Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the profession of our FAITH without wavering
There are many among the "No Bible is the complete and inerrant words of God" crowd that tell us that the King James Bible is wrong in its translation of Hebrews 10:23. They tell us the word should be "hope" and not "faith".
One such Bible critic, who is in the process of writing his own bible version is James Snapp. He writes: "In Hebrews 10:23, the KJV says “faith” where the Greek text (any Greek text, including the Textus Receptus) has the Greek word for “hope.”
Well, every man is entitled to his own opinion, but obviously not all Bible translators agree with James; the issue is not quite so set in stone as Mr. "Every Man For Himself Bible Versionist" James Snapp tells us it is.
Another well known Bible critic is James White. In his book 'The KJV Controversy' on page 226, Mr. White writes: "The KJV translation of Hebrews 10:23 leaves most people wondering as well. The KJV has the phrase "the profession of our faith." Literally the first term should be translated "confession", but it is the KJV's very unusual translation of the Greek term "hope" as "faith" that is difficult to understand. The Greek term appears thirteen times in the TR, and each time it is translated "hope" with this one exception." (End of comments by James White, page 226).
Let me say several things here about James White and his "scholarly" opinions. First of all, James White SAYS he believes the Bible IS the infallible words of God. But when you ask him where we can get a copy of this infallible Bible he PROFESSES to believe in, he will never tell us. Instead he tries to change the subject. James White does not have any Bible in any language that he honestly believes is God's complete, preserved and infallible words, and that is a proven fact.
Secondly, James tells us that the word translated as profession "should literally be translated as 'confession'." He also seems to be arguing that a single word should always be translated in just one way. Mr. White is certainly entitled to his own opinions, but that is all they are. Many other Bible translators who are just as knowledgable if not much more so than James White differ from his opinions.
In fact the NASB itself has translated this single verb homologeo as "acknowledge, admit, assured, confess, declare, give thanks, made, promised and PROFESS." NASB and ESV Titus 1:16 - "They PROFESS to know God, but by their deeds they deny him." The NIV likewise has translated this exact same word used here as "PROFESS" in Hebrews 4:14 - "let us hold firmly to the faith we PROFESS." and in Hebrews 10:23 itself - "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we PROFESS".
The King James Bible is by no means the only Bible translation that has translated the word used here in Hebrews 10:23 as "PROFESSION". So too do Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535, the Great Bible 1540, Matthew's Bible 1549, the Bishops' Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1587, Whiston's N.T. 1745, Worsley Version 1770, Murdock's translation of the Syriac 1852 and Lamsa's translation 1933, Noyes Translation 1869, the Dillard N.T. 1885, Young's 1898, Goodspeed 1923, J.B. Phillips 1962, Good News Translation 1992, The Word of Yah 1993, Revised Webster's Bible 1995, Third Millennium Bible 1998, The Evidence Bible 2003, L.A. Sawyer's N.T. 2008, Bond Slave Version 2009, the Jubilee Bible 2010, The Holy Bible, the BRG Bible 2012 and the Modern English Version 2014.
In support of the KJB reading of elpis as being translated as FAITH, the following should be considered. Liddell and Scott's Greek-English Lexicon 1968 on page 537 lists one of the meanings of elpis as "Reason to expect or BELIEVE."
The same is true of Gerhard Kittel's Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. This massive work shows that elpis (hope) shades over into being synonymous with Faith. "Hope as expectation of good is closely linked with trust. This hope is thus trust." "It consists rather in general confidence in God's protection and help." page 522.
“The definition of PISTIS (Faith, more than ninety times in the New Testament) as in Hebrews 11:1 is quite in keeping with the Old Testament inter-relating of PISTUEIN (to believe) and ELPIZEIN...as well as ELPIS (hope)...With PISTIS (faith), this constitutes Christian experience...what is denoted by ELPIS (hope) can be included in PISTIS (faith).” Gerhard Kittel, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, p 531-2
This from Biblos.com on Hebrews 10:23 http://scripturetext.com/hebrews/10-23.htm
elpis noun - genitive singular feminine elpis el-pece': expectation (abstractly or concretely) or confidence -- FAITH, hope.
The verb form of this noun is elpizo and even the NASB, ESV and NIV have at times translated this word as to Trust. The KJB translates this verb as to Trust 18 times as well as to hope. If you trust something or someone, you believe them. It is really "gnat straining" to suggest that we are talking about the noun here and not the verb, when the very verb from which this noun comes is also translated as "to trust" in the modern Bibles as well.
In fact, Liddell and Scott's Abridged Lexicon Seventeenth Edition 1887 on page 217 lists the meanings of this verb elpizo as: "to hope, expect, think, BELIEVE."
Notice this quote from the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia "(3) Yet, certain though the hope might be, it was not yet attained, and the interim was an opportunity to develop faith, “the substance of the things hoped for” (Heb.11:1). INDEED, HOPE IS SIMPLY FAITH DIRECTED TOWARD THE FUTURE, AND NO SHARP DISTINCTION BETWEEN FAITH AND HOPE IS ATTAINABLE. It is easy enough to see how the King James Version felt “confession of our faith” clearer than “confession of our hope” in Heb. 10:23, although the rendition of elpis by “faith” was arbitrary. So in Rom. 8:20-24, “hope” is scarcely more than “faith” in this specialized aspect."
The 54 learned men God used to give us His masterpiece in the King James Bible were not dummies. They did not have some kind of a mental breakdown, memory slip or collective "senior moment" when they translated the Greek word elpis as "faith" in Hebrews 10:23.
The King James Bible is not the only one to translate this word as FAITH in Hebrews 10:23. The Bill Bible 1671 - "the confession of our FAITH", The New Covenant New Testament 1836 by Granville Penn, The Morgan New Testament 1848 - "we retain the unwavering profession of FAITH", as well as "The New Testament Translated from the Original Greek" done in 1858 by Leiester Sawyer both read - "let us hold firmly the profession of THE FAITH".
So too do Whiston's Primitive New Testament 1745, The Clarke N.T. 1795, "An Exposition of the New Testament by William Gilpin in 1790, The Dillard New Testament 1885 - "let us hold fast the profession of our FAITH", The Clarke New Testament 1913 - "let us hold fast the profession of our FAITH without wavering", The Word of Yah 1993 - "the confession of OUR FAITH", Webster's Revised Bible 1995 (Larry Pierce), The Third Millennium Bible 1998, the 2001 Urim-Thummin Version by Dallas James, the Heritage Bible by Gwin Turner done in 2003, the Evidence Bible 2003 - "the confession of OUR FAITH", God’s Word to the Nations 1995 - “We must continue to hold firmly to our declaration of FAITH.”, the Bond Slave Version 2009 - "the profession of our FAITH", Conservative Bible 2011 - “Let us stay true to the declaration of OUR FAITH, unwavering, for He who promises is trustworthy.”, The Names of God Bible 2011 - “We must continue to hold firmly to OUR DECLARATION OF FAITH. The one who made the promise is faithful.”
and The Holy Bible, Modern English Version 2014 (by Military Bible Association) - "Let us firmly hold the profession of our FAITH without wavering, for He who promised is faithful." This translation is not just the KJB updated into modern English. It is a whole new translation.
The Conservative Bible 2010 - “Let us stay true to the declaration of OUR FAITH, unwavering, for He who promises is trustworthy.”
The Names of God Bible 2011 is a critical text version put out by Baker Publishing Group. It often rejects the texts used in the King James Bible, yet here they have translated the verse with the same meaning as that found in the King James Bible - "We must continue to hold firmly to our declaration of FAITH. The one who made the promise is faithful."
A few other modern English versions are very similar in meaning to the King James Bible reading. These include the 2004 The Holy New Covenant translation by Thomas Hackett. It says: “Let us hold tightly to the hope we said we BELIEVED IN”, the Context Group Version 2007 with “Let us hold fast the confession of OUR ABIDING CONFIDENCE".
The Translator's Bible 2014 reads: "We must unwaveringly keep professing WHAT WE BELIEVE"
And The Worldwide English N.T. 1998 reads: “We must hold onto God’s promise that we have said WE BELIEVE.”
Another English version that has translated this word as Faith in Hebrews 10:23 is Webster's 1833 translation. Webster knew some 15 different languages including Hebrew and Greek, and he made his own translation of the Bible in 1833. He changed the wording of the KJB in many places, but he left the word Faith here in Hebrews 10:23.
In addition to this, we also have the more modern translations of the KJV 21st Century Version 1994 and the Third Millennium Bible of 1998 and both of these also have elpis as Faith in Hebrews 10:23.
J.P. Green's Modern KJV 1998 and the King James 2000 translations also read "the profession of our FAITH".
God's Word Translation 1995 says: "We must continue to hold firmly to OUR DECLARATION OF FAITH."
The Context Group Version 2007 (Joseph Morovich) reads: "Let us hold fast the confession of OUR ABIDING CONFIDENCE that it not waver; for he is trustworthy that promised."
The Resurrection Life New Testament 2005 (Vince Garcia) - “Let us hold fast to the profession of OUR CONFIDENCE without wavering, for He who promised us is faithful.”
Foreign Language Bibles
There are several foreign language translations that have the same reading of “faith” like the King James Bible. Among these are the Spanish Cipriano de Valera 1602 Purificada 2016 edition, the Reina Valera Antigua Versión 1909 - Hebrews 10:23 Mantengamos firme la profesión de nuestra FE sin fluctuar; que fiel es el que prometió.”, the Spanish Valera Nuevo Testamento of 1858, the Spanish Dios Habla Hoy 1996 by United Bible Society is similar with - “Mantengámonos firmes, sin dudar, en la esperanza de la FE que profesamos.” = "Let hold ourselves firm, without doubting, in the hope of THE FAITH that we profess".
Likewise the Italian La Parola e Vita (The Word of Life) done in 1997 reads just like the King James Bible - “Rimaniamo fermi nel dichiarare LA NOSTRA FEDE”
There is also a modern Italian paraphrase called La Biblia della Gioia of 2006 and it says "E continuiamo a credere" = "Let us continue TO BELIEVE"
The Romanian Fidela Bible of 2014 also reads this way, saying: "Sa tinem strans marturisirea credintei noastre" = "take hold fast of the confession of our FAITH".
This Spanish version called Dios Habla Hoy of 1996 is interesting in that it reads - "Mantengámonos firmes, sin dudar, en la esperanza de la FE que profesamos, porque Dios cumplirá la promesa que nos ha hecho." = Let us hold firm, without doubting, the hope of the FAITH that we profess..."
You can see it here - http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews%2010:23&version=DHH
I also have a hard copy of a fairly recent Catholic Spanish Bible called Santa Biblia Versión Popular Segunda Edición copyright 1983. It is put out by the Sociedad Bíblica Americana (American Bible Society, New York). It reads: "Mantengámonos firmes, sin dudar, en la esperanza de LA FE que profesamos, porque Dios cumplirá la promesa que ha hecho." = Let us maintain ourselves, without doubting, in the hope of THE FAITH that we profess, because God will fulfill the promise he has made to us."
There is also this Modern Portuguese Easy to Read Version of 1999 reads: "Vamos seguir firmes e sem vacilar na esperança da nossa fé, pois aquele que fez a promessa é fiel." = Let us hold firm without wavering the hope of our FAITH..."
The 2004-2010 Spanish Reina Valera Gómez translation can be seen online at this site. It is a very accurate modern day Spanish translation.
Hebrews 10:23 reads exactly like the King James Bible with: “Mantengamos firme, sin fluctuar, la profesión de nuestra FE; que fiel es el que prometió” = "let us hold fast the profession or OUR FAITH"
The 2001 Russian Slovo Zhizny (Holy Bible, New Russian Translation) Copyright © 2006 by Biblica, Inc is interesting in that it says - " Будем непоколебимо держаться исповедания веры, которая дает надежду" = "We will unswervingly hold fast THE CONFESSION OF FAITH that gives hope"
Likewise the Ukranian Easy to Read Version of 2007 says: - Будьмо непохитні в тій надії, яку ми маємо, завжди навчаючи інших= "Let us be steadfast in THE BELIEF that we are always teaching others"
The Romanian Fidela Bible 2014 - “Să ţinem strâns mărturisirea CREDINTEI NOASTRE, fără clătinare; (căci credincios este cel ce a promis)” - “OUR FAITH”
Even the same people who put out the NIV, the International Bible Society, have recently translated the 1997 Italian version called La Parola é Vita, and it reads just like the King James Bible. It says: "Rimaniamo fermi nel dichiarare LA NOSTRA FEDE (our faith) , senza vacillare, perché fedele è colui che ha fatto le promesse."
Adam Clarke's commentary is interesting in that, though he disagrees with the reading "the profession of our FAITH", yet he acknowledges that this is the reading in "one of the Barberini MSS. and two others", but perhaps more significantly, when he actually expounds upon the meaning of the verse, he himself uses the word "faith" three times, and "hope" not at all.
Adam Clarke comments (CAPS are mine) "The word omologia, from omou, together, and logos, a word, implies that general consent that was among Christians on all the important articles of their FAITH and practice; particularly their acknowledgment of THE TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL, and of Jesus Christ, as the only victim for sin, and the only Saviour from it. If the word washed above refer to Christian baptism in the case of adults, then THE PROFESSION is that which the baptized then made OF THEIR FAITH in the Gospel; and of their determination to live and die in that FAITH."
Several other Bible commentators agree with the reading as found in the KJB.
Matthew Henry, when commenting on this passage made no attempt to "correct" the KJB but rather said this verse means: "the duty itself - to hold fast the profession of OUR FAITH, to embrace all the truths and ways of the gospel, to get fast hold on them, and to keep that hold against all temptation and opposition."
John Owen (1616-1683), the great Puritan church leader, academic administrator at the University of Oxford, theologian and commentator, in his massive commentary of the book of Hebrews quotes Hebrews 10:23 just as it stands in the King James Bible -"Let us hold fast the profession of our FAITH without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised)" and then he comments: "Some copies read the “profession of our hope;” which the Vulgar follows, “the profession of the hope that is in us:” and so it may have a respect unto the exhortation used by the apostle, Hebrews 3:6. And it will come unto the same with our reading of it; for on our faith our hope is built, and is an eminent fruit thereof. Wherefore holding fast our hope, includes in it the holding fast of our faith, as the cause is in the effect, and the building in the foundation. But I prefer the other reading, as that which is more suited unto the design of the apostle, and his following discourse; and which his following confirmations of this exhortation do directly require, and which is the proper subject of our “profession.” “FAITH" IS HERE TAKEN IN BOTH THE PRINCIPAL ACCEPTATIONS OF IT, NAMELY, THAT FAITH WHEREBY WE BELIEVE, AND THE FAITH OR DOCTRINE WHICH WE DO BELIEVE. OF BOTH WHICH WE MAKE THE SAME PROFESSION; of one as the inward principle, of the other as the outward rule."
Jamieson, Fausset and Brown say the word is elpis or hope but remark "our hope, WHICH IS INDEED FAITH EXERCISED AS TO THE FUTURE INHERITANCE."
John Calvin remarks on this passage: "He requires also profession or confession, for it is not true FAITH except it shows itself before men...But we ought carefully to notice the reason which he subjoins, for he is faithful that promised. For we hence first learn, that our FAITH rests on this foundation, that God is true, that is, true to his promise, which his word contains; for that we may BELIEVE, the voice or word of God must precede; but it is not every kind of word that is capable of producing FAITH; a promise alone is that on which FAITH depends. And so from this passage we may learn the mutual relation between the FAITH of men and the promise of God; for except God promises, no one can BELIEVE."
John Gill - In his commentary on Hebrews 10:23 he makes no comment correcting the reading of the KJB's "the profession of our Faith" but rather defines faith here as being "faith - either in the grace or doctrine of faith, or in the profession of both."
John Owen again comments on Hebrews 10:23 - “Let us hold fast the profession of our FAITH without wavering: For He is faithful that promised" (verse 23). There is some uncertainty as to the Greek here: some manuscripts having "faith" others "hope"; the R.V. has "the confession of our (the) hope." IT SEEMS TO US THAT THE A.V. IS TO BE PREFERRED, for while it is true that if we adopt the alternative, we then have "faith" verse 22, "hope" in verse 23, and "love" in verse 24, yet this is more than offset by the weighty fact that perseverance in the faith is the theme which is steadily followed by the apostle not only throughout the remainder of this 10th chapter, but also throughout the 11th.”
Barne’s Notes on the New Testament - Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering -”... the apostle adds that they should hold fast the profession of their FAITH without being shaken by their trials, or by the arguments of their enemies. We have the same inducement to hold fast the profession of our FAITH - for it is the same religion still; we have the same Saviour, and there is held out to us still the same prospect of heaven.”
Lancelot Andrewes was one of the King James Bible translators. In a devotional book he commented on Hebrews 10:23. http://books.google.com/books?id=-ewDAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA65 The heart by Lancelot Andrewes
Hebrews 10:23 - "Grant me always to hold fast the profession of my FAITH without wavering; For thou art faithful who hast promised. To this hope set before me."
Charles H. Spurgeon on Hebrews 10:23 - "Let us holdfast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) As he is faithful, let us also be faithful, and hold, as with a death grip, the faith which has been revealed to us and wrought within us by the Holy Spirit; ay, and the profession of that faith too, never being ashamed to own that we are followers of the Nazarene. And let us while we are thus faithful ourselves, endeavor to strengthen others."
I think it is a bit hypocritical of those who criticize the KJB for rendering this word as Faith here in Hebrews 10, yet all other times as Hope. The new versions likewise do many similar things in their translations. For example, the word Faith itself.
The Greek word for faith is pistis and most of the time the modern versions like the NASB, NIV, ESV, Holman, NKJV translate this word as Faith. Yet they translate this same word as Pledge only one time in I Timothy 5:12 and only one time as Proof, or Assurance (ESV) in Acts 17:31.
Wouldn't they also be wrong then for departing from the usual sense of the word and translating it this way? We can easily see that Proof, Pledge, Assurance and Faith are not at all the same things in English, yet words have different shades of meaning depending upon the context.
In Summary, we see that the evidence for the KJB being correct, or at the very least, not in error for translating elpis as Faith in Hebrews 10:23 are # 1 - the Lexicons of Liddell and Scott, and that of Kittlel
# 2 - other translations both foreign and in English - the Spanish Reina Valera of 1602, and 1858, Dios Habla Hoy 1996, the 1997 Italian version put out by the International Bible Society, the Portuguese Easy to Read Version of 1999, Russian and Ukranian translations, Webster's 1833 translations, The Book of the New Covenant of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ done in 1836 by Granville Penn, "The New Testament Translated from the Original Greek" done in 1858 by Leiester Sawyer; Whiston's Primitive New Testament 1745, An Exposition of the New Testament by William Gilpin in 1790, the 2001 Urim-Thummin Version by Dallas James, the Heritage Bible by Gwin Turner done in 2003, God’s Word to the Nations 1995, the KJV 21st Century version 1994, Green's 2000 MKJV, the King James 2000, the Third Millenium Bible 1998 and the Names of God Bible 2011 and the Conservative Bible 2011- “Let us stay true to the declaration of our FAITH, unwavering, for He who promises is trustworthy.”
# 3 - many commentaries make no attempt to change the reading of the King James Bible but rather expound it accurately just as it stands with the reading: "the profession of our Faith". In fact, John Owen comes right out and says it is the better translation in the context.
The context shows that Faith is the better choice here than Hope. The context is the once for all sacrifice of our Lord, the remission of our sins and no more offering to be made for sins. In holding fast the profession (what we speak and affirm) of our faith, is it more accurate to say "I hope I am forgiven", or "I believe (have faith) that I am forgiven"?
I believe God guided the KJB translators in giving the proper sense of this word "elpis" as being contextually equivalent to "faith, or what we trust in and confess before others.
The King James Bible is God's complete and infallible words. Don't let misguided Bible correctors like James White turn you into another Bible agnostic who does not have an infallible Bible to believe in like he is.
All of grace, believing The Book - the King James Holy Bible,
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