Basic Battle Training
Chapter 21: Diversions: Which Bible?
Controversy exists within Christianity concerning the choice of the King James Bible in the light of other "more enlightened" versions. The current version of choice is the "New International Version", but there is a host of others that recently have vied for favor. Some of these are: "Good News For Modern Man”, “The New King James Bible” and “The Revised Standard”. With this smorgasbord of choice before us we will now examine this issue looking to several pertinent questions.
First, we will briefly examine the scholarship that has brought us to this point. Within this we will look to the origin of the various versions and see how the decisions have been made that resulted in what is before us. This look will be cursory in nature, but will include much reference to other sources for the reader to complete this study.
The second position we will address is one of a more practical nature. In this we will attempt to unravel the controversy at its most basic level: namely that of cause and effect. It is within this second examination that we believe the average reader will see the most value.
How we got here
Hundreds of English versions of the Scriptures have come out since Wycliffe’s first English Bible in the 14th century. 50 versions of the New Testament have come out in the last 40 years alone: one every 10 months! The Jehovah’s witnesses have their version; the women’s libbers have their "gender-inclusive" emasculated versions, etc.
· Liberals gave us the Revised Standard Version (RSV, and New RSV), which eliminate references to the virgin birth.
· Evangelicals gave us the New American Standard, the New International Versions, and New King James Version.
· Jehovah’s Witnesses gave us the New World Translation, which eliminates references to the Deity of Christ
· Jay Green gave us the King James II Version, which adds many more references to the Deity of Christ
· White Supremacists gave us the Farrar Fenton Version, which tries to eliminate references to miracles and angels.
· Infidels gave us the Good News Bible, which eliminates references to the Blood of Christ.
We contend that this deluge of “new Bibles” is dangerous, and is a major ingredient in the fulfillment of last day’s apostasy.
The Goals of God’s Word
The objective of God’s Word is to enlighten the reader, and subsequently through what is learned, the world. The content of God’s Word includes, but is not limited to:
· A full and complete picture of The Father
· A full and complete picture of His son, Jesus Christ
· A full and complete picture of God’s plans and purposes.
· A full and complete picture of His morals and "rules".
· Examples of men’s accomplishments and failures
· A host of promises and exhortation from the Father
With this list of objectives we can see the very pro-active work of the Father’s hand to enlighten us to all that pertains to life and eternity. Within these things we find all the instruction necessary to live profitably in our personal lives, in our efforts as a collective (the church), and in anticipation of the world to come.
Words: Their Value and Objective
The issue of words and their meaning is huge in consideration of the subject at hand and concerns the most basic levels of communication and information before us.
The understanding and definition of words is at its highest value when it comes to the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16). At this level the error that can be caused by tampering with words impacts the accuracy of information God wishes us to have. As we see the weak and anemic church today, we must assess the value of “newer work” by what it has achieved by the measure of value added or diminished.
Scripture describes our struggle as against “principalities and powers” (Ephesians 6:12). Guided by the serpent, that is described as subtler than any other creature (Genesis 3:1), Satan’s stated objective is the control of our mind (2 Corinthians 10:5). Compromising the clear meaning of words and reception of such by God’s people is tantamount to severely hindering this struggle and even loosing on some fronts. This shows the power of weakened words and their meaning in the compromised translations of today.
The Diminished Value of Biblical words
When the new translations are examined closely, it will be seen that they all compromise the words and thus the message.
The NASV and the NIV and the New King James versions eliminate "hell" in many verses.
The NASV and the NIV and the New King James versions also eliminate "fear of God" in many verses (see Romans 3:10-18 for the consequences of this).
The modern Bibles eliminate words, phrases and whole verses from the text, and print misleading and fallacious footnotes to justify their error. Continuing in this chapter we will give examples of the above and show that, over all, the King James Version is far superior to any of its modern "replacements."
While many criticize the King James Version for containing archaic words, we will show that this is grossly exaggerated, and that modern versions incorporate many words that are even harder to understand.
The King James Version came out almost 400 years ago in 1611. With the English language having changed since then, some words in this version are no longer in use, or may have a different meaning now than they did then. But this ‘problem’ is not as big as some make it out to be.
The modern versions are guilty many more times of replacing easy to understand words in the King James with more difficult words. For example:
- ‘Hell’ is replaced with Hades or Sheol
- ‘Wise men’ is replaced with magi
- ‘Penny’ is replaced with den ius
- ‘The Plain’ is replaced with ar the Arabah
- ‘The South’ is replaced with Negev
- ‘Bottomless pit’ is replaced with abyss
- ‘Mars’ Hill’ is replaced with Areopagus
- ‘Giants’ is replaced with Nephilim
- ‘Crown’ is replaced with diadem
- ‘Drink offering’ is replaced with libation
- ‘Grove’ is replaced with Asherah
So what is the big deal?
At first glance the modern versions may not seem to be so terrible; they may even appear to be an improvement. Those pesky "thees" and "thous" are gone and some verses are much easier to understand. "For God so loved the world...." is now "God loved the world so much" (is this what all the fuss is about???)
Looking beyond the supposed ease of reading we find that many key passages, ideas and words have been altered in a very significant way. Take for example the concept of “fearing God”.
- Ecclesiastes 12:13 tells us that fearing God is "the whole duty of man."
- Romans 3:10-18 tells us that the reason sin is so rampant in the world is because "there is no fear of God before their eyes."
There are over 150 verses in the King James Version about “The Fear of The Lord”. Many passages promise multitudes of blessings on those who fear God, and manifold cursings on those who do not. Fearing God is a very important subject in the Bible.
But coming to the “modern” Bibles we now we find that the NASV, NIV, NKJV have removed the words “fear of God” from many verses:
· The NASV changes fear God to "awe" or "reverence" in: Exodus 15:11; Lev. 19:14,32; 25:36,43; Deut. 28:58; Neh. 1:11; Job 15:4; 25:2; Psalm 2:11; 5:7; 22:23; 65:8; 119:38; 135:20; Isa. 25:3; 29:13,23; Dan. 9:4; Hos. 3:5; 10:3; Hag. 1:12; Zeph. 3:7; Mal. 1:6; 2:5; Acts 2:43; Heb. 5:7; 11:7; 12:28; 1 Pet. 3:15 yet they translate these same Hebrew and Greek words as "fear" in many other verses!
· The NIV changes fear to "reverence" or "worship," etc. in: Ex. 15:11; Lev. 19:32; Deut. 4:10; 8:6; 13:4; 14:23; 17:19; 28:58; 1 Samuel 12:18; 2 Kings 4:1; 17:25,28,33-36,38,41; Neh. 1:11; 5:15; Job 15:4; 25:2; 37:24; Psalm 22:23; 102:15; 119:120; Eccl. 3:14; 5:7; 8:12; Isa. 25:3; 29:13,23; 63:17; Jer. 2:19; 10:7; 33:9; 44:10; Dan. 9:4; Hos. 3:5; 10:3; Hab. 3:2; Mal. 1:6; 2:5; 4:2; Luke 1:65; 5:26; 7:16; Acts 2:43; 2 Cor. 7:1; Eph. 5:21; Col. 3:22; Heb. 5:7; 12:28; Rev. 11:18...54 verses…24 more than the NASV’s.
Greek and Hebrew?
As the Catholics once used the Latin to secure their position as teachers and expositors of The Word, so today the same smoke and mirrors are used to establish need for the Greek and Hebrew
The truth about the “original languages” is that there is great inconsistency with the “scholarship” used to alter these words...and one needs little knowledge of the original languages to see this!
For example with the word fear, all of the verses we have cited have the same Greek word (phobos) or Hebrew word (ya-re). While the KJV consistently translates these words as "fear," the modern versions are not so sure what it is! As the modern versions freely change "fear" to "revere" or "awe" or "worship,” inconsistency is shown in that they do not do it all the verses.
Conclusion? The scholars change the word “fear “ in dozens of verses for no good scholarly reason, but are rather driven to “politically correct” the verses to fit contemporary standards! These things diminish God, our relationship with Him, His Kingdom and the Judgment to come.
Hell? (Trust Jesus for salvation from Hades?)
Along with a better understanding of fear is the companion case of “The Missing Hell”. As with fear:
· The NASV and the NKJ change Hell to Sheol or Hades dozens of times
· The NIV Old Testament Hell is changed to just "the grave”. (Jehovah’s Witnesses love that!)
Why the Change?
As with the fear of God, it is very unpolitical to preach on Hell today. No one wants to hear about Hell. It is scary, upsetting and not "positive. So if you are a Bible translator faced with Greek and Hebrew words to translate places of "fire," "torment," and men begging for a drop of water (Luke 16:19-31), what do you do? To insure the success of your work, your own weak belief, and current thought, you again underplay the unpopular words!
Missing words and phrases? (Revelations 22:18-19!)
As you read through the NASV, RSV, NEB and the NIV, you will notice that there are verses missing!
· In the NIV: 16 are missing. (See: Matthew 17:21; 18:11; 23:14; Mark 7:16; 9:44,46; 11:26; 15:28; Luke 17:36; 23:17; John 5:4; Acts 8:37; 15:34; 24:7; 28:29; Romans 16:24).
· In the RSV 21 are missing, In the NEB 22 are missing, In the NASV 15 are missing, and beyond this:
· Footnotes inform that "the most reliable manuscripts" do not include Mark 16:9-20 or John 7:53-8:11.
· Parts of verses are missing from Mat. 6:13; Luke 11:2-4; Romans 8:1, and many other verses.
· Words and phrases are missing from many verses.
· God is omitted from Matthew 6:33 and 1 Timothy 3:16 and many other verses
· The NASV exhaustive concordance contains 48 fewer references to "God" than the King James NT.
In all of these situations the footnotes inform us that the "oldest and best manuscripts" do not include these "spurious" readings. To illustrate, look at the following typical example:
"For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost." (Matthew 18:11 KJV)
· The NIV omits the verse with the footnote that “some” manuscripts include it.
· The NASV has the verse in brackets with the footnote: “Most ancient manuscripts omit this verse”.
Continuing with Matthew 18:11 we will now list for you the manuscripts and witnesses that include and omit the verse so you can see for yourself how these ‘revisers’ play fast and loose with the facts
The United Bible Societies Greek New Testament list in their footnotes manuscript sources and the way they read disputed verses. As we look at that information on this verse we find:
· Out of over 5,000 Greek manuscripts of the New Testament the overwhelming majority include the verse (Matt 18:11), as it stands in the King James Version.
· Over 90% of all manuscripts support the King James reading. In contrast the modern versions are based on a small handful of inferior manuscripts.
· Only 22 Greek manuscripts omit Matthew 18:11, as opposed to thousands that include it. The oldest manuscripts that omit the verse were copied in the 4th century.
· The King James reading, besides being supported by over 90% of the Greek manuscripts, is also found in: The Old Latin Bible, written in the 2nd century. Tatian’s Diaessaron (a harmony of the Gospels), written in the 2nd century. It is also found in the Vulgate and the Armenian versions, both from the 4th century. Additionally, it is quoted by Origen in the 3rd century, and is quoted by Hilary, Basil, Ambrose, Chrysostom, and Augustine, all by the 4th century.
The above sources contain 10 witnesses on 3 continents that support the King James reading that are all as old or older than the oldest Greek manuscript that omits the verse. This is typical of the differences we find in any of the modern versions.
So why do the Translators do it?
Should we call it a trend, a fad, or the latest ideology of the day? As we have previously proposed, the truth is that the modern revisers have seen fit to go along with what sells, what is popular to masses, and what “fits” the current culture of tradition today.
Thanks in large part to 100 years of Bible revisions; we no longer have a society that lives in the fear of God. There is no fear of His wrath, judgment and consequence of sin. With these
omissions the companion doctrine of Hell has become a virtual a non-issue!
Two hundred years ago major revivals were started when the pulpits rang with messages like Jonathan Edwards preaching "Sinners in the hands of an angry God." Today the pulpitiers tell the masses "God doesn’t want us to fear Him, He wants us to love Him.” We then find sin rampant in our culture because The God of standards and consequence has been altered to the one that “will still love me no matter what I do”.
With these things understood we can clearly see that the "newer work" is a clear case of diminished value. The value of the words, and thus the message, has been compromised and their value is in reverse! The next "dot" to connect is the individual believer’s diminished capacity…and then the Church…and then the society we live in. Who is happy about this? Satan! This is his work, and he revels in its accomplishment!
How to fix it? Go with the line of least resistance…use to the older work not the “newer”! Read and study the KJV, the version of the Bible with the least possibility of cultural compromise and error. Labor through the 5 minutes it will take you to learn a few unfamiliar words and reap the harvest of thee thundering doctrine therein!
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