Review: B. F. Westcott, The 'Failure' of the Revised Version,
in The Expository Times, Vol. III,9 (1891), p. 395 fwd
Review: - Stuff:
Introduction: Westcott's belief in the purity of translation
Hort's Greek Text: Westcott distances himself from Hort
Old Testament Revision: Westcott explains away the different results
Literal Translation: the purpose of Revisors
Example from Burgon: Westcott's rendering is better than AV
Revision was Consistent: sinister predictions
The KJ (Authorized) Version: was not at first accepted
The Revised Version: still supported by Westcott
(The following text is from the 1911 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica)
WESTCOTT, BROOKE FOSS (January 12, 1825 - July 27, 1901), English divine and bishop of Durham, was born on the 12th of January 1825 in the neighborhood of Birmingham. His father, Frederick Brooke Westcott, was a botanist of some distinction. Westcott was educated at King Edward VI. school, Birmingham, under James Prince Lee, where he formed his friendship with Joseph Barber Lightfoot (q.v.). In 1844 Westcott obtained a scholarship at Trinity College, Cambridge. He took Sir William Brownes medal for a Greek ode in 1846 and 1847, the Members Prize for a Latin essay in 1847 as an undergraduate and in 1849 as a bachelor. He took his degree in January 1848, obtaining double-first honors. In mathematics he was twenty-fourth wrangler, Isaac Todhunter being senior. In classics he was senior, being bracketed with C. B. Scott, afterwards headmaster of Westminster. After obtaining his degree, Westcott remained for four years in residence at Trinity. In 1849 he obtained his fellowship; and in the same year he was ordained deacon and priest by his old headmaster, Prince Lee, now bishop of Manchester. The time spent at Cambridge was devoted to most strenuous study. He took pupils; and among his pupils there were reading with him, almost at the same time, his school friend Lightfoot and two other men who became his attached and lifelong friends, E. W. Benson and F. J. A. Hort (qq.v). The inspiring influence of Westcotts intense enthusiasm left its mark upon these three distinguished men; they regarded him not only as their friend and counsellor, but as in an especial degree their teacher and oracle. He devoted much attention to philosophical, patristic and historical studies, but it soon became evident that he wotild throw his strength into New Testament work. In 1851 he published his Norrisian prize essay with the title Elements of the Gospel Harmony .
In 1852 he became an assistant master at Harrow, and soon afterwards he married Miss Whithard. He prosecuted his school work with characteristic vigour, and succeeded in combining with his school duties an enormous amount both of theological research and of literary activity. He worked at Harrow for nearly twenty years under Dr C. J. Vaughan and Dr Montagu Butler, but while he was always conspicuously successful in inspiring a few senior boys with something of his own intellectual and moral enthusiasm, he was never in the same measure capable of maintaining discipline among large numbers. The writings which he produced at this period created a new epoch in the history of modern English theological scholarship. In 1855 he published the first edition of his History of the New Testament Canon, which, frequently revised and expanded, became the standard English work upon the subject. In 1859 there appeared his Characteristics of the Gospel Miracles.
In 1860 he expanded his Norrisian essay into an Introduction to the Study of the Gospels, a work remarkable for insight and minuteness of study, as well as for reverential treatment combined with considerable freedom from traditional lines. Westcotts work for Smiths Dictionary of the Bible, notably his articles on "Canon", "Maccabees", "Vulgate", entailed most careful and thorough preparation, and led to the composition of his subsequent valuable popular books, The Bible in the Church (1864) and a History of the English Bible (1869). To the same period belongs The Gospel of the Resurrection (1866). As a piece of consecutive reasoning upon a fundamental Christian doctrine it deservedly attracted great attention. Its width of view and its recognition of the claims of historical science and pure reason were thoroughly characteristic of Westcotts mode of discussing a theological question. At the time when the book appeared his method of apologetic showed both courage and originality, but the excellence of the work is impaired by the difficulty of the style.
In 1865 he took his B.D., and in 1870 his D.D. He received in later years the honorary degrees of DC.L. from Oxford (1881) and of D.D. from Edinburgh (1883). In 1868 Westcott was appointed examining chaplain by Bishop Connor Magee (of Peterborough); and in the following year he accepted a canonry at Peterborough, which necessitated his leaving Harrow. For a time he contemplated with eagerness the idea of a renovated cathedral life, devoted to the pursuit of learning and to the development of opportunities for the religious and intellectual benefit of the diocese. But the regius professorship of divinity at Cambridge fell vacant, and Lightfoot, who was then Hulsean professor, declining to become a candidate himself, insisted upon Westcotts standing for the post. It was due to Lightfoots support almost as much as to his own great merits that Westcott was elected to the chair on the 1st of November 1870.
This was the turning-point of his life. He now occupied a great position for which he was supremely fitted, and at a juncture in the reform of university studies when a theologian of liberal views, but universally respected for his massive learning and his devout and single-minded character, would enjoy a unique opportunity for usefulness. Supported by his friends Lightfoot and Hort, he threw himself into the new work with extraordinary energy. He deliberately sacrificed many of the social privileges of a university career in order that his studies might be more continuous and that he might see more of the younger men. His lectures were generally on Biblical subjects. His Commentaries on St Johns Gospel (1881), on the Epistle to the Hebrews (1889) and the Epistles of St John (1883) resulted from his public lectures.
One of his most valuable works, The Gospel of Life (1892), a study of Christian doctrine, incorporated the materials upon which he was engaged in a series of more private and esoteric lectures delivered on week-day evenings. The work of lecturing was an intense strain to him, but its influence was immense: to attend one of Westcotts lectureseven to watch him lecturing--was an experience which lifted and solemnized many a man to whom the references to Origen or Rupert of Deutz were almost ludicrously unintelligible. Between the years 1870 and 1881 Westcott was also continually engaged in work for the revision of the New Testament, and, simultaneously, in the preparation of a new text in conjunction with Hort. The years in which Westcott, Lightfoot and Hort could thus meet frequently and naturally for the discussion of the work in which they were all three so deeply engrossed formed a happy and privileged period in their lives. In the year 1881 there appeared the famous Westcott and Hort text of the New Testament, upon which had been expended nearly thirty years of incessant labor. The reforms in the regulations for degrees in divinity, the formation and first revision of the new theological tripos, the inauguration of the Cambridge mission to Delhi, the institution of the Church Society (for the discussion of theological and ecclesiastical questions by the younger men), the meetings for the divinity faculty, the organization of the new Divinity School and Library and, later, the institution of the Cambridge Clergy Training School, were all, in a very real degree, the result of Westcotts energy and influence as regius professor. To this list should also be added the Oxford and Cambridge preliminary examination for candidates for holy orders, with which he was from the first most closely identified. The success of this very useful sche.ne was due chiefly to his sedulous interest and help.
The departure of Lightfoot to the see of Durham in 1879 was a great blow to Westcott. Nevertheless it resulted in bringing him into still greater prominence. He was compelled to take the lead in matters where Lightfoots more practical nature had previously been predominant. In 1883 Westcott was elected to a professorial fellowship at Kings. Shortly afterwards, having previously resigned his canonry at Peterborough, he was appointed by the crown to a canonry at Westminster, and accepted the position of examining chaplain to Archbishop Benson. His little edition of the Paragraph Psalter (1879), arranged for the use of choirs, and his admirable lectures on the Apostles Creed, entitled Historic Faith (1883), are reminiscences of his vacations spent at Peterborough. He held his canonry at Westminster in conjunction with the regius professorship. The strain of the joint work was very heavy, and the intensity of the interest and study which he brought to bear upon his share in the labors of the Ecclesiastical Courts Commission, of which he had been appointed a member, added to his burden.
Preaching at the Abbey gave him a valued opportunity of dealing with social questions. His sermons were generally portions of a series; and to this period belong the volumes Christus Consummator (1886) and Social Aspects of Christianity (1887).
In March 1890 he was nominated to the see of Durham, there to follow in the steps of his beloved friend Lightfoot, who had died in December 1889. He was consecrated on the 1st of May at Westminster Abbey by Archbishop Thompson (of York), Hort being the preacher, and enthroned at Durham cathedral on the 15th of May. The change of work and surroundings could hardly have been greater. But the sudden immersion in the practical administration of a northern diocese gave him new strength. He surprised the world, which had supposed him to be a recluse and a mystic, by the practical interest he took in the mining population of Durham and in the great shipping and artisan industries of Sunderland and Gateshead. Upon one famous occasion in 1892 he succeeded in bringing to a peaceful solution a long and bitter strike which had divided the masters and men in the Durham collieries; and his success was due to the confidence which he inspired by the extraordinary moral energy of his strangely prophetic personality, at once thoughtful, vehement and affectionate. His constant endeavour to call the attention of the Church to the religious aspect of social questions was a special note in his ptiblic utterances. He was a staunch supporter of the co-operative movement. He was practically the founder of the Christian Social Union. He continually insisted upon the necessity of promoting the cause of foreign missions, and he gladly gave four of his sons for the work of the Church in India. His energy was remarkable to the very end. But during the last two or three years of his life he aged considerably. His wife, who had been for some years an invalid, died rather suddenly on the 28th of May 1901, and he dedicated to her memory his last book, Lessons from Work (1901). He preached a farewell sermon to the miners in Durham cathedral at their annual festival on the 20th of July. Then came a short, sudden illness, and he passed away on the 27th of July.
Westcott was no narrow specialist. He had the keenest love of poetry, music and art. He was himself no mean draughtsman, and used often to say that if he had not taken orders he would have become an architect. His literary sympathies were wide. He would never tire of praising Euripides, while few men had given such minute study to the writings of Robert Browning. He followed with delight the development of natural science studies at Cambridge. He spared no pains to be accurate, or to widen the basis of his thought. Thus he devoted one summer vacation to the careful analysis of Comtes Politique positive. He studied assiduously The Sacred Books of the East, and earnestly contended that no systematic view of Christianity could afford to ignore the philosophy of other religions. The outside world was wont to regard him as a mystic; and the mystical, or sacramental, view of life enters, it is true, very largely into his teaching. He had in this respect many points of similarity with the Cambridge Platonists of the 17th century, and with F. D. Maurice, for whom he had profound regard. But in other respects he was very practical; and his strength of will, his learning and his force of character made him really masterful in influence wherever the subject under discussion was of serious moment. He was a strong supporter of Church reform, especially in the direction of obtaining larger powers for the laity.
He kept himself aloof from all party strife. He describes himself when he says,
"The student of Christian doctrine, because he strives after exactness of phrase, because he is conscious of the inadequacy of any one human formula to exhaust the truth, will be filled with sympathy for every genuine endeavour towards the embodiment of right opinion. Partial views attract and exist in virtue of the fragment of truthbe it great or smallwhich they include; and it is the work of the theologian to seize this no less than to detect the first spring of error. It is easier and, in one sense, it is more impressive to make a peremptory and exclusive statement, and to refuse to allow any place beside it to divergent expositions; but this show of clearness and power is dearly purchased at the cost of the ennobling conviction that the whole truth is far greater than our individual minds. He who believes that every judgment on. the highest matters different from his own is simply a heresy must have a mean idea of the faith; and while the qualifications, the reserve, the lingering sympathies of the real student make him in many cases a poor controversialist, it may be said that a mere controversialist cannot be a real theologian" (Lessons from Work, pp. 84-85).
His theological work was always distinguished by the place which he assigned to Divine Revelation in Holy Scripture and in the teaching of history. His own studies have largely contributed in England to the better understanding of the doctrines of the Resurrection and the Incarnation. His work in conjunction with Hort upon the Greek text of the New Testament will endure as one of the greatest achievements of English Biblical criticism. The principles which are explained in Horts introduction to the text had been arrived at after years of elaborate investigation and continual correspondence and discussion between the two friends. The place which it almost at once took among scientific scholars in Great Britain and throughout Europe was a recognition of the great advance which it represented in the use and classification of ancient authorities. His commentaries rank with Lightfoots as the best type of Biblical exegesis produced by the English Church in the I 9th century.
The following is a bibliography of Westcotts more important writings, giving the date of the first editions:
Elements of the Gospel Harmony (1851);
History of the Canon of First Four Centuries (1853);
Characteristics of Gospel Miracles (1859);
Introduction to the Study of the Gospels (1860);
The Bible in the Church (1864);
The Gospel of the Resurrection (1866);
Christian Life Manifold and One (1869);
Some Points in the Religious Life of the Universities (1873);
Paragraph Psalter for the Use of Choirs (1879);
Commentary on the Gospel of St John (1881);
Commentary on the Epistles of St John (1883);
Revelation of the Risen Lord (1882);
Revelation of the Father (1884);
Some Thoughts from the Ordinal (1884);
Christus Consummator (1886);
Social Aspects of Christianity (1887);
The Victory of the Cross: Sermons in Holy Week (1888);
Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews (1889);
From Strength to Strength (1890); Gospel of Life (1892);
The Incarnation and Common Life (1893);
Some Lessons of the Revised Version of the New Testament (1897);
Christian Aspects of Life (1897); Lessons from Work (1901).
Lives by his son B. F. Westcott (903), and by J. Clayton (1906).
- Encyclopedia Brittanicca
Here is some background on Hort, the mastermind behind the Greek text underlying the Revised Version.
F.J.A. Hort - (1828-1892), English New Testament scholar Fenton John Anthony Hort was born in Dublin, Ireland. He was educated at Rugby, and then Trinity College, Cambridge, becoming a fellow in 1852. He became Huslean Professor of Divinity at Cambridge. He taught most of his life there and became closely associated with two other famous Cambridge scholars, J. B.Lightfoot and B. E Westcott. There is little doubt that Hort was the greatest genius in the Cambridge school.
Hort is most known for his work in New Testament textual criticism and for purporting the theory that Codex Vaticanus and the Codex Sinaiticus (along with a few other early manuscripts) represented a text that most closely replicated the original writing. Hort called this text the Neutral Text (According to his studies, the Neutral Text described certain manuscripts that had the least amount of textual corruption ) This is the text that Hort, together with his friend B. F. Westcott, relied upon for compiling their edition called The New Testament in the Original Greek-a work they took twenty- eight years to complete.
Hort, with his friends B. F. Westcott and J. B. Lightfoot, had planned to collaborate in writing a commentary on all the books of the New Testament, but they did not realize their collective goal. Lightfoot completed commentaries on some Pauline Epistles; Westcott completed his work on Hebrews, John, and the Epistles of John; but Hort did not complete any books before he died because he was occupied with producing the English Revised Version and was known to be a perfectionist. However, after his death, it was discovered that he had written on James and 1 Peter. A dozen of Hort's works were published posthumously; some of these works incude Judaistic Christianity (1894,) The Christian Ecclesia (1897), and his Hulsean Lectures of 1871, which dealt with philosophical theology.
Hort's most influential work was his Introduction to The New Testament in the Original Greek (1882), wherein Hort detailed the critical principles that he and Westcott followed in making their edition of the Greek New Testament. Another monograph, Two Dissertations (1876), defends the reading "only God" in John 1:18, a reading that appears in the earliest Greek manuscripts.
Hort was more than a brilliant scholar- he was also an involved churchman. He was particularly interested in social issues and supported the work of E D. Maurice and Charles Kingsley, both leaders in the British social gospel movement. Nevertheless, Kingsley's own theological position was conservative.
Ten years after its release, and its virtual rejection by the English public and simultaneous acceptance by academia, Westcott looks back with mixed feelings, and perhaps rose-coloured glasses.
Most significantly, he distances himself from the critical Greek text and recommendations of F. J. A Hort.
It is most remarkable and tragic that on the one hand Westcott publicly acknowledges that many drastic alterations in the text pushed by Hort and the Revision Committee were wrong, and yet at the same time, he feels that this grim mutilation of the Holy Scriptures is acceptable because it is 'overridden' by the excellence of the literal translation of the rest of the text.
Taken from: The Expository Review, Vol III, 9 (1891)
Headings have been added for clarity and navigation purposes.
THE 'FAILURE' OF THE REVISED VERSION *
By the Right Rev. B. F. Westcott, D.D., D.C.L., Bishop of Durham.
(* The Bishop of Durham has sent us the following
corrected report of his recent speech in Convocation. )
It is natural that I should say a few words upon the resolution which has been brought before us, though the Bishop of Wakefield has rightly anticipated my judgment. It was my privilege to spend a considerable part of the ten most vigorous years of my life upon the revision of the New Testament.
No one can know better than I do the imperfections and the inequalities of the work. I could criticise it more thoroughly, I think, than many of its critics. But when account is taken of every fault, I cannot but regard the result of that period of anxious labour with the deepest satisfaction and thankfulness.
The Revision has brought, as I believe, the words and thoughts of the Apostles before English people with a purity and exactness never attained before. I have no intention of following the Bishop of Wakefield into the mass of details which he has brought before us in his paper. This is not the place, I think, for doing so, and I have considered them elsewhere with adequate illustrations. I will only say that few of the "trivial and unnecessary" changes which have been recited would arrest the attention of hearers or readers, as I know by actual experience ; and every change, even the least, admits of an explana- tion on an intelligible principle if there were time for discussion here.
Westcott Distances Himself from Greek Text of Hort (!)
Nor again do I wish to speak of the revised text which underlies the Revised Version.
I must, however, emphatically decline to accept the title which has been given me as "one of the editors of the text." I certainly have paid some attention to textual criticism, and I have very distinct opinions as to the special problems offered by the text of the New Testament ; but the text of the Revisers does not represent the peculiarities of my own personal opinion.
The variations from the received text which the Revisers adopted, for they did not form any continuous text, are, speaking generally, those on which all scholars who think that the text of the apostolic writings must be dealt with on the same critical principles as classical texts would substan- tially agree.
Again and again I declined to propose or to support a change of reading which I held myself to be unquestionably true, because it was not recommended by that general consensus of scholars which I felt bound to seek in loyal obedience to my commission.
The Drastic Difference between OT and NT Revisers
Perhaps I may be allowed to add one other remark before I touch on the main subject of the resolution. A contrast is frequently made, as we have heard just now, between the extent of change made by the Revisers of the Old and New Testaments, and even as to the fidelity with which they followed their instructions. The contrast is, unless my observation is at fault, illusory. Critics commonly forget that there are practically no various readings in the Old Testament, and very few parallel texts. If we take away the changes in the New Testament due to changes of reading and parallelisms of language, the alleged disproportion will cease to exist. At least I can say that every kind of change which has aroused antagonism in the revised New Testament is found, and is found most rightly, in the revised Old Testament. But changes in the one are more obvious than changes in the other.
English Translation 'Literal', not Elegant
If now I turn to the general character of the revision of the New Testament, which is the main question before us, I think that I may say that the one desire of the Revisers was to give the most exact and faithful rendering they could of the text before them. In this they followed the aim and the pattern of their predecessors, whose style and vocabulary and rhythm they strove to preserve with the most scrupulous care, and not, I think, wholly without success ; for I remember well that when some change was proposed at our third revision in the printed text which was then before us, a pathetic plea was urged " that we should not disturb the exquisite language of the old version," which only dated in fact from the first revision, six or seven years before. But fidelity, as the Bishop of Manchester has pointed out, required a strict adherence to definite principles. It was not for us to decide by any arbitrary and varying judgment on the importance of changes. Our duty was to place the English reader as nearly as possible in the position of the reader of the original text.
It was not for us to leave or to introduce differences or identities in the English which were not in the Greek : to hide parallelisms in cognate narratives, or to create them. Patient students of the New Testament will, I think, agree that they have not found any commentary so fruitful as a concordance, and our desire was to enable the English student to use his concordance with like effect. It was no wonder, then, if on thorough many-sided investigations 75 changes grew to 127. Unexpected parallelisms or variations of language had to be noticed. Corresponding phrases had to be con- sidered. Minute variations of order had to be noticed.
These, it is said, are trivialities. Let me at once say that I do not presume to say so. In them- selves, taken separately, they may be ; but they are not trivialities as links in a chain; they are not trivialities as faithful applications of an acknowledged principle. The spelling of a name — Colossse or Colassae — may give important testimony.
In any case our opinion as to what is important differs very widely. To my mind some of the trivialities which have been quoted are full of teaching to the simple reader, if only he will seek for the answer to the question which they suggest.
Let me give three simple examples to illustrate my meaning. The newspapers gave most kindly attention, to the Revision on the day after its publication. One change, I remember, called out pretty general condemnation. "The two thieves had become,'' so the critics said, "two robbers. What lamentable pedantry. What good can come of it ? " What good ?
Were we to say, " Now Barabbas was a thief "? Were we to obscure the significant trait which indicated the social state of Palestine ? Were we to destroy the tragic contrast between the lawless violence of the brigand and the self-surrender of the true King ? Were we to put out of sight, as far as we could, the false spirit which was betrayed by " the people's choice"?
Whatever critics might say, the translators' obligation was clear, and now perhaps it is acknowledged. No doubt the use of the preposition " in," to which the Bishop of Wakefield has referred, is often unexpected. It corresponds with a mode of viewing things which is not our own, and therefore may be, I will venture to say, of greater moment to us.
No one, I imagine, will propose to alter the familiar phrase, " In Him we live, and move, and have our being." No one will say that "through Him" would be a better rendering. And if so, I am at a loss to understand how any one can hold that it is a matter of indifference whether we say " In Him were all things created" or "by Him." Have we a right to limit a divine relation? Is it again a matter of indifference whether we say "the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus" or "through Christ Jesus"? To me, I confess, it makes a fundamental difference in the whole conception of Christianity whether we regard life as something which Christ has won for us apart from Himself, or something which is absolutely bound up with Himself, and only realised in vital fellowship with Him. And I shall hold ten years of my life well spent if I have been enabled to help in any degree in bringing this thought home to English-speaking people in years to come.
The phrase represents, if you please, a Hebrew idiom — a Hebrew mode of conception. What then? It was the mode of conception which God was pleased to choose for conveying His truth to the world. Let it, then, be carefully guarded Let it be faithfully rendered. Let it be offered to our common people, that they may, by patient reflection, grasp the fulness of the lesson.
An Example from Dean Burgon's Critique
Let me give yet one other illustration. Dean Burgon, I am told, made himself very merry over the rendering (in 2 Peter i. 7), "adding, in your love of the brethren, love." I am not aware that he took any trouble to understand it. It was enough that beautiful music was spoiled. I say nothing as to the music of the revised rendering, but I do say that the rendering gives us the characteristic truth of Christian morality. I do say that it sets out plainly what was put out of sight before, that love, the feeling of man for man as man, finds, and can only find, its true foundation in the feeling of Christian for Christian, realised in and through the Incarnation of the Word. And I cannot understand how any faithful translator, yielding to charm of rhythm or old associations, could dare to hide from his countrymen the lesson which he had himself once learned.
Such illustrations, and they could be multiplied indefinitely, will, I hope, throw some light on the problems, subtle and far-reaching in their applications, which were continually forcing themselves upon the attention of the Revisers in the progress of their work. So it was borne in upon them that their one aim should be to give English readers, as far as might be, the very words of the apostles. "Read his own words," was the bidding of Arch- bishop Whately, in the agony of his last illness, to his chaplain, who read to him the phrase, " Who shall change our vile body." "Read his own words ; " and we can feel that if " the body of His humiliation " is a Hebrew idiom, it is one pregnant with meaning for us. Does the title " the Son of His love" add nothing to the words "His dear Son ? "
Is "the gospel of the glory of the blessed God" quite the same as "the glorious gospel"? I venture then to say that the selection of changes judged to be important would involve a complete sacrifice of the fundamental principle of fidelity to which the Revisers were pledged.
The Revision is Consistent
Such a selection is also undesirable. The Revision stands, as a whole, executed, with whatever imperfections it may have, on clear and definite lines. As a whole, it ought to be dealt with and judged. Minor changes justify greater. Greater changes throw light upon minor.
Let the whole have time to produce its full effect, and I have no fear for the issue.
A review is said to have killed it. I can see no signs of death.
Its influence — I speak of the New Testament only — spreads silently and surely on every side.
I rarely hear a sermon in which it is not quoted. It is read publicly, and welcomed, as I have been told, in some churches.
There are, I imagine, few Bible classes and schools in which it is not habitually used.
The acceptance which it has received has been beyond my expectation, and, as I believe, beyond the acceptance of the Revision of 1611 in the same time. A distinguished Dean of the seventeenth century said, as we remember, that he would sooner be torn to pieces by wild horses than have a share in that Revision, which only came into general use as the Authorised Version after fifty years and a revolution. I am content, then, to appeal to the next generation for a just judgment on the new Revision.
The resolution before us is in my opinion impracticable and undesirable ; and I will go further and add, that it is for the object aimed at unnecessary.
The KJV was not Immediately Accepted
I am not aware of any documentary evidence that the Revision of 1611 was ever formally authorised by king or convocation. I know of no evidence whatever that it was formally authorised for exclusive use. I believe that it won its way slowly by its own merits. After the Restoration the Bishops generally required its use in churches at their visitations, but not generally till then. For some time after its appearance, for twenty years or more, the Bishops' Bible and the Geneva Bible held their place beside it.
Preachers like Andrewes and Laud, even when preaching before the king, took their texts from other sources which differed widely from it. The concurrent use of different versions seems strange to us, but it did not seem strange then. The Prayer-Book Psalter was taken from the Great Bible, and the Epistles and Gospels were or might be taken from the same version till the Restoration. Even now our Prayer-Books contain three distinct types of Bible rendering in the Psalms, in the Epistles and Gospels, in the Canticles, and the passages in the Communion Service.
And the Bishop of Liverpool, who is inclined to doubt whether this concurrent use of different versions would have a good effect, may remember that Gregory the Great, in his memorable Commentary on Job, says expressly that he shall use both the Latin versions in his work, following the custom of his See. Indeed, I know nothing more likely to lead to an intelligent study of Holy Scripture than the use of a "Parallel Bible." I am content to wait for the result of such study.
Westcott continues to support the RV
Meanwhile, I am not prepared to make the study impossible by offering a revision essentially fragmentary and inconsistent. I cannot venture to choose, either in Holy Scripture or in any version of Holy Scripture, details which I regard as important to the disregard of others.
This phrase or that may seem to me to be strange or uncouth, but I have a limited and imperfect vision. Let me then strive with absolute self-control and self- surrender to allow apostles and evangelists to speak in their own words to the last syllable and the least inflection, in Hebrew idiom and with Hebrew thought. Let them so speak, and let us humbly wait till in God's good time we are enabled to read the fulness of their meaning in our own tongue. I know no way in which we can understand the meaning of a message except by the patient observance of the exact words in which it is conveyed.