And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): Bless God for the translation of the Scriptures. The Word is our sword; by being translated, the sword is drawn out of its scabbard…The translating of the Scriptures into vulgar [common] tongues was the glory, strength, and joy of the Reformation from Popery.
JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): Bugenhagen, a famous divine of Germany, was so joyful of the Dutch Bible, in translating whereof out of the Hebrew and Greek originals, he and some other learned men had laboured together with Luther, that every year he invited his friends on that day of the month whereon the work was finished, and called it the “Feast of the translation of the Bible.”
J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): It was not merely the preaching of Luther and his friends, which established Protestantism in Germany. The grand lever which overthrew the Pope’s power in that country, was Luther’s translation of the Bible into the German tongue. It was not merely the writings of Cranmer and the English Reformers which cast down popery in England. The seeds of the work thus carried forward were first sown in Wycliffe’s translation of the Bible many years before.
J. H. MERLE d’AUBIGNÉ (1794-1872): The Holy Scriptures have been written in English with the blood of martyrs—if we may so speak—the blood of Fryth, Tyndale and Rogers: it is a crown of glory for that translation.
C. H. MACKINTOSH (1820-1896): [But] how can we be sure that we have, in our English Bible, the bona-fide revelation of God?
J. C. RYLE: He that holds a Bible in his hand should remember that he holds not the word of man, but of God. He holds a volume which not only contains, but is God’s Word. In saying all this, I would not be mistaken. I only claim complete inspiration for the original languages in which the books of the Scripture were written.
JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): There is doubtless a beauty, fullness, and spirit, in the originals, which [even] the best translations do not always express. When a word or phrase admits of various senses, the translators can only preserve one; and it is not to be supposed, unless they were perfectly under the influence of the same infallible Spirit, that they should always prefer the best. Only be upon your guard lest you should be tempted to think, that, because you are master of the grammatical construction, and can tell the several acceptations of the words in the best authors, you are therefore and thereby master of the spiritual sense likewise. This you must derive from your experimental knowledge, and the influence and teaching of the Spirit of God.
C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Believers in verbal inspiration should be studiously careful to be verbally correct. The gentlemen who see errors in [the original] Scripture may think themselves competent to amend the language of the Lord of hosts; but we who believe God, and accept the very words He uses, may not make so presumptuous an attempt. Let us quote the words as they stand in the best possible translation, and it will be better still if we know the original, and can tell if our version fails to give the sense.
ANDREW FULLER (1754-1815): Allowing all due honour to the English translation of the Bible, it must be granted to be a human performance, and, as such, subject to imperfection. Where any passage appears to be mistranslated, it is doubtless proper for those who are well acquainted with the original languages to point it out, and to offer, according to the best of their judgment, the true meaning of the Holy Spirit. Criticisms of this kind, made with modesty and judgment―and not in consequence of a preconceived system―are worthy of encouragement.
J. C. RYLE: I admit fully that transcribers and translators were not infallible, and that occasional mistakes may have crept into the sacred text, though wonderfully few. When, therefore, some critics object to a word or a verse here and there, reason would that we should bear with them patiently, and agree to differ. Difficulties about the meaning of many places in the Bible, apparent discrepancies, obscure passages, no doubt, there always will be. But the Book, as a whole, contains nothing that is not true.
JOHN ROBINSON (1575-1625): As the title set over the head of Christ crucified, was the same in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, so are the Scriptures the same, whether in the original, or any other language into which they are faithfully translated. Yet, as the waters are most pure and sweet in the fountain, so are all writings, Divine and human, in their original tongues; it being impossible, but some either change, or defect, or redundancy will be found in the translation, either by default of the translator, or of the tongue, into which it is made.
The KJV TRANSLATORS (1611): We affirm and avow, that the very meanest translation of the Bible in English, set forth by men of our profession, containeth the Word of God, nay, is the Word of God. As the King’s speech, which he uttereth in Parliament, being translated into French, Dutch, Italian, and Latin, is still the King’s speech, though it be not interpreted by every Translator with the like grace, nor peradventure so fitly for phrase, nor so expressly for sense everywhere [yet] a man may be counted a virtuous man, though he have made many slips in his life (else, there were none virtuous, for in many things we offend all)―No cause therefore why the word translated should be denied to be the Word, or forbidden to be current, notwithstanding that some imperfections and blemishes may be noted.
MILES COVERDALE (1488-1568): The Holy Ghost is as much the Author of it in the Hebrew, Greek, French, Dutch, and English, as in Latin…The Word of God is of like worthiness and authority, in what language soever the Holy Ghost speaketh it.
ROBERT HALDANE (1764-1842): Inspiration belongs to the original writings. No one contends for any degree of “inspiration” in the transcribers in different ages. Accuracy in the copies they have made is, under the providence of God, by which He always perfectly attains His purposes, secured by the fidelity of those to whom the Scriptures have been committed—by the opposition of parties watching each other, as of Jews and Christians, and of various sects—and by the great multiplication of copies and translations into different languages, which took place so early.
C. H. MACKINTOSH: But the question is continually cropping up before us, “How can we be sure that we have, in our English Bible, the bona-fide revelation of God?”
CHARLES DOE (circa 1691): As [John] Bunyan was upon the road near Cambridge, there overtook him a scholar that had observed him [preaching], and said to him, “How dare you preach, seeing you have not the original, being not a scholar?”
Then said Mr. Bunyan, “Have you the original?”
“Yes,” said the scholar.
“Nay, but,” said Mr. Bunyan, “Have you the very self-same original copies that were written by the penmen of the scriptures, prophets and apostles?”
“No,” said the scholar, “But we have the true copies of those originals.”
“How do you know that?”
“How? Why, we believe what we have is a true copy of the original.”
“Then,” said Mr. Bunyan, “So do I believe our English Bible is a true copy of the original.”
JOHN LELAND (1754-1841): It is not reasonable to believe that the original copies of the Old and New Testaments are now in existence: the ravages of time have destroyed them. And, (whatever may be said of the superintendence in the transcriptions and translations of the Bible,) the highest claim any Jew or Gentile can boast, is, that he possesses a careful transcription or translation by uninspired scribes.
C. H. SPURGEON: Remember that our Bible is a blood stained Book; the blood of martyrs is on the Bible, the blood of translators and confessors. The doctrines which we preach to you are doctrines that have been baptized in blood; swords have been drawn to slay the confessors of them.…[We] are constrained to avow our firmest belief in the Verbal Inspiration of all Holy Scripture as originally given. To us, the Bible does not merely contain the Word of God, but is the Word of God. From beginning to end, we accept it, believe it, and continue to preach it. To us, the Old Testament is no less inspired than the New. The Book is an organic whole.
LORD SHAFTESBURY (1801-1885): Depend upon it, my friends, that there is no security whatever except in standing upon the faith of our fathers, and saying with them that the blessed Book is ‘God’s Word written,’ from the very first syllable down to the very last, and from the last back to the first.
J. H. MERLE d’AUBIGNÉ: This does not mean that translations of Holy Scripture are inspired, but that the Word of God, faithfully translated, always possesses a divine authority.