Introducing The Concordant Literal New Testament, Part Two

 

 The Scriptures

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Functions of the Greek Verb
The Compilation of the English Vocabulary
Wigram’s Englishman’s Greek Concordance
The Use of Concordant, English Alternatives
Constant, Exclusive Equivalents
Problems of Capitalization
Punctuation
Lexicons and Concordances
The Keyword Concordance
A Tentative Edition

THE FUNCTIONS OF THE GREEK VERB

The principle of consistency, which the Concordant Version strives to meet, demands that the grammar be given exclusive and uniform STANDARDS. We cannot translate the Greek “aorist” as well as “imperfect” by the past tense in English, as is usually done. We were, therefore, forced to analyze all the forms of Greek grammar and classify them according to the facts, assigning to each the nearest English STANDARD. In general, our findings confirm the commonly accepted teachings of grammarians, but in a few important points we were obliged to vary from them. Deviation from the textbooks could not always be avoided in a version which seeks to base all on evidence.
In order to determine the proper STANDARD equivalent for each Greek form, a complete card index of every grammatical element occurring in the Scriptures was made. These cards were classified for study, and to each element was assigned an exclusive and uniform equivalent, as established by its occurrences in the Sacred Text. The two forms which were usually rendered by only one English form were examined to discover the difference between them. Thus the past tense was found to be correct for the “imperfect,” but the “aorist” was found to more closely correspond to the English form called the “simple present,” which is really often an English aorist, or indefinite form, referring to a timeless fact.
In segregating the forms we found that the Greek verb as a whole could be divided into three great classes, (1) those which are Indefinite, denoting a mere ¯FACT, (2) those which are Incomplete, an 'ACTION going on at the moment, and (3) those which are Complete, resulting in a finished ºSTATE.
The “aorist” is in the first category, and indicates a timeless ¯FACT. In the indicative mood it is best rendered by the English “simple present,” as God “loves” (John 3:16). When this cannot be used, a small, high horizontal stroke (¯) is used to indicate that the verb has this form in the Greek.
The Greek “present” is in the second category, the incomplete 'ACTION, and corresponds to the English “incomplete present,” as “I am loving the Father” (John 14:31). Often, however, this is indicated by a short, high vertical stroke (') because English prefers brevity, and is gradually losing this form.
The Greek “perfect” is in the third category, the complete ºSTATE, and is best carried over by our English “perfect,” as, “I have written” (John 19:22), but, in many cases, it is better English to express it by means of a passive participle, as in “it is ºwritten” (Matt.2:5).
The so-called “second aorist” consists of irregular forms, mostly past, which generally belong to other classifications.
A special pamphlet, The Greek and English Indefinite, presents, in a more thorough way, a summary of the evidence in the Scriptures for these adjustments in the grammar of the Greek verb. Additional information is to be found on page 15 in the CONCORDANT GREEK TEXT, and the entire Concordant grammar is exhaustively discussed and diagrammed in THE GREEK ELEMENTS.

THE COMPILATION OF THE
ENGLISH VOCABULARY

God, in giving us His revelation, did not merely choose human words to express Himself, but also purified them for this purpose (Psalm 12:6). By the way in which He has used them He has given them special meaning, and has formed a divine vocabulary for the transference of His thoughts. The same process recommends itself in the making of an English version. Hence, the concordant method strives, first of all, to form a scriptural vocabulary which imitates the inspired Original as closely as possible. The apostle Paul charged us to “Have a pattern of sound words” (2 Timothy 1:13).
It is our desire to distinguish clearly between every word used in God’s revelation, and to use the closest English equivalent for every expression. It was necessary, therefore, to choose our vocabulary before we could begin to translate. It should be clear that this would, at the same time, help to keep us from imposing our opinion on any passage, for, once the vocabulary was determined, we could not easily use another term to suit our own interpretation, but were obliged to use that one which our research had determined would harmonize with the contexts of all the other occurrences, as well as the one under consideration.

WIGRAM’S ENGLISHMAN’S GREEK CONCORDANCE

Wigram’s ENGLISHMAN’S GREEK CONCORDANCE lists almost every word which occurs in the Original in Greek alphabetical order, followed by the passages in which it appears, as rendered in the Authorized Version.
The reader who considers carefully the various King James renderings of each word may wonder how one Greek word can be stretched to cover such contradictory thoughts as pour out and fill. (The CONCORDANT VERSION renders both occurrences “blend.” He might question the necessity of using seven different expressions (without blame, without blemish, unblameable, without spot, without rebuke, faultless, without fault) when one, “flawless” (used in the CONCORDANT VERSION), can be used throughout. He will likely question the use of both immortality and incorruption for the same Greek word, especially if he is aware that another term in the Original actually denotes immortality. He will probably acknowledge that natural and sensual are too far apart to represent a single Greek word. Furthermore, why use remission, forgiveness, deliverance, and liberty when “forgiveness” and “pardon” will cover all cases? Why use coming when BESIDE-BEING clearly denotes “presence”? On the other hand, why not use two words to distinguish between the occurrences of DOWN-CHANGE (“conciliate”) and FROM-DOWN-CHANGE (“reconcile”)? Finally, is it necessary to change the word “sabbath,” in the same context, to week? Such questions as these led to an exhaustive investigation of the whole divine vocabulary in order to find the single most exact English equivalent for each Greek word; one which will not only fit each context in which the word appears, but which is not needed for any other Greek word.

THE USE OF CONCORDANT, ENGLISH ALTERNATIVES

At times English usage does demand that the same sense be expressed by different terms according to the context. Thus, a pot that is REPLETE (the literal uniform STANDARD equivalent) with water is “full to the brim,” a sponge is “soaked” with vinegar, panniers are “crammed” with fragments, and a temple is “dense” with smoke. We give this example to show that the principle of uniformity is not carried to unreasonable lengths in the Version when our language demands variety and the sense is not altered.
Our principles compel the use of a few words in a rather specialized sense. “Doctor,” for example, is used for a learned man. Through the years we have failed to find better exclusive words.

CONSTANT, EXCLUSIVE EQUIVALENTS

Not only should each Greek word be translated uniformly when practicable, but, to achieve the best results, each English word should be the constant and exclusive representative of only a single Greek word. There are subtle distinctions and instructive nuances which escape us otherwise, and sometimes these are the vital keys to great and precious truths.
Consider that the AUTHORIZED VERSION uses the same English word to represent many entirely different Greek words. In Wigram’s English Index there are thirty-two Greek words listed under “come.” Four of these are forms of the verb “be.” For the others, the CONCORDANT VERSION has the following basic idiomatic forms: “step up,” “come away,” “step off,” “become,” “hither” [singular], “hither” [plural], “pass through,” “enter,” “go out,” “be present” [time], “come out,” “come on,” “step on,” “go on,” “come,” “stand by,” “arrive,” “arrive at,” “come down,” “come along,” “present” (be), “present” [verb], “come to,” “come together,” “carry,” “outstrip,” “contain.”
In a similar way the CONCORDANT VERSION also distinguishes each of the Greek forms listed on this page by giving them their own standard and distinctive English equivalent. Where in the AV, “depart” does duty for about twenty Greek words, the CONCORDANT VERSION uses a special term to distinguish each one.

PROBLEMS OF CAPITALIZATION

In the oldest Greek manuscripts, all the letters were capitals. Words occurring frequently, such as GOD, CHRIST, JESUS, LORD, SPIRIT, etc. were even abbreviated by showing only two or three letters of the respective Greek term. We are used to giving prominence to certain words by capitalizing the first letter, especially when referring to God or to Christ. When either one of them is in view, we also capitalize the respective pronouns, such as Thou, Thine, He, His, Himself, Who. Thus we are actually going beyond the Original, where no such distinctions were made.
Our Lord was occasionally addressed in an irreverent manner. In such cases, the pronoun “Thou” seems out of place, as in Luke 20:2, where the religious leaders of the Jews ask Him, “Tell us, by what authority are you doing these” things, “or who is giving you this authority?” On the other hand, we have capitalized the possessive pronoun in Matthew 7:22 where Jesus is dealing with the workers of lawlessness. Here we say “Your name,” since there is no irreverence intended, even though there is no obedient faith. Some other translators have also done this.
The Samaritan woman at the well is an enlightening example, showing the gradual recognition of the Lord as Messiah. She is speaking in unbelief when she says, “Whence, then, have you living water? Not greater are you than “our father Jacob” (John 4:11,12). A measure of true faith is underlying the reverence which is evident from her confession in verse 19, “Lord, I behold that thou art a prophet.“ Her next step toward recognizing Christ is indicated by capitalizing the pronouns in verse 25, “We are aware that Messiah is coming, Who is termed ‘Christ.’ Whenever He should be coming, He will be informing us of ‘all things.’ ”
There is a similar difficulty in connection with the word SPIRIT. To this problem, the compiler and his assistants have paid much attention during the past seventy years. Yet a solution which would be entirely satisfactory to everyone has not presented itself. In the Greek, of course, the equivalent for SPIRIT is always written and abbreviated in capital letters, even when the human spirit or evil spirits are in view.
Anyone who takes the time to go through all the occurrences of SPIRIT in the New Testament will find that, in addition, there is such variety of usage, that the line of demarcation between the DIVINE SPIRIT and the manifestation of spiritual qualities in a believer is not always easily recognizable.
Pneuma, the Greek equivalent, is described as the “power of the Most High” (Luke 1:35), and is used of [THE] SPIRIT OF GOD (Matt.3:16), THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD (Eph.4:30), THE SPIRIT OF YOUR FATHER (Matt.10:20), CHRIST’S SPIRIT (Rom.8:9), THE SPIRIT (Matt.27:50), [THE] SPIRIT OF [THE] LORD (Luke 4:18), [THE] SPIRIT OF SONSHIP (Rom.8:15), [A] SPIRIT OF WISDOM AND REVELATION (Eph.1:17), FERVENT IN SPIRIT (Acts 18:25; Rom.12:11), and others.
In our English-Greek KEYWORD CONCORDANCE we have spelled “Holy Spirit” with a capital “S,” and the Version has “vivifying Spirit” (1 Cor.15:45), to match “the second Man” and “the Celestial” One. But elsewhere, we would rather leave it to the reader to decide for himself which aspect of SPIRIT is in view at a given occurrence. We cannot imitate the Original and capitalize the whole word in all its occurrences, since such a procedure would give far too much prominence to the human spirit and to evil spirits. On the other hand, why print “The words . . . are spirit” (John 6:63), and “fervent in spirit” (Acts 18:25; Rom.12:11) with a small “s,” as has been done in some versions? In Romans 8:10, “The Spirit is Life,” we find capitalization in the King James Version, while other translators prefer to render it “The Spirit is alive.” Thus it becomes apparent that there exists no consensus with regard to these borderline cases. Hence we decided to keep our personal concept out of the controversy by not capitalizing the word spirit in its various occurrences. This should not be taken as a symptom of irreverence toward GOD’S HOLY SPIRIT but rather as a sign of our own incompetence to deal with the problem in a satisfactory manner, without injecting our own opinion, and thus detracting from the laud of His glory.

THE PUNCTUATION IS NOT INSPIRED

The Original contained no conventional marks of punctuation, such as periods, commas, colons, question marks, exclamation points. These are not inspired, but have been added by the translator, hence are not infallible. It is not always possible to determine whether a sentence is a question or not. Quotation marks have been used only where there is clear evidence of a citation. All of those taken from the Hebrew have been carefully compared, and only those put in quotation marks which agree closely. For instance, in Mark 1:3 the words of Him are not quoted because they are not in the Hebrew.

LEXICONS AND CONCORDANCES

Since the Version has been issued, the question has often been asked, Why was not this Greek word translated so-and-so? With the exception of occasional idiomatic usages, each English word in the CONCORDANT VERSION does exclusive duty for a single Greek word. Hence a word absorbs no false nuances, no deceptive coloring from alien concepts, but stores up the evidence of each passage to enrich the thought in all the others.
We do not depend on our definitions to produce a perfect impression of the signification of words. This will come subconsciously to those who read and study the Version. Every time we read a given word in its proper context, we subconsciously correct any misapprehension we may have, until finally the full force of its inspired thought pervades our mind. The constant use of an English-Greek concordance will certainly enhance the value of the CONCORDANT VERSION to its reader and enable him to check the consistency of any given rendering.
Wigram’s Concordances for the Hebrew, Chaldee, and Greek languages have been published by Samuel Bagster and Sons, Limited, London, England, ever since 1840. They give “a verbal connection between the Original and the English translation” [in the King James Version]. Bagster’s ANALYTICAL GREEK LEXICON is another indispensable basic tool. James Strong, in his unabridged edition of THE EXHAUSTIVE CONCORDANCE OF THE BIBLE, and Robert Young, in his ANALYTICAL CONCORDANCE TO THE BIBLE, enable the student to identify the Original words behind the English words as found in the King James Version. Ethelbert W. Bullinger’s A CRITICAL LEXICON AND CONCORDANCE TO THE ENGLISH AND GREEK NEW TESTAMENT is of similar value. There are many worthwhile reference books available to aid biblical studies in diverse areas, such as specialized concordances, dictionaries, lexicons, grammatical helps, etymological studies, and exegetical analyses.

THE KEYWORD CONCORDANCE

The need for a small-size concordance, designed to explain the vocabulary of the CONCORDANT LITERAL NEW TESTAMENT, and, at the same time, serve to locate passages, led to the compilation of the KEYWORD CONCORDANCE in 1947. The usual concordances which give a line for each occurrence, are large and expensive, so we have omitted the references to such words as have little practical value, and have given only so much of the context as is necessary to recall each passage. Although the English keywords are arranged according to the English alphabet, this is actually a Greek concordance, for it gives the Greek word in Latin characters, and records its occurrences, regardless of how it may have been rendered in English. In addition, for helpful comparison, the renderings of the AUTHORIZED VERSION are listed.

A TENTATIVE EDITION

While the CONCORDANT GREEK TEXT with its literal English sublinear has remained practically unchanged since 1926, when it was first published, the English version of it has always been “a tentative translation.” The first tentative installments of this translation of the New Testament appeared in 1914 under the title–CONCORDANT VERSION. These were withdrawn the following year because they did not reach the standard of quality desired. In 1915 A. E. Knoch chose a new title, STANDARD VERSION. This title was to reflect the use of word standards. However, the publishers of what is popularly called the AMERICAN STANDARD VERSION voiced objection, and Mr. Knoch reestablished the title as CONCORDANT VERSION.
From 1919 until 1926 the CV was issued in parts. A pocket edition was printed in 1927. The 1931 edition, like the first edition, included Greek text and notes, but also had the LEXICON AND CONCORDANCE and THE GREEK ELEMENTS. It retained the title–CONCORDANT VERSION: THE SACRED SCRIPTURES. The fourth edition appeared in 1944 and followed the publication of a Concordant Version in Germany in 1939. (The current German edition has the title KONKORDANTES NEUES TESTAMENT.) The corresponding English version was then called the “Revised, International Edition.” The revision printed in 1966 was designated “The Memorial Edition” in honor of the compiler, Adolph Ernst Knoch, who was put to repose on March 28, 1965. At this time the translation was given a new title–CONCORDANT LITERAL NEW TESTAMENT.
The sixth edition was issued exactly fifty years after A. E. Knoch published the first complete edition. His work on this Version spanned over half a century as he endeavored to make improvements in the translation. Early in 1916 he had written: “no one reading the inspired Original dreams for one moment that any translation is inspired by God.” The Version is still regarded as tentative; that is, suggestions for improvement will always be considered.

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