1600's Baptist Confession appeals to original

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by Logos1560, Feb 23, 2009.

  1. Logos1560

    Logos1560
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    The 1677 Second London Confession of Faith by Baptists maintained that a bishop or elder is “to be chosen thereunto by the common suffrage of the Church itself,” and it cited Acts 14:23 in the margin with the comment “See the original” (Lumpkin, Baptist Confessions, p. 287; McGlothin, Baptist Confessions, p. 266). The 1742 Philadelphia Confession of Faith by Baptists retained the same words that had been based on Acts 14:23: “to be chosen thereunto by the common suffrage of the church itself” (Cathcart, Baptist Encyclopaedia, p. 1320).

    In a 1611 Confession of Faith thought to have been written by Baptist Thomas Helwys, Article 21 noted “that these Officers are to be chosen when there are persons qualified according to the rules in Christ’s Testament (1 Timothy 3:2-7, Titus 1:6-9, Acts 6:3-4) by election and approbation of that church or congregation whereof they are members (Acts 6:3-4 and 14:23) (Lumpkin,p. 122).

    In his 1659 book, Baptist William Jeffery (1616-1693) referred to Acts 14:23 and then stated: “where the word election is left out in the new translation, but it is in the old, and cannot be denied to be in the Greek” (Whole Faith of Man, p. 98).

     
  2. rsr

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    Interestingly, the Bishops' Bible — following Tyndale, Coverdale and the Geneva — had retained "by election."
     
  3. rsr

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    You can see a critical edition of the confession (with the annotation mentioned above) at:

    http://baptiststudiesonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/the-second-london-confession.

    The original post set me wondering where this interpretation of Acts 14:23 originated. It can be traced to Tyndale, but there my trail grows cold. Beza translated it the same way, as evidenced in the General Baptists' Orthodox Creed of 1660, which gives the Latin translation of Beza, quumque ipsis per suffragia creassent presbyteros. While Beza is likely the source of the rendering in the Geneva Bible, Tyndale was earlier than Beza and thus must have gotten it from a different source.

    My suspicion is that Tyndale's rendering came from Luther or even Erasmus, but I am unable to pin that down.

    BTW: Modern Baptist confessions (including the New Hampshire Confession and the Baptist Faith and Message, continue to use Acts 14:23 to support their doctrine of democratic polity.)
     
  4. Logos1560

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    It does not come from Luther although Luther may have been the influence behind Tyndale's use of "ordain" in the verse.
    Concerning the first part of Acts 14:23 in the Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, David Brown commented: “Literally, ’Having chosen them elders by show of hands’--that is, having superintended such choice on the part of the disciples; and there is the best reason to conclude that this is the sense intended by the historian, and not ’ordained’ (as our version, following in this case the Vulgate and Luther, rather than Beza, have rendered the term” (III, p. 99). Brown added: “The expression used (says Lechler) leads to the idea that the apostles appointed and conducted a congregational election; and to this also points the precedent (in chapter 6) of the election of the seven deacons in Jerusalem, conducted by the apostles” (Ibid.). Michael Baumgarten also maintained that Martin Luther had rendered the Greek word at Acts 14:23 by “ordain” (Acts, I, p. 456). Baumgarten noted: “We must allow that Rothe is right, when, with regard to the passage before us [Acts 14:23], he maintains that the most natural interpretation of cherantonesantes autos is assuredly the one which adheres the closest to the original acceptation of the word: ‘they-the two Apostles--allow presbyters to be chosen for the community by voting’” (Ibid.). Concerning this verse in The Complete Biblical Library, Stanley Horton wrote: “The Greek word for ‘ordained’ here is cherantonesantes, where cheir means hand, and the whole word means they conducted an election by show of hands” (p. 351).


    Erasmus could be one influence since the Latin New Testament of Erasmus has "suffragns" at Acts 14:23 [et cum suffragns creaffert illis per singulas ecclesias psbyteros].

    Tyndale's New Testament, Coverdale's Bible, Matthew's Bible, Great Bible, Taverner's Bible, Geneva Bible, and Bishops' Bible all have ("ordained them elders by election") at Acts 14:23. Dexter noted: “So Acts 14:23 retained in the English versions, until the hand of Episcopal authority struck it out, the recognition of the action of the membership of the churches in the choice of their elders” (Hand-Book, p. 15, footnote 1). In his 1648 sermon entitled “Truth and Love,“ Thomas Hill asserted that Acts 14:23 was actually one of the fourteen places altered “to make them speak the language of the Church of England” (Six Sermons, p. 24). Edward Hiscox quoted Matthew Tindale (around 1709) as follows: "We read only of the Apostles constituting elders by the suffrages of the people, Acts 14:23, which is the genuine signification of the Greek word, cheirotoneesantes, so it is accordingly interpreted by Erasmus, Beza, Diodoti, and those who translated the Swiss, French, Italian, Belgic, and even English Bibles, till the Episcopal correction, which leaves out, the words, 'by election'" (Principles and Practices for Baptist Churches, p. 351).
     
  5. rsr

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    Thanks. I had been unable to locate Erasmus' Latin NT.

    I was aware of the Tindal quote. Adam Clarke and John Gill follow a similar line, as does Thomas Hobbes in Leviathan (much to my surprise.)

    The NIV gives a footnote that "Or Barnabas ordained elders; or Barnabas had elders elected." Otherwise I am hard-put to find a recent version that follows Tyndale, Geneva et al. or even mentions an alternate rendering. (An exception is Young's Literal Translation of 1898 and its modern revision, which retain the language on election.)
     
  6. Logos1560

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    Joseph Rotherham's Emphasized Bible began Acts 14:23 with "Moreover appointing unto them by vote, in each assembly, elders."
     
  7. Logos1560

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    Could you share these statements of Thomas Hobbes, Adam Clarke, and John Gill or at least give the name of their book where found and the page number?
     
  8. rsr

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    I cannot give the page number for Gill (because I use only an online reference for his Exposition of the Entire Bible), but his commentary on Acts 14:23 is:

    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Geneva]

    Similarly with Clarke in his Commentary:

    [/FONT]


    The Hobbes quotation may be found in the 2004 edition published
    by Kessinger Publishing, Chapter XLII: Of Power Ecclesiastical, pp. 224-225.

     
  9. Logos1560

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    Thanks.
    I found the Thomas Hobbes' (1588-1679) quotation on page 369 in the edition of Leviathan by www.forgottenbooks.org that is available at books.google.
     
  10. Logos1560

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    In the Pious Annotations Upon the Holy Bible, John Diodati (1576-1649) translated a portion of his Italian Bible into English at Acts 14:23 as
    follows: "when they had by common votes ordained."
     
  11. 4His_glory

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    Here is what Dr. Gill had to say in The Body of Divinity concerning the Scriptures.

    Rather long I know but a good read nonetheless.
     
  12. TomVols

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    John Gill is always a good read :)
     

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