Testimonies about Bible Translations by past leaders of Bible Christianity

Topic:  Bible Translations Type:   Articles Author: C. H. Spurgeon

C. H. Spurgeon
June 19, 1834—January 31, 1892


June 19th, 1881
He has sent Me to bind up the broken hearted [ISA 61:1]

This text receives great luster [great fame] from the fact that it was one of the passages which the Savior read when he entered into the synagogue at Nazareth and preached on the Sabbath day. It is as fresh as ever, and we may still say of it, This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears. It is no small privilege that we poor under-shepherds should be permitted to take the same text as that great Shepherd of the sheep. Our care must be to point to him in it. I intended to have preached these words in Luke 4:18, but when I looked at the Revised Version and found that the words were not there at all I was somewhat startled. I began to ask whether the omission was a correct one or not; and, without making pretence to scholarship, I feel convinced that the revisers are acting honestly in leaving it out. It was not in the original manuscript of Luke, but probably some pious person added it with the intention of making the quotation more complete. Whatever the intention may have been, and however natural the added words may appear, it is a pity that the unknown brother ventured to improve that which was perfect from the beginning. After revolving in my mind the fact, which I accept, that the passage was not written by Luke in his record, I have, I think, discovered the reason. When our Savior unrolled the Book of Isaiah he read from it; but we are not certain that he read any one passage through. According to the Jewish law it was allowed in the prophets for the reader in the synagogue to skip, as we call it, to make selections, and read here a passage and there a passage, as he aimed at bringing out his subject As the words are given in our Authorized Version you will notice that the portion of Scripture is not exactly like the prophetic words in Isaiah 61, and that one sentence at least must have been taken from another part of the prophetic book. The Savior did read from Isaiah 61, but he also quoted other portions of Isaiah, probably taking a verse here and a verse there, and blending them in one just as sometimes when I wish to give you a connected narrative I read on in a chapter, say to verse eight, and then miss a piece to verse sixteen, and again run on to verse twenty-four, and miss a few verses again. The Savior gave a résumé of texts which stood near each other upon the roll, and Luke records those upon which our Lord dwelt in his sermon.

"But," say you, "why, then, if it be so, did he omit the words which describe him as sent ‘to bind up the broken-hearted’?" It may possibly have been his intention to leave out all allusion to healing. They were all looking out for him to work miracles of healing that day, and, therefore, he either omitted the sentence for the moment or else he did not dwell upon it; for I take it that Luke is not giving us exactly the Scripture, but the sense of it, and those points in the Scripture upon which the Savior enlarged. He probably gives us notes of those sentences which were both read and expounded, and the Lord may have purposely refused to expound even if he read the sentence before us: He has sent Me to bind up the broken hearted. I say they were looking to him to work miracles of healing, and he did not mean to gratify them. We are told that "he could not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief." He did not intend to exhibit himself as a mere wonder-worker, and hence but lightly touched upon the sentence about healing till further on, when he saw, as he read their hearts, that they noticed the omission, and he therefore said to them, "Ye will surely say, Physician, heal thyself,"–which, being paraphrased, may run thus,–"You either did not read that passage, or else you lightly treated it, and yet a part of the Messiah’s business is to heal the sick."

He perceived that by his own silence he had called their attention to the Scripture, and that they were ready to quote it against him by the challenge, "Physician, heal thyself. Do for your own family and city what you are said to have done at Capernaum." Our Lord paid no attention to claims based upon his dwelling in the place, for he knows no claim but that of mercy. He intended to exercise his sovereignty, and therefore he reminded them that healing was not sent to the lepers that were in Israel, but was sent only to Naaman, who had nothing to do with Israel, but was one of that Syrian nation which opposed and oppressed Israel.

Possibly he gave them nothing about healing that day, because he knew that they were not broken-hearted. He who reads men’s hearts knew that they were captives to their unbelief, blinded by prejudice, and fettered by sin, and therefore he said, He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are bruised, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord; but the tenderest part of the gospel being inapplicable to their case, he would not mention it in their hearing at that time. He would not cast it like a pearl before swine; but reserved it until they should lament their sin and adopt another mood. This, it strikes me, is the reason why the passage is not mentioned in the original gospel of Luke; and, if so, the omission is most instructive. Take heed lest you also should miss the sweetest word of the gospel through being in an unfit state to receive it.

Concerning the fact of difference between the Revised and the Authorized Versions, I would say that no Baptist should ever fear any honest attempt to produce the correct text, and an accurate interpretation of the Old and New Testaments. For many years Baptists have insisted upon it that we ought to have the Word of God translated in the best possible manner, whether it would confirm certain religious opinions and practices, or work against them. All we want is the exact mind of the Spirit, as far as we can get it. Beyond all other Christians we are concerned in this, seeing we have no other sacred book; we have no prayer book or binding creed, or authoritative minutes of conference; we have nothing but the Bible; and we would have that as pure as ever we can get it. By the best and most honest scholarship that can be found we desire that the common version may be purged of every blunder of transcribers, or addition of human ignorance, or human knowledge, that so the word of God may come to us as it came from his own hand. I confess that it looks a grievous thing to part with words which we thought were part and parcel of Luke; but as they are not in the oldest copies, and must be given up, we will make capital out of their omission, by seeing in that fact the wisdom of the great Preacher, who did not speak upon cheering truths when they were not needed, and might have overlaid his seasonable rebuke.

Although we have not the sentence in Luke we have it in Isaiah, and that is quite enough for me. Indeed, if it were not in Isaiah, it is yet in other parts of the word. Its meaning pervades the Bible: it is the very genius and spirit of the Old and New Testaments, that the Messiah is sent to heal the broken hearted. The gospel comes that the miseries of men may be relieved, that the despair of the troubled may be cheered, and that joy may glitter on all sides like the dew of the morning when the sun arises.

I pray that the commission of Jesus Christ may be fulfilled this day to all the broken-hearted ones to whom the word of this message shall come. I hope there are none here who claim a right to healing; for, if so, the Lord will not listen to them. He will do as he wills with his own; for it is written, "He will have mercy on whom he will have mercy." The men of Nazareth claimed it in the synagogue that day, because he had lived among them, and so Jesus did not speak of healing them. Jesus gives freely, but if any man demands anything of him as his due, he is jealous for his crown rights, and will pay no regard to such insulting demands. His healing work is not of debt, but of grace; not granted to presumptuous demands, but frankly bestowed as a free gift.

Spurgeon, C. H., The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit. Sermons Preached and Revised during the year 1881

Bob Jones, Jr. William B. Riley James M. Gray

Louis Gaussen

R. A. Torrey Charles H. Spurgeon
John Gill

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This Page Last Updated: 12/09/98 A. Allison Lewis aalewis@christianbeliefs.org