NEW TESTAMENT: McCORD'S NEW TRANSLATION OF THE EVERLASTING GOSPEL; Hugo McCord, retired professor of Bible and Biblical Languages at Oklahoma Christian College. Price $17.95 for soft-binding and $21.95 for hard binding. Order form: Freed-Hardeman College, Henderson, TN 38340.
In this first edition there are some typos as might be expected. One serious oversight was that the letter to Philemon was left out; but it has been inserted.
Our brother McCord is to be commended for his labor of love and dedication in his effort to give us a translation of God's word that is more correctly rendered from the Greek and in better English for modern readers. It accomplishes this in a large measure.
McCord renders John 3:16: "God so loved the world that he gave his unique Son..." Look up the word "unique'' and you will see that it appears to be an accurate word. I understand that McCord may change that to "beloved" in his next edition. Some critics do not like his "unique" word.
One thing I especially appreciate is the Appendix where McCord justifies some of his major departures from other translations. In it our brother gives some solid, vital information needed by all serious Bible students. First, he deals with the question: Is There A Perfect Translation? His answer is "NO," because the translation of the Greek New Testament into Engligh is a human, not a divinely inspired process. Then, quoting from Jack P. Lewis (The English Bible From KJV to NIV) he says, "the careful student of the Bible will not rely completely upon one version, but will seek to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of the versions he uses." My question to McCord and Lewis both would be: Just how does the average Bible reader identify what are the "strengths" and the "weaknesses" of each one? Does he find one that suits his views, his desires and count that as a "strength?" If he does not like it, if it is found to be contrary to some doctrine he holds, is it then a "weak" version, Or, must we here fall back upon the recommendation of the scholars or specialists?
It is my opinion that the majority of Church of Christ/independent Christian Church members will view McCord's translation as one of "weakness" SOLELY because he does not use the English word "church" anywhere in the translation! I believe that this is a major reason that the translation published by Alexander Campbell in 1826, which he called more accurately "The Sacred Writings of the Apostles and Evangelists of Jesus Christ, commonly styled The New Testament," later named "The Living Oracles," was never popular. The word "church" is perhaps the most precious, important word used in the institutional Church world today. More on this later.
[The 27 letters and historical documents that compose what is erroneously called "The New Testament," should not be so called. They do NOT constitute the new covenant. The new covenant existed long before any of those documents were composed. Do you know what the new covenant/agreement really is?? If not, you should make haste to find out. Thinking of this compilation as the New Testament is an error in understanding. These documents do indeed constitute God's new revelation, the additional expression of His will for us, inspired by the Holy Spirit, but they do NOT constitute the new covenant/agreement between God and man.]
McCord also shows that a "literal" translation is not possible. He also correctly argues that a paraphrase is not wrong per se. This is worth reading.
The word "baptism" is eliminated in all its forms. McCord shows that it is NOT a translation at all, it only "anglicizes the Greek word 'baptisma,' using English letters to replace Greek letters and does not tell us what it means." McCord uses "immersion,""immerse," "overwhelm," or "submerge."
He also eliminates the word "repent" because it does not, he claims, "accurately translate the Spirit's word metanoeo. He uses the phrase "change of heart" and tells why.
Here I would like to quote in full McCord's comments in the Appendix (page 506) about the English word "church":
To make this translation as accurate as possible, the word "church" is eliminated. The word "church" historically refers to a physical building, a meetinghouse, which the Lord's people in the first century did not build, and for which there is no New Testament word. William Tyndale knew that the word "church" is an inaccurate translation of the New Testament word ekklesia, which simply means "called out." So Tyndale, in the first English translation of the New Testament from Greek in 1525, eliminated "church" in favor of "congregation." King James I, having a vested interest in the word "church," since he was the head of the Church of England, did not like the change, and so he ordered the fifty-four translators of the King James version to use the word "church." Alexander Campbell knew what Tyndale knew about the inaccuracy of that word, and in THE LIVING ORACLES (1826) he, like Tyndale, used the word "congregation." The Greek text of the United Bible Societies has one hundred and fourteen citations of ekklesia. In the two instances (Ac 19:32, 40, (Ac 19:32, 40 [E, 41] where the reference is to an illegal group, this translation has "gathering.'' In the one instance (Ac 19:39) where ekklesia refers to a lawful group of citizens, this translation uses "assembly." In the one instance where the word refers to the Hebrew nation (Ac 7:38), this translation uses "called-out people," and uses the same phrase thirty-five times in reference to the Lord's New Testament people. Seventy-five times in reference to the same New Testament people, this translation uses "congregation."
What do you think of that? Sounds like he has been reading The Examiner, doesn't it? We know that is not the reason for his correct observations. He is an honest scholar and translator telling it just like it is.
About ten years ago, preceding McCord's translation, Dr. Stanley Morris, a highly respected scholar, published his translation called THE SIMPLE ENGLISH BIBLE-NT. It was translated into very simple English, short sentences, etc., primarily so that it could be more easily translated into the Chinese language. Stanley Morris was deeply concerned with accuracy in translating from Greek into English.
It is very interesting to compare these two translations - McCord's and Morris'. Both reject the word "baptize." Both reject the word "repent" and use the expression "change of heart." Both repudiate the English word "church." Thus they join A. Campbell in telling us that "there is no CHURCH in the NT Scriptures!!" Hugo McCord, Freed-Hardeman College (the publisher), and Stanley Morris all agree on this vital point. This is frankly acknowledged by every knowledgeable, honest translator; and there are several other translations that do not use the word. All facts and evidence demonstrate that there is no such thing in God's word as an INSTITUTION or CORPORATE ORGANIZATION, known as a "church."
Now will the CHURCH of Christ CHURCHES and the Independent Christian CHURCH CHURCHES give up that misleading, erroneous word by deleting it out of their vocabulary? Will they now remove it from the sign that stands in front of the CHURCH? Will they remove it from the CHURCH stationery? More important, what will they do about the all-important INSTITUTION so loved by the Pulpit Minister (IT pays his salary as an employee, you know!), The Eldership, and CHURCH members, which is called "the local CHURCH" and also that imagined "universal CHURCH" made up of all these "local CHURCHES??"
What will the Pulpit Ministers do, who preach so much about "the CHURCH," its essentiality for salvation (which is IN the CHURCH in their view), and their emphasis upon the necessity of local CHURCH membership in order to please God and be saved?
Will McCord's translation have any influence upon these people? At Freed-Hardeman College will it be the required or primary translation used in all Bible classes? If not, why not? Is the truth and its consequences, as set forth in McCord's translation, going to have any influence with the CHURCH of Christ CHURCH people, preachers, elders, schools, colleges, preacher training schools, or seminaries? What will the Gospel Advocate say about it? What will the Firm Foundation and The Spiritual Sword say - and DO - about it?
Well, let me tell you what I predict. This translation will be treated just like Campbell's translation was - it will soon be something of a relic. After the first big sales drive, from which FHC will make a lot of money, it will have less and less attention. Interest in it will wane to almost nothing. McCord has committed "the unpardonable sin" in giving a translation which has no CHURCH in it, expecting a CHURCH world to use it. He has cut out the very backbone of all religious institutions - CHURCH) He has shown that there is no CHURCH in God's word. The CHURCH of Christ CHURCH Pulpit Ministers, who largely determine what is done in these CHURCHES, will discuss it for sometime, refer to it at times, and gradually it will be placed on the shelf and left there! Probably 90% of the CHURCH members will never see a copy and a large part of them don't care one way or the other as long as their CHURCH is not removed or effected.
You know that CHURCHES are not going to REMOVE these CHURCHES; destroy themselves! You know that they will not give up that name CHURCH of Christ. Just think of all the trouble that would cause. And who would dare want to rename that local institution calling it "The Congregation of Christ," and hang that name on the building or on the signboard? Wouldn't that look ridiculous? All other denominations have CHURCHES and call them that, even if such is NOT in Scripture, and you can count on it that the CHURCH of Christ CHURCH will hang in there with the other human institutions called CHURCHES.
Dear brother and sister, what about YOU? Are YOU going to let MEN keep YOU in a corporate institution, of human origin and character, just because it is called a CHURCH? The institutional CHURCH is of human origin regardless of the name by which it is called. Jesus Christ did NOT die or give His life for any INSTITUTION. You should belong to Him, as His slave, NOT to some humanly devised structured corporate organization called a CHURCH. The choice is yours and it is a choice for all eternity. CAH