Bible Versions

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Part One...File 6 of 7


Most, if not all, modern translations are based on the Revised Version (1881-5) which, as we have already learned, was influenced throughout by the Alexandrian manuscripts Sinaiticus and Vaticanus. In effect there really are only Two English language Bibles to choose from.

I list a few of the 100+ modern Bibles which followed in the trail of the Revised Version of 1881-5:

As Samuel Gipp so succinctly puts it: "All modern translations, such as the New American Standard Version, are linked to the Revised Version of 1952, which is a revision of the American Standard Version, an American creation growing from the English Revised Version of 1881." (Ref: B11)

The Revised Version Committee

It is true that many of the Revised Version's (RV) committee members were godly scholars: but they cannot be compared with the King James Version's committee when it comes to extreme reverence for the Word of God. W Scott, writing over 100 years ago, makes this enlightening comment concerning the RV committee.
Quote: "The movement for a revision of the authorised version of the Holy Scriptures commenced on May 6,1870, in the Convocation of Canterbury. An influential committee was at once formed, consisting mainly of distinguished scholars and divines within the pale of the Established Church, but with power to consult or add to their number eminent Biblical scholars of all denominations. Many of its members were truly eminent for godliness and of distinguished ability, but it may be gravely questioned whether the constitution of the Committee as a whole may be compared with that nominated by King James, for piety and extreme reverence for the Word of God." (Ref: A9)

Sad to say the revision committee when faced with a choice between trustworthy Textus Receptus and the corrupt Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, usually chose the corrupt Egyptian manuscripts. To be sure the Egyptian codices, written on vellum, were in far better physical condition than the papyrus or parchment MSS. But beauty, as pointed out earlier, is no indication of character. In Part Two we will examine some 80+ texts which have been seriously corrupted by these Egyptian codices. Two of the revision committee's most prominent translators were:

Brooke Foss Westcott

Westcott was a Cambridge scholar who played a leading role in the production of the Revised Version. A very brief look at this man's spiritual standing is sufficient to tell us that the Almighty would never have used him in the preservation of His Word. Before anyone blindly accepts Westcott's decisions, he/she should consider what this man believed. The following statements by Westcott, (from the book Life and Letters of Brooke Foss Westcott) are quoted in William Grady's book Final Authority:

Rev. Gipp has this to say about Westcott:
Quote: "We have in Brooke Foss Westcott a man who believed in communal living; a man who believed that the second coming of Christ was spiritual, heaven was a state of the mind, prayers for the dead were permissible in private devotions, and that Christ came to bring peace through international disarmament. He believed in purgatory and admiration for Mary, and he thought the Bible was like any other book. This is the man who walked into the Revision Committee and sat in judgement of our Bible. He thought he saw room for improvement in the Authorized Version and offered a pro-Roman Greek text with which to correct it. The ironic thing is that Bible-believing Christians, educators and preachers, who would never agree with his theology, have for years exalted his opinion of the Greek as nearly infallible. These facts alone should be reason enough to condemn Westcott and Hort, their Greek Text and the MSS which they used to arrive at such a text. But let us look at their actions concerning the molesting of the pure words of the King James Bible, in favour of Rome. Saddest of all, we have in Brooke Foss Westcott a man who neither believed in salvation by grace nor ever experienced it. There is no record in his 'Life and Letters' that he ever accepted Christ as his personal Saviour." (Ref: B9)

We can see from these quotations that Brooke Foss Westcott wasn't really a believer in the Almighty or in His inspired Scriptures. By his own admission he was a sceptic who doubted the infallibility of the New Testament and the miracles of Jesus. He was unable to give up the scepticism and unbelief that stormed his mind. He totally rejected the infallibility of Scripture and confessed that simple faith would never be his. These are warning signals! You ignore them at your peril!

Fenton John Anthony Hort

Hort was another leading translator of the Revised Version. Most of the other committee members were unfamiliar with the methods of textual criticism and dynamic equivalence which Westcott and Hort introduced to get their way. Besides, and this is a fact we all do well to remember, Westcott and Hort were theistic evolutionists. To them the Genesis account of creation was absolutely unacceptable. Darwin's book on the Origin of the Species was more to their liking.

David Fuller writes: "Textual criticism cannot be divorced entirely from theology. No matter how great a Greek scholar a man may be, or no matter how great an authority on the textual evidence, his conclusions must always be open to suspicion if he does not accept the Bible as the very Word of God." (Ref: F2)

A quick look at what Hort wrote will leave one in no doubt but that he disbelieved the most basic Bible doctrine, that the universe was created by God in six literal days. He was also an ardent admirer of the Roman Church. Indeed only recently (October 1996) Pope John Paul 11 declared that "
Quote: Today new discoveries lead one to acknowledge in the theory of evolution more than a hypothesis… The convergence, of results of work done independently one from the other, constitutes a significant argument in favour of this theory." However, he added, "The soul was created directly by God."
You may be sure that very soon the entire Roman Catholic Church will be following the Pope's lead in rejecting the Biblical account of the creation.

Hort believed in the evolutionary theory over a century ago. Here are a few statements of his from the Life and Letters of Fenton John Anthony Hort taken from page 223 of the book Which Bible?

In his book Defending the King James Bible Rev.D.A. Waite, Th.D, Ph.D writes on page 41 as follows:
Quote: "The Westcott and Hort Text changes the Textus Receptus in over 5,600 places…My own personal count, as at August 2, 1984, using the Scrivener's GREEK NEW TESTAMENT referred to above, was 5,604changes that Westcott and Hort made to the Textus Receptus in their own Greek New Testament text. Of these, 5604 alterations, I found 1,952 omissions (35%), 467 to be additions (8%), and 3185 to be changes (57%). In these 5604 places that were involved in these alterations, there were 4,366 more words included, making a total of 9970 Greek words that were involved. This means that in a Greek Text of 647 pages (such as Scrivener's text) this would average 15.4 words per page that were changed from the Received Text." (Ref: Q1)

Dr Henry M Morris, a founding father of the Institute for Creation Research, USA, made these telling comments concerning modern translators.
Quote: "As far as the Hebrew text developed by Rudolph Kittel is concerned, it is worth noting that Kittel was a German rationalist higher critic, rejecting Biblical inerrancy and firmly devoted to evolutionism. The men most responsible for alterations in the New Testament text were B.F.Westcott and F.J.A.Hort, whose Greek New Testament was largely updated by Eberhard Nestle and Kurt Aland. All these men were evolutionists. Furthermore, Westcott and Hort denied Biblical inerrance and promoted spiritism and racism. Nestle and Aland, like Kittel, were German theological sceptics.

Westcott and Hort were also the most influential members of the English revision committee which produced the English Revised Version of the Bible. The corresponding American revision committee which developed the American Standard Version of 1901 was headed by another liberal evolutionist, Philip Schaff. Most new versions since that time have adopted the same presuppositions as those of the 19th century revisers…

So one of the serious problems with most modern English translations is that they rely heavily on Hebrew and Greek manuscripts of the Bible developed by liberals, rationalists and evolutionists, none of whom believed in the verbal inspiration of the Bible. Is this how God would preserve His word? Would he not more likely have used devout scholars who believed in the absolute inerrancy and authority of the Bible?…

I believe therefore, after studying the, teaching and loving the Bible for over 55 years, that Christians - especially creationists - need to hang on to their old King James Bibles as long as they live. God has uniquely blessed its use in the great revivals, in the world-wide missionary movement and in the personal lives of believers, more so than He has with all the rest of the versions put together, and 'by their fruits ye shall know them' (Matthew 7:20). It is the most beautiful, most powerful and (I strongly believe), the most reliable of any that we have or ever will have, until Christ returns. " (Ref:N1)

The Revised Standard Version Committee

Few Protestants know that the Revised Standard Version (RSV) committee had Roman Catholic members on it: or that the RSV is the preferred choice of the Roman Church. I quote from the preface of this Bible:
Quote: "The Revised Standard Version Bible committee is a continuing body, holding its meetings at regular intervals. It has become both ecumenical and international, with Protestant and Catholic active members who come from Great Britain, Canada and the United States."

Since most of the citations in the 1994 Catechism of the Catholic Church, the first update of this catechism in some 400 years, are from the RSV, we can safely say that this translation has virtually become the official version of the Roman Church. In effect, the aim of the translators is ecumenical. They want all the churches, yea all religions, to unite under one supreme authority - the Pope! Several on the RSV committee regard the Scriptures as being on an equal footing as church TRADITION: for this is - and always has been - the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. The RSV committee, in other words, is vastly different from the Protestant committee which produced the King James Version. They are as different as chalk is from cheese. A brief look at some of the members of the RSV committee is startling to say the least. The following quotes are taken from Rev. Gipp's book An Understandable History of the Bible:

Some Christians flatly refuse to take account of these facts. They contemptuously brush them aside as false or irrelevant. But these are facts which can be proved and should not be ignored. They are well documented statements and they are vital. In them we can see, and that very clearly, that the leading and most influential members of the Revision committee were confessed unbelievers.

How should Protestants who believe in the divine inspiration and preservation of Scripture evaluate this committee's work? I answer without hesitation: With grave suspicion!
JEHOVAH the Holy One of Israel, who initially gave us the Scriptures through His prophets and apostles of old, who carefully selected the King James Version translators on the basis of their faith and linguistic ability and has since blessed His Word for some 400 years, would certainly never, never change His methods and use translators who reject basic Bible doctrines such as the creation account in Genesis. Would the Almighty, who claims never to change (Malachi 3:6), now use unbelievers to re-translate the Bible? The very idea is preposterous, if not blasphemous. I am still aghast that it took me so long to learn these facts. I am even more astounded when Christians, who are given this information, continue to hold to their modern Bibles.

Dangerous Changes

Quote: "Even the jots and tittles of the Bible are important. God has pronounced terrible woes upon the man who adds or takes away from the volume of inspiration. The Revisers apparently felt no constraint on this point, for they made 36,000 changes in the English of the King James Version, and very nearly 6,000 in the Greek Text. Dr Ellicott, in submitting the Revised Version to the Southern Convocation in 1881, declared that they had made between eight and nine changes in every five verses, and in about every ten verses three of these were made for critical purposes. And for most of these changes the Vatican and Sinaitic Manuscripts are responsible. As Canon Cook says: 'By far the greatest number of innovations, including those which give the severest shocks to our minds, are adopted on the authority of two manuscripts, or even on one manuscript, against the distinct testimony of all other manuscripts, uncial and cursive'…The Vatican Codex …sometimes alone, generally in accord with the Sinaitic, is responsible for nine-tenths of the most striking innovations in the Revised Version…

There is a case where a little means much. 'If one wonders whether it is worth while' says Dr Robertson, speaking of the Revision, 'he must bear in mind that some of the passages in dispute are of great importance.' The Bible should more probably be compared to a living organism. Touch a part and you spoil it all. To cut a vital artery in a man might be touching a very small point, but death would come as truly as if he were blown to pieces." (Ref: F4)

Every Word!

Every word in Scripture is important: infinitely more important than a bolt or rivet in a jet airliner; or a line of code in a life-saving computer program. If His Father's words were that important to our Saviour, yea every jot and tittle, how much more should they be to us in these end times.

Matthew 4:4 But he (Jesus) answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Matthew 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Revelation 22:18-19 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

Dynamic Equivalence

Yes, God's words are important - vitally important. A translator must, therefore, translate God's words - all of them - and not assume that he understands the Almighty's thoughts and can change or delete the divine words to reflect what he thinks God meant. The King James Version translators employed a 'word for word' translation technique. That is, they translated each Hebrew and Greek word as closely as possible into its English equivalent. Modern translators chose a vastly different method called 'dynamic equivalence.' Using this method the translator primarily endeavours to carry forward 'God's thoughts and intentions' without paying too much attention to His actual words. Using 'dynamic equivalence' in hundreds yea thousands of places, the modern translators have changed the very 'words of God' and replaced them with what, they think, God meant. In effect, dynamic equivalence is not true translation, but interpretation or paraphrase.

Writing in his highly recommended book Defending the King James Bible, Rev. D.A.Waite writes on page 105:
Quote: "A paraphrase makes no effort to carry over or translate the words of one language into the words of another language but rather to 're-state, interpret or translate with latitude.' Since this is the object of a paraphrase there's no assurance of fidelity in carrying-over exactly what is there in one language - no more and no less - into the other language, no more and no less. Therefore, paraphrase takes great liberty in doing any of these three things or all of them: ADDING words, phrases, ideas, thoughts or meanings; SUBTRACTING words, phrases, ideas, thoughts or meanings; or CHANGING words, phrases, ideas, thoughts or meanings. That is the essence of paraphrase, that is the essence of dynamic equivalence. So it is commentary, it is interpretation, it is not translation." (Ref: Q2)

Spiritual Pollution

We have seen that Codex Vaticanus and Sinaiticus are corrupt and unholy manuscripts; that they were the work of unbelieving Egyptian scribes who amended, added to and deleted many portions of the true text and then palmed off their work as the Word of God. These manuscripts were then taken up by sceptical translators, who didn't believe that the Bible is the inspired, infallible Word of God, to spawn a whole generation of new translations.

With these sobering facts in mind let us now consider a Biblical principle of which comparatively few Christians know anything. It concerns SPIRITUAL POLLUTION, of how something unholy can pollute everything it touches. This little-known principle is described in the following passage:
Haggai 2:11 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Ask now the priests concerning the law, saying,
12 If one bear holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt do touch bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any meat, shall it be holy? And the priests answered and said, No.
13 Then said Haggai, If one that is unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean? And the priests answered and said, It shall be unclean.

What does this symbolic drama, involving dedicated meat, bread and wine becoming unclean if touched by an unclean person, mean? What spiritual truth is the Almighty trying to put across in this passage? The answer, I believe, is as follows:

At its basic physical level it means that if an ancient Israelite believer, whilst carrying his consecrated tithes (flesh, bread, wine or oil) to the Temple, happened to come in contact with an unclean person (a leper or corpse for example) his offering would lose its holiness and would become unacceptable to God. It's like pure meat being infected with a disease virus: or like a cup of tea being polluted by a fly: or a computer hard disk being infected by a virus-laden floppy.
In other words: unclean and unholy people or things pollute whatever they touch.

At its higher spiritual level it means that any sacred offering (prayer, charitable gift or act of worship) becomes unacceptable to God if the unholy element of unbelief motivates it.

Does this spiritual principle, that diseased things pollute everything they touch, apply to Bible translations? I'm certain it does. The Bible is the Bread of Life, the strong spiritual meat for the soul. It can also become spiritually unholy, unclean and unacceptable to God if its words are infected by the unbelief of a scribe or translator or twisted out of context by the leprous spirit of Satan. That is exactly what happened to the holy manuscripts which were carried down to Egypt.

And so the high-level spiritual lesson of Haggai 2:11-13 has become a living reality in these last days.

FIRST:        the sacred texts were corrupted by unbelieving Egyptian copyists and
SECOND:   unbelieving modern translators used those corrupt manuscripts to complete their work. The end product is the deluge of unholy modern Bible versions on sale today. That is why we should never refer to modern translations as "Holy Bibles" because they are far from holy: and most certainly the Spirit of the Holy One of Israel was not involved in their production. They are unholy counterfeits posing as the Word of God!

We ignore those two facts at our peril. Indeed, these are the two main reasons why I have set aside all modern English translations of the Bible and have returned to the King James Version, first published in 1611.

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June 1999
Elder: David B Loughran
Stewarton Bible School, Stewarton, Scotland