The authenticity of English version Bibles
M. W. J. Phelan
Two edged sword Publications; 697 pages, £20.00
This is the eighth publication of Michael Phelan, who once picked up in a charity shop a book called Good news for modern man, read it, not knowing it was the New Testament, and as he read it came under its power and was converted.
Since that time he has given his life to the study and defence of the Scriptures. He has written books on such themes as the integrity of the book of Isaiah, and the inspiration of the Pentateuch.
He is familiar with the original languages of the Bible, and this vast book is another distinguished contribution to his writings putting the church in his debt. Students at seminaries and Bible colleges should make themselves familiar with his works, as he believes the Word of God and has chosen those areas where Scripture has been most under attack, to bring his learning to bear on the arguments. I am glad he is on our side.
How has Scripture come down to us from its originals, written on clay tablets, vellum, linen and papyrus to the English translations of today? He examines the descent of the Torah from the hand of Moses, together with the other books of Scripture that produced the Hebrew and Christian canons, and then on through the Old Testament period to the establishment of the Masoretic text.
Then he examines the making of the New Testament canon and various translations of Scripture — the Latin versions, Saxon translations, Wycliffe’s work, Tyndale and Luther, the rise of printing, the King James Bible, the so-called Received Text, Westcott and Hort, the making of the Revised Version, and modern translations up to the English Standard Version.
What a survey! It is all edifying and lucidly and enjoyably written, with his own well-considered judgements of the best texts and translations. It is well done, and if there is Christian envy then I feel that of the author’s grand accomplishment.