apostolic succession and Acts 1:20?

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by Logos1560, Dec 9, 2008.

  1. Logos1560

    Logos1560
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    Gustavus Paine maintained that Miles Smith, final editor of the KJV with Thomas Bilson, "protested that after Bilson and he had finished their editing, Bishop Bancroft made fourteen more changes." He gave as an example Bancroft's insistence on using "the glorious word bishopric even for Judas in Acts 1:20" (Men Behind the KJV, p. 128). Paine added: "The fact that Smith was the one to protest Bancroft's amendments suggests that he stood against both Bilson and Bancroft in such matters as the importance of bishoprics" (Ibid.).


    Acts 1:20 quotes Psalm 109:86: "let another take his office" which was translated in the Geneva Bible in Acts 1:20 as "let another take his charge." "Bishopric" was not the rendering at Acts 1:20 in the most widely distributed and commonly used English Bible--the Geneva Bible. Although it is not in many current KJV's, the 1611 KJV did have the following note in the margin indicating other acceptable words: "Or, office: or charge." In his 1648 sermon, Thomas Hill listed "bishoprick" at Acts 1:20 as one of the fourteen changes made by prelates. Thomas Hill suggested that this change was made "that you may believe that the Bishops are the Apostles successors" (Six Sermons, p. 24). In 1593, Bishop Thomas Bilson, who would be co-editor of the 1611, had quoted Acts 1:20 as "his bishopric let another take" and had used this verse as his basis for his question "will you grant, that an apostle doth not differ from a bishop" (Perpetual Government, p. 291). Thus, Thomas Bilson used the rendering "bishopric" at Acts 1:20 as part of his arguments for the divine origin of episcopacy and for apostolic succession. Bilson also claimed that "I am sure all the fathers with one mouth affirm the apostles both might be and were bishops" (p. 295). Bilson asserted that "whatsoever becometh of the names, it cannot be denied but the apostles had that power of imposing hands, and delivering unto Satan, which they after imparted unto bishops" (p. 296). Bilson claimed: "as by imposing of hands, so by succeeding in the chair, have bishops ever since the apostles' times been severed from presbyters in the church of Christ: which to all that do not eagerly seek to captivate the truth to their own desires, is an argument unrefellable, that the first placing of bishops above presbyters was apostolic" (p. 332).

    Henry Dexter asserted: "If Judas had had a bishopric, he must have been a bishop; and if Judas had been a bishop, then the man who was to take the vacant place would be a bishop; and the twelve were all bishops" (Hand-Book, p. 25). The Barnhart Dictionary of Etymology noted that bishopric is a compound of two words: bishop [overseer] and rice or ric [realm, province, dominion, power] (p. 95). White's Dictionary of the King James Language (by a KJV-only author) noted that "a bishoprick is 'the realm or province over which a bishop has control" (p. 168). Does White's definition of this English word match the meaning of the Greek word? In his commentary on Acts, J. A. Alexander observed that the rendering bishopric "suggests foreign ideas by its modern usage and associations" (p. 30). Did a diocesan bishop want to use a rendering that could convey a hierarchal sense that a bishop has a bishopric, diocese, or realm? Is the rendering "bishopric" more favorable to Episcopal or prelatic views and to Bancroft's and Bilson's claim that bishops were of divine origin than the rendering "charge" or "office?" In his 1853 commentary on Acts, Abiel Abbot Livermore claimed that "this rendering [bishopric] betrays its Episcopalian origin" (p. 22).



    Some may attempt to excuse or justify the KJV's rendering "bishoprick" because this same rendering had also been used in several earlier English Bibles. Does the use of the rendering "bishoprick" at Acts 1:20 in some of the pre-1611 English Bibles prove that the use of this rendering in the 1611 KJV is correct? When different translations use the same rendering, can it be assumed that they all use it with the same intended meaning? John Wycliffe, William Tyndale, and Miles Coverdale seem to have used this rendering in a general sense with the meaning "office" or "overseership." The Oxford English Dictionary gave this as an "obsolete" meaning of the word and cited Acts 1:20 in Wycliffe's Bible and the 1535 Coverdale's as examples of this use (II, p. 224).

    On the other hand, the assumption that this rendering bishoprick was used with the exact, same meaning "office" in the KJV seems to ignore some important historical evidence.



    Williston Walker noted that Richard Bancroft, Adrian Saravia, and Thomas Bilson "affirmed a jure divino right for episcopacy" (History of the Christian Church, p. 406). Peter Milward maintained that Bancroft, Saravia, Thomas Bilson, and William Barlow claimed an "apostolic origin and a divine right for the episcopal institution" (Religious Controversies, pp. 16-17). Collinson pointed out that Bancroft "seems to have been the engineer and promoter of the jus divinum" (Religion of Protestants, p. 17). McClintock affirmed that Bancroft "was the first Anglican divine who publicly maintained the divine right of bishops" (Cyclopaedia, I, p. 631). McClure observed that Bancroft preached that "bishops were a distinct order from priests [Church of England name for pastors], and that they had a superiority over them by divine right, and directly from God" (KJV Translators Revived, p. 126). Samuel Hopkins noted that "the preacher was fairly understood to assert that bishops--such as were then in the Church of England--governed the Church and the inferior clergy jure divino, by a right inherent to their office and derived from God alone; that without such a hierarchy there could be no true Church; that except from such bishops of the Church of England there could be no true ordaining to the Gospel ministry" (Puritans, III, p. 335). J. B. Marsden reported that Bancroft "maintained in his [1589] sermon, that bishops were, by the institution of God himself, an order in the Christian ministry superior to priests and deacons and distinct from them; and that they governed the church and the inferior clergy, jure divino, by a right inherent to their office, and derived from God alone. The denial of these truths, he said, was heresy" (History, p. 228). Thomas Bilson wrote a book in defense of episcopacy or prelacy that was first printed in 1593 with a second edition printed in 1610 and with a Latin edition printed in 1611. Bilson's book further developed the view advocated by Bancroft in his sermon.

    After Bancroft and Bilson advocated their new theory of the divine origin of episcopacy and apostolic succession, the word bishoprick became more associated with a hierarchical sense or meaning as this rendering was used to argue for apostolic succession in Bilson's 1593 book. Based on the clear, first-hand evidence in Bilson's book, it was and is valid for believers to think that the rendering bishoprick was intended by them to be understood with a different meaning from that intended by Wycliffe, Tyndale, or Coverdale. Bilson's book provides first-hand evidence that demonstrates that Thomas Hill's 1648 observation was valid. Thomas Hill had suggested that this rendering bishopric was used "that you may believe that the Bishops are the Apostles successors" (Six Sermons, p. 24).

    If this different sense or meaning was not intended for this rendering "bishopric" at Acts 1:20, Thomas Bilson could not have linked his apostolic succession argument to it.
     
  2. Logos1560

    Logos1560
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    Since this thread has the documented evidence concerning the new theory of apostolic succession and divine origin of bishops that I mentioned in the thread entitled "hierarchial bishops and Acts 20:28," I am posting a reply to it instead of repeating the information.
     
  3. Salamander

    Salamander
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    Doing a study on acts, huh?
     
  4. Logos1560

    Logos1560
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    While I have not found a complete list of the 14 changes that Richard Bancroft or other prelates were claimed to have made in the 1611 KJV, of the seven or so changes that I have found in various sources, 5 of them were in the book of Acts.

    As quoted in my earlier post, in his 1648 sermon, Thomas Hill indicated that the rendering "bishopric" was used in the 1611 "that you may believe that the Bishops are the Apostles successors" (Six Sermons, p. 24).

    First-hand primary evidence would confirm that the rendering "bishopric" was used in the 1611 for that reason.

    In 1593, Bishop Thomas Bilson, who is called by some the co-editor of the 1611, had quoted Acts 1:20 as "his bishopric let another take" and had used this verse as his basis for his question "will you grant, that an apostle doth not differ from a bishop" (Perpetual Government, p. 291). Bilson contended that "Peter himself calleth the apostleship 'a bishopship'" with the reference Acts 1:20 (p. 296). Thus, Thomas Bilson used the rendering "bishopric" at Acts 1:20 as part of his arguments for the divine origin of episcopacy and for apostolic succession.

    In addition to the first-hand primary evidence from Bilson's book, it is also confirmed by evidence from KJV translator Lancelot Andrewes. In his "A Summary view of the Government Both of the Old and New Testament whereby the Episcopal Government of Christ's Church is Vindicated" that was printed after 1611, KJV translator Lancelot Andrewes also cited Acts 1:20 for his assertion that "the apostles were called" "bishops or overseers" (A Pattern of Catechistical Doctrine and other Minor Works of Lancelot Andrewes, p. 359). Andrewes maintained that "upon these [bishops] was transferred the chief part of the apostolic function" (Ibid., p. 355).
     
  5. Logos1560

    Logos1560
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    Acts 1:20 and Acts 1:22

    While it is not known whether it is among the reported 14 changes, the KJV’s use “ordained” at Acts 1:22 may be the result of Episcopal bias. Concerning this verse in his commentary on Acts, J. A. Alexander wrote: “Ordained, like bishopric [Acts 1:20], has acquired a fixed ecclesiastical meaning, wholly foreign from the Greek word here used, which means simply to become, or more emphatically, to be made” (p. 32). Ross Purdy asked: “How did to become turn into ordained in this verse” (I Will Have One Doctrine & One Discipline, p. 58). Purdy commented: “Tyndale rendered it that way and the King James ’translators’ merely copied it. Yet the fact remains that the final choice of text was their responsibility and there simply is no basis for ordained in this verse whatsoever. Yet the Church of England ordained their bishops and verse 20 mentions a bishopric” (Ibid.). The 1560 Geneva Bible has “be made” at Acts 1:22 instead of “be ordained.” The 1657 English translation of the Dutch has “become” at Acts 1:22 as does the 1842 revision of the KJV. Bullinger’s Lexicon defined this Greek word as “to become” (Acts 1:22) (p. 559). Young’s Analytical Concordance also defined ginomai as “to become” (Acts 1:22) (p. 722).
     
  6. HankD

    HankD
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    Interesting proposition...​

    20 For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.​

    But what about the requirements of the candidates...?​

    21 Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,
    22 Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.

    So they (the candidates) must have accompanied them (the original 11) when the Lord went in and out among them.​

    They must have lived and accompanied them from the time of the baptism of John to the Assumption.​

    They must have been "ordained" witnesses of His resurrection.​

    23 And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.
    24 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,
    25 That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.
    26 And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.​

    One might also note the reason: that they did not blame the missing apostolic seat upon the death of Judas but his transgression...

    All these elements following Acts 1:20 taken in context do not support apostolic succession if the requirements are taken literally.


    HankD
     
    #6 HankD, Jan 19, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2009
  7. Joseph M. Smith

    Joseph M. Smith
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    Very interesting stuff. I wonder how present-day Anglicans respond to all of this. Surely the more liberal of them do not subscribe fully to the "ecclesiastical pipeline" implied in this, do they?

    But my attention was caught by the name of one of the editors of the KJV, Miles Smith. My full name is Joseph Miles Smith. Hello, grandpa?
     

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