(adapted from volume 56, number 3 of
Unsearchable Riches magazine)
A.E.K. AND HIS WORK
A Biographical Sketch by a Close Friend
And Long-time Associate
EDWARD H. CLAYTON
TO WRITE OF ADOLPH ERNST KNOCH is, primarily, to write a history of
the years during which the magazine, Unsearchable Riches, has been published. That
this is so intimates how fully his life has been given up to research into the untraceable
riches of Christ to the nations, as well as to inquiry into the Scriptures regarded as the
comprehensive literature which reveals the ways of God.
As a result of
reading the Bible, and in particular the Roman epistle, A.E.K. has written, I
believed and was saved. The reality of his faith, evoked by the Word of God, has
been evident ever since. During the closing years of the last century, while he was
associated with the Plymouth Brethren, there was much exercise of mind around the Word of
God. In the early years of the present century God was guiding and ordering circumstances
into which A.E.K. was to enter, as a ministry. The thoughts and exercise around the Word
of God were, in this period, advancing that faith which had arisen in A.E.K.s spirit
as he moved to and beyond the adult stage. In these, steps were taken which led to a real
ministry of the Word of God. The Mystery of the epistles of Paul occupied the
mind of A.E.K., as well as other problems and topics concerned with the Scriptures.
GRACE AND GLORY
upon the Divine Mysteries, in the first volume of Unsearchable Riches, A.E.K. makes
reference to the journal, Things to Come, which had been taken over by the late Dr.
Bullinger a few years earlier. A. E. Knoch speaks of the articles on the Mystery
in Dr. Bullingers publication as being epoch-making. And truly they
were. The pressing idea of rightly dividing the word of truth was being
entertained by A. E. Knoch, and several others were also exercised by the same
thought, although not as yet were these friends (to be) in contact. That came about as a
result of a series of articles On Baptism which A. E. Knoch
submitted to Dr. Bullinger in 1906 and which appeared in the pages of Things to Come
the following year.
would be an equally true description of A. E. Knochs own ministry which
was then gradually developing, and which took on a more distinct shape from the
associations which resulted from the publication of these articles. So that, with the help
of the late Vladimir Gelesnoff, a ministry came into being which has extended over fifty
years. It will be seen that the ministry being formulated in the mind of A.E.K. was not
one which proceeded upon conventional lines, reiterating that which had been entertained
in the teachings of others. A.E.K. found brethren who were being similarly exercised. One
such brother was Alan Burns, who in the year 1906 commenced the issue of a small magazine
under the title Grace and Glory. A.E.K. contributed to this, writing on topics
described as The Burning Issues of the Hour. His friend, Vladimir Gelesnoff,
was also a contributor on subjects closely in line with those written by A.E.K. But Grace
and Glory ran only for eight issues, the last one published in March 1909.
some months before its cessation, it had been realized that Grace and Glory did not
fit the pattern of the ministry which was envisaged. Income and expenditure did not
encourage continuance. Yet the desire for the ministry had been roused, and the urge in
the spirit of the two friends, V. Gelesnoff and A. E. Knoch, corresponded
thereto. So, in October, 1909, the first number of the present magazine, Unsearchable
Riches, was published. Gone were the tentative features of Grace and Glory;
there was a definite program, with bimonthly issues, and at a cost of a dollar per annum.
The desire to serve the saints can be gauged from the fact that this charge is still
maintained, despite the many factors which have increased costs during the life of the
The breadth of
outlook of the two editors, as stated in the opening editorial of the first issue of Unsearchable
Riches, is most notable. Moreover, behind the statement were the minds of two saints
whom Gods spirit had enlisted and enriched with a vista around His Word which
suggested a promising ministry. Here were teachers who had discerned the value of
correctly cutting the Word of truth, and also, for their studies, the benefits of using
concordances based on the original languages which lie behind our versions. In this way
they were escaping the influence of lexicons, and they were presenting studies which
emerged from close attention to Gods own word usages, for the words were regarded in
the contexts made by God in His inspiring of the Scriptures. Tentatively a working
arrangement was planned so that one editor made Hebrew his prior interest, whilst the
other took the Greek, yet this was not to be absolute and exclusive. Unfortunate
happenings, which consummated in the death of Brother Gelesnoff, did not allow this
arrangement to continue for many years; in fact, increasingly the affairs of the magazine
passed into the care of A. E. Knoch.
THE CONCORDANT METHOD
the first volume of Unsearchable Riches there appeared an article by A.E.K. under
the title, Gods Word Regained. Here was the hint of a ministry which, as
had been perceptible from prior articles, was departing from current translations. The
article explained the inception of a plan which really merited the thought of regaining
Gods Word, for each word was to be kept separate from all others; a word had its own
area of thought and its own usage. This was a worthy view of the inspired Word of God, one
which recognized His inspiration and the unique character of the word assemblage of which
our God was capable.
From this careful
use of sound words came help in understanding seeming difficulties in Gods Word. The
mysteries of existing translations became secrets. This allowed
the further discrimination that Gods Word was speaking of a number of secrets which
God had been concealing but which were revealed through Paul.
succeeding years of the magazine, more and more samples of the results of what was to be
called The Concordant Method appeared in its pages, both in the form of
articles and of the proposed version. Means to indicate the connection of the various
details of the version with the facts of the original were also displayed. The basic
foundation for the CONCORDANT VERSION was
being laid, and plans were being made for it to be issued in the years ahead. Gradually a
Greek Text was formed, with a sublinear beneath it and STANDARD
words shown therein. By means of these the student was given the clear area of thought for
each Greek element. A fuller account was given later in the booklet, (The Story of
the Concordant Version).
TRUTH ABOUT THE EONS
articles appearing in the early volumes of Unsearchable Riches were really
elaborating what the first issue of the magazine stated as its aim; the recovery of truth.
Not only was the teaching concerning justification affirmed, but the unknown truth, the
secret of the evangel, was uncovered. Word study had discriminated two words both rendered
reconcile in the versions; these were shown to be conciliate (a
one-sided matter) and reconcile (a mutual matter), so that the evangel is
heralding the revelation of Gods secret, for God is conciliated by the death of His
Son. Love has achieved its secret. The whole of this topic, developed by A.E.K., was set
forth in a series of articles, under the heading, The Mystery of the Gospel,
which was later published as a book.
truth, there was also appearing studies by A.E.K. which showed the falsity of the Bible
words, for ever and for ever and ever. The occurrences of these
were examined and analyzed and classified in a manner which revealed the truth that God
had made the eons through His Son, and that His purpose was eonian, achieved in the eons
through His Son. All these results were proceeding from the study of concordances which
related the words of our Bible to the original inspired words of the text of Gods
Word. A number of articles on these themes were gathered into book form, under the title ALL IN ALL, setting forth the goal of the universe
as revealed in the Scriptures.
These were years in
which A.E.K. was making great efforts to indicate to Gods saints the truth which God
had revealed in His Word for their faith, yet which lay hidden from them in the discordant
versions in use. He was seeking to put Gods Word above all else in the minds of
those whom his ministry reached. By the magazine, truth has gone round the world, and many
saints have become informed concerning Gods righteousness and His love and His
ultimate purpose, planned in His Son.
ALL IS OUT OF GOD
Knochs full occupation and intense activity did not prevent him from giving a little
attention to that other side of faith which expresses itself in worship, for he composed
hymns which viewed the wider prospect given to faith, and which also enshrined the
thoughts coming to be realized from the recovery of truth. These hymns were set to music
and sent forth on sheets, that adoration, in stricter accord with truth, may arise to God,
the Father of Him Whose obedience implemented the evangel.
Because A.E.K. was
so dominated by the Word of God, his mind was led to consider Scriptural matters free from
the influence of creed and theology. The universe was Gods creation; He was Supreme.
By learning in this manner, it became an easy step for A.E.K. to receive the truth that
all is out of God, through Him and for Him. Thus he soon saw that there was no
problem in connection with the question of evil. For the God of the
Scriptures, there was no struggle against evil; nor did His Word reveal any notion of
dualism in the universe. A series of articles on the theme of evil appeared in the pages
of Unsearchable Riches, and, when completed, they were gathered under one cover,
and published in a volume suitable for convenient study.
All these studies by
A.E.K. were done along the way as he worked diligently toward the completion and the
publishing of the CONCORDANT VERSION.
Special studies into the Greek of the inspired text were conducted, as well as the
decision how the Greek text should be formulated. The several forms of the Greek verb
called for close investigation, as a preliminary to rendering them into a version. They
must first be discriminated by standards. Of particular importance was the solution of the
grammatical significance of that Greek verbal form which is termed the Aorist. In what
sense did the Aorist differ from the other form which was also regarded as a past? A.E.K.
went to work on these matters in a thorough manner; he spared no effort to reach a
position of which he was assured. Then the results were brought to a focus in a masterly
article under the title, The Greek and English Indefinite.
THE UNVEILING PUBLISHED
great effort it became possible to publish The Story of the Concordant Version
in June, 1919. Therein is given many details of how the work proceeded from the first
beginnings up to reaching the practical stage for publication. The first installment, the
book of The unveiling (Revelation), was available and in the mail to
subscribers by August, 1919. The years which ensued were also years of intense activity
and application, for A.E.K. planned to issue the work in twelve parts, and at six month
intervals. In this way he was able to finance the work, for each part provided the money
for the next.
The pathway to the
issuance of the first part of the version presented many a difficulty the solution of
which called for resourcefulness, as well as an undaunted spirit. In this was the
expression of a spiritual life which was strong and deep, creating a desire to move
closely to the inspired original. By following this course, the influence of several
details, present in a cursive Greek text, was avoided and the work proceeded on a free
The publishing of
the Unveiling, as the first part of the CONCORDANT VERSION,
called for a full exposition of that book. The notes by A.E.K., printed beside the version
and the Greek text required elaboration. A.E.K.s plans anticipated this, and soon
there began a series of articles in Unsearchable Riches. Volume 12 contained the
first article, and they ran through to the last number of volume 20. The whole of these
articles have been made available as a volume of almost 600 pages, published under the
title, The Unveiling of Jesus Christ.
A. E. KNOCHS VIEW OF INSPIRATION
exposition of the Unveiling presented the view that the book was revealing the opening
years of the day of Yahweh (or, Jehovah), which establishes the saints of
Israel in the kingdom, to reign with Messiah for a thousand years. The concluding chapters
of the Unveiling take the revelation forward into the Day of God and the new heavens and
earth. The topics of the many articles were those required by the literary structure of
the book, more or less akin to the chapters. This writing kept A.E.K. well occupied,
amidst both the completing of the parts of the CONCORDANT VERSION and its incidental revision for the publishing in one binding in
1926. Then followed the compiling and printing of the Lexical Concordance to the completed
CONCORDANT VERSION of the Greek Scriptures.
This latter was a most onerous task, and was completed and published in 1930, along with a
new printing, on better paper, of the Version itself.
completing of this great task, on September 7, 1926, Brother Knoch was called upon to bear
the pain and sorrow of the death of his wife. She had been a true helpmeet, and, until
failing health overtook her, she had given much assistance in the work, and so enabled
A.E.K. to go forward with the more serious side of the work. Now our brother must go on
alone. Only his immediate friends knew what this meant to him.
A.E.K. should not be
regarded merely as a man of industry. To entertain that thought of him is to miss entirely
the true estimate of his lifework. Here is a brother who was motivated by an overriding
perception which was emerging as a desire to serve, not his day and generation
but his God and Father. The Bible was a version of Gods inspired Word, and A.E.K.
wished to know the original behind that English version. He would honor the fact of God
inspiring His Word. To A.E.K., the inspiration of the Scriptures was as important and
fundamental as was the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. The written Word compares
to Him Who is the Living Word. A version of the Scriptures ought to enter into this
analogy. To this end A.E.K. labored.
PREPARATION FOR THE HEBREW WORK
characterized the ministry of A.E.K. Some subjects in Gods Word were ever in his
mind, and a full statement upon them was left until his studies were complete and really
exhaustive. This was, indeed, a very essential feature for some questions, since tradition
and prior commitment were most strongly entrenched. Around the person of Gods Son,
Brother Knoch came to write three most illuminating articles. The, titles were The Kenosis
of Christ, Christ Compared with Deity, and Christ Contrasted with Deity.
These articles set forth the glories of the Lord Jesus Christ, in their true scriptural
position, showing that He is the Image of the Invisible God. The articles are most mature
studies, far more effective than any argument or denial of the so-called
Trinity. The whole subject was rounded out by a study on the personality of
the holy spirit. It is Gods spirit; the living, intelligent, personal power by which
God does all things, through Christ. God is called by the term spirit when attention is
diverted from His Deity to His operations in creation and salvation.
The years in which
the CONCORDANT VERSION of the Greek
Scriptures were being completed found A.E.K. giving increasing attention to his plans for
executing a similar service in respect to the Hebrew Scriptures.
Some preparation for
the Hebrew section had been in process, but a major matter was that it should begin by a
visit to Palestine by A.E.K., and a sojourn in that country, so as to learn firsthand the
topography, the customs and other circumstances, such as might give insight to aid the
investigations into the Hebrew Scriptures. It was even a desire to translate some passages
of the Hebrew whilst resting or wandering amidst a particular district of Palestine. One
such passage is the well known Twenty-third Psalm. Our English version of this psalm seems
much colored by the circumstances of the English countryside, rather than the more arid
condition which prevails to a great degree in the Holy Land.
THE SOJOURN IN PALESTINE
May 1931 issue of Unsearchable Riches made the announcement that Brother Knoch,
after waiting for the Lords guidance concerning the work in Palestine, and his way
thither, had decided that he should cross the continent of the United States during that
month of May, calling to see friends en route, but eventually reaching New York, from
whence he would embark for the south of England, and then to Scotland. To many of
A.E.K.s friends, in both continents, these were days of remembrance, and they have
been enhanced since.
The end of June,
1931, saw A.E.K. depart from England for Sweden to meet friends of the work there. Then
over to Denmark and eventually into Germany. In the latter country much interest was shown
in the truths which had been brought to light from the study of the original text of the
Scriptures and the divergences which existed in the versions.
In Germany, Brother
Knoch met with sincere desire for a German CONCORDANT VERSION. They knew a little about the English side, and there was active
discussion on such a project in German. As the discussion advanced, select passages were
translated for a proposed prospectus. And these plans were not laid aside, despite
A.E.K.s departure from Germany. His journey to Palestine had been planned and was in
process, and it must proceed. The Hebrew work was really geared into the journey, along
with the sojourn in the land.
Many were the
journeys and the wanderings made by A.E.K. in Palestine. There was the comparing of
passages in the Bible with the numerous districts to which the scriptures made reference.
In these circumstances it was sought to catch the value of the environs of the passages,
and then to consider them amidst the first tentative translations which had been made.
Standards had been fixed for a considerable number of Hebrew words, and work on a number
of books had been done. Thus it was easy to consider the special features of special
passages, more or less related to a given district. It was hoped to gain much value from
A.E.K. MARRIES SIGRID von KANITZ
stay in Palestine had fulfilled the needs for which it was undertaken. But the visit to
Germany en route had created in the mind of A.E.K. a real understanding of the needs of
the saints of that country and their urgent desire to have a version based on a pattern of
sound words. The conversations which A.E.K. had with the friends when in Germany left him
without any doubts in the matter. His prior impressions, gained whilst at home in Los
Angeles, had been more than confirmed. Apparently the call, Come over and help
us, followed him to Palestine. So A.E.K. did not return to California until the year
In February, 1932,
the engagement of A.E.K. to Countess Sigrid von Kanitz was announced. By the middle of
April A.E.K. was staying in Potsdam, later to take up residence at Stepenitz. Here Brother
Knoch and Sister Knoch worked together to produce a CONCORDANT VERSION for the German saints. It was when passing through Germany that
A.E.K. recognized the fervid faith and desire of the Countess for Gods Word in the
form of a CONCORDANT VERSION. Her special
qualifications to assist in such a project were also apparent to A.E.K. During almost
seven years the two worked together on the German version, so that early in 1939 the work
was off the press and available to the German saints.
The compiling of the
German CONCORDANT VERSION did not become any
interlude in the Hebrew work, for the latter was carried along amidst the German work. All
the time details and problems of the Hebrew word families and the STANDARDS
required for STEM and BRANCHES were slowly
built toward the practical issue. From Stepenitz A.E.K. kept in touch with his several
assistants in the work, beside guiding the publication of Unsearchable Riches which
was still published in Los Angeles.
RETURN TO CALIFORNIA
1939, found A.E.K. and his wife back in Los Angeles, united with his son Ernest and his
wife Alberta, as well as his family born during A.E.K.s absence from the U.S.A. From
the landing at New York, in late November, there was the renewing of contact with many
friends. This would have continued right across the States, except that A.E.K. was in poor
trim. Traveling for him was an ordeal. The journey from Denmark, at first skirting the
northern limits of the ocean, to avoid war dangers, was a great physical trial to him. His
wife was as good a traveler as he was bad, was A.E.K.s comment.
A period of recovery
from the effects of the trip, and readjustment to a renewal of conditions back home, was
necessary ere Brother Knoch was back in stride. There was no real inactivity, but rather a
reviewing of the stages at which the several sections of the work stood. From increased
experience, especially from the undertaking of the German side of the work, plus the years
of actual use of the English CONCORDANT VERSION,
it had become evident that this section of A.E.K.s ministry needed to be revised in
some details, and even re-cast in its form. In a sense this was an extra work, yet it was
shouldered amidst the carrying forward of the Hebrew work. The outcome was the
International Edition of 1944, together with its Keyword Concordance.
plans for the Hebrew section of the work had gradually been moving forward. All the books
of the Hebrew Scriptures had been transferred from the Hebrew characters and typed into
Latin letters, leaving space for a sublinear of STANDARDS to be
written beneath the words, and this had proceeded well toward completion. It was now
definitely possible for A.E.K. to begin to review all prior translation efforts, and to
undertake the trying task of making improvements in the vocabulary required by the STANDARDS given to each Hebrew word.
GENESIS AND ISAIAH
were still problems of detail in some of the word families which called for more research
and consideration. Such matters as the divine titles were a problem in themselves, and
this needed much attention and thought. To these Brother Knoch applied himself with rigid
attention, though his years now added up to a good total.
It became possible
to publish, as the fourth number of volume 48, a first instalment of the Hebrew
Scriptures. This was the book of Genesis, or In a Beginning. In it was given
an introduction which sketched the many avenues traversed for the work, and tended to
convey an inkling of the earnest effort A.E.K. had made. It represented years of original
toil, and all the setbacks which had crossed the path of the work. Yet, nothing daunted,
the work always went forward by some minute stage. Godsgrace always sustained, for
the work had been begun in the fear and love of the God and Father of the Lord Jesus
Christ, and it had continued in His strength and the regard for the needs of the saints
who looked to the inspired Scriptures God had given to humanity.
Brother Knoch now
had to lessen his activity in the work, but he had brought the book of the prophet Isaiah
sufficiently forward that it was possible to go ahead and publish it in 1962. The
remainder of the Hebrew Scriptures are now in a position which, under Gods grace and
guidance, may yet make it possible for them to become available. The major question is,
Will our God call the living and the dead saints to the air, ere their completion is
THE TWENTY-THIRD PSALM
volume forty-one of Unsearchable Riches, Brother Knochs son, Ernest, was
associated with him in the editing of the magazine, but A.E.K. was able to continue in a
limited capacity, until the fiftieth volume was reached. He was also assisted by his
grandsons, David and Albert. In commencing volume fifty, A.E.K. quoted from the first
editorial of the magazine. This reflection back to the beginning of the magazines
ministry is very notable, after such a long period. It indicates how strong has been the
memory of the original outlook and attitude to Gods Word, and how constant and
consistent has been the adherence to it.
wrote, in reference to work he had just then completed, that he wished the work were
better done. That was an expression of his humility, and doubtless Brother Knoch would
still echo those words with respect to his lifes work.
Edward H. Clayton
THE SHEPHERD PSALM