To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken.—Jer. 6.10

["Man" as a Supplement in the Bible.]

Excerpted from:

VOL. III.       DECEMBER, 1884.       No. 16.

Ellipses, or words omitted, are common to all languages oral or written. In oral language we mentally and readily supply the omitted words; but in print, such words frequently need to be presented to our eyes, that the meaning may be clearly understood. Sometimes several words—a whole clause, must be inserted, and this necessity is more pressing in translating one language into another.

Many supplements are found in the English Bible, and they are usually printed in a type different from the rest of the text. The text is printed in Roman characters or type; but the supplements in italics for the purpose of distinction. We say this distinction is usually observed by the learned translators of the English Bible, but not always: the word "man" is an exception, and a remarkable—a very remarkable exception. Neither in the authorized nor the revised version is this rule or distinction uniformly regarded. A thorough knowledge of the original languages of the Bible is indispensable to a translator, but this will not suffice without an equally thorough knowledge of the Doctrines of Grace. And the necessity for knowledge in both languages and theology is strikingly apparent in the inconsistent and self-contradictory use of the word man as a supplement. For example, why did {499} the Revisers in Heb. 2.9, mark this word as a supplement, and not do so in 1 John 2.1? We believe that as elsewhere in both the places just referred to the word man, whether marked as a supplement or not, is wrong, and eminently tends to foster serious error. In the former place Christ is said to have tasted death "for every man." This is the doctrine of universal redemption; and the sequence is easy—universal salvation. The context speaks of "many sons" to be brought to glory, for each of whom he tasted death. Son is the only proper word supplied by the context.

In the latter place we read—"if any man sin," etc., would not the coherence of the words require us to read—"he hath an advocate," etc. Thus Christ would be an advocate for all men, contrary to his own words, John 17.9. These, and many other erroneous uses of the word man, will go far to account for the system of Arminianism. A remarkable proof of "falling from grace" has been deduced from John 10.28,29; a passage which strongly teaches the contrary. Because the word man occurs twice (in many copies) an Arminian polemic has been quoted as arguing thus: "Though man cannot pluck them out of Christ’s or his Father’s hand, yet the devil can!" But this ignorant and erroneous conclusion is expressly contradicted by the triumphant language of Paul, Rom. 8.39, "nor any other creature shall be able to separate us," etc.