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Part II: The Words

Preliminary Remarks

Having considered the study of the WORD as a whole, we now come to the study of the WORDS of which it is made up.

The Lord Jesus said, not only, “I have given them Thy WORD” (John xvii. 14); but, “I have given unto them the WORDS which Thou gavest me” (v. 8).

In the former of these two solemn statements lovgo" (logos) is used; in the latter it is rJh~ma (rhema).

There is this difference between the two: lovgo" (logos), generally speaking, is taken as meaning a word as made up of letters; and rJh~ma (rhema), a saying as made up of words.

It is worthy of note, that it is in this latter connection our Lord speaks of all that He uttered as being given to Him by the Father to speak : He spake nothing of, or from, Himself.

Seven times did He declare this great and solemn fact:166 so that those who charge our Lord with ignorance of what He said, or with knowingly accommodating Himself to the traditional belief of the people, are charging this home upon God Himself ; for the words of Christ were, He says, “not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.”

The “Higher” critics, therefore, who say that David did not write Psalm ex. really “make God a liar.”

But this is not our point here, though it would be unwise to pass it by.

The “Word” as a whole, Christ speaks of in His last prayer to the Father as “THY WORDS”; and the matter, and the words of which it is made up, are the words given Him, by the Father, to speak.

Whether “sayings” or “words,” a revelation, in writing, is impossible apart from words; hence the importance of studying, not merely the Word as a whole, but the actual words in which it is given to us.

When, of course, we speak of the “words” it must be borne in mind that we mean Hebrew and Greek words; for in these, the original languages, have the words been given to us.

We cannot hold the Spirit of God responsible for the way in which individual men have chosen to translate the original words in their respective languages.

It was truly said by Archbishop Whately that “the Bible consists of the Old Testament in Hebrew and the New Testament in Greek; and a translation of them is only an Interpretation according to the best judgment of the translator.”

Each, doubtless, has done the best he could, and has brought to bear upon the work his highest powers.

But, unless he has been guided by principles such as those which we have laid down in the first part of this work, his best efforts will be of little avail for us; for he will have given us only his own judgment and his own views.

Those views are, very largely, traditional. He comes to the work of Bible study with his views already more or less fixed. These have been derived from what he has first, and already, received from a man like himself. He may perhaps be more widely read in what others before him have said , but still he is more or less tied and bound by traditional views.

It is surprising, when we really come to examine ourselves closely in this matter, how much of what we already believe has been “received by tradition from our fathers.” How little has actually been derived from our own direct personal study of the Word of God itself. We, believe what we have received from man; and we do our best to get it confirmed by the Bible. When we are unable to get the confirmation we are in search of, then we find what we call a “difficulty.” But the difficulty is not in the Word of God itself ; it is in our own minds. The real difficulty is in giving up our own views because we fail to make the Bible conform to them. It does not, at first, occur to our minds that we may have to abandon some of our views if we would get rid of the difficulty.

Even where there is no difficulty, and our view is indeed in accord with the Word of God, we shall find it better to study the Word of truth afresh, and learn it again direct from the Scriptures.

This is what we must do if we would really profit by the Word so as to enjoy it. It is better for the truth to hold us, than for us to hold the truth. The two things are very different.

Hence the importance of our great subject, how to study the “WORDS which the Holy Ghost teacheth.” (I Cor. ii. 13.)

As to the original words we must consider them further on. Though, in one sense, that consideration should logically come first, yet, as we are writing for English readers, we may well defer the Hebrew and Greek words to our section on “The Usage of Greek Words” (Canon 111.), and “The Place of Various Readings” (Canon XII.), in which we shall put our English readers in possession of all that is essential for them to know.

Our concern now is with the words in the English versions: and our object is to see how far they accord with the words in the original, without a specific knowledge of that original. That is to say, bow far an English reader may, by observing certain principles, which we propose to lay down, find out for himself the meaning of the original, and discover the mind of God, who is revealing Himself therein.

Our task is not easy, because often, while we are discussing one particular principle, the passage in question may require the application of several of these principles, or Canons, in order to our full and proper understanding of it.

We would therefore lay down our first great principle that the meaning of words is to be gathered from the scope of a passage, and not the interpretation of a passage from the words.

Canon 1

The Meaning of Words Is to Be Gathered From the Scope of the Passage; and Not the Scope from the Words

1. “Private Interpretation.”

A passage which furnishes a good illustration is 2 Pet. i. 20: “No prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation.”

These words, taken by themselves, would present no difficulty to a Roman Catholic, because they appear to agree with the tradition he has received. But they present a grave difficulty to a Protestant who has been taught, and who believes, that God’s word is for all.

“Hear, O heavens, and
Give ear, O earth,
For Jehovah hath spoken.”

This word from Isa. i. 2 sums up the ground of our belief ; and this is why this text was printed by the Reformers on the title-page of the early editions of our English Bibles.

The question which here presents itself is: How is this apparent difficulty to be solved.

We are studying the “Words,” and we desire to know what these two words “private,” and “interpretation” mean.

Our first principle now comes in to help us: and it affirms that the meaning of these words must be gathered from the scope of the passage in which we find them. The application of our first Canon to this particular passage is intended only as an illustration of the way in which it may be used to elucidate other passages.

When we speak of the “Scope” we mean-what it is all about; the one subject which is being treated of, or written about. This will always furnish a key to the meaning of the words employed.

This is not quite the same, as “The Importance of the Context,” which forms the subject of our third Great Principle or Canon, because the Context has to do with the interpretation and sense of a passage as distinct from the actual meaning of its separate words.

On examination of this particular passage (2 Pet. i. 20) in which our words occur, we find that the verse forms part of a larger context the Scope or subject of which is not what Scripture means, but whence it came.

This is evident from the most cursory reading of the whole passage. There is not one word about the meaning, but a great deal about the origin of prophecy; not a word about its interpretation, but about its source.

That this is the scope is quite apparent from the mere surface of the passage; and it is borne out by the Structure, which is the subject of the second great principle we wish to lay down (see Canon II., below).

This is sufficient to put us on the right track to find out the meaning of the words “private” and – “interpretation.” And our business, therefore, is to see if they can have a meaning more in harmony with the general scope of the passage.

As to the word rendered “private” we find that it is ijvdio" (idios) and that it occurs 114 times.167 Out of these 114 times we find that it is nearly always rendered one’s own; “his own sheep,” “his own servants,” “his own house,” “his own country,” etc.; but not once is it rendered “Private,” except in this passage. This shows us that the rendering “private” is sufficiently abnormal to be suspected; and that it would be more consistent to render it one’s own (or lit., of its own).

As to the word rendered “interpretation” we shall find that it occurs nowhere else; neither in the New Testament, nor in the Septuagint. It is ejpivlusi" (epilusis). We have no guide to its meaning as we had with the word “private.” As this noun occurs nowhere else we must go to the verb ejpiluvw (epiluo), which is made up of the preposition ejpiv (epi), upon, and luvw (luo), to loosen. We find Xenophon using it of letting dogs loose upon the ground to chase a hare. Another Greek writer uses it of breaking open a letter bearing upon a certain subject. So that its usage is perfectly clear so far. In the New Testament this verb occurs only twice (Mark iv. 34 and Acts xix. 39). From Mark iv. 34 it is evident that it will bear the A.V. rendering expound,168 but it will also bear a larger meaning. He spake publicly “with many such parables,” but “when they were alone,” He broke open the casket which hid His real meaning; He unfolded the treasures that were therein; He let them loose as it were and displayed them before the eyes of His disciples.

In Acts xix. 39 the Town Clerk said “If ye enquire anything concerning other matters, it shall be made known (or shown) in a lawful assembly.”

Any of these meanings will do here in 2 Pet. i. 20, 21, and it will be seen how they harmonise with the one matter which is the subject, or scope, of the whole passage.

“Getting to know, this, first: that not any prophecy of Scripture springs169 from its own unfolding,


For, not by the will of man was prophecy at any time brought forth-

[How then did it come?]

But being borne along by holy spirit170 men spake from God.”

Thus, the words are brought into harmony with the scope, or subject of the whole passage; and we see how they refer to the origin and source of the prophetic Word, and not to its meaning or interpretation.

2. “The Spirits in Prison.”

1 Pet. iii. 19 is another passage which has been wholly misinterpreted and misunderstood, because it has been taken, not only apart from the Context, but apart from the larger question, viz., the scope or subject of the whole chapter.

This verse does not stand alone. It is not an illuminated text we hang on a wall; but is made up of words which God has placed in immediate connection with other words, on which they depend for their right understanding.

The question we have to ask ourselves, as to the whole chapter, is this: What is it about? What is the great subject which is being treated of?

The smaller passage itself commences at verse 18 with the word “FOR.” “For Christ Himself also suffered, the just for the unjust.” Verse 19 is therefore part of a reason which is being given to explain or illustrate something which has been already said. It is not a new and independent subject which is being introduced.

We must ask therefore, What is this something which has been said, and has to be thus illustrated, and explained ?

It requires only care and common sense to see, what the Translators themselves saw, when they put at the head of the chapter “exhorting all men to unity and love, and to suffer persecution.” This is right so far as it goes, but it is not all. On reading the whole passage we do indeed see that it is an exhortation to suffer persecution, and especially if the suffering and the persecution be for “well-doing.” “D is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing than for evil doing.” This is the scope. This is what it is all about. This is verse 17; and then, verse 18 goes on to give us the reason why it is “better”; “For.” What follows, must be interpreted by the sense of this scope. It is to show us why it is BETTER to “suffer for well-doing.”

Now, verse 19 about “the spirits in prison” is usually taken by itself apart from the scope as referring to people who have died, and as teaching that after death they have “a second chance.”

But our simple question is, In what way would this be a reason for, or proof of the fact that it is “better to suffer for well doing than for evil doing”?

If these were dead men, they must have been evil doers, or there would be no reason for their needing this “second chance.” It would, therefore, bean excuse for evil doing, seeing that they have this hope to lean upon.

We can see at once, that this common interpretation must be wrong, as it is inconsequent and illogical. It has no connection with or relation to what has gone before; and takes no account of the word “For” which introduces this statement.

We have, therefore, still to look for a reason, why “it is better to suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.”

The reason given is that Christ suffered for well-doing. All he did was “just.” He “suffered for the unjust,” to bring us to God. That was “better.” But “He was put to death in the flesh.” What then? Where does the “better” come in? What happened after that? Ah! He had a glorious resurrection. He was “made a quickening spirit” (1 Cor. xv. 45). “He was put to death indeed as to the flesh.” He was “quickened” (or made alive again) as to spirit.171

What does made alive mean? What can it mean but resurrection? How can anyone who has died be made alive again except by being raised from the dead?172

It is the very expression used in 1 Cor. xv. 45. “It is sown a natural (Greek, psychical or soulical) body; it is raised a spiritual body.” And so also it standeth written, the first man Adam “became, or, came to be, a living soul”;173 “the last Adam was made to be a quickening spirit.” How? The verses that follow go on to explain that this was in resurrection.

But here, in 1 Pet. iii. there is more than resurrection. It was that which made it “better” for Christ to have suffered for well-doing. He had a glorious triumph as well. He went in His resurrection body (ejn w/|, en ho, by, or, in which) and made proclamation174 of it to “the in-prison-spirits.”

What and who can these be? To answer this question we have to go a little further afield. But not far. The same Peter tells us over leaf, in 2 Pet. ii. 4, of the angels that sinned in the days of Noah, and who are now cast down to Tartarus and there “delivered into chains of darkness to be reserved unto judgment.” And when we read further in Jude 6 (a remoter context) of the same historical fact-the sinning and imprisonment of these angels; and when we remember that angels are spirits, and are so called in Heb. i. 7 and 11, then we are at no loss to understand that the triumph of Christ was so great that, in His resurrection body, He went and made proclamation of it; and it reached to the limits of creation; even the angels now in prison for their sin.

Any one can see that verses 20 and 21 are a parenthetical clause, and that the Relative “which” at the beginning of verse 20 introduces a digression about these angels, in order to tell us what their sin was (viz., “disobedience”), and when their sin was175 (viz., “in the days of Noah”). And having come round to “the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (at the end of the digression), to the point where we started in verse 18, we are led on now to the end of the Triumph, beyond resurrection; ever to ascension and exaltation and glory, “angels and authorities and powers having been made subject unto Him” (v. 22).

Here was triumph indeed. Here we see the reason of the “For” in verse 18. Yes I It is indeed “better to suffer for well-doing than for evil-doing.” It was “better” for Christ, the just; and, it will be better for us. We also shall have a resurrection. If we are judged (according to the will of men) and put to death in the flesh, it is only that we might live again in resurrection (according to the will of God) in our spiritual bodies, as Christ did. This is the argument in 1 Pet. iv. 6. It is in view of this blessed hope that the Gospel was preached to them that are now dead. This is why it is preached to us; to show us why it is “better to suffer for well-doing.”

If we ask, why these “in-prison spirits” should have this proclamation made to them, we have only to follow up the clue already given in the nearer and remoter contexts.

They took part in the gigantic plot to corrupt and destroy the whole human race. The nature of their sin is clear from Jude 6. The time of it is also given in 2 Pet. ii. 4, 5, and here, in 1 Pet. iii. 20. The object of it we have in Gen. vi. The great promise and prophecy had gone forth in Gen. iii. 15, that “the seed of the woman” should come into the world, and should finally crush the head of the Old Serpent.

Satan’s object therefore was to frustrate this counsel of God.

Having as yet no clue as to the line by which “the seed of the woman” should come into the world, his first effort was to corrupt and destroy the whole human race. This he carried out as described in Gen. vi. and Jude 6. “The sons of God” were angels; “the angels who sinned.” All beings who are the direct creation of God are called his sons.” Adam was “a son of God” (Gen. v. 1. Luke iii. 38). We are not. By nature we are sons of Adam begotten in his likeness (Gen. v. 3). The New nature in us makes us “sons of God,” because that is God’s own new-creation work (Eph. ii. 10. 2 Cor. v. 17. Rom. viii. 14-17). For the same reason also, angels are called “sons of God,” because they are the direct creation of God. In the Old Testament the expression always has this meaning. Before Adam was created “the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy” (Job xxxviii. 7). An angel was sent to the lions’ den to shut the lions’ mouths (Dan. vi. 22), as another was sent to the fiery furnace to deliver Jehovah’s servants; this angel is called a son of God” (for there is no article).

They cannot (in Gen. vi.) be the seed of Seth, as is generally taught, because they are contrasted with “the daughters of MEN”; which shows they must be of a different nature.

We know from Gen. vi. how nearly that great plot succeeded; how the whole earth was corrupted176 (Gen. vi. 11, 12).

All, except Noah’s family, were tainted with this uncanny and unholy breed called “Nephilim.” Noah was tamim, i.e., “without, blemish,” as the word for “perfect” here is generally rendered elsewhere. All had to be destroyed by the Flood; but the angels who sinned are “reserved,” in “chains” and “in prison” (1 Pet. iii. 19. 2 Pet. ii. 4. Jude 6), for their judgment at a yet future day.

The aim of Satan was to corrupt, and so secure the destruction of the whole human race. And his plot would have succeeded but for the direct interposition of Divine judgment.

“The seed of the woman” ultimately came into the World. The Word of God was fulfilled; and now, though His heel had been bruised, and He suffered and died, yet God raised Him from the dead, the token that Satan’s head shall in due time be crushed.

This glorious triumph had to be heralded forth. Those who had taken part in that awful plot had to learn that the designs of Satan, their lord and master, had failed. This was the reason why Christ, having risen from the dead, went and proclaimed His glorious triumph.

This is why it is “better to suffer for well-doing than for evil-doing. FOR Christ also suffered” [for well doing], “the just for the unjust.” And, it was “better” for Him; for He has triumphed gloriously: and it is “better” for us also; for we are thereby saved eternally.

Not merely saved through177 the judgment (as the digression shows); not saved by means of material water; but by the “suffering” of that perfect sacrifice, which has made the comers thereunto “perfect as pertaining to the conscience” (Heb. ix. 9; x. 1), and given them “the answer of a good conscience toward God” (1 Pet. iii. 21).178

Thus we see how the scope (or one great subject) of the whole passage determines for us the sense in which we are to understand the words which are employed in it; and we see also how this is the only sense which gives cogency and consistency to the whole argument.

Moreover the scope of this passage is in harmony with the scope of the whole Epistle.179 We see and are shown throughout how it is “better to suffer for well doing than for evil doing.”

In ch. i 7 the trial of our faith is to be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.

In ch. i 11 the subject of prophecy was that Christ’s sufferings were to be followed by glory.

In ch. i. 13 we are, in our trials, to “hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto us at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

In ch. i. 19-21, when Christ’s sufferings were over, and the “precious blood” was shed, God raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory.”

In ch. ii. 20 they are asked, “What glory is it if when ye be buffeted for your faults ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.”

In ch. ii. 21-24 Christ’s example is given to prove this. He suffered for well-doing, and when he died he committed His spirit180 unto Him who judgeth righteously (ch. ii. 23; comp. Luke xxiii. 46). And all this was done in order that we, having died to sins, might live again181 unto righteousness, in newness of life here, and of resurrection life which the righteous Judge shall give us in that day (2 Tim. iv. 8).

In ch. iv. 6, though they might be judged indeed according to the will of men, in the flesh; they might live again in resurrection life according to the will of God, in their spiritual bodies.

In ch. iv. 13 they are to rejoice that inasmuch as they were partakers of Christ’s sufferings, they would be glad also with exceeding joy when Christ’s glory should be revealed.

In ch. iv. 19 if they suffered, and this suffering was according to the will of God, they were to commit themselves (in well-doing) to God as to a faithful creator, who was thus able to re-create them in resurrection.

In ch. v. 1 Peter himself was a witness of this great truth, for he had been a witness of Christ’s sufferings, and would be a partaker of His glory also when it shall be revealed.

Finally, in ch. v. 10, they are reminded that though they may “suffer awhile,” yet, the God of all grace has called them unto eternal glory.

There can be no question, therefore, as to what is the scope of the Epistle as a whole; neither can there be any doubt as to the scope of the particular passage (ch. iii. 18-22), where the resurrection, ascension, and glorification of Christ after His sufferings, proved that it was “better to suffer for well-doing than for evil-doing.” A triumph it was. And, a triumph so great, that He went and proclaimed it to the in-prison spirits in Tartarus to show them that all this triumph was in spite of the Satanic plot referred to and recorded in Gen. vi. and in which they had so great a share, so great a guilt, and so great a condemnation. This is the triumph of Col. ii. 14,15.

3. Testament and Covenant

Heb. ix. 15-23182 affords another example, showing how the scope of a passage will furnish us with the meaning of the word diaqhvkh (diatheke), covenant.

In the AV. it is consistently, but, as we shall see, wrongly rendered by our word “testament.” The R.V. is certainly inconsistent, for in verse 15 it twice renders it “covenant,” and in verses 16 and 17 it twice renders it “testament”; while in verses 18 and 20 it twice again has the word “covenant” (one of the two being put in italics; as the word “testament” is similarly supplied in italics).

All this confusion speaks loudly to us, and tells us that there is something, here, that needs explanation. The note also given by the Revisers tells us that they were perfectly aware of their inconsistency: for against each of the occurrences of the word in question they say in the margin:

“The Greek word here used signifies both covenant and testament.”

This statement may be true of Greek classical authors, but this passage is in God’s Word.183 Greek writers knew nothing of God’s covenants with Noah and Abraham, and Israel and David. Here, it is entirely a question of what is the subject or scope of the passage. What is it all about? This is the question we have to ask. And if we look at the whole passage from verse 15 to verse 23, we see at once that the one great subject is a contrast between the NEW Covenant (v. 15), and the OLD Covenant (vv. 19-22).

This should settle the question for us, once for all. We have no right within the compass of a few verses to change the subject of our own arbitrary will. It is a serious matter so to do, and it leads to grave consequences. Here, it quite changes the scope, and affects the translation of the whole passage.

(1) In verse 17 ejpiV nekroi~" (epi nekrois) is rendered in the A.V. “after men are dead,” and in the R.V. “where there hath been a death.” But the Revisers’ note against this, in the margin, is “Gr. over the dead.” This shows that, having changed the subject they are forced to do violence to the translation, and to abandon the plain meaning of the Greek. The marginal note is a confession of this.

(2) In other ways both Versions are compelled to adapt their translation of the words to suit the new subject which they have introduced.

oJ diaqevmevo" (ho diathemenos) means the appointed; and here, the appointed sacrifice, by which all covenants must be made. It is masculine in Gender in order to agree not with the Greek word quvsia (thusia), sacrifice, but with the Hebrew thought hb^z* (zavach), sacrifice, which is masculine).

The word diathemenos is the participle of oViativqhmi (diatithemi), to appoint (see Luke xxii. 29. Acts iii. 25. Heb. viii. 10 and Heb. x. 16; the only places where the verb occurs); and it is specially used of making a covenant (Heb. viii. 10 and x. 16).

We have said enough to enable us now to give the words their true meaning and force according to the scope; and we are not compelled to adapt them to a different subject.

The scope of Heb. ix. 15-23 is the same as that of Exod. xxiv. 5-8, which describes the old covenant-making.

“For where a covenant [is made, the] death of the appointed [sacrifice] is necessary to be brought in: for, a covenant [is] confirmed [only] over dead [victims or sacrifices]; since it hath no force while the appointed [sacrifice] is living.”

The change of the scope in the AN. and R.V. necessitates the bringing in of the word “men”— about which there is not even a hint in the Greek. All is about covenants and sacrifices.

This will be seen when we look at this passage again, below, where we shall see its scope made more clear by its structure. (See pp. 220-223.)

We see sufficient here to illustrate our first Canon: that the scope of the passage must determine the meaning of the several words employed in it.

4. Meditate

Another example of a different character is found in Gen. xxiv. 63: “And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide.”

This is a case in which the context must give us the meaning of the word j^Wc (suach), which is rendered “meditate,” “or, to pray,” in the margin.

That translators are perplexed is clear. The R.V. has “meditate,” the Syriac has “to take a walk.” Gesenius suggests to go to and fro in the field (to muster the flocks)! We get the rendering “meditate” from the Vulgate’s “ad meditandum.”

But even granting that the word “meditate” would serve, is there any thing to show us what sort of a meditation it was likely to be?

It is clear that chapter xxiv., long as it is, is only a digression introduced in order to give us the mission of Eliezer, to seek a wife for Isaac.

The last event, immediately before that mission was the burial of Sarah, Isaac’s mother (Gen. xxiii. 19).

The next thing we read of Isaac is his going forth in the field to meditate. This is followed immediately by his reception of Rebekah: “And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death” (ch. xxiv. 67).

Is there nothing in this context to show us what is the meaning of the word rendered “meditate”?

Yes, it sends us again to the Lexicon and to the Concordance. There we find that usage connects it with being bowed down. Ps. xliv. 25 (26), “Our soul is bowed down to the dust.” Lam. iii. 20, “my soul ... is humbled in me” (marg. “Heb. bowed”).184

Why was Isaac “comforted after his mother’s death”? Comfort is for those who mourn. Isaac was therefore still mourning the death of his mother; and he went out into the field to be alone, and to give vent to his grief.

He did not go out either to pray or to think out some problem; but to seek in solitude comfort and relief.

5. “The Lord’s Day.”

Rev. i. 10. Here, the whole scope of the passage in which we find these words is concerning judgment. The nine verses which precede lead up to it, and the whole subsequent subject of the book has to do with the coming of the Lord in judgment.

This can have no more to do with a day of the week than with a day of the month; but it does have to do with “the Day of the Lord.”

That this meaning of the expression is not only in agreement with the scope of the book, but with all the known facts of the case, can be tested and proved.185

Canon 2

The Scope of a Passage May Best Be Discovered by Its Structure

i. Introductory: The History And Importance Of The Subject.

Every Word of God is pure; and His words, like all His works, are perfect. Perfect in order, perfect in truth, perfect in the use of number, perfect in structure.

“The works of Jehovah are great: sought out of all them that have pleasure therein” (Ps. cxi. 2).

Those who seek out His works find wondrous treasures; and see perfection, whether revealed by the telescope or the microscope. Neither of these exhaust those wonders. Both are only relative, and limited by human powers of sight.

It is the same with that most wonderful of all His works-His WORD. Use what powers of human intellect we may, we find that we know only “in part” (1 Cor. xiii. 9). Pursue any line of truth as far as our human minds can go, and we come to a wall of adamant, which we can neither mount over, pierce through, nor pass round; we return baffled, but solemnized by the fact that we know “in part.”

We shall not be surprised therefore to find literary perfection as well as spiritual perfection. For there is perfection of literary form, as well as perfection of spiritual truth.

The correspondence between parallel lines must always have been visible even on the surface to any one who carefully observed the Scriptures even as literary compositions.

Josephus,186 Philo Judaeus, Origen, Eusebius, Jerome, Isidore, among the Ancients, professed to have discovered metres in the Hebrew original. They were followed by others among modern scholars, some of whom agreed with them, while others refuted them.

In spite of Bishop Lowth’s Larger and Shorter Confutations, which showed that all efforts to discover the rhymes and metres which characterize common poetry must be fruitless, some few writers have persevered in such attempts even to the present day.

“Bishop Lowth was the first to put the whole subject on a better and surer foundation; reducing the chaos of medieval writings to something like order. His works were based on one or two who had preceded him, and had laid the foundations on which he built with such effect that he came to be universally recognised and appealed to as the ultimate and classical authority in these matters.”187

But, as we have said, Bishop Lowth built on the foundations laid by others.188

Abravanel, a learned Jew of the fifteenth century, and Azariah de Rossi189 in the sixteenth century, were the first to demonstrate and illustrate the phenomena exhibited in the parallel lines of Holy Scripture.

Azariah de Rossi published, in 1574-5, in Mantua, his celebrated work which he called <ynyu rwam (Meor Enaym), or, The Light of the Eyes. It was a remarkable work and almost an encyclopedia of biblical literature in itself. Several of its chapters have been translated and published separately, in Latin and English. One chapter (ch. lx.) was sufficient to kindle Bishop Lowth’s enthusiasm; and he translated it in his Preliminary Dissertation to his last great work, his translation of Isaiah (London, 1835). But, before this, Lowth had already used De Rossi’s wonderful work to such purpose that in 1753 he published his Praelections on the Sacred Poetry of the Hebrews. This caused quite a sensation in the biblical world, and soon became of European fame.

Meanwhile Christian Schoettgen (born 1687) had published in 1733-42 his Horce Hebraico et Tahnudicce (2 vols.4to), at Dresden and Leipzig; Bishop Lowth does not appear to have known of this work, for it anticipates him, and under the heading “Exergasia Sacra” it lays down the very doctrine which it remained for Lowth to improve and elucidate. Schoettgen lays down ten canons, and he illustrates each with three examples.

Bishop Jebb (born 1775 at Drogheda) published his Sacred Literature in London, 1820: and, until Thomas Boys began to write in 1824, Jebb’s work had remained the last word on the subject. It was a review of Lowth’s work and “an application of the principles so reviewed” to the illustration of the New Testament.

But both these works of Bishops Lowth and Jebb were almost entirely confined to the verbal correspondences in parallel lines; and never proceeded beyond short stanzas; and, even then, did not rise beyond what Lowth called “parallelism” and Jebb called “Sacred Composition.”

It was reserved for Thomas Boys to raise the whole subject on to a higher level altogether, and to lift it out of the literary parallelism between words and lines; and to develope it into the correspondence between the subject-matter and truth of the Divine Word.

In 1824 Thomas Boys soon followed up Bishop Jebb by publishing his Tactica Sacra, and in 1827-30 his Key to the Book of Psalms.190

While the successive works of Bishops Lowth and Jebb were enthusiastically and generally received, yet the works of Thomas Boys not only had to fight their way through much opposition, but are now practically unknown to Biblical students. Whether it is because they afford such a wonderful evidence of the supernatural and miraculous in the Bible, and such a proof of the Divine Authorship of the Word of God, that they are therefore the special object of attack by the enemies of that Word (both Satanic and human) He alone knows. But so it is.

Bishop Jebb, however, we are thankful to say, in the Second Edition of his Sacred Literature (1831), does recognize Boys’s work in a note on page 74. He says, “Since the publication of Sacred Literature, this peculiarity of composition has been largely and happily illustrated, in his Tactica Sacra, by the Rev. Thomas Boys.”

In 1851 Richard Baillie Roe made a great effort to revive the subject by publishing An Analytical Arrangement of the Holy Scriptures according to the principles developed under the name of Parallelism in the writings of Bishop Lowth, Bishop Jebb, and the Rev. Thomas Boys.

This appears to have shared the same fate as all the others. Roe’s book gives us too much as well as too little. It gives too much of dry analysis, and too little of the end for which it is made. Moreover, it is not improved by departing from Boys’s simplicity; and serves only to complicate the subject by adding much that is arbitrary in arrangement. It may be said of Roe’s method, that what is true is not new; and what is new is no improvement.

The facts being as thus stated, it shows that the subject has either not yet been grasped nor understood by Bible students; or, that it makes too much for the Inspiration and Divine Origin and Authority of the Word of God; and that there are spiritual powers, working with the human, whose one great object is to make the Word of God of none effect (Eph. vi. 12 and 17).

And yet, we may say that, no more powerful weapon has yet been placed in our hands outside that Word, which is “the Spirit’s sword.” It affords a wondrous proof of Inspiration; it gives us a clearer and more comprehensive view of the scope of the Scriptures, than the most learned and elaborate commentaries can ever hope to do; and it is capable of even turning the scale in doubtful, doctrinal, and critical questions.

By its means the student is led to views and truths, and reflections which, without it, would never have occurred to him. And it is not too much to say that until the Correspondences of the Biblical Structure are duly recognized we shall never get a correct translation or a true interpretation of many passages which are to this day dark and confused in both our Versions, the R . V. as well as in the AN.

Preaching on another subject, Bishop Lowth truthfully and feelingly observed that “It pleased God, in His unsearchable wisdom, to suffer the progress of the Reformation to be stopped mid-way; and the effects of it to be greatly weakened by many unhappy divisions among the reformed.”191

The same may be said of the Law of Correspondence in the Structure of the Word of God, so wonderfully discovered and developed; and yet, needing today almost to be rediscovered, and certainly to be developed in its application to the whole Word of truth.

Parts of the world, remaining yet unexplored, are eagerly sought out without stint of labour or money. Would that the same zeal could be seen applied in the interest of this great subject.

ii. The Principles Governing Trim Structure Of Scripture.

Having said thus much on the History and Importance of the Structure of Scripture, it is necessary that we should present an account and description of it in some kind of order more or less complete.

We do not propose to wade through all the Divisions and Subdivisions which have been suggested or laid down in connection with Parallelism as it relates to Lines. Our general object is to understand the Word of truth; and our special object is to consider how we may, by its means, arrive at the scope or subject of a particular passage.

The laws which govern this Parallelism of lines we will re-state as briefly as may be consistent with clearness. The main principles are as follows:

Parallel Lines are:

(1) COGNATE192 or GRADATIONAL, where the same thought is expressed in different or progressive terms:

Seek ye Jehovah, while He may be found;
ye upon Him, while He is near.” (Isa. lv. 6.)

(2) ANTITHETIC or OPPOSITE, where the terms or subjects are set in contrast:

Faithful are the wounds of a friend;
But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.” (Prov. xxvii. 6.)

(3) SYNTHETIC, or CONSTRUCTIVE, where the terms or subjects correspond in a similar form of construction, either as equivalent or opposite. (As in Ps. xix. 7-10. Isa. xliv. 26-28.) It discriminates and differentiates between the thoughts, as well as the words; building up truth by layers, as it were, placing one on the other.

“O the happiness of that man,
Who hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly;
And hath not stood in the way of sinners;
And hath not sat in the seat of the scornful.” (Ps. i. 1.)

(4) INTROVERTED, where, whatever be the number of lines, the first line is parallel with the last; the second with the penultimate (or next to the last); the third with the antepenultimate (or next but one to the last); and so throughout, until we come to the two corresponding lines in the middle.

This was the discovery of Bishop Jebb; and could not be seen until a larger number of consecutive lines were examined.

“Make the heart of this people fat,
And make their ears heavy,
And shut their eyes:
Lest they see with their eyes,
And hear with their ears
And understand with their heart.” (Isa. vi. 10.)

Here, the correspondence is manifest.

It was, however, as we have said, reserved for Thomas Boys to lift the whole study out of the sphere of words and lines; and see the Law of Correspondence between subjects and subject-matter. Instead of occupying us with lines he bade us look at what he designated members. These members consisted of verses, and whole paragraphs.

And the larger paragraphs were soon seen to have their own peculiar structure193 or expansions.

This brings us to the consideration of what we have called the Structure of Scripture.

Most of our readers will be acquainted with the practice of marking their Bibles by ruling lines connecting the same word or words as they recur on the same or the adjoining page. The words recur, because the subject recurs; and the Law of Correspondences not only explains the practice of. such Bible markings, but shows why it can be done.

The principles and phenomena of the Laws of Correspondence are exceedingly simple, however perplexing they may appear to the eye at first sight. A little attention will soon make all clear to the mind as well as to the eye.

There are practically only two ways in which the subject is repeated:

1. By Alternation.

2. By Introversion.

1. Alternation.

This is where two (or more) subjects are repeated alternately.

(a) We call it Simple Alternation where there are only two subjects each of which is repeated in alternate lines. Thus:

A| ---------------

B| ---------------

A| ---------------

B| ---------------

Here, the letters are used quite arbitrarily, and merely for the convenience of reference. Thus, the subject in the passage marked with an Italic letter (A) is the same as the subject in the passage marked with the corresponding Roman letter (A); while the B subject is the same as the B subject, the similar Roman and Italic letters indicating their similar, opposite and contrasted, or common subject.

(b) Where the two subjects are repeated more than once we call it Repeated Alternation, and indicate it thus:

A1| ---------------

B1| ---------------

A2| ---------------

B2| ---------------

A3| ---------------

B3| ---------------

And so on: all the members marked A corresponding in subject; and the members marked B corresponding in like manner. There is no limit to this repetition.

(c) Where there are more than two subjects alternating then we call it Extended Alternation; and there will be as many pairs, or sets of members, as there are subjects (unless, of course, these are repeated, when it would be a Repeated Extended Alternation):

A| ---------------

B| ---------------

C| ---------------

A| ---------------

B| ---------------

C| ---------------

2. Introversion.

This is where the subjects are repeated, not in alternation, but in introversion; i.e. from opposite ends. In this case there will be as many subjects as there are pairs of introverted members. Suppose we have an example of four subjects. This will give us eight members, in which the 1st will correspond with the 8th; the 2nd with the 7th; the 3rd with the 6th; and the 4th with the 5th. Thus:

A| ---------------

B| ---------------

C| ---------------

D| ---------------

D| ---------------

C| ---------------

B| ---------------

A| ---------------

Now, with these few simple facts and phenomena, it is possible to have a very great variety. For they are practically unlimited, and can be combined in so many ways, and in such varying numbers, that there seems no end to the variety. But, all conform to the above simple laws, in which there is no exception.

iii. Examples Of Each Principle.

We will give an example of each kind: premising (1) that l- indicates the first part of a verse, -1 the latter part, and -1- a middle part; (2) that all the larger members have their own special Structures, in which the Correspondences of each may be expanded and exhibited.

We give the examples from the Psalms because they are not encumbered with the human chapter divisions.

Simple Alternation.

Psalm xix.

A| 1-4-. The Heavens.

B| 4, 6. In them (<h#B=) “The Sun.”

A| 7-10. The Scriptures.

B| 11-14. In them (<h#B=) “Thy Servant.”

Repeated Alternation.

Psalm cxlv.

A1| 1, 2. Praise promised. From me, to Jehovah Himself.

B1| 3. Praise offered.

A2| 4-7. Praise promised. From others and me for Jehovah’s works.

B2| 8, 9. Praise offered.

A3| 10-12. Praise promised. From others, and His works, for Jehovah’s kingdom.

B3| 113-20. Praise offered.

A4| 21. Praise promised from me and others, to Jehovah Himself.

Introversion and Extended Alternation Combined.

Psalm cv.

A| 1-7. Exhortation to praise.

B| 8-12. Basis of praise. Covenant in promise.

History. Patriarchs.

C| a| 13. Their journeyings.

b| 14, 15. Their prosperings.

c| 16. Their affliction.

d| 17-22. Mission of deliverance (hl^v*). Joseph.

History. The Nation.

C| a| 23. Their journeyings.

b| 24. Their prosperings.

c| 25. Their affliction.

d| 26-41. Mission of deliverance (hl^v*). Moses and Aaron.

B| 42-45-. Basis of praise. Covenant performed.

A| 45. Exhortation to praise.

In order to discover the structure of a particular passage it is necessary that we begin to read the portion of Scripture very carefully, and note the subject. We mark it A| .

We read on until the subject changes, and we note and indent it thus B| .

So far there can be no difficulty. But when we come to the next change we may find either a third subject, in which case we must further indent it and mark it C| , or, we shall find the first subject again (as in Ps. xix. above). If it be the latter, then we know that we are going to find an alternation (and this, either simple as in Ps. xix. above, or repeated as in Ps. cxlv. above), and we must mark it A| and put it beneath the A| . If it is a repetition of the second subject, then we know that it is going to be an Introversion, and must mark it B| and place it under the B| .

Let us take, as a working example, “The Prophecy of Zacharias,” in Luke i. 68-79; this being a passage of Scripture complete in itself, and not a littman or arbitrary division.

We read verse 68 with the object of finding and noting its subjects: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people.” Here, the subject may be either “Visited” or “Redeemed.” So we give the place of honour to the former of these two words, and write it down, thus:

A| 68. Visitation.

We then read the next verse, “And hath raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David.” Here there can be no doubt that the subject is Salvation. This we must mark “B,” and set it down, indented, thus:

B| 69. Salvation.

So far all is clear. But we know not, as yet, what the subject of the third member is to be. If it is Visitation we must set it down under “A” and mark it with an italic “A.” Then we read slowly on: “As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began.” It is manifest that we have, as yet, no repetition of either of the subjects in “A” or “B.” If it had been that of “A,” it would be a Simple or Repeated Alternation. If it had been that of “B,” we should know that it was going to be an Introversion. But, it is a fresh subject, which is clearly, “Prophets.” So we must mark it “C,” and write it down, indenting it still more, thus:

C| 70. Prophets.

Even now, there is nothing to tell us what the Structure is going to be. So far as we can see, it may be an Extended Alternation by the repetition of “A,” “B,” and “C”; or it may be an Introversion to be marked “C,” “A” and “A.” So we must read on: “That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us.” Here, we still have no Repetition: but we find a new subject, which is clearly “Enemies.” So we must mark it “D,” and write down (still further indenting it) thus:

D| 71. Enemies.

If the subject is a Repetition of any of the above subjects, we know that we are going to have an Alternation of some kind, or an Introversion. So we must still read on: “To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant.” Here, there can be no doubt that we have again a new subject, and that it must be Covenant. So we put it down, as before, and still further indent it, thus:

E| 72. The Covenant.

We can now be sure that we are going to have either a very Extended Alternation or an Introversion. So we must still read on, closely scanning every word, in order to get the clue. We find it in the next verse (v. 73): “ The oath which he sware to our father Abraham.” Here, at length, we get one of our subjects repeated, as we were bound to do before long. It is the subject of “E,” where the word “Covenant” is repeated in the synonymous word “Oath,” thus indicating the sureness and certainty of the Covenant. We must mark this “E,” and write it down under the “E,” thus:

E| 73. The Oath.

All we have to do now is to read on, and we soon discover that we have an Introversion, of great beauty, which we may now easily complete and set out, as follows:


The song of Zacharias (Luke i. 68-79).

A| 68. Visitation.

B| 69. Salvation.

C| 70. Prophets.

D| 71. Enemies.

E| 72. The Covenant.

E| 73. The Oath.

D| 74, 75. Enemies.

C| 76. Prophet.

B| 77. Salvation.

A| 78, 79. Visitation.

By practice and observation we shall soon surmount the initial difficulties; and in course of time the study and formation of structures will become increasingly easy and happy work.

iv. The Advantages And Importance Of The Structures Will Be Seen

(a) In telling us what a particular passage of Scripture is all about. In other words, what is the Scope or the Subject of the passage we are studying.

(b) This will give us the key to the meaning which we are to put upon the words which are employed (as we saw under Canon I.).

(c) In a case of doubt, the subject which is clearly stated in one of the members will inform us as to what it must be in the corresponding member, where it may not be so clearly stated.

(d) As the sense generally reads on from one member to its corresponding member, it will practically place the intervening member or members in a parenthesis. We shall therefore have to read on from “A” to “A” and from “B” to “B,” etc., in order to get connected sense, instead of apparent confusion. This may be seen from any of the above examples, especially Ps. cv. But we may append another beautiful example:

Hebrews i., ii.

A| i. 1-2-. God speaking.

B| i. 2-14. The Son. God. Better than Angels.

A| ii. 1-4. God speaking.

B| ii. 5-18. The Son. Man. Lower than Angels.

Here, ch. ii. 1 (“A”) reads on from i. 2- (“A”), and ch. ii. 5 (“B”) reads on from ch. i. 14 (“B”).

(e) Corroborative evidence is sometimes thus obtained for the support or otherwise of a various reading.

v. Illustrations Of These Advantages.

But the chief importance of this branch of our subject lies in the fact that the Structure gives us the Scope, and the Scope will give us the key to the meaning of the words.

It will be interesting if we now apply the principle involved in this our Second Canon to our First Canon, and to the same passages there considered. We shall thus see how the Structure of the passages which furnished the several illustrations under Canon 1. does indeed give us their Scope: which, in turn, gives us the meanings of the words in 2 Pet. i. 20, 21 and I Pet. iii. 18-20.

(a) “Private interpretation” (2 Pet. i. 20, 21). As the Epistles come to us as a whole, without division into chapters, we must not be guided by these human divisions at all in looking for the Structure; neither may we arbitrarily take a few verses, and say: these form a member by themselves. We must show that these verses in question stand in their own special place and have their own proper correspondences in the Epistle as a whole. In looking, therefore, for the structure of 2 Pet. i. 20 we must first find the Structure of the whole Epistle, and see where this particular verse comes in; so that we may know of what subject it forms part; and with what other member it has its correspondence.

The 2nd Epistle of Peter as a whole.

(Combined Introversion and Extended Alternation.)

A| i. 1-4. Epistolary. Introduction. Grace and knowledge to be increased. Christ, “God and Saviour.”

B| i. 5-11. Exhortations and Reasons.

C| a| i. 12-15. Peter.

b| i. 16-21. Apostles and prophets.

c| ii. The wicked, etc.

C| a| iii. 1. Peter.

b| iii. 2. Prophets and apostles.

c| iii. 3-13. The wicked, etc.

B| iii. 14-17. Exhortatiolim and reasons.

A| iii. 18. Epistolary. Conclusion. Grace and knowledge to be increased. Christ, “Lord and Saviour.”

We thus see that ch. i. 20 forms part of a larger member (marked “b”) which has for its subject “Apostles and prophets.”

This one member (b, i. 16-21) is capable of a wonderful expansion, from which we see that it consists of two distinct parts: Apostolic witness (vv. 16-18); and, the Prophetic word (vv. 19-21).

These two, on careful examination, are seen to have a similar construction : Alternately negative and positive.

2 Peter i. 16-21.

(Simple Alternation Combined with Introversion.)

b| D| The Apostolic Witness (vv. 16-18).

d| i. 16. What it was NOT. “Not cunningly devised (or self-originated) Myths.”

e| i. -16. What it WAS. A vision of the power and coming of Christ (Comp. Matt. xvi. 28, and xvii. 1-5).

E| i. 17, 18. How it CAME. Voice came (fevrw) from the excellent glory. Voice came (fevrw) from heaven. “Heard” and “made known.”

D| The Prophetic Word (vv. 19-21).

e| i. 19. What it IS. A light to be well-heeded till the Day of Christ’s coming shall dawn; and He, the Day Star, shall arise.

d| i. 20. What it is NOT. Not of its own revealment. Not self-originating.

E| i. 21. How it CAME. Not brought (fevrw) by the Will of Man; but brought (fevrw) by pneuma hagion, or “power from on high.” “Heard,” and “spoken.”

From this we see the obvious contrast standing out very clearly between the self-originated myths that came by “the will of man”; and the Divine and heavenly Visions and revelations sent and received, and seen and heard from God in heaven.

This revelation is further seen to concern Christ’s Coming. In “e” it is the Vision of it, as fore-shown in the Transfiguration: in “e” it is the grand reality of it, of which the Transfiguration was only a typical Vision. The former was believed on the Apostolic Witness: the latter was to be believed on the testimony of the Prophetic Word.

Further, the great subject, as to How the Apostolic Witness and the Prophetic Word came is strongly emphasized by the repetition of the same verb fevrw (phero), to bring or bear. We have it twice in each of the two corresponding members (E and E), showing us how the human Witness and the Divine Word were both brought to us from heaven; and did not originate from any man or men on earth, as did the cunningly-devised myths.

It is this fact which stamps the Apostasy of the present day. Those who profess to be in the Apostolic succession turn away their ears from the prophetic Word; and, while they declare that many of its records are myths, are themselves “turned unto” the myths194 of man’s devising.

We may add, in order to complete this passage, the following Expansions, verbatim:

The Expansion of D (2 Peter i. 19, 20).

The Prophetic Word.

(Introversion - Six Members.)

D| f| And we have more sure, the prophetic word (written prophecy);

g| to which ye do well to take heed,

h| as to a light shining in a dark place,

h| until the day dawn, and the day star arise,

g| in your hearts;

f| this knowing first, that no prophecy of scripture came of its own disclosure.

Here, we observe, that the subject of “f” and “f” is the Prophecy. In “f” it is spoken of as a whole; in “f” in part, a particular prophecy. In “g” and “g” we have Exhortation as to our duty with regard to it. In “g” we are exhorted to take heed to it; and in “g” how we are to take heed-viz., in our hearts. Lastly, in “h” and “h” we have the Prophetic Word again. In “h” its character (a light in a dark place); and in “h” its duration and object (until the day dawn, etc.). Then in verse 21 we have the reason given.

The Expansion of E (2 Peter i. 21).

The Reason.


E| i| For not by the will of man

k| was prophecy, at any time, borne in,

k| but by the Holy Spirit, borne along,

i| spake the holy men of God.

Here again we have in “i” and “i” man’s relation to the Prophetic Word ; in “i” negative, in “i” positive. While in “k” and “k” we have its origin; in “k” negative, and in “k” positive.

The above two Structures may be now explained by the following Key:


The Prophetic Word. (2 Peter i. 10, 20.)


D| f| The prophetic word as a whole.

g| Exhortation (general) to take heed to it.

h| Its character: a light in a dark place.

h| Its duration: until the Day dawn.

g| Exhortation (particular): to take heed to it in our hearts.

f| Prophecy in particular.

The Reason. (2 Peter i. 21.)



E| i| Man’s part in it.

k| How it did not come.


k| How it did come

i| Man’s part in it.

Thus the scope, or great subject, of 2 Peter i. 16-21 is gathered from its structure; and it is seen to be, not what Scripture means, but whence it came: and it is concerned not with the interpretation of Scripture, but with its origin, as already shown above (pp. 186--188).

(b) “The spirits in prison” (1 Pet. iii. 18-22). To understand this expression the Structure is necessary to give us the scope of 1 Pet. iii.

Verse 19 does not stand by itself, but forms part of a larger member; and that member has its own Scope, or subject, which will give us the meaning of the expression: “The in-prison spirits.”

This member is not to be arbitrarily delimited, but must be found from

The Structure of 1 Peter as a whole.

(Combined Introversion and Extended Alternation.)

A| i. 1, 2. Epistolary.

B| i. 3-12. Introduction. Giving out the great subject. “The End.” Glory, after suffering for a season (ojlivgon, oligon).

C| a| i. 13-ii. 10. General Exhortations in view of “the End” (i. 13). Grace to be brought at Revelation of Jesus Christ.

b| ii. 11-iv. 6. Particular Exhortations as to “sufferings” to be followed by 46 glory” (ii. 20; iii. 17-22).

C| a| iv. 7-19. General Exhortations in view of “the End.” Joy to be brought at Revelation of Christ’s glory.

b| v. 1-9. Particular Exhortations as to “sufferings” to be followed by “glory” (v. 1).

B| v. 10, 11. Conclusion. Embodying the great subject. “The End.” Glory after suffering awhile (ojlivgon, oligon).

A| v. 12-14. Epistolary.

From this structure it is perfectly clear that the Scope and subject of the whole Epistle is only one. This Scope is given in the words of ch. iii. 17.

“It is better to suffer for well doing than for evil doing.”

This truth is enforced and illustrated and emphasized again and again throughout the Epistle.

The verses which follow (iii. 17-iv. 6)195 are added as the reason, which is given in proof of this statement of the Scope of this Epistle. The word “FOR” introduces it, and thus tells us that we have arrived at the very kernel of the whole Epistle. Not some passage which we are to explain as best we can and as though we wished it were not there: but which we are to embrace as all important, and as though it were indispensable, as it is, to the subject of the Epistle.

But here again we must go back; for though we see that these verses (iii. 17-iv. 6) occur in the member “b,” yet we see also that they form only a part of that member.

I t is necessary for us, therefore, to go back, and see whether it is really an integral part, and whether the break in the whole member (ii. 11-iv. 6) really does occur at iii. 17.

Expansion of “b” (I Peter ii. 11-iv. 6).

(Extended Alternation.)

b| D| ii. 11. Exhortations (Personal).

E| ii. 12. Calumnies: and how to refute them.

F| ii. 13-iii. 7. Submission to man for the Lord’s sake: “The will of God” (ii. 15). Reason: “For” (ii. 21), and Example of Christ in His sufferings.

D| iii. 8-15. Exhortations (General).

E| iii. 16. Calumnies: and how to refute them.

F| iii. 17-iv. 6. Submission to man for the Lord’s sake: “The will of God” (iii. 17). Reason: “For” (iii. 18), and Example of Christ in His glorification.

The Correspondence of these members, each to each, is exceedingly exact and minute. From this we see that the last member F does actually commence with iii. 17, the “For corresponding exactly with the “For” in ch. ii. 21: each for” introducing the example of Christ.

Now we are, at length, in a position to examine the further delimitation of this member F (iii. 17-iv. 6): which is as follows:

The Reasons for Submission to the Will of God

(1 Peter iii. 17-iv. 6).

(Simple Alternation Combined with Introversion.)

F| G| c| iii. 17. Reason for our suffering here, in the flesh, “if the will of God be so.”

d| iii. 18-. Reason for Christ’s suffering here as to His flesh, “put to death.”

H| iii. -18-22. Christ’s glory which followed. (Resurrection, Triumph, Glory, and Dominion).

G| d| iv. 1-. Reason for Christ’s suffering here, in the flesh.

c| 1-5. Our suffering here in the flesh, at the “will of man,” by “the will of God.”

H| iv. 6. Reason for our glory which shall follow. Though judged in the flesh according to the “will of man,” we shall live again in resurrection according to the “will of God” (Compare v. 19).

Here we see the beautiful contrast between our suffering and Christ’s; our glory and Christ’s. This leads us up, naturally, to Christ’s example, which follows verses 18-22, with which we are now concerned.

We see, from the above Structure, that these particular verses are located in the member “H,” the subject of which is the Example of Christ in His glorification, corresponding with His example in ch. ii. 21, which was Christ in His suffering.

In H (ch. iii. 18-22) the two examples are combined in order to connect the sufferings with the glory; and to show that Christ’s glorious triumph which followed was the reason why it is better to suffer here, and now. (Compare ch. iii. 18, with ch. iv. -6.)

This is the triumph referred to in Col. ii. 14,15, where, having “spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”

The Triumph of Christ (H, 1 Peter iii. 18-22).

(Introversion and Extended Alternation.)

H| J| e| iii. 18. The Resurrection of Christ.

f| 19. Result. poreuqeiv" (poreutheis), having gone (to Tartarus, 2 Pet. ii. 4) He made proclamation of His Triumph to the in-prison spirits or angels.

g| 20-. The insubjection of spirits in the days of Noah (Gen. vi. 2 Pet. ii. 4. Jude 6).

K| 20. Noah saved then. Ark the type. Material water the means.

K| 21-. We saved now. Baptism the Antitype. Spiritual water the means.

J| e| 21. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

f| 22-. Result. poreuqeiv", having gone into heaven, is on the right hand of God.

g| 22. The subjection of angels, authorities, and powers.

Here we come to the direct proof that verses 18-22 have for their subject the “glory” of Christ, which followed on His “sufferings,” forming the reason why “it is better to suffer for well-doing than for evil-doing.”

We see also the importance of the Structure in giving us the interpretation : for the “spirits” in verse 20 are shown to be “angels” in verse 22: the insubjection of the former being set in contrast with the latter.

Thus we have another example of our second great principle that the scope, or subject, of a passage is to be sought for in its Structure.

We have also some evidence as to the Divine origin of Scripture. For, these Structures are altogether beyond the power of “unlearned and ignorant men” such as Peter was (Acts iv. 13), and are the best possible proofs we can have of Divine Inspiration.

(c) “Testament” and Covenant (Heb. ix. 15–23). This will furnish us with an illustration of what we have already said on this passage above (pages 195--197).

There we have shown how the meaning of certain words in this passage is determined by its Scope. Now we have to show how the scope, and, therefore, the interpretation of the passage is determined by its Structure.

It is more profitable to show this in the case of passages we have already dealt with above, than to seek for other examples which would only divert our thoughts instead of concentrating them on the further elucidation of passages already in our minds.

When we say that Heb. ix. 15-23 forms a distinct member by itself, the burden of proof devolves upon us; for, we may not make this arbitrary statement: we must show that it is so in fact, and that it has its own separate place in

The Epistle to the Hebrews as a whole.

(Introversion and Simple Alternation.)

A| i., ii. Doctrinal Introduction.

B| iii. 1-iv. 13. The Mission of Christ.

C| iv. 14-16. General Application. (!Ecoute" ou , “Having therefore”) Boldness.

B| v. 1-x. 18. The Priesthood of Christ.

C| x. 19-xii. 29. Particular Application. (!Ecoute" ou , “Having therefore”) Boldness.

A| xiii. Practical Conclusion.

We are now in a position to see where our particular passage (ch. ix. 15-23) comes in.

It is in the member marked B (ch. v. 1-x. 18) that we find it.

We have to see, next, what particular part of that member it occupies, before we can discover its Scope.

Having thus given the Structure of the Epistle to the Hebrews as a whole, we are now in a position to see where the particular passage which we are considering comes in.

We have before remarked that we cannot be guided in this matter by the chapter-breaks, which are entirely and only of human authority, which is no authority at all.

In the case of an Epistle, we are compelled therefore to begin with the Epistle as a whole before we can discover the position of a particular passage or verse.

The Structure of this member B, is based on the same model on which the Epistle itself, as a whole, is framed; and it is as follows:

The Priesthood of Christ.

(B, Heb. v. I-x. 18.)

(Introversion, combined with Simple Alternation,)

B| a| v. 1-4, The Nature of Priesthood in General. pa~" gar (pas gar) “for every…”

b| v. 5-10. Christ called by God after the order of Melchisedec.

c| v. 11-vi. 20. Digression, concerning Melechisedec as the Type.

b| vii. Christ called by God after the order of Melchisedec.

c| viii. 1, 2. Summation, concerning Christ as the Antitype.

a| viii. 3-x. 1.8. The Efficacy of Christ’s Priesthood in particular. pa~" gar (pas gar) “for every…”

Now we see that the verses we are seeking (Heb. ix. 15-23) form part of a larger member, viz., Heb. viii. 3x. 18, and that, in the above expansion, it is the member marked “a,” which is the last member of the above Structure; and further, we see that its subject is the Efficacy and Superiority of Christ’s Sacrifice as compared with the Priesthood of Aaron under the Law.

All we have to do now is to get the Scope of this member (a, ch. viii. 3-x. 18) by observing its own special Structure.

We have said above that all these larger members have their own peculiar construction; but we must not be tempted nor turned aside from our main purpose; we must confine our attention, in each case, to the particular members involved in our search and continue this until we narrow the whole question down to the passage we are examining, and are able to locate the verses (ch. ix. 15-23) and thus discover their scope.

We are now in a position to do this by expanding the member “a,” above, which we shall find to be as follows:

The Efficacy and Superiority of Christ’s Priesthood.

(a, Heb. viii. 3-x. 18).

(Extended Alternation.)

a| d| viii. 3-6. Christ’s Priesthood. “A more excellent ministry,” “a better covenant” on “better promises.”

e| viii. 7-13. The Old and New Covenants compared and contrasted.

f| ix. 1-5. The Earthly Sanctuary a copy of the Heavenly Pattern.

g| ix. 6-10. The Offerings.

d| ix. 11-14. Christ’s Priesthood. “A greater and more perfect Tabernacle.” “His own blood.”

e| ix. 15-23. The Old and New Covenants compared and contrasted.

f| ix. 24. The Heavenly Sanctuary the pattern of the Earthly Copy.

g| ix. 25-x. 18. The Offerings.

Here we see that our special member which we are tracking out is found in that marked “e,” ch. ix. 15-23. Thus, at length, we learn that its subject is The Old and New Covenants Compared and Contrasted.

This settles its Scope for us. All that remains for us to do now is to confirm it by discovering its own Structure and seeing whether this be really the case.

To see the full force of this it will be well to look also at the member with which it stands in Correspondence, viz., “e,” ch. viii. 7-13, which is an Introversion. It also follows the model of the Epistle as a whole.

The Old and New Covenants Compared and Contrasted.

(e, Heb. viii. 7-13.)

(1ntroversion and Simple Alternation.)

e| h| 7, 8. The First Covenant Faulty.

i| 9. The New Covenant (Negative). Not the same in the making and material.

k| 10. The New Covenant (Positive). Spiritual.

i| 11. The New Covenant (Negative). Not the same in its result and effect.

k| 12. The New Covenant (Positive). Spiritual.

h| 113. The First Covenant Evanescent.

Now we are in a position to look at the member with which we are specially concerned, and again we notice that the Structure follows the model of the Epistle as a whole:

The Old and New Covenants Compared and Contrasted.

(e, Heb. ix. 15-23.)

(Introversion and Simple Alternation.)

e| l| ix. 15. The Old Covenant related only to “the promise196 of the eternal inheritance.”

m| 16. Death necessary for its making.

n| 17. Reason for this necessity.

m| 18. Blood necessary for its consecration.197

n| 19-23-. Reason for this necessity.

l| 23. The New Covenant related to “the heavenly things themselves.”

It is impossible to miss the great subject of these verses. It forbids us to ignore its importance, which is so essential to the whole argument.

To arbitrarily change this subject is to entirely miss its scope, and to be driven to force a meaning into the words and expressions which are quite foreign to their Biblical usage.

(d) “Absent from the Body.” 2 Cor. v. will furnish us with another illustration of the importance of the Structure in determining the Scope. And we have seen, under Canon I., the necessity of the Scope to give us the meaning of the word, and to show us how indispensable it is for a right understanding of the whole.

The Structure will show us how much we lose by the break between the fourth and fifth chapters of the second Epistle to the Corinthians. Chapter v. commences as though it began an entirely fresh subject, whereas it begins with the word “FOR,” which shows that it is the conclusion of what had been begun towards the end of ch. iv. That subject is Resurrection as our blessed hope in view of the perishing of our outward man day by day. As a comforting conclusion it is added, “FOR we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal, in the heavens.” This is one of the “things unseen,” and which are “eternal”; at which, and for which, we are to “look.”

Where the real literary and logical breaks occur can be discovered only from the Structure.

As a matter of fact, 2 Cor. v. forms part of a member which runs from 2 Cor. iii. 1-vi. 10; but we must not make such an arbitrary statement without producing the evidence, so that others may judge for themselves as to its accuracy.

To prove this we must first give

The Structure of 2 Cor. as a whole.

A| i. 1, 2. Salutation.

B| a| i. 3-11. Thanksgiving.

b| i. 12. Paul’s Ministry.

C| i. 13-ii. 13. Epistolary.

B| a| ii. 14-17. Thanksgiving.

B| iii. 1-vi. 10. Paul’s Ministry.

C| vi. 11-xiii. 10. Epistolary.

A| xiii. 11-14. Salutations.

Without going into the exquisite beauties of C and C,198 we note that the small portion in which the expression “Absent from the body” occurs is the member marked b (ch. iii. 1-vi. 10). We must dissect and expand this member, which will be seen to be as follows:

The Character of Paul’s Ministry.

(b, 2 Cor. iii. 1-vi. 10.)

b| c| iii. 1-3. Commendation (Positive).

d| iii. 4, 5. Trust in God. God’s Sufficiency.

e| iii. 6-18. The Ministry of the New Covenant.199

f| iv. 1-v. 11. Support under Afflictions.

c| v. 12, 13. Commendation (Negative).

d| v. 14-18-. Love of Christ. All of God.

e| v. 18-vi. 2. The Ministry of Reconciliation.

f| vi. 3-10. Approval under Afflictions.

We are thus narrowing down the issue, which is now seen to lie in the member marked “f” (ch. iv. 1-v. 11).

The subject of this member is Support under afflictions; and its Structure is a repeated alternation, as follows:

Support under Afflictions.

(2 Cor. iv. 1-v. 11.)

f| g1| iv. 1-6. Confidence (Neg.). “We faint not.”

h1| iv. 7-15. Grounds. “Earthen vessels.” The working of death in them (iv. 12), with pledge of Resurrection (iv. 14).

g2| iv. 16-. Confidence (Neg.). “We faint not.”

h2| iv. 16-v. 5. Grounds. “Earthly house.” The working of afflictions (iv. 17), and the working of God, in Resurrection (v. 5).

g3| v. 6-11. Confidence (Pos.). “We are confident.”

We need not pursue these expansions further, though we might well do so.

We can see very clearly now, that the wonderful ground of support of Paul and Timothy in their afflictions was the consideration of the “unseen” things, as outweighing the “things seen”; so that though the “earthen vessels” of their bodies were dissolved there was the “excellency of the power” of God which would be put forth in Resurrection.

It is thus seen how the break between chapters iv. and v. destroys the connection: in fact, breaks in two the one member, “h” (ch. iv. 16-v. 5), which has only one subject, viz., Resurrection, as the ground of the confidence, and the reason for not fainting in their labours of ministry.

We might have included this under the head of rightly dividing the Word of truth as to its literary form, as shown by the division into chapters (pages 34, 35). We might also have included it under the heading of the importance of the Scope of a passage (Canon I.). We might have included it under the heading of the importance of the Context (see below, Canon III.). It belongs to all three; but considering that the Structure is necessary to the crowning proof, we have given this illustration here.

It is little less than a crime for anyone to pick out certain words and frame them into a sentence, not only disregarding the Scope and the context, but ignoring the other words in the verse, and quote the words “absent from the body present with the Lord” with the view of dispensing with the hope of Resurrection (which is the subject of the whole passage), as though it were unnecessary; and as though “presence with the Lord” is obtainable without it!

Apart from the doctrine involved, and apart from the teaching of Tradition (true or false), it is a literary fraud thus to treat the words which the Holy Ghost teacheth.

We see therefore, for it must be clear to us, that the Scope of a passage is the key to its words; and that the Structure of a passage is the key to its Scope.

This will show us the importance of our second Canon.

How great must be our loss if we fail to use this key to the wonderful words of God.

Like all His works they bear the minutest searching out.

All the works of God are perfect. And the microscope and telescope can both be used to examine them; though neither of them can ever exhaust the wonders of God’s works. In both directions an increase of the power of the lens will reveal new beauties and fresh marvels.

The Word of God, being one of His works, must have the same phenomena: and nothing exhibits these phenomena like the Study of its Literary Structure.

To us, God’s Word is the greatest and most important of all His works. If we understand all His other works (which no one does or can) and yet know not His Word, our knowledge will not carry us beyond the grave.

But we must not lose sight of the great underlying lesson, and the great outcome of the whole of this subject, which is this: If the external form be so perfect, what must the inward truth be: if the setting be so valuable, how valuable must be the jewel: if the literary order be Divine, how solemn must be the warnings, how important the truth, how faithful the promises, how sure the words of which the Word is made up.

Canon 3

The Biblical Usage of Words Is Essential to Their Correct Interpretation

Next to the Scope of a passage in determining the meaning of words must be placed the Biblical usage of words, as distinct from the meanings put upon them by lexicons, dictionaries, and commentaries.

These are too often based on etymology merely, or on the meaning put upon words by tradition; or on their usage at some time other than the time at which they were written or spoken.

The usage of words is prior in time, as well as in importance, to all dictionaries.

Indeed, in all languages, the dictionary has to be compiled directly from such usage, and is, in fact, only a record of it, so far as it can be gathered.

Hence the value of such a work is in direct proportion to the number of examples which it gives of usage by different writers recognized as standard authorities.

In the case of many words, changes of usage can be traced through different periods of time.

Words in a living language are like coins which are in constant use; and, as coins not only differ in value between different countries, but change their own values at different periods in the same countries; so it is with words; there is a constant change in value when measured by their purchasing power.

The greatest possible care, therefore, is required in with “words,” especially when they are the dealing “words which the Holy Ghost teacheth.”

It is necessary that we should get not only the exact equivalent in changing words from one language to another, as we do in changing coins; but that we should know the relative value of the same words (or coins) in the same country at different periods of its history.

Over and above this, we read in Psalm xii. 6:

a| The words of Jehovah are pure words,

b| As silver tried in a furnace:

a| [Words] of the earth,

b| Purified seven times.

The Holy Spirit has used words pertaining to this world. He has not spoken with “the tongues of angels” (1 Cor. xiii. 1), but with “the tongues of men.” In using men’s words, and words pertaining to this world, He has used them in all perfection.

The Hebrew Old Testament we must regard as consisting only of Divinely chosen and inspired words, as we have no literature that goes behind it.

With the Greek of the New Testament the case is different, for there is the whole of Greek classical literature behind it.

It is intensely interesting to notice that while there are 97,921 words used by the classical Greek writers,200 the Holy Spirit has chosen and used only 5,857 in the Greek New Testament.201

So that there are 92,064 Greek words which the Holy Spirit has never used at all.

That is to say, out of all the Greek words used in Greek Classical Literature the Holy Spirit has used only one in sixteen, or six per cent. !

Those He has used, He has, in many cases, used in a higher sense.

Some He has used in a different sense.

While others,202 again, He has coined Himself.203

It is unnecessary for us to consider those words He has never used at all.

There are five distinct divisions under which this subject of usage of words may be profitably considered:

i. Where English words have gone out of use altogether.

ii. Where the usage of English words has been changed.

iii. Where the usage of Greek words had become changed:

(a) By God;

(b) By man.

iv. Where different, but concurrent usages of Greek words should be observed in the English.

v. Where a uniform usage of Greek words should not be departed from in the English; English words obsolete.

i. Where English Words Have Gone Out Of Use Altogether.

In the English language certain words and expressions which were common in the seventeenth century have gone out of use altogether, and require explanation before they can be correctly interpreted.

The following are exam les of words and expressions which have become obsolete:

All to brake (Judges ix. 53) is the Anglo-Saxon tobrecan, was which meant to smash. “All to brake,” therefore, used in the sense of to completely smash or break.

Away with (Isa. i. 13), meant to tolerate.

Come at, meant to come near (Num. vi. 6).

Do to wit (2 Cor. viii. 1), meant make to know, to certify.

For to do, meant in order to do (Deut. iv. 1).

Full well (Mark vii. 9), meant with full knowledge.

Go to (Jas. iv. 13), meant come now.

Trow (Luke xvii. 9), meant to suppose or imagine.

Wist (Luke ii. 49. Mark xiv. 40), is the past tense of the Ang.-Sax. wit, to know. Unwittingly (Josh. xx. 3), meant unknowingly.

Very (Gen. xxvii. 21. Prov. xvii. 9. John vii. 26 viii. 4), meant true, real.

These are only examples. There are many other such words for the Bible student to search out.

ii. Where The Use Of English Words Has Become Changed.

Another class of words, which have not themselves become obsolete, but of which the usage has become entirely changed during the centuries, requires careful discrimination.

We are familiar with some of these changes, notably in the word

Prevent, which originally meant to precede or go before, but now means to hinder. The importance of this is seen in such a passage as 1 Thess. iv. 15, “We shall not precede those who are fallen asleep.” So R.V. (See also Job iii. 12. Ps. xvii. 13 (marg,.); lix. 10; Ix-,ix. 8; lxxxviii. 13; xcv. 2 (marg.); cxix. 118, Amos ix. 10).

It is a strange, commentary on fallen human nature to see words thus changing their usage; for this change is uniformly in one direction; it is always a change for the worse. We never find a word acquiring a higher meaning! It is always down, down, like fallen and falling man himself, who thus drags down with him the meanings of the words he uses.

How, for example, did the change in the usage of this word “prevent” come about? And why? It was because whenever one man got before another, it was generally for his own advantage, and to the hindrance, hurt, and loss of the other; hence the word came to have this new and lower meaning.

Other words may be studied with advantage, e.g., boor, pagan, brat, imp, bombast, oversight, wretch, vagabond, craft, inquisition, impose, meddle, impertinent, garble, equivocation.204

But in this section we are dealing with English words where the fall is not go great, but where the old meaning has gone out.

To take in, was the act of hospitality (Matt. xxv. 35), but it stands on the border line, and is used of what it more often is than is not, viz., to deceive.

Adventure, meant to go (Acts xix. 31. Deut. xxviii. 56).

Artillery, meant any instruments made by art; hence, weapons of any kind (1 Sam, xx. 40).

Assay, meant to attempt, to try (Job iv. 2).

By and by, meant immediately. This change is very important in the interpretation of Luke xxi. 9.

Charity, meant love; not from the Greek cavri" (charis), but from the old French charilet, which meant dearness. This dearness of affection has resolved itself into the mercenary act of giving money, which has passed into our word charity, which no longer, therefore, represents the Greek word charis.

Beeves, was the plural of beef, the Norman-French for an ox (Num. xxxi. 33).

Bonnet, was used of a man’s head-dress (Exod. xxviii. 40), but today it is used only of a woman’s (except in Scotland).

Carriages (Acts xxi. 15), was used of what was carried. Today it is used of that which carries.

Clouted, meant patched (Josh. ix. 5).

To ear, meant to plow (1 Sam. viii. 12. Isa. xxx. 24). And earing meant plowing (Gen. xlv. 6. Exod. xxxiv. 21); and eared meant plowed (Dent. xxi. 4).

Earnest, meant a pledge, but of the same kind (2 Cor. i. 22. Eph. i. 14). A pledge might be of a different kind, and hence in that case it would not be an earnest. An earnest is to show that one is, as we say, “in earnest,” or serious.

Fast, was used in the sense of near, or close by (Ruth ii. 8).

Libertine, was used originally of a class of freedmen among the Romans; but even in those days it came to be used (as now) of the licentious use of this liberty (Acts vi. 0).

Lusty, meant vigorous (John viii. 44. 2 Tim. iv. 3. 1 John ii. 16). Lust meant desire; but today it is used of one particular kind of desire.

Naughty, meant worth nought, worthless (Prov. vi. 12; xvii. 4. Jer. xxiv. 2). Now it is used to gloss over any evil, or evil of some special kind.

Nephew, was used of a grandson (Judg. xii. 14. Job xviii. 19. Isa. xiv. 22. 1 Tim. v. 4).

Occupy, was used of carrying on any business or trade. This usage is still preserved in the noun occupation (Luke xix. 13).

Penny, was used of any piece of money (Matt. xx. 2). Even silver money was called a penny. This usage is still preserved in our expression “to turn a penny.” The word originally meant a little pledge or token, then any coin. Then it was used of a day’s wage (Matt. xx. 2). In Luke x. 35 of two days’ wage. Now, usage confines it to one particular coin, the twelfth part of a shilling. But that is not the usage in the New Testament.

Presently, meant immediately (1 Sam. ii. 16. Prov. xii. 16. Matt, xxi. 19; xxvi. 53. Phil. ii. 23).

Publican, was the Latin publicanus, or tax-gatherer (Matt. ix. 10, &c.). Today it is used only of a vintner.

Quick, is the Anglo-Saxon cwic, alive, as opposite to being dead (Lev. xiii. 10, 24. Num. xvi. 30. Ps. Iv. 15; cxxiv. 3. Isa. xi. 3. Acts x. 42. 2 Tim. iv. 1. Heb. iv. 12I Pet. iv. 5). Today we use it in the sense of lively, as the opposite to slow.

Quicken, means to make alive (Ps. lxxi. 20; lxxx. 18; cxix. 25, 37, 40, 88, 107, 149, 154, 156, 159; cxliii. 11. Rom. viii. 11).

Quickened, means made alive (Ps. cxix. 50, 93. 1 Cor. xv. 36. Eph. ii. 1, 5. 1 Pet. iii. 18).

Quickeneth, means maketh alive (John v. 21; vi. 63. Rom. iv. 17. 2 Cor. iii. 6 (marg.). 1 Tim. vi. 13).

Quickening, means making alive (1 Cor. xv. 45).

Simple, meant one fold, without guile, open, artless. But because such an one says and does what more worldlywise people would conceal, he is considered foolish. Hence the changed usage of the word. (See Ps. xix. 7; cxvi. 6; cxix. 130. Prov. i. 4, 22, 32; vii. 7; viii. 5; ix. 4, 13; xiv. 15, 18; xxi. 11; xxii. 3. Ezek. xlv. 20. Rom. xvi. 18, 19).

Simplicity, has a similarly changed usage (see 2 Sam. xv. 11. Prov. i. 22. Rom. xii. 8. 2 Cor. i. 12; xi. 3).

Sottish, meant dull, heavy, stupid (Jer. iv. 22), but because people are made so by intoxicants, it is used of dullness so caused.

Vagabond, meant a wanderer (Gen. iv. 12,14. Acts xix. 13). Our modern usage testifies to the character of most wanderers.

Silly, is the Anglo-Saxon for inoffensive, harmless; but because persons who are such are regarded as an easy prey for designing persons, the word has come to be used of those who are easily duped. (See Job v. 2. Hos. vii. 11. 2 Tim. iii. 6).

It will be seen from these examples how important it is that we should have due regard to these changes of usage in our own English language.

As we have exactly the same phenomena in the Greek (as in all living205 languages) it will be necessary to consider this under our next heading.

iii. Where The Usage Of Greek Words Had Become Changed.

Greek being a living language, its words (like coins) became changed in usage.206 Some words were thus changed by the Holy Spirit, and were purified as silver is purified in a furnace; and used in a higher, a better, nobler and a different sense from that in which man had ever used them.207

We will consider first the

(1) Changes of usage made by God, the Holy Spirit-

ajrethv (arete). Man used this only of manhood or manly prowess, but the Holy Spirit uses it in the far higher sense of Divine glory and of what God could praise. The only occurrences in the N. T.: Phil. iv. 8. 1 Pet. ii. 9. 2 Pet. i. 3, 5.

hqo" (ethos) was used only of the haunt of an animal, but it came to have the moral meaning of custom, or character (1 Cor. xv. 33).

a[ggelo" (angelos) was the Greek word for any messenger, also for a messenger of the gods. But the Holy Spirit takes it up, and purifies it, by using it as a messenger from God, and “the Angel of the LORD.”

corhgevw (choregeo) meant simply to supply or furnish a chorus. But the Spirit uses it of the Divine supply of all his people’s needs (1 Pet. iv. 11).

ejkklhsiva (ecclesia) was used, by the Greeks, only of a town’s meeting of its citizens (Acts xix. 39). But the Spirit uses it of the assemblies of God’s elect.208

paravklhto" (parakletos) was used only of a legal assistant or helper. But Christ uses it of the Holy Spirit or “Comforter” within us that we may not sin (John xiv. 16,26; xv. 26; xvi. 7). And the Spirit uses it of Christ as the Advocate with the Father if we do sin (I John ii. 1).

skavndalon (scandalon) was used only of a snare to catch animals; but in the New Testament it is used in a moral and spiritual sense of that which causes anyone to stumble or fall (Matt xi. 6); a sense in which the Greeks never used it.209

But there are other

(2) Changes of usage, made by man.

The Greek language was in use some four centuries before Christ, and had a wonderful literature. But, in the course of time the laws which operate to affect and change the usage of words wrought the same inevitable changes in many Greek words.

For this reason classical Greek usages are no infallible guide to the usage of Biblical Greek.

The vast moral and spiritual nature of the subject matter of the New Testament necessitated of itself many changes, quite apart from those which were produced by the changes of time.

The Septuagint Version (of the Hebrew Old Testament into Greek) marks many of these changes. But within the last few years the evidence from this source of information has been vastly increased by the multitude of papyri which have been discovered, and dug up, in Egypt. These are daily increasing in number, and are being bought up for deposit and study in the principal libraries of Europe. Some students are engaged in their discovery, others in their translation, while others (like ourselves) are at work in applying them to the language of the Greek New Testament. All these are rendering great service to God’s Word by making their discoveries public.210

These papyri are in Greek, and belong, for the most part, to the first and second centuries before and after Christ. They are therefore of the utmost importance in enabling us to discover the exact sense and usage of Greek words at that period.

These papyri consist of documents of all kinds; exactly what would be found centuries hence in a house, buried suddenly to day in sand, or put away in tombs. There are business-letters, love-letters, contracts, estimates, certificates, agreements, accounts, bills of sale, mortgages, school-exercises, receipts, bribes, charms, litanies, tales, magical literature, pawn tickets, and every sort of literary production.

All these are of inestimable value in enabling us to arrive at a true knowledge of many Greek words of which our translators, and, indeed, the Revisers, did not possess; having merely the help of lexicons, which gave the usage of words only in classical Greek.

It is impossible for us, in a small work like this, to give anything like even a general view of so vast a subject. We can only indicate the existence and nature of such a field of study, and give a few examples by way of illustration of its usefulness in connection with this our third Division, which concerns the changes of usage in Greek words brought about by man, but used by the Holy Spirit.

We must take them at random, and cannot even attempt to observe alphabetical or other order.

The word zwopoievw (zoopoieo), was used in classical Greek as meaning to produce live offspring; but the usage became in N. T. Greek to make alive again, either of spiritual or of resurrection life (John v. 21; vi. 63. Rom. iv. 17; viii. 11. 1 Cor. xv. 22, 36, 45. 2 Cor. iii. 6. Gal. iii. 21. 1 Tim. vi. 13. 1 Pet. iii. 18).

pavroiko" (paroikos), which meant neighbour, had come to mean sojourner (Acts vii. 6, 29. Eph. ii. 19 (foreigner). 1 Pet. ii. 11 (strangers)).

pravktwr (praktor), which is literally a doer of anything, came to mean the man who did the most objectionable thing, viz., the tax-collector. But the papyri show us that it came to have a still lower meaning. The tax collector was the one who put them into prison; hence, it came to be used of the jailor ! The word occurs twice (Luke xii. 58), and should not be rendered officer,” but jailor.

phvra (pera), is rendered “scrip” in the A.V., and “ wallet” in the R.V., but commentators are quite undecided as to whether it means a “portmanteau” or a “breadbag”; though the latter seems superfluous after the word bread.

The following are the passages:

Matt. x. 10, “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. Provide neither gold nor silver, nor brass in your purses: nor scrip (R.V. ‘wallet’) for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves.”

Mark vi. 8, “And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only: no scrip (R,V., ‘wallet’), no bread, no money in their purse.”

Luke ix. 3 (compare x. 4 and xxii. 35, 36), “Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, (R.V., ‘wallet’), neither bread, neither money, neither have two coats apiece.”

But a special meaning is made known to us by an ancient stone monument. A Greek inscription of the Roman period211 has been discovered at Kefr-Hauar in Syria, in which a “slave” of the “Syrian goddess” speaks of the begging expeditions he has undertaken for the Lady.” This heathen apostle—who speaks of himself as “sent by the Lady” — tells with triumph how each of his journeys brought in seventy bags. Here he uses this word phvra. It means, not bags filled with provisions and taken on the journey, but a beggar’s collecting bag. This is evidently the meaning in the passages cited above: and when we connect it with the context in St. Matthew, we learn the Lord meant that they were not to earn money, and they were also not to beg. The nature of the Lord’s commission is at once seen from what is involved in this interpretation of the word phvra (pera). In the days of early Christianity the mendicant priest of the ancestral goddess wanders through the Syrian land; from village to village the string of sumpter animals lengthens, bearing his pious booty to the shrine, and the Lady will not be unmindful of her slave. In the same land, and in the same age, was One who had not where to lay His head, and He sent out His apostles with the words:

Freely ye received, freely give. Get you no gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses: no wallet (or beggar’s collecting bag) for your journey.”

He who sent them had “all power” to provide for their supply.

presbuvtero" (presbuteros), which meant one older in years, is, in the papyri always used of official position, civil as well as religious (just as we use our word “alder man”). This is its usage in the New Testament.

ajuagiuwvskw (anaginosko), meant to persuade; then, to know well, gather exact knowledge; then, to read. But later usage extended this reading to reading aloud with comments, with a view to persuade. This is its meaning in the New Testament. (See Matt. xxiv. 15. Mark xiii. 14. Luke iv. 16. Col. iv. 16. 1 Thess. v. 27. Rev. i. 3, etc.)

ajostomativw (apostomatizo), meant to dictate to a pupil what he was to write or recite. But its later usage was to examine by questioning on what had been taught. This is its usage in Luke xi. 53: “They began to urgently press him and question him about many things” [as though he were their pupil]. They were not seeking for information, but for grounds of accusation.

gravfo~ (grapho), to write, is always used in the papyri of legal, official, and documentary writing. The perfect gevgraptai (gegraptai), it standeth written, always implies an appeal to authoritative, incontestable authority, definite and regulative.

In this we see the position held by Holy Scripture over oral tradition. In this, too, we may see a reference to the certainty and nature of the revelation of the Mystery (or secret) in the grafw~n profhtikw~n (graphon prophetikon), prophetic writings, of Rom. xvi. 26 (compare Eph. ii. 20 -iv. 11, and 2 Pet. i. 20, etc.). We may also see in this a reason for Paul’s desire to have “the parchments” which he asked Timothy to bring with him (2 Tim. iv. 13): for, Bible truth is based on documentary evidence, and not on oral tradition.

ajpevcw (apecho), to have from, to receive or be [distant] from. But the papyri show that it was the common form of giving a receipt in full. This is its usage in,5,16. Luke vi. 24, and Philem. 15, which shows that when the scribes prayed they did it to be seen of men; men had seen them; they had got their receipt, therefore, in full; and there was nothing more for them to receive, no real answer to their prayers to be expected.

The rendering “reward” (A.V. and R.V.) conveys no sense.

bebaivwsi" (bebaiosis), confirmation. In the papyri it is the guarantee of the seller to the buyer as to the validity of the sale (Phil. L 7. Heb. vi. 16, where it is rendered confirmation”).

toV dokivmion (to dokimion), the trial or trying. In the papyri this is always used as an adjective, meaning genuine, tested, and is found especially on pawn-tickets and marriage-contracts in the sense of certified. This is its usage in the N. T., which had come to denote the result of trial, and had been changed from the act or process of trial. Hence 1 Pet. i. 7 means “your tried or genuine faith “; and Jas. i. 3, “your tried or tested faith enables you to be patient.”

divkaio" (dikaios), just, or righteous, is used in the papyri of that which comes up to the required standard expected or looked for. It is used of a horse, of cattle, of a cubit; as it is used in the Septuagint (Prov. xi. 1) of “a just weight.”

This is its New Testament usage, showing that God’s righteousness, when it is bestowed, brings its recipient up to the standard which God Himself requires and looks for. The saved sinner is therefore by it “made meet for the inheritance of the saints in light” (Col. i. 12), and hence can be declared “complete in Christ.”

iJlasthvrion (hilasterion) comes to us through the Septuagint; where, in Exod. xxv. 17 (Heb. 16), “thou shalt make a hr#PB^ (kapporeth), cover, of pure gold.” This word kapporeth (cover) is rendered iJlasthvrion ejpivqema (hilasterion epithema), propitiatory cover, because the cover, on which the blood was sprinkled, was the means of propitiation.

The word in Heb. ix. 5 must retain this usage, and be rendered “the cherubim of glory shadowing the propitiatory [cover].” By the figure, Metonymy, the result (propitiation) is put for the means by which it was obtained (the cover of the ark on which the blood was sprinkled). That was what the cherubim shadowed, not the propitiation itself.

So that the word can be taken in this sense here; as it must be in the other passage where it occurs, Rom. iii. 25: Whom God hath set forth as His propitiatory gift.”

In the papyri and on inscriptions and monuments this word is used in the sense of votive or propitiatory gift.

So here, Christ was God’s propitiatory gift, the gift of Divine love. Not man’s gift to God; but God’s gift to man.

The rendering of hilasterion by “mercy-seat” is quite wrong. The R.V. puts in the margin, “Gr. the propitiatory” but, not seeing the Figure of Speech, nor knowing of the usage of the word in the papyri, the Revisers did not add the noun, “cover,” after the adj. “propitiatory”; and with the A.V. rendered “propitiatory” in Rom. iii. 25 as a noun, “propitiation.”

The saints of God in Rome would hardly know the technical “mercy-seat,” but they would know the common usage of the word at the time as being a propitiatory gift.212

euJergth" (euergetes), meant a well-doer, but our Lord uses it in Luke xxii. 25 in the particular and almost technical sense which recent discoveries have revealed. The word had been restricted from the extended sense of well-doing to the limited and special sense of a well-doing on behalf of the public, which deserved the public recognition of one as being a BENEFACTOR.

The discoveries of inscriptions and coins, added to the literary evidence already available, establishes this special usage of the word in our Lord’s days.

plh~qo" (plethos), is generally rendered multitude. In the papyri it has a technical usage applying to associates in a community or congregation. This appears to be the usage in Luke i. 10; xix. 37. Acts ii. 6; iv. 32; vi. 2, 5; xv. 12,30; xix. 9; xxi. 22.

mikrov" (mikros), small, little. In the papyri this word is used in the sense of junior in contrast with mevga" (megas), great which is used as senior. This is clearly the sense in Mark xv. 40; and it is a question whether it is not also in Matt. xi. 11; xviii. 6, 10, 14. Acts viii. 10; xxvi. 22.

kuriakov" (kuriakos), the Lord’s, is used in the papyri of what is imperial, and especially pertaining to the kuvrio" (kurios), the Lord, as Ruler.213

ceirovgrafon (cheirographon), hand-writing. In the papyri this is the technical term for a bond or certificate of debt. Many have been found; some of them are scored through and thus cancelled. This is the sense in Col. ii. 14, where only it is found.

a{dolo" (adolos), occurs only in 1 Pet. ii. 2 and is rendered sincere. In the papyri the usage is in the sense of unadulterated, referring to food.

sfragivzw (sphragizo), to seal. In the papyri it is used of delivering property into the possession of the receiver. To seal a thing to a person was used of delivering and securing that thing to him, sealing being the last thing done prior to such delivery. Thus we read “Seal the wheat and the barley,” i.e., seal [the sacks containing] the wheat and the barley [and deliver them].

This is the usage in Rom. xv. 28. Eph. iv. 30.

cavragma (charagma), a mark. In the papyri this word (1) is always used of a mark connected with the emperor; and (2) it always contains his name or effigy, and the year of his reign. (3) It was necessary for buying and selling. (4) It was technically known as charagma.

It is found on all sorts of documents, even on “a bill of sale.” In Acts xvii. 29 it is rendered “graven.” Elsewhere it is used only of the “mark” of the Beast (Rev. xiii. 16, 17; xiv. 9, 11; xv. 2; xvi. 2; xix. 20; xx. 4). He will be the Overlord in that day!

aJnapevmpw (anapempo), to send up. This word is used in the papyri of sending up to a superior authority. This is the usage in Luke xxiii. 7, 11, 15, and Acts xxv. 21.214

It is also used of sending up with pomp and dignity.

biavzomai (biazomai), to use force or press with violence. Commentators tell us that it occurs only twice in the New Testament, and that it must, in the former of the two passages, be taken as a Passive. The former passage is Matt. xi. 12, 11 the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence.” The latter is Luke xvi. 16, “every man presseth into it.”

But the meaning of the word, and the interpretation of both passages is settled for us by an inscription found in a temple near Sunium,215 built not earlier than the imperial period which commenced in B.C. 24.

It was founded by Xanthus the Lycian as a sanctuary.

In this inscription certain ceremonial purifications are prescribed as a condition of entrance into the temple; and it goes on to say that no one may sacrifice in the temple without permission from its founder. Then the regulation continues:

eJaVn dev tis biavshtai

“But if any one forces [his way in]

aJprovsdektos hJ qusiva paraV tou~ qeou~

his offering is not pleasing to the god.”

This settles the usage of the word in the two passages:

Matt. xi. 12, “But from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven forces itself [on the people], and the pushful seize on it.”

Luke xvi. 16, “Since that time (John’s) the kingdom of God is announced [as good news] and every one forces [his way] into it.”

Thus, both passages harmonize; the usage in both is the same; and, both accord with the usage which obtained in the New Testament period.

katavkrima (katakrima), is an important word, occurring only three times in the New Testament.

Rom. v. 16, “The judgment was by one offence unto condemnation.”

Verse 18, “As by one offence [judgment came] unto all men for condemnation.” Rom. viii. 1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.”

In deeds of sale found among the papyri this word is found in its legal usage. It is used of a burden on land, such as debts, taxes of all kinds, arrears, and all payments of every kind. All are mentioned, but the effect of the legal document is to declare that the land sold is free from all burdens of every kind. Note the bearing of this in such passages as Rom. viii. 1.

ujpovstasi" (hupostasis), rendered “substance” in Heb. xi. 1, is used in the papyri in the sense of title-deeds. This shows that believing what God has said and promised, is our title-deed for which He has caused us to hope.216

iv. Where Different But Concurrent Usages Of Words Should Be Observed In The English.

Quite apart from age or clime there are many Greek words which the Holy Spirit Himself uses in different connections, and with varying meanings. These can be easily seen, observed, and classified; and our English renderings can and must be made to conform to them.

Unlike our last division (No. iii. above) this is work for the English reader, who is at no disadvantage with the Greek scholar, provided he uses our Lexicon and Concordance to the English and Greek New Testament.217 It is designed for English readers; and, though the Greek words are given, the truth can be gained without looking at them; for they are numbered, and the reference is to the meaning given under that number.

The use of that book will enable the student to find out, at a glance, under the English word, the Greek word which is so translated. The index will tell him whether the word is translated otherwise elsewhere; and, if so, under what renderings lie can find them. At this stage he will be able to use more readily the Englishman’s Greek Concordance218 and easily make out a list of all the occurrences of the word in question.

It is here that his real study of this branch of our subject will begin. For now he must turn to every passage, and note how the Holy Spirit uses the word; and when he has all the data before him he will soon discover whether the usage is uniform; or whether there is more than one sense in which the word is employed.

This part of the study requires a spiritual understanding (I John v. 20. 1 Cor. ii. 14), common sense, and strength of mind to follow the leading of God’s Word in spite of all that has been imbibed and “received from the fathers by tradition.”

When difficulty is experienced in receiving the truth of God, it is because we try at the same time to hold on to tradition, and try to combine the two. But the moment we let tradition go all will become easy. It is not the simple truth that is difficult, but it is the endeavour to hold on to the traditional belief as well as the simple truth. Let one of the two beliefs go, and either will be easy; it is the effort to hold both that creates the real difficulty.

Let us illustrate this by looking at the word

1. “Parousia.” — parousiva (parousia).

This word furnishes us with an excellent and useful example, showing the necessity of discriminating between its different usages.

Many take it as a proper noun, and speak of “The Parousia” as though it always refers to one separate and distinct act, viz., the coming of the Lord as revealed in 1 Thess. iv.

The next step is that, when they find that this same word is used of the coming of Christ in Matt. xxiv., “immediately after the Tribulation of those days,” there is no alternative but to interpret I Thess iv. as being after the Tribulation.

Thus, trouble and confusion is created; and the loss of the blessed hope and waiting for God’s Son from heaven is shrouded in darkness.

But all is made clear, the moment we discriminate between the various usages of the word parousia. There is no dispute about the meaning of the word. All are agreed that its only meaning is presence; and when translated coining it always denotes the actual presence of the person who thus comes.

From our Greek and English Lexicon and Concordance, page 977, we find that parousiva (parousia) occurs twenty-four times; and that it is rendered twice presence, and twenty-two times coming.

Our object, now, is to find out how the Holy Spirit uses it; and whether the teaching of some is correct, who tell us that it refers always to the coming of Christ for his Saints before the Tribulation, and not the coming of Christ with His saints, after the Tribulation.

No one can help us in making this discovery; neither do we need any help beyond collecting all the data, and looking closely at every passage, and noting the different usages.

Having got our complete lists of twenty-four Texts, we read each (with its context, of course), and we find that:

(a) Six times it is used of the presence of INDIVIDUALS, and that it is always their personal, bodily presence.

1 Cor. xvi. 17, Stephanus.

2 Cor. vii. 6, 7,Titus.

2 Cor. x. 10, and Phil. i. 26; ii. 12, Paul.

(b) Six times it is used of Christ’s presence in the air, when He comes forth thither to meet His raptured saints, before the Great Tribulation (1 Thess. ii. 19; iii. 13; iv. 15; v. 23. 2 Thess. ii. 1, and I John ii. 28). We note that all but one of these six are in the Epistles to the Thessalonians.

(c) Eleven times it is used of Christ’s presence on earth, when with His Church He comes unto the earth, in the Day of the Lord, “Immediately after the Tribulation of those days” (Matt. xxiv. 3, 27, 37, 39. 1 Cor. xv. 23. 2 Thess. ii. 8. Jas. v. 7, 8. 2 Pet. i. 16; iii. 4, 12).

(d) Once it is used of the presence of “that lawless one,” who shall be destroyed by the glorious advent of Christ (2 Thess. ii. 9).

Here are all the usages; and we see, at once, that it is not correct to speak of “The Parousia” as though it related only to Christ; or to His coming as being one single act; or to one part only of that coming.

We note that there is one chapter (2 Thess. ii.) where the word is used of three distinct acts of being present:

There is the presence of Christ in the air before the Tribulation (2 Thess. ii. 1) and our gathering together unto Him there;

There is the presence of the Lawless one on the earth during the Tribulation (2 Thess. ii. 9);

And there is the presence of the Lord on the earth, in all His glory, by which the Lawless one will be destroyed. This will be after the Tribulation (2 Thess. ii. 8).

If we are not careful to distinguish these various usages of the word parousia, we shall only create confusion in the Word, and trouble in our own minds. We shall find ourselves taking a passage which speaks of the Lord’s presence on earth after the Tribulation, and interpreting it of His presence in the air before the Tribulation; and, if we thus take the word parousia as being used of the latter, then we shall interpret 1 Thess. iv. by Matt. xxiv., and not only take the Church through the Tribulation, but we shall, defer the realization of the Rapture of 1 Thess. iv. until after the Tribulation, and take all the blessedness out of it. We shall give a flat contradiction to 1 Thess. v. 4, which categorically assures us that “the Day of the Lord shall not overtake us as a thief “; and plunge ourselves into that very “darkness” which the same word declares that we are “not in.”

2. Pneuma, spirit.

The word pneu~ma (pneuma), spirit, is a word of the greatest importance.

When we have made out our complete list (as before we made of Parousia) we find that there is practically little or no difference as to its translation; for it is rendered spirit every time, except John iii. 8, where it is rendered wind; Rev. xiii. 15, where it is rendered “life” (marg. breath); Matt. xxvii. 50 and John xix. 30, where it is rendered ghost.

In this case, though there are different usages, they are all confined to interpretation and not to translation.

We need not say more on this word here, for in our work, The Giver and His Gifts, or, the Holy Spirit and His Work,219 we have given a complete list of all the occurrences of the word pneuma; and have set out, in an exhaustive manner, all the data.

Fourteen different usages are given, and classified lists are appended, from which the reader can gather for himself all that can be learnt from those lists.

It, is used of (1) aod, (2) Christ, (3) the Holy Spirit, (4) the Operations of the Spirit, (5) the New Nature, (6) Psychologically, (7) of Character, (8) by Metonymy for what is not of the body, (9) by Synecdoche for one’s self, (10) Adverbially, (11) of Angels, (12) of Demons, (13) of the Resurrection Body, (14) in combination with the word holy,” without the article.

The usages of this word are so important that it requires a separate volume for their full treatment.

One great fact may be noted here, viz., that the expression pneu~ma a{gion (pneuma hagion), holy spirit, occurs fifty times (out of 388), and it always refers to the gifts and operations of the Holy Spirit, and never to the Holy Spirit, the Giver.

The evidence is simple and clear. In Luke xxiv. 49 the Lord Jesus calls “the promise of my Father” (for which the apostles were to tarry in Jerusalem), “power from on high.”

In Acts i. 5 He calls this same promise “pneuma hagion.”

Therefore pneuma hagion is “power from on high.”

This proves that pneuma hagion is what is given, and not the Giver.

If further proof is needed, then it is furnished by that crucial passage, Acts ii. 4, “And they were all filled with pneuma hagion, and began to speak with other tongues as THE SPIRIT gave them utterance.”

Here the Giver and His gifts are quite distinct. What was given was “the gift of tongues.” The Giver, who 64gave,” was “The Spirit.”

Nothing could be clearer than this.

Unfortunately the A.V. and R.V. have, in all these fifty occurrences of pneuma hag-on, arbitrarily inserted the article, and used capital letters for “Holy Spirit,” so that the English reader is entirely misled, and is compelled to understand that it is the Person who is meant; while he is kept quite uninformed of the fact that it means His gifts and operations.

The subject is so important, and the information so difficult to be obtained, that it will be necessary for us to give a list of the fifty passages. They will repay abundantly any pains that may be taken in their careful study. The reader should take his or her Bible, and mark in the margin every one of these

Fifty occurrences of pneuma hagion: Matt. i. 18, 20; iii. 11. Mark i. 8. Luke i. 15, 35, 41, 67; ii. 25; iii. 16; iv. 1 (first); xi. 13. John L 33 (second); xx. 22. Acts L 2, 5, 8; ii. 4 (first), 33, 38; iv. 8 (25*), 31; vi. 3,* 5: vii. 55; viii. 15, 17 (18*), 19; ix..17; x. 38, 45; xi. 16,24; xiii. 9, 52; xix. 2 (twice), 6. Rom. v. 5; ix. 1; xiv. 17; xv. 19. 1 Cor. ii. 13*; vi. 19; xii. 3 (second). 2 Cor. vi. 6. 1 Thess. i. 5, 6. 2 Tim. i. 14.* Titus iii. 5. Heb. ii. 4; vi. 4. 1 Pet. i. 12. 2 Pet. i. 20. Jude 21.

* – These verses are the subjects of Various Readings, and our larger book should be consulted.

Some of the above passages are very important, and will be found most instructive if studied in the following order: Acts vi. 3. Luke xi. 13. John xx. 22. Acts viii. 15, 17,19,20.

3. Church.

We have already considered this word under

Dispensational Truth and Teaching (Part I, chap. III., pp. 145-148). But there is something further to be learnt from the usage of the word ejkklhsiva (ecclesia), of which it is generally the translation.

This rendering is unfortunate, considering the fact that our English word “church” has also, itself, several usages.

It is important therefore that we should carefully adjust the two usages, and rightly adjust and appropriate the one to the other.

The Greek word ecclesia means a convocation of persons called out. Hence, an assembly of persons so called out.

It is used (1) of Israel as a People called out from the rest of the nations (Gen. xxviii. 3); (2) of the Tribal Council of Simeon and Levi, a smaller company, called out from each Tribe (Gen. xlix. 6); (3) of an assembly of Israelites called out for worship or any other purpose (Dent. xviii. 16; xxxi. 30. Josh. viii. 35. Judg. xxi. 8. 1 Kings viii. 65. 1 Chron. xxix. 1. Acts vii. 38); (4) any assembly of worshippers as a congregation (Ps. xxii. 22, 25. Matt. xvi. 18; xviii. 17. 1 Cor. xiv. 19, 35. Gal. L 13. Heb. ii. 12.); (5) of separate assemblies in different localities (Acts. v. 11; viii. 3. 1 Cor. iv. 17, etc.); (6) of the Guild or Company of Ephesian Craftsmen (Acts xix. 32) as distinct from the population of Ephesus; (7) of a Town’s meeting (Acts xix. 39).

Then there is the special Pauline usage, which was quite different from any of the above. Other assemblies consisted of called out ones from Jews, or from Gentiles (as in Acts xix.); but this new Body is called out from both and yet consists of neither (Gal. iii. 28; vi. 15). This calling out is the Secret (or Mystery) which was hidden in God, and never revealed to men until the administration of it was committed to the Apostle Paul.220

The usage of the English word “church” is just as varied. It is used (1) of any congregation, (2) of a particular church (as Rome or England), (3) of the Ministry of a church, (4) of the Building in which the congregation assembles, (5) of Church as distinct from Chapel, (6) it is used of the Church as distinct from the world, and (7) it is used in the Pauline sense, of the Body of Christ.

This shows us the extreme care with which we should note the usage of words.

4. “Elements” or “Rudiments.”

The Greek word stoicei~a (stoicheia) has at least two different usages, one material, and the other moral.

It is used of what is material in 2 Pet. iii. 10, 12; of the material elements of which creation, or this world, is made up.

In the other five passages it is used of the moral and religious ordinances which make up the outward acts of religion, with all its rites and ceremonies.

Four times it is used in the Epistles which are addressed to churches; twice in Galatians and twice in Colossians, these two being the Epistles which are written to correct errors in doctrine. Galatians corrects errors in connection with the doctrine as taught in the Epistle to the Romans concerning justification, Colossians being written to correct errors in doctrine as taught in the Epistle to the Ephesians concerning the Mystery.

In these, the outward ordinances of Religion are contrasted with the spiritual truths of Christianity (as distinct from Religion).

The A.V. renderings show the confusion of thought in the mind of the Translators. In Gal. iv. 3 and 9 they render it “elements” in the text, and “rudiments” in the margin.

In Col. ii. 8 and 20 they render it “rudiments” in the text, and “elements” in the margin.

The R.V. agrees with the A.V. translation in Colossians; and in all four passages renders the word “rudiments” in the text, and “elements” in the margin.

The usage of the word in the Church Epistles is seen to be peculiar to them, and this fact must be borne in mind in the interpretation of these four passages.

5. Saints.

The word a{gio" (hagios), holy, is when in the plural a{gioi (hagioi) always translated saints.

Of course it means the same, holy, i.e., or, holy ones, except that it is left to be inferred from the context who the holy ones are who are so designated.

A brief examination of the usages of the plural, hagioi, will show us that they are four in number.

Of course, ordinary readers, who are, as a fact, more familiar with the New Testament usage; and, as a matter of selfishness, more prone, as well as accustomed, to interpret everything of the church! will have neither the inclination to study its usage, nor the willingness to part with the meaning which they have appropriated to themselves.

This is sufficient to show us the necessity of studying the usage of this word “saints.”

(1) It is used of Angels (Deut. xxxiii. 2).

“Jehovah came from Sinai,
And rose up from Seir unto them;
He shined forth from mount Paran,
And He came with ten thousands of holy [ones]:
From His right hand went a fiery law for them.”

Here, it is evident that the word “angels” should be supplied after the word holy, thus “holy [angels]” for these celestial beings are meant. This is proved by a reference to Ps. 1xviii. 17; where, in a reference to the same Divine descent at Sinai, the word “angels” is used instead of “holy ones,” as another name for them.

(2) It is used of Israel in the very next verse (Dent. xxxiii. 3).

“Yea, He loved the People;
All His holy ones are in Thy hand.”

Here the word is used of the People of Israel. For the preceding words are “This is the blessing wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death.”

It is a blessing which is yet to receive its full consummation when the Lord shall have come again, and the People of Israel shall know Him to be their Divine Redeemer, their King, and their God.

(3) It is used also of individuals and other godly Israelites, as in Pss. xvi. 3; xxxiv. 9; lxxxix. 5, 7; cvi. 16. Hos. xi. 12.221

(4) It is used in the Church Epistles specially of the members of the one Spiritual Body, whose holiness is that of Christ; and whose saintship therefore, though enjoyed on earth, is higher than that of any other created beings, being merged in their higher title, “the sons of God.”

This is its usage in the commencement of the Epistles, as in Rom. i. 7. 1 Cor. i. 2, etc.

With this key, Bible students will have no difficulty in determining what the usage of the word is in any particular passage; for the Context alone is the allsufficient guide as to what it must be.

We need not go through all the passages where the word “saints” occurs; this would be doing the work which it should be our readers’ pleasure and profit to carry out.

One or two passages may be doubtful; in which case it may be well to come to no conclusion, but to wait for further light.

A few other passages will receive a new interpretation and lead to a change in our traditional views.

With Matt. xxv. 31 before us we shall find that several passages which we have been in the habit of referring to the Church of God, really refer to angelic beings.

“When the Son of Man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory” (Matt. xxv. 31).

Here we have the word “angels” associated with the word “holy” (pl.), which leaves us in no doubt.

In harmony with this passage we must take 1 Thess. iii. 13. “To the end he may establish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his holy [angels].”

On the other hand, in 2 Thess. i. 10 the word “saints” is used synonymously of “all them that believe,” and in contrast with “the mighty angels” of verse 74, because

“At the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven (v. 7), those who have been troubled now will be at “rest.”

This revelation in judgment (v. 10) will take place “when He shall have come to be glorified amid His saints on earth (Israel), and wondered at (in that day) amid all raptured believers.”

In Jude 14 the word “saints” clearly refers to angels; Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints to execute judgment upon all.”

In Rev. xv. 3 the word “saints” should be “ages” according to the R.V., or “nations” according to the R.V. margin. The Structure (Introversion) requires nations.”

v. Where A Uniform Usage Of Greek Words Should Not Be Departed From In The English.

It is not always that Greek words have different usages. The vast majority have one uniform usage; and this must not be departed from in the English, and cannot be ignored without serious loss.

Even where it does not lead to a misunderstanding or a wrong interpretation of a passage, it creates great and unnecessary confusion.

1. Withhold

katevcw (katecho).

Who would imagine that “let” and “withhold” of the AN.; and “restrain” of the R.V. in 2 Thess. ii. 6, 7, are all the rendering of one and the same Greek word ?

The word katevco (katecho) occurs nineteen times, and is rendered by thirteen different English words.

Who is to help us in coming to a true interpretation of this word, and of the passages in which it occurs?

There is no help outside the Word of God.

It is rendered hold fast three times, and hold three times, so that these are the most frequent renderings.

The only way of finding and testing the correct rendering is to look at every one of the passages and see if the one rendering hold fast can be consistently used. It will not follow that this word will be the very best according to our English idiom; and we need not make it the uniform rendering. We may use other words more in harmony with the genius of the English language so long as we keep the uniform sense hold fast in our mind:

Matt. xxi. 38, “let us seize on his inheritance” (let us hold fast).

Luke iv. 42, “and stayed him, that he should not depart” (held him fast).

Luke viii. 15, “having heard the word keep it” (hold it fast).

Luke xiv. 9, “with shame to take the lowest place” (to hold).

John v. 4, “of whatsoever disease he had” (he was held).

Acts xxvii. 40, “and made towards shore” (held their course toward).

Rom. i. 18, “who hold the truth in unrighteousness”222 (hold fast).

Rom. vii. 6, “having died to that by which we were held” (so marg. and R.V.).

1 Cor. vii. 30, “as though they possessed not” (held nothing fast).

1 Cor. xi. 2, “and keep the ordinances” (hold them fast).

1 Cor. xv. 2, “if ye keep in memory what I preached” (hold fast).

2 Cor. vi. 10, “and yet possessing all things.”223

1 Thess. v. 21, “prove all things,. hold fast that which is good.”224

2 Thess. ii. 6, “ye know what withholdeth” (holds [him] fast).

2 Thess. ii. 7, “only he who now letteth” (he who now holdeth fast).225

Philem. 13, “1 would have retained” (held fast).

Heb. iii. 6, “if we hold fast the confidence.”

Heb. iii. 14, “if we hold the beginning of our confidence” (hold fast).

Heb. x. 23, “let us hold fast the profession of our faith.”

Thus, we see, that hold fast is, and must be, the only correct rendering in 2 Thess. ii. 6, 7. This gives us, therefore, the key to the true interpretation of that prophecy.

2. Temptation.

peiravzw (peirazo), tempt; peirasmov" (peirasmos), temptation.

These words are of frequent occurrence. The latter word occurs twenty-one times, and in all but one is rendered temptation.

But the usage of peirasmos in the Bible is always in the sense of trial: hence specially of trouble or tribulation, because it is that which really tries a man better than anything else.

Our English word “temptation” meant, originally, much the same: to stretch out, handle, try the strength of.

This is stated to be the object of trial (Deut. viii. 2).

In the Old Testament the word is used of the troubles themselves (Dent. vii. 19; xxix. 3. Compare Wisdom iii. 5; Xi. 10. Sirach ii. 1. Judith viii. 24-27).

This is also clearly its use in Luke viii. 13: “in time of trial, or trouble (not temptation in the sense of enticement, as we now use the word almost exclusively) fall away.” (So Matt. xiii. 21, and Mark iv. 17.)

In Acts xx. 19 Paul is evidently alluding to what he calls, in 2 Cor. xi. 26, the “perils by mine own countrymen.”

In Heb. ii. 18. 1 Pet. i. 6. Rev. iii. 10 the meaning is the same.

From all this we see that in the Lord’s Prayer the word should be trial or tribulation, viz., the Great Tribulation.226

In Matt. iv. 1. Mark i. 13, and Luke iv. 2 the physical sufferings of our Lord are meant (compare Heb. iv. 15).

3. Poor,

pevnh" (penes).

The words used for and rendered “poor,” pevnh" (penes), prau?" (praus), ptwcov" (ptochos), and tapeinov" (tapeinos), all mean oppressed.

Our Western idea of being poor has come to mean being without money, because the condition of the poor in modern times has lost the one great characteristic of the poor in past centuries, and of present times still, in the East.

But the Biblical usage of the word has not changed, though customs have.

In the Greek civilization the word had much the same meaning as that in which we use it today, because oppression was not then associated with poverty.

But the Bible deals with and describes Eastern conditions, and hence though in classical Greek pevnh" (penes) meant poor as opposed to rich, ptwcov" (ptochos) meant destitute as opposed to affluent, and prau?" (praus) meant easy-tempered as opposed to violent, yet in the Bible these words are all used of the oppressed class of any country: the peasantry or fellahin, who then, as now, lived quiet lives and were the victims of constant oppression, ill-treatment, and plunder at the hands of their autocratic rulers.

This is the meaning of the words poor and meek.

See Ps. x. 9; xxxvii. 14, “He lieth in wait to catch the poor;” or Ps. xxxv. 10:

“All my bones shall say, LORD, who is like unto Thee,
Which deliverest the poor from him that is too strong for him,
Yea, the poor and needy from him that spoileth him.”

This is why God is represented so often as the deliverer of the poor, or oppressed (Pss. xii. 5; xxxiv. 6; xxxvii. 10, 11; xl. 17; lxxii. 4,13; lxxvi. 9; cxlvii. 6).

In the New Testament this usage is the same.

4. Paradise,


Paradise is an Oriental word, and was apparently first used by Xenophon to indicate the parks of the Persian kings. It originally meant an enclosed park, planted with trees, and stocked with game. In such paradises eastern monarchs were wont to take their pleasure in hunting.

But the Holy Spirit has exalted it, and used it in a sense higher than that in which man had ever used it. For “the Paradise of God” is the “garden” which God planted in Eden for man’s blissful abode. And when the curse shall have been removed, the whole earth will be a paradise where God shall again dwell with man.

The Bible knows no other Paradise. The Greek word paravdeiso" occurs in the Septuagint twenty-eight times. In nine it represents the Hebrew word “Eden”; and in nineteen places the Hebrew word /g^ (gan), garden. In English it is rendered Eden, Garden, Forest, Orchard.

The Hebrew word Eden occurs sixteen times; and Garden, is used of Eden, thirteen times in Genesis; and six times in other passages of “the Garden of God” (see Gen. ii. Neh. ii. 8. Eccles. ii. 5. Song iv. 13).227

It is man who has changed the usage of the word from its only Biblical usage, and dragged it down and fastened on it the meaning given to it in Babylonian, Jewish, and Romish traditions.

5. “Sheol” and “Hades.”

Here, again, the Biblical usage of these words is uniform, and we must refer our readers to our separate pamphlet on this subject, in which will be found every passage in the Bible where these words occur, with their renderings.

These renderings are so various that, they are not only confusing to the mind, but misleading as regards the truth.

The Hebrew Sheol, and the Greek Hades are rendered thirty-one times the grave, thirty-one times hell, three times pit; sixty-five times in all. Four times the grave is put in the margin for hell, which increases the rendering the grave to thirty-five times and reduces the rendering hell to twenty-seven times.

On the face of the matter, this gives the preference to the grave, not “A grave,” for which there are other words: but “THE grave,” for which there is no other word. Grave-dom, or the state of the dead as being in the dominion of the grave, is the idea associated with the word. Not the act of dying, but the state of the dead, the present condition of death.

The Old Testament Biblical usage must settle the meaning of the heathen (i.e., the Greek) usage of the word Hades, because the Holy Spirit uses it of His own Hebrew word Sheol in Acts ii. 27 by quoting Ps. xvi. 10.

From these last two passages it is clear that Sheol or Hades is the place where “corruption” is seen (Acts xiii. 34-37); and from which Resurrection is the only exit (Rev. xx. 4, 5). Those who are raised in the First Resurrection “live and reign with Christ a thousand years.” Of those who are not raised then it is written they “LIVED NOT AGAIN until the thousand years were finished..”

This is conclusive as to the Holy Spirit’s own usage of these words.

6. “Mystery,”

musthvrion (musterion).

This English word is a transliteration of the Greek word musthvrion (musterion), but its usage by us today in no sense corresponds with the meaning of the Greek word.

The Greeks used it of a secret, pure and simple; a secret which can be perfectly well understood when made known; whereas we use the word “mystery” of what cannot be understood at all; and is past comprehension even when it is revealed. Thus our usage of the word today is quite different from the Biblical usage.

We must be careful, therefore, not to read our present usage of the word into the past usage. Not so very long ago the word was used in its true sense. This was in legal language, when an apprentice was articled in order to learn the “mysteries” or secrets of a certain trade or business. This is the sense also in which we still use it when we speak of the Greek “mysteries,” i.e., the secrets of that religion into which persons were initiated. This is the usage of the word in the Greek Testament, and in our transliteration of ~t.

No matter what the context may relate to, the usage of the word is uniformly secret.

(a) It is used in connection with the duration of Israel’s blindness (Rom. xi. 25). That blindness itself was not a secret: for it was clearly foretold in Isa. vi. 9, 10. But the duration of that blindness was not revealed (Isa. vi. 11. Rom. xi. 25).

(b) It is used in connection with the rejection of the kingdom, the fact of its remaining in abeyance, and the duration of that abeyance. The Lord revealed this secret to the Apostles “in the house” (Matt. xiii. 11, 35), while it was still hidden from the people “out of the house.” (Compare verses 1 and 36.)

In this revelation, the duration of this present interval between “the sufferings and the glory” was also kept secret (1 Pet. i. 10, 11).

Hence, the secrets which the Lord then revealed, concerned the kingdom only; and all that He said about it must be read on, leaping over this (as yet, to them, secret, and unknown) present interval: and taking up the kingdom again, as though such interval had no existence.

(c) It is used in connection with the counsels and purposes of the lawless one (2 Thess. ii. 7), which, though secret, were already beginning to work themselves out.

(d) It is used in connection with the word Ecclesia. There was nothing to show that that word was going to be used in a sense altogether different from any in which it had before been used.228

(e) It is used also, and specially of “the great secret” (I Tim. iii. 16. Rom. xvi. 25,26. Eph. iii. 1-11. Col. i. 24-27).

This secret does not refer to the fact that Gentiles were to be blessed with Israel. That was never a secret, but was revealed to Abraham at the moment of his own call (Gen. xii. 3; xxii. 18; xxvi. 4, etc. Compare Pss. lxxii. 17; lxvii. 1, 2; xviii. 49. Deut. xxxii. 43. Isa. xi. 10; xlix. 6. Luke ii. 32).

Thus though the connections are different, the meaning and usage of the word are uniform; and the translation and usage of it in English should be uniform also.

7. “At hand,”

ejnivsthmi (enistemi).

The word ejnivsthmi (enistemi) occurs seven times, and though its usage is uniform, it is rendered in four different ways in English. One of them is of great importance, and most misleading. The word means to be present, and is so rendered in Rom. viii. 38. 1 Cor. iii. 22; vii. 26. Gal. i. 4. Heb. ix. 9.

In 2 Tim. iii. 1 it is “perilous times shall come”: i.e., be present.

But in 2 Thess. ii. 2 it is rendered “At hand,” in connection with “the Day of the Lord” as being “now present” (R. V.).

The interpretation of the verse is thus shown to be that the Day of the Lord could not then have been present, inasmuch as the foretold Apostasy had not taken place, and the Man of Sin had not yet been revealed.

This being the case they were not to be troubled or disturbed in their mind.

On the other hand, however, if that had been the case, and the Day of the Lord had set in, there was every reason why they should have been troubled ; for, the Apostle’s word would in that case have failed; the revelation made in 1 Thess. iv. would not have been fulfilled; and the comfort would have been given in vain. That day would have overtaken them as a thief, which he had assured them should not be the case (1 Thess. v. 4). And they had not “gathered together” unto Christ in the air as He had promised them.

The rendering “at hand” makes the whole context of none effect.

The English expression “at hand” occurs in twenty other places, but in not one of them is it the Greek word enistemi as in 2 Thess. ii. 2.

8. “Depart,”

ajnaluvw (analuo).

The word rendered depart in Phil. L 23 must be taken in the same sense as that in which it is used in the only other passage where it occurs; viz., Luke xii. 36: “when he shall RETURN from the wedding.” It does NOT mean to depart, in the sense of setting off from the place where one is, but to return to the place that one has left. The verb does not occur in the Greek translation of the Canonical books of the Old Testament, but it does occur in the Apocryphal books; which, though of no authority for the establishment of doctrine, are invaluable as to the use and meaning of words. In these books, this word always means to return, and is generally so translated.229

This settles for us the uniform usage of the word rendered “depart” in Phil. i. 23, and shows that it must have the same rendering as it has in Luke xii. 36.

It was the return of Christ and to be with Him for which the Apostle longed; and this longing pressed him out of the other alternatives of living or dying.

It was not his personal gain of which he was thinking, but the gain to the Gospel. The Scope of the whole passage is the Gospel. The argument is that, If his imprisonment had turned out for the “furtherance” and gain of the preaching of the Gospel, what might not the gain be by his death.

It ought to be added that there are no less than twenty two Greek words rendered “depart” some one hundred and thirty times: but this one word ajnaluvw (analuo) occurs only twice, and in one of these it is rendered “depart” and in the other “return.” If this is not convincing evidence as to what should be the correct rendering in Phil. i. 23, we know not what evidence is required.

We have the noun ajnaluvsi" (analysis) in 2 Tim. iv. 6, but it has the same meaning, returning or dissolution; i.e., the body returning to dust as it was, and the spirit returning to God who gave it.

9. “Leaven.”

zuvmh (zume).

The usage of this word is uniformly in a bad sense throughout Scripture.

(1) It must be put away at the Passover (Exod. xii. 15).

(2) It must not come into contact with any sacrifice (Exod. xxxiv. 25. Lev. ii. 11; x. 12).

(3) It is likened to the corrupt doctrines of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees (Matt. xvi. 6); and of Herod (Mark viii. 15).

(4) The Corinthian Church was commanded to purge out corrupt persons (1 Cor. v. 7) because “a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” (v. 6); and

(5) It is used of “malice and wickedness” (1 Cor. v. 8).

In the face of this, How can anyone dare to use “leaven” in a sense totally opposite, and interpret it of that which is good in itself and in its workings and effects?

The supposed exceptions are-

(1) Lev. xxiii. 17. From verses 9-14. The wave-sheaf or first-fruits was to have no leaven. But in verse 17 the “Two wave loaves” offered fifty days after were to have leaven with them. This distinction was made because the “wave-sheaf” represented Christ the firstfruits in resurrection, without sin (1 Cor. xv. 23); while the two wave-loaves represented those who were endued with His gifts (fifty days later, Acts ii. 1-4): but who had sin and corruption in them. This is why leaven was used in the two wave-loaves and not in the wave-sheaf.230

(2) Amos iv. 4, 5. But here the offering “a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven” is what is described as the multiplying of transgression.

(3) Matt. xiii. 33. The Parable of the Leaven hidden in three measures of meal. It is one of seven parables which all have to do with the “Kingdom,” and therefore not with the Church. This we have already seen under our chapter on “Dispensational Truth and Teaching.”

The Kingdom was proclaimed by John the Baptist, by Christ, and by Peter. But since it was finally rejected, it is in abeyance, and is not recognized as having any place in Scripture.

“We see not yet all things put under Him” (Heb. ii. 8), who is now “henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool” (Heb. x. 13).

Till that day, the Kingdom has no place on earth, and it must not be read into those Scriptures which concern the present position and portion of the “Church of God.”

The Scriptures relating to the Kingdom must be confined to the Kingdom period which is before and after this present Church-Interval: they must be read on from its rejection in the Acts of the Apostles to the coming of the King; leaping over this present Dispensation as though it had no existence.

Only thus shall we understand the Seven Parables of Matt. xiii.

The Kingdom was proclaimed by John the Baptist and Christ: The seed was sown. But from that moment the enemy (likened to the “fowls of the air”) was on the watch, not only to catch it away, but to sow and mingle tares with the good seed. The tares appear, but nothing more is said about them “till the harvest”: nothing is done till “the time of harvest.” “The harvest is the end of the age”: i.e., after the present Dispensation.

The mustard-tree, rooted in the earth, gives shelter for the same I fowls of the air” (Rev. xviii. 2).

The leaven follows immediately to illustrate the inward corruption (as the mustard-tree shows the outward).

If the leaven be taken here in a good sense it would reverse the whole course and point and scope of the previous teaching; and this parable would be the very opposite of the others.

It cannot mean the preaching of the Gospel in this present Dispensation; for the woman hides it, but the Gospel is proclaimed openly.

The usage of the word “leaven” here must be taken in this sense; and thus, uniform with all the other passages where the word occurs.

Canon 4

The Context Is Always Essential to the Interpretation of Words

i. The Importance Of The Context Shown.

We have already seen something of this in the consideration of the Structure of the Word and the Words of God.

The order of the words is as perfect as the truth revealed by them, and contained in them.

This order is Divine: and it is nothing less than a crime for any human hand to subvert that order, either by ignoring it or changing it.

Beware of any teacher to whom the context is not manifestly essential. Beware of any teaching that is not based upon it.

Some passages of Scripture derive their chief importance from some remarkable words employed; others derive their chief importance from some wonderful truth revealed; while others derive their chief importance from the place where we find them. Every passage has its own importance in this last respect. When we find a passage in its own particular place, there is a Divine reason why it is there, and also why it is not in any other place.

It is essential to our understanding of the “words” to find out why they are where we find them. It is essential to our enjoyment of the words that we should discover not only what they mean, but why they are not in any other passage. If we would find the words and the Word of God to be a delight to us, instead of a perplexing jumble, we must have special regard to the Context.

If this be disregarded, then a word, a sentence, or a verse, may be taken out from its context and interpreted of something quite foreign to its original intent.

We have all heard the proverbial saying that “the Bible may be made to prove anything.” Exactly so; but this, very often, is only when, and because, a verse is taken apart from its context: otherwise it could never be made to teach anything different from the context in which God has set it.

Every sentence and every verse has something going before it and something following after it. We call this the context. This is regarded as being essential even in the case of human writers. How often are complaints made by public speakers and writers that only a part of what they have said is quoted; whereas, if the whole had been given, or even the sentence that preceded or followed, quite a different complexion would have been given to the point referred to.

If this be so important where man is concerned, how essential it must be when we remember that, in the case we are considering, it is God’s context and not man’s.

How great must be the presumption if we disregard or disturb that context.

Yet this is constantly done in order to prop up some tradition.

Let us illustrate this by giving a few examples of error arising from a disregard of the context.

ii . Examples Of Error Arising From A Disregard Of The Context.

1. Isa. lii. 8

“They shall see eye to eye.”

The context shows that this means the seeing of one another personally” face to face,” and not the agreement with one another in opinion or judgment.

2. Hab. ii. 2

“That he may run that readeth it.”

Write the vision And make it plain upon tables, That he may run who readeth it.”

The reason given in the next verse (v. 3) shows that the verb is to be taken in its sense of hasten, or flee: viz., that lie who reads of the coming troubles may flee from them.

It does not mean that he may be able to run while he reads it; but flee when he reads it.

3. Ps. ii. 8

“Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the utmost parts of the earth for thy possession.”

How often have we heard these words quoted on missionary platforms and in pulpits, as though, by missionary efforts, the reign of Christ here spoken of as the one subject of the psalm is to be brought about.

But this is not to be the way in which that glorious reign is to be inaugurated. Many are the Scriptures which state this unmistakably. Judgment, not grace, is to be the means employed. “Worse and worse” is to be the character of the coming days, until they are like “the days of Noah,” which will end up in the Great Tribulation. Then, without any interval or break of any kind, “IMMEDIATELY after the Tribulation of those days ... then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven ... and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven” (Matt. xxiv. 29, 30).

This exactly accords with Ps. ii. as is shown by the words that immediately follow verse 8:

“Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron;
Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel” (v. 9).

But, these words of verse 9 are never quoted at missionary meetings, because it is all too plain that it is not such means as these that missionary societies use, or profess to use. Their agents proclaim the good news of “the grace of God.” They are not sent out to break the “heathen.” They are not commissioned to “dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

And so the context of this ninth verse is prudently left out! And the quotation always stops short at the end of the eighth verse!

This is very clever; but is it right? It is one way of “dividing the Word of truth.” But, Is it “RIGHTLY dividing” it?

It is dividing it for a purpose; and that purpose is manifest. It is done in order to make the Scripture appear to give a Divine support to the tradition of men, that the work of the Church and the Gospel is to bring about the Millennium; and that, by their means the earth is to be “full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. xi. 9).

But here again the context forbids such an application, for verses 3 and 4 state that it is to be by righteous judgment that He will “SMITE the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he SLAY the wicked.”

If the context, which is always essential, had been duly noted and considered, it would have been impossible for Ps. ii. 8 ever to have been distorted, and have an interpretation given to it which is contrary to the whole teaching of the Word of truth.

4. Matt. xxii. 32

Another example of error arising from disregard of the context is seen in Matt. xxii. 32:

“God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”

Quoted thus, apart from the context, as an independent statement, the words are at once placed, by those who hear them, in the context of their own traditional belief; instead of in the context of God’s Word, and in connection with the rest of the words of the Lord Jesus.

Misquoted as above by being taken thus, apart from their context, they are used to teach that the dead are not dead at all, but that they are alive. This is exactly what the Old Serpent said in Gen. iii. 4 when he gave the lie to what God had said (Gen. ii. 17).

But, as in the two cases already cited, not only are the words thus perverted from their meaning, but the logical sequence of the whole context is suddenly broken off, and ends in a bathos. There is no conclusion to the Lord’s words. He set out to prove the truth of resurrection, which, among other things, His opponents, the Sadducees, denied:

“Then came the Sadducees which say that there is NO RESURRECTION” (v. 23).

They propound a hypothetical case of the woman with the seven husbands, and ask therefore

“IN THE RESURRECTION whose wife shall she be of the seven?” (v. 28).

The Lord replies by saying:

“Ye do err, not231 knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. For IN THE RESURRECTION they neither marry nor are given in marriage.”

He goes on to refer to Scripture:

“But as TOUCHING THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the god of the dead, but of the living.”

Is it not clear that these words are used by the Lord in order to prove the fact and truth of resurrection? How could this argument prove that the dead would rise again if He meant that the dead are alive now?

Surely the logical conclusion is that, If God is “the God of the living,” the dead Abraham, and the dead Isaac, and the dead Jacob must live again,232 in resurrection, in order to have God’s promise to them fulfilled. God had promised to each of these three patriarchs, that not only their seed, but that they themselves, should possess the land, and therefore, to do this, they must “live again.”

“TO THEE, and to thy seed”

was the promise made to Abraham (Gen. xiii. 15), to Isaac (Gen. xxvi. 3), and to Jacob (Gen. xxviii. 13),

It is a matter of history that neither of them ever possessed the land (Heb. xi. 13), and never had more than a sepulchre there. That sepulchre they purchased and there they were buried (Gen. xlix. 29-33); but it was not the promised gift.

How then can God’s promise to these three patriarchs be fulfilled except by resurrection? The argument of the Lord proves, unmistakably, the necessity of resurrection if God is to fulfil His promise to them, and to be faithful to His word to Moses at the Bush.

Apart from the context the Lord’s argument is shorn of its conclusion and robbed of its point; while God’s promise is made to fall to the ground, and the hope of resurrection lost. And all this because a sentence is wrested from the context in which the Holy Spirit of God has placed it.

These are good examples of how a short sentence may be perverted by a violation of this canon.

It will be noticed how these examples point to the fact that it is only traditional beliefs that seem to require such a treatment of Scripture, and that this treatment is practically confined to them. This explains why so many of our examples are connected with these strongholds of tradition. Unable to find Scriptural support for the traditions of men, resort must perforce be had to a few isolated passages which are thus forced apart from their Divine context for this special purpose.

5. Matt. xxiii. 3

“Observe and do.” Another example may be seen in Matt. xxiii. 3, where the context clearly tells us whether the translation should be “observe and do” as a command, or “ye observe and do” as a statement.

In the Greek the second person plural Indicative Mood is exactly the same as the Imperative. There is nothing therefore to guide us, as to which Mood should be read, but the context. Now, the context of the immediate passage, and the context of the whole Gospel, leads us to expect that the Lord cannot possibly be thought of here as enjoining obedience to the teaching of the Scribes and Pharisees. On the contrary, He was always uttering the most solemn warnings against them and their teachings. We must, therefore, read them as being in the Indicative Mood; as stating a fact, and not as enjoining a precept. This is still more clear if we observe that the word translated “sit” is not in the Present Tense, but in the Past: have taken their seat.”

With these two notes we must translate the passage as follows:

“The Scribes and Pharisees have seated themselves in Moses’ seat: all things, therefore, whatsoever they bid you, ye observe and do: but do not ye according to their works.”

The word “therefore” is very significant. It is because “they have taken their seat in Moses’ seat” that ye observe and do whatever they bid you. But, the injunction is “Do them not.” And then in verses 4-33 the most weighty reasons are given why they should not do them. How, then, can we go out of our way, gratuitously to create a difficulty, by taking the Mood as being the Imperative, and make the Lord command them to do the very things He was about to condemn?

The Chief Priests and Elders who had thus arrogated to themselves the authority of Moses, shortly after this used it to bid the people “that they should ask Barabbas and destroy Jesus” (Matt. xxvii. 20-23). Are we to suppose, for one moment, that in observing to do this bidding the people were acting in conformity with the Lord’s words in ch. xxiii. 3? This consideration by itself is quite sufficient to condemn the “reading” riveted on the Greek by the Revisers’ text; quite apart from the Critical evidence which can be adduced in favour of the Received Text.

There is another and overwhelming reason for this understanding of the Lord’s words; and that is the concluding reason given why they are not to do the works which the Scribes and Pharisees commanded, “for they say and do not.”

Can the argument be: Do the works (which they command) because they do them not?

Surely there is no sense in such an argument. But rather it is: “Do not ye the works (which they command), for they do not do them themselves”; which clearly shows how grievous their heavy burdens were.

This is the continuation of the Lord’s argument; and it is the only logical conclusion from His words as recorded in the context.

6. John vi. 37

“Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out.”

This verse is indeed divided; but wrongly, not rightly, divided by quoting only a part of it as though it were the whole.

How often do we hear the promise “Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out.” But how seldom do we hear the first half, which is an integral part of the sentence. “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me: AND him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out.”

The reason for the mangling of this verse is the same reason why, when the Lord stated the same truth in verse 65, “No man can come unto me, except it were given him of my Father; FROM THAT TIME many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.”

Wherever this same truth is proclaimed to day, the same result will follow; and this, in spite of all the talk about “the teaching of Jesus,” which is only an excuse for attempting to get rid of the teaching of the Holy Ghost by Paul.

7. Acts xvi. 31

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.”

This is an example of how a special and personal injunction is detached from its context, put forth, and used as a general and universal command.

The quotation generally stops here, because the words “thou and thy house” would show the special nature of the command. The context shows that it was given to one who was under deep conviction of sin. The jailor had seen himself in the presence of God. His one thought was that the prisoners had fled. His one act was that “he drew out his sword and would have killed himself:” for he knew what his fate would be in the morning (Acts xii. 19).

But there was One who knew what he thought, and the voice said, “We are all here.” There was One who could see in that darkness what he was going to do, and the voice said, “Do thyself no harm.” “THEN he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling and fell down,” and asked, “What must I do to be saved? “

To all such in similar circumstances; to all who thus fall down and ask such a question, this is the right answer. But it is no command at all to those who are not under conviction of sin. Such have first to believe God as to their lost and ruined condition.

There are other passages, however, which are not so serious, where mistakes are made and errors are fallen into through partial quotations, where a part of a verse is used to upset the teaching of the other part, or of the immediate context.

8. Rom. viii. 28

“All things work together for good.”

These words are of ten taken by themselves, as though they were an independent statement; a statement moreover which is contrary to fact.

Sometimes the words that follow are added, “to them that love God.”

But very seldom do we hear the next sentence: “to them that are the called according to his purpose.”

9. 1 Cor. iii. 17

“Him shall God destroy.”

“If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”

It is well for us first to note the fact that the words “defile” and “destroy” represent but one and the same word in the Greek. In both clauses the word is fqeivrw (phtheiro), to spoil or corrupt. That this is the meaning may be seen from 1 Cor. xv. 33. 2 Cor. vii. 2; xi. 3, etc.

But, the pronoun rendered “him” is tou~ton (touton), this. To what noun does the pronoun “this” refer?, The context alone can help us.

It cannot be “this” man, or “him” as in A.V. ; because verse 15 distinctly states that “he himself shall be saved.”

It can be, therefore, only “this” thing that the man builds on the one foundation as stated in verse 12. Whatever man’s building-work may be-good, bad, or indifferent; “gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;” grand, imposing, insignificant, or mean, whatever it may be, it will be burnt up (vv. 13-15).

“Ye are God’s building” (v. 9).

“Ye are the temple of God” (v. 16).

“Which temple ye are” (v. 17).

That temple is God’s building (Eph. ii. 21). It is “one body” (Eph. iv. 16). It is a spiritual unity (Eph. iv. 3, 4).

If any man builds any other “temple,” or makes any other “body,” or creates any other “unity,” it is corporate; and it “defiles God’s building”; and “this” it is that God will destroy.233

10. 2 Cor. v. 8.

“Absent from the body.”

In this case a few words are taken out of their context and used as a motto or proverbial expression; and are quoted as conclusively settling a disputed question. We have. already considered this illustration under Canon II. (pp. 223-226), where we showed the Scope of the Passage from its Structure. We wish to show now, how these words can be explained by simply heeding the context.

Again and again we hear:

“Absent from the body,
Present with the Lord”

quoted as though it asserted that the moment a believer is “absent from the body” he is “present with the Lord.”

But this is what it does not say. Many will be surprised to hear that no such collocation of words occurs in Scripture: and that 2 Cor. v. 8 reads

“We are willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord,”

which is quite a different thing; because the whole context from 2 Cor. iv. 14 down to this verse, is wholly occupied with the subject of Resurrection, and a longing and desire not to die, or to be unclothed (v. 4), but “to be clothed upon” with our heavenly and glorious resurrection body.

While we are in this body we are “absent from the Lord.” That is why we so earnestly desire to be alive and remain till His coming, that we may be clothed upon with our house234 which is from heaven.

We ourselves are very willing to be thus “absent from the body”; nay, we are desirous of it, because, when we are, we shall then have our oiketerion in which we shall be “at home with the Lord.”

We have precisely the same teaching in the word “SO” in 1 Thess. iv. 17. “SO shall we ever be with the Lord.” The Greek is ou{tw" (houtos), thus, in this manner, viz. by Resurrection, and Ascension; raised and “caught up to meet the Lord in the air, SO shall we ever be with the Lord.”

It will be noticed again that it is tradition which thus requires such perverted misquotations. This is because the errors of tradition are produced by ignoring the context. We have another:

11. Phil. i. 21

“To die is gain,”

constantly cited as though it were a separate, independent, and dogmatic categorical statement of Divine truth; whereas it is nothing of the kind. It is not even a complete sentence. The verse says:

For to me to live is Christ,
And to die is gain.”

The very word “For” should be sufficient to show that the statement is not independent; but that it depends on what has been before said, and is added as a reason for it.

What has been said before? What is the context all about?

A very cursory reader will at once see that it is all about the “gain” of the Gospel. That is what the Apostle was so deeply concerned about. He was in prison, and yet he wanted them to “understand that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the Gospel.” And he goes on to show that the one effect of his bonds on many of the brethren had been to make their confidence to increase, so that they were “much more bold to speak the Word without fear.”

Paul rejoiced at this, notwithstanding that some did it of contention and others from love.

It made him bold also, and bold enough to say that he did not care what happened to himself; he did not mind whether he lived or died. Christ would be magnified in his body (v. 20) in either case. “The furtherance of the Gospel” was the one thing he cared about; not his own personal “gain.” He never thought of that. It ruins the whole scope of the chapter to introduce the thought, yea, the slanderous thought, and charge him with such selfishness, as though he were thinking only of his own personal gain. It is a gross injustice to the Apostle, as well as a perversion of his words, thus to bring against him a, charge of which he was not only innocent, but which is foreign to the context.

It also mars and breaks up the logical sequence of the Context, considered merely as literary matter. The argument is this; If my bonds have resulted in the furtherance of the Gospel, what might not my death produce? Christ is preached through my bonds; so He may be magnified through my body, whether by my living or dying, “For to me to live will be Christ; and to die [will be His] gain.” In either case He will be magnified. The gain will be His.

But though his death might result in Christ’s gain, it might not be their gain; for to abide in the flesh would be more needful for those to whom he wrote.235

12. Phil. ii. 12.

We have a similar example in the next chapter:

“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”

These words are quoted as a general instruction applying to everyone universally. Whereas the preceding context shows that they are part of an exhortation for these Philippian saints to do this working in the Apostle’s absence as they had always done in his presence.

Moreover the context which follows gives the reason why they should, and why they could, do this working out; “FOR it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”

What that work is, is added in verse 14. “Do all things without murmurings and disputings.” That is how they would work out that salvation which they had in Christ, during the Apostle’s absence.

We must not dismiss this negative branch of our subject without a reference to the two pernicious practices which may be termed Text-mangling on the one hand, and Text-garbling on the other.

13. Text-mangling

Text-mangling is common on illuminated wall-texts, motto-cards, birth-day books, and almanacs.

The practice is to take a few words (for the space is often very limited) regardless of the context in which they may be found; regardless also of their proper interpretation. Hence, passages are often selected which may give false peace to those who stand in need of conviction of sin; or they may disturb the peace of those who need assurance; or they may remove others from the ground of grace to the ground of works. Sometimes also this practice causes the words of God to be treated as Shakespeare is often treated by advertisers, comic artists, and others, who are thus able to show at once their intimate knowledge of Shakespeare and their cleverness in twisting his words to an end and for a purpose which Shakespeare never dreamed of. , This is done in order to attract attention by showing the absurdity of making Shakespeare recommend some “buttons,” “pills,” or 66 soap” of which he never heard.

This practice may be innocent and amusing when it is confined to a human author; but, when it is brought into use in dealing with the words of God, the practice cannot be too strongly reprobated as being an insult to God, and pernicious to man.

Just in this same way we might quote, or rather misquote, the words of Truth:

“There is no God” (Ps. xiv. 1).

“Hang all the law and the prophets” (Matt. xxii. 40).

“Woe unto you lawyers” (Luke xi. 52).

All these are true, if taken in connection with the context in which they stand; but not otherwise. Apart from their context these and others may form complete sentences, but they may make either nonsense or false sense.

We have actually seen the following short sentence as a wall-text;

“Thou shalt not drink wine”

as though this was a general command demanding universal obedience.

But it is taken from the Minor Prophets, where it forms part of Divine threatening of judgment:

“Thou shalt eat, but not be satisfied; ...
Thou shalt take hold, but shalt not deliver ...
Thou shalt sow, but thou shalt not reap;
Thou shalt tread olives, but thou shalt not anoint thee with oil;
And sweet wine, but shalt not drink wine” (Mic. vi. 15; compare Zeph. i. 13).

Not only are these words thus wrested from their proper context and meaning; but, by so doing, they are set in flat contradiction to Amos ix. 14, where exactly the opposite prophecy is given by way of blessing:

“They shall plant vineyards
And drink the wine thereof.”

On the other hand, there are texts which are of such universal and eternal application, and which so touch the conscience, that they could not fail to be of untold blessing to thousands, if they were chosen for this purpose.

How seldom, if ever, do we see such passages as these plainly printed and prominently exposed:

“The LORD seeth not as man seeth.” (1 Sam. xvi. 7.)


“Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” (1 Sam. xvi. 7.)


“Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD?” (1 Sam. xv. 22.)


“To obey is better than sacrifice, And to hearken, than the fat of rams.” (1 Sam. xv. 22.)

The governing principle in this matter should be that, what is put out for general observation should be in perfect harmony with, not wrenched from, its context, and universal and eternal in its application.

14. Text-garbling

Text-garbling differs from Text-mangling in that a passage is not only taken out, of the context in which God has set it, but it is placed in another context in which He has not set it. This, to say the least, is an act of the grossest impertinence.

There are some writers who are specially addicted to this habit, and string a number of texts together as though they occurred exactly in this order in God’s Word. True, the references may be given with each verse; but unwary readers may not notice or heed this; hence they will read on from one to the other as though they are reading the words as God has given them.

There is one book, especially, in our mind, which does this, and leads many to do this “daily,” every day of the year: but whether in each case it gives daily light is another matter.

If it comes to merely stringing texts together, this can easily be done; we could say:

“Judas went and hanged himself” (Matt. xxvii. 5).

“Go and do thou likewise” (Luke x. 37).

This shows the absurdity to which such a principle can be reduced.

We do not deny, of course, that it is possible for a well-taught and well-read spiritually-minded student of the Word of truth to do this with effect. Great light may be thrown often on a passage by putting it alongside another, thus letting one Scripture be its own Divine comment on another. That is quite a different thing altogether from the ill-considered practice of dislocating a passage from its own context and putting it into another.

What we are speaking of is the habit of garbling Scripture, by bringing texts together, regardless as to whether such displacement affects in any way the special interpretation which they have in their own respective contexts.

It may be that, with due regard to this point, the truth and teaching of each of two such passages may be enhanced. But the practice is one which requires much spiritual discernment, great care, long experience, special knowledge of the context, extensive knowledge of Scripture, and a recognition of the principle involved in the important distinction between interpretation and application, dealt with in Canon X. below.

iii. Examples Of Truth And Teaching Resulting From A Due Regard To The Context.

We come now to another part of this subject, as to the context being essential.

What we have said above is negative and destructive rather than positive and constructive. We have shown some of the mistakes arising from a disregard of the context; and have seen some of the evils resulting from this dangerous practice.

We now have a happier branch of this subject, viz., we have to show some of the advantages of giving heed to the context; and the blessing, truth, and teaching resulting from a careful observation of the context, not only in the removal of difficulties, or in the explanation of so-called “discrepancies,” but in the manifestation of the perfections of the Divine Word.

We shall divide this branch of our subject into two parts-

(a) The Nearer Context, and

(b) The Remoter Context.

From one point of view the Word of truth, coming as it does, as a whole, from one and the same Divine Author, is its own context. That is to say, a particular passage is to be regarded not only in the relation it bears to its own nearer or remoter context; but, in the relation which it bears to the Word of God as a whole.

It may not be intended to teach science, chronology, or history, either Assyrian, Babylonian, Palestinian, or Egyptian, as such; but, everything that it records will be in perfect harmony with whatever is true of any or all of these. Scientia means knowledge, and nothing in Scripture will be found to contradict what we really know, which is true science. Much that goes by the name of “science” is only hypothesis; and, in much more, supposition is so mixed up with knowledge that the result, is vitiated.

All must be brought to the bar of the Divine Word. That Word as a whole is the context for its every part. All that is outside the two covers of the Word of God must be judged by what is within. We must not reverse this process and judge what is within by anything that may come to us from without.

With this understanding we will look at a few illustrations, which show how certain passages may receive light; how certain difficulties may be removed, how new beauties may be revealed by having regard to this, our fourth canon or principle, that the context is always essential.

Let us take, first, passages which are illuminated by

(a) The Nearer Context.

By this we mean what we may find and read on the same page, or opening; or at the most on the pages or in the chapters near to it.

[By the Remoter Context we mean that which is separated from it by some chapters at least; or even by other books of Scripture.]

1. In Gen. xxxv. 2, we read Jacob’s command, “Put away the strange gods (Heb., the gods of the stranger) that are among you, and be clean and change your garments.”

This looks, at first sight, as though Jacob and his family had become idolaters. It is true, we read of the “teraphim” which Rachel had taken away when she fled with Jacob from her father’s house (ch. xxxi. 19); but it does not appear that they were for worship. More probably they were of silver or gold, and were taken as valuables in lieu of the balance of wages still owing by Laban to Jacob.

It is hardly credible that idolatry could have been common in Jacob’s household as the command in Gen. xxxv. 2 would seem to imply.

We have not far to look before we find the explanation. Only a few verses before (ch. xxxiv. 26-29) we read how the sons of Jacob had us captured the city of Shechem and taken their cattle, and “all their wealth, and all their little ones and their wives took they captive, and spoiled even all that was in the house.”

Here then we have the explanation of these strangers and their strange gods. Here also we see why Jacob gave this command not only “unto his household,” but “to all that were with him.”

2. In 2 Kings iv. 13 Elisha asks “a great woman” of Shunem (who had befriended him): “Behold, thou hast been careful for us with all this care: what is to be done for thee? Wouldest thou be spoken for to the king or to the captain of the host?”

This sounds strange, when, from the previous history, we should hardly suppose that Elisha was on sufficiently good terms with Jehoram king of Israel to have any grounds for holding out such hopes to this woman. And yet he could not be trifling with her after all her care of him.

What then is the explanation? We find it in the immediate context. Chap. iii. 1-6, 17 tells how he had just by a miraculous supply of water saved the armies of Israel and enabled them to defeat their enemy.

Elisha might well therefore presume that he had some ground on which he could appeal for a favour to the king; or at any rate to “the captain of the host.”

3. In Dan. v. 30 we read, “In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. And Darius the Median took the kingdom.”

In ch. vi. 1, we read, “It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes which should be over the whole kingdom.”

In Esther i. 1-3, we read that Ahashuerus (a subsequent king of Persia) “reigned from India even unto Ethiopia, over an hundred and seven and twenty provinces.”

Here, if princes necessarily imply provinces, there appears to be a discrepancy as to which no explanation is vouchsafed by the historian: the fact being stated as well known and needing nothing beyond its statement.

However, in Dan. viii. 4, the Nearer Context, we find that Daniel had a vision in the reign of Belshazzar, showing the nature and character of the impending change, and the rise of the Medo-Persian kingdom.

It is pictured as “a ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward; so that no beasts might stand before him” (Dan. viii. 1-4).

This can mean only that, in the early days of its existence, the Medo-Persian kingdom would extend its boundaries, and receive accessions of empire.

This is exactly what we find from Esther i. 1-3, where the one hundred and twenty provinces of Dan. vi. 1 had increased to one hundred and twenty-seven in the subsequent reign of Ahashuerus.

4. Eph. iii. 15, “The whole family in heaven and earth.” This is another illustration of quite a different character. But first we must ask what is the sense in which we are to take the word “family.” It is an unfortunate rendering of the Greek patriav (patria), and yet it is so difficult to suggest a better, that the only alternative is to try and understand it. Our English word “family” takes its meaning from the lowest in the household; from famulus, the servant, and not from the father. The Latin familia was the household of servants. But the idea of patria is Hebrew, and is a group or class of families all claiming a common descent from one pathvr (pater), or father. The twelve tribes were divided into patria, and these again into oikoi (oikoi), houses. Joseph was of the house and family of David. The word occurs only here, Luke ii. 4, and Acts iii. 25. It denotes a clan all descended from a common stock.

So much for the meaning of the word. Now for the meaning of the verse: “Of whom the whole family (R.V. every family) in heaven and earth is named.”

This verse is always understood of “the Church of God;” and is taken to mean that one part of it is already in heaven, and the other part is on earth.

But this is not an illuminated wall-text, or a text from a birthday book, or from an almanac. It occurs in the middle of an Epistle which has something to say about the names, and about the naming of these families.

God has many families, in heaven and on earth, both in this world and in the world to come. But we, with our usual selfishness, can see only one Family; and that must, of course, be the Church, for that is the Family we belong to. Thus we bring everything round to ourselves; especially if there is blessing, mercy, or glory attached to it.

In Eph. i. 21 we have the names of some of these “Families”:


These belong to “heaven above” and to “the world to come.” Two of them are again mentioned in Eph. iii. 10, viz., the “Principalities and Powers,” to whom God is manifesting now His manifold wisdom by means of the Church, using it as His object-lesson. The Church must, therefore, be distinct from these families in heaven.

What these heavenly families may be we do not know. Others are mentioned in Rom. viii. 38. Col. L 16. 1 Pet. iii. 22,236 but the Greek words employed reveal no more to us than the English words. For words that pertain only to “this world” cannot contain any information as to the ‘world to come.”

Other “names that are named” are referred to in Eph. i. 21.

And yet in spite of all this when the R.V. correctly renders pa`sa patriav (pasa patria) every family (Eph. iii. 15) an outcry is made because Eph. iii. 15 has been heretofore wrongly limited and restricted to the Church; and that verse has been used as a proof that part of the Church is in heaven and part of it is on earth. On this unwarranted limitation the non-Scriptural (not to say unScriptural) terms of “church militant” and “church triumphant” are based.

But the text reads, “Of (or, by) whom every family in the heavens and upon earth is named.”

We know this only because we are here told of it. No further explanation is given. We have the key to the interpretation in the Nearer Context (Eph. i. 21). We have “every family that is named” in chap. iii. 15, and “every name that is named” in chap. i. 21. It seems very inconsistent to translate “every name” in ch. i. 21, and “the whole family” in ch. iii. 15. But out of this inconsistency flows the error; and on this inconsistency is built up the figment of part of the Church being in heaven and part on earth. Those who believe in and teach an “Intermediate state” must get over this difficulty as best they can. For our own part we see no difficulty at all; but only a simple revelation as to unseen realities.

We have here in Eph. iii. 15 and i. 21 a universal truth; but those who limit it to the Church of God not only lose that great truth, but they get error in its stead.

Rightly divided, the families in heaven consist of Principalities, Powers, Might, Dominions, Thrones, Angels and Archangels, while the families on earth are Israel and the Church of God.

All the promises of God to the Church are made concerning heavenly things; all the promises made to Israel, the other earthly family, have to do with earth and earthly things.

Presently the Church will take its place in the heavens, and will be the chiefest of every family in heaven, while Israel will be the Family on Earth. The object in the Epistle to the Ephesians is to show how the risen Christ has been given and made the Head over all things to (or for) the Church. He is and will be the centre of all things in heaven and on earth, both to the Church and to Israel.

Join together what God has put asunder; fail to divide rightly or to recognize the distinction between these families; allow ourselves to be misled by tradition and deceived by partisan teachers that there is only one family (part of it in heaven and part on earth), and we shall not only lose some of the most wonderful truths of the Word of God, but we shall find ourselves in the mists and clouds of darkness and error.

Rightly divide the Word of truth, giving due heed to the Context, and there will be opened out to us whole vistas of separate truths, which will all converge and unite in magnifying the Word of God, and in glorifying the Christ of God.

(b) The Remoter Context.

By this we mean that the Word of God, being one whole, is its own Context, for every separate passage, quite apart from all that is outside its own covers; and each passage has to be read in reference to the whole book.

Each passage stands, not only in its own immediate Context, but it stands also in the Context of the Bible as a whole; and is to be read, and explained, and understood, and interpreted in the light of the rest of Scripture.

An inexplicable verse, or act, or fact may find its solution in some other part of Scripture. For all of it is God-breathed. All has one Author. The Bible is not a “Symposium” of many authors; for though there are many writers there is only one Author, the Holy Spirit of God.

He has used various mouths to speak and various pens to write; He has “spoken at sundry times, and in divers manners:” but it is the same God who has spoken.

When we realize this great fact, we shall perceive the all-pervading presence of that one Author in all parts of the Word, which was written as holy men of old spake from God as they were moved by that same Spirit.

If any doubt the truth of this fact they will soon be convinced as they consider the Illustrations which we propose to give them.

1. Gen. xix. and xiv. The cities and the city. Look, for example, at Gen. xviii., where Abraham pleaded with God for Sodom that the city might be spared in the day of His judgment.

God had told him that He would destroy the cities (v. 20) Sodom and Gomorrah. Gen. xix. speaks of “the cities.” But Abraham prayed only for “the city.” No reason is given. And, for aught that is said in these two chapters, we might conclude that he was influenced solely by feelings of humanity. But on referring back to ch. xiv. 12, we learn that his nephew Lot and his family dwelt in Sodom, and thus we see a special reason why Abraham should thus feel so acutely, and intercede so earnestly for deliverance of that city.

We may further learn that God has more than one way of answering prayer.

When we are in difficulty, danger, or trouble, we see a way out of it, and we ask God, very “definitely,” to deliver us by that way.

All the time He has many ways of delivering us, each better than the one we can see.

No greater evil could happen to us than for God always to answer our prayer and grant our definite request.

Here, in this history, Abraham could see only one way of delivering his nephew Lot; so he prays that God would avert His judgment from Sodom and spare “the city.”

God did not grant his request, but he delivered Lot out of the midst of the overthrow; and thus answered Abraham’s prayer, though not in the way Abraham had asked.

2. In Gen. xxiv. 24 Rebekah is said to be “the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, which she bare unto Nahor.”

From verse 15 we learn that Nahor was Abraham’s brother. But there is nothing in all this chapter to explain to us how it was that a grand-daughter of Abraham’s brother could be old enough to marry Isaac, Abraham’s son; in other words, how Rebekah of the third generation could marry Isaac who was of the second generation.

We have to go back to Gen. xviii. 11, 12, quite a remote context, and there we read that Sarah, Abraham’s wife, was “old and well stricken in years,” before Isaac was born.

This quite accounts for what otherwise would be a difficulty. Dr. Blunt refers to such an example as this for quite a different purpose. In his work on Undesigned Coincidences he uses these and similar examples as an argument for the veracity of the Scriptures.

We refer to the same examples with quite a different object, viz., to show how, in a difficulty which we meet with in a particular passage, we find the solution in a remote Context, and often in a mere passing parenthetical statement.

3. Gen. xxxvii. The Ishmaelites and Midianites. In Gen. xxxvii. 25 Joseph’s brethren “lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmaelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt.”

In verse 28: “Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen: and they [Joseph’s brethren] drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver.”

In verse 36: “And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar an officer of Pharaoh’s.”

In ch. xxxix. 1: Potiphar “bought him of the hands of the Ishmaelites which had brought him down thither.”

Grave charges have been brought against the Text on account of these and other so-called “discrepancies” by the “Higher” Critics of the present day. But it will be found that most of these objections are contained in the writings of the French and English Atheists and Deists of the eighteenth century, though the cursory reader may be quite sure that no writer or editor would be so ignorant, or would be so careless, as to make such blunders, if blunders they are.

Moses and his readers knew the facts so well that there could be no possibility of the record being misunderstood.

It is rather an evidence of veracity and accuracy that the interchange of names should thus be made, without any attempt to explain it. A later editor would be sure to have noted the phenomenon presented in the Text, and have made some effort to correct or explain it.

It is in the remoter Context of Judges viii. 24 that we learn from a parenthetical remark, connected with quite another subject, that the Midianites, whom Gideon had just defeated, “had golden earrings237 because they were Ishmaelites.”

Thus it must have been a well-known fact as shown by this parenthetical remark that all Midianites were Ishmaelites, but all Ishmaelites were not Midianites.

But if we enquire further, and ask how this could be, we have to go to another context altogether, even to two Scriptures earlier than Gen. xxxvii.

We find our first clue in Gen. xvi. 11, 12, where we learn that ISHMAEL Was the son of Abram, by his wife Hagar: while from Gen. xxv. 2 we learn that MIDIAN and MEDAN were Abraham’s sons by his wife Keturah. So that Ishmael and Midian were half-brothers, and doubtless shared the same countries and the same life. Hence, in Gen. xxxvii. there was no need to add any explanation of this fact, because it would be a matter of common knowledge.

But we, approaching Gen. xxxvii. from its own standpoint, are left to discover the fact; and we do so, from the remoter Context of Judges viii. (where a parenthetical remark solves the whole difficulty), and from Gen. xvi. 11, 12, and xxv. 2.

Thus, it is clear, from Gen. xxxvii., that while the caravan at a distance was seen and known to be Ishmaelite, a closer inspection showed that there were Midianite merchantmen travelling with the company, and were known by wearing the same nose- or ear-rings, which we see from Judges viii. were the distinguishing badge of all Ishmaelites.

We could hardly find an example which more clearly shows the importance of the Canon we are considering, and affords evidence of the exceeding value of carefully studying and marking the Context, however remote it may be, for the purposes of interpretation.

4. Exod. vi. 16-20. Moses’s Parents. Another Illustration is found in the case of the parents of Moses.

From Exod. vi. 16,18,20 we learn that his father Amram was the grandson of Levi, and that he married Jochebed the daughter of Levi.

This looks as though there must have been a great disparity of age, belonging as they did to different generations.

But it is not until we look in the book of Numbers that we find there, in the remoter Context, the solution of the difficulty. There we read, in Num. xxvi. 59, that “the name of Amram’s wife was Jochebed, the daughter of Levi, whom her mother bare to Levi in Egypt.”

Thus, Jochebed of the first generation would be about the same age as Amram of the second.

Dr. Blunt cites this to show that, as the object of Num. xxvi. 59 was not to explain this matter, we have an undesigned coincidence which establishes the veracity of the Scriptures. We cite it to show the importance of always noting and heeding the context.

5. Num. xvi. 1. The Sons of Kohath and Reuben. In Num. xvi. 1 we read of the rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, the sons of Kohath and Reuben.

Nothing is said as to why these should have joined together in the conspiracy. But in the remoter context of Num. iii. 29 we find that the tents of Kohath were pitched on the South side of the Tabernacle; and from Num. ii. 10 we find that the camp of Reuben was on the same (South) side also.

These statements are not made to explain how it was that Kohathites and Reubenites conspired together; but so it was, and so the difficulty is explained.

6. Num. xvi. 27. The Sons of Korah. Again, from this chapter, Num. xvi., it reads as though all shared the same judgment.

But, in the nearer context we find the “sons” of Dathan and Abiram mentioned in verse 27. Korah himself and his “men” who conspired with him and his goods are mentioned also; but no mention is made of Korah’s sons.

Then, in the remoter context, ten chapters later, we read in ch. xxvi. 11, “notwithstanding the sons of Korah died not.”

Doubtless, therefore, they obeyed the call of Moses and Aaron (ch. xvi. 24) and “gat up” out of the Tabernacle which these rebels had set up; and so were delivered.

These “sons of Korah,” thus rescued as brands from the burning, monuments of the grace of God, were in later days conspicuous in the prominence given to them and their descendants in the worship of the Temple, the “true Tabernacle” under David and Hezekiah.

7. Josh. iii. 15. Jordan overflowing in time of harvest. In Josh. iii. 14-17 we have the crossing of the Jordan described, and the parenthetical remark that it was in the time of harvest” (v. 15).

In Josh. iv. 19 we read that it was also on “the tenth day of the first month.” This was the season of the Passover, and of barley harvest, seven weeks before the Feast of Weeks, when the wheat harvest was celebrated (Exod. xxiii. 14. Lev. xxiii. 15).

But, according to Exod. ix. 31, this was also the time of the flax harvest.

How wonderful, then, and how simple is the truth of the narrative in Josh. ii. 6, where we are told that Rahab hid Joshua’s two spies beneath “the stalks of flax.”

8. 1 Sam. xiii. 19. No smith found in Israel. A brief statement in 1 Sam. xiii. 19 explains many circumstances when read in the light of remoter contexts. There we read “there was no smith found throughout all the land of Israel,” and the reason is given as the result of the rigorous law of the Philistines, who oppressed Israel at that time, and held them in subjection.

This explains how it was that Ehud “made him a dagger, which had two edges”; and made it himself (Judg. iii. 16).

Shamgar had to use an ox-goad in his attack on the Philistines (Judg. iii. 31).

Samson “had nothing in his hand,” no weapon, when he slew the lion (Judg. xiv. 5, 6).

There was not “a shield or spear seen among forty thousand in Israel” (Judg. v. 8).

In the days of Israel’s liberty we read of men that drew the sword “but in the days of their oppression we read of the sling and the stone (Judg. xx. 2, 15. 1 Sam. xvii. 40) and other ignoble weapons.

Dr. Blunt cites all these as arguments for the veracity of Scripture.

We use them for another purpose; to show the necessity of having due regard to the remoter contexts of the Word of God in order to understand parenthetical remarks which are made, and left, without any explanation being given in the immediate context.

9. 1 Sam. xvii. 4. “Goliath of Gath.” In 1 Sam. xvii. 4 and 2 Sam. xxi. 18-22 “Gath” is spoken of and emphasized as the city of Goliath, and of his brother and sons., It is mentioned incidentally, as needing no explanation.

But the explanation is found in the remoter context of Josh. xi. 21, 22, where we read of the utter destruction of the Anakim (or giants); and it is added that “there was none of the Anakim left in the land of Israel: only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod there remained.”

10. 1 Kings xvii. 9. “A little oil in a cruse.” In 1 Kings xvii. 9 Elijah is commanded to get him to Zarephath which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there; where a widow woman was to sustain him.

He goes to Zarephath and meets the widow, who says: “As the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse.”

This Zarephath (in the New Testament called Sarepta) belonged to Zidon.

Now, from the remoter context (Josh. xix. 24-28), we find that the district of Zidon fell to the lot of Asher; and if we turn to another context, still more remote (Deut. xxxiii. 24), we learn that in the blessing of the Tribes by Moses it is written: “And of Asher he said:

Let Asher be blessed with children,
Let him be acceptable to his brethren,
And let him dip his foot in oil.”

If this last sentence means anything, it denotes an abundance of olive trees and of oil, as the special characteristic of Asher’s blessing.

This is just what we find in 1 Kings xvii. 9, where after three years and a half of drought there is still a little oil left; and that in the store of a widow who was probably only a small proprietor.

11. 2 Chron. xvii. 1. “Jehoshaphat strengthened himself against Israel.” The histories of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and of Jehoram his son, furnish us with several illustrations.

There is first the nearer context, 2 Chron. xvii. 1, “And Jehoshaphat strengthened himself against Israel.”

This is meant to exhibit the enormity of his sin when, in ch. xviii. 1, he married his son Jehoram to Athaliah, the daughter of Jezebel; who afterwards did for Judah what Jezebel had done for Israel.238

12. 2 Chron. xxii. 11, 12. Joash, Jehosheba and nurse hidden six years in the Temple. The history of Jehoram goes on to tell us how he slew all his brethren (ch. xxi. 4); 11ow the Arabians came and destroyed all his children, and left him “never a son, save Jehoahaz (or Ahaziah) the youngest of his sons” (ch. xxi. 17).

Then we are told that, when this Ahaziah died, his mother Athaliah “arose and destroyed all the seed royal of the house of Judah” (ch. xxii. 10).

We are told also how the infant Joash was rescued by Jehosheba, the wife of Jehoiada, the High Priest (ch. xxii. 11, 12); and how she and the nurse and the child were hid in the house of God for six years.

We marvel how such a thing could be; for, for aught that is said there, the worship of the Temple was still going on, and the difficulty of hiding these three for so long a time looks as though the thing were impossible.

If we had no regard to the remoter context we should see here an insuperable difficulty; but when we read the whole context we find that, like most of our other difficulties, they are made by ourselves I

It is not until we reach chapter xxiv. that we learn what had previously taken place.

Not until those six years had run their course, and Athaliah was slain, and Joash sat upon the throne of Judah, not until then does it come out (and even then, not at all for the purpose of solving our difficulty or removing our perplexity) that in the previous reign the house of God had been broken up, and all the vessels removed to the temple of Baal which had been established in Judah (ch. xxiv. 7).

Not until Joash begins to reign are we told this, and even then it is only to explain why Joash set himself to repair it by preparing timber and stones and masons and carpenters for the work (ch. xxiv. 12-14), and not to explain why Jehosheba, Joash, and his nurse found the house of the LORD such a safe hiding-place. These large preparations made by Joash for the repairs show the extent of the breaches which had been made; and tell us how that ruined ‘and deserted Temple was the safest place in the whole kingdom.

13. 2 Chron. xxi. 10. The revolt of Libnah. Another circumstance, mentioned quite parenthetically in 2 Chron. xxi. 10, and without any apparent object, throws a flood of light on the whole history when we compare it with its remoter context in the book of Joshua.

The revolt of Edom from under the band of Jehoram king of Judah (2 Chron. xxi. 8-10) is not recorded as fulfilling prophecy; but it did, as we shall see if we look at the still more remote context of Gen. xxvii. 40.

The parenthetical remark in 2 Chron. xxi. 10 merely states the fact that at “the same time also did Libnah revolt from under his (Jehoram’s) hand; because he had forsaken the LORD God of his fathers.”

What is this remark thrown in here for? To tell us to look and see where and what Libnah was. We have to go back as far as Josh. xxi. 13, and there we find that Libnah was one of the cities of the Priests.

This tells us that when Jehoram and Athaliah broke up the Temple of God, and set up the house of Baal, the priests held aloof, and must have conspired to restore Joash to the throne as soon as the convenient time should come.

This explains why Jehoiada the High Priest had the chief part in the restoration of Joash and the execution of Athaliah, and the slaying of Mattan her priest of Baal (2 Chron. xxiii. 14-16).

This is why the priests took such a prominent part in collecting the money to repair and restore the House of the LORD (ch. xxiv. 4-11).

So that these references to the remoter context reveal all these truths, explain these difficulties, and throw a flood of light on the whole history.

14. 2 Kings xviii. 13, 14. The depletion of Hezekiah’s Treasury. In the history of Hezekiah we read (2 Kings xviii. 13-16) that his treasury had been depleted by the demands of the king of Assyria; for he had not only given him what was in his own house, but he was reduced to the necessity of stripping the gold from the doors of the Temple.

Yet in Isa. xxxix. 2 we find Hezekiah showing the emissaries of Babylon all “the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices,” etc.

No attempt is made to explain how this could be after so short an interval; and that interval covered by his sickness, and the siege of Jerusalem.

But there is one short passage, 2 Chron. xxxii. 22, 23, introduced there quite independently of all else:

“Thus, the Lord saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib the king of Assyria, and from the hand of all other, and guided them on every side. And many brought gifts unto the Lord to Jerusalem, and presents to Hezekiah king of Judah: so that he was magnified in the sight of all the nations from henceforth.”

In addition to these presents there must have been vast spoils after Sennacherib’s army had been destroyed, if we may judge from another remote context, in 2 Kings vii. 15, where, when the Syrians fled, “all the way was full of garments and vessels which the Syrians had cast away in their haste.”

15. Isa. lxii. 4, 5. Thy land shall be called Hephzibah. — In Isa. 1xii. 2 we are told that in the day of Israel’s future and coming glory both People and Land will be called by a new name which the mouth of Jehovah shall name.”

In verses 4, 5 we read of the giving of this new name:

“Thou shalt no more be termed ‘Forsaken’; neither shall thy land any more be termed ‘Desolate’:
But thou shalt be called ‘Hephzibah’ (i.e., my delight is in her)
And thy land ‘Beulah’ (i.e., married).
For Jehovah delighteth in thee, And thy land shall be married.
For as a young man marrieth (i.e., possesseth) a virgin, so shall thy sons marry (i.e., possess) thee:
And as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.”

Now, when we remember that Isaiah prophesied in the days of Hezekiah, we may well conclude that this prophecy synchronized with the marriage of Hezekiah with his wife Hephzibah (2 Kings xxi. 1).

As to when this took place we have no record; but we do know that at the time he was stricken unto death (in the fourteenth year of his reign) he had no son; nor was Manasseh born until three of those miraculously added fifteen years had run their course.

The marriage of Hezekiah therefore occupies an important, not to say a solemn, place in his history; and might well be thus used in connection with another solemn crisis in the miraculous future history of Israel.

16. Jer. xiii. 18. “Say … unto the Queen.” In Jer. xiii. 18 we read “Say unto the king and unto the Queen, Humble yourselves, sit down; for your principalities shall come down, even the crown of your glory.”

There is nothing in the prophecy to enable us to identify either the king or the queen. But in the remoter context of 2 Kings xxiv. we find that in the second of three invasions of Nebuchadnezzar, “Jehoiachin the king of Judah went out to the king of Babylon, he, and his mother, and his servants, and his princes and his officers; and the king of Babylon took him in the eighth year of his reign” (v. 12); and in verse 15 we read:

“And he carried away Jehoiachin to Babylon, and the king’s mother, and the king’s wives, and his officers, and the mighty of the land, those carried he into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon.”

Dr. Blunt suggests that as Jehoiachin was only eighteen and had reigned only three months (v. 8), the queen dowager held a position of some influence, which is sufficient to explain the reference of Jehovah to her by Jeremiah.

17. Mark xiv. 51, 52. The young man who fled from Gethsemane. In Mark xiv. 51, 52, we read of the young man who followed Christ, and when they attempted to take him prisoner “he left the linen cloth and fled from them naked.”

There is no indication here as to the identity of this young man.

But from the remoter contexts we learn.

(1) That the Lord was sleeping out at Bethany, each night during that last week (Luke xxi. 37; xxii. 39. Compare Matt. xxvi. 6). He would be staying there with Lazarus and Martha and Mary.

(2) On this night they would be watching for the Lord’s return. And seeing the lights in the garden below the mount, what more natural than that Lazarus should go down to see what the tumult was about.

(3) We know from John xii. 10 that “the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death.” We read of no one else whom they wished to take, or to kill. All His disciples seem to have been quite safe. The reason for the decision to put Lazarus to death is given in John xii. 9-11.

(4) The linen cloth betokens considerable wealth. This the family possessed, judging from Matt. xxvi. 7, the purchase of the very precious ointment which excited the cupidity of Judas.

This garment must have been put on hastily and loosely, for it was left in the enemies’ hands unceremoniously.

All these different contexts unite in helping us to identify this young man with Lazarus whom the Lord had raised from the dead.

18. John xxi. 15. “Lovest thou me more than these?” — In John xxi. 15 there is nothing to show us whom or what the Lord referred to by the pronoun “these”: Lovest thou me more than these?

But in the remoter context of Matt. xxvi. 31, 33 and Mark xiv. 27, 29, we have the words of Peter, to which the Lord, doubtless, referred: “All ye shall be offended because of me this night ... Peter answered and said unto him, Though all shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never (i.e., in no wise) be offended.”

From this it is clear that the pronoun “these” refers to Peter’s fellow disciples; and the ellipsis must be supplied, not “Lovest thou me more than [thou lovest] these but, Lovest thou me more than these [love me].

19. Acts ii. 16. “This is that.” Acts ii. 16-21 is an illustration which affects the remoter context as well as the nearer, because it is a quotation from Joel ii. 28-32.239 This fact makes 6,11 the difference.

“This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel” (Acts ii. 16). There is nothing in these words to tell us what is “this” and what is “that.” The word “this” is emphatic; and the word “but,” with which the new argument begins, sets what follows in contrast, not in correspondence. It does not begin with the word “For,” but with the word “But.” This points to the fact that the quotation is intended to show that their enemies’ charge (that they were drunk) would not stand. So far from such signs and wonders proving they were drunk, Peter asks, What about the prophecy of Joel? He prophesied of similar scenes “in the last days.”

Peter does not say that these were the last days, but this is what Joel says “of those days.” Will those scenes (he argues) lie open to the same charge of drunkenness? Certainly not! Then, how can these men be charged with drunkenness now, especially “seeing it is but the third hour of the day.”

Peter is not expounding Joel. Nor is he saying that that prophecy was then fulfilled. He does not say “then was fulfilled”; or, “as it is written.” He merely calls attention to what Joel said of a similar scene, which is to be fulfilled “in the last days.”

That this is so is clear the moment we turn to the prophet Joel, and read what Jehovah there speaks by him.

To understand Joel’s prophecy it is absolutely necessary for us to see exactly what is the subject of it. What Dispensation is he speaking about? Is it about the Christian Dispensation, or is it the Dispensation of Judgment which shall follow it? Ts it all about the Jew? or about the Gentile? or, is it about the Church of God?

The Structure will give us the Scope. It is exceedingly simple:

The Prophecy of Joel, as a whole.

A| i. 1-3. The Call to hear.

B| i. 4-12. The evil which had come upon the Land and the People.

A| i. 13-ii. 17. The Call to Repentance.

B| ii. 18-iii. 21. The evil removed from the Land and the People

We see, from this, what the prophecy of Joel is all about. It describes the fulfilment of the last clause of “the Song of Moses” in Deut. xxxii.,240 which finishes up with the solemn but gracious assurance in v. 43:

Rejoice, O ye nations, with His People:
For He will avenge the blood of His servants,
And will render vengeance to His adversaries,
And will be merciful unto His Land and to His People.”

So the member B (Joel ii. 18) begins-

“Then will Jehovah be jealous for His Land;
And pity His People.”

“THIS,” therefore, is “THAT.” This is the scope, or the subject-matter, or context of Acts ii. 16. It concerns Jehovah’s “Land” and Jehovah’s “People,” and not “the Church of God.” Peter addresses these “people”: he says, “Ye men of Judea” (v. 14), “Ye men of Israel” (v. 22). He calls “the house of Israel” (v. 36) to this very repentance to which Joel calls in view of “the last days.” For national repentance is ever declared to be the condition of national blessing.

But the key to the correct understanding of Peter’s quotation lies in the word “afterward” of Joel ii. 28. After what? No one can tell us but Joel. We ourselves cannot tell apart from his prophecy.

We see that ch. ii. 28 is part of the member we have marked B (ch. ii. 18-iii. 21), the subject of which is the evil (of B, ch. i. 4-12) removed from the Land and the People.

The removal of this evil is elaborately set forth and described. The member B is no mere conglomeration or jumble of words and phrases. It has its own Structure as follows:

Expansion of B. (Joel ii. 18-iii. 21.)

B| a1| ii. 18, 19. Blessings bestowed. (Temporal.)

bl| ii. 20. Evil removed. (Judgment prophesied.)

a2| ii. 21-29. Blessing bestowed. (Temporal and Spiritual.)

b2| ii. 30, 31. Evil removed. (Accompanying Judgment signs.)

a3| ii. 32. Blessing bestowed. (Spiritual.)

b3| iii.1-16-. Evil removed. (Fulfilment.)241

a4| iii. 16-18. Blessings bestowed. (Spiritual and Temporal.)

b4| iii.19. Evil removed. (Judgment executed.)

a5| iii.20,21. Blessing bestowed. (Spiritual.)

These “Blessings bestowed” must be read on from one to the other; and the “Evil removed” must, in like manner, be connected; the members relating to the “Evil removed” being treated as parenthetical to the members which treat of “Blessing bestowed,” and the “Blessing bestowed” members being treated as parenthetical to the “Evil removed” members.

From the above Structure we see that ch. ii. 28 is contained in the member marked “a2,” and is not a separate member to be treated parenthetically; but it connects the Spiritual blessing with the temporal, and shows that it follows on from it.

This Spiritual blessing is introduced by the words:

“And it shall come to pass AFTERWARD that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh” (v. 28).

After what?

After the Temporal blessings of

The former and latter rain (v. 23).

The fulness of the threshing floors and of the wine and oil-presses (v. 24).

The plenty242 and satisfaction (v. 26).

The entire and perpetual removal of shame (vv. 26, 27).

When Jehovah shall be “in the midst of Israel” (v. 27).

It is “afterward”; after all these temporal blessings, that these Spiritual blessings shall be bestowed.

This is “afterward”; when the Spirit shall be poured out “upon all flesh.”

The most cursory reader must see and know that the Spirit was NOT poured out upon all flesh in Acts ii., but only on those then present: that none of these wondrous and great signs had been shown: that deliverance was not manifested in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem; for the Land and the People were still in the power of the Romans.

This word “AFTERWARD” thus shows that the prophecy of Joel in Acts ii. is not quoted in order to prove that this Pentecostal scene was the fulfilment of it; but in order to show that, as that future scene could not be ascribed to drunkenness, so neither could this Pentecostal scene be so ascribed.

At least, a child could see that Acts ii. is not the fulfilment of Joel ii.; but it is hopeless for those to see it whose eyes are blinded by believing the tradition of those who persist in saying that “the Church was formed at Pentecost.”

They not only say this with great assurance; but they lay it down as an article of faith; and are ready to excommunicate any who do not believe it.

But this is only the Tradition of the Brethren; not even the Tradition of the Fathers though it just as surely makes void the Word of God.

There can be no mistake about. Joel’s word “afterward.” The Holy Spirit by Peter interprets it as of “the last days.” The Hebrew is not the simple rh^a* (achar), after (Gen. v. 4),243 but it is this, compounded with /K@ (ken), so, or thus (Gen. i. 7), referring always to what follows. It is /K@-yr@h&a^ (acharey-ken), after that (Gen. vi. 4; vii. 14; xxiii. 19; xli. 30. 1 Sam. ix. 13, etc., etc.).

It is thus perfectly certain that the word “this” in Acts ii. 16 refers to what follows, and not to what precedes: to the yet future events prophesied by Joel, and not to the events then taking place at Jerusalem.

The word “this” is an emphatic pronoun. But there is no similarly emphatic pronoun for the word “that.” It is simply the article with the perfect passive participle:” This (that follows) is what has been said by the prophet Joel.” Not “this” (which has happened); for, in that case, what could be the “this”? This apparent drunkenness ? There was no “this,” preceding. It would be these events; these phenomena; these Pentecostal scenes. But it is Singular, “this,” agreeing with the Scripture about to be quoted from Joel.

The word “this” could not, and cannot, refer to these Pentecostal scenes; for no gift of tongues was spoken of by Joel.

It could not refer to the pouring-out foretold by Joel, because here, this pouring-out was only on the Apostles; whereas Joel speaks of it being poured upon “all flesh.” There is not a word said in Acts ii. about any of their “sons and daughters” prophesying; or of their “old men” dreaming dreams; or of their “young men” seeing visions; or of their “servants and handmaids” receiving spiritual gifts.

In fact there is in Acts ii. no fulfilment at all of Joel’s prophecy, either implied or expressed.

There is nothing beyond the argument that the charge of drunkenness could no more be brought against these present Pentecostal scenes than against those yet future scenes connected with the blessings to be bestowed upon Israel, prophesied of by Joel, as what should take place afterward”: i.e., after all those temporal blessings have been bestowed on Israel’s Land and on Israel’s People.

20. 1 Cor. xi. 10. “Power on her head.” “For this cause ought the woman to have power (see margin) on her head because of the angels.”

“Power” is put by Metonymy for the vail which was the symbol of being under her husband’s power.

For this we have to go to the very remote context of Gen. vi. 1, 4, where we learn by comparing 2 Pet. ii. 4 and Jude 6 the reason for this injunction. (See Canon I., pp. 192, 193 above, and notes on “angel” and “spirit,” pp. 191, 219.)

21. Gal. iii. 15-17. The four hundred, and the four hundred and thirty years. The subject of these verses is the “Promise” or unconditional Covenant which God made with Abraham.

This was four hundred and thirty years before the giving of the Law (Exod. xii. 40).

When the four hundred years are mentioned they are reckoned from Abraham’s “seed,” which was Isaac, who was not born till thirty years later (Gen. xv. 13244 and Acts vii. 6).

22. Gal. iii. 20. “God is one.” “Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.”

Verse 19, compared with the remoter contexts of Acts vii. 53. Deut. xxxiii. 2. Ps. lxviii. 17. Heb. ii. 2, shows that the Law was given by a mediator.

Now where there is a mediator there must be two parties to a covenant.

But in Gen. xv. there was only one party; and that was God. When Abraham was about to take part in making the Covenant according to the custom (Jer. xxxiv. 18, 19), God put him to sleep (Gen. xv. 12), and passed between the pieces Himself, alone (v. 17). He was “one;” one party, alone in the “promise.” That Covenant is not only prior to the Law as to time, but was superior to it because it was unconditional.

23. Heb. xii. 17. “No place of repentance.” “For ye know how, afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no way to change his [father’s] mind (see margin) though he sought it carefully with tears.”

To what does the pronoun “it” refer? What was “it” that Esau sought so carefully?

The context (and especially the remoter context of Gen. xxvii. 34, 36, 38) clearly shows that it was the “blessing” which he sought.

Canon 5

The First Occurance of Words, Expressions, and Utterances Are Generally Essential to Their Interpretation

This is a law we have long since noticed, and have never yet found it to fail. The first occurrence of a Word, or an Expression, or an Utterance is the key to its subsequent usage and meaning; or at least a guide as to the essential point connected with it.

We propose to consider this Law as illustrated in these three classes:

i. Words.

ii. Expressions.

iii. Utterances.

i. Words.

1. Prophet.

The first occurrence of the word Prophet is in Gen. xx. 7, and is used by God to Abimelech king of Gerar, of Abraham-

“Now therefore restore the man his wife; for he is a prophet and he shall pray for thee.”

This first occurrence of the word shows that it is used in a very different sense from that in which we use it today.

Of course, even apart from this, our present usage is of no account in determining the Biblical usage.

We use it of one whose sole mission is to foretell future events.

But, here, it is used in connection with Abraham, who foretold nothing; and of whose prophecies, as such, we have neither mention, allusion, or record.

The only thing associated with the prophet, in Abraham, here, is prayer!

This first occurrence, therefore, speaks to us if we have ears to hear; and, being so contrary to our current usage, tells us to search further and see what it teaches us in connection with its other occurrences.

We soon learn from Exod. vii. 1 that the same God calls Aaron, Moses’s “prophet.” This takes us a step further; and leads to another question: How could one man be another man’s “Prophet”? The answer is found in Exod. iv. 16, where God, referring to the same matter, says of Aaron, to Moses, “He shall be thy spokesman.”

Here, then, we learn that the essential interpretation of the word “prophet” is spokesman. So that the prophet was one who spoke FOR God, whether by way of Exhortation, Instruction, Reproof, Warning, Correction, Reprobation, or Judgment. Foretelling was only a very small part of his duties.

There was “no prophet greater than John the Baptist” (Matt. xi. 9-11). He prophesied that Christ should baptize with pneuma hagion, but where are his prophecies, as we understand the word, today? Not one is recorded. But he was God’s spokesman, prepared, equipped, and sent forth by God to prepare the way of the Messiah (Luke i. 13-17,76-79).

The prophet, therefore, was essentially God’s spokesman; and his sole mission was to speak only those words which were given him to speak.

In this sense Moses was the great prophet typical of the Lord Jesus. Seven times in the closing words of Exodus we find the refrain associating Moses’s words and deeds with his obedience, “as the Lord commanded Moses” (Exod. xl. 19, 21, 23, 25, 27, 20, 32).

Even so the Lord Jesus was “the prophet like unto Moses.” Why? Not because of His foretelling future events, but because “He whom God sent speaketh the words of God” (John iii. 34. Compare John iii. 32; vii. 16, 26, 28; xv. 15, etc.).

For the same reason “prophets” were bestowed upon the Church at the beginning (Eph. iv. 11); “for (prov", pros) the perfecting of the Saints with a view to (eij", eis) the work of the ministry for (eij", eis) the building up of the body of Christ.” (See above, pages 53, 54.) This was the special object of the New Testament prophetic ministry (compare Eph. ii. 20. Rom. xvi. 26, “prophetic writings,” 2 Pet. i. 19, “the prophetic245 word”),

The work of these prophets was specially connected with the making known the “Mystery” or the great secret, which had been “hid in God.” (See above, p. 257.)

It is a great mistake to suppose that Eph. ii. 20 refers to the Old Testament Prophets; and that the Church is built upon them! There is abundant evidence as to the New Testament order of Prophets; and that they were charged with quite a different mission, though they were God’s spokesmen: Barnabas (Acts iv. 36), Stephen (Acts vi. 10, 15), Agabus (Acts xi. 28; xxi. 10), Silvanus, Silas, and Judas (Acts xv. 32), Manaen and Lucius of Cyrene (Acts xiii. 1), Timothy (1 Tim. vi. 11; 2 Tim. iii. 17), the daughters of Philip (Acts xxi. 9), and others, unnamed (Acts viii. 17; x. 44-46; xix. 6).

The Exhortations addressed to and connected with the prophets are also special. “Despise not prophesyings” shows that the word “spirit” in the preceding clause refers to the spiritual gift of prophesying (1 Thess. v. 20); and “Quench not the spirit” means, Do not stifle or suppress such spiritual gifts in others.

Examples of this prophetic power in action and teaching, etc., are seen in Acts v. 4; xiii. 2; xxi. 1-14. 1 Cor. xiv. 24, 25. 1 Tim. i. 18; iv. 1.

Thus, the first occurrence of the word “prophet” leads us into all this line of teaching, and shows us that the Preposition prov (pro), before, is not used with regard to time, but to manner; not to speaking beforehand, or telling-before, but telling forth.

Moreover, we may note there was no place for the ministry of prophets till the priests had failed in their mission, which was to teach the Word of God. When the priests became absorbed in their ritual, then God raised up prophets as His spokesmen. Hence a prophet was known as a “Man of God” (see page 314 below).

2. “Hallelujah.”

This Hebrew word occurs twenty-eight times, and is eleven times transliterated “Hallelujah,” or, according to the Greek spelling in the New Testament, “Alleluia”; and is nineteen times translated, “Praise ye the Lord.”

But our question now is to ask, Where is tile first occurrence of this word? and by it to discover not merely the meaning of the word, but its significance and interpretation.

It is found first at the end of Ps. civ.; and, its position there leaves us in no doubt as to its true interpretation. It is associated with praise for deliverance from, and for the destruction of, enemies-

“Let sinners be consumed out of the earth,
And let the wicked be no more.
Bless Jehovah, O my soul,
Hallelujah” (Ps. civ. 35).

Its first occurrence in the New Testament is in precisely the same connection (Rev. xix. 1, 3):

Salvation, and glory and honour, and power
Unto the Lord our God.
For true and righteous are His judgments:
For He hath judged the great whore which did corrupt the earth with her fornication,
And hath avenged the blood of His servants at her hand.
And again they said HALLELUJAH.”246

The word is thus associated with the thought of judgment: not necessarily every time; for praise must be rendered for many things: but this is its first great theme.

This thought will not be repugnant to those who “rightly divide the Word of truth,” and understand such “Praise.” Though it is out of harmony in this Dispensation of grace, it is quite in keeping with the past Dispensation of works and the coming Dispensation of Judgment. (See pages 110, 111.)

3. “Selah.”

The first occurrence of this word furnishes us with the key to its meaning.

All explanations of it which have been given, and have been derived from sources outside the Word of God, are worthless. They are only what men have thought; and have never risen above musical notation.

No meaning has hitherto been suggested that is worthy of the dignity of the Inspired Word; or that is connected with the truth, teaching, or subject-matter of the Scriptures.

Some have said that it always marks the end of a Strophe; others that it marks the beginning. Both are wrong, being only a part of the truth ; and, as is so often the case in other departments of Bible study, when a part is put for the whole the result is error instead of truth.

The word Selah may be derived from one of two roots: either from hl*s*(salah), to pause, and, though this may well apply to the pausing of the heart and mind to dwell on the words of God, yet man seems unable to rise above the thought of the musical instruments pausing, while the voices go on. On the other hand, some derive it from ll^s* (salal), to lift up; but they limit this to lifting up the voices in song, and do not rise to the lifting up of the heart.

The word Selah occurs seventy-four times in the Old Testament: seventy-one times in the Book of Psalms and three times in the Prophecy of Habakkuk.

Of these it occurs several times in the middle of a verse; which is a proof that it need neither commence nor end a Paragraph or Strophe.

The key will be furnished by its first occurrence, in Ps. iii., where it occurs three times-

(1) Between verses 2 and 3.

(2) Between verses 4 and 5.

(3) Between Psalms iii. and iv.

Here, it will be seen that the word is used as a connecting link, calling our attention to what has been said, and bidding us to associate it with what immediately follows.

This may be for various purposes:

(1) It may be by way of contrast.

(2) It may be by way of further explanation.

(3) It may be to mark a cause, or an effect; or,

(4) It may be at the end of a Psalm, in which case it connects the two Psalms and tells us that they relate to the same authorship, or have the same subject-matter.

In this first occurrence (Ps. iii.) we have three of these usages.

The first Selah (between verses 2 and 3) contrasts what the many said of David:

“There is no help for him in God,”

with what David could say to the LORD:

“But Thou, O Jehovah, art a shield for me.”

Here the “many” are thus put into contrast with the one; and, while the many knew the Divine being only as “God” (the creator),247 David knew Him as “Jehovah,” his Covenant God, the God to Whom he stood in a covenant relation.248

The second Selah (between verses 4 and 5) marks and connects the cause and effect. It is a practical exhibition of the truth afterwards revealed in Phil. iv. 6, 7.

“Let your requests be made known unto God,


God’s peace ... shall keep your heart and mind.”

This is what David experienced, practically, in that terrible night, in his flight from Jerusalem:

“I cried unto God with my voice,
And He heard me out of His holy hill.

I laid me down and slept; I awaked:
For Jehovah sustained me.”

The third Selah (between the two Psalms iii. and iv.) connects not merely the two verses (Ps. iii. 8 and iv. 1), but the two Psalms, as such. It tells us that Ps. iv. relates to the same time, and to the same circumstances in David’s life: and gives us further details as to what the cry and the prayer was that is referred to in Ps. iii.

Having thus got the key to the usage of the word Selah, which is of far greater importance than its Etymology or Lexical meaning, we can apply it to all its other occurrences.

It is, in fact, another example of our third Canon (page 227 above), where the Biblical usage of words is considered as being essential to their correct interpretation.249

4. “Jerusalem.”

The first occurrence of the word “Jerusalem” is in Judg. i. 7, 8. And in one sentence the whole subsequent history of centuries is condensed.

“The children of Judah had fought against Jerusalem, and had taken it, and smitten it with the edge of the sword, and set the city on fire.”

This is in strange contrast with its name: The Vision of Peace! But it is in accordance with its history.

It has been a history of sieges. Some twenty-seven times has it been besieged, three times has the city, and twice its temple, been destroyed by fire.250

But it is yet to be the centre and symbol of peace. Peace shall be the eternal character and blessedness of Jerusalem, in spite of her past history, as foreshadowed in the first occurrence of the name. (See Ps. cxxii. 6-8; cxxv. 5; cxxviii. 6. Isa. xxxii. 17; liv. 12; Ix. 17; 1xvi. 12. Hag. ii. 9.)

5. Numbers.

The Spiritual Significance of numbers is seen in their first occurrence.

One is associated with Deity (Gen. L 3, 4). “God is light” (1 John i. 5).

Two is associated with Separation and Division (Gen. i. 6-8), though afterwards it is associated with union in testimony (Dent. xvii. 6. Rev. xi. 3).

Three is associated with resurrection in Gen. L 9, when the earth rises up out of and above the waters; and fruit arises out of the earth.

Four is associated with the earth when (Gen. L 14-19) the Sun and Moon were established as light-holders, to 64 give light upon the Earth.”

Five is associated with grace, in the gift of life, in the creation of living creatures; and in the production of life out of the waters of the great deep.

Six is associated with the creation of Man (Gen. L 26-81). Man was created on the sixth day; and hence six is man’s “Hall-mark”; and, with its multiples, is stamped upon all that characterizes man as falling short of God; or in opposition to or defiance of God.

Goliath was 6 cubits high; his spear’s head weighed 600 shekels of iron; and he had 6 pieces of armour enumerated.

Nebuchadnezzar was similarly marked. His image was 60 cubits high, and 6 cubits wide, while 6 instruments of music called for its universal worship.

The Beast is marked by the threefold combination of 666 (Rev. xiii).

Seven is associated with Divine Blessing and Rest (Gen. ii. 1-3), and is thus the mark of the Spirit of God as “the author and giver of life,” and blessing, and rest. Hence it is that this number is so frequent in Scripture, as being the “Hall mark” of the Spirit’s authorship of “the Word of life.”

Eight is a new first and, like the Number Three, is associated with newness, especially in resurrection, which took place on “the first day of the week.” It first occurs in Gen. v. 4 in the number of the years of Adam, the end of the first man. “The second man” began his resurrection life on the eighth day. Hence the association of the number with resurrection.

Nine occurs first in Lev. xxv. 22, and is used of the end of full time. Inasmuch as the fulness of time issues in judgment for good or evil, so nine becomes the symbol or hall-mark of all that stands connected with judgment.

Ten is the great cardinal number, completing one order and commencing a new one. Hence it is used of ordinal perfection, and is so used in its first occurrence in Gen. xxiv. 55.

Twelve is associated with service, rule, and Government. “Twelve years they served” (Gen. xiv. 4). Henceforth we find 12 and its multiples connected with Government both in heaven and on earth. It is the factor in the heavenly Signs, Constellations, and Measurements. It is the factor in all earthly enumerations that have to do with government.251

Thirteen first occurs in Gen. xiv. 4 also, “Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer and the thirteenth year they rebelled.” So that ever after, in Scripture, the Number 13, and every multiple of it, is associated with rebellion, apostacy, and disintegration.252 It is universally a number of evil omen: but those who go back for the origin of anything never go back far enough. They go back, in their own imagination, to the Twelve Apostles and our Lord as making 13; but the first occurrence of the number takes us back to the Divine usage of the Word, Gen. xiv. 4.253

6. Divine Names and Titles

The Divine Names and Titles are determined in the same way by their first occurrence.

GOD (Gen. i. 1). “In the beginning God created.” Hence whenever we meet with the name of God we may always associate with it the thought of the Creator, and its appropriate use by His creatures (see p. 309).

LORD or Jehovah (Gen. ii. 4) first occurs as the special title used in the first of the Eleven Toled6th or “Generations.” It is the Creator standing in Covenant relation, and in communication with those whom He had created.

Most High, or Elyon, occurs first in Gen. xiv. 18, and is associated with God as being “the possessor of Heaven and Earth.” This is the essence of the meaning wherever we afterwards find it; and this will give the Scope of the passage in which we find it.254

ii. Expressions.

The same is true not only of separate Words, but of a combination of words in such expressions as “Son of Man,” “Man of God,” “Day of the Lord,” etc.

1. “The Son of Man.”255

This expression is first met with in Psalm viii. And if we wish to know what its distinctive significance is we must note its associations.

There we find, from the first and last verses, that it is “the earth” which is in question, and that it is “dominion” in the earth which is the scope of the Psalm as a whole. It is universal dominion over all the works of God’s hands.

This then is the special thought to be borne in mind whenever we subsequently meet with this title.

Not “a son of man,” for every mortal being is that, as a descendant of Adam. Ezekiel is constantly so called. “A son of man” is the converse of “a son of God.”

There is just the same difference between “a son of God” and “the Son of God” as there is between “a son of Man” and “the Son of Man.”

“The Son of Man” is the special title of the Lord Jesus, in connection with His right and title to universal dominion in the earth; and as having had all things placed as a footstool for His feet, when the time comes for Him to exercise that right.

At the present moment, according to the Divine Counsels “we see NOT YET all things put under Him” (Heb. ii. 8); but we shall see them in due time, when “He shall come whose right it is” to reign (Isa. xxxii. 1. Ezek. xxi. 27).

It was as “the Son of Man” that He came unto His own dominion. But His own people “received Him not” (John i. 11), hence His title is associated with His humiliation.

The first New Testament occurrence is full of significance. It is in Matt. viii. 20; where we are told that “the Son of Man” had not where to lay His head on that earth which was His by right.

This title, in perfect harmony with that first occurrence, is used eighty times in the four Gospels, not once in the Church Epistles; once in Acts vii. 56; once (and then only as a quotation) in the Epistle to the Hebrews. It does not reappear until the Apocalypse, twice (ch. i. 13; xiv. 14). There, at the crisis, when the moment arrives for executing judgment in the earth, He is seen and described as “the Son of Man”; no longer in humiliation, no longer wearing a crown of thorns, but “having on His head a golden crown” (Rev. xiv. 14-16).

The fact that this title never once occurs in the Epistles that are addressed to churches speaks loudly to those who have ears to hear; for it declares that we, as the members of the Body of Christ, have no more connection with Him by the title of “the Son of Man,” than had the Syro-Phoenician woman with Him as “The Son of David” (Matt. xv. 21-24). Hence, it follows, that the Church of God must be rightly divided off, and excluded from all portions of those Scriptures where the Lord Jesus bears this title of “the Son of Man.” The use of that title is sufficient proof in itself that the Scope of all such passages where it occurs is dominion in the earth; and not glory in the heavens.

2. “The Man of God.”

We find this expression used twice of Timothy in the New Testament (1 Tim. vi. 11. 2 Tim. iii. 17). And if we ask for the exact essence and force of the expression; and what is the teaching conveyed in it, we have to ask for its first occurrence.

We find it in Deut. xxxiii. 1: “This is the blessing wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death.”

This blessing is a great prophecy: and Moses, in this Book, is spoken of as being that Prophet, like unto whom Christ was to be hereafter raised up (Deut. xviii. 15).

This title “Man of God” came to be the popular description or title of the prophet, and we meet with it, as being so used, throughout the historical books of the Old Testament. What this teaches us will be further seen under our next Canon, as to the importance of the place, in Scripture, where we meet with certain expressions, in addition to the first place in which we find it.256

3. “The Day of the Lord.”

This we have already considered in part, under Part I. iv. (p. 158). It only remains, here, to show that what we have there said is based upon what we learn from its first occurrence.

We meet with it first in Isa. ii. 11, 12.

“The lofty looks of man shall be humbled,
And the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down,
And the LORD alone shall be exalted in that Day.
For the Day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud,” etc.

Here we have the essence of the expression. Whatever may be the marks and accompaniments of that Day; whatever may be its judgments and plagues and terrors, they have all only one twofold object;

The abasement of Man and
The exaltation of God.

This is their object and this is the great and final result.

Now, it is “Man’s day” (I Cor. iv. 3, margin). Man is judging. But “the Lord’s Day” is coming, when He will be the judge. John is carried away by the Spirit and shown the future judgment scenes in the visions which are described in the Apocalypse: so that we can there read about the unveiling and exaltation of Christ, and the abasement of man in that day.257

iii. Utterances.

1. The first Utterance of the Old Serpent.

In Gen. iii. 1 the Old Serpent is introduced to us as already fallen, and his first words are intended to impress us with the fact that, the special sphere of his activities is not the criminal sphere; not the sphere of immorality; but it is the Religious sphere: it is the sphere which has the Word of God for the great object of attack.

The first utterance of Satan, as the Old Serpent, was to question the truth of the Word of God. “He said unto the woman,

Yea, God hath said ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden,”

It is not certain whether this should be a question or a statement. The woman’s answer appears to regard it as a statement, by meeting it with a denial and an explanation.

And the woman said unto the Serpent

“We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden,” etc,

But we are concerned now with the subject of Satan’s first utterance.

It is about the Word and truth of God. God had spoken. Shall man believe what He has said?

This fact speaks to us if we have ears to hear.

It bids us look for Satan’s sphere of influence today, not in the Police Courts, but in the Pulpits; not in the Newspapers, but in Sermons; not on the Stage, but in our Universities; not in our streets, but in the Professors’ Chairs at our Theological Colleges.

Time was when Infidels carried on a platform campaign of lectures against the Word of God. In our day this has practically ceased. There is no further need for it; the work is more effectually done in the Pulpit by Theological Infidels, who have “turned away their ears from the truth and are turned unto myths” (2 Tim. iv. 3,4). Treating the Word of God as “unhistorical” and its records as “fables,” they teach the myths of men instead of obeying the command to “Preach the word.”

This is what we learn from this first utterance of the Old Serpent.

With this we ought to couple

2. The First Ministerial Utterance of the Lord Jesus.

We have it in Matt. iv. 4; immediately after His consecration for His office of Prophet.

The Old Serpent comes to the Second man, the last Adam, not in a garden of delights, but in the wilderness. He questions again the truth of God’s words, the echo of which, “This is my beloved son,” had scarcely died away: “If thou be the Son of God.”

What are the words of the Lord’s reply.


This is the Lord’s first ministerial utterance.

Could language tell us more pointedly and plainly that we are again on the same battle-field in which the truth of God’s Word is at stake ?

“It is written.” What was written? What can be written but words? How can it be possible to have writing apart from words?

And yet there are those that tell us that the Bible it “contains the Word of God,” but that it “is not the Word of God.” That its thoughts are inspired, but not its words. But again we ask, How can thoughts be written down without words? It is by words, and only by words that thoughts can be made known.

When Milton dictated his poems to his amanuensis, did he communicate his thoughts and leave his words to the choice of another? Are not the actual words, and even the spelling and rhythm of them, vital to the whole matter? Are not the choice of the words and the scanning of their syllables the very essence of what made the result Milton’s, and not that of his amanuensis?


This is an utterance which settles such questions for ever; and closes the mouth of Satan and all “his ministers” (2 Cor. xi. 15).

At least, it closed the mouth of Satan; though men’s mouths will be open and vent their blasphemies until they are closed in judgment.

Three times did the Lord Jesus use that first utterance, “It is written,” and three times did He utter no other than the words written, until He dismissed the Old Serpent with the rebuke: “Get thee hence, Satan.”

Is it not as significant as it is remarkable, that when the Lord delivered up His trust,. having finished the work which was given Him to do, He again, three times, referred to God’s Word written, in John xvii.:

“Thy word is truth” (v. 17).

“I have given them Thy Word” (v. 14).

“I have given unto them the words which Thou gavest me” (v. 8) ?

Does not this fact speak to us? Surely the fact that the Lord’s ministry began and ended with a three-fold reference to the Word of God emphatically assures us that-


3. The first utterance of the Lord as the Son of Man.

This also is important, as distinct from this first official and ministerial utterance.

He must have spoken from the time that all children speak. But not one syllable has the Holy Spirit written down until twelve years had passed by; and then, not another until eighteen years later.

Only one utterance of the Lord Jesus through all those thirty years of His earthly life as the Son of Man.

It was this:

“Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” (Luke ii. 49).

It was in the form of a question which Joseph and Mary could neither understand-nor answer.

It was a rebuke; for Mary had spoken of “thy father and I.” The Lord speaks of “I” and “My Father.”

No utterance could have more fully, completely or beautifully summed up His whole mission which had been, centuries before, written “in the Volume of the Book,” concerning Him (Ps. xl. 7. Heb. x. 7).

“Lo I come to do Thy will, O my God.”

And, when we compare with this His last recorded utterance as the Son of Man, no language can describe its fulness of meaning, its significance, and its importance:

“It is finished.”

What was finished? The Father’s business which He came to be about!

4. The First Questions in the Old and New Testaments.

We have already seen (page 315) that the words of the Old Serpent in Gen. iii. 1 are, probably, not to be regarded as a question.

In that case the first question in the Old Testament is put by Jehovah Elohim to the lost sinner (Gen. iii. 9)-

“Where art thou?”

This question reveals to Adam his lost and ruined condition; and makes way for the promise of the needed Saviour which is given in verse 15.

Then the first question in the New Testament (Matt. ii. 2) is put by those who are seeking that Saviour-

“Where is He?”

In these two questions we have the object of the two Testaments. The Old, which ministers law and condemnation, is intended to convict the sinner of his sin and to show him his need; the New, which ministers grace, is intended to bring peace and blessing in the gift of the Saviour whom God has provided, anointed, given, and sent.

“Where is He?” Where is that Saviour who has been promised? Where is the Saviour of whom I, as a lost sinner, have discovered my need?

5. The Holy Spirit’s first Interpretation of Prophecy.

The first interpretation of a prophecy written in the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New must furnish us with a key to the interpretation and understanding of all other prophecies.

It occurs in Matt. i. 22, 23, and the way in which the Holy Spirit, who inspired it through Isaiah, records His own fulfilment of it by Matthew must needs be full of instruction.

We have gone into this very fully in our work on Number in Scripture (pages 63-67), so that it is not necessary to repeat it here. We only recommend the study of this first example of interpretation as being a guide to the way in which we should approach the interpretation of other prophecies.

Canon 6

The Place Where the Passage Occurs Is Often Essential to Its Full Interpretation

Some passages of Scripture derive their chief importance from the revelation of a great truth which is made in them.

Some derive their chief importance from certain words employed in that revelation.

But others derive their chief importance from the place where we find them written.

It is well, therefore, for us always to notice and see whether this last is the case with any passage which we may be considering.

We must ask: Why is this passage or verse here? Why is it in this Book, or in this Epistle? Why is it not in some other Book or Epistle?

This, it will be seen, is closely connected with our Canon IV. as to the Context being always essential to correct interpretation: for, the examination of the place where a Scripture is written involves giving this attention to the Context.

Yet it is distinct; for it has a special object in view, instead of a general object.

Let us give a few illustrations.

1. 2 Tim. iii. 16, 17

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

This passage is remarkable for all three of the reasons given above.

It is remarkable for its wondrous revelation of the claim that the Scriptures are the gift of God; and that they are “God-breathed.”

It is remarkable also for certain words employed in this revelation of truth:

Especially for the word qeovpneusto" (theopneustos), God-breathed, which is rendered by the five English words, “given-by-inspiration-of-God.”

It is remarkable also for the expression “the man of God,” which is the Hebrew idiom for the prophet, as being God’s “spokesman” (compare Exod. vii. 1 with iv. 16),258 and needing, therefore, the God-breathed Scriptures so that he may know what to say for Him for whom he speaks as His spokesman.

It is remarkable also for the word a[rtio" (artios), rendered perfect, but meaning fitted as perfectly as a joint is fitted in its socket.

Also for the word ejxartivzw (exartizo), to fit out, used of fitting out a vessel for sea, which must take everything, on every voyage, which experience has shown may by any possibility be needed.

All this teaches us that only the man of God who thus has the profitable God-breathed Word is thus fitted out, prepared and equipped for every emergency as God’s prophet or spokesman.

But our particular question now is not confined to the revelation of truth, however important, or even to the words employed, however interesting, but to the place where we find both.

Why is this passage given to us here in this third chapter of Paul’s second Epistle to Timothy?

Why not in one of the other four chapters? Why not in the first Epistle to Timothy ? or in some other Epistle ?

The answer to these questions leads us to “search” this Epistle, and track out that reason.

In doing this we note, in chapter i. 15, the falling away of some who turned away from the Apostle Paul and his teaching; and we note also the Divine provision for such a trial in his unfeigned faith in God (v. 12), who would never turn away from him.

In chap. ii. 18 we read of those “who concerning THE TRUTH have erred,” and note the Divine provision of comfort in the fact that “The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His” (v. 19). Those secured on that foundation will not so “err.”

In chap. iii. 8 we read of those who “resist THE TRUTH.” What is the Divine provision for an emergency like this? We have it introduced in the fourteenth verse: “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of”; going on and leading up to the verses we are considering as to the profitableness of the God-breathed Word for God’s spokesman, fitting him out for this special conflict with those who oppose and withstand the truth.

The fact of this passage occurring here, as the Divine provision for this conflict, speaks to us, if we have ears to hear; and it says:

“When men ‘resist the truth,’ do not trust in your own wisdom, but in the Scriptures of truth. If they will not believe God, they will not believe you. If God’s Word will not conquer them, be sure yours will not. Remember how the Lord Jesus engaged in His conflict by using this Sword of the Spirit: ‘It is written.’”

The reason why so many fail in silencing those who “resist the truth” is because they depend on the logic of their argument, or the neatness of their retorts, or the smartness of their replies, or the cleverness of their answers, instead of on the power of the Word of God.

The fact of this passage occurring here speaks to us and says: “Open the book.” Close your own mouth, and quote and use the words of God, the Sword of the Spirit, in meeting resistance to His truth.

In ch. iv. 4 we read of those who would “turn away their ears from THE TRUTH, and be turned unto fables,” and we note that the Divine provision in such a condition of things is our one and only duty to “Preach the word.” Nothing more, nothing less, nothing different. And this, all the more diligently and earnestly, for the reason given, because “the time will come when they will Dot endure sound doctrine,” but “will turn away their ears from the truth.” At such a time we are not to seek for 8omething which men will endure, but to “Preach the Word.”

Thus, in this brief epistle, we have a complete directory for these last. “perilous times” in which our lot is cast; and a Divine provision for all our needs. We have:

God’s faithfulness toward us for our comfort (i. 12).

God’s foundation beneath us for our security (ii. 10).

God’s Word within us for our defence (iii. 16).

God’s crown before us for our hope (iv. 8).

And thus we have:

Unfeigned faith for our Possession.

Divine security for our Position.

The God-breathed Word for our Protection, and

The crown of righteousness for our Prospect.

2. Matt. xi. 28

“Come unto me, all ye that are heavy. laden, and I will give you rest.”

How often are these words used, and interpreted, as being addressed to sinners, to come and be saved.

But what is the interpretation of them, when looked at in the light of the question as to where we find them?

If we go back in the chapter to verses 2, 3, we find John the Baptist wondering whether Christ were indeed He that should come.

In verses 16--18 the Lord upbraids the people respecting both John and Himself, and for saying that John was possessed by a demon, and that Himself was a glutton and a drunkard.

In verses 20-24 he upbraided the cities of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum, and said “Woe unto thee,” “Woe unto thee.”

Then, in verse 25, we read, “AT THAT TIME Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, 0 Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.”259

In other words, at the moment when (humanly speaking, of course) His mission was ending in failure; when He and the kingdom were being alike rejected, and His testimony not believed, “at that time,” and at such a time, the Lord Jesus found His REST in the Father’s will. Here was rest indeed, in not seeking or desiring to accomplish anything that was not in the Father’s will.

Then, turning to His “weary and heavy-laden” servants and disciples, He speaks, in order that they may find their rest where He found His, and says:

“Come unto me, all ye that labour, and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me: for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

He alludes not to their sins, but to their service: not to their guilt, but to their labour; not to their conscience, but to their heart; not to their repentance, but to their learning of Him; not to their finding forgiveness of their sin, but to their finding rest in His yoke.

This fact, again, speaks to us if we have ears to hear, and it says: “If you would find rest in your service, and be without care; be free from the heavy burden of responsibility as to the results of your testimony, and enjoy peace, the peace of God, in the midst of what man might call, and we might regard, as failure, then you will find your rest where Christ found His, in submission to the Father’s will, and say: “Even so, Father, for so it seemeth good in Thy sight.”260

3. 1 Cor. xvi. 22

“If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema. Maran-atha.”

“Anathema” means accursed.

“Maran-atha” means the Lord cometh.

This verse, though it speaks of love, is not written in John’s Epistles.

Though it speaks of a curse, it is not written in the Epistle to the Galatians.

Though it speaks of the Lord’s Coming, we do not find it in the Epistle to the Thessalonians.

No! it occurs in this first Epistle to the Corinthians.

And, not at the beginning, or in the middle, but at the end. And right at the end, immediately before “The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.” In fact, the very last verse of the Epistle proper. What lesson does its position here have for us? Surely the place where we find it gives the verse a fulness of meaning, both by interpretation and application, which it would not possess if it occurred in any other part of Scripture.

It owes its chief importance, and all the solemnity of its lesson, entirely to the fact that we find it here, and nowhere else.

It bids us, therefore, look at the Epistle as a whole; there we see, on the very surface, that the Epistle is full of reproof for practical errors in life and walk:

(1) There is reproof for their divisions, envyings, strifes, and contentions (1 Cor. i.-iii.), which are further particularized as including debates, envyings, wrath, strifes, backbitings, swellings, tumults (2 Cor. xii. 20).

(2) There are errors of life, and sins of uncleanness (1 Cor. v.), further particularized in 2 Cor. xii. 20, 21, as including fornication and lasciviousness.

(3) There is brother going to law with brother before the ungodly (I Cor. vi.).

(4) There is the wounding of the weak brother’s conscience (I Cor. viii.).261

(5) There is the questioning of Paul’s apostleship (1 Cor. ix.).

(6) There are errors in ritual (I Cor. xi.).

(7) There are errors in the use of gifts (1 Cor. xiv.).

(8) There are errors in doctrine (I Cor. xv.).

But when it comes to the end of the Epistle, and all is viewed in the light of Maran-atha— the Lord cometh, not one of these things is mentioned.

It does not say, “If any man be not moral in his life,” “If any man be not correct in his ritual,” or “orthodox in his creed”; but, “if any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ.”

This fact speaks to us and tells us that a man may be perfectly moral and yet have no love for Christ. He may be correct in ritual, and orthodox in creed, but he may have a heart as hard as a stone, and as cold as ice toward the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is not that these errors are made light of God forbid! but, that if a man have no error, and yet have no love, he will be accursed when the Lord cometh.

In the light of that day, love will be the true test; loyalty will be the true token of acceptable service.

It was even so with the “Last words of David,” when at the end of his reign he summed up and numbered his “mighty men” and set forth their service. In 2 Sam. xxiii. all is enumerated, wonderful deeds are recorded, marks of devotion are cited.

The boldness of one through whom “the LORD wrought a great victory” (v. 10), though “the men of Israel had fled” (v. 9).

And of another who defended David’s rights when “the people fled from the Philistines” (vv. 11, 12).

But among the mighty men and servants of David there were those who were noted for military prowess, political wisdom, and diligent service, whose names are not enumerated in this list. Yes, their names are mentioned, but they themselves are not numbered.

JOAB’s name is there, three times: as the brother of Abishai (v. 18), as the brother of Asahel (v. 24); but he himself is not numbered, though “Nehari ... armour-bearer to Joab” is (v. 37).

AHITHOPHEL’s name is there; but he is not numbered: though we find “Eliam the son of Ahithophel” (v. 34).

ABIATHAR the high priest, David’s friend (1 Sam. xxii. 23), is neither named nor numbered; though “Uriah the Hittite” is.

What does all this say to us but exactly what we have in 1 Cor. xvi. 22: “if any man love not.”

It is not might, nor courage, nor wisdom that constitutes true service; but it is loyalty and love.

Ahithophel failed in his loyalty when Joab stood firm: for Joab and Abiathar remained loyal during Absalom’s rebellion, but failed in the rising of Adonijah.

Thus was their service truly appraised, and their hearts tested. The test was not the skilfulness of the hand, or the wisdom of the head, but the loyalty of the heart (Jer. ix. 23, 24).

This is the great lesson which is impressed upon us by the place where we find the words: “If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ let him be anathema, Maranatha.” These are “the last words” of that first Epistle to the Corinthians.

Canon 7

No One Passage to Be Interpreted in a Sense Repugnant to Others That Are Clear

This Canon is laid down in the twentieth of “the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion” of the Church of England.

That article treats of “The Authority of the Church.” It says: “The Church hath power to decree Rites or Ceremonies, and authority in Controversies of Faith: and yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain any thing that is contrary to God’s Word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture that it be repugnant to another . . .”

With the claim here made as to “The Authority of the Church” we are not now concerned; but we cannot deny that, in the latter clause quoted, we have a very important principle laid down: a principle which we shall do well ever to bear in mind in our study of the “words which the Holy Ghost teacheth.”

This principle is true: because, as no one text is repugnant to another, it is clear that to explain one as being so repugnant, is what cannot lawfully be done.

If one passage appears to be repugnant to others, then there is something amiss either in the translation of it, or in our understanding of it

In either case it behoves us to examine it and see where the fault lies. The one, apparently more difficult passage, must be understood, explained, and interpreted by the others which are quite plain and clear.

If this method be not possible, then the difficult passage must be left unsolved for the present, with the prayer that God will, in His own time, bestow the needed grace and light. But in no case must we allow that one difficult passage to disturb all the others which are clear; nor must we give heed for a moment to any false teaching which Tradition may have founded upon its misunderstanding or perversion of that one passage, whether through ignorance or malice.

1. The Rich Man And Lazarus

We may apply this Canon to the Scripture concerning “the Rich man and Lazarus.”

Without entering at all into the question of the interpretation of this Scripture, we would merely call attention to many other passages of Scripture which are perfectly clear and plain as to Man and Death, and to the condition of man “after death.” These do not at all agree with what this Scripture seems to teach.262

What then is our duty as humble students of, and firm believers in, the truth of all and of every part of God’s Word?

Are we to believe one and leave the others?

Are we to explain the one to our own satisfaction, and then explain the others away?

This is clearly impossible, though it is what the majority of Bible readers do!

If we cannot reconcile them, then let us wait for further light, and “with meekness, and all lowliness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love,” “let each esteem other better than ourselves,” and let us each suffer long with other fellow-believers, who think they see a way of interpreting all that is said on this subject in Scripture, in harmony with Scripture, and with satisfaction to their own consciences before God.

The same principle applies, of course, to other subjects.

2. Do Not Destroy Thy Weak Brother With Meat.

We have an example in 1 Cor. viii. 11 and Rom. xiv. 15.

These two passages furnish us with a valuable example as to how our Canon No. VII should be used.

1 Cor. viii. 11. “Through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish for whom Christ died?”

Rom. xiv. 15. “Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.”

It will be at once observed that these two passages appear to be repugnant to many other passages which speak of the eternal preservation of the saints, and which assure them that they can “never perish,” and that nothing can separate them from the love of God (Rom. viii. 38, 39).

The many passages which speak on this wise are perfectly clear. The repugnance to them is contained in these two passages (Rom. xiv. 15 and I Cor. viii. 11).

According to our present Canon we must not attempt to make the many yield to these two; but, if we can, we must find an explanation of them which shall put them in harmony with the many.

If we cannot do this, then we must wait till further light can be obtained; or until such discoveries are made which will enable us to harmonize the two with the many.

While we are thus waiting, we will say something which may tend to remove their apparent repugnance.

(1) The number of various readings in the Greek, and the many conflicting expositions of the commentators, show us that some difficulty has been experienced in the Text, with which transcribers, as well as translators, have had to cope. Their struggles are all too painfully evident, There is scarcely a word in 1 Cor. viii. 11 which is not the subject of a various reading in the Greek.

(2) We will first suggest what may prove a key; and then see whether the Structure of the two passages, and the Scope, will bear out and support it; or whether, on the other hand, they will condemn and overthrow it.

We suggest that the reading of the MS. known as “D” should be taken as having been the primitive reading. Notwithstanding the fact that the numerical weight of the MSS. is not in its favour, it is quite possible that the MS. “D” may represent a reading more ancient than MSS. which are themselves older.263

(3) There are two verbs which are much alike, and which, in fact, differ only in having one “l” instead of two “ll”: ajpoluvw (apoluo), and ajpolluvw (apolluo).

Apoluo (with one “l”) means to put away; as in v. 31, 32; xix. 3, 7, 8, 9. Mark x. 2, 4, 11, 12. Matt. i. 19; Luke xvi. 18 (twice).

Apolluo (with two “ll’s”) means to destroy.

The former verb is that which is written in the MS. known as “D(2).”264 It is called the Codex Claromontanus, and is now in the National Library at Paris (No. 107).265 Tischendorf believes it to be of the sixth century, and Dr. Tregelles says “it is one of the most valuable MSS. extant; none of the Texts published by Tischendorf is so important, with the single exception of the Palimpsest Codex Ephroemi.”

It is noteworthy that we have the same confusion of readings in Rom. xiv. 15 as well as in 1 Cor. viii. 11. This difference of reading, therefore, must have been introduced at a very early date.

The one reading is mhv ajpoluvtai (me apolutai), do not put away, separate not, do not put out.

The other reading is mhv ajpolluvtai (me apollutai), do not destroy.266

We will give the two passages separately, as the authorities are not the same for each.

In 1 Cor. viii. 11 the reading “Do not put away” (or put out”) is supported by “D” (see above), and was the original reading of that MS.; while the other reading is the subject of four various readings, showing the perplexity of the transcribers.

The question is, How did all these Various Readings arise? There must surely have been some ancient original authority which was copied by Codex D, and this may have been a reading older than some of the MSS. which were written earlier than “D.”

We are quite aware that this is conjecture; but it is not without foundation. It is not as though we invented the idea out of our own head. It is something more than that; and the difference between the two spellings, with “L” or “LL,” is so slight, that an error once made might well come, by being copied and re-copied, to be the recognized reading. But, if originally an error, the fact of its multiplication has no bearing on the point, or weight in the argument.

There seems, then, to be room for another line of proof.

(1) There is the whole analogy of New Testament teaching as to the eternal preservation of God’s Saints to which these two passages seem to be repugnant. Indeed, it seems as though a Pelagian copyist might well be tempted to add another “l,” when, by so doing, he could so easily obtain a proof of his doctrine.

(2) Then there is the Scope of each of the two passages to be considered according to our first Canon. If one reading suits the Scope perfectly, and the other is quite out of harmony with it, that would be a very weighty piece of evidence, sufficient of itself to settle the matter.

To take 1 Cor. viii. 11 first, it is obvious that the Epistle is directed against the Divisions, Separations, Strifes, and Contentions of 1 Cor. i. iii. Then, further, we have the truth of the one spiritual Body of Christ set forth, from which there can be neither amputation nor separation (1 Cor. xii.).

The whole of this eighth chapter is directed as a warning against doing anything that would be a stumblingblock to a brother.

One point is dealt with concerning which enquiry had been made by the Saints at Corinth; viz., the eating of meat offered to idols, about which there were evidently differences of opinion likely to lead to, and end in, Division and Separation.

These are dealt with, in the manner shown by the Structure: for we must apply our second Canon in order to find the Scope.

Two points are treated of:

(1) The knowledge of different brethren (vv. 1-8).

(2) The liberty in the use of this knowledge (vv. 9-13).

1 Cor. viii.267

Things enquired of Paul.

(1) The knowledge. of different brethren (vv. 1-8).

A| 1-. “Touching things offered to idols.”

B| 1, 2. The possession of knowledge.

C| 3. God’s knowledge of the believer.

D| a| 4-. Idols are nothing.

b| 4. There is one God.

D| a| 15. Idols are many.

b| 6-. There is one God.

C| 6. The believer’s knowledge of God.

B| 7-. The possession of knowledge.

A| 7, 8. Concerning “a thing offered to an idol.”

(2) Liberty in the use of this knowledge (1 Cor. viii. 0-13).

E| 9. Care lest liberty to eat causes stumbling.

F| c| 10-. Influence of thy “knowledge” on the weak brother.

d| 10. Effect of example on the conscience of a weak brother (singular).

F| c| 11. Result of “thy knowledge” in the putting away of the weak brother.

d| 12. Result of the example on the consciences of the weak brethren (plural) who have put the brother away.

E| 13. Care lest liberty to eat causes stumbling.

Here, all seems quite clear. The abuse of knowledge leads to a bad influence on a weak brother, who is “put away” in consequence; and it leads also to trouble of the weak brethren, who have put him away.

The fact that Christ died for such an one should be sufficient to make them use the care which is enjoined.

In Rom. xiv. 15 the reading Do not put away is supported by the MS. described above, known as D3 (the small numeral denoting the work of a corrector in Cent. viii.).

Another Codex, known as L, the Codex Angelicus Romanus, a MS. in the Anglican Library of the Augustinian Monks in Rome.

A Lambeth MS. (No. 1,182), Cent. xii., known as “a.”

A British Museum MS. (Add. MSS., No. 11,837) known as “h,” and dated 1157.

A Trinity Coll. Camb. MS. (B. x. 16) known as “k,” and written about 1316.

Another Codex, known as Codex Leicestrensis, of about Cent. xii., known as “m.”

To find the scope of the passage in which Rom. xiv. 15 occurs, we must, according to our Canon II., first find its place in the Epistle as a whole.268 If we do this we find that the member of which it forms a part deals with practical matters

Rom. xii. 1-xv. 7.

Practical duties.

A| xii. 1-8. Ecclesiastical.

B| xii. 9-21. Social.

C| xiii. 1-7. Civil.

B| xiii. 8-14. Social.

A| xiv. I-xv. 7. Ecclesiastical.

From this it will be seen that our verse (Rom. xiv. 15) forms part of our Ecclesiastical obligations, A (xiv. 1 – xv. 7) and may be thus expanded:

A (Rom. xiv. 1-xv. 7), Ecclesiastical duties.

A| D1| xiv. 1. Reception of the weak.

E1| xiv. 2-23. Our self-denial.

D2| xv. 1, 2. Our bearing with the weak.

E1| xv. 3, 4. Christ’s self-denial.

D3| xv. 5-7. Our mutual reception of one another.

The scope of this member is at once clearly seen. And the place occupied by our passage is discerned. It is in the member E1, and the subject of it is Our exercise of self-denial.

“If on account of thy meat thy brother is grieved, thou walkest no longer according to love. Do not grieve him, do not separate (or put away) with thy meat him for whom Christ died.”

It will be seen that the word “Destroy not” is altogether out of harmony with the whole scope of the chapter. Moreover, we have in verse 20 the correlative word to the one we suggest: viz., kataluvw (kataluo), to throw down. The difference between apoluo and katalua is at once seen. Apoluo is to throw out; kataluo is to throw down.269

“For meat do not throw down or upset the work of God” (v. 20). What work of God? “God’s building”

(1 Cor. iii. 9). This is corrupted and defiled when we build any thing on to the one foundation. It is thrown down and injured to that extent, when we throw out, or put away, any weak brother whom God has built upon that foundation.

Thus we see that these two passages, which seem to be repugnant to many passages which are perfectly clear, are capable of an explanation which not only sets them in harmony with all the others, but shows that the explanation is in harmony with the full context and structure of both passages.

The word is not “Do not destroy”: but it is “Do not put away,” or “Do not separate.”

Canon 8

The Importance of Accuracy in the Study of the Words of Scripture

This canon will be conceded by all as one of the first magnitude. Accuracy is everywhere demanded, and in every department of life, and in every branch of service.

How many calamities and disasters have occurred from a want of accuracy. The want of accuracy in under. standing a word of command led to the disastrous cavalry charge at Balaclava. Want of accuracy or the misunderstanding of a word in a correspondence has led to the separation of close friends or the miscarriage of important business.

Inaccuracy is no less disastrous in the reading and study of the Word of God.

It is said of a poorly-informed preacher in southern Illinois, that he took his text from Luke xiv. 4, and read it out “And he took him, and held him, and let him go.” The preacher was trying to explain the difficulty thus created, when a daring interrupter called out, “My Bible says, ‘He healed him, and let him go.’” As may be imagined, the proposed exegesis was brought to a sudden close.

But there are many popular difficulties of which this is a typical example; and which might all be ended as suddenly, if a similar remark were made.

How long shall we hear of the Fall as having been brought about by the eating of an apple? And how soon would the fiction vanish if we would exclaim, “My Bible doesn’t say apple.”

How long shall we hear about Jonah’s being swallowed by the whale? when we could stop it by simply saying “My Bible doesn’t say whale.” Jonah i. 17 says, “The Lord had prepared a great fish.”270

How long are we to hear about the sin of the children of Israel by command of God, as borrowing without intention of returning the property of the Egyptians (Exod. iii. 22; xi. 2; xii. 35, 36)? Our A.V. seems to say this, and has thus provided material, for scoffers. The R.V. rightly translates the Hebrew la^v* (shaal), to ask: and out of one hundred and sixty-eight occurrences it is only six times rendered in the A.V. borrow; while in all the other one hundred and sixty-two passages it is rendered ask, beg, require, or some similar word. (See Ps. ii. 8, “Ask of me,” etc.: this, surely, cannot mean “Borrow of me”?)

The same want of accuracy in reading the sacred text has led to the mistakes of artists as well as of theologians. For angels are always represented as women instead of men; and in the piercing of the Lord the heart is always represented as being on the right side instead of on the left.

Similar are the mistakes of interpreters.

“Ye do ALWAY resist the Holy Ghost” (Acts vii. 51) is quoted to prove that men can successfully withstand the Spirit, instead of stumbling at His words.

While “Ye WILL NOT come unto me” (lit., “will not to come” John v. 40) is quoted to prove that men will to come; and this, in spite of Phil. ii. 13.

And in 1 Cor. xvi. 1, the injunction to lay by in store, that there be “no collection,” is used to support the modern practice of having a collection at every service.

The Lord’s Supper, in spite of its being so called, and being instituted as part of a meal, is ordered by all Romanizers to be taken in the morning, fasting.

“Blood and Fire,” which is a description of the judgment of the great Day of the LORD (Joel ii. 30), is adopted as the symbol of salvation by His grace.

Instead of hearing what the Spirit saith to the churches we are commanded by man to hear what the Church says to us; and to heed “the voice of the Church.”

The same want of accuracy leads those who set themselves up as “Higher” Critics to forget that it is the Word of God which is to be their critic, or judge. (Heb. iv. 12, “discerner.” Gr. critic or judge. Compare John xii, 48, and see Number in Scripture, p. 70.)

These and many other examples are sufficient to emphasize the importance of accuracy in our reading of Scripture if we would avoid falling into mistakes and blunders of any kind.

Examples and illustrations abound where this canon may be applied. We cannot pretend to make the list of those we give exhaustive ; we offer them only as specimens.271

We will divide them into two classes: where the principle may be used

i. In the removal of difficulties.

ii. In the revelation of truths.

i. Illustration Of Accuracy Applied To The Removal Of Difficulties.

1. The Ammonite and Moabite.

In Deut. xxiii. 3 it is declared that “an Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD.” And it is urged that, it was in contravention of this, when Ruth not only entered into the congregation, but into the genealogy of our Lord (Ruth iv. 13-22. Matt. i. 5).

But if we read Deut. xxiii. 3 accurately, we find that the word is masculine yb!a*/)m (moab), Moabite, while in the Book of Ruth it is feminine, and she is called hy*b!a&/)m (moabyah). (Ruth i. 22; ii. 2, 6; iv. 5, 10.)

2. Zedekiah and Babylon.

In Jer. xxxii. 4 and xxxiv. 3 King Zedekiah was told that he should see the king of Babylon, and “speak with him mouth to mouth, and his eyes shall behold his eyes,” and should go to Babylon.

In Ezek. xii. 13 it is as distinctly said that he should not see Babylon, though he should die there.

If we read these two passages accurately, we shall see how both. are true as recorded in 2 Kings xxv. 6, 7, where we are told that Zedekiah was brought to the king of Babylon at Riblah, and spoke with him; that he was tried and then condemned, had his eyes, put out, and bound with fetters of brass and was taken to Babylon. Thus, though he died there, he never “saw” it.

This apparent difficulty might have been given under Canon IV. as being explained by a reference in the Remoter Context.

3. Omer and Homer.

In Exod. xvi. 36, we are told that “an omer is the tenth part of an ephah.”

In Ezek. xlv. 11 an ephah is said to be the tenth part of apparently the same measure.

But if we read the two passages accurately we find the former is spelt “omer,” and the latter is spelt “homer.” And though the letter “h” is often treated with scant respect in speaking, it is well to give it its place when we find it in writing. The difference compels us to look at the Hebrew, where we find that in Exod. xvi. the word is rm#u) (omer), while in Ezekiel xlv. the word is rm#h) (chomer).

Thus we have two totally different words denoting two different measures.

4. The Going of Balaam.

In Num. xxii. 22 we read that God’s anger was kindled because he (Balaam) went with the princes of Moab.

It is supposed that this anger was out of place, because God had said, “Rise up and go with them” (v. 20). But it does not seem to be noticed that a condition was attached to this permission, viz.: “If the men come to call thee.”

No such coming and calling is mentioned; and it is quite gratuitous for any one to assume that this condition was fulfilled, when such assumption creates the very difficulty to which objection is made.

5. Gods command concerning sacrifices.

In Jer. vii. 22, 23, we read: “I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices; but this thing commanded I them, Obey my voice, and I will be your God.”

It was through reading this inaccurately that the late Professor Mivart left the Church of Rome and gave up his belief in the Bible. He supposed (as many have done before and since) that God did command sacrifices.

If Leviticus be read accurately it will be seen that God did not “COMMAND” the offering of sacrifices. The very essence of all offerings was that the act should be voluntary, “of his own voluntary will.” This being the case, God did then lay down the conditions on which they should be brought and offered. Hence the book of Leviticus begins by saying, “IF any man of you bring an offering unto the LORD, ye shall bring,” etc. (Compare Lev. i. 2, 3, 10, 14; ii. 4, 5, 7, 14; iii. 1, 6, 7, 12; iv. 32, etc.).

It was essential that all sacrifices should be of the offerer’s “own voluntary will” (Lev. i. 3). What Jehovah commanded “in the day that He brought them out of Egypt” was to “diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD;” and “Do that which is right” in His sight; and “Give ear to His commandments; keep all His statutes.” This was the command “in the day that He brought them out of Egypt” (see Exod. xv. 26).

This inaccurate reading not only creates the difficulty; but misses the very scope of Jer. vii. 22, 23.

6. Hearing and not hearing the voice.

In Acts ix. 7 we read, “The men that were with him (Saul) stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.”

In Acts xxii. 9 “they heard not the voice of him that spake to me.”

In this case it is the Greek that has to be read accurately. The verb ajkouvw (akouo), to hear, is the same in both passages, but it governs two cases of the noun which follows it.

It takes the Genitive case of the sound which is heard; and it takes the Accusative case of the words or matter which is heard.

In Acts ix. 7 “the voice” that was heard is in the Genitive case (fwnh`", phones).

In Acts xxii. 9 “the voice” that was not heard (i.e., the matter) is in the Accusative case: so that while the men with Saul heard the sound of the voice, they did not hear the words that were spoken. (Compare Luke xi. 28.)

7. Standing and falling to the earth.

But there is another difficulty in these passages besides the hearing and not hearing.

There is the difficulty between Acts ix. 7, “the men that journeyed with him stood speechless,” and Acts xxvi. 14, “and when we were all fallen to the earth.”

This difficulty is removed the moment we read the passage accurately and notice that the word i{stamai (histamai) has another meaning besides standing erect on one’s legs. It means to remain motionless in whatever position one may be.

It is rendered abode in John viii. 44; continue in Acts xxvi. 22 (R.V. stand); stanch in Luke viii. 44. Hence it is used of standing fast (1 Cor. vii. 37. Col. iv. 12. 2 Tim. ii. 19).

More to the point is the Septuagint of 1 Sam. xxviii. 20, where it is said of Saul that he “made haste, and fell motionless upon the earth.” No one would think of rendering this, he “fell standing.”272

So that the two passages taken together mean that “the men that journeyed with him” fell to the ground and remained speechless; or were motionless as well as speechless.

8. Spoken and written.

In Matt. ii. 23 we read: “He came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.”

This being inaccurately read, search is made in the prophets for any such prophecy.

But none can be found.

The Hebrew word rx#n@ (netzer), a branch, is then taken, and an attempt is made to identify it with “Nazarene.” But even if this could be established (which it cannot be) it would not solve the difficulty which has been created; for the word netzer is used of Christ, only in Isaiah; and it says prophets.

If we read the verse accurately we notice that it says “spoken,” and not written.

Some prophecies were written and not spoken. Some were spoken and not written; others were both spoken and written.

There is all the difference, surely, between toV rJh`qen (to rhethen), that which was spoken, and oJ gevgraptai (ho gegraptai), that which standeth written.

Even granting that by a figure of speech, what is written is sometimes said to be spoken, there is no necessity arbitrarily to introduce the hypothesis when such introduction actually creates the difficulty.

9. Jeremiah the Prophet.

The same application of accuracy in reading the words of a Scripture solves the precisely similar difficulty in Matt. xxvii. 9. The prophecy as to the “thirty pieces of silver” was first “spoken by Jeremiah the prophet,” and afterwards written down by Zechariah.

And yet, having arbitrarily substituted in their minds the word “written” instead of “spoken,” commentators are at their wits’ end to ex1plain the difficulty they have themselves created.

One says “Matthew quoted it from memory” (Augustine, followed by Alford); another speaks of it as a “slip of the pen” on the part of Matthew.

Another thinks that Jeremiah is put for the whole body of the prophets (Bishop Lightfoot).

Another thinks that the passage was originally in Jeremiah, but the Jews cut it out (Eusebius and others).

Another thinks that it may have been in another writing of Jeremiah which is now lost (Origen and others).

Another, (Bishop Wordsworth) believes that the mistake was made on purpose, so that we should not trouble ourselves as to who the writer was, but receive all prophecy as coming direct from God.

We make no comment on these, but only mention them to show the shifts to which expositors are driven in order to get out of the pit which they have digged themselves.

The solutions which are suggested are a greater obstacle to faith than the original difficulty; even if it were real instead of being only apparent.

10. The sending of the Centurion (Luke vii. 3, 6 and Matt. viii. 5).

In Matt. viii. ‘I it reads as though the centurion came himself to the Lord; and in Luke vii. 3, 6, it reads as though he sent others and remained behind himself.

The difficulty is removed the moment we read the Greek accurately, and note that in Luke two different words are used for sending.

In Luke vii. 3 it is the verb ajpostevllw (apostello), which means to send away from, the sender remaining behind. This is when he sends “the elders of the Jews.”

In verse 6 the centurion “sent friends,” but here it is the verb pevmpw (pempo), which means to send with, the sender either accompanying or sending an escort.273

From this latter word being used in verse 6 it is clear that the centurion accompanied his “friends.” This is where the account in Matthew takes up the narrative, when he says “there came to him a centurion.”

We may note further that, in Matt. viii. 13, the Lord said, “Go thy way.” But from Luke vii. 10 it appears that the Centurion did not go; his great faith not making it necessary for him to go and verify the Lord’s word.

11. The Inscriptions on the Cross.

The variation between these in the four Gospels has given rise to charges which detract from the claim of the Gospels to the accuracy involved in inspiration;274 while the defences and explanations have been little less injurious in their effects.

The inscriptions are as follows:

1. Matt. xxvii. 37, “This is Jesus the King of the Jews.”

2. Mark xv. 26, “The King of the Jews.”

3. Luke xxiii. 38, “This is the King of the Jews.”

4. John xix. 19, “Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews.”

It is universally assumed that there was only one inscription: and, some Interpreters account for the differences by a further supposition that the full and complete version was-


the four consisting of certain words which formed a part of that whole.

It has been suggested by one275 that these four, respectively, are in harmony with the special object and scope of the Gospel in which it is found. This is ingenious and would be worthy of Divine revelation if it could be substantiated.

Others suggest that as the inscription was originally in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, they are the translations of these respectively.

But this involves another assumption, viz., that these three were not only not the same, but were so different as to allow of such various renderings. It also accounts for only three out of the four; and does not explain how the Greek form could be a translation of the Greek!

In all these cases of difficulty it is well to “open the book” and see exactly what is said, and whether there is any ground for the original assumption that there was only one inscription, which is the foundation of the difficulty and the cause of its explanations.

Let us begin with Mark xv. 26:

(1) “The King of the Jews.” Here we have not a word about a “title” (tivtlo", titlos, John xix. 19) being on the Cross at all, or which any one had seen. It is a question of “his accusation.” It is the bill of his indictment, or the ground or cause of his condemnation, which was His claim to be “the King of the Jews.”

(2) John xix. 19. This was written by Pilate, and put upon the cross before it left Pilate’s presence. For no one suggests that Pilate went to the scene of the execution and wrote anything there. It was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. The Latin put last as Pilate’s language.

This title was read after the cross was set up; and became a source of argument between the chief priests and Pilate (John xix. 21, 22), before the parting of the garments (vv. 23, 24).

What the final result of this argument was, does not appear from John’s Gospel; but it appears from

(3) Matt. xxvii. 37, that it must have resulted in that one being taken down, and another “set up over his head” after they had “parted his garments among them” and after they had set down to watch him there (vv. 35, 36).

(4) Luke xxiii. 38. This appears to have been a different one again. For we are not told all that took place. It is evident from John that the feelings of those concerned were deeply stirred.

The inscription mentioned by Luke was evidently much later, and was seen close upon the sixth hour (v. 44), when the darkness fell. It was put upon or “over him” (v. 38, ejp’ aujtw`/, epauto), and in this order: “Greek, Latin and Hebrew,” and after the revilings of the people. (Compare vv. 35-37 with v. 38.) Matthews (No. 2) was before the revilings. (Compare Matt. xxvii. 37 with v. 39).

If we accurately notice what is written we conclude;

(a) That Mark’s was only his indictment.

(b) That John’s was the first, written by Pilate and put on the Cross before it left his presence.

(c) That Matthew’s was substituted for it and placed “over his head” after the dividing of the garments and after the soldiers had set down to watch; but before the revilings.

(d) That Luke’s was the last, put upon or “over him” after the revilings, and seen near the sixth hour.

12. The offering of drink at the Cross.

A great difficulty has been created by a want of accuracy in discriminating the three different occasions on which drink was offered to the Lord when on the Cross: the assumption being that it was offered only once.

The words of God have to be rightly divided in more senses than one.

There are great differences between the three accounts. If these are identified and treated as being different versions of one event, instead of complementary accounts, each supplementing the other, then we shall have what is so glibly called a “discrepancy.”

Now read the words accurately and note-

(1) The three occasions:

(a) Mark xv. 22, 23, “When they were come unto the place called Golgotha.”

(b) Matt. xxvii. 34, “When they were come unto Golgotha.”

(c) Matt. xxvii. 48. Mark xv. 36. John xix. 29. Six hours after the former two, in response to the Lord’s cry, “I thirst.”

(2) The three kinds of drink offered-

(a) “Wine mingled with myrrh.”

(b) “Vinegar with gall.”

(c) “Vinegar.”

(3) The three receptions:

(a) The first was refused without even tasting it.

(b) The second was first tasted and then was refused.

(c) The third was “received” after He had called for it.

Thus so far from there being any discrepancy, the absolute accuracy of the Divine word is brought clearly out.

13. The “others” crucified with Christ.

Through not reading accurately what is written in the several accounts of the Crucifixion, and being misled by tradition and the mistakes of mediaeval artists, ground has been given for objections to be made as to the truth of the Scriptures; and difficulties have been gratuitously created.

The pictures and tradition give us “two” men who were crucified with Christ. In Matt. xxvii, 44, and Mark xv. 32, it is stated that they both reviled Christ: “the thieves also which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.” But in Luke xxiii. 39 it is as distinctly stated that it was only “one” of them: and that they were not “thieves,” but “malefactors.”

Moreover, in Luke, the two were led forth, with Christ, from Pilate’s presence; whereas, in Matthew and Mark, they were not brought to the place of crucifixion until after the dividing of Christ’s garments.

These are adduced as obvious errors: and it is alleged that both accounts cannot be correct.

The usual defence of the accuracy of these Scriptures is to assume that both the men reviled Christ at first; but that afterward one of them repented.

But this is a pure assumption, and is not only not so stated, but is quite contrary to what is so clearly written: “One of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be the Messiah, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him saying ... This man hath done nothing amiss” (Luke xxiii. 40, 41).

But even if this were not so, and there were nothing against the assumption, there are still other difficulties which require explanation.

In Matthew and Mark they are called duvo lhstriv (duo lestai), two robbers.

In Luke xxiii. 32, they are called duvo kakou`rgoi (duo kakourgoi), two malefactors.

This also is supposed to be an inaccuracy. And so it is, if we accept the assumption of Tradition and Painting.

But if we read the accounts, as written in the Word of God, more accurately, we shall have to revise all our views which we have received from the “Traditions of Men.”

(1) We start from the alleged discrepancy, and accept the two statements that there were four men crucified with the Lord Jesus— Two Malefactors and Two Robbers.

(2) These words are different; for while a Robber is a Malefactor (or evil-worker), yet an evil-worker is not necessarily a Robber.276

(3) It is also the fact that the two Malefactors “were led with him to be put to death and when they were come (Greek, came) to the place which is called Calvary, there they crucified him and the malefactors, one on the right hand and one on the left” (Luke xxiii. 32, 33).

(4) The two Robbers were not brought till much later. Not until the garments had been divided and after they had sat down to watch Him there. “Then,” i.e., at that particular moment, while they were thus watching; “THEN were two robbers crucified with Him, one on the right hand, and one on the left” (Matt. xxvii. 38. Mark xv. 27).

(5) The two Malefactors would therefore be on the inside next to the Lord; and the two Robbers would be on the outside. Being nearer to Him, the two malefactors could more easily speak with one another, and to the Lord.

(6) John adds his testimony in ch. xix. 18, without any note of time: only of place “where” (not of time, “then”). He speaks generally of the fact: “where they crucified him, and with him, others, two on this side and on that side, and Jesus in the midst.” The Greek is clear: duvo ejnteu`qen kaiV ejnteu`qen (duo enteuthen kai enteuthen). In Rev. xxii. 2 we have “enteuthen kai enteuthen” translated “on either side.” So it should be here in John’s other writing (Gospel, xix. 18), “and with him others, two on either side.” This is exactly in accord with the other three Gospels, and combines their statements.

(7) But John bears further testimony. He says (ch. xix. 32, 33), “then came the soldiers and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. But when they came (Greek, ‘having come’) to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs.” This shows that the soldiers in approaching Christ passed two of the four men before coming to Him.

(8) Note the two different words translated “other,” in John xix. 32: “the first and of the other.” The word is a[llos (allos), which is the other (the second) of two when there are more.277

In Luke xxiii. 32 the word is e{tero" (heteros), “and others also, two, were led with him.”278 Heteros is used of and denotes not one of the two malefactors, but both of them, they being one party of two, and the Lord being the other, and different.

It is the same word (heteros) in verse 40, because here it is other of the two malefactors; viz., the one who did not “rail on him.”

We thus reach the conclusion that there were four others crucified with the Lord Jesus. This fact not only removes all difficulties, but perfectly harmonizes all, the four Scriptures, and establishes the Divine accuracy of every word and every expression.

Of course it does not agree with Tradition; and we are quite aware that we shall have to reckon with all Traditionalists for thus upsetting their idol.

14. The burying of Jacob and his sons.

The difficulty in Acts vii. 15, 16 arises from confusing two distinct purchases; one by Abraham in Gen. xxiii. 19, and another by Jacob in Gen. xxxiii. 18, 19; and Josh. xxiv. 32.

Abraham’s purchase was of Ephron the Hittite in Hebron; a field, with a cave (Machpelah) at the end of it, for 400 shekels of silver.

Jacob’s purchase was “a parcel of a field” in Shechem, of the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for 100 lambs.

There can be no confusion between these two.

As to the historical record, the burials in Abraham’s sepulchre were Sarah (Gen. xxiii. 19), Abraham (Gen. xxv. 9), Isaac (Gen. xxxv. 29), Rebekah and Leah (Gen, xlix. 31), and Jacob (Gen. 1. 12, 13).

The burials in Jacob’s field were Joseph (Josh. xxiv. 32), and, according to Acts vii. 16, the other sons of Jacob who were carried over into Sychem.

Acts vii. 15, 16 agrees with this history if we note two simple Various Readings of the Greek supported by most of the Textual Editors (see Canon XII.); and if we remember that the circumstances were so well known to Stephen’s hearers that they perfectly understood what he said. Though they were waiting to catch something out of his lips, yet they saw nothing to stumble at.

The two readings are w|/ (ho), in that which, instead of o{ (ho), that (before Abraham); and ejn (en), in, instead of tou` (tou), of [the], in the phrase “[the father] of Sychem.” In which case we read “in Sychem,” and do not read the italics “the father” or the word “of” before Sychem.

With these changes the verses will read as follows:

“So Jacob went down into Egypt, and died, he, and our fathers, and they [our fathers] were carried over into Sychem, and laid in the sepulchre: he [Jacob] in that which Abraham bought for a sum of money, (and they in that which was bought] from the sons of Hamor, in Sychem.”

Thus, Jacob was buried in the sepulchre which Abraham bought; and his sons were afterwards buried in that which Jacob bought. The historic record is perfectly simple and clear; and no difficulty whatever exists, except in the minds of those who create it.

ii. Illustrations Of Accuracy Applied To The Revelation Of Truth.

1. Words and Expressions.

“From above.” In Luke i. 3 we read, “It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first to write unto you in order.”

There is no “very” in the Greek. The R.V. says simply from the first.”

But, when we read this accurately, we note that the word is a[nwqan (anothen); and, when we look at all the other passages where it occurs we see that it means here from above. That is where Luke got his information from. That is why his understanding was so “perfect.”

If the following passages be read carefully this will be seen to be the meaning: Matt. xxvii. 51. Mark xv. 38. John iii. 3,7,31; xix. 11, 23. Jas.i.17;iii.15,17.

With two exceptions (Acts xxvi. 5, and Gal. iv. 9) the word always means from above. There is no occasion to introduce the idea of time where it is not needed. If the ordinary meaning makes sense, and makes for the Inspiration of God’s Word, why arbitrarily take a meaning which destroys the sense? If holy men of old spake from God, who is “above” (2 Pet. i. 21), why give a[nwqan a meaning here which makes them speak from themselves?

“Another King” (Acts vii. 17, 18). Here we read the words of Stephen: “The people grew and multiplied in Egypt till another king arose which knew not Joseph.”

If we read this accurately we notice that the word for another is e{tero" (heteros), another, of a different kind; and not a[llo" (allos), which means another of the same kind.279

The word points, therefore, to the fact that it was not another king of the same dynasty, but a different dynasty altogether.

With this agrees Exod. i. 8, not, of course, in the use of the word heteros, which is Greek, but in ‘ the Hebrew “arose,” which is mWq (kum), and means to stand up and occupy the place of another (see Dan. ii. 31, 39, 44; iii. 24). Moreover the word “new” is vd*q* (chadash) (for the meaning of which see Deut. xxxii. 17, and compare Judg. v. 8).

Josephus says, “the crown being come into another family” (Ant. ii. 9).

The discoveries now made in Egypt prove that this was the case. The mummy of this very Pharaoh is to be seen today in the Museum at Bulak, and it is clear that this Rameses was the Pharaoh of the Oppression.280

He was an Assyrian, and every feature of his face shows that this was the case, being so different from the pictures of the Pharaoh who preceded him.

Now we can understand Isa. lii. 4, which has so puzzled the commentators, who were unable to understand why the two oppressions, in Egypt and Assyria, should be mentioned together in the same sentence, as though they were almost contemporary.

The discoveries in Egypt, and the Accuracy of the Divine Words, show that this latter was indeed the case. For in Isa. lii. 4 we read:

“Thus saith Adonai Jehovah,
My People went down aforetime into Egypt to sojourn there;
And the Assyrian oppressed them without cause.”

These words are now seen to be exquisitely accurate; for that was exactly what took place: Israel did go down into Egypt to sojourn there, but a new king arose, of a different dynasty, and he, an Assyrian, oppressed them without cause.

There is no occasion to assume that Isaiah coupled together two events separated by centuries, when such assumption creates the very difficulty complained of.

“The world that then was” (Gen. i. 2). The accurate reading in the English of the A.V. Gen. i. 2 will be sufficient to show there is something in the verse which needs explanation; and when we have explained it we shall find that it points to a wonderful exposition of the Creation, and provides a complete answer to all the cavils of Geologists.

This discovery would be impossible if the Revised Version were used, as the Revisers deliberately discarded the use of italics in certain cases, one of which was in the case of the verb “to be,” which does not exist in Hebrew.

In Gen. i. 2 (A.V.) we read: “And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.”

Here, it will be seen that, the first “was” is in Roman type, while the second is in Italic type. This accuracy tells us that the latter verb, “was,” represents the verb to be; and that the former “was” must represent a different verb, and not the verb “to be.” This is the case; and the verb is hy^h* (hayah), to become, come to pass.

That this is its meaning is clear from the very next verse (v. 3): “Let there be light, and there was light.” Here the verb for “be” and “was” is hayah, and means become, while, in verse 4, the verb “was” is the verb to be, and is in italics.

The same use of “was” (Roman type) and “was” (Italic type) may be seen in verses 9 and 10; and in verses 11 and 12.

If we enquire further about the verb hayah we find it in Gen. ii. 7, “and man became a living soul; ch. iv. 14, “it shall come to pass”; ch. ix. 15, “the waters shall no more become a flood”; ch. xix. 26, Lot’s wife “became a, pillar of salt.”

From all this we assuredly learn that Gen. i. 2 should read, “and the earth BECAME without form.”

Having made this discovery we now pursue it further; and we “search the Scriptures” to find out whether God has said anything else about the way in which He created the earth. And we find it in Isa. xlv. 18. Here the sentences are heaped together, in order to impress us with the fact that, He who created the earth, ought to know, and be able to tell us, how He made it. Note the words:

“Thus saith Jehovah that created the heavens;
Elohim himself that formed the earth, and made it;
He hath established it,
He created it not tohu.”

But this word Wht) (tohu) is the very word which is translated “without form” in Gen. i. 2. So that, whatever tohu means, it is evident that God did not create the earth tohu. Therefore it must have become so, at some time, in some way, and from some cause which we are not told.

It is clear from this that in Gen. i. 1 we have the record concerning what is called in 2 Pet. iii. 6 “the world that then was.” This earth, we are there told also, “being overflowed with water perished.” This is exactly what is stated in Gen. i. 1, 2.

So that at the end of the first verse we must put a very large full stop; or draw a line; or leave a blank space, so as to separate verse 1 from what follows in verse 2, which relates to “the heavens and earth which are now” (2 Pet. iii. 7), and which will continue, until the time comes for “the new heavens and the now earth” of 2 Pet. iii. 13, and of many other Scriptures.

When Geologists have settled how many years they require between the first and second verses of Gen. i. there is ample room for all they want, and a large margin beside.

Meanwhile, we may well conclude that all the fossils and remains which are found belonged to “the world that then was,” and thus, at one stroke, remove all friction between Geology and Scripture.

Again, we ask, why assume that all the Geological phenomena pertain to the earth “which is now,” when it is this very assumption which creates the difficulty? and compels us to ignore all the phenomena of God’s Word mentioned above?

His Word is misinterpreted, and His works are misunderstood, and the difficulty thus created is charged against the Scriptures of Truth I

“The mention of the blood” in 1 John i. 7 and ii. 1. — Much may be learnt from accuracy in noting that “the blood of Jesus Christ” is mentioned in 1 John i. 7 in connection with “walking in the light;” but it is not mentioned in 1 John ii. 1 in connection with the commission of sin.

This fact speaks to us, if we have ears to hear, and tells us that, when we “walk in the light,” i.e., when we have access into His presence, as the High Priest had (though only on one day in the year), it is entirely in virtue of that precious blood of Christ which gives us a title to that access, and preserves us in that presence. The High Priest could not enter into the Holy of Holies and see that glorious light of the Shekinah which symbolized the presence of God, without blood; neither can we enter into and enjoy “fellowship” with God, who is light (vv. 5-7), apart from the merits of that precious blood of Christ. Then it is that we need those merits; then it is that we are reminded of them; then it is that the blood is mentioned.

But, in 1 John ii. 1, when it is a question of sin, there is no need to mention it at all; for it was once offered, once for all, and its virtues and merits in the putting away of sin are eternal in their results. It is “eternal redemption,” “eternal salvation.”

Hence, “if any man sin we have an Advocate with the Father.” It does not say “a high priest with God”; for that title was in connection with the priestly act of access and approach through blood, but “an advocate with the Father.” This is to remind us that relationship has not been broken. He who is spoken of as “God” in connection with the access of his sinful creatures, is spoken of as “Father” in connection with His sinful “children.”

Thus, accuracy in reading shows us that these Scriptures are Divine; for where the Holy Spirit mentions the blood, man (if he had written it) would surely have left it out; while, where the Holy Spirit does not mention it, man would certainly have put it in. Indeed he does so, constantly, in his prayers, and in his writings.

“Accepted” and “Acceptable” (Eph. i. 6 and 2 Cor. v. 9). We must accurately note the distinction between these two words. In the A.V. we have the one word “accepted” in both passages; but in the Greek they are different.

The former (Eph. i. 6) is caritovw (charitoo), to make one an object of favour. This refers to the standing which God has given us, in Christ, in the heavenlies.

The latter (2 Cor. v. 9) is eujavresto" (euarestos), well-pleasing. This refers to our state, and our daily walk and life on earth.

The former relates to the person, the latter to his actions.

It is one thing for us to be accepted in Christ, for His merits’ sake; and it is another thing for our walk to be well-pleasing to God.

The former is the gift of God’s grace; the latter is the fruit of that grace.

It is most important that we should be accurate in noting this distinction, so that we may be preserved from legality on the one hand, and from laxity on the other.

All the children of God have the same standing; the strongest as well as the feeblest, the oldest as well as the youngest.

We do not labour to be accepted, but having been “accepted in the Beloved” we make it our aim (R.V.) for our walk to be acceptable.

“Man” and “men.” It is important that we should be accurate in noticing such a difference between the singular and the plural; for example, in this case, between “man” and “men,” especially in the Divine use of these words.

“Man,” God has written down as lost, ruined, guilty, helpless, and hopeless; though the world defiles “man”; and exalts him as having within him a part of the Divine.

“Men,” God graciously saves; and deals with individual men in mercy, pity, and blessing; though the world thinks little and makes less of individual sinners. They may go to the wall for all that the world cares, when it comes to showing kindness, or giving help.

In this is manifested the difference between God’s thoughts and the world’s thoughts (Isa. Iv. 8).

God declares that “there is no good thing” in man (Rom. vii. 18). The world with one voice, in Pulpit, Platform, and Press, declares that there is some good thing in man.

The issue is clear, sharp, and decisive; and the only question is, Do we believe what God says? or Do we believe what man says?

Remembering and Forgetting. The same difference is manifested in the treatment of man by God, and by the world.

As to our frailties and infirmities the world makes no allowance for them. It does not remember our weaknesses; but holds us responsible for our mistakes however excusable. But God “knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are but dust” (Ps. ciii. 14).

As to our sins, the world remembers them. After long years they are brought up against us; and the time and the circumstances are remembered, enumerated, and described in all their detail. But God has written of His forgiven people: “Their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more” (Heb. viii. 12; x. 17. Jer. xxxi. 34).

Thus what God remembers, man forgets; and what God forgets, man remembers.

2. The negative of what is said.

It is sometimes useful, if not important, to note this; and to put what is said into opposite language.

“Out of the Scriptures” (Acts xvii. 2). For example, in Acts xvii. 2, where Paul for “three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the Scriptures,” it may be well to note that it does not say, “out of the newspapers” or “out of his own head.”

“Waiting for God’s Son from heaven” (1 Thess. i. 10). — When we read that the Thessalonian saints were “waiting for God’s son from heaven,” it is well to note what they were not waiting for.

It does not say that they waited for the “Spirit of God,” but for the Son of God.

It does not say that they waited for “death,” for that comes without waiting for it.

It does not say that they were waiting for Titus with his armies to come from Rome, but for God’s Son to come from heaven.

It does not say that they waited for the fulfilment of prophecy, for Nebuchadnezzar’s Image, or Daniel’s Beasts, but for “God’s Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.”

2 Thess. ii. 3, “Except there come the Apostasy first.” When it says “that day (the day of the Lord) shall not come except there come the Apostasy first and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition,” we are to note that it does not say, “till the world’s conversion comes,” but till the Apostasy comes.

It does not say, “the world is not yet good enough,” but the world is not yet bad enough.

3. Marks of Time.

These are of the utmost importance, often pointing the way to the correct interpretation; giving us the clue to the explanation of some difficulty; or, bringing out some hidden truth or beauty concealed in that particular Scripture.

“The second day” (Josh. x. 31, 32). Here we read: “And Joshua passed from Libnah, and all Israel with him, unto Lachish, and encamped against it, and fought against it. And the LORD delivered Lachish into the hand of Israel, which took it on the second day and smote it with the edge of the sword.”

Thus Lachish seems to be an exception to all the other cities taken by Joshua at that time. Of Lachish alone is it said that “he took it on the second day.”

This point of accuracy invites our attention: and when we give it by looking more closely into Lachish, we find that-

In 2 Chron. xxxii. 9 “Sennacherib himself laid siege against Lachish, and all his power with him;” while he sent Rabshakeh to Jerusalem with a summons to Hezekiah.

Yet when Rabshakeh returned he “found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah; for he heard that he was departed from Lachish” (2 Kings xix. 8). He evidently found Lachish a difficult place to take, as Joshua had done.

We note the further confirmation of this in a reference by Jeremiah to a subsequent assault by another king of Babylon. He says:

“When the king of Babylon’s army fought against all the cities of Judah that were left, against Lachish, and against Azekah; for these defenced cities remained of the cities of Judah” (Jer. xxxiv. 7).

So that when we read in Josh. x. 31, 32, about Joshua taking Lachish on “the second day” of the siege, we got a note of time which is not a mere casual remark, but is full of meaning when compared with other references to the same city.

“Then came Amalek” (Exod. xvii. 8). Here we read that immediately after the miraculous supply of water recorded in verses 1-7, “THEN came Amalek and fought with Israel in Rephidim.”

No reason is given for this assault on the part of Amalek beyond what may be inferred from the word “Then.”

When we consider what is recorded in remoter contexts we gather that in a land of that character, a well of springing water would be a bone of contention, and a possession to be coveted and, if possible, taken by force.

In Gen. xxi. 25 we read of Abraham reproving Abimelech “because of a well of water which Abimelech’s servants had violently taken away.”

In Gen. xxvi. 19, 20, we read how Isaac’s servants found “a well of springing water, and the herdmen of Gerar did strive with Isaac’s herdmen saying the water is ours ... And they digged another, and strove for that also.”

In Exod. ii. 17 we read how the shepherds drove away the daughters of Reuel who came to draw water; and how Moses helped them.

In Num. xx. 19 we read how Israel offered in vain to pay for the water as they passed through Edom; also afterwards how the same offer was made to Sihon the king of the Amorites.

In Judg. v. 11 Deborah sang of the wells as scenes of conflict.

No wonder then that such a miraculous supply of water as at Rephidim should at once become a reason why Amalek should thus make this assault against Israel “then.”

“Then will I sprinkle” (Ezek. xxxvi. 25).

THEN will I sprinkle clean water upon you and ye shall be clean;
From all your filthiness, and from all your idols will I cleanse you,
A new heart also will I give you,
And a new spirit will I put within you.”

When? When Jehovah shall have taken the house of Israel from among the heathen whither He has scattered them, and gathered them out of all countries and brought them “INTO THEIR OWN LAND” (vv. 16-24).

If we observe this mark of time, it will effectually prevent our misinterpretation of this passage, and save us from taking what is spoken of Israel in a future day and applying it to the Church of God in the present day.

“Then shall the offering” (Mal. iii. 4). “THEN shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto Jehovah as in the days of old, and as in former years.”

When ? When Jehovah shall have sent His Messenger, who will sit as a refiner and “purify the sons of Levi that they may offer unto Jehovah an offering in righteousness” (vv. 1-3).

“THEN they that feared Jehovah spake often one to another,” etc. (Mal. iii. 16).

When? In a time of apostasy, and neglect of the service and worship of Jehovah. In days of darkness and “perilous times.” When the godly are minished; and it is difficult to find the assembly of true worshippers. “THEN” will be the time for believers to meet together, and speak often to one another and “think upon His name” (vv. 7-18).

May we not apply this Scripture to the condition of things in the present day, without robbing Israel of the interpretation of it in a future day?

1 Thess. iv. 17. “THEN we which are alive and remain shall be caught up with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thess. iv. 17).

When? When the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven; and when the dead in Christ shall have first risen.

“Then” (Matt. xxv. 1). “THEN shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps and went forth to meet the Bridegroom.”

The word “then” points to the fact that this prophetic parable will have its fulfilment, not now, but at that particular moment in the sequence of events then being revealed by the Lord.

It forms part of the Lord’s instruction and teaching as to His coming; and finds its place in His last great prophetic discourse contained in Matt. xxiv. and xxv.

No one part may be taken out from its context, and interpreted apart from it, as conveying a lesson different from that which it was first intended to teach.

In the first place, the whole discourse is wrongly divided from the literary point of view. The Structure and the Scope combine to show that ch. xxv. should begin at ch. xxiv. 29. It consists of two portions of unequal length, answering to the two questions of ch. xxiv. 3. These portions are differently constructed in order to mark their different subjects and scope.

The first part is an Extended Alternation. The second part is a Complex Introversion.

The questions were two in number.

(1) When (povte, pote)? And
(2) What (tiv, ti)?

(1) “When shall these things (spoken of) be?”
“What shall be the sign of Thy coming and of the sunteleia of the age (or Dispensation)?”

Answer to the First Question, “When?”

(Matt. xxiv. 4-28).

A| 14-6. Events heard of, leading up to the end (telos), which is “not yet.” Direction to “see that ye be not troubled.”

B| 7, 8. The birth-pangs of the Great Tribulation.

C| 9, 14. Events leading up to the end (telos).

A| 15-20. Events seen, sign of the end (telos). Direction !to “understand it,” and “flee.”

B| 21, 22. The Great Tribulation itself.

C| 23-28. Events ending it.

Thus far we have the Great Tribulation: and the events leading up to, characterizing, and ending it.

Now, in the second part, we have the events following it.

Answer to the Second Question, “What?”

(Matt. xxiv. 29-xxv. 46).

D| a| 29, 30. The Coming of the Son of Man.

b| 31. The gathering of the elect Remnant of Israel from judgment.

E| c| 32-41. Parables (General). Fig-tree and Noah.

d| 42-44. Warning. “Watch.”

e| 45-51. Servants (General).

E| c| xxv. 1-12. Parable(Special). Ten Virgins.

d| 13. Warning. “Watch.”

e| 14-30. Servants (Special).

D| a| 31. The Coming of the Son of Man.

b| 32-46. The gathering of the nations for judgment.

From all this, which is pointed out by the word “THEN” in Matt. xxv. 1, it will be seen how impossible it is for us to read the Church of God into the parable of the Ten Virgins without introducing confusion of thought, loss of instruction, and dislocation of our Lord’s teaching.

“Immediately” (Matt. xxiv. 20). The word “Immediately” in Matt. xxiv. 29 tells us that there is no interval between the end of the Great Tribulation and the appearing of the Son of Man in His glory, for judgment.

No room for a Millennium therefore, before that glorious Advent.

No place for a thousand years of universal peace and blessing without Christ.

This word “immediately” writes folly on all man’s vaunted remedies for the world’s sorrows.

It convicts of grossest ignorance all the Church’s selfclaimed mission to “convert the world” before that Advent.

If the Church is to convert the world, where is the place or possibility of the Great Tribulation?

And, if the Coming of Christ follows that Tribulation “immediately,” where is there room for the conversion of the world, or for any Millennium before His coming?

The whole argument which is so universally made on behalf of Foreign Missions is radically false. It must be, and can be based on truly Scriptural grounds, without thus mangling and marring the Scriptures of truth. Not only does this want of accuracy in interpreting the Word of God bring it into contempt and make it of none effect; but it deceives the world, and enables the scoffer to ask, “Where are the signs that your mission is being accomplished?”

The Church answers back, that though there are no signs yet; though heathen births far exceed the converts’ deaths, yet they are “waiting for an outpouring of the Spirit.” Thus they deceive themselves with a false hope, and substitute it for the true hope which God has given, which is, “to wait for God’s Son (not God’s Spirit) from heaven.”

If the Church urges, as it does, that Daniel’s prophecies were fulfilled under Antiochus Epiphanes, and that it was he who set up “the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet,” it is a sufficient answer to point out that the Lord speaks of it, in His day, as being still future, and gives solemn warning to those who shall see it, to heed it and “understand” it; and adds specific directions as to what they are to do.

“Afterward” (Joel ii.28). “And it shall come to pass AFTERWARD, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh,” etc.281

After what?

After God has brought Israel back into their own land, and made it fruitful, and blessed it and them with all blessings. If we read the previous part of the chapter we can see plainly enough when the pouring out of spiritual gifts shall take place. The verse immediately before reads:

“And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel,
And that I am Jehovah your God, and none else:
And my people shall never be ashamed.
And it shall come to pass AFTERWARD,” etc.

This shows that Peter could not have been referring to Joel to show that that prophecy was then being fulfilled, for none of those things had taken place; and none of those conditions had been enjoyed.

Peter is merely rebutting the charge of drunkenness, and showing that it could not be true, inasmuch as similar scenes were spoken of by Joel the prophet. When he says, “This is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel” he can mean only this (Sing.) prophecy which he proceeds to quote; not those (pl.) events which were taking place.

And yet his utterance is so worded that had the people and their rulers repented, as he exhorted them (Acts ii. 38; iii. 10-26, R.V.), and as it was required by the one great condition of the fulfilment of the promise of Joel ii. 12-17, then the prophecy of Joel ii. 28 (which Peter quoted) would have been fulfilled: for that will be the time when the LORD Will “be jealous for His LAND and pity His PEOPLE,” as long before foretold in “the Song of Moses” (Deut. xxxii. 43).

“At that time” (Matt. xi. 25). This mark of time we have already referred to under Canon VI. (page 323).

4. Marks of Reasoning.

“Therefore” (Eph. iv. 1). “THEREFORE the prisoner of the Lord beseech you that ye walk worthy of the calling wherewith ye are called.”

Why? Ch. iii. being a parenthesis between ch. ii. and ch. iv. (see page 62), we see that the word “therefore” stands connected with ch. ii. 22.

It is the one building “fitly framed together”; the “holy temple” (ch. ii. 21, 22): It is the one body which is likewise “fitly framed together” (ch. iii. 16).

“THEREFORE,” endeavour to keep this unity of the spirit (this spiritual unity) which God HAS MADE in Christ.

Seek not to make a corporate or bodily unity; but give diligence to KEEP to the spiritual unity which God has made.

To do this will require “all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love” (v. 2).

“ Therefore … I charge thee” (2 Tim. iv. 1). Here, and in all similar cases where we have such words as “Therefore,” “Wherefore,” marking logical conclusions of arguments or statements, it is always important for us, in our reading, to be most accurate, and to notice the matter thus introduced and emphasized by the word “therefore.” This is the more important, because such words, more often than not, come at the beginning of a chapter, where the break is apt to sever the connection between the argument and the conclusion, between the cause and the effect, or between a statement and its result.

A good example is furnished in 2 Tim. iv. 1. The chapter begins:

“I charge thee THEREFORE, before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom— Preach the Word” (R.V.).

Why is this charge given? and why is it given here?

The answer to these questions is furnished by the word “therefore.” Ch. iii. had ended with a statement as to the wonderful profitableness of the God-breathed Word, fitting out God’s spokesman for every emergency (see above, under Canon V., pp. 301, 305, and VI., p. 321). The solemn conclusion is:

Seeing that the Divine Word is God-breathed; seeing that it is so profitable, seeing that it is so necessary to fit out him who thus possesses it,


Preach the Word.” Note the comparison thus suggested between ch. iii. 16, and ch. iv. 2.

Seeing it is profitable for “doctrine,” therefore “preach it in season and out of season.”

Seeing it is profitable for “reproof,” therefore “reprove.”

Seeing it is profitable for “correction,” therefore “rebuke.”

Seeing it is profitable for “instruction in righteousness,” therefore “exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”

All this, and more, is wrapped up in this word “therefore.”

Similar examples may be noted, and instruction gained by accurately observing the occurrences of such words.

5. Numeration

It is a great question whether we have the correct method of translating numbers. Each nation has its own method of reckoning, and its own idioms of numeration.

We have only to go to the French and to one illustration to see this. Take as an example our simple ninety-seven (97). How is this to be translated into French? Idiomatically, of course, and not literally. The French would be quatre-vingt-dix-sept, or four-twenty-ten-seven:

four twenties = 80

ten = 10

seven = 7

Total = 97

Now, may it not be well to ask whether the Hebrew mode of reckoning was the same as the English; or, indeed, whether it was the same in Old Testament days as it is today ?

In any case, is it not wiser to ask this question instead of first assuming an answer which may be incorrect, then charging the error on the inspired writers, and then explaining it by talking of “exaggeration,” or of “round numbers “?

That is an easy, not to say the usual, way out of difficulties which we ourselves perhaps have created.

1 Sam. vi. 19. Infidels and Critics have brought charges of error, for example, against 1 Sam. vi. 19:

“And he smote the men of Beth-shemesh, because they had looked into the Ark of Jehovah, even he smote of the people fifty thousand and three-score and ten men” (i.e., 50,070 men).

This is what the A.V. says.

But, Is this what the Word of God says?

The Hebrew of the latter clause reads: “Jehovah smote seventy men, [two] fifties and one thousand.”

The word “fifties” is in the Dual number, which means two fifties.

So that we have, according to this-

seventy men = 70

two fifties = 100

one thousand = 1,000

or … 1,170 men.

There is a slight difference it will be observed. And, as Beth-shemesh was quite a small place, this smaller number would appear to be more correct.

Judg. xii. 6. Another example might be found in Judg. xii. 6, where we read of the tribe of Ephraim:

“And there fell at that time forty, and two thousand.”

This would be … 40

and … 2,000

or, as we should say … 2,040

This would be more in harmony with Num. xxvi. 37, which gives the total of the second census of Ephraim as 32,500, while the first was not more than 40,500 (Num. i. 333). Not only is the above more in harmony, for the other reckoning is out of all harmony; as those slain of the tribe would be more than the number of the whole tribe, within about three hundred years.

The Census of Num. i. and xxvi. This leads to another suggestion which is made by Professor W. M. Flinders Petrie in his Researches in Sinai.282 His suggestion is that in the two Census Lists of Num. i. and xxvi. the word Eleph, thousand, should be taken in the. sense of family or tent. He would then reckon, Reuben (Num. i. 21) as “46 eleph 500 people”: i.e., eleven to a tent.

But the objection to this is (1) that it is not “people,” but the “men over twenty years of age”; (2) that the first list works out at 598 eleph 5,550 men over twenty years old (not people), whereas it is several times given as 603 eleph 3,550 men; which shows that the 598 and 5,550 must be reckoned as thousands, in order to arrive at the totals as given in Exod. xxxviii. 26. ‘ Num. i. 46; ii. 32, viz., 598,000 + 3,550 = 603,550 (compare Exod. xii. 37. Num. xi. 21).

We must therefore conclude that Moses knew more about what he was writing than explorers and critics can imagine.

Our suggestion as given above does not lie under these serious objections, but relates merely to the principle underlying the method of numeration, and the idioms used in stating it.

6. Names of Persons and Places.

Accuracy is also required in the study of the names of persons and places. Apart from Scripture evidence we know that, in all countries, many places and persons have the same name; while on the other hand some are known by, and have, several names.

We should expect, therefore, to find these phenomena in the Bible.

So far from being a discrepancy which amounts to an objection, it is only a difficulty calling for greater accuracy and care in our study of the Word.

Moreover, it is an argument for the veracity of God’s Word, in that, what are difficulties to us, are left unexplained because the truth as to the facts was perfectly well known.

(a) As to Persons.

1. The same name was borne by different persons then, as now.

This is particularly noticeable in the case of James.

JAMES. We have to distinguish:

      (1) James the son of Zebedee, and brother of John (Matt. iv. 21; xvii. 1, etc.).

      (2) James the son of Alphmus, one of the Twelve (Mark iii. 18. Matt. x. 3, etc.).

      (3) James the Lord’s brother (Gal. i. 19. Matt. xiii. 55. Mark vi. 8).

JOHN. We have to distinguish-

      (1) John the Baptist (Matt. iii. 4).

      (2) John the Apostle (Mark i. 20).

      (3) John Mark (Acts xii. 12, 25; xiii. 5, 13; xv. 37).

      (4) John of Acts iv. 6.

SIMON was a name borne by at least ten persons in the New Testament. There were-

      (1) SIMON (Luke ii. 25).

      (2) SIMON PETER the Apostle.

      (3) SIMON ZELOTES, one of the Twelve (Luke vi. 15. Acts i. 13). This is the same as SIMON THE CANANITE (Matt. x. 4. Mark iii. 18), being the Aramaic for Zelotes, both meaning Zeal or Zealot; the name of a Jewish sect.

      (4) SIMON Son of Joseph and Mary (Matt. xiii. 55. Mark vi. 3).

      (5) SIMON the father of Judas Iscariot (John vi. 71; xii. 4; xiii. 2, 26).

      (6) SIMON the Pharisee (Luke vii. 40, 43, 44).

      (7) SIMON THE LEPER (Matt. xxvi. 6. Mark xiv. 3).

      (8) SIMON THE CYRENIAN (Matt. xxvii. 32. Mark xv. 21).

      (9) SIMON THE TANNER (Acts ix. 43; x. 6, 32).

      (10) SIMON MAGUS (Acts viii. 9, 13).

HEROD was a name borne by seven different persons:

      (1) HEROD THE GREAT of whom we read in Matt. ii. and Luke i. He died in the year of the true Nativity (B.C. 4). During his last illness he ordered the slaughter of the children at Bethlehem (Matt. ii. 16-18).

      (2) HEROD ANTIPAS, son of Herod I., Tetrarch of Galilee (Luke iii. 1), the central portion of kingdom of Herod I. He was the half-brother of Herod Philip I. and abducted his wife Herodias and married her (Matt. xiv. 3. Luke iii. 19. Mark. vi. 17). He heard John gladly, but afterwards beheaded him (Mark vi. 20). This was the Herod to whom the Lord was sent for trial (Luke xxiii. 8-12).

      (3) HEROD ARCHELAUS, Son of Herod I. Ethnarch of portion of kingdom of Herod I., on account of whom Joseph turned aside into Galilee (Matt. ii. 22).

      (4) HEROD PHILIP I., son of Herod I., without territory. Husband of Herodias, who was abducted and married by Herod Antipas (Matt. xiv. 3. Mark vi. 17. Luke iii. 19).

      (5) HEROD PHILIP II., son of Herod I., Tetrarch of the N.E. portion of kingdom of Herod I. (Luke iii. 1). Built Caesarea Philippi (Matt. xvi. 13. Mark viii. 27).

      (6) HEROD AGRIPPA I., grandson of Herod I., succeeded Philip II. Put James to death, and Peter in prison (Acts xii.).

      (7) HEROD AGRIPPA II., son of Agrippa I, whom he succeeded in part. The Herod before whom Paul stood (Acts xxv. 13).

The same name in some cases arises from the fact that it is a title associated with royalty; just as the words Czar,” “Kaiser,” etc.

    ABIMELECH was the common name for the kings of the Philistines.

    AGAG, for the kings of the Amalekites.

    CAESAR, for the emperors of Rome.

    PHARAOH, for the kings of the Egyptians, such as Pharaoh Hophra (Jer. xliv. 30); Pharaoh Necho (2 Kings xxiii. 29, 33, 34, 35. Jer. xlvi. 2).

We may learn a solemn lesson from the history of the calamitous and fatal matrimonial alliance of Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat with Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel.283

We find, after this, the same names being given to members of both families, showing how close this alliance became, and how the evil leaven worked and permeated the whole mass.

Not only was the house of Jehovah broken up and the vessels thereof taken to the house of Baal, but the two families became alike in their life and their religion.

Care has to be taken by the Bible student in the midst of the confusion created for him by this unholy alliance: and the difficulties caused by it have to be noted and unravelled.

2. The same person has different names,284 or more than one:

    ABIEL (1 Sam. ix. 1) is NER of 1 Chron. ix. 39.

    ISHUI (I Sam. xiv. 49) is ABINADAB Of ch. xxxi. 2.

    ABIMELECH of PS. XXXIV. (Title) is ACHISH Of 1 Sam. xxi. 11. (See above.)

    LEVI (Luke v. 27) is the same as MATTHEW.

    THOMAS and DIDYMUS are the Hebrew and Greek words respectively for twins.

    SILVANUS (2 Cor. i. 10. 1 Thess, i. 1. 1 Pet. v. 12) is the same as SILAS (Acts xv. 22, 27, 34, 40; xvi. 19,25).

    TIMOTHEUS (Acts xvi. 1, etc.) is TIMOTHY.

    CEPHAS (John i. 42. 1 Cor. i. 12; iii. 22; ix. 5; xv. 5. Gal. ii. 9) is the Aramaic for the Greek PETER, His Hebrew name was SIMEON or SIMON. Hence he was sometimes called SIMON PETER. But there were several who are known by the name of SIMON. (See above, page 367).

ESAU’S WIVES. Perhaps one of the most intricate of these problems is that of Esau’s wives. As infidels and “higher” critics (which too often mean very much the same thing) have sometimes referred to this as showing the human element in an untrustworthy record, it may be well to say a few words about it.

In Gen. xxxvi. 1-3 we have “the generations of Esau.” This, therefore, is the correct and standard genealogy which must be our foundation.

Here Esau’s wives are stated to be three in number; and their names are thus definitely stated:

(1) ADAH.

(1) As to the first, ADAH, she was the daughter of Elon the Hittite. In Gen. xxvi. 34 she has a second name, BASHEMATH, which happened to be the same as that of the first name of the third wife, and therefore is dropped here.

(2) As to the second, AHOLIBAMAH, she was the daughter of Anah the Hivite285 (Gen. xxxvi. 3,14,25). InGen.xxvi.34 she is called JUDITH, and her father is called BEERI the Hittite. Doubtless ANAH got this name later on, from a fact that is mentioned in ch. xxxvi. 24 concerning ANAH. “This is that ANAH who found286 the hot springs287 in the wilderness as he fed the asses of Zibeon his father.”

This was the origin of his other name BEERI or the spring-man, or the man that discovered the hot springs.

(3) As to the third, BASHEMATH, she was the daughter of Ishmael and had a second name MAHALATH (ch. xxviii. 9).

There is no difficulty, therefore, if we accurately note these different names; and remember that a forger would be perfectly sure to have made all clear, and have left no such matters in doubt; also that women, as a rule, received a second or additional name on their marriage.

3. Changes in Names. In some cases different names came from a definite change, as ABRAHAM for ABRAM (Gen. xvii. 5). BOANERGES for JOHN and JAMES, PETER for SIMON (Mark iii. 16,17). PAUL for SAUL (Acts Xiii. 9). DANIEL and his three companions (Dan. i. 7). JOSEPH (Gen. x1i. 45).

4. The Divine Names and Titles. These also need careful discrimination if we would explain difficulties, and see new beauties in the words of God.

There is no need to say anything on the subject here, as the whole subject is referred to above (p. 312); and is fully dealt with in our separate pamphlet on this subject.

(b) Of Places.

(1) The same name was given to different places.


(1) Was given to DAN, before called LAISH (see below), and

(2) Was called CAESAREA PHILIPPI288 (Matt. XVI. 13. Mark viii. 27) to distinguish it from CAESAREA of Palestine, which was on the coast (Acts xviii. 22; x. 1, 24; xii. 19; xxi. 8; xxv. 6,13).

    ANTIOCH was the name of

(1) A city in Syria (Acts xi. 20-26); and

(2) A city of Pisidia (Acts xiii. 14).

    DAN Was the name of a city or country in the north of Palestine (Gen. xiv. 14. Dent. xxxiv. 1), long before the tribe of Dan changed the name of quite another place (before called Laish) to the name of their ancestor, Dan (Judges xviii. 29).


(1) The city of Andrew and Peter on the N.E. shore of Galilee (John i. 44), called povli" (polis), a city.

(2) On the W. shore (called kwvmh (kome), a village, Mark viii. 29, 23).

(3) Of Gaulonitis, Luke ix. 10 (afterwards called Julias).


(1) In Benjamin, Josh. ix. 1-18. 2 Sam. iv. 2.

(2) Of the children of Jaakan, Deut. x. 6 (Num.

xxiii. 31, 32, called Bene-jaakan).


(1) A city of Benjamin (Judg. iv. 5; xix. 13. 1 Sam. xxii. 6. Jer. xxxi. 15. Matt. ii. 18).

(2) In Asher (Josh. xix. 29).

(3) In Naphtali (Josh. xix. 36).

(4) In Gilead (2 Kings viii. 29. 2 Chron. xxii. 6).

(5) The birth-place of Samuel (1 Sam. i. 10; ii. 11, etc.).

Sometimes these names were so indeterminate that it was necessary to couple with them some explanatory word:

    KIRJATH. From Kir, a wall or walled. Hence we have:

(1) Kirjath Arba (Gen. xxiii. 2; xxxv. 27. Josh. xiv. 15; xv. 13, 54; xx. 7; xxi. 11. Neh. xi. 25).

(2) Kirjath Baal (Josh. xv. 60; xviii. 14).

(3) Kirjath Huzoth (Num. xxii. 39).

(4) Kirjath Jearim (Ezra ii. 25. Josh. ix. 17).

(5) Kirjath Sepher (Josh. xv. 15, 16. Judg. i. 11, 12).

(6) Kirjath Sannah (Josh. xv. 49).

    ARAM (meaning high, but translated “Syria”). From this we have:

(1) Aram of Damascus (2 Sam. viii. 5, 6).

(2) Aram-beth Rehob (2 Sam. x. 6).

(8) Aram-Zobah (2 Sam. x. 6).

(4) Arain-Naharaim (i.e., Aram of the two rivers, translated “Mesopotamia”), (Gen. xxiv. 10. Compare ch. xxvii. 43).

So that if we note accurately the use of these various names we shall not, like many, jump to the conclusion that there must be a “discrepancy.”

The same phenomena are seen in all countries.289

(2) The same place has different names.

    JEGAR-SAHADUTHA was the Aramaic name, but the Hebrew name was GALEED (both having the same meaning) (Gen. xxxi. 47).

    LUZ was afterwards called BETHEL (Gen. xxviii. 19).

    HERMON was known as SIRION by the Sidonians, and as SHENIR by the Amorites (Deut. iii. 9), also by the name of SION (ch. iv. 48).

    EGYPT was known as HAM (Pss. lxxviii. 51; cv. 23), and as RAHAB (Pss. lxxxvii. 4; lxxxix. 10. Isa. li. 9).

    JERUSALEM is called ARIEL (The lion of God, Isa. xxix. 1), as it had been called JEBUS by the Jebusites (Judg. xix. 10).

    BABYLON is called SHESHAK (Jer. xxv. 26).

    CAESAREA in Galilee was called LAISH at first, and was afterwards known as DAN (Judg. xviii. 29. 1 Kings xii. 29). This has to be distinguished from another CAESAREA, which was on the coast (Acts xviii. 22, see above).

    THE LAKE OF GENNESARETH was known also as the SEA OF TIBERIAS, and as the SEA OF GALILEE (John vi. 1, 23). Also as CHINNERETH.

    CHARRAN of Acts vii. 2 is the HARAN of Gen. xi.

    ARAM is the same as MESOPOTAMIA and SYRIA (Num. xxiii. 7).


    LAISH was afterwards called DAN (Judg. xviii. 29).

    SINAI is known also as HOREB.

7. Chronology.

Accurate reading of the words, as written, will soon make it apparent that there is no Chronology as such in the Scriptures. Years are numbered not as dates, but as to duration. And when dates are used they are reckoned as having happened in a certain year from some event, or from the commencement of a reign, or a captivity, etc.: otherwise, the years are reckoned only as being so many, during a certain period. This is the case with

The 120 years of Gen. vi. 3. These are usually taken as referring to one hundred and twenty years of probation before the Flood. But, is this the case? The A.V. reads: “Jehovah said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh ; yet his days shall be a hundred and twenty years.”

There are several traditional interpretations of this verse, all equally unsatisfactory.

There is the fanciful Rabbinical one which makes it refer to Moses’s age.

The popular idea is that it refers to the period of probation between that time and the Flood : another explanation refers it to the altered duration of human life.

But, if we note accurately the words employed another interpretation will be suggested.

(1) The word rendered “man” is <d*a* (adam), Adam. It occurs thirty-seven times in these early chapters of Genesis (from Gen. i.-vi. 3), and is rendered Adam nineteen times and man eighteen times. It occurs without the article twelve times.290

(2) It occurs with the article <d*a*h* (haadam), twenty one times.291

(3) It occurs not only with the article, but with this and the very strong demonstrative ta# (eth) four times.292 Eth means self, this same, this very, and is quite emphatic.293

(4) Nos. 2 and 3 always mean the man, Adam.

Where it occurs without the article it is rendered “Adam,” except in Gen. i. 26 and ii. 5, where it is rendered “man.”

Where it is used without the article and with the pronoun and verb in the plural number, as in ch. i. 26, it denotes man or mankind as such (“Let us make man (sing.) . . . and lot them have dominion,” etc.).

In Gen. vi. 1 we have Adam in the singular with the article, and it means, “Adam began to multiply, and daughters were born to them.” Here the plural pronoun shows that Eve is associated with Adam as in ch. v. 2.

In Gen. vi. 3 it must mean the man Adam, because it has the article and is followed by the pronoun and the verb in the Singular Number: “because that he also is flesh.” The Hebrew is aWh <G*?^B= (beshaggam hu), because that also he. This has no sense whatever if it does not refer to the man A dam. To whom does the word “also” refer if it refers not to him? If men as such were meant, it would say, “for that they also are flesh”: but it says, “for that he also is.” That is to say, Adam had become like the others. He was flesh as they were. All flesh had corrupted his way on the earth. Noah and his family alone had preserved their breed “perfect” (v. 8): Hebrew, <ym!T* (tamim), without blemish.294

The word “generations” occurs twice in verse 8. The first time it means Noah’s family history (Toledoth); but the second is a different word (Dor), and means his contemporaries.

This is the third reference to the man Adam’s end. In Gen. ii. 17 it was prophetically announced. In ch. iii. 22-24 lie was driven out from the tree of life that he might not cat and live for ever; and now, here, the actual year of his death was fixed. He should live 120 years more, but not for ever.

In Gen. vi. 3 we have a chronological indication of the date of this announcement. Adam lived, altogether, 930 years. If we deduct from this, these 120 years, we get A.M. 810 as the date. But the corruption spoken of in this chapter must have commenced much earlier.295

The word rendered “strive” is /Wd (dun). It occurs only here. The Ancient Versions (the Sept., Syriac, Arabic, and Latin) give it the sense of remaining or dwelling. They are right; and what Gen. vi. 3 actually says is, “My spirit (or, breath of life) shall not always remain in Adam, for that he also is flesh.” (Compare Isa. lvii. 16).

“Spirit,” here, must mean “breath,” or life, as in verse 17; vii. 15, 22.296

Both A.V. and R.V. use a small “s” and not a capital letter.

The 400 years of Gen. xv. 13 and Acts vii. 6 (see above under Canon V. b., pages 58 and 302).

The 430 years of Exod. xii. 40 and Gal. iii. 17 (see above under Canon V., pages 58 and 302), and

The 450 years of Acts xiii. 20, and

The 490 years of Dan. ix. 24.

These are part of a larger period: the second of the four periods of 490 years, which was the duration of the four hundred and seventy hebdomads, or seventy sevens of years, during which Jehovah stood in special covenant relation with Israel. As these were covenant relations, the years when those relations were interrupted were not reckoned in the number of the years of such periods.

Just as, in this present interval, while Israel is Lo ammi, (“not my people,” Hos. i. 9, 10. Isa. liv. 7, 8), the years are not reckoned, but are deducted from the 490 years.

The first of these periods is reckoned from the birth of Abraham (Gen. xi. 26) to the Exodus. But to get these 490 years we must deduct fifteen years. And these were exactly the number of years that Ishmael was in Abraham’s house.

The second period of 490 years is reckoned from the Exodus (Exod. xii. 40, 41) to the Foundation of Solomon’s Temple (1 Kings vi. 1). But to get this 490 years we must deduct the ninety-three years of the captivities of Judges,297 and add three years for the building.!

The 480th year of 1 Kings vi. 1 is an Ordinal number, and not a Cardinal number. It is the four hundred and eightieth year after the Exodus, omitting the ninety-three years referred to above.

The third period of 490 years is reckoned from the Dedication of Solomon’s Temple (1 Kings vi. 1) to “the going forth of the Decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem” (Dan. ix. 24-27. Neh. ii. 1). But to get these 490 years we must deduct the seventy years of the Captivity in Babylon.

The fourth period of 490 years dates from the going forth of the Decree (Neh. ii. 1-8), B.C. 454, to the consummation; deducting the years of this present interval, dating from “cutting off of the Messiah” (Dan. ix. 20) to the fulness of the times of the Gentiles (Luke xxi. 24. Isa. lix. 19, 20).298

That there are such parentheses in God’s reckonings; and the particular parenthesis of this present Dispensation see above under “Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth as to its Times and Dispensations.” See Part I., above, pages 100-104.

8. Synonymous Greek Words.

The importance of accuracy in discriminating many synonymous Greek words cannot be overrated. This can be done by English readers who know little or nothing of Greek by the use of our Lexicon and Concordance. By means of this the meaning of any Greek word can be seen at a glance, and the different shades of meaning between various words which are similarly translated. Among the most important are the words rendered “world,” “wash,” “if”, “search,” “hell,” “judgment,” “no,” and “not.”

There are 32 different Greek words rendered “come,” 10 “destroy,” 18 “receive,” 5 “rest” (noun), 8 “say,” 13 “see,” 12 “deliver,” 13 “in,” 20 “show,” 13 “then,” 12 “think,” 17 “when,” 22 “for,” 11 “suffer,” 22 “take,” 17 “therefore,” 14 “call,” 12 “behold,” 6 “know,” 9 “leave,” 10 “ordain,” 14 “make,” 7 “master,” 7 “mind,” 16 “give,” 21 “go,” 15 “keep,” 5 “pray,” 6 “preach,” 4 “redeem,” 8 “wash,” 12 “perceive,” 4 “perfect,” 6 “perish,” etc.

It will thus be seen that Cruden’s Concordance, while indispensable for the purpose of finding a particular passage, is misleading for finding the sense of it, if we suppose that in each passage we have the same Greek word.

Sometimes the same English word occurs only in two passages, but in each case it may be a different word in the Greek; e.g., “found,” “be spent,” “spill,” “tidings,” “victuals,” “company with,” “censer,” “certain” (adj.), “deceitful,” “settle,” “unmoveable,” “unreasonable,” “bring word,” “eye-witness,” “joyfully,” “justification,” “unblameable,” “unwise,” “be wearied,” “young,” “assent,” “last,” “lend,” “liberality,” “malefactor,” “melt,” “spy,” “stay,” “make straight,” “support,” “unawares,” “must,” “pollution,” “powerful,” “purification,” “quarrel,” “be quiet,” “quietness,” “race,” “reason,” “religious,” “rust.”

Sometimes an English word will occur three times, and each time represent a different Greek word: e.g., “imagination,” “merchandise,” “press,” “reasoning,” “roar,” “sorcerer,” “stand with,” “subvert,” “swift,” “break up,” “trial,” “uncircumcised,” “unruly,” “vehemently,” “vile,” “confer,” “brightness,” “bring again,” “assay.”

“Tempest” occurs four times, each time representing a different Greek word. So also does “throng.”

“Purpose” occurs seven times, and six out of the seven represent different Greek words.

“Stir up” occurs nine times as a rendering of eight different Greek words.

“Strengthen” occurs nine times, and represents seven different Greek words.

These examples (taken promiscuously) will be sufficient to show the importance of accuracy when we sit down to interpret the “words which the Holy Ghost teacheth.”

We can, commend, therefore, the use of our own Critical Lexicon and Concordance to the English and Greek New Testaments, because all the occurrences of the English word on which light is sought are given in one list, in which the Greek words are referred to by numbers; and the correct meaning is seen at a glance. Young’s Concordance gives as many separate lists of passages as there are Greek words, and each list has to be examined in turn: e.g., if there are twelve Greek words the reader has to wade through twelve separate lists of words. Moreover, the Lexicographical part is very meagre, generally giving only one meaning; and what is more, it is not critical: that is to say, it gives the word which stands in the Textus Receptus, but does not indicate any of the Various Readings which are found in the MSS. or in the Greek Texts of the various printed editions.

Our own work gives, in addition to all this, an Index of Greek Words showing all the various renderings of each, and the number of times such rendering is given.

9. Synonymous Hebrew Words.

We have a similar phenomenon in the case of the rendering of Hebrew words.

No less than 66 different Hebrew words are translated “bring,” 45 “lay,” 49 “make,” 24 “think,” 74 “take,” 23 “run,” 24 “keep,” 21 “join,” 26 “hold,” 26 “high,” 29 “grief,” 23 “grow,” 26 “turn,” 30 “trouble,” 35 “give,” 68 “go,” 23 “burn,” 47 “come,” 26 “cover,” 25 “deliver,” 55 “destroy,” 12 “eat,” 27 “end,” 30 “fail,” 24 “fall.”

Our English word “know” is used to represent 5 Hebrew words, “judge” 10, “iniquity” 7, “increase” 17, “hear” 4, “haste” 14, “habitation” 11, “prophet” 5, “wicked” 13, “world” 5, “worm” 4, “work” 21, “word” 5, “good” 13, “grave” 8, “guide” 9, “hand” 13, “hard” 14, “heart” 7, “congregation” 4.

The importance of this branch of our subject will be seen in connection with such words as “man,” which represents thirteen different Hebrew words, four of which it is very important for us to distinguish, e.g. :

<d*a* (adam), man as a created being, and as descended from the first man.

vya! (sh), a notable man of quality or degree.

Vona$ (enosh), a frail, mortal man.

rb#G# (gever), a strong or mighty man.

Sometimes an English rendering is used only twice, and each time it is a different Hebrew word:

    “Haven.” Gen. xlix. 13 (coast). Ps. cvii. 30 (destination).

    “Apiece.” 1 Kings vii. 15 (one). Num. vii. 86 (a spoon, lit. each spoon). 1 Kings vii. 15 (pillar, lit. each pillar).

    “Behead.” 2 Sam. iv. 7 (to take off). Deut. xxi. 6 (break the neck).

    “Bunch.” Exod. xii. 22 (a bundle). Isa. xxx. 6 (camel’s bunch).

    “Cliff.” Job xxx. 6 (anything inspiring terror). 2 Chron. xx. 16 (an ascent).

    “Convey.” 1 Kings v. 9 (to place). Neh. ii. 7 (to pass).

    “Decrease.” Gen. viii. 5 (to grow less). Ps. cvii. 38 (to be few).

    “Enjoin.” Est. ix. 31 (ordain, decree). Job xxxvi. 23 (give charge over).

    “Even.” Job xxxi. 6 (righteousness, lit. a righteous balance). Ps. xxvi. 12 (plain, smooth).

Sometimes one English word occurs only three times, and each time represents a different Hebrew word:

    “Appease.” Gen. xxxii. 20 (cover or propitiate). Est. ii. 1 (subside). Prov. xv. 18 (to still).

    “Deprive.” Gen. xxvii. 45 (to be bereaved). Job xxxix. 17 (to cause to forget). Isa. xxxviii. 10 (made to miss, i.e., to want).

The Hebrew words for “Tabernacle” must be carefully distinguished; e.g.:

    lh#a) (ohel), tent, has regard to the place where the people or congregation assembled.

    /K*v=m! (mishcan), tabernacle, has regard to the place where God dwelt.

The Hebrew words rendered “sin” are also to be distinguished:

    <v*a* (asham), is sin moral or ceremonial committed through mistake or ignorance. Usually translated trespass.

    af*h* (chatah), sin, as a missing of the mark; a falling short of what ought to be done.

    /ou* (avon), sin, as to its nature and consequences, iniquity.

    u?^P# (pesha), sin, as revolting from constituted authority.

    hg^v* (shagah), error through inadvertence.

These examples are taken out at random, merely to serve as illustrations of this branch of our subject.

As to helps for these Old Testament Words, there is Strong’s Concordance, or Young’s. The drawbacks to the latter are stated above (see p. 379).

Far and away the best is The Bible Student’s Guide, by the late Rev. W. Wilson, D.D., Canon of Winchester, the second edition of which was published by Macmillan & Co. in 1870. It is, unfortunately, out of print, and can now occasionally be obtained second-hand.299 It is on exactly the same lines as our Lexicon and Concordance of the Greek New Testament.

10. The Genitive Case.

The importance of accuracy is nowhere so clearly shown as in the interpretation of the word “of.”

It is usually the sign of the Genitive case, though it is used also to represent fourteen different Greek words. What these words are and where the renderings are can be seen at a glance (so far as the New Testament is concerned) under the word “OF” in our Critical Lexicon and Concordance (pp. 543-546).

In all other cases it is the rendering of the Genitive Case of a noun: and is used by the Holy Spirit in quite a variety of different senses. We propose to present them in nine different classes.

We have gone fully into them in our work on Figures of Speech used in the Bible, and Appendix B of that work ought to be studied in this connection. We give a brief resume here.

Every Bible student who desires to enjoy the study of the “words” of God must stop whenever he comes to the word “of,” and first look at our Critical Lexicon and see whether it represents a separate Greek word.

If he finds it does not, then it must be the Genitive Case of some noun; and in that case it belongs to one of the following nine classes.

No one can help him in determining to which of the nine it belongs. Opinions may, and do, differ. The Context and a spiritual instinct will be the best guides.

Sometimes it may be doubtful as to which of two classes it belongs; and it may often be that it belongs to both, and that each may yield a truly Scriptural sense.

(a) The Genitive of Character.

This is when it is an emphatic adjective. The ordinary way of qualifying a Noun is by using an Adjective; but when special emphasis is desired to be placed on the Adjective, the author goes out of his way to use a Noun instead, which is a Figure of Speech called Enallage, or exchange. Thus, if we say, “a bright day,” the emphasis is on “day,” and we mean “a bright DAY.” If we say “a day of brightness,” we exchange the Adjective “bright” for the Noun “brightness,” and thus put the emphasis on “brightness,” and we mean “a BRIGHT day.”

In the former case we think only of the day as being bright. In the latter case we think of the brightness which characterizes the day.

So, if the Scripture used the Adjective “mighty” in connection with “angels,” the emphasis would be on the Noun “angels”: “mighty ANGELS,” but if attention is called to their power it would say “angels of might,” i.e., MIGHTY angels” (2 Thess. i. 7; see margin).

The following examples will illustrate this:

“Zion, the mount of my holiness,” i.e., my HOLY mount (Ps. ii. 6).

“A man of understanding” is a WISE man (Ezra viii. 18).

“Be to me for a rock of strength”: i.e., a STRONG rock (Ps. xxxi. 2).

“Men of scorning”: i.e., SCORNFUL men (Prov. xx ix. 8).

“A wild bull of a net:” i.e., a NETTED wild bull (Isa. li. 20).

“My portion of desire:” i.e., my DESIRED portion (Jer. xii. 10).

“The burial of an ass:” i.e., an ASS’S burial (Jer. xxii. 19).

“A sleep of perpetuity:” i.e., a PERPETUAL sleep (Jer. li. 39).

“The bread of the children:” i.e., the CHILDREN’S bread (Matt. xv. 26).

“The throne of his glory:” i.e., his GLORIOUS throne (Matt. xix. 28).

“The steward of injustice:” i.e., the UNJUST steward (Luke xvi. 8: so xviii. 6, UNJUST judge).

“The body of this death:” i.e., this MORTAL body (Rom. vii. 24).

“Mind of the spirit” and “mind of the flesh”; rendered SPIRITUALLY minded, and CARNALLY minded (Rom. viii. 6.)

“Fathers of our flesh:” i.e., HUMAN fathers (Heb. xii. 9).

“A hearer of forgetfulness:” is a FORGETFUL hearer (Jas. i. 25).

“The word of life:” i.e., the LIVING word (I John i. 1).

“The word of truth”: i.e., the TRUE Word (2 Tim. ii. 15). This is in contrast with the other passages where we have the Adjective, and the emphasis is on “the true SAYINGS” (Rev. xix. 9; xxii. 6), or “the true WORDS” (Acts xxvi. 25). In the one case (2 Tim. ii. 15) the emphasis is on the character of what is said; in the others it is OD the matter.

(b) The genitive of Origin.

This marks the efficient cause; the source from which anything has its origin.

“Words of God” is not character (Divine words), but words which come FROM God (Num. xxiv. 4,16).

“The provoking of his sons and his daughters” means the provocation produced BY the conduct of His people (Deut. xxxii. 19).

“The overthrow of strangers:” i.e., overthrown BY strangers (Isa. i. 7; see margin).

“The Prince of peace:” i.e., the Prince who BRINGS peace (Isa. ix. 6).

“Smitten of God” means smitten BY God (Isa. liii. 4).

“The chastisement of our peace” means the chastisement which PROCURED and GIVES us peace (Isa. liii. 5).

“Taught of the LORD” means taught BY the LORD (Isa. liv. 13).

“Visions of God” means visions FROM God, given by God (Ezek. i. 1).

“Kingdom of heaven,” “kingdom of God,” means the kingdom which comes FROM heaven, as being “not of” (evk, ek), out of, or from this world (John xviii. 36).

“The obedience of faith” means which SPRINGS FROM faith (Rom. i. 5).

“The righteousness of faith” means which COMES FROM or THROUGH faith (Rom. iv. 11, 13).

“Justification of life” means which PRODUCES or GIVES life (Rom. v. 18).

“Comfort of the Scriptures” means which COMES FROM the Scriptures; or which the Scripture GIVES or ministers (Rom. xv. 4).

“Dangers of waters” means which were occasioned BY waters (2 Cor. xi. 26; R.V., rivers).

“The God of peace,” i.e., the God who has MADE peace, and who GIVES peace (Phil. iv. 9).300

“The word of his power.” This does not mean His powerful word, but that His word is the instrument BY which His power works (Heb. i. 3) ; or it may be “His POWERFUL word” (character).

“The bond of peace” means the bond which PRODUCES peace. The acknowledgement of the spiritual unity of the one body, which God has already made in Christ, and which we are to endeavour to keep, is a bond which is productive only of peace. Whereas the attempt to make a corporate unity in sects and denominations is the fruitful source of strifes and divisions (Eph. iv. 3. Compare 1 Cor. i. 10-13; iii. 1-4; xi. 18).

“The mystery of godliness” is the Great Mystery (or Secret), the knowledge of which produces true godliness of life, to which Timothy is exhorted (1 Tim. iii. 15, 16).

(c) The Genitive of Possession.

This is perhaps the most common, and is generally unmistakable. But there are some cases where it may not be so clear.

“The business of my Father” means my FATHER’S business, which was the Father’s will (Luke ii. 491. Here, the emphatic Pronoun “my” stands in marked contrast with the “thy” of verse 48. (See pp. 318 and 404).

“The shield of faith” means Faith’s shield, which is Christ (Eph. vi. 16. Compare Gen. xv. 1. Ps. lxxxiv. 11).

“The sword of the Spirit” means the Spirit’s sword, which is the Word of God (Eph. vi. 17).

“The peace of God” means God’s peace; the peace which reigns with Him, and in His presence, the peace which belongs to Him. Of this peace we shall know something if we make our requests known unto Him (Phil. iv. 6, 7). Compare this with “the God of peace,” above (Phil. iv. 9). See p. 384.

“The patience of Christ” (Greek) means Christ’s patient waiting (2 Thess. iii. 5 and margin). Compare R.V.

(d) The Genitive of Apposition.

In this case the “of” means “that is to say,” or “which is.”

“The heights of the clouds:” i.e., “the heights, that is to say, the clouds (Isa. xiv. 14).

“The temple of His body” means the temple, that is to say, His body (John ii. 21).

“A sign of circumcision” means a sign, that is to say, circumcision (Rom. iv. 11). So “the first fruit~, of the Spirit” (Rom. viii. 23) means, “the first fruits, that is to say, the Spirit.” So also:

“The house of our tabernacle” (2 Cor. v. 1).

“The earnest of the Spirit” (2 Cor. v. 5).

“The lower parts of the earth” means the lower parts, that is to say, the earth (Eph. iv. 9) in contrast with heaven.

“The breastplate of righteousness” (Eph. vi. 14) means “the breastplate,” that is to say, “righteousness.”

“The cities of Sodom,” etc., which means “the cities, that is to say, Sodom and Gomorrha” (2 Pet. ii. 6).

(e) The Genitive of Relation.

This is perhaps the most interesting of all; and requires a greater variety in the manner of expressing the particular relation. This must be gathered from the context. It may be objective, or subjective, or both. For example:

“The love of Christ” (2 Cor. v. 14). Is this the love which Christ bears to us? or is it our love which we bear to Christ? No one can decide apart from the context. Verse 14 seems to show that it means the love which Christ bore to us in thus dying for us; or, if we judge from verse 13, it seems to be the constraining power of love for Christ which made the Apostle to appear to be beside himself for their sakes.

The following are a few examples:

“The tree of life” is the tree which PRESERVED life (Gen. ii. 9).

“The way of the tree of life” is the way LEADING TO the tree of life (Gen. iii. 24).

“The God of my righteousness” is the God who DEFENDS my righteous cause (Ps. iv. 1). It may be the God who procures and gives us His righteousness. This is true, of course, but the context seems to require relation rather than origin.

“Sheep of slaughter” (Greek) means sheep DESTINED FOR slaughter (Ps. xliv. 22. Rom. viii. 36).

“The fear of the LORD,” i.e., the fear or reverence shown TOWARD God (Prov. i. 7. Compare Ps. v. 7).

“Little of the earth:” little IN the earth (Prov. xxx. 24).

“The spoil of the poor”: i.e., TAKEN FROM the poor (Isa. iii. 14).

“The sure mercies of David,” i.e., PERTAINING TO David (Isa. lv. 3. Compare Acts xiii. 34).

“The gospel of the kingdom” means the good news RELATING to the kingdom (Matt. iv. 23; xxiv. 14).

“Fowls of the air” means fowls which FLY in the air (Matt. vi. 26).

“Lilies of the field” means lilies which GROW IN the field (Matt. vi. 28).

“Have faith of God” means have faith WITH RESPECT TO God (Mark xi. 22).

“By faith of Jesus Christ,” i.e., faith which HAS RESPECT TO Jesus Christ (Rom. iii. 22).

“They have a zeal of God” means a zeal FOR God (Rom. x. 2).

“Obedience of Christ” means obedience RENDERED TO Christ (2 Cor. x. 5).

“Every joint of supply” (Greek) means every joint which MINISTERS supply (Eph. iv. 16).

“The afflictions of Christ” means the afflictions UNDERGONE FOR Christ (Col. i. 24).

“Reproach of Christ” means reproach SUFFERED FOR Christ (Heb. xi. 26).

“Conscience of God” (Greek) means conscience TOWARD God (1 Pet. ii. 19).

“The word of my patience:” My word which ENJOINS patience, or patient waiting (Rev. iii. 10).

“The testimony of Jesus” means testimony CONCERNING Jesus; or perhaps the testimony which He gave (Gen. of Origin). (Rev. xix. 10.)

(f) The Genitive of the Material.

When the genitive denotes the material of which any. thing is made, the words “made of” have to be substituted for it, e.g. :

“Coats of skins,” i.e., made out of skins (Gen. iii. 21).

“An ark of gopher wood (Gen. vi. 14).

“A cake of barley-bread (Judg. vii. 13).

“A house of cedar” (2 Sam. vii. 2).

“A rod of iron” (Ps. ii. 9).

“This head of gold” (Dan. ii. 38).

(g) The Genitive of the Contents

Denotes that with which anything is filled.

“A bottle of wine” means a bottle or skin FILLED WITH wine (1 Sam. xvi. 20).

“A cup of cold water;” a cup CONTAINING cold water (Matt. x. 42).

“Waterpots of water” (Greek), i.e., water-pots FULL OF water (John ii. 7).

This is the Genitive which always follows the verb to fill: while the vessel filled takes the Accusative case, and the one by whom it is filled is put in the Dative case.

“They were all filled OF pneuma hagion (i.e., with the gift of speaking with tongues), and began to speak with tongues as the Spirit [the Giver] gave them utterance” (Acts ii. 4).

In Rom. xv. 13 we have all three Cases in one verse. “Now the God of hope (i.e., ‘who GIVES hope.’ Gen. of Origin) fill you (Acc.. Case) of all joy (i.e., ‘WITH all joy.’ Gen. Case) and peace, in (i.e., ‘BY or THROUGH’) believing.” (Dative Case).

So we have “Filled of wrath,” i.e., WITH wrath (Luke iv. 28).

“Filled of fear” (Luke v. 26”.

“Filled of madness” (Luke vi. 11).

“Filled of wonder” (Acts iii. 10).

“Filled of joy” (Acts xiii. 52).

But not “filled of the spirit” in Eph. v. 18. For here it is the Dative Case and means “be filled BY wine ... but be filled BY the Spirit” with His own precious gifts, which the context shows to be the gift of speaking.301

(h) The Genitive of Partition.

Separation, or Ablation, where it denotes to be in or among, or have part in; e.g.:

“To obtain of that world” a PART, SHARE, or PLACE IN that world (Luke xx. 35).

“The least of the Apostles:” i.e., the least AMONG the apostles (1 Cor. xv. 9).

“Sojourners of the dispersion,” i.e., sojourners being SOME OF the Dispersion (Greek, the Diaspora, or belonging to the “Scattered Nation”).

(i) Two Genitives: depending on one another.

These have both to be distinguished, and are often quite different, the one from the other.

“This is of (Partition) the anointing of Aaron (Posses. mon, Aaron’s anointing), and of the anointing (Partition) of his sons” (Possession) (Lev. vii. 35).

“The Sea of Galilee (Relation) of Tiberias” (Apposition), and means “the sea PERTAINING TO Galilee, THAT IS TO SAY, Tiberias” (John vi. 1).

“We are witnesses of him (Possession, His witnesses) of these things” (Relation with respect to these things, Acts v. 32).

“The gospel of the grace (Relation) of God” (Origin or Possession, Acts xx. 24. 1 Thess. ii. 9).

“The earthly house of us (Possession, our) of the tabernacle” (Apposition, that is to say, our tabernacle, 2 Cor. v. 1).

The above passages are given only as examples of each class of Genitive: and they are sufficient to show how the door is open to a vast field of profitable study, if we see the importance of accuracy in our study of God’s word.

It is wonderful to think how there can be so much to think of, and think out, in connection with this smallest of words, “of.”

Canon 9

Figures of Speech

Here again we must refer our readers to our larger work on this great subject.302

When we say that most of the errors which cause our unhappy divisions today, arise from either taking literally that which is Figurative, or from taking Figuratively that which is literal, the importance of this branch of study cannot be overrated.

And yet it is practically neglected.

Only a few writers, who may all be counted on one hand, have ever bestowed any attention to the subject. And yet it lies at the very root of all translation; and it is the key to true interpretation.

John Vilant Macbeth, Professor of Rhetoric, etc., in the University of West Virginia, has said:303 “There is no even tolerably good treatise on Figures existing at present in our language. Is there in any other tongue? There is no consecutive discussion of them of more than a few pages; the examples brought forward by all others being trivial in the extreme, and threadbare; while the main conception of what constitutes the chief class of Figures is altogether narrow, erroneous, and unphilosophical. Writers generally, even the ablest, are wholly in the dark as to the precise distinction between a Trope and a Metonymy; and very few even of literary men have so much as heard of Hypodatastasis.”

This witness is true. Journalism today has no idea of the subject. It never rises beyond a Metaphor, and it talks glibly of “Mixed Metaphors” as though there was no other Figure of Speech, and as though all Figures were “Metaphors.”

The late Dean Alford often sneered at the Figure Hendiadys; and hardly a commentator gives any heed to Figures of Speech except John Albert Bengel. And since his Commentary was published (1687-1752) no commentator has taken up the subject or applied it to the elucidation of Scripture, as Bengel did.

No one invented Figures of Speech. Everyone uses them, unknowingly. They arise of necessity in the use of language.

A Figure relates to form. When we speak of a person being “a Figure” we mean that he or she is dressed out of the usual or common fashion, as to colour or cut or material.

So, a Figure is a word used out of its ordinary sense; or put out of its usual order in a sentence; or it is a sentence thrown into a peculiar form, or expressing a thing in an unusual manner.

A Figure is a departure from the natural and fixed laws of grammar; a legitimate departure from law: not arising from ignorance or accident, but from design.

This departure is made with the set purpose of calling attention to what is said, in order to emphasize it.

Hence, the Figures, when used in connection with the “words which the Holy Ghost teacheth,” give us the Holy Spirit’s own marking, so to speak, of our Bible. We hear of a “marked Testament,” but the marking is made by human beings according to the marker’s own idea of what is important. How much more wonderful and important it must be to have the Holy Spirit’s own marking; calling our attention to what He desires us to notice for our learning, as being emphatic, and conveying His own special teaching.

A Figure may not be true to fact, but it is true to feeling, and truer to truth.

We may say “the ground needs rain” that is a plain, cold statement of fact. But if we say “the ground is thirsty,” we at once use a Figure, not so true to fact, but truer to reality, and to feeling; full of warmth and life.

Hence we say “the crops suffer,” “a hard heart,” “an iron will.” Or when we say “the kettle boils” we do not mean the kettle, literally, but the water; nor do we state a fact. What we mean is that the water in the kettle boils.

So when we say “the glass is rising” we mean the mercury, not the glass, or barometer.

When we say “light the fire” we do not mean this literally, for fire is already alight; but what we mean is, put it to what we call the firing.

All these are Figures, and they all have names. These names were mostly given by the Greeks, centuries before Christ; and their number runs into hundreds, many of them having several varieties.

In our own work of over 1,000 pages we have classified 217 Figures; and have given some 8,000 passages of Scripture illustrated by them. When we state that these are only given by way of example, it will be seen that another vast field of study lies open before the Bible student.

It will also be seen that it is impossible here to do more than thus call attention to it; otherwise we should like to give a few examples of Ellipsis, Metonymy, Metalepsis, Asyndeton, Polysyndeton, Hypocatastasis, and Metaphor, which last is a special Figure by itself and not a general name for any Figure, as modern writers seem to think.

We said that errors are built up on ignorance of Figures.

These errors are therefore to be refuted not by argument merely, but by Scientific, Literary, and Grammatical facts. Thus:

“This is my body” can be proved to be Metaphor, meaning “this represents my body” (Matt. xxvi. 26).

“We have an altar” can be proved to be Metonymy, meaning “we have a sacrifice” (Heb. xiii. 10).

“The caperberry shall fail” (Eccles. xii. 5, R.V.) can be proved to be Metalepsis, meaning, as beautifully rendered by the A.V., “desire shall fail.”

And so with many passages which have created confusion to readers, difficulties to commentators, and divisions among brethren.

We earnestly commend, therefore, close attention to “Figures of Speech,” without which no study of the Bible can be complete.

Canon 10

Interpretation and Application

It is of the utmost importance that we should clearly and constantly discriminate between these two.

The Interpretation of a passage is one thing, but the Application of that passage is quite a different thing.

The Interpretation of a passage belongs to the occasion when, and the persons to whom, or of whom, the words were originally intended. When that has been settled, then it is open to us to make an application of those words to ourselves or others, so far as we can do so without coming into conflict with any other passages.

We have already seen304 something of this, and of its importance in connection with Dispensational Truth and Teaching; but the principle extends far beyond this, and affects all kinds of Truth.

It is this that makes the precept to rightly divide the Word of truth so weighty and so indispensable.

It may even be, when the application is made in full accord with Scripture teaching given elsewhere, that it is not only true, but may have a far deeper and more real meaning than the interpretation itself; and may convey truths and lessons far beyond it.

This is very different from the common practice called spiritualizing. This too often ignores or denies all that may be learnt from the interpretation of a passage, and robs those to whom it belongs of a precious treasure-, while it appropriates to itself or other parties the property which has thus been stolen.

Such a practice cannot be too strongly deprecated; not only because of the injury done to the Word itself, and the mistakes involved, but because it is so wholly unnecessary.

All the sweetness, all the blessing, all the truth can be obtained by a wise application, without in the slightest degree impairing the true interpretation. This may be left and preserved in all its integrity, and yet something really spiritual may be appropriated by application; all, in fact, that can be desired, without doing any violence to the Divine Word, as is done when its interpretation is not only ignored, but often when the application is actually substituted for the interpretation.

This Canon is very far-reaching as governing our study of the Word and the words of God. Its importance cannot be over-estimated, if we would not only understand but really enjoy our Bible studies.

It will come into operation on nearly every page of Scripture; and on this account it is impossible to give more than examples.

We content ourselves with a few as a guide to the way in which other passages may be treated.

Take, for instance:

1. The Account of Creation (Gen. i.).

Instead of troubling our heads with Babylonian “creation-tablets,” which were the incoherent babblings of people who had forgotten and corrupted, or knew little of, primitive truth, we turn to the inspired record and endorse the Divine assertion, “The beginning of Thy word is true” (Ps. cxix. 160, marg.).

We have already dealt with this interpretation of Gen. i.,305 and shown how the first chapter of Genesis, when compared with other Scriptures, is far in advance of the inferences drawn from the ever-shifting and changing hypotheses of Geologists, which are foisted upon us under the name of “science falsely so-called” (1 Tim. vi. 20).

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” This is “the world that then was” of 2 Pet. iii. 6.

And the earth became tohu and bohu. The verb “was” means, and is translated “became” in Gen. ii. 7; iv. 14; ix. 15; xix. 26, etc.

It became Wht) (tohu). Whatever maybe the meaning of the word rendered “without form,” it is distinctly stated in Isa. xliv. 18 that God “created it not tohu.” It must therefore have “become” so, as stated in Gen. i. 2.

The combination of the two words tohu and bohu occurs in Isa. xlv. 19; xxxiv. 11, and Jer. iv. 23, where it may be seen that it denotes ruin, emptiness, waste, desolation.

This was the end of “the world that then was” (2 Pet. iii. 5, 6).

The chapter next goes on to describe the creation of “the heavens and the earth which are now” (2 Pet. iii. 7); and in 2 Pet. iii. 13 we are informed that these will be followed hereafter by “a new heavens and new earth.”

If we interpret the chapter on these lines, and do not make Moses or the Holy Spirit responsible for the mistakes of translators and commentators, we have a surer foundation for any application we make.

In doing this we destroy the miserable imagination of a criticism which regards it as either an “allegory” or as a “myth.”

The interpretation tells us that at some time in the eternal ages past, “God created the heavens and the earth.”

And then, that at some time, in some manner, and for some reason (which are not revealed) it became a ruin, empty, waste, desolate, and overwhelmed with water.

This is the interpretation.

Now, the application of this to the creation and the new creation of man rests on this sure foundation; and reveals truth and teaching of infinite importance.

(1) The earth was created Perfect. This is implied in the word rendered “create,” and is embodied in the word “cosmos.”306 So was man. “God made man upright” (Eccles. vii. 29).

(2) But the earth became a ruin, and so did man. We are not told why or when man thus fell: but in this case we are told how in Gen. iii. Man’s natural condition is described as “dead” (Eph. ii. 1), “darkened” (Eph. iv. 18), and destitute of any good thing (Rom. vii. 18).

(3) While the old creation was in this ruined condition, the first act and movement was on the part of God: “the Spirit of God moved” (Gen. i. 2). Thus it is in the case of man. He must be “born of the Spirit” (John iii. 5, 6).

(4) The next act was also of God, “And God said” (Gen. i. 3). God spake: The Word of God came. So with man. He must be “begotten by the Word of God” as well as by the Spirit (1 Pet. i. 23-25).

(5) The next creative act was the creation of light.307 And this is true in the experience of the saved sinner: “The entrance of thy words giveth light” (Ps. cxix. 130). This is precisely the application made in 2 Cor. iv. 6: “God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

(6) In the Old Creation the light shines on the ruin; and so it is in the New Creation. Here it is that we first come in. Here is where we begin. Here is where we first experience and come to a knowledge of all that has already been going on. A vast deal of work has been wrought by God before we are cognizant of anything except the misery through which we have passed. But when we learn the true spiritual application of the interpretation, then, in spite of all the evil which the light has revealed, we look up, and thank God for the light, and we say, as God said when He saw the light, that “it was good.”

We must not pursue the application which may be made throughout the whole chapter,308 but we commend the above as an example of our Canon X.

Another example may be seen in

2. The Rejection of Messiah (Isa. liii.).

The interpretation belongs to those who were specially addressed by the prophet Isaiah, who spake of and to “Judah and Jerusalem”; and that chapter must take its place in the context in which God Himself has set it.

Leaving its interpretation there we lose none of its precious truths for ourselves when we apply it as we may, and do, in accordance with our own Church Epistles. Its great and solemn lesson is even stronger and deeper in its application than in its interpretation.

It must be admitted by all that Israel will be able to use those words in a sense which we can never do.

The Lord Jesus did grow up in their midst (v. 2) as He has not in ours.

When He did so, there was a literal sense in which His People to whom He came did not see any form or comeliness in Him, or any beauty that they should desire Him (v. 2), which was not equally true of us, as Gentiles, though it can be truly applied to us.

There was a sense in which they “hid their faces from Him and esteemed Him not” (v. 3), which is not so literally true of us; though our application of the words finds a real counterpart.

We were not God’s “sheep” and “people” as Israel was, and it could not be said of us as of them, “All we like sheep have gone astray” (v. 6). We were far more than “lost sheep” (Matt. x. 6): we are “dead in trespasses and sins,” but of Israel it was specially said that they were “the sheep of His pasture” (Ps. xcv. 7 ; c. 3, etc.).

It was for Isaiah’s people that Messiah was specially stricken (v. 8); but, as afterwards revealed, we may apply the words in a very true sense of ourselves.

3. The mourning of Israel (Rev. i. 7).

In like manner there is a very special sense in which the interpretation of the words in Rev. i. 7 will be true of Israel “they which pierced him ... shall mourn over him.” There can be only a somewhat strained application to ourselves; certainly not an interpretation of us.

4. The Potter’s house (Jer. xviii.).

This chapter affords an instructive example of this Canon. The prophet is told to go down to the Potter’s house and note what he sees.

He sees the Potter make a vessel on the wheels, and the vessel was marred in his hands.

Then he made it again another vessel as it pleased the Potter to make it (vv. 1-4).

In the verses that follow, the interpretation is given by God Himself; and He interprets it of Israel.

But there are several applications which we may make, all equally true; and to us, more vitally important than the interpretation itself.

When Jehovah sent Jeremiah to the Potter’s house, it was to teach him a great eternal principle, that He would never mend that which man had marred, but would make an end of it and put a new thing altogether in its place.

Jehovah’s own interpretation of what Jeremiah saw, was that Israel, like that clay, had become marred. He, the great Potter, would not mend the nation; but would make a new nation, a new Israel in whom He could put a new spirit, and write His law in their hearts (Jer. xviii., xxxi. 31-37). This new nation is the interpretation of the Lord Jesus also, in Matt. xxi. 43, when He said to and of the nation, in His day, “Therefore say I unto you, The Kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.”

That nation will not be the vessel that was marred. It will be the same clay, but re-made “another vessel as seemed good to the potter to make it.”

This is God’s own interpretation, and we may not ignore it; or rob Israel of the blessed hope which is revealed in it, and is yet in store for that nation.

But, leaving Israel in full and sure possession of this promise we are at liberty to make as many applications of the lesson in the Potter’s house as may be consistent with the other teaching of the Word of God.

(1) We may apply it to “the heavens and earth which are now.” This earth came under the curse, and is marred: marred, so that “the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now” (Rom. viii. 22). God will not mend this earth; but will make “a new heaven and a new earth” (2 Pet. iii. 13); as may “seem good to the Potter to make it”; and of which this present earth will have a foretaste in millennial blessings (Rev. xxi., xxii.). Those who are labouring to mend this marred creation have not yet learned the lesson of this application of the Potter’s house.

(2) We may apply it to man. Man was marred, and at the Fall became alienated from the life of God (Rom. v. 12-21. Eph. ii. 1-3; iv. 17-19, etc.). God will not mend or reform the natural man; but He makes “a new man” “a new creation, in Christ” (2 Cor. v. 17. Eph. ii. 10), and bestows a new nature, and gives a new spirit; “as it pleases the Potter to make it.”309

(3) We may apply it to the Covenant which God made with Israel, “which my covenant they brake,” He says. That Covenant is marred. But God will not mend it. He will “make a new Covenant.” That is His own application, and we find it in Hebrews viii. 7-13; x. 16. (Compare Jer. xxxi. 33, 34.)

(4) We may apply it to the Sacrifices as ordained by God. But these were marred in the making. They, like the Covenant itself, “were not faultless;” “for it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” They were marred, and will not be mended. A new and living way has been made and opened by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ-once for all. “Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God. He taketh away the first that He may establish the second.” The second is the new vessel “as it pleased the Potter to make it” (Heb. x. 1-23).

(5) We may apply it to the institution of Kings, and the setting up of the throne of David. The Kings failed (as the Priests also failed). The throne was marred. But, it is not in God’s counsels to mend it. The confusion must go on, while all the nations of the earth are seeking, striving, and struggling to attain a better government by human remedies, reforms, or revolutions. This will go on— For in His own application of this, He has said, “I will overturn, overturn, overturn” until He comes whose right it is to reign (Ezek. xxi. 27. Isa. xxxii. 1). And, while kings fail and set themselves against Jehovah and His anointed, and thrones totter and fall, and dynasties change and pass away, yet, looking forward to that coming day when He will of this clay make another vessel, as it seemeth good for Him to make it, His counsel is declared even now, in the midst of the ruin: “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion” (Ps. ii. 6).

(6) We may apply this great eternal principle of the Potter’s house to our mortal bodies. Made in the image of Elohim, capable of living for ever through the virtues of the “tree of life,” these human bodies became mortal; marred through the Fall, and made subject to death through sin. Man may use his means, improve his arts, and may mend by his medicines; he may delay, but he cannot stay the appointment of God for man: “It is appointed unto men once to die” (Heb. ix. 27., Gen. iii. 19. Eccles. iii. 20).

God will not mend these marred bodies of our humiliation, but He has prepared for His people “another” body. A “house not made with hands,” a “house from heaven,” re-made, in resurrection, like Christ’s own body of glory (2 Cor. iv. 14-v. 2).

Now, while in “our earthly house of this tabernacle we are “absent from the Lord.” Therefore it is that we are earnestly longing for that resurrection day when we shall be “clothed upon with our house310 which is from heaven,” when we shall be absent, out of, or away from these vile bodies, and present with the Lord, in bodies made like the glorious body of Christ (Phil. iii. 20, 21). Then, and only then, will “mortality be swallowed up of life” (2 Cor. v. 4).

If any ask, “How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?” Then the answer is that which comes to us as the echo from the lesson in the Potter’s house: God giveth it a body AS IT HATH PLEASED HIM (1 Cor. xv. 35, 38). Then, and then only, “shall be brought to pass the saying,” “Death is swallowed up in victory” (1 Cor. xv. 54).

We could not give a better illustration of this important Canon than that of the Potter’s house, which shows us how, after we have settled and distinguished the interpretation of a passage, we may make one or more applications of it, so long as they are in harmony with the general teaching of the whole Word of truth.

One more example, and that from the New Testament, must suffice.

5. The parable of the Ten Virgins (Matt. xxv.)

In no Scripture is this great principle less observed than in the general treatment of this parable. For not only is the interpretation evaded and avoided, but it is ignored altogether; and the application is put in its place: indeed, it is actually substituted for it, and itself made the interpretation.

The application thus made is self-contradictory; for while the “kingdom of heaven” is supposed to be the Church, the Bride also is held to be the Church, “the Virgins her companions” are also taken as representing the Church; and we are constantly and universally exhorted to be “wise” and have our lamps trimmed and Cc oil in our vessels”; the oil being the Holy Spirit, which we refuse to give to the unwise, but bid them go and buy for themselves!

This farrago of Arminian theology is supposed to be what the Lord was then teaching to His disciples, and which we are to suppose them to have understood.

But there is a true interpretation; and there is also a true application. The latter cannot be made until the former is obtained; for the interpretation is the foundation on which the application is built. There can be no building till the foundation is laid.

The interpretation is clearly indicated by the first word with which it commences: “THEN.”311

That is to say, at this stage of the Lord’s last great prophetic address, and at this point in the succession of events which He was unfolding: “THEN shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins,” etc.

When the interpretation of this prophecy shall be fulfilled those who are waiting for the Bridegroom will go forth to meet Him.

It shall be said in that day,
Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him,
And he will save us:
This is Jehovah, we have waited for him,
We will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” (Isa. xxv. 9.)

Having thus settled the interpretation; it is now open to us to make such application as we may be able; and one lies on the surface: viz., the general exhortation to watchfulness; which is none the less solemn and none the less powerful, weighty, and effective because the true interpretation has been made. For if they have need to watch who have and are to have— Signs “given to them, how much more watchful should— we be who have no such signs, but are “waiting for God’s Son from heaven,” who may come at any moment to meet His risen and changed ones in the air and receive them up into glory.

Canon 11

The Limits of Inspiration

Though there is not much to be said on this subject, yet the importance of this Canon is very great.

Not only is the Spirit of God often held responsible for the mistakes and errors of translators and commentators, but other things are put down to Him when they are really the statements of others, for which the speakers alone are responsible.

The Scriptures contain records of conversations, and statements made by Satan, by demons, by the human enemies of God, and by His mistaken and erring servants. We have an inspired record of all that was said and done; but it does not follow that all that was said and done was inspired!

To Job and his friends, God categorically said, “Ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right” (Job xlii. 7, 8. Compare ch. xxxiii. 12). “Job hath spoken without knowledge, and his words without wisdom” (ch. xxxiv. 35), and he “multiplieth words without knowledge” (ch. xxxv. 16). “Who is this (God asked Job) that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge” (ch. xxxviii. 2). Are we then to quote such words as inspired? Surely not, unless we are distinctly told that God “put them into the mouths” of the speakers as He did into Balaam’s mouth (Num. xxiii. 5, 16).

Surely we have to be careful in all our quotations of God’s Word, to see that they are the words of God, and that we are not making Him responsible for the words of fallen, erring, and ignorant human beings.

It is a question whether the song of Deborah (Judg. v.) was inspired: though we have an inspired record of the words of her song. We do not say it is not; but, if any do think so, they need not be at too great pains to reconcile her statements or her ethics with the attributes of Jehovah: though, as we have shown (Part I, iv. 2, pp. 108, etc.), they are perfectly in accord with the Dispensation in which we find them.

In many cases grave difficulties are created by not observing this Canon of interpretation; and hopeless efforts are made to get out of the entanglements of our own assumptions.

If exceptions prove the rule, then the truth of the Inspired record is enhanced by the one or two exceptions which are distinctly stated to be such by the Apostle Paul himself. He thereby sets his seal to the fact that all his other statements have Divine authority.

The same principle must be applied to actions of God’s servants.

David was “a man after God’s own heart,” as to his being chosen as God’s king: but it does not follow, nor does it say, that all David’s acts were according to God’s choice or even approval; for we know how he was judged by God for his sins and infirmities. The word “heart” in the above quotation has to do with God’s call and not with David’s walk.

The same is the case with Paul’s last journey to Jerusalem. It was commenced in disobedience; characterized by dissembling; and concluded in disaster (personally).

Peter also at Antioch manifested the same weakness of human nature.

God’s servants were men of like passions with ourselves, neither more nor less. And we have an inspired record of their actions and their words, which have to be distinguished and rightly divided from the “words which the Holy Ghost teacheth”; and those acts which were done by direct Inspiration.

See what mischief has been made of the words of Mary in Luke ii. 48, “Thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.” These words have been quoted and used as supporting the denial of the Virgin birth of the Lord Jesus. Various arguments have been used to explain Mary’s words. In The Record of Feb. 1, 1907, a correspondent labours to upset the Received Text, which, here, is unquestioned, by setting above it some old Latin Versions. But there is no need for all this if we remember that this is not the only occasion when Mary “erred with her lips.” That she did so err is shown by the next verse, where the Lord’s correction is very pointed and emphatic. She said “Thy father and I have sought thee” (v. 48). He replies, “Wist ye not that I must be about MY Father’s business?” (v. 49). “They understood not the saying which He spake unto them” (v. 50). But those who do not observe this Canon of interpretation do not “understand the saying”; and not only misunderstand it, but misuse it for the support of error. (See pp. 318 and 385.)

The need of observing it is clear enough in such cases as the words Satan, and evil spirits, and the enemies of God, such as Pharaoh, Rabshakeh, Herod, the Scribes and Pharisees who opposed the Lord Jesus.

When we consider the havoc wrought by the first two lies of the Old Serpent, we may see the importance of this Canon. Not only is the Old Theology permeated with these two lies, but they are the two pillars on which the “New Theology” is based:

“Ye shall be as God” (Gen. iii. 5).
“Ye shall not surely die” (Gen. iii. 4).

These two lies led to the Fall of man; and they are still the two great signs of his fallen condition, for fallen man prefers them to the truth of God. (Compare pp. 315, etc.)

When it comes to the words of others there is danger lest we put them on the same level with the “words which the Holy Ghost teacheth.” The words and utterances of men have all to be judged by the words of God; hence the need of careful attention to this Canon of interpretation.

Canon 12

The Place of Various Readings

In speaking on or of the “words” of God, references are sometimes made to variations in the Original Text of the Old and New Testaments.

It may be well, therefore, to put the general reader, who has not time to devote to this subject, in possession of a few elementary facts in connection with it.312

The Word of God has come down to us in manuscript form; and not until the invention of printing was it possible to have it in any other form.313

These manuscripts are written by different hands at different times, and existing copies date from the fourth century.

Translations of them made before the fourth century are also in existence, though the MSS. of these versions (still in existence) are, of course, not so old.

There are also many quotations from these MSS. preserved in the writings of those who lived before the fourth century, though the MSS. of their works are not so old.

These transcriptions all bear the marks of human frailties and infirmities, notwithstanding the great care in copying them. In spite of all the safeguards invented and provided for insuring accuracy, there are many variations.

The human element in the transmission of the Divine Word is neither more nor less than in the transmission of ordinary literature.

Variations in reading are the normal characteristics of all manuscripts, and it has ever been a copyist’s or editor’s aim to spare no pains in securing a good copy and a sound text.

The mere mechanical act of copying, extending as it did for many hours a day, and often for many months and even years, not to speak of drowsy intelligences and numbed fingers in a draughty scriptorium, will easily account for deviations from an authentic text.

The many editions of Shakespeare, carried out by numerous editors, show a remarkable tendency to a progressive deterioration in textual accuracy.314

The original texts of the Bible have had a singularly happy exemption from the treatment of the texts of modern writers.

Emendations are confined for the most part to the pages of commentators, while the vast majority of textual variations are trivial in the extreme, very many being only a difference in spelling. Those which are really vital and which affect doctrine or teaching may be counted on one’s fingers, if not on those of one hand.

There are many, of course, which are full of interest, and are of more or less importance. We speak first of

The Hebrew MSS. (The Old Testament).

There were two great schools, or recensions of MSS., where they were transcribed between the sixth and tenth centuries. One at Babylon in the East, and the other at Tiberias in the West.

The variations are neither numerous315 nor important, being confined to the vowel-points with a few exceptions.

There are five great standard Codices from which all subsequent copies have been made.

1. The Codex of Hillel, which Rabbi Kimchi (cent. xii.) says he saw at Toledo.

2. The Codex of Ben Asher, President of the School at Tiberias in the early part of the eleventh century, known as the Jerusalem Codex.

3. The Codex of Ben Naphtali, President at Babylon, and hence known as the Babylonian Codex.

4. The Pentateuch of Jericho, which was held by Elias Levita to be the most perfect and correct.

5. The Codex of Sinai, also of the Pentateuch, and differing from that of Jericho only in some of the accents.

Besides these there are various readings noted in the Massorah, i.e., the writing in small characters which is seen at the head, foot, and in the margins of all the ancient Hebrew MSS. No one MS. contains the whole of this Massorah, and no one man had set himself to collect the whole from vast numbers of MSS. until Dr. Christian D. Ginsburg devoted his life to it. His edition of the Hebrew Bible is the only one which exhibits these Various Readings316; and his Introduction to the Hebrew Bible is the only one which contains a complete history of the Hebrew written and printed text.

Unfortunately, the work was so long neglected by scholars, that we do not yet possess an Apparatus Criticus or recognized list of MSS. The scholars of various nations have not yet agreed on a universal or standard list by which the MSS. may be referred to or known by letters, numerals, or symbols, as is the case with the New Testament. This is a great work which is still needed to be done.

The New Testament.

The Greek MSS. of the New Testament (in whole or in part) are over five hundred in number.

They are divided into two great classes, known as Uncial (i.e., written in capital letters), or Cursive (i.e., written in running-hand). The former are mostly earlier than the eighth century, the latter date from the tenth.

There is a further classification, according to certain characteristics, into Recensions (which in the case of printed books, we speak of as Editions).

1. The Alexandrine or Egyptian.
2. The Western or Occidental.
3. The Oriental or Byzantine.

But the collators and editors of these MSS. are not all agreed, and their reckonings often overlap. There are other Recensions than these recognized and named by other scholars and critics.

The chief MSS. of the New Testament are known and referred to as follows :

“A” is the recognized symbol of the Codex Alexandrinus. The MS is so called because it was brought from Alexandria by Cyrillus Lucaris, a native of Crete and patriarch of Constantinople, who sent it by Sir Thomas Rowe, the British Ambassador, to King Charles 1. The proprietor of the MS., before it came into the hands of Cyrillus Lucaris, had written a subscription in Arabic, stating that it was written by Thecla, a Christian martyr, about 1300 years before. This would make the date of the MS. about the end of the fourth century. It could not be earlier, as it contains a letter of Athanasius. It is preserved in the British Museum.

“B” is the Codex Vaticanus. This MS. is so called because it is preserved in the Vatican Library at Rome.

It is generally supposed to belong to the fourth or fifth century.

“C” is the Codex Ephroemi. It is so called because the MS. contains, in the first part, several Greek writings of Ephrem the Syrian. It is generally believed to have been written in Egypt in the fifth or sixth century. It is preserved in the National Library at Paris.

“D (1)” is the Codex Bezoe. It is known also as the Codex Cantabrigensis, because it was presented, in 1581, by Theodore Beza to the library of the University of Cambridge, where it is still preserved. It is believed to belong to the fifth century. It contains only the Gospels and Acts.

“D (2)” is another MS. found by Beza at Clermont and called the Codex Claromontanus. It contains the Pauline Epistles and Hebrews; and is in the National Library at Paris.

a” denotes the Codex Sinaiticus, which is regarded by some as the most ancient and important of any of the MSS. at present known. It is so called from the fact that it was discovered by Tischendorf so recently as 1844 and 1859 at the Convent of St. Catherine on Mount Sinai. Its date may be fixed about the middle of the fourth century, and its authority is very great.

It will be noted that, from the dates assigned to the discovery of these several MSS., they were for the most part unknown to the translators of the Authorized Version; so that due allowance must be made for the weight (or the reverse) of their authority when we have to consider any particular passage.

The above are the principal Uncial MSS. There are many more; and it is quite possible that some of the later Cursive MSS. may be transcripts of MSS. still older than any of the existing Uncial MSS. So that no one critic can speak with absolute authority.

The Ancient Versions

have also to be taken into account. Passing over the Jewish (Hebrew) Targums or Commentaries,

1. The oldest is the Greek Version of the Old Testament, made about B.C. 277,317 for the Jews dwelling in Egypt. It is known as THE SEPTUAGINT, from the traditional belief that it was made by seventy or seventy-two translators. Hence it is referred to by the abbreviation LXX. or by the Greek letter (sigma) for this number, s.

2. The Peschito, or Old Syriac Version, was one of several versions made by Christians in the earliest period of the Christian Era. It is called “Peschito,” which means literal, and it was so named because it was a literal translation from the Hebrew. It was made at the close of the first century or the early part of the second century.

There is a later Syriac Version, made in A.D. 488-518. It is known as the “Philoxenian,” or “Syro-Philoxenian” Version, from the name of Philoxenus, Bishop of Hierapolis, in Syria, who employed Polycarp to make it.

3. The Coptic (or Memphitic) Version was made from the Septuagint in the third century, but not printed till 1716, at Oxford.

4. The Ethiopic (or Abyssinian) Version was made certainly in the second century.

5. The Armenian Version, made also from the Septuagint towards the close of Cent. IV, or early in Cent. V.

6. The Vulgate Version dates from the fourth century. As Latin gradually displaced the Greek as the common language of the people, so there soon sprang up a number of versions in that language. These were translated, part by one translator and part by another, until one complete copy was made by combining the several parts. This was known by the name of Itala, or the Italic Version, called by Jerome sometimes the Vulgate (or Common) Version, and sometimes the Old. Both Old and New Testaments were translated from the Greek.

This was revised by Jerome, who re-translated the Old Testament from the Hebrew. The work occupied him from A.D. 385-405, and by the year 604 had superseded all others, being known as the Vulgate Version. Since the seventh century it has been adopted by the Church of Rome, and in the sixteenth century it was declared by the Council of Trent to be the “Authentic” Version.

With the multiplication of copies came, inevitably, the multiplication of errors. An attempt at correcting these was ordered by Charlemagne in the eighth century. A further revision was attempted by Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury, in the eleventh century, and by other scholars during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

It was first printed by Robert Stephens in 1528, and a revision of this was printed by Pope Sixtus V. at a printing office set up in the Vatican in 1590. So many corrections were introduced by Sixtus V. that another edition was prepared and printed by Pope Clement VIII. in 1592, which contained even more and greater divergencies, which gave Protestants like Thomas James318 the opportunity of exposing the numerous additions, omissions, and alterations between these two Editions.

In spite of all this, the Vulgate has its place in the consideration of the subject of Various Readings.

The Printed Text Of The Greek Testament.

The manuscripts mentioned above have been collated at various times by many who have, from this, been termed “Textual Critics.”

These are quite different from the more modern generation of the so-called “Higher” Critics.

The former base their conclusions on documentary evidence which they see before them; while the latter base theirs on hypotheses which are the productions of their own imagination.

Some of the Textual Critics have published from time to time Greek Testaments which they have compiled from the manuscripts to which they have had access, and to which they have attached the greatest weight.

The most important are as follows:

The Complutensian Polyglot … 1514

Erasmus (1st Edition) … 1516

Stephens … 1546–9

Beza319 … 1624

Elzivir … 1624

Griesbach … 1774-5

Scholz … 1830-6

Lachmann … 1831-50

Tischendorf … 1841-72

Tregelles … 1856-72

Alford … 1862-71

Wordsworth … 1870

Revisers’ Text … 1881

Westcott and Hort … 1881-1903

Scrivener … 1886

Weymouth … 1886

Nestle … 1904

All these have based their respective Texts on a careful consideration of the value they put upon the various MSS., Versions, etc.

We have put Dr. Scrivener’s Text among these ; but it differs from them all in one important particular which makes it the very best Text for general use.

It gives the Textus Receptus, but prints every word which is the subject of a Various Reading in thicker type, quoting at the foot of the page the initial letter of the names of the above Editors, according as they are in favour of or reject the Reading in question.

All that now remains to be done is for us to give an idea of the principles on which they base their respective Texts, so that our readers may, as the net result of our own labours, be able to estimate, each one for himself, the value of the authority for or against any particular Reading.

GRIESBACH (G.) based his Text on the theory of Three Recensions of the Greek manuscripts (referred to above, p. 409), 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 it was the best attested Reading up to the fourth century.

TISCHENDORF (T.) followed more or 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 clown 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 is probably the best and most exact presentation of the Original Text of the Old Testament 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 be 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.

He says, “that Reading has been adopted which, on the whole, seemed most likely to have stood in the Text. Such judgments are, of course, open to be questioned.”

Consequently, he sometimes is found adopting a Reading contrary to all the ancient manuscripts. A word is retained because it is “more usual” ; or, it is omitted because it appears to be a “grammatical correction” of some transcriber; or, it is rejected because it seems to have been inserted “carelessly from memory”; or, is a mechanical repetition.”

All this necessarily deprives his Text of much of its weight, especially where he differs from the other Editors; and places it far below them in critical value; though, where it is in agreement with them, it adds to the weight of the evidence as a whole.

It follows, from the above, that, for the general reader, who has not had the opportunity of becoming expert in the value of the evidence of Ancient Manuscripts and Versions, it is better to be guided by a consensus of the above Textual Editors.

When Tregelles is supported by any (one or more) of the others, his Readings may be relied upon as being the best attested and most worthy of being regarded as the original and inspired Text of the Greek New Testament.

We have already said that the best Greek Testament to use is that of Dr. Scrivener, not merely because it is not a new Text of his own, but because it gives the Received Text which the Authorized Version practically follows, while every word which is the subject of a Various Reading is, as we have said, printed in different type. The student, therefore, is able to see at a glance every such word; and at the foot of the page may learn which of the above Critical Editors favours or rejects the variation.

On the other hand, if he uses any of the other Texts, he has, after all, to refer to the Textus Receptus to see in what the variation consists.

In this, and in all our other works, we have adopted the plan of using the initials of the Various Critics, putting the word “All” where they are all in agreement as to the omission or the retention of any Various Reading.

If the Bible student desires to go further, then, without the necessity of consulting either the MSS. or all the Printed Texts referred to above, he will find all that he needs in a little book entitled Textual Criticism of the New Testament for English Bible Students, by C. E. Stuart.


There remain, now, only three things to be said by way of conclusion.

1. The first, indeed, is hardly necessary, for it is antecedent to all else in connection with this great subject.

It is assumed from the first word to the last, that the readers have passed. from death unto life, and have the Divine gift of a spiritual “understanding,” apart from which all that has been said will be useless.

We must be able to say: “We know that the Son of God hath come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may get to know HIM that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ” (1 John v. 20).

We have not written to convince unbelievers, though God may over-rule our work to that end.

We have not written in defence of the Bible, for not only does it not need any defence of ours, but it is our own “shield” (Ps. xci. 4) and “sword” (Eph. vi. 17), without which we are defenceless indeed.

We have written only for those who have “peace with God” (Rom. v. 1), and enjoy “the peace of God” (Phil. iv. 7), and know “the God of Peace” (Rom. xv. 33).

Only such have leisure to be occupied with God.

Only such can “sit at the Lord’s feet and hear His Word” (Luke x. 39, R.V.).

All others must be “cumbered about much serving.” They must needs be occupied with themselves: either as shiners taken up with their sins, or as penitents with their repentance, or as believers with their faith, or as saints with their holiness.

Unless and until we know our completeness in Christ (Col. ii. 10), and “believe God” when He declares that “He hath made us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light” (Col. i. 12), we shall be in such a condition of conscience, and heart, and life as will not leave us any time for occupation with God.

Instead of going on our way “giving thanks to God” for what He has done, we shall be giving way to mourning for what we have not done. We shall be like David when he “sat in his house” and was occupied with what he would do for the Lord. For, not until we learn what the Lord has done and purposed to do for us, shall we be ready, with David, to go in and sit before the Lord (2 Sam. vii. 1, 18).

In the former case David’s thought was, “Who I am”; in the latter he was exclaiming, “Who am I, O Lord God?”

2. The second thing, which follows on this, is, that this Word of God is the food of the new nature. Nothing else can sustain it.

Just as it is with our physical life; it cannot sustain itself, and its support must come from without; so it is with our spiritual life. Its food must come from without also.

As we cannot live on ourselves in the natural sphere, even so we cannot feed on ourselves in the spiritual sphere. We cannot live on our own feelings, nor on our experiences, nor upon the sweetest words which come from man. These may excite, or warn, or interest us, but they cannot feed us, nor support us, nor sustain our true spiritual life.

It was a solemn truth that the Lord Jesus asserted, when He compared Himself to food, saying: “As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me” (John vi. 57). For, as food must be eaten for one’s self, and digested, and assimilated, so that it becomes part of us, and enters into our life, and gives us our strength, so is it with “the bread of life.”

This brings us to our third and last point.

3. All Bible study must in the end be individual.

As with ordinary bodily food: others may prepare the food and serve it up in various forms: they may cook it in more senses than one: they may present it in “made dishes”: they may carve it, and cut it up, and even put it in the mouth, as with babes; but, after all, there is no more that they can do. They cannot eat it or digest it for us; they cannot assimilate it for us; even so it is with the spiritual food of the Word of God.

Notwithstanding all that has been said in the foregoing pages, the great necessity remains: the work of Bible study must be, to the end, intensely personal and individual.

Each one must look out the references for himself. He must trace the words through all their occurrences where these are given; he must consider their usages; he must read the contexts; he must make his lists and tables, and do his countings for himself: for so only can he feed upon the Word and the words, and be nourished, and be strengthened himself, and grow thereby: so only will he be able to say with Jeremiah:

“Thy words were found, and I did eat them;
And thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart.”

166 1. “My doctrine is not Mine, but His that sent Me” (John vii. 16).

2. “As My Father hath taught Me I speak these things” (John viii. 28).

3. “Why do ye not believe Me I He that is of God heareth God’s words” (John viii. 47).

4. “The Father which sent me, He gave Me a commandment what I should say and what I should speak” (John xii. 49).

5. “The words that I speak unto you I speak not of Myself” (John xiv. 10).

6. “The word which ye hear is not Mine, but the Father’s, which sent Me” (John xiv. 24). And here-

7. “I have given unto them the words which Thou gavest Me” (John xvii. 8).

167 This is easily seen, at a glance, by consulting our Lexicon and Concordance.

168 Just as private will bear the meaning of one’s own: inasmuch as what is one’s own is private; and what is private is one’s own.

169 givnomai (ginomai), to begin, come into being, begin to be, become arise, happen.

170 pneu'ma a{gion (pneuma hagion), Divine power from on high. See Word Studies on the Holy Spirit, republished by Kregel Publications, pp. 26-34.

171 All the Critical Greek Texts omit the article here.

172 As in Rev. xx. 5, where the rest of the dead lived again, only in resurrection after the thousand years.

173 The Greek has the Preposition eij" (eis) in both clauses. Its use in this connection is Hebrew idiom, and expresses the object in view. Man was made for, or as, or with a view to his being a living soul. See Acts xiii. 292, “he raised up unto them David to be their king,” i.e., as their king. So Acts vii. 21, “for her son” -, Acts xiii. 47, “to be a light,” i.e., as, or for, a light; xix. 27, “to be despised”; Greek, to be “reckoned for naught.” Compare Rom. ii. 26, for circumcision; ix. 8, for the seed.

174 The word is khruvssw (kerusso), to herald, i.e., to proclaim as a khvrux (kerux), a herald, not eujaggelivzw (euangelizo), to preach the Gospel.

175 Not when this proclamation of Christ was.

176 tj^?* (shachath), to ruin, lay in ruins, to make good for nothing. Hence tj?^ (shackath), a sepulchre, corruption.

177 This is the force of diaswvzw (diasozo). See its only occurrences: Matt. xiv. 36. Luke vii. 3. Acts xxiii. 24: xxvii. 43, 44; xxviii. 1, 4; and here 1 Pet. iii. 20.

178 See, on the whole subject, two pamphlets by the same author: The Spirits in Prison; and, The Sons of God.

179 See the Structure, below, under Canon II., pages 216-219.

180 “himself” is in italics both in A.V. and R.V. R.V. margin suggests “his cause”; but Luke xxiii. 46 shows us what it was He committed to the Father - as connected with the glorious resurrection - which was His reward in consequence.

181 zavw (zao), to live, especially in resurrection life, real or typical. John v. 25; xi. 25. Rev. i. 18; xx. 4.

182 See below, Canon II., pp. 220-223, our reason for giving these verses as the context or scope.

183 diaqhvkh (diatheke) occurs 280 times in the Septuagint, and is used always of a covenant. This must be its meaning throughout the N.T. The late Dr. Hatch, in his Essays in Biblical Greek (Oxford Press, 1889), says, “The attempt to give it in certain passages its classical meaning of ‘testament’ is not only at variance with its use in Hellenistic Greek, but is probably also the survival of a mistake: in ignorance of the philology of later and vulgar Latin, it was formerly supposed that ‘testamentum,’ by which the word is rendered in the early Latin versions as well as in the Vulgate, meant , ‘testament’ or ‘will’: whereas, in fact, it meant also, if not exclusively, ‘covenant.’

184 Compare also Ps. vi. 6, “1 am bowed down with my groaning”, 1 Sam. i. 15, a sorrowful spirit; Prov. xxiii. 29, “Who hath melancholy” (not “babbling”!); R.V. has “complaining.”

185 See above, pp. 158,159. Also a pamphlet on this subject entitled, The Lord’s Day: Is it a Day of the Week or the Day of the Lord? by the same author.

186 See the references to the writings of these men in Bishop Jebb’s Sacred Literature, p. 10.

187 Bishop Jebb, Sacred Literature, p. 15.

188 Rabbi Bon Isaac ben Jehudah, a celebrated Spanish-Jewish statesman, philosopher, theologian, and commentator, born 1437. His commentaries anticipate much of what has been advanced as now by modern theologians (Kitto, Enc. Bib. article by C. D. G.).

189 Azariah Min Ha-Adonim, as the Jews call him, was born in Mantua, 1513.

190 This was only a description of his principles of Correspondence, which he applied to some sixteen Psalms. It was the privilege of Dr. Bullinger to edit Thomas Boys’s manuscript; and, from pencilled notes in Boys’s Interleaved Hebrew Bible (Boothroyd’s Edition with Commentary), to complete and publish, it) in 1890, the whole of the Psalms with a Preface, and Memoir by his friend the Rev. Sydney Thelwall (who had been a personal friend of Boys), then Vicar of Westleigh, North Devon. An Introduction and Appendix were added by Dr. Bullinger as editor. This work was called A Key to the Book of Psalms to preserve a continuity with Boys’s own title.

191 Sermons and Remains of Robert Lowth, D.D., p. 78.

192 This is Bishop Jebb’s improvement of Bishop Lowth’s word “synonymous, as including different as well as practically equivalent terms.

193 The reader will find further elucidation on this subject in Figures of Speech. by the same author.

194 So the Greek word rendered “Fables” in 2 Tim. iv. 4.

195 We cannot break off at end of ch. iii. for ch. iv. begins “Forasmuch then,” which shows that it follows in close continuation of ch. iii.

196 So the Greek, which has the article.

197 Greek, ejgkainivzw (enkainizo), to dedicate (see ch. x. 20).

198 Which may be seen in Figures of Speech, p. 388, and The Church Epistles, p. 100.

199 For the structure of this member, see Word Studies on the Holy Spirit, republished by Kregel Publications, pp. 138-140.

200 This is the number of words treated in Liddle and Scott’s Standard Greek Lexicon, 8th Edition, 1901. (It consists of 1774 pages.)

201 This is the number of words treated in Thayer’s (Grimm’s Wilke’s) Greek-English Lexicon to the New Testament.

202 See ejpiouvsio" (epiousios), Matt. vi. 11 and Luke xi. 3, and separate pamphlet on The Lord’s Prayer, by the same author. Also skaudalivzw (skandalizo), to cause to stumble (Matt. xi. 6), Figures of Speech, p. 73.

203 These should, of course, be deducted from the 5,857 mentioned above.

204 The same may be seen in the word apology, -which was used of a defence, as in Jewel’s Apology (i.e., Defence) of the Reformation. But, because man’s defences of himself are usually so poor, the word has come to mean a mere excuse.

Our word censure was used simply of judgment, which might be favourable or otherwise; but, inasmuch as such judgments, have generally proved to be unfavourable, the word is used, today, only of blame.

Our word story was originally short for history, but because so many histories and stories are what they are, the word has come to mean that which is not true.

Knave was originally a boy, especially a servant boy; but his character has served the purpose of changing the usage of the word to describe what he so often proved himself to be. In Scotland a knave-bairn was a boy-child. Wyckliffe rendered Exod. i. 13, “If it be a knave child, sle ye him.” While Paul calls himself “a knave of Jesus Christ.”

Cunning meant merely knowing; but because knowing people generally know too much, or use their knowledge to a bad purpose, it has come to have its present usage.

Subtle meant finely-woven; hence, fine, accurate, clever.

Villain meant, a servant of a villa, or of a country or farm-house. The house has kept its good meaning, but, the man has lost it.

Parasite meant, in Greek, a sacred granary; but it is a word which has sunk low indeed, seeing, that in Shakespeare’s, time he was able to write:

“Most smiling, smooth, detested parasites,
Courteous destroyers, affable wolves, meek bears,
You fools of fortune.”

Yet in Greece, where it originated, parasite was once a highly respectable word. The original parasites were ‘all honourable men; in repute alike for their learning and integrity.’ They held positions of trust in Church and State, for which they had salaries and a table furnished them by the State. This latter fact led to their name, and ultimately to the downfall of the word. For long, however, the profession of parasite was an honourable one, and so great was the public confidence in them that a sacred granary, the Parasitium, containing corn for the service of the gods, was placed in their charge. Moral inscriptions recording the services of the parasites were placed in the temples, and some of them obtained the civic crown of gold. Presently, however, the word began to be used for those who fed at the expense of others. The hungry tribe sank yet lower in public estimation, and became the toadies and sycophants at great men’s tables.” - The Globe (London, Eng.), April 23, 1907.

Inn, again, is another example of a word which has seen better days. It is “now applied only to low places, and the better sort of public-house in which travellers are entertained; it formerly signified a great house, mansion, or family palace.” Yet, in London, it still retains some signs of its former grandeur in Lincoln’s Inn, formerly the residence of the Earls of Lincoln, and Gray’s Inn, once the mansion of the noble family of Gray. Clement’s Inn takes its name from Clement, the Dane on whose burial place a church was subsequently built. Thavie’s Inn was built by John Thavie in 1347. Clifford’s Inn was denominated from Robert de Clifford, 1309; and Furnival’s Inn, from Sir William Furnival, 1388.

205 This is why Latin is used in all scientific terminology, because, being a dead language, the meaning of its words is fixed, and cannot now be changed by flux of time, or by use.

206 Similar changes are taking place today: crovno" (chronos), which, in Ancient Greek, meant time., is used in Modern Greek of a year; and kairov" (kairos), which meant season, is now used of weather!

207 See above, pp. 227 228.

208 See above, pp. 227 228.

209 The noun is always translated offence in A.V., except Rom. xi. 9. 1 Cor. i. 23, and Rev. ii, 14, where it is “stumbling-block”; Rom. xiv. 13, where it is “occasion to fall.” The Verb skandalivzw (scandalizo) is always rendered offend.

210 Notably Professor Deissmann, of Heidelberg; Professor Flinders Petrie, of Oxford, and others.

211 Published in the Bulletin de Correspondance Rellinique, 1897, p. 60. Compare Die Christliche Welt, 1903, p. 242, etc.

212 In 1 John ii. 2; iv. 10 it is the noun iJlasmov" (hilasmos), Propitiation.

213 See pamphlet on The, Lords Day, by the same author.

214 Here all the Critical Greek Texts prefer this word to the simple pevmpw (pempo), to send by an escort. See below under Canon VIII., Sect. 1 (Matt. viii. 5 and Luke vii. 1).

215 Sunium is a promontory at the S.E. extremity of Attica, Greece, now known as Cape Colonna. It contains today the ruins of a temple measuring 44 by 98 feet. Twelve columns are still standing.

216 Other words will be found in our Figures of Speech (pp. 850-856) and in Diessinann’s Bibelstudien (Marburg, 1895) and Neue Bibelstudien (1877). Also in Essays in Biblical Greek, by the late Professor Hatch, of Oxford.

217 Published by Longmans & Co., 39, Paternoster Row.

218 Published by Bagster & Co.

219 The Giver and His Gifts, or, the Holy Spirit and His Work, republished by Kregel Publications as Word Studies on the Holy Spirit.

220 See above, Part I., Chap. III., iv. (pp. 111-113).

221 The English word “saints” represents quite a different Hebrew word in 1 Sam. ii. 9. 2 Chron. vi. 41. Pss. xxx. 4; xxxi. 23; xxxvii. 28; 1. 5; lii. 9; lxxxv. 8; xcvii. 10; cxvi. 15; cxxxii. 9,16; cxiv. 10; cxlvlii. 14. Here the Hebrew word is iy<!j* (chasid), pious, Godly.

222 This is done in cases where any may “hold the truth,” and where the truth does not hold them. In that case such may continue to act unrighteously; e.g., when the proprietor of a journal, who holds the truth, allows an editor or writer to regularly teach what he knows to be error; and this for the sake of gain. That is holding the truth in unrighteousness; and, unfortunately such a thing is not unknown even in religious journalism.

223 The context shows that this rendering could not be improved, though the idea is there.

224 Here the correct rendering occurs in one of the very Epistles where we have the wrong rendering, 2 Thess. ii. 6, 7.

225 This is Satan, who holdeth fast to something. What it is may be suggested in Rev. xii. 9-xiii. 1, viz., to his position in the heavenlies; from whence when he is cast out, he stands upon the sand of the sea, and “the man of sin” is revealed in his appointed season.

226 See our separate pamphlet on The Lord’s Prayer, pp. 12-15, by the same author.

227 See further in The Rich Man and Lazarus, by the same author.

228 See above, pp. 141-149; 248, 249. Also our pamphlet on The Mystery

229 See Tob. ii. 9. “The same night I returned from the burial.”

Judg. xiii. 1. “Now when the evening was come, his servants made haste to depart” (i.e., to return to their tents).

1 Esd. iii. 3. “They ate, and drank, and being satisfied they went” (ie., returned) “home.”

Wisd. ii. 1. “Neither was there any man known to have returned from the grave.”

Wisd. v. 12. “Like as when an arrow is shot at a mark, it parteth the air, which immediately cometh together” (returneth) “again.”

Wisd. xii. 14. “The spirit when it is gone forth returneth not.”

Ecclus. iii. 15. “As the ice melteth away” (i.e., returneth to water) “In the fair warm weather.”

2 Macc. viii. 25. “They pursued them far; but lacking time, they returned.”

2 Macc. ix. 1. “Antiochus returned and came away with dishonour from the country of Persia.”

2 Macc. xii. 7. - He went backward, as if he would return to root them all out of the country of Joppa.”

2 Macc. xv. 28. “Now when the battle was done, returning again with joy they know,” etc.

230 See a separate pamphlet on Leaven by the same author.

231 Greek, mhv (me), not, used subjectively ; i.e., not wishing to know the Scriptures.

232 Compare Rev. xx. 5, “the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished,” which proves that they cannot be alive during the thousand years, while they remain “dead.”

233 See a separate pamphlet entitled God’s Building, by the same author.

234 The word here rendered “house” is oijkhthvrion (oiketerion), which is used of the spirit-body which we shall have in resurrection. The word occurs only here and in Jude 6, where it is rendered “habitation,” and is used here of whatever that word may mean when used of angels or angello beings in Jude 6. The word oiko" (oikos) is used of our present human body or house (2 Cor. v. i). It is also used of our resurrection body in the same verse, but there it is specially distinguished as being “not made with hands.” This shows that the meaning of oiketerion in verse 2, is a spirit-body, because it is not made with human hands, but “a building of God,” “which is from heaven.”

235 See above, under Canon III., Section v. 8; the word “Depart.”

236 From Eph. vi. 12 we gather that there are similar classes of spirit-being who are evil and fallen, opposing and conflicting with the good and unfallen (See Col. ii. 15).

237 <z#n# (nezem), a ring, from <z^n* (nazam), to bore. Hence, any ring as worn in the ear or the nose. It appears to be a nose-ring in Gen. xxiv. 47. Isa. iii. 21. Prov. xi. 22. Ezek. xvi. 12; and an ear-ring in Gen. xxxv. 4 and Exod. xxxii. 2. In certain passages it is doubtful where the ring was worn, the part of the body not being named. See Judg. viii. N, 25. Job xlii. 11. Prov. xxv. 12. Hos. ii. 13.

238 See a pamphlet on Jehosaphat: a Lesson for our Times, by the same author.

239 Hebrew Text, iii. 1-5.

240 For the structure of ‘the Song of Moses’ see Commentary on Revelation, republished by Kregel Publications, p. 470; or Things to Come, Vol. X., p. 55.

241 The expansion of “b3 (iii. 1-16) is just as perfect and beautiful:

b3| cl| dl| iii. 1, 2 Assemblage.

e1| -2-6. Judgment.

f1| 7, 8. Threatening.

c2| d2| 9-12-. Assemblage.

e2| -12. Judgment.

f2| 13. Execution.

c3| d3| 14 . Assemblage.

e3| -11. Judgment.

f3| 15,16. Threatening,

242 Heb., “Eat to eat and be satisfied.” The infinitive of the verb following its own finite, i.e., eat and eat is most expressive and emphatic.

243 In these and all similar references to the meaning of a word in the Original we give the First Occurrence of it. See Canon V., Part II.

244 See above, under Parentheses, p. 58.

245 In both these passages the Greek has the adjective, not the noun.

246 This is the Figure Epanadiplosis. See Figures of Speech, page 245.

247 The first occurrence of the word “God,” in Gen. i. 1, shows that this is the essence of its meaning.

248 This is shown by the first occurrence of Jehovah, in Gen. ii. 4, at the commencement of the section (or Toledoth), “the generations of the heavens and the earth,” when God (as Jehovah Elohim) comes into Covenant relation with Adam, whom He had created.

249 For further examination and study of all the Selahs the reader may consult Part II of the work on The Psalm-Titles, by the same author.

250 See Number in Scripture, republished by Kregel Publications, pp. 236-240.

251 See Number in Scripture, republished by Kregel Publications, p. 253.

252 See Number in Scripture, republished by Kregel Publications, pp. 205-233.

253 See further information as to this and other numbers in Number in Scripture.

254 See The Divine Names and Titles for a complete view of the subject by the same author.

255 See Divine Names and Titles, p. 140.

256 See a pamphlet on The Man of God, by the same author.

257 See the pamphlets The Lord’s Day and Four Prophetic Periods, by the same author.

258 See above, pp. 304, 305.

259 This passage might have been considered under Canon VIII. below - The Importance of Accuracy in noting Marks of Time.

260 See further, on this passage, under Canon VIII., below, “The Importance of Accuracy”: marks of time.

261 See further on this point, page 328, below.

262 See pamphlets on this subject, by the same author, entitled The Rich Man and Lazarus, and Sheol and Hades.

263 On the whole subject of Various Readings, see Canon XII.

264 See pp. 409, 410.

265 This MS. is to be distinguished from D(1) (see p. 410). D(1) contains the Gospels and Acts; while D(2) contains the Pauline Epistles and Hebrews.

266 But even this is the subject of divergences in the MSS. which favour it.

267 For the place of this member in the Structure of the Epistle as a whole, see The Church Epistles (p. 91), by the same author.

268 For the Structure of the Epistle as a whole and the place occupied by this member see The Church Epistles (p. 23), by the same author.

269 See Matt, xxiv. 2. Mark xiii. 2. Luke xxi. 6. Acts v. 38, 39, etc.

270 The Lord Jesus used the word kh'to" (ketos) in Matt. xii. 40. It is a pity that any ground was given to the cry of the Infidel and the Higher Critics by translating it “whale” in the A.V. But it is unpardonable of the R.V. to perpetuate it, when it puts in the margin “Gr. sea-monster,” though the words of Jonah i. 17, “a great fish,” were ready to their hand. Why not have put “sea monster” or “great fish” in the Text?

271 We do not repeat here any examples given in our pamphlet on this same subject and under the title of this Canon.

272 Homer, in reference to one thus fallen, says: “lie fell from his car ... and then, for a long time remained he motionless”; (not standing on his legs after he had fallen!). - Iliad, v. 585.

273 In John xx. 21 we have both words in one verse: “As my Father hath sent me (apostello), even so send I you (pempo).” While in other passages the latter verb is used also of the sending of the Lord Jesus by the Father; yet, here, in John xx. 21, for the purpose of emphasizing the fact that the Lord remains with those whom He sends, the verb pevmpw (pempo) is used.

274 A very moderate statement of the difficulty presents it as follows: “The Evangelists, while fully agreeing in the substance of their narratives, are by no means careful about literal words - as for example, their record of the Inscriptions on the Cross, where no two of them exactly agree.” - Rev. J. Paterson Smyth, in How God Inspired the Bible.

275 The late Rev. James Kelly.

276 There is a difference between kakou`rgo" (kakourgos), an evil-worker, and kakopoiov" (kakopoios), an evil-doer. The former is general, while the latter is worse, in that it is specific. Paul was treated as the former (2 Tim. ii. 9), Christ was charged with being the latter (John xviii. 30).

277 See Matt. x. 23; xxv. 16, 17, 20; xxvii. 61; xxviii. 1. John xviii. 15, 16; xx. 2,4,8 (the 2nd of eleven), and Rev. xvii. 10 (the 2nd of seven).

278 Matt. vi. 24; viii. 21; xi. 3. Luke v. 7; vi. 6; vii. 41; ix. 56; xiv. 31; xvi. 13, 18; xvii. 34-36; xviii. 10; and xxiii. 40.

279 The force of these may be seen in Matt. ii. 12: “another way” (allos). Matt. iv. 21: “other two brethren” (allos). Gal. i. 6, 7: “a different (heteros) gospel, which is not another” (allos). Matt. vi. 21: “hate one and love the other” (heteros). Matt. mi. 3: “do we look for another” (heteros). Heb. vii. 11 “another priest” (heteros).

280 While Menephta, his son, was the Pharaoh of the Exodus.

281 On the whole context of this passage, see above, pgs 297-302.

282 London: John Murray, 1906; pp. 194-223.

283 See the separate pamphlet on Jehoshaphat: a Lesson for our Vines, by the same author.

284 Sometimes this is only apparent, as in the case of JESUS, which is the Greek form of JOSHUA (Acts vii. 45. Heb. iv. 8). CHRIST is the Greek for the Hebrew MESSIAH. REMPHAN (Acts vii. 43) is the Greek for CHIUN (Amos v. 26). So in the same way ALLELUIA (Rev. xix. 1, 3, 4,6) is the Greek form of the Hebrew HALLELUJAH.

285 In Gen. xxvi. 31 he is called “Hittite.” Hittite is the general name, which includes the Hivite, which is particular. Ch. xxvi. 34 is history, but ch. xxxvi. 2 is genealogy, and is therefore more precise (see Josh. i. 4. 1 Kings x. 29. 2 Kings vii. 6). In Gen. xxviii. 8 these Hittite wives are called “daughters of Canaan,” i.e., the general Dame.

286 The Hebrew is ax*m*(matza), to happen on, meet with, find, discover (not to invent or find out).

287 Hebrew, <ym!y@h^ (hayyemim, hot springs. (The Vulgate has aquoe calidoe. Probably the Calirrhoe in the Wady Zerka Maein, or Wady el Asha, S.E. of the Dead Sea.) Hence Anah was called Beeri, which would mean the spring-man. It certainly cannot mean mules, as the word for mules is <yd!r*P= (peradim), (See 2 Sam. xiii. 29; xviii. 9. 1 Kings x. 25. 2 Kings v. 17. Ps. xxxii. 9).

288 Because beautified by Philip the Tetrarch, now known as BANIAS.

289 Note the eight “Suttons,” and combined with other words, 26 more; the ten “Miltons”; the eleven “Newports”; the eleven “Newtons” and 30 combinations with other distinguishing names.

290 Gen. i. 26; ii. 5, 20 (2nd); iii. 17,21; iv. 25; v. 1 (twice), 2,3,4, 5.

291 Gen. ii. 7 (2nd), 16,18,19 (twice), 20 (1st), 21, 22 (twice), 23,25; ch. iii. 8,9,12, 20,22,24; iv. 1; vi. 1, 2,3.

292 Gen. i. 27; ii. 7 (1st), 8,15.

293 In order that the reader may judge for himself, we give all the above passages in their order, indicating which of the three forms of the word is used in each:

1. Gen. i. 26.

2. Gen. ii. 20 (1st).

1. Gen. iii. 21.

3. i. 27.

1. ii. 20 (2nd).

2. iii. 22,24.

1. ii. 5.

2. ii. 21,22 (twice), [23,25.

2. iv. 1.

3. ii. 7 (1st).

2. iii. 8,9,12.

1. iv. 25.

2. ii. 7 (2nd).

1. iii. 17

1. v. 1 (twice), 2, [3,4,5.

3. ii. 8,15.

2. iii. 20

2. vi. 1, 2,3.

2. ii. 16, 18, 19 [(twice).


294 And is generally so rendered. See Exod. xii. 5; xxix. 1. Leviticus and Numbers throughout.

295 See Things to Come, Vol. VIII., pp. 11, 56, 97; xi. 110, 111, 138.

296 h^Wr (ruach) is rendered breath in Gen. vi. 16; vii. 15, 22. 2 Sam. xxii. 16. Job iv. 9; ix. 18; xii. 10; xv. 30; xvii. 1; xix. 17; xxvii. 3, marg. Ps. xviii. 15; xxxiii. 6; civ. 29; cxxxv. 17; cxlvi. 4. Eccles. iii. 19. Isa. xi. 4; xxx. 28; xxxiii. 11. Jer. x. 14; li. 17. Lam. iv. 20. Ezek. xxxvii. 5, 6, 8, 9, 10. Heb. ii. 19.

297 See Things to Come, Vol. II., p. 184, and Vol. IV., p. 104.

298 See Things to Come, Vol. VII, p. 57.

299 We constantly buy up secondhand copies and supply them for ten shillings. If means were forthcoming, we would gladly enter into negotiations with the owner of the copyright for the production of a new edition; or, if health, strength, means, and leisure permitted, we would willingly undertake to prepare one ourselves.

300 This differs from “the peace of God” in verse 7, which is the Genitive of “possession” (see p. 385, under Genitive of Possession, Phil. iv. 7).

301 See further under this head; Things to Come, Vol. X., pp. 88, etc; or, Word Studies on the Holy Spirit, republished by Kregel Publications.

302 Figures of Speech used in the Bible, by the same author. Consisting of 1,101 pages (large), five Appendices, and seven Indexes.

303 The Might and Mirth of Literature.

304 Part I., Sect. IV., pp. 153-157, above; and in several other parts of this work.

305 See above, under Canon VIII., p. 351.

306 It is rendered ornament in Exod. xxxiii. 4,5,6. Isa. xlix. 18; iii. 18. Jer. iv. 30. Ezek. vii. 20. And adorning in 1 Pet. iii. 3.

307 Whatever that was. Scientists once thought they knew; but recent discoveries of the X-rays and N-rays and Radium, etc., are so wonderful and far-reaching that no scientist would now venture to frame a definition. One thing we know, that whether they call it “luminiferous ether” or anything else, it is not the same as the word rendered “lights” in Gen. i. 14,16. The sun and moon were called roam* (maor), light-holders, or candlesticks. Thus, we are taught in Gen. i. that which science is only just getting to know: viz., that what God called “light” exists independently of the sun.

308 This is done in the pamphlet entitled The New Creation and the Old, by the same author.

309 See The Two Natures, by the same author.

310 2 Cor. v. 2. Greek, oijkhthvrion (oiketerion), a spiritual body, similar to that of the angels. See Jude 6.

311 As we have seen above, p. 359.

312 Those who wish to go more deeply into it must study Dr. Ginsburg’s Introduction to the Hebrew Bible (published by the Trinitarian Bible Society, 7. Bury Street, Bloomsbury, London); or a small pamphlet by the author on The Massorah (Eyre & Spottiswoode (Bible Warehouse), Ltd., 33, Paternoster Row, London, price 1s.). For the New Testament Dr. Tregelleswork on The History of the Printed Text of the Greek New Testament should be studied.

313 This (in England) was in 1455, but as early as 1475 there are two dated books. These are in Hebrew. The first printed books of the Bible were the Hebrew Psalter, 1477, and the Hebrew Pentateuch, 1482 (Bologna).

314 Especially in the four well-known folio editions between 1623 and 1685. Milton, Pope, Gray, Keats, Shelley, Cowper, and Wordsworth have all suffered at the hands of their editors. Dr. Bentley’s outrages, in 1732, on the text of Paradise Lost are inexcusable.

315 They are estimated at 864 for the whole of the Old Testament.

316 It was published, in 1894, by the Trinitarian Bible Society of London (7, Bury Street, Bloomsbury), at the price of one guinea. A reprint of the edition was published in 1907.

317 It could not be earlier than this date because in Prov. viii. 18 gaiso" a word of Gallic origin, is used for a short javelin, first known in Greece by an invasion of Gauls in B.C. 278.

318 In his Bullum Papale. London, 1600.

319 This, with the Elzivir, forms the Text used by the A.V. translators, and is known as the Textus Receptus, or Received Text.

Related Topics: Bibliology (The Written Word), Teaching the Bible