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Featured Early English Translations and word "church"

Discussion in 'Bible Versions & Translations' started by Hermeneut7, Aug 9, 2017.

  1. Hermeneut7

    Hermeneut7 Member
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    The Wycliffe Bible (1395) does not contain the word "church", but it contains the following:
    "chirch", "chirche", "chirches","chirchis" representing the people of God in both Old and New Testaments.

    The Tyndale New Testament (1525) uses the word "church" twice, in the NT, Acts 14:13, 19:37; both times representing heathen, idolatrous temples.

    The Miles Coverdale Bible (1535) uses the word "churches" three times, in the OT, Lev. 26:31, Hosea 8:14, Amos 7:9; and each time in an idolatrous or negative sense.

    The Bishop's Bible (1568) uses the word "churche" 110 times, all in the New Testament, used in the ecclesiastical sense as in the KJV.

    These statistics come from: StudyLight.org: Search, Read and Study with our Bible Tools

    The word "church" has no basis in the Hebrew or the Greek of the Bible. It is a word insisted upon by King James. From The Translators to the Readers in the 1611 KJV:

    "Lastly, we have on the one side avoided the scrupulosity of the Puritans, who leave the old Ecclesiastical words, and betake them to other, as when they put WASHING for BAPTISM, and CONGREGATION instead of CHURCH: as also on the other side we have shunned the obscurity of the Papists, in their AZIMES, TUNIKE, RATIONAL, HOLOCAUSTS, PRAEPUCE, PASCHE, and a number of such like, whereof their late Translation is full, and that of purpose to darken the sense, that since they must needs translate the Bible, yet by the language thereof, it may be kept from being understood. But we desire that the Scripture may speak like itself, as in the language of Canaan, that it may be understood even of the very vulgar."
    Translators' Preface to 1611 KJV

    So, did the "church" begin at Pentecost? :) Did Jesus Christ say he'd build his "church" or his "assembly" in Matt.16:18? In Matt. 18:17 were the disciples to take a charge of trespass to the "church" or to the "assembly"? It appears to me that the ecclesiastical word "church" has become a stumbling block, a misleading term as it is used in Dispensationalism.
     
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  2. TCassidy

    TCassidy Administrator
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    Church: from Kerk (Dutch), or Kirche (German) from the Greek κυριοκος meaning "the Lords" or "belonging to the Lord." The etymology of the English word "church" limits the usage to "the Lord's assembly" (Matthew 16:18, "My church"). Using just assembly or congregation leaves the question open, which or whose assembly or congregation? An assembly could be a house of government, or a student assembly at a local school and a congregation can be any place a group of people congregate such as a ball game or a poker game.

    The word "church" came into Modern English (1500 - Present) via Middle English (1100 - 1500) with the word chirche, from the Old English (500 - 1100) circe.

    So, the word "church" can trace its etymology/philology back to as early as 500AD in the proto-English, and beyond that to the possessive noun in Greek indicating ownership being the Lords.
     
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  3. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    This is not a breach of dogma but the semantic development of words common to all languages.

    HankD
     
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  4. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    Yes, the Church started at day of Pentecost!
     
  5. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    That is debatable Y!
    :)
    Lets see if you have any INCOMING.

    HankD
     
  6. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    We are not Presbyterians here, are we?
     
  7. Hermeneut7

    Hermeneut7 Member
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    church (n.) [​IMG]
    Old English cirice, circe "church, public place of worship; Christians collectively," from Proto-Germanic *kirika (source also of Old Saxon kirika, Old Norse kirkja, Old Frisian zerke, Middle Dutch kerke, Dutch kerk, Old High German kirihha, German Kirche), probably [see note in OED] from Greek kyriake (oikia), kyriakon doma "Lord's (house)," from kyrios "ruler, lord," from PIE root *keue- "to swell" ("swollen," hence "strong, powerful"); see cumulus. Phonetic spelling from c. 1200, established by 16c. For vowel evolution, see bury. As an adjective from 1570s.

    Greek kyriakon (adj.) "of the Lord" was used of houses of Christian worship since c.300, especially in the East, though it was less common in this sense than ekklesia or basilike. An example of the direct Greek-to-Germanic progress of many Christian words, via the Goths; it probably was used by West Germanic people in their pre-Christian period.
    Online Etymology Dictionary
     
  8. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    It has been debated even among Baptists here at the BB.

    HankD
     
  9. Hermeneut7

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    From the BDAG:
    κυριακός, ή, όν (s. κύριος) pert. to belonging to the Lord, the Lord’s (oft. in ins [since 68 A.D.: OGI 669, 13; 18] and pap.=‘imperial’ in certain exprs.: imperial treasury, service, etc. See Dssm., NB 44ff [BS 217ff ], LO 304ff [LAE2 362ff ]; Hatch 138f; and πρῶτος 1aα end; Iren. 1, 8, 1 [Harv. I 67, 1; 6f ]) κ. δεῖπνον the Lord’s Supper 1 Cor 11:20. κ. ἡμέρα the Lord’s day (Kephal. I 192, 1; 193, 31; ὁ μὲν τέλειος … ἀεὶ ἄγει κ. ἡμέρας Orig, C. Cels. 8, 22, 6) i.e. certainly Sunday (so in Mod. Gk., and cp. POxy 3407 [IV A.D.]) Rv 1:10 (WStott, NTS 12, ’65, 70–75). For this κυριακὴ κυρίου D 14:1. Without κυρίου (Kephal. I 194, 9; 195, 6; Did., Gen. 190, 2) GPt 9:35; 12:50. τῷ σαββάτῳ ἐπερχομένης τῆς κ. AcPl Ha 3, 9. κατὰ κυριακὴν ζῆν observe the Lord’s day (opp. σαββατίζειν) IMg 9:1 (on the omission of ἡμέρα cp. Jer 52:12 δεκάτῃ τοῦ μηνός and s. ἀγοραῖος 2). σύνταξιν τῶν κυριακῶν ποιούμενος λογίων making an orderly presentation of the dominical words Papias (2:15) (s. also ἐξήγησις end); κ. λογίων (11:1; 12:2); κ. λόγων (3:1); κ. ἐξηγήσεων (8:9).—SMcCasland, The Origin of the Lord’s Day: JBL 49, 1930, 65–82; JBoehmer, D. christl. Sonntag nach Urspr. u. Gesch. ’31; PCotton, From Sabbath to Sunday ’33; WRordorf, Der Sonntag … im ältesten Christentum ’62 (Eng. tr. AGraham ’68); HRiesenfeld, Sabbat et Jour du Seigneur: TWManson memorial vol. ’59, 210–17.—B. 1008. DELG s.v. κύριος. M-M. TW. Spicq. Sv.

    I tried to add this to the Etymology I posted but for reason could not. Anyway, I see the Lord's Supper and the Lord's Day in Scripture, but I only see it applied as an adjective to a church in C300 in the etymology. So, that makes it an ecclesiastical word, not a literal word of Scripture, right?
     
  10. Hermeneut7

    Hermeneut7 Member
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    We have the "assembly of God" in Neh. 13:1 and we have "assembly of God" in Acts 20:28, YLT. We have the phrase "people of God" KJV in Judges 20:2 and we have the "people of God" in 1 Peter 2:9-10 YLT. No word "church" in the Hebrew or Greek. The people of God in the OT were called Israel and Paul speaks of the Commonwealth of Israel and how Gentiles are brought in:

    "Wherefore remember, that once ye, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called Circumcision, in the flesh, made by hands; that ye were at that time separate from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus ye that once were far off are made nigh in the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who made both one, and brake down the middle wall of partition, having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; that he might create in himself of the two one new man, so making peace" (Eph 2:11-15, ASV)

    The Old Covenant was abolished, and the Gentiles are made nigh by the blood of Christ to the Commonwealth of Israel. He has made us both "one". The Old Covenant was done away with and we are now under the New Covenant in Christ's blood. The NT tells us who the true Israel is, and it is not all the Jews of the flesh:

    "When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, 'Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!'” (John 1:47, NRSV)
    "For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God." (Rom 2:28-29, KJV)
    "But it is not as though the word of God hath come to nought. For they are not all Israel, that are of Israel" (Rom 9:6, ASV)

    The elect of God, those chosen to come to faith, come from Jew and Gentile alike:

    "What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the objects of wrath that are made for destruction; and what if he has done so in order to make known the riches of his glory for the objects of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— including us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?" (Rom 9:22-24, NRSV)

    We believing Gentiles were grafted into the olive tree, Israel, as the 'not truly Israelis' were broken off:

    "But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in their place to share the rich root of the olive tree" (Rom 11:17, NRSV)

    So now, those who believe as Abraham our father in the faith of Jesus Christ, elect Jews and elect Gentiles are the continuation of Israel, the true Israel, the Israel of God:

    "May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything; but a new creation is everything! As for those who will follow this rule—peace be upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God." (Gal 6:14-16, NRSV)

    The "and" is clearly explicative as shown by the context, so the following translations show that:

    "God forbid that I should boast of anything but the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world is crucified to me and I to the world! Circumcision is nothing; uncircumcision is nothing; the only thing that counts is new creation! All who take this principle for their guide, peace and mercy be upon them, the Israel of God!" (Gal 6:14-16, REB)

    "Yet God forbid that I should boast about anything or anybody except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, which means that the world is a dead thing to me and I am a dead man to the world. But in Christ it is not circumcision or uncircumcision that counts but the power of new birth. To all who live by this principle, to the true Israel of God, may there be peace and mercy!"
    (Gal 6:14-16 Phillips)

    The fog clears once you remove the man-made ecclesiastical word "church"! By the way, I am of New Covenant theology, not Covenant theology and I am Baptist and the 18th century Baptist John Gill nailed it on Gal. 6:16

    "The "Israel of God", or as the Arabic version reads it, "Israel the propriety of God"; which he has a right unto, and a claim upon; who are chosen by him, Israel his elect; who are redeemed by him, out of every kindred, tongue, people, and nation; who are called by his grace, and are styled Israel his called; who are justified in his Son, and by his righteousness; and for whose sake he is exalted as a Prince and a Saviour, to give them repentance and remission of sin; and who are, or will be saved by him, with an everlasting salvation; and is a name that includes all God's elect, whether Jews or Gentiles..."

    Gill was a historic pre-mil, but NOT a dispensationalist, which had never been heard of in John Gill's day.
     
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  11. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    I know, see Hyper Dispy!
     
  12. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    Not just hyper-dispy, but some of us see the church as existing in Jesus's lifetime in the gospels and not just beginning in the book of Acts. This just for explanation purposes and not debate, since this is not the topic of the OP.
     
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  13. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    If Jesus was speaking to his disciples in Greek, he would have said "ekklesia". You could avoid the option of speaking in English and use the Greek New Testament word "ekklesia" if you prefer instead of church.
     
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  14. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    I was thinking more along the lines of those who see the Church in the Old testament times, back in the Wilderness!
     
  15. Hermeneut7

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    Did Jesus speak Greek, or Aramaic? What Language Did Jesus Speak?

    I just wish to use the proper English definition of "ekklesia" which is more closely assembly or congregation. As in my earlier post, it can be important when identifying the people of God in the Old Testament and then the people of God in the New Testament. All the arguments about Israel versus church become easier to understand avoiding the ecclesiastical word... at least for me it is. :D
     
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  16. Logos1560

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    As already noted, William Tyndale used the English word “church” for buildings or temples as seen in Acts 14:13 [“the church porch”] and Acts 19:37 [“robbers of churches”]. Likewise, Miles Coverdale used the English word “church” or “churches” for buildings intended for worship. For example, the 1535 Coverdale’s Bible has “churches” at Hosea 8:14 where the KJV has “temples.” It also has “churches” (Lev. 26:31, Amos 7:9) where the KJV has “sanctuaries.”

    In a sermon in the official Church of England Homilies, it is stated: “We have in the first part of this Homily declared by God’s Word, that the temple or church is the house of the Lord” (Griffiths, Certain Sermons, pp. 170-171). It also stated: “The material church or temple is a place appointed for the people of God to resort together unto” (p. 164).

    The Barnhart Dictionary of Etymology maintained that the English word church developed from the Old English cirice that meant a "public place of worship" (p. 171).

    In his 1828 dictionary, Noah Webster gave the following as the first definition for the word church: "A house consecrated to the worship of God, among Christians; the Lord's house. This seems to be the original meaning of the word."
    The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church also pointed out that the English word church applied originally to a church building (p. 344).
    The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Reformation noted that the term congregation "described a gathering or assembly" while the term church "suggested a structure or organization" (IV, p. 190).
     
  17. Logos1560

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    David Daniell commented: "Congregatio had been used by Erasmus in his parallel Latin translation for the Greek ekklesia wherever it occurred. Tyndale avoids 'church' because it is not what the New Testament says" (William Tyndale, p. 148). David Daniell also noted: “Tyndale translated the Greek New Testament word ekklesia as ‘congregation.‘ Philologically, he was correct: Erasmus, no less, had done the same before him. Theologically he was correct, too” (p. 122).

    David Cloud acknowledged that Tyndale “always translated the word ecclesia by the word congregation” (Faith, p. 480). Again David Cloud noted that Tyndale used “congregation” and in effect admitted that “this might be deemed better” (Bible Version Question/Answer, p. 147).

    William Tyndale himself wrote: “The word church hath divers significations. First it signifieth a place or house” (Answer to Sir Thomas More's Dialogue, p. 11). He added: “In another signification, it is abused and mistaken for a multitude of shaven, shorn, and oiled; which we now call the spiritualty and clergy” (p. 12).

    G. E. Duffield commented that "Tyndale knew that in current parlance the word church usually meant the clergy or the ecclesiastical hierarchy" and that "in the Bible ecclesia referred to God's people, not merely to the clergy" (Work of William Tyndale, p. xx). MacCulloch confirmed that “the word ‘Church’ had commonly come to signify the vast European-wide trade union that was the clergy” (Reformation, p. 41).

    Conant noted: "The uniform rendering of ecclesia by congregation formed one of the characteristic features of the earlier versions, and was accounted of primary importance, as representing to the English mind the generic idea of visible Christianity as a community of equals" (The English Bible, p. 399).
    In 1583, Puritan William Fulke explained why ecclesia was first translated "congregation" in the early English Bibles. He noted that "the word church of the common people at that time was used ambiguously, both for the assembly of the faithful, and for the place in which they assembled; for the avoiding of which ambiguity they translated ecclesia the congregation" (A Defence, p. 90). He also added that the early translators "departed neither from the word nor meaning of the Holy Ghost, nor from the usage of that word ecclesia, which in the scripture signifieth as generally any assembly, as the word 'congregation' doth in English" (Ibid., p. 239).
    Joseph Browne maintained that “the earlier translators of the English Bible resolved to render the word ecclesia by a word more conformable to the original [congregation]” (Ten Lectures, p. 85). The 1570’s Nowell’s Catechism noted: “This the apostles that wrote in Greek called ecclesia, which by interpreting the word may fitly be called a congregation” (Richmond, Fathers, VIII, p. 79).

    The Oxford Illustrated History of the Bible stated that “the selection of one word rather than another can alter the reader‘s understanding significantly. That is very apparent in the early sixteenth-century English renderings which were sensitive to what then seemed undesirable connotations of such words as ‘church‘ (for which ‘congregation‘ might be substituted“ (p. 189). This source also noted “the AV deliberately opted for more ecclesiastical terms like ’church’” (p. 210). The evidence in the preceding paragraph provided some of the undesirable connotations that Tyndale considered to be associated with the word “church” and why he considered “congregation” to be a more accurate rendering of the Greek word ecclesia.
    In an introduction to an Oxford World’s Classics edition of the KJV, Robert Carroll and Stephen Prickett wrote: “Tyndale had incurred the wrath of the authorities by translating the Latin ecclesia as ’congregation’ rather than ’church’--thereby suggesting a much looser, more democratic and self-governing organization in the early Christian communities of the New Testament than the episcopally organized and hierarchical Anglican Church could tolerate” (p. xxvi). Stephen Prickett asserted: “William Tyndale’s perfectly scholarly translation of the Latin ecclesia as ’congregation’ rather than ’church’ was political dynamite, in that it implicitly handed over the organizational control from the clergy to the rank-and-file in the pew” (Hamilin, KJB after, p. 30). Jon Sweeney maintained that Tyndale’s “translation choices” such as congregation “undermined the longstanding institutional power from the central church (both in England and in Rome), instead empowering local believers” (Verily, Verily, p. 56).
     
  18. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    He may have spoken Aramaic, but that is really out of both my league and my interest. My point was that the original word that has come down to us is ekklesia.

    One of the English definitions of "church" is assembly or congregation. I think this is one of those "accept the things you cannot change" kind of things. That is, the English language is stuck with the word church and it isn't going away any time soon. You are free to use ekklesia, assembly and congregation as you wish.
     
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  19. rsr

    rsr <b> 7,000 posts club</b>
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    An interesting discussion. What I find confusing in all the discussions of "literacy" in the ancient world is the failure to distinguish between what one could speak and what one could write.

    Let's see. Millions upon millions of people who spoke English in the last few centuries were "illiterate," i.e, they could not read or write English. But they could certainly speak English. I'm sure there are many people in the United States today who can mostly understand English and even speak it, though not perfectly, but have much difficulty in writing it.

    Jesus, it seems, most likely would have done most of his preaching in Aramaic because that was the predominant language. Yet there is nothing to suggest that he could not have spoken and understood Hebrew or Greek. Hebrew was the traditional language of religion. Greek was the language of commerce among many in Israel (remember that Joseph and Jesus were both trademen), and the Galilee was not without Greek influence.

    Literacy was an expensive proposition in the ancient world. You could learn a language with observation and practice, but to write it fluently you had to have expensive writing materials.

    Jesus' teachings are replete with Aramaicisms. Yet the one time he is represented quoting directly from Scripture (Luke 4:16-19) the passage is basically from the LXX, not the Masoretic text. So was he reading Hebrew or Greek?

    Be careful how you answer that one.
     
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  20. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    It was the person of the Holy Spirit who influenced the choice of words of the inspired text of Luke.
    So we really cannot know but I would say Jesus read from the Hebrew scroll.

    HankD
     
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