Spurgeon's thoughts on Bible translations

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by whetstone, Mar 25, 2005.

  1. whetstone

    whetstone
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    The Prince of Preachers (a Baptist) Charles Spurgeon said a few things about Bible translations in his writings. These quotes come from Spurgeon.US- the largest Spurgeon quote repository on the web.
    (The letters and numbers after the quote refer to what book/volume the quote came from and the page #)

    Let us quote the words as they stand in the best possible translation, and it will be
    better still if we know the original, and can tell if our version fails to give the sense. GF23

    We are fully assured that our own old English version of the Scriptures is sufficient
    for plain men for all purposes of life, salvation, and godliness. GF29

    There are some passages in the present translation that are so dark, that no man can
    understand them without an explanation. 153.369

    When our version is incorrect, then it is a duty to present the proper rendering, if one
    be able to find it out; but to give translations out of our whimsied heads, without
    having been taught in the original tongue, is impertinence indeed. 509.266

    Not that I would readily find fault with our version at any time, for it is, as a rule,
    marvellously correct and singularly forcible, and I am afraid when the new
    translation of the Bible comes out it will be better to light our fires with it than to
    give up the old version, which is so dear to us and so interwoven into all our religious
    life. 1337.74

    Beyond all other Christians we are concerned in this, seeing we have no other sacred
    book; we have no prayer book or binding creed, or authoritative minutes of
    conference; we have nothing but the Bible; and we would have that as pure as ever
    we can get it. By the best and most honest scholarship that can be found we desire
    that the common version may be purged of every blunder of transcribers, or addition
    of human ignorance, or human knowledge, that so the word of God may come to us as
    it came from his own hand. 1604.343

    The men are not yet born who will give us a better rendering either of the Old or the
    New Testament than is to be found in our old English Bibles, and it is my belief that
    they never will be born. 1786.338

    I would not even change the expression of our translation in many a place: not that I
    am bound by a translation, for God’s original is that which we accept as infallible; but
    yet there are translations which are evidently accurate, for the Lord’s own Spirit has
    made them unutterably dear to his saints. 1813.668

    You cannot change Holy Scripture. You may arrive more and more accurately at the
    original text; but for all practical purposes the text we have is correct enough, and
    our old Authorized Version is a sound one. 1890.155

    I do not hesitate to say that I believe that there is no mistake whatever in the
    original Holy Scriptures from beginning to end. There may be, and there are,
    mistakes of translation; for translators are not inspired; but even the historical facts
    are correct. 2084.257

    Mistakes of translation there may be, for translators are men; but mistakes of the
    original Word there never can be, for the God who spoke it is infallible, and so is
    every word he speaks, and in that confidence we find delightful rest. 2305.195

    I do not say that either of our English versions is inspired, for there are mistakes in
    the translation; but if we could get at the original text, just as it was first written, I
    am not afraid to say that every jot or tittle—every cross of a t or every dot of an
    i—was infallibly inspired by God the Holy Ghost. 2577.318

    The misreadings of the copies are really so inconsiderable, and are so happily
    corrected by other manuscripts, that our Bible is a marvel in literature for the
    comparative ease with which the correct text is discoverable. 3303.244
     
  2. av1611jim

    av1611jim
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    Your post dear brother illustrates that not even "the prince of preachers" was right all of the time. :D

    In HIS service;
    Jim
     
  3. robycop3

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    Actually, Jim, it appears he was quite accurate in his assessment of translations. he wrote before the current false KJVO myth was born, and most likely, he woulda denounced it soundly, as I and most other baptists do today.
     
  4. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K)
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    Where did he err Jim?
     
  5. whetstone

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    I think Spurgeon handled the translation issue with much balance (as he did in most areas). His moderation was known to all men, I assure you, and he certainly had his position thought out quite well.

    In Christ,

    Daniel Allen
    www.spurgeon.us
     
  6. Logos1560

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    In his preface to the 1859 book THE ENGLISH BIBLE by Conant, Charles Spurgeon wrote: "And it is because I love the most Holy Word of God that I plead for faithful translation; and from my very love to the English version, because in the main it is so, I desire for it that its blemishes be removed and its faults corrected" (p. xi).

    Again in this preface, Spurgeon wrote: "I ask, from very love of this best of translations, that its obsolete words, its manifest mistranslations, and glaring indecencies should be removed" (p. xii).

    In 1877, an English edition or revision of the KJV was edited by Joseph Gurney, F. W. Gotch, B. Davies, G. A. Jacob, and S. G. Green and was published by Eyre and Spottiswoode. Gotch and Green were Baptists. It was entitled: "THE HOLY BIBLE ACCORDING TO THE AUTHORISED VERSION, COMPARED WITH THE HEBREW AND GREEK TEXTS AND CAREFULLY REVISED. In his review of this 1877
    edition, Spurgeon wrote: "Here is our own English Bible with its mistranslations amended, and its obsolete words and coarse phrases removed" (SWORD AND THE TROWEL, Sept., 1877, p. 438). Spurgeon added: "We commend the work heartily."
     
  7. whetstone

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    very interesting!
     
  8. gb93433

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    A statement without proof is less then worthless. You will have wasted the reader's time.
     
  9. whetstone

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    While I agree with Jim that Spurgeon wasn't right all the time (he allowed for the possibility of the Gap Theory and Extraterrestrials), I think he was right on the money with regards to Bible translation.
     
  10. robycop3

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    We have often discussed the PROVEN ERRORS in the KJV on this board, which many KJVOs refuse to acknowledge. While I don't think any of'em are so bad as to invalidate the KJV, they certainly shoot down the Onlyists' "perfection" fallacy.
     
  11. whetstone

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    I think you would classify me as a 'KJVM' - King James Version Mostly. [​IMG]
     
  12. Logos1560

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    KJV-only author William Bradly claimed that Charles Spurgeon "held our view" (PURIFIED SEVEN TIMES, p. 124). Peter Ruckman placed Spurgeon in his list of "believers of the Word" (BIBLE BABEL, p. 118). KJV-only author Bruce Cummons claimed that Spurgeon "vowed that he would withdraw fellowship immediately from any preacher or group of preachers who made light of, or 'down-graded' the KJV" (FOUNDATION AND AUTHORITY OF THE WORD OF GOD, p. 45).
     
  13. av1611jim

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    OK.
    From the quotes provided by Whetstone;
    Some KJVo would find support from the following.

    "We are fully assured that our own old English version of the Scriptures is sufficient
    for plain men for all purposes of life, salvation, and godliness. GF29

    "Not that I would readily find fault with our version at any time, for it is, as a rule,
    marvellously correct and singularly forcible, and I am afraid when the new
    translation of the Bible comes out it will be better to light our fires with it than to
    give up the old version
    , which is so dear to us and so interwoven into all our religious
    life. 1337.74

    "The men are not yet born who will give us a better rendering either of the Old or the
    New Testament than is to be found in our old English Bibles, and it is my belief that
    they never will be born. 1786.338"

    The opposite side finds support from the following.

    "I do not hesitate to say that I believe that there is no mistake whatever in the
    original Holy Scriptures from beginning to end. There may be, and there are,
    mistakes of translation;
    for translators are not inspired; but even the historical facts
    are correct. 2084.257"


    "Mistakes of translation there may be, for translators are men; but mistakes of the
    original Word there never can be, for the God who spoke it is infallible, and so is
    every word he speaks, and in that confidence we find delightful rest. 2305.195"

    So we/I can see that he often flip-flopped.
    therefore my point stands. Spurgeon was not always right, no matter WHICH side of this you choose to be on. I (personally) think this is a very poor choice of "authorities" for the MV side, if indeed that is the case.

    Some KJVo self proclaimed gurus will say that Spurgeon was on "their" side but we see he wasn't. Some anti-KJVo authors will say he was on "their" but we see he wasn't. He was just a man, and I wonder about the dates of all these quotes and how it REALLY affects his view of Scripture. No dates of the quotes were given in the OP.

    Spurgeon erred either in one view or the other. According to some here, he can't be right in both views presented. They (all will agree) are mutually exclusive of one another.

    Let me close with this point. I chose these quotes becasue they stood out in my mind as REPRESENTATIVE of his words. I did NOT choose them to slant the results. So...you evil guys who are about to accuse me of such a thing...quit it!
    [​IMG]

    In HIS service;
    Jim
     
  14. Scott J

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    He didn't flip-flop. His statements are true and consistent with both fact and scripture.

    Something need not be flawless to be sufficient. Something doesn't even have to be flawless to be "perfect" in the sense that the word "perfect" applies to Bible translations.

    Spurgeon was dead on with his views on the Bible.
    He wasn't always right but a "very poor choice" of authorities? When everyone else around him was departing from fundamentalism, Spurgeon stood alone to the ruin of his health.

    But again, our authority should be scripture not men... and scripture doesn't teach KJVOnlyism. Spurgeon just happens to hold a view that conforms to scripture on this.

    Only if they quote him out of context... which they are apt to do.
    He wasn't on our side? That's funny. Even these quotes pretty well argue a summary of the position I have tried to promote here.

    There were no conflicting views in the post given. The KJV is a sound translation. It is a great translation work. It does have flaws. It does have mistranslations and antiquated language.

    Spurgeon was nothing but honest about the value and quality of the KJV. He thought highly of it without ascribing an unsupportable view of it.
     
  15. Ransom

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    So we/I can see that he often flip-flopped.

    Wrong.
     
  16. av1611jim

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    I really didn't expect agreement.
    [​IMG]
    In HIS service;
    Jim
     
  17. Logos1560

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    Spurgeon was consistent in his view of Scripture.
    His view of Bible translation was also consistent,
    and his view was in agreement with the view of the early English translators including the KJV translators.

    The quotations in my post have the dates:
    some of the statements were made in the preface of a 1859 book while another was made in Sept., 1877. The quotations from his sermons would be
    over a number of years.
     

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