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Introduction$

Introduction

 

††††††††††† The original Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF) was finished by the Westminster Assembly in 1646 without Scripture proofs. Parliament required the Assembly to provide Scripture proofs, which were finished in 1647.[1] Since that time, various denominations have incorporated the WCF into their denominational standards, beginning with the Church of Scotland in 1647. However, most denominations have either produced revisions of the WCF or declared exceptions to parts of the original WCF prior to incorporating the WCF into their denominational standards. Although some of these later editions of the WCF have been translated into twentieth-century or later English, the editor is aware of only a single translation of the original 1647 WCF into contemporary American English.[2]

 

††††††††††† While the editor does not presume to replace any denominationís standard text, the present translation is given in order to make the original richness of the 1647 WCF accessible and easily read by the contemporary reader, all to the glory, praise, and honor of God. The editor has endeavored to faithfully retain the meaning of the original text, translating word for word when possible. At the same time, the goal of readability is paramount with the intent that one may read with ease, focusing on the material without being distracted by antique spelling, vocabulary, grammar, or difficult sentence constructs. For this reason, there are times when the original text is quite considerably modified and rearranged. Details on the translation process and philosophy may be found in Appendix B.

 

††††††††††† Regrettably, no human work can be translated without some loss of finer shades of meaning. It is the editorís opinion, however, that this loss is small compared to the loss imposed on many readers by changes in word and phrase meanings over time. Readers interested in more detailed study are encouraged to consult the referenced Scriptures and some of the many commentaries on the WCF, as well as the original WCF itself.

 

††††††††††† The editor has endeavored to translate faithfully without interjecting his own opinions. Nonetheless, the WCF is a human work that is a product of its place in history and geography. God has continued to raise up able theologians in the intervening 370 years, and we now know that there do exist a very few theological errors in the WCF. The editor is conscience-bound to point out these errors for fear of propagating that which is not in accordance with Scripture. All such editorial opinions are clearly designated in the footnotes. Let the reader be as the Bereans, searching the Scriptures, guided by the Holy Spirit.

 


Change Log

 

††††††††††† Unlike traditional paper book publishing, electronic publishing allows fairly rapid increments to new additions. This log allows the reader to know what changes have been made from an earlier version.

 

August 5, [LAP1] 2015

So that readers do not have to go online to access Scripture proof texts, four versions are now included for which the editor was able to obtain permission. The Helpful Hints section was updated to reflect this. Small changes were made throughout the text for typographical error correction, clarity, and modernization.

 

February 16, 2015

The English Standard Version (ESV), by kind permission, was added to the versions available both within the document itself, and in screen tips.

 

February 7, 2015

Original release.

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[1] William Maxwell, DD, Hetherington, LLD, 346.

[2] Board of Education and Publication, Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America, The Modern Language Revision of the Westminster Confession of Faith (Pittsburgh, PA: Crown & Covenant Publications, 2000). The editor acknowledges some helpfulness of this work for the present document. Other similar editions of the same translation exist. See, for example, http://opc.org/documents/MESV_frames.html. (Accessed May 18, 2015)


 [LAP1]Update as needed.