R.B.W., in Baptism, Part 4., page 63 of Vol. 29, No.2, states: "Some did evangelize Christ to the Hellenists (v. 20), but nothing is said about Gentiles, that was to be Paul's function." This statement was challenged as following the A.V. translation, whereas The Englishman's Greek New Testament alters 'ellEnistas to 'ellEnas, from Hellenists to Greeks. In support of this change, five of the six (Griesbach, Lachmann, Tischendorf, Tregelles and Alford) are quoted, only Wordsworth dissents. Normally, such support for correcting the text would be ample and, as it stands, was accepted and the criticism affirmed. However, in view of the statement in verse 19, "preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only," ran contradictory to such change being made. It was in making further investigation that the writer found in his bookselves a copy of 'Greek Testament with Notes—The Acts of the Apostles', by Chr. Wordsworth, D.D., Canon of Westminster (1862), the very dissentient himself. Under this passage Wordsworth gives his reasons in full, in the notes, where he disagrees, not only with the foregoing, but a number of other Editors of the Text. He states, at the outset, "The determination of the true reading here concerns an important point in the history of the Church." He then enumerates the MSS and the Fathers' writings where the word 'ellEnistas is in the text. He then proceeds to demolish the importance of the evidenge for the change to 'ellEnas, showing that some of these use the words interchangeably, various versions using the same word in the several languages for both Greek words. He then divides the problem into two parts:
2. Wordsworth then points out at length how various ideas have led the several textual critics to reach their conclusions that 'ellEnas is to be preferred and proceeds to demolish their arguments. These arguments are mixed up with supposed chronological order of various events in the context of both Stephen's martyrdom and Cornelius's conversion and the immediate opening wide the door to the full fellowship of Gentiles, which is highlighted by the use of 'ellEnas. He indicates that if Luke had wished to record that the Word was so soon being taken to the Gentiles, he would have used the words ta ethnE (as in 10:45; 11:18; 13:46, 48; 14:2, 5, 27; 15:3, 7, 14). It was the Hellenists that brought about the martyrdom of Stephen and it is ironical that the scattering abroad as far as Antioch, Phenice and Cyprus, should have been enabled to turn so many the like to the Lord. If 'ellEnas had been the word in verse 20, then the last sentence in verse 19 is contradictory, in spite of the 'but' connecting the two verses.
If, in this case one had accepted the verdict of the majority of the critics without question, one would have undoubtedly been in error and would likely have come to conclusions inimical to the right division of Scripture, finishing up with views in accord with tradition and not with truth.
Thus the writer thanks God he was led into further search.
J.G.H.S. Last updated 5.10.2005