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ing the separate words and phrases of the New Testament, is not thrown away, and issues in a larger result than the mere accumulation of curious lore. Even as nature fills in the space between the foreground and the background of her landscapes with countless details of form and color, light and shadow, so the rich details of New Testament words, once apprehended, impart a depth of tone and a just relation and perspective to the salient masses of doctrine, narrative, and prophecy. How much is habitually lost to the English student through the use of one and the same term in rendering two words which the writer selected with a clear recognition of a distinction between them. How often a picture or a bit of history is hidden away in a word, of which a translation gives and can give no lint. How many distinctive characteristics of a writer are lost in a translation. How often, especially in the version of 1611, the marvellous play of the Greek tenses, and the nicely-calculated force of that potent little instrument, the article, are utterly overlooked. As the reader steps securely over the carefully-fitted pavement laid for hinn by modern revisers, he does not even guess at the rare and beautiful things lying beneath almost every separate block.
Can the reader who knows no Greek be put in possession of these treasures? Not of all; yet certainly of a goodly share of them. It has seemed to me that the following results might be reached:
1. Where a word has a history, he may learn it, and may be shown throngh what stages the word has attained its present meaning, and how its variations have successively grown out of each other. Illustrations are furnished by such words as “humility,” “meekness," “ blessed.”
2. He may be shown, in part, at least, the peculiar form in which a thought comes to a Greek mind; or, in other words, he may form some acquaintance with Greek idioms. Thus, to take some very simple instances, he can easily see how, when he thinks of his food as set before him on the table, the Greek thinks of it as set beside him, and writes accordingly; or how his idea of sitting down to the table comes to the Greek as reclining ; or he can understand how, when Luke says, “we came the next day,” the idea of the next or second day comes to him in the forın of an adjective qualifying we, so that he thinks of himself and his companions as second-day men. Sometimes, when two languages develop a difference of idiom in their classical usage, the classical idiom of the one reappears in the vulgar dialect of the other. The spirit of numerous Greek words or phrases, even in the New Testament, conld be reproduced most faithfully by English expressions which have been banished from polite diction.
3. He can be shown the picture or the figure hidden away in a word. See, for example, the note on compel, Matt. v. 41.
4. Ile may learn something of Greek synonyms. He may be shown how two different Greek words, rendered by the same English word, represent different sides or phases of the same idea, and why each word is used in its own place. Thus, the word “net” occurs in both Matt. iv. 18 and Matt. xiii. 47; but the Greek word is different in each verse, and either word would have been inappropriate in the place of the other.
5. He may be shown how two English words, having apparently no connection with each other, are often expressed by the same Greek word; and he may be put in possession of the connecting idea. IIe does not suspect that “boson,” in Luke vi. 38, and "creek” or “bay," in Acts xxvii. 39, are one and the same word; or that there is any connection between the “winding up” of Ananias' body (Acts v. 6) and Paul's assertion that the time is "short" (1 Cor. vii. 29).
6. He may be made to understand the reasons for many changes of rendering from an older version, which, on their face, seem to him arbitrary and useless.
7. Ile can be taught something of the characteristic usage of words and phrases by different authors, and may learn to detect, even through the English version, certain differences of style. (See the Introductions to the different books.)
8. He can be shown the simpler distinctions between the Greek tenses, and the force of the Greek article; and how the observance of these distinctions adds to the vigor and liveliness of the translation.
Much valuable matter of this kind is contained in commentaries; and in some popular commentaries considerable prominence is given to it, notably in the two admirable works of Dr. Morison on Matthew and Mark. But it is scattered over a wide surface, and is principally confined to commentaries prepared for the critical student; while very much lies hidden in lexicons and etymological treatises, and in special essays distributed through voluminous periodicals. I have collected and sifted a large amount of this material froin various and reliable sources, and have applied it to the treatment of the words as they occur, verse by verse, divesting it of technicalities, and trying to throw it into a form suited to the students of the English Bible.
I had these so prominently in view at the beginning that I seriously contemplated the entire omission of Greek words. On further thought, however, I decided that my plan might, without detriment to the original purpose, be stretched so as to include beginners in the study of the Greek Testament, and certain college-bred readers who have saved a little Greek ont of the wreck of their classical studies. For the convenience of such I have inserted the original words wherever it seemed expedient; but always in parentheses and with the translation appended. The English reader may therefore be assured that any value which the book may have for him will not be impaired by the presence of the unfamiliar characters. Ile has but to pass them over, and to contine his attention to the English text.
It is evident that my purpose relieves me of the duty of the exegesis of passages, save in those cases where the word under consideration is the point on which the meaning of the entire passage turns. The temptation to overstep this limit has been constantly present, and it is not impossible that I may have occasionally transgressed. But the pleasure and the value of the special study of words will, I think, be enhanced for the student by detaching it from the jungle of exegetical matter in which, in ordinary commentaries, it is wellnigh lost.
A few words should be said respecting a name which the title of this book will at once suggest to New-Testament students—I mean Bengel. The indebtedness of all workers in this field to John Albert Bengel it is not easy to overstate. Ilis well-known “Gnomon,” which still maintains a high and lionorable rank among commentaries after the lapse of nearly a century and a half, was the pioneer in this method of treating scripture. My own obligations to him are very great for the impulse to this line of study which I received in translating the “Gnomon” more than twenty-five years ago; more for that, indeed, than for any large amount of help in the present work. For liis own labors have contributed to the great extension of his special line of study since the appearance of the “Gno
in 1742. The entire basis of New Testament philology and textual criticism has been shifted and widened, and many of his critical conclusions, therefore, must be either modified or rejected. IIis work retains its value for the preacher. IIe must always stand pre-eminent for his keen and deep spiritual insight, and for that marvellously terse and pithy diction with which, as with a master-key, he so often throws open by a single turn the secret chambers of a word; but for critical results the student must follow later and surer guides.
As to materials, let it suffice to say that I have freely used whatever I have found serviceable. The book, lowever, is not a compilation. My plan has compelled me to avoid lengthy discussions and processes, and to confine myself mostly to the statement of results. In order to avoid encumbering the pages with a multitude of references, I have appended a list of the sources on which I have drawn; and the names of other authors not mentioned there will be found appended to quotations.
I have not attempted textual criticism. I have followed principally the text of Westcott and Hort, comparing it with Tischendorf's eighth edition, and commonly adopting any reading in which the two agree. It is, perhaps, scarcely necessary to say that the very literal and often unconth renderings which frequently occur are given merely in order to throw sentences or phrases as nearly as possjble into their Greek form, and are not suggested for adoption as versions. Each word or passage commented upon is cited first according to the authorized version.
My task has been a labor of love, though pursued amid the numerous distractions and varied duties of a city pastorate. I hope to complete it in due tiine by an additional volume containing the writings of John and Paul.
It is said that there was discovered, some years ago, in one of our Western States, a magnificent geode, which, on being broken, disclosed a mass of crystals arranged in the form of a
It will be a great joy to me if, by this attempt to break the shell of these words of life, and to lay bare their hidden jewels, I may help a Bible-student here and there to a clearer vision of that cross which is the centre and the glory of the Gospel.
MARVIN R. VINCENT.
COVENANT PARSONAGE, NEW YORK, October 30, 1886.