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THE ACTS, EPISTLES AND REVELATION
A PERSONAL WORD WITH MY READER
Christian Unity in Effort-Something about the religious Faiths, Creeds and Deeds of People of the United States and elsewhere was published in 1910 and records the author's thoughts, experiences and hopes in relation to its subject, together with interesting data in condensed form respecting the faiths, histories and forms of government of the important religious organizations.
The Holy Gospel-Protestant and Roman Catholic Versions Compared followed in 1911.
This present volume, The Acts, Epistles and Revelation-Protestant and Roman Catholic Versions Compared, completing the New Testament text, will be published in 1912.
These three volumes will constitute my contribution to the recorded Christian effort of my generation, a generation that is rapidly passing away. My earnest desire is that these New Testament comparisons shall, in some small degree at least, contribute to encourage interest in an effort to replace the four English versions by one Holy Bible of an authority that will be recognized by all Christians. We all believe in one and the same God. We should all be able to agree upon the English text of one and the same Holy Bible. It is probable that individuals and organized Christian bodies will long continue to differ as to the meaning and purport of certain of the Bible language, but it will be a great advance in the Christian standards when all who profess and call themselves Christians rest their faith upon one God and one Holy Bible. I suggest that this one standard Holy Bible of authority might be established and maintained through the agency of a permanent company to be composed of learned and godly men chosen to represent each of the important organized bodies of Englishspeak Christians; a smaller executive committee chosen from the company to devote its whole time to the study of the Bible and of all documentary and other evidence bearing upon it, old and new, making recommendations through and with the approval of the permanent company to the different Christian organizations from time to time for their consideration and definite action. Such a method could be so elaborated as to protect the sacred deposit we call the Bible from unwarranted change and at the same time to insure its English language expressing the meaning and intent of the original text, as currently determined by the best modern scholarship reverently applied to the latest knowledge and methods of investigation.
The New Testament comparison is not intended to be a mere work of reference. It is for general reading. If you will carefully read its Authorized Version of the Holy Gospel and, as you come to lines or
verses of special interest to you, run your eye across the pages, you will see at a glance the exact differences, if any, that exist between the several versions. Many of these differences will appear to you to be of little practical importance. Some will strike you as of greater interest. Not one of them will be at all likely to disturb your wellgrounded faith in the gospel story and in all that it means as a governing influence in your life here and hereafter. After having carefully read the Authorized Version and made the comparisons suggested, then similarly read and compare the Douay Version. Follow in like manner with the Revised and the Standard Versions. When you have thus thoughtfully read and compared the four versions you will find a new interest in their old, old story; new beauties will have been revealed to you; new meanings will attach to old, familiar words and phrases; new and enduring vitality will have entered into your Christian faith.
In arranging the four versions, those of three hundred years ago, Protestant and Roman Catholic, have been placed at the extreme left and right respectively. Between them, not separating but rather binding them together, are the modern Revised and Standard versions. The old versions came at a period of bitter religious antagonisms and they represent in some degree the prejudices and animosities of their day. There was then little evidence of any feeling of Christian brotherly love between the respective schools of religious belief. It is a fact, nevertheless, that those to whom we owe the old versions were constrained by a power greater than their own to record the gospel story in language that could not mar its beauty or its influence upon the lives of its readers. The Revised and Standard versions came to us when time had softened many of the old animosities and biblical scholars were better able to labor without preference or prejudice to determine the best rendering in English of the original text. The result is that we find the modern versions sometimes in accord with the language of the Authorized and sometimes with that of the Douay, leading us to hope that each of the old versions may be amended by authority, each adopting what is best in the other. In referring to the versions as Protestant and Roman Catholic respectively, my only thought has been to recognize the popular division of Christian be lievers into these two great bodies as made by themselves and recorded in the United States census returns. I am aware that there are Catholics who are not to be included under the Roman Catholic heading, and other Christians who do not call themselves Protestants. My division, for the purposes of this book, is practical and in no sense theological
FRANK J. FIRTH. Germantown,