Richard Francis Weymouth.

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Produced by Martin Ward

Weymouth New Testament in Modern Speech
Preface and Introductions

Third Edition 1913
Public Domain - Copy Freely

These files were produced by keying for use in the Online Bible.
Proofreading was performed by Earl Melton. The printed edition
used in creating this etext was the Kregal reprint of the Ernest
Hampden-Cook (1912) Third Edition, of the edition first published
in 1909 by J. Clarke, London. Kregal edition ISBN 0-8254-4025-4.

Due to the plans to add the Weymouth footnotes, the footnote
markers have been left in the text and page break indicators.
Other special markings are words surrounded with "*" to indicate
emphasis, and phrases surrounded with "" to indicate bold OT
quotes. See WEYMOUTH.INT in WNTINT.ZIP for the introduction
to the text, and information on Weymouth's techniques.

The most current corrected files can be found on:

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If any errors are found, please notify me at the above bbs,
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- - - - - - Corrections to the printed page - - - - - - - - - - -

Introduction says personal pronouns referring to Jesus, when spoken
by other than the author/narrator, are capitalized only when they
recognize His deity. The following oversights in the third edition
were corrected in subsequent editions. Therefore we feel justified
in correcting them in this computer version.

Mt 22:16 Capitalized 'him'. Same person speaking as in v.15.

Mt 27:54 Capitalized 'he'.

Joh 21:20 Capitalized 'his'

Heb 12:6 Capitalized last 'HE' (referring to God).

==== changes made to printed page.

Lu 11:49 Added closing quote at end of verse as later editions do.

Lu 13:6 come > came (changed in later editions)

Ro 11:16 it > if (an obvious typesetting error corrected in later editions)

1Co 11:6 out > cut (an obvious typesetting error corrected in later editions)

Php 4:3 the Word 'book' in 'book of Life' was not capitalized in
various printings of the third edition, but it was in later
editions. So we have capitalized it here.

2Ti 1:9 deserts > desserts (misspelling perpetuated in later editions)

==== no change made:

Eph 6:17 did not capitalize 'word' as in Word of God.


The Translation of the New Testament here offered to
English-speaking Christians is a bona fide translation made
directly from the Greek, and is in no sense a revision. The plan
adopted has been the following.

1. An earnest endeavour has been made (based upon more
than sixty years' study of both the Greek and English languages,
besides much further familiarity gained by continual teaching) to
ascertain the exact meaning of every passage not only by the
light that Classical Greek throws on the langruage used, but also
by that which the Septuagint and the Hebrew Scriptures afford;
aid being sought too from Versions and Commentators ancient and
modern, and from the ample _et cetera_ of _apparatus grammaticus_
and theological and Classical reviews and magazines - or rather,
by means of occasional excursions into this vast prairie.

2. The sense thus seeming to have been ascertained, the
next step has been to consider how it could be most accurately
and naturally exhibited in the English of the present day; in
other words, how we can with some approach to probability suppose
that the inspired writer himself would have expressed his
thoughts, had he been writing in our age and country. /1

3. Lastly it has been evidently desirable to compare the
results thus attained with the renderings of other scholars,
especially of course witll the Authorized and Revised Versions.
But alas, the great majority of even "new translations," so
called, are, in reality, only Tyndale's immortal work a
little - often very litLle - modernized!

4. But in the endeavour to find in Twentieth Century
English a precise equivalent for a Greek word, phrase, or
sentence there are two dangers to be guarded against. There are a
Scylla and a Charybdis. On the one hand there is the English of
Society, on the other hand that of the utterly uneducated, each
of these _patois_ having also its own special, though expressive,
borderland which we name 'slang.' But all these salient angles
(as a professor of fortification might say) of our language are
forbidden ground to the reverent translator of Holy Scripture.

5. But again, a _modern_ translation - does this imply
that no words or phrases in any degree antiquated are to be
admitted? Not so, for great numbers of such words and phrases are
still in constant use. To be antiquated is not the same thing as
to be obsolete or even obsolescent, and without at least a tinge
of antiquity it is scarcely possible that there should be that
dignity of style that befits the sacred themes with which the
Evangelists and Apostles deal.

6. It is plain that this attempt to bring out the sense
of the Sacred Writings naturally as well as accurately in
present-day English does not permit, except to a limited extent,
the method of literal rendering - the _verbo verbum reddere_ at
which Horace shrugs his shoulders. Dr. Welldon, recently Bishop
of Calcutta, in the Preface (p. vii) to his masterly translation
of the _Nicomachean Ethics_ of Aristotle, writes, "I have
deliberately rejected the principle of trying to translate the
same Greek word by the same word in English, and where
circumstances seemed to call for it I have sometimes used two
English words to represent one word of the Greek;" - and he is
perfectly right. With a slavish literality delicate shades of
meaning cannot be reproduced, nor allowance be made for the
influence of interwoven thought, or of the writer's ever
shifting - not to say changing - point of view. An utterly ignorant
or utterly lazy man, if possessed of a little ingenuity, can with
the help of a dictionary and grammar give a word-for-word
rendering, whether intelligible or not, and print 'Translation'
on his title-page. On the other hand it is a melancholy spectacle
to see men of high ability and undoubted scholarship toil and
struggle at translation under a needless restriction to
literality, as in intellectual handcuffs and fetters, when they
might with advantage snap the bonds and fling them away, as Dr.
Welldon has done: more melancholy still, if they are at the same
time racking their brains to exhibit the result of their
labours - -a splendid but idle philological _tour de force_ - in
what was English nearly 300 years before.

7. Obviously any literal translation cannot but carry
idioms of the earlier language into the later, where they will
very probably not be understood; /2 and more serious still is the
evil when, as in the Jewish Greek of the N T, the earlier
language of the two is itself composite and abounds in forms of
speech that belong to one earlier still. For the N.T. Greek, even
in the writings of Luke, contains a large number of Hebrew
idioms; and a literal rendering into English cannot but partially
veil, and in some degree distort, the true sense, even if it does
not totally obscure it (and that too where _perfect_ clearness
should be attained, if possible), by this admixture of Hebrew as
well as Greek forms of expression.

8. It follows that the reader who is bent upon getting a
literal rendering, such as he can commonly find in the R.V. or
(often a better one) in Darby's _New Testament_, should always be
on his guard against its strong tendency to mislead.

9. One point however can hardly be too emphatically
stated. It is not the present Translator's ambition to supplant
the Versions already in general use, to which their intrinsic
merit or long familiarity or both have caused all Christian minds
so lovingly to cling. His desire has rather been to furnish a
succinct and compressed running commentary (not doctrinal) to be
used sidc by side with its elder compeers. And yet there has been
something of a remoter hope. It can scarcely be doubted that some
day the attempt will be renewed to produce a satisfactory English
Bible - one in some respects perhaps (but assuredly with great and
important deviations) on the lines of the Revision of 1881, or
even altogether to supersede both the A.V. and the R.V.; and it
may be that the Translation here offered will contribute some
materials that may be built into that far grander edifice.

10. THE GREEK TEXT here followed is that given in the
Translator's _Resultant Greek Testament_.

11. Of the VARIOUS READINGS only those are here given
which seem the most important, and which affect the rendering
into English. They are in the footnotes, with V.L. (_varia
lectio_) prefixed. As to the chief modern critical editions full
details will be found in the _Resultant Greek Testament_, while
for the original authorities - MSS., Versions, Patristic
quotations - the reader must of necessity consult the great works
of Lachmann, Tregelles, Tischendorf, and others, or the numerous
monographs on separate Books. /3 In the margin of the R.V. a
distinction is made between readings supported by "a few ancient
authorities," "some ancient authorities," "many ancient
authorities," and so on. Such valuation is not attempted in this

12. Considerable pains have been bestowed on the exact
rendering of the tenses of the Greek verb; for by inexactness in
this detail the true sense cannot but be missed. That the Greek
tenses do not coincide, and cannot be expected to coincide with
those of the English verb; that - except in narrative - the aorist
as a rule is _more_ exactly represented in English by our perfect
with "have" than by our simple past tense; and that in this
particular the A.V. is in scores of instances more correct than
the R.V.; the present Translator has contended (with arguments
which some of the best scholars in Britain and in America hold to
be "unanswerable" and "indisputable") in a pamphlet _On the
Rendering into English of the Greek Aorist and Perfect_. Even an
outline of the argument cannot be given in a Preface such as

13. But he who would make a truly _English_ translation
of a foreign book must not only select the right nouns,
adjectives, and verbs, insert the suitable prepositions and
auxiliaries, and triumph (if he can) over the seductions and
blandishments of idioms with which he has been familiar from his
infancy, but which, though forcible or beautiful with other
surroundings, are for all that part and parcel of that other
language rather than of English: he has also to beware of
_connecting his sentences_ in an un-English fashion.

Now a careful examination of a number of authors
(including Scottish, Irish, and American) yields some interesting
results. Taking at haphazard a passage from each of fifty-six
authors, and counting on after some full stop till fifty finite
verbs - i. e. verbs in the indicative, imperative, or subjunctive
mood - have been reached (each finite verb, as every schoolboy
knows, being the nucleus of one sentence or clause), it has been
found that the connecting links of the fifty-six times fifty
sentences are about one-third conjunctions, about one-third
adverbs or relative and interrogative pronouns, while in the case
of the remaining third there is what the grammarians call an
_asyndeton_ - no formal grammatical connexion at all. But in the
writers of the N.T. nearly _two_-thirds of the connecting links
are conjunctions. It follows that in order to make the style of a
translation true idiomatic English many of these conjunctions
must be omitted, and for others adverbs, &c., must be

The two conjunctions _for_ and _therefore_ are discussed
at some length in two Appendices to the above-mentioned pamphlet
on the _Aorist_, to which the reader is referred.

14. The NOTES, with but few exceptions, are not of the
nature of a general commentary. Some, as already intimated, refer
to the readings here followed, but the great majority are in
vindication or explanation of the renderings given. Since the
completion of this new version nearly two years ago, ill-health
has incapacitated the Translator from undertaking even the
lightest work. He has therefore been obliged to entrust to other
hands the labour of critically examining and revising the
manuscript and of seeing it through the press. This arduous task
has been undertaken by Rev. Ernest Hampden-Cook, M.A., St. John's
College, Cambridge, of Sandhach, Cheshire, with some co-operation
from one of the Translator's sons; and the Translator is under
deep obligations to these two gentlemen for their kindness in the
matter. He has also most cordially to thank Mr. Hampden-Cook for
making the existence of the work known to various members of the
OLD MILLHILIANS' CLUB and other former pupils of the Translator,
who in a truly substantial manner have manifested a generous
determination to enable the volume to see the light. Very
grateful does the Translator feel to them for this signal mark of
their friendship.

Mr. Hampden-Cook is responsible for the headings of the
paragraphs, and at my express desire has inserted some additional

I have further to express my gratitude to Rev. Frank
Baliard, M.A., B.Sc., Lond., at present of Sharrow, Sheffield,
for some very valuable assistance which he has most kindly given
in connexion with the Introductions to the several books.

I have also the pleasure of acknowledging the numerous
valuable and suggestive criticisms with which I have been
favoured on some parts of the work, by an old friend, Rev. Sydney
Thelwall, B.A., of Leamington, a clergyman of the Church of
England, whom I have known for many years as a painstaking and
accurate scholar, a well-read theologian. and a thoughtful and
devout student of Scripture.

I am very thankful to Mr. H. L. Gethin. Mr. S. Hales, Mr.
J. A. Latham, and Rev. T. A. Seed, for the care with which they
have read the proof sheets.

And now this Translation is humbly and prayerfully
commended to God's gracious blessing.


/1. I am aware of what Proffessor Blackie has written on this
subject (_Aeschylus_, Pref. p. viii) but the problem endeavoured
to be solved in this Translation is as above stated.

/2. A flagrant instance is the "having in a readiness" of 2 Cor.
10.6, A.V. althoglgh in Tyndale we find "and are redy to take
vengeaunce," and even Wiclif writes "and we han redi to venge."

/3 Such as McClellan's Four Gospels; Westcott on John's Gospel,
John's Epistles, and _Hebrews_; Hackett on _Acts_, Lightfoot, and
also Ellicott, on various Epistles: Mayor on _James_; Edwards on
_I Corinthians_ and _Hebrews_; Sanday and Headlam on _Romans_.
Add to these Scrivener's very valuable _Introduction to the
Criticism of the N.T._


For the purposes of this edition the whole volume has
been re-set in new type, and, in the hope of increasing the
interest and attractiveness of the Translation, all conversations
have been spaced out in accordance with modern custom. A freer
use than before has been made of capital letters, and by means of
small, raised figures, prefixed to words in the text, an
indication has been griven whenever there is a footnote.
"Capernaum" and "Philadelphia" have been substituted for the less
familiar but more literal "Capharnahum" and "Philadelpheia." Many
errata have been corrected, and a very considerable number of
what seemed to be infelicities or slight inaccuracies in the
English have been removed. A few additional footnotes have been
inserted, and, for the most part, those for which the Editor is
responsible have now the letters ED. added to them.

Sincere thanks are tendered to the many kind friends who
have expressed their appreciation of this Translation, or have
helped to make it better known, and to the many correspondents
who have sent criticisms of the previous editions, and made
useful suggestions for the improvement of the volume.



Aorist. Dr. Weymouth's Pamphlet on the Rendering of the Greek
Aorist and Perfect Tenses into English.

A.V. Authorised English Version, 1611.

Cp. Compare.

ED. Notes for which the Editor is responsible, wholly or in part.

I.E. That is.

Lit. Literally.

LXX. The Septuagint (Greek) Version of the Old Testament.

n. Note.

nn. Notes.

N.T. New Testament.

O.T. Old Testament.

R.V. Revised English Version, 1881-85.

S.H. Sanday and Headlam's Commentary on 'Romans.'

V.L. Varia Lectio. An alternative reading found in some
Manuscripts of the New Testament.

V.V. Verses.

In accordance with modern English custom, _ITALICS_ are
used to indicate emphasis. [In the etext, surounded by **]

Old Testament quotations are printed in small capitals.
[In the etext, surrounded by ]

During Christ's earthly ministry even His disciples did not always
recognize His super-human nature and dignity. Accordingly, in
the Gospels of this Translation, it is only when the Evangelists
themselves use of Him the words "He," "Him," "His," that these
are spelt with capital initial letters.

The spelling of "me" and "my" with small initial letters, when
used by Christ Himself in the Gospels, is explained by the fact
that, before His Resurrection, He did not always emphasize His
own super-human nature and dignity.

The Good News as Recorded by Matthew

There are ample reasons for accepting the uniform
tradition which from earliest times has ascribed this Gospel to
Levi the son of Alphaeus, who seems to have changed his name to
'Matthew' on becoming a disciple of Jesus. Our information as to
his subsequent life is very scanty. After the feast which he made
for his old friends (Lu 5:29) his name only appears in the New
Testament in the list of the twelve Apostles. Early Christian
writers add little to our knowledge of him, but his life seems to
have been quiet and somewhat ascetic. He is also generally
represented as having died a natural death. Where his Gospel was
written, or where he himself laboured, we cannot say.

Not a little controversy has arisen as to the form in
which this Gospel first appeared, that is, as to whether we have
in the Greek MSS. an original document or a translation from an
earlier Aramaic writing. Modern scholarship inclines to the view
that the book is not a translation, but was probably written in
Greek by Matthew himself, upon the basis of a previously issued
collection of "Logia" or discourses, to the existence of which
Papias, Irenaeus, Pantaenus, Origen, Eusebius and Jerome all

The date of the Gospel, as we know it, is somewhat
uncertain, but the best critical estimates are included between
70 and 90, A.D. Perhaps, with Harnack, we may adopt 75, A.D.

The book was evidently intended for Jewish converts, and
exhibits Jesus as the God-appointed Messiah and King, the
fulfiller of the Law and of the highest expectations of the
Jewish nation. This speciality of aim rather enhances than
diminishes its general value. Renan found reason for pronouncing
it "the most important book of Christendom - the most important
book which has ever been written." Its aim is manifestly didactic
rather than chronological.

The Good News as Recorded by Mark

This Gospel is at once the briefest and earliest of the
four. Modern research confirms the ancient tradition that the
author was Barnabas's cousin, "John, whose other name was Mark,"
who during Paul's first missionary tour "departed from them" at
Pamphylia, "and returned to Jerusalem" (see Ac 12:12,25;
15:37,39; Co 4:1O; 2Ti 4:11; Phm 1:24; 1Pe 5:13). His defection
appeared to Paul sufficiently serious to warrant an emphatic
refusal to take him with him on a second tour, but in after years
the breach was healed and we find Mark with Paul again when he
writes to Colossae, and he is also mentioned approvingly in the
second Letter to Timothy.

Scholars are now almost unanimous in fixing the date of
this Gospel between 63 and 70, A. D. There is no valid reason for
questioning the usual view that it was written in Rome. Clement,
Eusebius, Jerome and Epiphanius, all assert that this was so.
That the book was mainly intended for Gentiles, and especially
Romans, seems probable from internal evidence. Latin forms not
occurring in other Gospels, together with explanations of Jewish
terms and customs, and the omission of all reference to the
Jewish Law, point in this direction. Its vividness of narration
and pictorial minuteness of observation bespeak the testimony of
an eye-witness, and the assertion of Papias, quoted by Eusebius,
that Mark was "the interpreter of Peter" is borne out by the
Gospel itself no less than by what we otherwise know of Mark and

In a real though not mechanical sense, this is "the
Gospel of Peter," and its admitted priority to the Gospels of
Matthew and Luke affords substantial reason for the assumption
that it is to some extent the source whence they derive their
narratives, although Papias distinctly affirms that Mark made no
attempt at giving a carefully arranged history such as that at
which Luke confessedly aimed.

In spite of the witness of most uncial MSS. and the
valiant pleading of Dean Burgon and others, modern scholars are
well nigh unanimous in asserting that the last twelve verses of
this Gospel are an appendix. Yet less cannot honestly be said
than that they "must have been of very early date," and that they
embody "a true apostolic tradition which may have been written by
some companion or successor of the original author." In one
Armenian MS. they are attributed to Aristion.

The Good News as Recorded by Luke

Modern research has abundantly confirmed the ancient
tradition that the anonymous author of the third Gospel is none
other than "Luke the beloved physician" and the narrator of the
"Acts of the Apostles" (see. Col 4:14; 2Ti 4:11; Phm 1:24). Even
Renan acknowledges this, and the objections of a few extremists
appear to have been sufficiently answered.

The date is not easy to settle. The main problem is
whether the book was written before or after the destruction of
Jerusalem in 70, A.D. Not a few scholars whose views merit great
respect still think that it preceded that event, but the majority
of critics believe otherwise. Three principal dates have been
suggested, 63, A.D., 80, A.D., 100, A.D. If we accept 80, A. D.,
we shall be in substantial accord with Harnack, McGiffert, and
Plummer, who fairly represent the best consensus of scholarly

There is no evidence as to where this Gospel was
composed, although its general style suggests the influence of
some Hellenic centre. Its special characteristics are plain. It
is written in purer Greek than the other Gospels, and is
manifestly the most historic and artistic. It has also the widest
outlook, having obviously been compiled for Gentiles, and,
especially, for Greeks. The Author was evidently an educated man
and probably a physician, and was also a close observer.

Eighteen of the parables and six of the miracles found
here are not recorded elsewhere. Those "portions of the Gospel
narrative which Luke alone has preserved for us, are among the
most beautiful treasures which we possess, and we owe them in a
great measure to his desire to make his collection as full as
possible." Luke's object was rather to write history than
construct an "apology" and for this reason his order is generally

This Gospel is often termed, and not without reason, "the
Gospel of Paul." Luke's close association with the great
Apostle - an association to which the record in the Acts and also
the Pauline Letters bear testimony - at once warrants and explains
the ancient assumption that we have here a writing as truly
coloured by the influence of Paul as that of Mark was by Peter.
This is especially the Gospel of gratuitous and universal
salvation. Its integrity has recently been placed beyond dispute.
Marcion's edition of it in 140, A.D., was a mutilation of the

The Good News as Recorded by John

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Online LibraryRichard Francis WeymouthWeymouth New Testament in Modern Speech, Preface and Introductions → online text (page 1 of 3)