (Isa. 42:1). "Behold, I will bring forth My Servant THE BRANCH" (Zech. 3:8). Hence NO genealogy is required: and He is presented as what He is-before GOD (relatively)- the lowest earthly position, the ideal Servant. A2 LUKE. The Lord presented as Yahaveh's MAN. "Behold THE MAN Whose name is THE BRANCH (Zech. 6:12). Hence the human genealogy is required upward to Adam (Luke 3:23-38): and He is presented as what He is-before MAN (intrinsically)-the ideal man. B2 JOHN. The Lord presented as YAHAVEH HIMSELF. "Behold YOUR GOD" (Isa. 40:9). "I n that day shall Yahaveh's BRANCH (i.e. Messiah) be beautiful and glorious" (Isa. 4:2). Hence NO genealogy is required; and He is presented as what He is- before GOD (intrinsically)-Divine.
There are 23 Hebrew words translated "Branch in the O.T. But in the passages here quoted it refers specially to the Messiah, and forms a link which connects the 4 characteristics of "the Branch" with the 4 presentations of the Messiah, as set forth in the subject matter of each of the four Gospels.
In Jer. 23:5,6, and 33:25, Christ is presented as "the Branch", the KING raised up to rule in righteousness. This forms the subject matter of Matthew's Gospel.
In Zech. 3:8, Christ is presented as "the Branch", the SERVANT brought forth from Yahaveh's service. This forms the subject matter of Mark's Gospel. He is seen as Yahaveh's servant, entering at once on His ministerial work without any preliminary words.
In Zech. 6:12, Christ is presented as "the Branch" going out of His place. This is the characteristic of Luke's Gospel, in which this growing up forms the subject-matter of the earlier (and separate) portion of the Gospel, and brings out the perfections of Christ as "perfect man".
In Isa. 2:4, Christ is presented as "the Branch of Yahaveh" in all His intrinsic beauty and glory. This is the great characteristic of the subject-matter John's Gospel.
No one Gospel could set forth the 4 different aspects of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus, as no one offering could set forth all the aspects of His death.
Hence, it is the Divine purpose to give us, in the 4 Gospels, 4 aspects of His life on earth.
God has so ordered these that a "Harmony" is practically impossible; and this is the reason why, out of more than 30 attempts, there are scarcely two that agree, and not one that is satisfactory.
The attempt to make one, is to ignore the Divine purpose in giving 4.
No one view could give a true idea of any building; and no one Gospel "Harmony" can include a complete presentation of the Lord's life on earth.
Through the failure to recognize this fourfold Divine presentation of the Lord, the term "Synoptic Gospels" has been given to the first 3, because they are suppose to take one and the same point of view, and thus to differ from the 4th Gospel: whereas the difference is caused by the special object of John's Gospel, which is to present the Lord from the Divine standpoint. John's Gospel is thus seen from the Structure above to be essentially one of the 4, and not standing apart from the 3.
These are not to be determined by human ingenuity or on modern lines, but to be gathered from the Structure.
This shows that they may be regarded as being the completion of the Old Testament, rather than the beginning of the New. In any case they have nothing whatever to do with the founding of "the Church", or with the beginning of "Christianity" (notes on the Structure of the Acts as a whole, and Rom. 15:8).
They are the four distinct presentations of the Messiah, and together form one perfect whole.
The twofold subject of the Lord's fourfold ministry shows this very clearly; and excludes all modern hypotheses.
This being so, only those events, miracles, and discourses of our Lord are selected which are needed for the presentation of our Lord and His ministry, and which bear upon, illustrate, and thus emphasize the special object of each Gospel.
This is why certain words and works are peculiar to one Gospel, and are omitted from another; and why certain utterances of the Lord are repeated on other occasions, and with varying words. Also why we have "the kingdom of God" in the other Gospels.
It has been too generally assumed that events and discourses which are similar are identical also. But this is not the case as may be seen.
By failing to distinguish or to "try the things that differ" (Phil. 1:10), and to rightly divide "the word of truth" (2Tim. 2:15) as to its times, events separated by great landmarks of time are brought together and treated as though they were one and the same, whereby difficulties are created which baffle all the attempts of those who would fain remove them.
The special object of each of the Four Gospels may be seen from the Structure.
above taken from appendix 96 of the Companion Bible
We have shown that there is a Diversity in the Four Gospels. But there is a Unity also, as is shown by the fact that all Four Gospels follow the same general Structure. This runs through them all alike, showing that, after all, the presentation of the Lord is one (*1).
While it was not in God's purpose to give us one Gospel, yet amid all the diversity of the parts there is a continuity of the whole.
The parts are distributed according as they are appropriate to the special design and character of each Gospel, and this in perfect order and accuracy.
It would be out of place to attempt to present anything like a complete "Harmony"; but, in order to show how needless it is to dislocate certain passages in order to bring together similar events and discourses (supposed to be identical, as though nothing the Lord said or did was ever repeated), a condensed outline is presented.
It will be noted that there are great events which were never repeated : such as the Mission of the Twelve, the Transfiguration, the Dividing of the Garments, &c. These help us in determining the order and place of other events which, though similar, are not identical.
From the outline given below it will be easy to see how the several accounts of similar events and discourses are distributed in the several Gospels, without violently altering the sequence of verses and chapters, as is done in most so-called "Harmonies".
MATTHEW. MARK. LUKE. JOHN. PRE-MINISTERIAL. 1:1-5. 1:6:14. 1:1-2:7. 1:1-25. 2:1. 2:8-20. 2:21. 2:22-39. 2:2-23. 2:40. 2:41-52. THE FORERUNNER. 3:1-12. 1:2-8. 3:1-20. 1:15-28. THE BAPTISM. 3:13-17. 1:9-11. 3:21, 22. 1:29-34. 3:23-38. THE TEMPTATION. 4:1, 2. 1:12, 13. 4:1, 2. 4:3-13. 4:3-11- 4:-11. 1:-13. THE MINISTRY (FIRST PERIOD). 1:35-51. 4:12-17. 1:14, 15. 4:14, 15. 4:16-32. 4:18-22. 1:16-20. 2:1-4:54. 4:23-7:29. THE MINISTRY (SECOND PERIOD). 8:1. 1:21-. 8:2-13. 1:-21-28. 4:33-37. 8:14-17. 1:29-34. 4:38-41. 1:35-39. 4:42-44. 5:1-11. 1:40-45. 5:12-16. 8:18-9:1. 9:2-26. 2:1-12. 5:17-26. 9:27-11:30. 5:1-47 ("after this"). 12:1-21 2:23-3:6. 6:1-11. ("at that time"). 6:12-8:18. 12:22-45. 3:22-30. 12:46-50. 3:31-35. 8:19-21. 13:1-52. 4:1-34. 4:35-5:20. 8:22-39. 5:21-43. 8:40-56. 13:53-58. 6:1-6. 6:7-13. 9:1-6. 14:1-14 6:14-29. 9:7-9. 6:1, 2. ("at that time"). 14:15-22. 6:30-46. 9:10-17. 6:3-15. 14:23-36. 6:47-56. 6:16-21. 6:22-71. 15:1-16:12. 7:1-8:21. 8:22:26. 16:13-20. 8:27-30. 9:18-21. THE MINISTRY (THIRD PERIOD). 16:21-18:9. 8:31-9:50. 9:22-50. 18:10-35. 19:1-. 10:1-. 9:51-56. 7:1-10. 19:-1, 2. 10:-1. 9:57-62. 10:1-42. 7:11-13. 7:14-10:21. 11:1-28. 19:3-12. 10:2-12. 11:29-13:22. 10:22-42. 13:23-30. 13:31-35. 14:1-24. 14:25-35. 15:1-18:14. 11:1-16 ("then"). 11:17-54 ("after that"). 19:13-20. 10:13-34. 18:15-34. 20:20-28. 10:35-45. 18:35-43. 10:46-52. 20:29-34. 19:1-28.
In the Four Gospels the Ministry of our Lord is divided, not into "years", but by subjects, which are of far greater importance than time. The "years" are mainly conjectural, but the subjects are Divinely recorded facts.
The subjects are two in number : the Kingdom and the King; and, since these are repeated in the form of Introversion, it brings the Person of the Lord into the Structure of the Gospel as the one great central subject of each, for all four Gospels are similarly constructed. See pages 1305, 1381, 1427, and 1510.
As, however, the index-letters are not the same in each Gospel, we set them out in their order :--
The Four Subjects. Their Proclamation. The First is THE KINGDOM. The Second is THE KING. Their Rejection. The Third is THE KING. The Fourth is THE KINGDOM.
These Subjects begin and end respectively in the Four Gospels as follows :--
MATTHEW MARK LUKE JOHN 1st. 4:21-7:29 1st. 1:14-20 1st 4:14-5:11 1st. 1:35-4:54 (125 verses) (7 verses) (42 verses) (132 verses) 2nd. 8:1-16:20 2nd. 1:21-8:30 2nd. 5:12-9:21 2nd. 5:1-6:71 (347 verses) (295 verses) (204 verses) (118 verses) 3rd. 16:21-20:34 3rd 8:31-10:52 3rd. 9:22-18:43 3rd. 7:1-11:53 (134 verses) (110 verses) (409 verses) (248 verses) 4th. 21:1-26:35 4th 11:1-14:25 4th. 19:1-22:38 4th. 11:54-17:26 (263 verses) (139 verses) (171 verses) (209 verses)
From the above it will be seen that, including all the Four Gospels,
The First Subject (the Proclamation of the Kingdom) occupies in all 306 verses. The Second Subject (the Proclamation of the King) occupies in all 964 verses. The Third Subject (the Rejection of the King) occupies in all 901 verses. The Fourth Subject (the Rejection of the Kingdom) occupies in all 782 verses.
Thus, the Subject that occupies the greatest of verses is the KING : viz. 1865 verses in all (964 concerning the proclamation, and 901 concerning His rejection).
The Subject of the KINGDOM occupies 1088 verses in all (306 verses concerning its proclamation, and 782 concerning its rejection).
The Gospel which has most to say about the First Subject (the Proclamation of the Kingdom) is JOHN, having 132 verses; while MARK has the least, having only 7 verses on this subject.
The Gospel which has most to say about the Second Subject (the Proclamation of the King) is MATTHEW, having 347 verses; while JOHN (strange to say) has the least, 118 verses; the reason being that in Matthew, the Lord is presented in His human relationship as King; whereas in John, He is presented as God manifest in the flesh.
The Gospel which has most to say on the Third Subject (the Rejection of the King) is LUKE, having 409 verses; while MARK again has the least, 139 verses.
These particulars, when compared with the interrelation of the four Gospels as set forth in their respective Structures, are full of interest, and help to determine more specifically the great design of each Gospel.
Taking the Gospel of Matthew as an example, we find :--
The first subject is marked by the beginning and ending being both noted (4:17 and 7:28). All between these verses referred to the Kingdom which had drawn near in the Person of the King, but which, owing to His rejection, and the rejection of the "other servants" (22:4) in the Acts of the Apostles, was postponed, and is now in abeyance (Heb. 2:8, "not yet").
The commencement of the Second Subject is noted by the ending of the First Subject (7:28). In ch. 8:2, 6, 8 the Lord is immediately addressed as "Lord"; and in v. 20 He gives His other title, "the Son of man" (*1). The great miracles manifesting His Divine and Human perfections are recorded in this section, which ends with His question focussing the whole Subject : "Who do men say that I, the Son of man, am?" and Peter's answer : "Thou art the Messiah, the Son of the living God" (16:13-16).
The Third Subject is marked in 16:21 : "From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto His disciples how He must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things", &c.
Thus there was a moment at which He introduced the Subject of His rejection, of which He had never before given even a hint. When once He had begun, He repeated it four times (in each Gospel), each time adding fresh details. See 16:21; 17:22; 20:18; 20:28.
The Fourth Subject (the Rejection of the Kingdom) begins at 21:1 and continues down to 26:35, when He goes forth from the Upper Room to Gethsemane.
In this section comes the second series (*2) of Parables which deals with the Rejection and Postponement of the Kingdom, which was to be henceforth in abeyance. The approaching end of this period is marked off in 26:1, closing with the last Supper at 26:26-29.
The same four subjects may be traced in like manner in the other Gospels.
(*1) Its first occurrence in the N.T., the last being in Rev. 14:14. It is the title connected with dominion in the earth. (*2) The first series being recorded in Matt. 13; the second series beginning with Matt. 21:28, being specially marked by the word "again" in Matt. 22:1.