The New Testament of Juan Perez de Pineda

 

 

 

 

Juan Perez de Pineda is the translator of the second complete Spanish New Testament. He was born in the city of Montilla, in Andalusia around the year 1500, and little is known of his childhood.

Juan worked for Emperor Carlos V in Rome (circa the years 1527-1530), and eventually quit to go back to his homeland of Spain.

In Seville, Juan acted as the director of el Colegio de la Doctrina, (School of Doctrine), in which he educated the rich and noble young people of the city.

While there he fellowshipped regularly with notable Spaniards like Egidio (Dr. Juan Gil), Constantine Ponce de la Fuente, Reina and Valera, and more, adopting the teachings of the Reformation.

Fearing the Inquisition, he fled to Geneva, where he finished translating the entire New Testament to the Castilian tongue, and saw its publication in 1556 (a culmination of five years work). The next year he printed the book of Psalms. (In which he translates the name of God as “Señor” instead of “Jehová.” An important note which will be mentioned later.)

Juan had a great desire to see his native Spaniards saved. In the preface of his Bible we read:

I feel very much obliged to do service to those of my nation, according to the vocation that the Lord hath called me to the annunciation of the Gospel, it seemed to me there was no other means to complete this [task] if not in all, at least in part, with my desire and obligation to give [the New Testament] in my own language.

Juan felt the scriptures were necessary in order to make one wise unto salvation (2 Tim. 3:15), and viewed the scriptures as completely essential to finding absolute truth.

His translation work was not for fame, nor fortune, but only to please his Lord and Saviour. He did not dedicate his work to an earthly king, rather to the King of Kings, for in his preface we read:

My intention of translating your Testament, King of Glory, has been to serve you and help those that are redeemed by your precious Blood, as you, Lord, well know, are the author of it! And may they help others of the power of the greatness to give security of your books, for this to be yours, I have wanted, Lord, to devote myself in dedicating it to you, for you only are the Great and Powerful one, for those that you redeemed might rejoice and receive the fruit of your labour. For this being as it is, all yours, and your own thing to know and glorify your name, may it go out and be published under the title and care of your Majesty, for you are the beginning, the growth, and perfection of all that is good … For this, Lord, I have run to thee, taking you as Patron, so that in this (according to your commandment) might be found glory. For as you are the author of this work that you love so, you might also be the tutor.”

Still fearing the deadly Inquisition, Juan did not dare put his name on the title page of his work, nor did he state where it was printed. Instead he listed the location and publisher as: “In Venice, in the house of John Philadelpho.”

Many scholars agree that no such man and no such house existed in Venice, and that this was simply a pseudonym for Juan Perez de Pineda himself. The word Phildephia, of course means brotherly love, and it’s been theorized that Juan Philadelpho, was Juan’s way of saying he loved his Spanish brethren greatly, enough to give them the word of God anonymously.

The truth is his version was printed by Jean Crispin in Geneva. On the title page of Juan Perez de Pineda’s N.T., we see a “Y” which represents the two paths a sinner can take, one to eternal perdition, and the other to everlasting, celestial glory.

Matthew 7:13 is also given, showing the damned taking the broad way, while the righteous take the narrow. And interestingly enough, the arms on the “Y” are purposely made with one wide and one narrow.

Further symbolism is seen in the sinner on the left falling into the fires of hell, while the redeemed looks to receive a crown of glory in heaven, probably insinuating that he thought to receive a crown for his service to Christ in getting Castilian-speaking people the word of God in their own language.

The entire New Testament was not Juan’s only work. He also reprinted Commentaries by Juan Valdes on the book of Romans and the book of First Corinthians, in 1556 and 1557 respectfully.

In 1558 Juan organized a church in Geneva consisting of fugitive Spaniards, which elected him as Pastor. (The same church in which Cassidoro de Reina served as pastor later).

Juan wrote many wonderful and evangelical works in his lifetime, many of which were doctrinal in nature and having to do with the vicarious sacrificial blood atonement of Jesus Christ.

He died in 1567.

It is important to note that it is his New Testament that Julianillo Hernandez smuggled into Spain to distribute, and it was this version that both Cassidoro de Reina and Cipriano de Valera read in their own language which led to their salvation.

Some claim that Juan Perez de Pineda didn’t do much of the translation work himself, instead copying greatly from the work of Francisco de Enzinas and his 1543 New Testament. But we know this is not the case, as his title page even tells us his version was “Newly and faithfully translated from the original Greek into romance Castilian.

However, it is known that Juan would have had access to the Enzinas, and he most likely would have referenced it in his work. Both Cassidoro de Reina and Cipriano de Valera also used Juan Perez de Pineda’s N.T. in their translation work.

Thus, it’s important to note that the history of the Spanish Bible is tightly interconnected among the many Reformer Spaniards who jeopardized their lives for the goal of getting their own people a Castilian Bible in their own language.

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The title page the 1556 New Testament of Juan Perez de Pineda.

 

pagina en español que tiene sus obras