Early KJV Users Did Not Believe It Was an Inspired Translation.

SUNDAY

III. Let it be observed, that not the matter of the Scriptures only, but the very words in which they are written, are of God. … says David, one of the writers of the Old Testament, The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and his word was in my tongue, 2 Sam. xxiii. 2. And the apostle Paul speaks of himself, and other inspired apostles of the New Testament, Which things, says he, we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth, 1 Cor. ii. 13; and it is the writing, or the word of God as written, that is, by inspiration of God, 2 Tim. iii. 16. But then,

John Gill
(1697-1771)

IV. This is to be understood of the Scriptures, as in the original languages in which they were written, and not of translations, unless it could be thought, that the translators of the Bible into the several languages of the nations into which it has been translated, were under the divine inspiration also in translating, and were directed of God to the use of words they have rendered the original by; but this is not reasonable to suppose. The books of the Old Testament were written chiefly in the Hebrew language, unless in some few passages of Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezra, and Esther, in the Chaldee language, and the New Testament in Greek; in which languages they can only be reckoned canonical and authentic; for this is like the charters and diplomas of princes, the wills or testaments of men, or any deeds made by them; only the original exemplar is authentic, and not translations, and transcriptions, and copies of them, though ever so perfect; and to the Bible, in its original languages, is every translation to be brought, and by it to be examined, tried and judged, and to be corrected and amended, and if this was not the case, we should have no certain and infallible rule to go by…

[John Gill (1697-1771), A Complete Body of Doctrinal and Practical Divinity: or A System of Evangelical Truths Deduced from the Sacred Scriptures, Vol. 1, (London: Thomas Tegg, 1849), 17-18.]

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Blaming Beza

WEDNESDAY

For much of the 20th century—especially its second half—it has been fashionable in theological circles to assume that the school of thought commonly known as Calvinism has represented, to one extent or another, in one way or another, a departure from the thinking of its namesake, John Calvin (1509-1564), rather than a faithful transmission of it. The basic argument has assumed many forms, but they all essentially amount to attempts to disassociate the great Reformer from one or more undesired theological conclusions.

For the most part, this has been a topic for specialists: historical theologians, for the most part. But over the decades this novel assumption has trickled down through the drainpipes of academia and into the fertile imaginations of a wide variety of untrained theological ax grinders who have used it as a perennial chopping block. Take for example the gleeful comment of Luis Palau featured on the back of the 1997 Paternoster reprint of R.T. Kendall’s Calvin and English Calvinism to 1649: “It opened my eyes to who Calvin really was. I learnt Calvin was not a Calvinist!” Continue reading

Crossing the Elenctic

WEDNESDAYFor quite some time now I have desired to read my way through two multi-volume Reformed systematic theologies: The Institutes of Elenctic Theology, by Francis Turretin (James T. Dennison, Jr., editor, George Musgrave Giger, translator, 3 volumes, [Phillipsburg, NJ, USA: P&R Publishing, 1992-1997]), and Reformed Dogmatics, by Herman Bavinck (John Bolt, editor, John Vriend, translator, [Grand Rapids, MI, USA: Baker Academic, 2003-2008]). Both are widely-acknowledged theological masterpieces. Continue reading