Bible Notes

"Joseph ... went up from Galilee ... to be taxed" (Luke 2:4.)—The word rendered "to be taxed" is more literally "to enrol himself" (as in the Revised Version) or "to register," the reference being apparently to the taking of a census. At such times "particulars not only of the persons, but also of their property, were generally given in the census papers" (Souter: Greak Lexicon, p.31). It may be noted that "the 'registration' (apographe) did not necessarily involve a 'taxing' (apotimesis), though it was frequently the first step in that direction." (See Farrar: Commentary on St. Luke, p. 62.) Weymouth (fifth edition) translates: "Joseph went up from Galilee ... to have himself registered;" and Goodspeed: "Joseph went up from ... to register with Mary;" while Moffatt offers a similar rendering.

"I bring you good tidings" (Luke 2:10)—It is of interest to note that the noun "euangelion," which we translate "gospel" (good news), comes form the same root as the Greek word "euangelizomai," here translated "I bring you good tidings;" indeed, in Isaiah 61:1 the Septuagint uses the very same word to represent the Hebrew verb translated "preach good tidings" in our Common Version; while in Luke 4:18 it occurs again, and is there rendered "preach the gospel." Compare our English terms: "evangel" and "evangelist," and the French "evangile" (gospel).

"On earth peace, good will toward men" (Luke 2:14)—The scribes who originally prepared the famous Sinaitic and Vatican manuscripts record a reading which may be literally translated "on earth peace among [or towards] men of good will." This reading is supported by the Alexandrian and Bezan codices, and by other early authorities. In the original Greak the difference in appearance between these two readings is very slight, hinging upon the addition or omission of the latter "s." Souter gives an idiomatic rendering of the phrase "men of good-will" in the words "men with whom God is well pleased" (op. cit., p. 100); i.e., "men (partaking) of (God's) goodwill." So Moffatt suggests: "Peace on earth for men whom he favours;" and Goodspeed: "Peace to the men he favors;" while the Vulgate had: "to men of good-will."

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February 20, 1937

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