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Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Sunday, January 14, 2007

A Short Review of In the Beginning, by Alister McGrath


Given the lack of Christian education these days in most local congregations, a study of Alister McGrath's book, IN THE BEGINNING: THE STORY OF THE KING JAMES BIBLE AND HOW IT CHANGED A NATION, A LANGUAGE, AND CULTURE, ( New York: Anchor Books, 2002) [New York: Random House, 2001], would be highly recommended. McGrath is an Evangelical scholar of the highest caliber and a minister with the Church of England. Those interested in the Protestant Reformation cannot afford to skip a thorough reading of this book, since it deals with the historical developments that led directly to the English Reformation and subsequently to the spread of the doctrinal commitments of the Reformation to America via the Puritans, Presbyterians and the Methodists. After the American Revolution the Protestant Episcopal church became the American expression of Anglicanism in the new country.


While none of the information given in McGrath's account is new, the way McGrath brings complicated strands of history together in one book is unique and informative. In particular, the effects of the Renaissance upon critical study of the Bible in the original languages gives direct rise to translations of the Bible into the common languages of the people, especially English. McGrath's explanation of Disiderus Erasmus's study of the Latin Vulgate as compared to the Greek New Testament is particularly worthy. As any student of the Reformation knows, Erasmus' work directly influenced Martin Luther and his challenges to Roman Catholic tradition which were based on mistranslations of the original languages into the Latin Vulgate, both old and new editions.


Also, McGrath's account of the methods used in translation from Greek and Hebrew into English by the authorized King James scholars is captivating. He notes accurately that many times for the sake of style the English translators used several different English words to translate the same term from Greek or Hebrew. Also, the reliance of the KJV scholars upon earlier translations such as the Bishop's Bible and the Geneva Bible are brought out in amazing detail and contemporary cultural setting. Additionally, the implications regarding the availability of the manuscripts to the scholars of the KJV edition helps one to understand why certain translation choices were made and how the final edition took the shape it did.


Those who neglect this study of the English Reformation and the translation of the King James Version do so to their own impoverishment. In particular, those who are part of the Protestant tradition should and must read this book. McGrath's style is easily understandable and clear to even to those unfamiliar with the history of the English Bible.

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