Adolph Ernst Knoch was born in Saint
Louis, December 19
Working with his father, who was a
school janitor, A.E. K. at the age of nine would sweep one floor
before school every morning.
The Knoch's move to Los Angeles area
and reside on 38th Street in Vernon.
Adolph received a Holy Bible in
December from his brother Ulrich, older by ten years, and Addie,
a sister. Inscribed was - "Remember thy Creator in the days
of thy youth."
A.E.K. graduates from West Vernon
grammar school. June 16
A.E.K. graduates from Los Angeles High
School June 27, at age 18.
One of A.E.K.'s high school teachers saw a literary potential in
him and she suggested he read the great literature such as
Shakespeare or the Bible. At that time Shakespeare was not
available to him, but there was a family Bible. A.E.K. first read
the Bible from a purely literary point of view.
During grade school and high school A.E.K. would do errands for
his brother's print shop on Boyd Street, Commercial Printing
House, largest in L.A. Soon after graduating from high school he
began working full time there as "printer's devil"
doing all the dirty work. Later he obtained his apprenticeship
and eventually became superintendent.
It was about this time that he believed and became converted
after reading the message of Jesus Christ.
There was an elderly Scotsman, a Mr.
Cornwall, who met A.E.K. on occasion and spoke with him about
prophecy and the 2nd Coming. While printing he was given a
circular to set, which advertised a series of lectures on these
themes, and he became determined to hear them. The lecturer, Mr.
McClure, of the Plymouth Brethren, took interest in A.E.K. and
introduced him to books and magazines. One of the magazines was Things
To Come to which A.E.K. subscribed before July 1894. And
one of the books was Englishman's Greek Concordance.
A.E.K. was baptized into the "Open Brethren" group in
the Los Angeles River. He became rather involved with these
Brethren, reading their literature and participating in their
services. A.E.K. said, "I was looked upon as one of their
It was during these years that A.E.K. studied in a Greek course taught at the Los Angeles Bible
The American Standard Revised
Version appeared this year. A.E.K. had awaited it, but was
disappointed, the better renderings having been relegated to the
According to several sources this is the year
that grand project that culminated thirty years later in the
complete edition of the Sacred Scriptures. It was at this time
that he began developing the Concordant Method for the making of
a more accurate translation.
While attending a Plymouth Brethren meeting Mr. A. E. Knoch
first met Miss Olive E. Hyde. This was about a year and a half
before they married, and was close to the time the Brethren
"Around the turn of the century he was teaching Greek to
a small class at a local Y.M.C.A." (L.A. Times, Sept
A.E.K. parted with the Brethren about
this time. Though Mr. Knoch had done some teaching for this
group the same Mr. McClure who had formerly guided him into the
Brethren now excommunicated A.E.K. finding the direction of his
Scriptural inquiry incompatible.
He and Olive were married April 22, 1903, he being 28 years
old, she was 27. One of the first homes they shared was one he
built, 2817 East Sixth Street.
Seeing a problem in the traditional Greek grammars, and not
willing to continue teaching something he wasn't himself sure
about, A.E.K. gave up the class at the Y.M.C.A. and began
cataloging the grammatical forms of the Greek as they are found
in the Scriptures.
February 26 A.E.K. submits On
Baptism to Dr. Ethelbert W. Bullinger in England, editor
of Things To Come.
April 2 Dr. Bullinger read A.E.K.'s manuscript and proposed to
publish it in his magazine.
Through correspondence with E. W. Bullinger A.E.K.
of Vladimir Michael Gelesnoff. Mr Gelesnoff of Minneapolis saw
in Things To Come an announcement about the coming
series of articles on baptism written by an American, and wrote
Dr. Bullinger seeking to get in touch with the American author.
November 5 Ernest Oliver Knoch is born in his father's house.
In January the first part of On
There were others coming into the
same truth A.E.K. was discovering and both A.E.K. and Vladimir
Gelesnof contributed to a small magazine begun in February
called Grace and Glory, edited by Alan Burns, and
which ran for eight issues.
The last number appeared in March,
1909. It was felt that the magazine wasn't quite fitting the
pattern necessary for the ministry envisioned.
In a letter dated August 12, Dr. Bullinger speaks of the card
index A.E.K. was making for the Greek grammatical forms and of a
specimen page of Ephesians that A.E.K. had sent. Dr. Bullinger
requested all the translation materials A.E.K. was compiling so
that they could be used in the making of the Companion Bible. A.E.K.
begged Dr. Bullinger to make a translation himself but he
declined considering it too great a task at his age.
A.E.K. and V.G. got together to create a magazine specially
designed to fill the need in the ministry of correctly cutting
the Word of Truth, and the first number of Unsearchable
Riches appeared in October, 1909, from Minneapolis.
In the first editorial Brother Gelesnoff announced that
Riches was being sent forth "in the interest of a
rightly apportioned Word," and "is the result of
several years' protracted thought and consideration." (U.
R., Vol. I, page 1) There was an agreement made as to the focal
area for each editor. Mr. Knoch was to concentrate on the Greek
and Mr. Gelesnoff on the Hebrew, though this was not to be
The groundwork was being laid for
both portions of the Bible. The concordant method of translation
to be used is affirmed to be the basis for recovery of truth,
and this is outlined in the April, 1910 issue of the magazine:
"A Plan to Recover the True Intent and Meaning of the Words
Employed by the Holy Spirit."
A. E. Knoch and Leslie Cushman joined in purchasing 100 acres
in San Jacinto Valley and the Knochs soon moved into their new
stout brick home. This A.E.K. constructed to be their permanent
The Gelesnoffs seeking a more
healthful climate move to California in April, and thus the
Editorial office for the magazine is then located in San Diego.
Because country living was adverse
to his wife's health A.E.K. purchased a lot next to their old house
in L.A. and then built with the help of Mr. Ditch, a relative and
contractor, 2823 East Sixth Street. In August this is given as
the address for the Editorial office for Unsearchable
Riches. Mr. Gelesnoff had suffered a serious illness in
the months just prior to this time, and subsequently A.E.K. began
taking on more editorial responsibilities.
The work on the Version was
progressing and from time to time a tentative translation would
appear in an article to help reveal the hidden truth. A
Prospectus printed at this time advertised the "Concordant
Version" which was to comprise all the Holy Scriptures
(Hebrew and Greek). Romans was to be published first followed by
the Prison Epistles. The Prospectus itself contains the first
fifteen verses of Romans in provisional form.
The card index - which was the first concordance made to
illustrate all the occurring forms of the Greek words in the New
testament - was complete by this time and was being used in
The first book to be published from
the office of Unsearchable Riches was The Mystery
of the Gospel, by A. E. Knoch. This was first announced in the
April issue, vol. 5, no. 4. Also available at this time were: by
A.E.K. - On Baptism, The Divine Calendar, The Divine Mysteries, The Son of Man,
and All in All; by V.G. - The Pathway of Faith, The Kingdom in the Old Testament, and
Problem of Evil; and by Alan Burns - The Ages.
In this year A.E.K. was holding Sunday meetings in Grant Hall,
Mozart Theatre Building in Los Angeles.
By December Romans & Ephesians to 2 Thess. had appeared:
the first experimental parts to be published as the Concordant
The two installments called A Tentative Test,
Romans, which was first announced in August 1914, and Ephesians
thru Second Thessalonians, which appeared four months later,
were both withdrawn in August 1915 because they failed to
reach the quality that was desirable. Also in August the
designation of the translation was changed from Concordant
Version to Standard Version. A.E.K. adapted this title from A
Standard Dictionary of the English Language (orig. pub. 1893,
rev. 1913) which he had received as a gift. He was impressed
with its method of appealing to the evidence in substantiating
definitions by citing the usages of standard authors. The title
Standard version was to reflect the usage of English standards
in translating the Greek. At this time it was decided to return
to the original plan of making "a version in readable
English." The Tentative Test portions were somewhat more
literal than what was to be later published.
In the summer of 1916 A.E.K. began devising
the method he would use in the making of the Greek-English
interlinear portion of the New Testament. He wished to give the
English reader access to the Originals and even made type
imitating the appearance of the Greek in the ancient
manuscripts. He had printed sheets prepared for the preliminary
work on the Greek text that would also indicate all the
variations of the ancient manuscripts, Codices Sinaiticus,
Vaticanus and Alexandrinus. This work was done using
photographic facsimiles (obtained in Europe) comparing them to
Weymouth's Resultant Greek Text. Also on these sheets there was
constructed a consistent super-literal English interlinear. This
was done by transferring systematically underneath the Greek the
evidence from the original analytical concordance A.E.K. had
made in card-index form. From this preliminary work A.E.K. was
able to begin translating anew and reach the level of accuracy
and consistency desired. The Greek text was pasted lines cut
out from Weymouth's printed text, and besides small particles of
speech, the rest was handwritten. The work was several years in
the making but it does represent the first complete New
Testament, Concordant Version.
October 31 witnessed the passing of the wife
of V.G., Mrs. Ernestine Gelesnoff. She had attended to the
subscription list and correspondence of the first years of U.R.
After his brother, Ulrich, sold Commercial
Printing House Adolph Knoch continued working there until the
employees were required to purchase war bonds. He and Herman
Vogel refused to contribute to the war-effort and were therefore
fired. Mr. Vogel purchased Pacific Novelty Company which printed
picture postcards, and expanded the operation into general
letterpress. Unsearchable Riches was then printed there and,
later on, the Version. Working a few months with Mr. Vogel was A.E.K.'s
last employment before he devoted his full time to the
In June it was announced that
Revelation would be the first part to be issued saying
"there is a growing interest in this book in the present
Intensive work was being done preparing for
the scheduled publication of the first part of The Sacred
Scriptures. "Though the first part is only a small portion
of the whole it has involved an unbelievable amount of
preliminary labor, which will gradually grow less as the parts
are published. Every word in the interlinear of The Unveiling
had to be fixed in its occurrences in all the other books as
well, for all must be consistent." (U. R., Vol. X, page 5)
In establishing his Greek text A.E.K. wished
to give the full evidence of the three oldest manuscripts that
contain the New Testament almost complete. Printed editions were
being relied upon for this evidence until it was discovered that
there were errors in these printed editions. Photographic
facsimiles of the original manuscripts were needed to complete
the work. Copies of the two older manuscripts, Vaticanus and
Sinaiticus, were unobtainable in America. Alexander Thompson of
Edinburgh, Scotland, was asked to see if he could find them in
Great Britain. Being expert in Greek and having expressed
intense interest in the making of the version he was also asked
to collate these two manuscripts with a copy of Weymouth's Greek
text. He noted the various editors of the manuscripts and their
every variation. His work of collating spanned the years
1918-1924. He also offered many valuable suggestions for
improvement in the English translation though this was not
required of him. He did this latter voluntarily when he found
time apart from the tedious job of comparing the Greek texts.
A.E.K. often referred to himself as "the
compiler," and was generally responsible for the work.
However, there were several other helpers who did substantial
work in the long and involved process of compiling the version.
George L. Rogers, Edward H. Clayton and Earl Taber can be
mentioned among those who helped in the compilation of the
Concordant Version. George L. Rogers, from Almont, Mich., had
had formal training in the Greek language and was listed on the
letterheads as the Greek verb expert. Edward H. Clayton, of
Sheffield, England, taught himself Greek and Hebrew, and offered
many valuable suggestions for the translation. Earl Taber spent
many hours collating the Greek text and conferred regularly with
In February it was announced (U.R., Vol. X,
number 3) that Standard Version was no longer to be the title of
the version. Thomas Nelson and Sons publishers persuaded A.E.K.
to not use this title in view of their own American Standard
Edition of the Revised Version.
In April Vladimir Gelesnoff published his
second book Paul's Epistle to the Galatians, reprinted from
articles appearing in Unsearchable Riches. (His first book, The
Words and Work of God and Man, came out in December, 1914.)
Three editions of The Unveiling of Jesus
Christ appeared in August: "Greek with sublinear, Version
and notes," "Version with notes," and
"Version only." Thus appeared the first section of The
Concordant Version of the Sacred Scriptures.
The plan to publish a "special"
edition of the Unveiling, without notes, was forecast in
February (U.R., Vol. XIX, page 100). This edition was prepared
for the use of the International Bible Students Association (U.R.,
Vol. XIX, page 8). The Watch Tower, June 15, 1920, carried a
short article describing THE CONCORDANT NEW TESTAMENT. The first
500 copies of this special edition were received by July 9, at
the headquarters of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society in
Brooklyn, New York. It is stated (U.R., Vol. XVIII, page 327)
that the W. T. B. & T. S. had ordered ten thousand
copies of each part of the Concordant Version by the time the
second part was ready for publication.
In February Ephesians to Philemon, the 2nd
installment, was published and it was about this time that J. F.
Rutherford had the order for the Concordant Version parts
cancelled. He stated in a letter dated Nov. 25th, 1927, that his
reason for cancelling was his discovery of certain unacceptable
doctrines regarding "universal reconciliation"
advocated by the Concordant Publishing Concern.
Vladimir Michael Gelesnoff was laid to rest
October third, after prolonged illness. He began his teaching
ministry in New York. "After the repeated urgings and
solicitations of many friends in various parts of the country he
was prevailed on to undertake the publication of a
magazine." (U.R., Vol. XIII, page 68) In a letter he asked
A.E.K. to suggest a name for the new publication. "We
suggested 'From glory to Glory,' but were glad to withdraw it
for 'Unsearchable Riches.'" A.E.K. stated in his biography
of Mr. Gelesnoff that while staying in San Diego "he found
the true God Who is responsible for all that exists in His
universe, and Who does not seek to shift the blame to the
shoulders of any of His creatures." "Mr. Gelesnoff's
findings were published in a popular tract, The Problem of
Evil." This new understanding found its way into
Unsearchable Riches with the effect of creating a lessening in
the total number of subscribers. But eventually it could be
said: "The great truth of the ultimate salvation and
vivification of all mankind, and the reconciliation of the
universe, for which he had dared all, was gradually established
on such a firm scriptural basis that it could not be
Romans to Galatians of the Concordant Version
was published in December.
Reprinted, with some minor editiing, from Concordant
Antiquities, parts one through six,
originally distributed with the Concordant Newsletter in 1975-1976.
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