Was it then in order to bring Scripture within the captus of 'a Reader of ordinary intelligence' that the Revisers have introduced no less than thirty changes into eight-and-thirty words of S. Peter's 2nd Epistle? Particular attention is invited to the following interesting specimen of 'Revision.' It is the only one we shall offer of the many contrasts we had marked for insertion. We venture also to enquire, whether the Revisers will consent to abide by it as a specimen of their skill in dealing with the Preposition ἐν [en]? (p. 171, Revision Revised).2 Peter 1:5-7 (Red shows differences from the KJV)
KJV: And beside all this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.Burgon continues:
RV: Yea, and for this very cause adding on your part all diligence, in your faith supply virtue; and in your virtue knowledge; and in your knowledge temperance; and in your temperance patience; and in your patience godliness; and in your godliness love of the brethren; and in your love of the brethren love.
The foregoing strikes us as a singular illustration of the Revisionists' statement (Preface, iii. 2), --'We made no change if the meaning was fairly expressed by the word or phrase that was before us in the Authorized Version.' To ourselves it appears that every one of those 30 changes is a change for the worse; and that one of the the most exquisite passages in the N. T. has been hopelessly spoiled, -- rendered in fact well-nigh unintelligible, -- by the pedantic officiousness of the Revisers. Were they -- (if the question be allowable) -- bent on removing none but 'plain and clear errors,' when they substituted those 30 words? Was it in token of their stern resolve 'to introduce into the Text as few alterations as possible,' that they spared the eight words which remain out of the eight-and-thirty? (p. 172, Revision Revised)He goes on to discuss their "wooden" rendering of the Greek preposition ἐν but I won't quote him there as my point here is to show the change for change's sake the revisers did against their own assertion that they would only make the most minimal and absolutely necessary changes.
Now I'll include some of the modern versions' rendering of this passage, which ought to show 1) that the changes made in the RV are carried through in most of them, and 2) that the spirit of Westcott and Hort persists in any case in the making of changes for change's sake. It is possible that for today's readers two or three of the new word choices would be better, but the commitment originally was to make only changes that were needed where the sense was unclear, and I can't see how this applies in any of the changes in this example. (I've put words that are new in a particular translation in magenta.)
ASV: (1901) Yea, and for this very cause adding on your part all diligence, in your faith supply virtue; and in [your] virtue knowledge; and in [your] knowledge self-control; and in [your] self-control patience; and in [your] patience godliness; and in [your] godliness brotherly kindness; and in [your] brotherly kindness love.Just musing: It is possible that the KJV's "charity" would be better rendered as "love" for today's readers, but Burgon makes a strong case for retaining "charity," (pp 201-2 RR) so that even though it's not used now as it was then it might be worth it to try to resuscitate it by retaining it, partly because of its place in the history of the English church and English literature, but mainly because the English word "love" is too broad for the specificity of the Greek agape -- "a grace of purely Christian growth" as Burgon puts it. (By the way, the Greek word translated variously "brotherly kindness, brotherly love" etc., is philadelphia.) On the other hand, I checked with the older translations, Tyndale, Wycliffe etc., and found that they used "love" for agape and to my mind that makes a good case for the change. Nevertheless, the KJV translators had those earlier versions available to them, and if they saw fit to change it to "charity" that is at least an equally strong argument to retain it now. Something for my wished-for future and probably impossible Dream Team Translators to ponder.
RSV: (1946-52, 71) For this very reason make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
NASB: (1966-95) Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral *excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.
NIV: (1973 NT, OT 1978, Rev 1983) For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self control; and to self control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.
NKJV: (1982) But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.