THE FUNCTIONS OF THE GREEK VERB
The principle of consistency, which the
Concordant Version strives to meet, demands that the grammar be given exclusive and
uniform STANDARDS. We cannot translate the Greek aorist
as well as imperfect by the past tense in English, as is usually done.
We were, therefore, forced to analyze all the forms of Greek grammar and classify them
according to the facts, assigning to each the nearest English STANDARD.
In general, our findings confirm the commonly accepted teachings of grammarians, but in a
few important points we were obliged to vary from them. Deviation from the textbooks could
not always be avoided in a version which seeks to base all on evidence.
In order to determine the proper STANDARD
equivalent for each Greek form, a complete card index of every grammatical element
occurring in the Scriptures was made. These cards were classified for study, and to each
element was assigned an exclusive and uniform equivalent, as established by its
occurrences in the Sacred Text. The two forms which were usually rendered by only one
English form were examined to discover the difference between them. Thus the past
tense was found to be correct for the imperfect, but the aorist
was found to more closely correspond to the English form called the simple
present, which is really often an English aorist, or indefinite form,
referring to a timeless fact.
In segregating the forms we found that the Greek verb as a
whole could be divided into three great classes, (1) those which are Indefinite,
denoting a mere ¯FACT, (2) those which are Incomplete, an 'ACTION going on at the moment, and (3) those which are Complete,
resulting in a finished ºSTATE.
The aorist is in the first category, and
indicates a timeless ¯FACT. In the indicative mood it is best
rendered by the English simple present, as God loves (John 3:16).
When this cannot be used, a small, high horizontal stroke (¯) is used to indicate that
the verb has this form in the Greek.
The Greek present is in the second category,
the incomplete 'ACTION, and corresponds to the English
incomplete present, as I am loving the Father (John 14:31). Often,
however, this is indicated by a short, high vertical stroke (') because English prefers
brevity, and is gradually losing this form.
The Greek perfect is in the third category,
the complete ºSTATE, and is best carried over by our English
perfect, as, I have written (John 19:22), but, in many cases, it
is better English to express it by means of a passive participle, as in it is
The so-called second aorist consists of
irregular forms, mostly past, which generally belong to other classifications.
A special pamphlet, The Greek and English Indefinite,
presents, in a more thorough way, a summary of the evidence in the Scriptures for these
adjustments in the grammar of the Greek verb. Additional information is to be found on
page 15 in the CONCORDANT GREEK TEXT, and the entire Concordant grammar is exhaustively discussed and
diagrammed in THE GREEK ELEMENTS.
THE COMPILATION OF THE
God, in giving us His revelation, did
not merely choose human words to express Himself, but also purified them for this
purpose (Psalm 12:6). By the way in which He has used them He has given them special
meaning, and has formed a divine vocabulary for the transference of His thoughts. The same
process recommends itself in the making of an English version. Hence, the concordant
method strives, first of all, to form a scriptural vocabulary which imitates the inspired
Original as closely as possible. The apostle Paul charged us to Have a pattern of
sound words (2 Timothy 1:13).
It is our desire to distinguish clearly between every word
used in Gods revelation, and to use the closest English equivalent for every
expression. It was necessary, therefore, to choose our vocabulary before we could
begin to translate. It should be clear that this would, at the same time, help to keep us
from imposing our opinion on any passage, for, once the vocabulary was determined, we
could not easily use another term to suit our own interpretation, but were obliged to use
that one which our research had determined would harmonize with the contexts of all the other
occurrences, as well as the one under consideration.
WIGRAMS ENGLISHMANS GREEK CONCORDANCE
Wigrams ENGLISHMANS GREEK CONCORDANCE lists almost every word
which occurs in the Original in Greek alphabetical order, followed by the passages in
which it appears, as rendered in the Authorized Version.
The reader who considers carefully the various King James
renderings of each word may wonder how one Greek word can be stretched to cover such
contradictory thoughts as pour out and fill. (The CONCORDANT VERSION renders both occurrences
blend. He might question the necessity of using seven different expressions (without
blame, without blemish, unblameable, without spot, without rebuke, faultless, without
fault) when one, flawless (used in the CONCORDANT
VERSION), can be used throughout. He will likely question the use of both immortality
and incorruption for the same Greek word, especially if he is aware that another
term in the Original actually denotes immortality. He will probably acknowledge that natural
and sensual are too far apart to represent a single Greek word. Furthermore, why
use remission, forgiveness, deliverance, and liberty when
forgiveness and pardon will cover all cases? Why use coming
when BESIDE-BEING clearly denotes presence? On the
other hand, why not use two words to distinguish between the occurrences of DOWN-CHANGE (conciliate) and FROM-DOWN-CHANGE
(reconcile)? Finally, is it necessary to change the word sabbath,
in the same context, to week? Such questions as these led to an exhaustive
investigation of the whole divine vocabulary in order to find the single most exact
English equivalent for each Greek word; one which will not only fit each context in
which the word appears, but which is not needed for any other Greek word.
THE USE OF CONCORDANT, ENGLISH ALTERNATIVES
At times English usage does demand that
the same sense be expressed by different terms according to the context.
Thus, a pot that is REPLETE (the literal uniform STANDARD
equivalent) with water is full to the brim, a sponge is soaked
with vinegar, panniers are crammed with fragments, and a temple is
dense with smoke. We give this example to show that the principle of
uniformity is not carried to unreasonable lengths in the Version when our language demands
variety and the sense is not altered.
Our principles compel the use of a few words in a rather
specialized sense. Doctor, for example, is used for a learned man. Through the
years we have failed to find better exclusive words.
CONSTANT, EXCLUSIVE EQUIVALENTS
Not only should each Greek word be
translated uniformly when practicable, but, to achieve the best results, each English word
should be the constant and exclusive representative of only a single Greek word. There are
subtle distinctions and instructive nuances which escape us otherwise, and sometimes these
are the vital keys to great and precious truths.
Consider that the AUTHORIZED
VERSION uses the same English word to represent many entirely different Greek
words. In Wigrams English Index there are thirty-two Greek words listed under
come. Four of these are forms of the verb be. For the others, the CONCORDANT VERSION has the following basic idiomatic
forms: step up, come away, step off,
become, hither [singular], hither [plural], pass
through, enter, go out, be present [time],
come out, come on, step on, go on,
come, stand by, arrive, arrive at,
come down, come along, present (be),
present [verb], come to, come together,
carry, outstrip, contain.
In a similar way the CONCORDANT
VERSION also distinguishes each of the Greek forms listed on this page by giving
them their own standard and distinctive English equivalent. Where in the AV,
depart does duty for about twenty Greek words, the CONCORDANT VERSION uses a special term to distinguish each
PROBLEMS OF CAPITALIZATION
In the oldest Greek manuscripts, all
the letters were capitals. Words occurring frequently, such as GOD, CHRIST, JESUS, LORD, SPIRIT, etc. were even abbreviated
by showing only two or three letters of the respective Greek term. We are used to giving
prominence to certain words by capitalizing the first letter, especially when referring to
God or to Christ. When either one of them is in view, we also capitalize the respective
pronouns, such as Thou, Thine, He, His, Himself, Who. Thus we are actually going beyond
the Original, where no such distinctions were made.
Our Lord was occasionally addressed in an irreverent
manner. In such cases, the pronoun Thou seems out of place, as in Luke 20:2,
where the religious leaders of the Jews ask Him, Tell us, by what authority are you
doing these things, or who is giving you this authority? On the other
hand, we have capitalized the possessive pronoun in Matthew 7:22 where Jesus is
dealing with the workers of lawlessness. Here we say Your name, since there is
no irreverence intended, even though there is no obedient faith. Some other translators
have also done this.
The Samaritan woman at the well is an enlightening
example, showing the gradual recognition of the Lord as Messiah. She is speaking in
unbelief when she says, Whence, then, have you living water? Not greater are you
than our father Jacob (John 4:11,12). A measure of true faith is underlying
the reverence which is evident from her confession in verse 19, Lord, I behold that
thou art a prophet. Her next step toward recognizing Christ is indicated by
capitalizing the pronouns in verse 25, We are aware that Messiah is coming, Who is
termed Christ. Whenever He should be coming, He will be informing us of
There is a similar difficulty in
connection with the word SPIRIT. To this problem, the compiler and
his assistants have paid much attention during the past seventy years. Yet a solution
which would be entirely satisfactory to everyone has not presented itself. In the Greek,
of course, the equivalent for SPIRIT is always written and
abbreviated in capital letters, even when the human spirit or evil spirits are in view.
Anyone who takes the time to go through all the
occurrences of SPIRIT in the New Testament will find that, in
addition, there is such variety of usage, that the line of demarcation between the DIVINE SPIRIT and the manifestation of spiritual qualities in a believer
is not always easily recognizable.
Pneuma, the Greek equivalent, is described as the
power of the Most High (Luke 1:35), and is used of [THE]
SPIRIT OF GOD (Matt.3:16), THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD
(Eph.4:30), THE SPIRIT OF YOUR FATHER (Matt.10:20), CHRISTS
SPIRIT (Rom.8:9), THE SPIRIT (Matt.27:50), [THE]
SPIRIT OF [THE] LORD (Luke 4:18), [THE] SPIRIT OF SONSHIP
(Rom.8:15), [A] SPIRIT OF WISDOM AND REVELATION (Eph.1:17), FERVENT IN SPIRIT (Acts 18:25; Rom.12:11), and others.
In our English-Greek KEYWORD
CONCORDANCE we have spelled Holy Spirit with a capital S,
and the Version has vivifying Spirit (1 Cor.15:45), to match the second
Man and the Celestial One. But elsewhere, we would rather leave it to
the reader to decide for himself which aspect of SPIRIT is in view
at a given occurrence. We cannot imitate the Original and capitalize the whole word in all
its occurrences, since such a procedure would give far too much prominence to the human
spirit and to evil spirits. On the other hand, why print The
words . . . are spirit (John 6:63), and fervent in
spirit (Acts 18:25; Rom.12:11) with a small s, as has been done in some
versions? In Romans 8:10, The Spirit is Life, we find capitalization in the
King James Version, while other translators prefer to render it The Spirit is
alive. Thus it becomes apparent that there exists no consensus with regard to these
borderline cases. Hence we decided to keep our personal concept out of the controversy by
not capitalizing the word spirit in its various occurrences. This should not be
taken as a symptom of irreverence toward GODS HOLY SPIRIT but
rather as a sign of our own incompetence to deal with the problem in a satisfactory
manner, without injecting our own opinion, and thus detracting from the laud of His glory.
THE PUNCTUATION IS NOT INSPIRED
The Original contained no conventional
marks of punctuation, such as periods, commas, colons, question marks, exclamation points.
These are not inspired, but have been added by the translator, hence are not infallible.
It is not always possible to determine whether a sentence is a question or not. Quotation
marks have been used only where there is clear evidence of a citation. All of those taken
from the Hebrew have been carefully compared, and only those put in quotation marks
which agree closely. For instance, in Mark 1:3 the words of Him are not quoted
because they are not in the Hebrew.
LEXICONS AND CONCORDANCES
Since the Version has been issued, the
question has often been asked, Why was not this Greek word translated so-and-so? With the
exception of occasional idiomatic usages, each English word in the CONCORDANT VERSION does exclusive duty for a single Greek
word. Hence a word absorbs no false nuances, no deceptive coloring from alien concepts,
but stores up the evidence of each passage to enrich the thought in all the others.
We do not depend on our definitions to produce a perfect
impression of the signification of words. This will come subconsciously to those who read
and study the Version. Every time we read a given word in its proper context, we
subconsciously correct any misapprehension we may have, until finally the full force of
its inspired thought pervades our mind. The constant use of an English-Greek concordance
will certainly enhance the value of the CONCORDANT VERSION
to its reader and enable him to check the consistency of any given rendering.
Wigrams Concordances for the Hebrew, Chaldee, and
Greek languages have been published by Samuel Bagster and Sons, Limited, London, England,
ever since 1840. They give a verbal connection between the Original and the English
translation [in the King James Version]. Bagsters ANALYTICAL
GREEK LEXICON is another indispensable basic tool. James Strong, in his unabridged
edition of THE EXHAUSTIVE CONCORDANCE OF THE BIBLE,
and Robert Young, in his ANALYTICAL CONCORDANCE TO THE BIBLE,
enable the student to identify the Original words behind the English words as found in the
King James Version. Ethelbert W. Bullingers A CRITICAL
LEXICON AND CONCORDANCE TO THE ENGLISH AND GREEK NEW TESTAMENT is of similar value.
There are many worthwhile reference books available to aid biblical studies in diverse
areas, such as specialized concordances, dictionaries, lexicons, grammatical helps,
etymological studies, and exegetical analyses.
THE KEYWORD CONCORDANCE
The need for a small-size concordance,
designed to explain the vocabulary of the CONCORDANT LITERAL
NEW TESTAMENT, and, at the same time, serve to locate passages, led to the
compilation of the KEYWORD CONCORDANCE in 1947. The
usual concordances which give a line for each occurrence, are large and expensive, so we
have omitted the references to such words as have little practical value, and have given
only so much of the context as is necessary to recall each passage. Although the English
keywords are arranged according to the English alphabet, this is actually a Greek
concordance, for it gives the Greek word in Latin characters, and records its occurrences,
regardless of how it may have been rendered in English. In addition, for helpful
comparison, the renderings of the AUTHORIZED VERSION
A TENTATIVE EDITION
While the CONCORDANT
GREEK TEXT with its literal English sublinear has remained practically unchanged
since 1926, when it was first published, the English version of it has always been a
tentative translation. The first tentative installments of this translation of the
New Testament appeared in 1914 under the titleCONCORDANT
VERSION. These were withdrawn the following year because they did not reach the
standard of quality desired. In 1915 A. E. Knoch chose a new title, STANDARD VERSION. This title was to reflect the use of word
standards. However, the publishers of what is popularly called the AMERICAN STANDARD VERSION voiced objection, and Mr. Knoch
reestablished the title as CONCORDANT VERSION.
From 1919 until 1926 the CV was issued in parts. A pocket
edition was printed in 1927. The 1931 edition, like the first edition, included Greek text
and notes, but also had the LEXICON AND CONCORDANCE
and THE GREEK ELEMENTS. It retained the titleCONCORDANT VERSION: THE SACRED SCRIPTURES. The fourth
edition appeared in 1944 and followed the publication of a Concordant Version in Germany
in 1939. (The current German edition has the title KONKORDANTES
NEUES TESTAMENT.) The corresponding English version was then called the
Revised, International Edition. The revision printed in 1966 was designated
The Memorial Edition in honor of the compiler, Adolph Ernst Knoch, who was put
to repose on March 28, 1965. At this time the translation was given a new titleCONCORDANT LITERAL NEW TESTAMENT.
The sixth edition was issued exactly fifty years after
A. E. Knoch published the first complete edition. His work on this Version
spanned over half a century as he endeavored to make improvements in the translation.
Early in 1916 he had written: no one reading the inspired Original dreams for one
moment that any translation is inspired by God. The Version is still regarded
as tentative; that is, suggestions for improvement will always be considered.
Back to Part One of The Concordant Method
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