DOES It Matter Which “Bible” We Use?

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There are over 50 different versions of the Bible, just in English!

That’s right, more than 50!

The first question my son asked when we were discussing this topic was why there weren’t scores of modern English translations of Shakespeare! At 16 years old, he had hit upon a question that many adults never think to ask! Why do we accept the idea that Gods word needs to be changed for man but that the works of William Shakespeare are perfect and should not be touched? Not only that, but WHY do we think that we need new translations in the first place? Has the KJV been proven to contain errors? Actually, to the contrary, we find that the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest documents in existence by which we can compare the Textus Receptus, agree in nearly every instance and that where there is disagreement it doesn’t go to doctrine just proper word usage! While all modern translations (except the New King James Version, which uses the Majority Text and has its own separate set of issues) of the Bible owe their existences to the Nestle-Aland red cover Greek edition, which in turn owes its existence to the Tischendorf Bible of 1849 and the Westcott & Hort translation of 1881. Both of these translations have several problems, not the least of which being that the men involved were NOT born Again, Bible believing Christians!

Westcott & Hort did not believe in a literal heaven or hell or even that the First 3 books of the Bible could be considered a literal history; they believed in and practiced communicating with the dead, they both, as some Catholics also do, worshiped Mary, they were both influenced by Darwin’s origin of the species with Hort in particular being, according to the memoirs of his son, a believer in Evolution; they also practiced “textual Criticism”. Textual criticism (or lower criticism) is a branch of literary criticism that is concerned with the identification and removal of transcription errors in the texts of manuscripts; assuming ancient scribes often made errors or alterations when copying manuscripts by hand. This seems incredibly precocious to me as a Christian, the whole idea that ANY man can or should alter or change the Bible in accordance with THEIR belief that the Bible is flawed. In fact, Westcott & Hort had a passionate distaste for the KJV and many of its doctrines. Tischendorf was also not a Christian; he had been steeped in the teachings of German textual criticism and was convinced that the Textus Receptus should be rejected. He had been taught, as have so many, at university, that the Bible was a creation of man; the TR Greek New Testament was full of errors and that we could not possibly know what was in the original letters of the New Testament. Tischendorf never proved any of this and instead proceeded to search out the “real” New Testament on his own! I can’t help but wonder, how translations based upon the efforts of NON-Christians, came to be accepted by the majority of Christians today.

I can’t help but think that some of the confusion we find amongst “Christians” today may also be due to all the different “Bibles” out there.

We live in a politically correct society. One that wants us to believe ALL religions and all religious texts are equal. To the secular humanist, they are. They are all equally worthless as they are no more than personal preference. None is just as good as any. Many would question whether we should believe in the Bible. After all, they may say, “Man has undoubtedly altered it.” This is actually true in the case of the new translations, as will be demonstrated later, but NOT true of the KJV, as studies of the Dead Sea Scrolls have shown. The King James Version is for all intents and purposes perfect now as when it was handed down by God. Why should we as Christians place OUR limitations or lack of faith on God? He can and HAS preserved his word. Why is it that we can believe Jesus lived a sinless life, performed miracles in the view of witnesses, died on a cross for our sins, rose from the dead, taught them for 40 days more, and then; in view of many witnesses, ascended into heaven?……Yet, we have trouble believing that God will keep his word safe from mans tampering? All too many of us have decided that parts of the Bible are trustworthy, while others are allegorical, prophetic (and so impossible to comprehend?) or just plain erroneous. How can it be both? Either, the Bible is God’s word or it is man’s word. IF it is mans word then we are right to be dubious of it. If Gods, we might want to get right with it. I once met someone who said they didn’t believe that woman was made from the rib of Adam. The fact that this was a woman who was concerned about how this made woman look like an afterthought in her eyes, should tell us a lot. There are some things in the Bible that I don’t fully understand. There are even some things that I don’t entirely agree with. I choose to submit my understanding and will to the majesty of the one, who knows all, rather than question or argue over it.

There is also in my view, a faulty premise behind the entire “modern versions” effort. They seem to believe that “if only more people understood the bible, and found it easier to read” then more people might be saved. I take issue with this for 2 simple reasons.

The unsaved are not supposed to understand God’s word!!

1 Corinthians 1:18 “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God”

1 Colossians 6:26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints

Ephesians 3:9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ

A relationship with Christ is like any other relationship. It needs time and familiarity with which to grow. As we grow in Christ we understand the Bible more and more. Sometimes, God gives us exactly what we need when we need it. You may read the same chapter 30 times, and then on the 31st reading you see something you didn’t before. It was always there, you just didn’t understand it, didn’t need it (up till then) or even more likely, weren’t ready for it till then.

I would like to remind everyone of Christ’s warning in Matthew 24:24 “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” Is it any wonder how many may be led astray by false witness, when Gods own people cannot agree on which bible to use? It also wouldn’t matter if we had Bibles written in EVERY language on earth AND Ebonics, if people won’t read them.

A parallel reading of many scriptures from the NIV and KJV often used to make me wonder why so much time and effort was invested. MOST of the time, the King James Version is clear and easy to understand. MOST of the time the NIV or any other version says nearly exactly what the KJV says and doesn’t really make it any clearer. There are some notable instances however where the NIV and the KJV do NOT say the same thing.

It is not my intent to slander or offend those who use the NIV or any other alternative version. I am sticking mainly to the NIV for examples, as this is the most widely used alternate. The modern English translations also seem to be related to many strange trends and changes in the body of Christ as reflected through the Church. In 1901, after being out of practice in nearly all Christianity for over a thousand years, Glossolalia, the practice of tongues; returned to America and shortly thereafter, to the world. A woman named Agnes Ozman began speaking in tongues. This new development was never evaluated or tested by scripture, and occurred while using multiple versions of the Bible including the ASV, which was also the Bible of choice among the Jehovah’s Witnesses at the time. Oddly enough this is still, in a fashion, true today. The Watchtower publications New World Translation and the NIV both start with the Nestle Aland Red Letter Greek edition translation and also omit ALL the same verses! Sadly, most people don’t realize this fact. HOW, have we been so deceived? HOW is it that many saved and born again believers are reading a bible that is in many respects the same as the one the Witnesses are using? It is almost impossible at this point, not to suspect demonic intervention to divide and weaken the body of Christ. Many religious leaders including names like Benny Hinn, Pat Robertson, Rob Bell, Rick Warren and many others have supported various “New” translations and many of them sell ONLY new translations on their websites. People tend to look to their leaders for cues. If you attend a church that uses one particular translation, you are likely using the one your pastor uses or the church seems to favor. There is nothing wrong with this, we just need to realize and remember that experience and education aside we are all fallible.

I am sure we remember what I said about Westcott, Hort and Tischendorf. Now let us discuss some of the translators on the NIV panel. Dr. Marten Woudstra a homosexual man was CHAIRMAN of the NIV Old Testament translation committee. He was also a friend to Dr. Ralph Blair, the founder of Evangelicals Concerned Inc. a nation-wide task force and fellowship for gay and lesbian ‘evangelical Christians’ and their friends, founded in 1976. Dr. Woudstra was on the group’s mailing list, though he never had any official ties to it. Dr. Virginia Mollenkott was a “stylistic consultant” on the NIV committee. She is an open lesbian who teaches that one can be a Christian while also being a sexually active gay or lesbian. She is a Professor and the Author of the books “OmniGender : A Trans-religious approach”, “Sensuous Spirituality”, “The Divine Feminine, The Biblical Imagery of God as Female”, “TransGender Journeys” and many more! The inclusion of these two persons may not be enough to conclude that there was a political or ideological agenda. One has to wonder what to make of the fact that the REST of the NIV committee all knew this and apparently were OK with it. The NIV has also given rise to the TNIV, which uses dynamic equivalence (a trick of textual critics which questions what the Author really meant in light of historical references and anecdotal evidence from the period) to introduce “gender neutral” language! Gender-neutral “Bibles” have then given way to “Judith Christ of Nazareth, the Gospels of the Bible, Corrected(?) To Reflect that Christ was a Woman”!!

In addition to all of this, the NIV is also the number one selling Bible in the world making Harper Collins through its ownership of Zondervan, LOTS of money. Harper Collins also distributes such books as “The Joy of Gay Sex” and “The Satanic Bible”. Harper & Row is the parent company that owns both Zondervan and Family Christian Bookstores. Talk about “serving two masters”! (Matt 6:24)

I would like now to demonstrate some rather stark and shocking changes in the NIV. The NIV actually contains 64,000 LESS words, has numerous changes of titles like teacher for lord and MOST disturbing of all there are over 40 verses that are just plain excised from the NIV. There is a weakening of many traditional doctrines, like hell, baptism, repentance and more.

Matthew 17:21 — COMPLETELY removed [also deleted from the Jehovah’s Witness “Bible”].
“Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.”

Matthew 18:11 — COMPLETELY removed [also deleted from the Jehovah’s Witness “Bible”].
“For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.”

Matthew 23:14 — COMPLETELY removed [also deleted from the Jehovah’s Witness “Bible”].
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.”

Mark 9:44 — COMPLETELY removed [also deleted from the Jehovah’s Witness “Bible”].
“Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.”

Mark 9:46 — COMPLETELY removed [also deleted from the Jehovah’s Witness “Bible”].
“Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.”

Mark 11:26 — COMPLETELY removed [also deleted from the Jehovah’s Witness “Bible”].
“But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.”

Mark 16:9-20 (all 12 verses) — There is a line separating the last 12 verses of Mark from the main text. Right under the line it says: [The two most reliable early manuscripts do not have Mark 16:9-20] (NIV, 1978 ed.) The Jehovah’s Witness “Bible” also places the last 12 verses of Mark as an appendix of sorts.

Luke 17:36 — COMPLETELY removed [also deleted from the Jehovah’s Witness “Bible”].
“Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.”

Luke 23:17 — COMPLETELY removed [also deleted from the Jehovah’s Witness “Bible”].
“(For of necessity he must release one unto them at the feast.)”

John 5:4 — COMPLETELY removed [also deleted from the Jehovah’s Witness “Bible”].
“For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.”

Acts 8:37 — COMPLETELY removed [also deleted from the Jehovah’s Witness “Bible”]. Its deletion makes one think that people can be baptized and saved without believing on the Lord Jesus Christ.
“And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”

Acts 15:34 — COMPLETELY removed [also deleted from the Jehovah’s Witness “Bible”].
“Notwithstanding it pleased Silas to abide there still.”

Romans 16:24 — COMPLETELY removed [also deleted from the Jehovah’s Witness “Bible”].
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.”

I John 5:7 — Vitally important phrase COMPLETELY removed [also deleted from the Jehovah’s Witness “Bible”]. In the NIV it says,

“For there are three that testify:”

Compare the NIV reading with the following Jehovah’s Witness reading–

“For there are three witness bearers,”

What does the King James Bible say?

“For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.”

This is the clearest teaching in the bible on the triune spirit of God. It doesn’t really surprise me that it is removed from the Witnesses “Bible”. It does however; surprise me that so many Christians today don’t realize that they are reading nearly the same bible, with many of the same changes and deletions.

Just about any kid can tell you that David slew Goliath, so why can’t the NIV get it right?
NIV 2 Samuel 21:19

19 In another battle with the Philistines at Gob, Elhanan son of Jaare-Oregim [a] the Bethlehemite killed Goliath [b] the Gittite, who had a spear with a shaft like a weaver’s rod.

KJV 2 Samuel 21:19

19And there was again a battle in Gob with the Philistines, where Elhanan the son of Jaareoregim, a Bethlehemite, slew the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam.

If we go back to 1 Samuel 17:51 in ANY bible we can see that David slew Goliath then cut off his head. Yet later in the NIV in 2nd Samuel Elhanan kills Goliath. I seem to recall the Bible teaching us that no man can die twice. Hebrews 9:27 Hebrews 9:27 (King James Version)
27And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

So we have contradictory stories about David and Goliath. Oddly, the NIV gets it right in 1 Samuel and wrong in 2nd. They can’t both be right. This is known as the law of non-contradiction. Simply put, it says that contradictory statements cannot both at the same time be true. This should be self evident to all of us. If I claim that I am a man, and you say that I am a bear, we cannot both be right. If only all contradictory statements were so easy to see through! I mean clearly I am not a bear! I’ve never mauled anyone though I may ruffle a few feathers.

The NIV also has a little problem in its description of the fall.

Isaiah 14:12 (New International Version)

12 How you have fallen from heaven,
O morning star, son of the dawn!
You have been cast down to the earth,
you who once laid low the nations!

Isaiah 14:12 (King James Version)

12How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

Seems like a small thing, right? Morning Star, son of the morning, no big. Until you read Rev 22:16 (NIV)

“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”

In fact the title morning star belongs to Christ and is used correctly in every other instance in the NIV, in 2 Peter 1:19, Revelations 2:28 and 22:16. This could be a mistake, though it is certainly an interesting one. In that, it could be read that CHRIST was the fallen one! This error along with the conflicting David and Goliath stories serve as new fodder for those who claim the Bible is contradictory. Let us also remember

Romans 3:4 (King James Version)
God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, that thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.

And 1 Corinthians 14:33 (King James Version)
For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

So, God cannot lie and he is not the author of confusion. This begs the obvious question. IF we find errors in the NIV or any other translation that confuse us, is it Gods word?

Don’t believe something just because I say it, or what ANY man says without investigating it yourself. I don’t expect anyone to believe anything I have said here.

I would encourage people to do their own research. Please take just 15 minutes to look into it yourself. Search engine some of it and I think you will be shocked by what you find.

My wife cut through this issue (as she tends to do) with one simple sentence. “People who go to various churches won’t even be memorizing the same scripture!” This will be just one more thing that people will argue about.

John 3:16 KJV For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 3:16 (New International Version)
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Can’t you just see people hearing one verse saying, “That’s not what MY Bible says!”?

Christian’s have enough divisions and denominational differences without adding to the mix multiple versions of the Bible. I have also been in churches where as many as six alternate translations are being used! How can you have scripture memorization or reading aloud when not everyone is using the same translation? Ultimately, as Christians, we are supposed to settle all matters with God’s word. Shouldn’t we be absolutely sure that we are using it?

I would also like to draw attention to the phrases that are often used in the new translations when removing scripture.

When it says, “The two most reliable early manuscripts do not have…” or some such, what they are really saying is that the source materials THEY chose doesn’t contain that verse! Not the same thing at all. In fact in the case of Mark 16:9-20 the two “most reliable” manuscripts referenced are the Sinaiticus and the Vaticainus, which are certainly not considered, to be the “most reliable” in fact they were both property of the Catholic church! They also do NOT agree with between 90-95% of the other known documents!

Some people will tell you that the new versions are almost identical to the KJV. That very well may be true. I wonder though, if I gave you a glass that contained 95% pure clean water and 5% cyanide; would that be fit to drink? Or if the glass contained 98% pure water and just a measly 2% fecal matter; would you, knowing this, still drink it by choice? If not, why use the NIV and other “Bibles” knowing that they contain inaccuracies, errors and “crap” that was placed there by MAN?