The American Revision

The Independent

At last we have in our hands the much desired American Revision, beautifully printed in long primer type, with an admirably full and finely chosen body of references in the middle column and the variant notes in the two margins. This standard edition is printed and bound in different styles, with or without maps, and at prices varying from $1.50 to $9. It is by far the most exact, and, we will say, beautifully printed Bible that has yet appeared, and being the standard this edition should be much sought for and ought to be in the hands of every student of the Bible.

It is sixteen years since the Revision of the Old Testament appeared, and twenty-one years since the appearance of the New Testament Revision. As might well be supposed, the scholars chosen for the work were mostly of advanced age, and few of them could be expected to survive to carry out the work of incorporating the American corrections in the Revised Version. It must be remembered that the American revisers were under bonds to publish no such version incorporating their corrections for fourteen years. It has now been sixteen years, so they have kept their promise. Of course, the burden of this work, which has been carried on during the last six years, has fallen upon few survivors; and very fortunately two of them, Professor Thayer, of the New Testament section, and professor Mead, of the Old Testament section, were able to give nearly their whole time to the work. They are both men capable of the most minute and careful examination of the text, and have given great labor to it. We must not, however, omit to give credit to their associates, such as Professors Riddle, De Witt, and Osgood, to mention only some who are still alive.

The Revision of 1885 was begun by English scholars, and it was only later that the American section was allowed to give their subsidiary labor, but without a final vote. The amendments which they preferred and which were not adopted by the English section, were hastily collected, and were printed with the Revision as an appendix. Corrections which might approve themselves even to a majority of the English revisers were often not made, for the reason that their rules required a two thirds vote for every change from the Common Version. Often the Americans were more ready to depart from the Old Version than were the English, but their vote did not count. By general consent changes which the Americans desired were regarded as generally wise. The present task has been, with the greatest care, to complete the list of passages that come under general changes, such as Jehovah for Lord, and in a very considerable number of passages to incorporate the American preferences. Many of the changes are minute, such as a for an, and my for mine before an aspirated h; who for which when used of persons; its for his when used of things; before for afore; astonished for astonied; is for be when not subjunctive; capital for chapiter; grain for corn; annul for disannul; anticipate for prevent; winnow for fan; far be it for God forbid; long live for God save; nations for heathen; mind for heart; food for meat; settings for ouches; heart for reins; boil for seethe; will for shall (often); foreigner for stranger; subtle for subtile; interest for usury; which for the which; victuals for victual; widow for widow woman; once for aforetime; try for tempt; living for quick; show for shew; judgment for judgement; knew for wist; demons for devils; make full for fulfil. There is a multitude of such cases, and all of them are in the line of better English as now understood.

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

Power in a Pound of Coal
November 7, 1901

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.