SHOULD THE CHURCH BE CONCERNED ABOUT BIBLE TRANSLATIONS?
By: Marc A. Graham, D. Min
I am frequently asked as a pastor, “Which Bible translation do you recommend?” Most people, even most pastors, consider the answer to this question to be a matter of personal preference rather than an area of
conviction. Why does it matter which Bible we use: the King James, the New King James, the New American Standard, or the increasingly popular New International Version? They are all the Word of God we are told. ARE THEY REALLY? Let’s look and see.
The Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew with the New Testament being penned in Greek. This is why you hear many preachers referring to “the Hebrew” or “the Greek” in their sermons. But the key question is this: “Since none of us possess the original manuscripts of the Bible, can we truly say that we have the Word of God in our hands today?” The very foundations of the church not to mention the assurance of our salvation are at stake in the answer to this question. If we cannot know that the Bible we read from is the completely accurate and divinely-preserved English translation of the original God-inspired manuscripts (II Tim. 3:16), then no pastor or individual Christian may say that he knows what GOD HAS SAID with ANY DEGREE OF CERTAINTY! Thus, the work of the church will degenerate into a chaotic conglomeration of conflicting human opinions on what man THINKS GOD HAS SAID! (Ed Note: A woman said to me this week “Why not use the Living Bible as the Bible?” My reply was that it was not a Bible at all but a “Paraphrase” as it states it is. Whose Paraphrase? Kenneth Taylor’s. It is simply what Kenneth Taylor thought the Bible meant in that verse. That’s what’s dangerous. People treat it as the BIBLE, BUT IT IS NOT.)
It would be easy to see that Satan would have a vested interest in causing the above to happen. His chief program is attempting to deceive the church so that it will have little impact on a lost world (II Cor. 11:13-15). His first step in this diabolical strategy has, from the very beginning been to cast doubt upon the Word of God (Gen. 3:1, “Yea, hath God said…?” Satan has always sought ways in which he may diminish the authority of the Bible in the mind and heart of the believer. We must be honest and admit that few churches today, let alone individual Saints, view the Bible as the final authority in their lives (II Cor. 10:5). Clearly a clever link in the chain of Satan’s strategy has been the flooding of the Christian landscape with a
MULTITUDE OF BIBLE TRANSLATIONS. Let me show you why I make this startling statement.
It is widely believed by most Christians that modern Bible translations are merely an updating of the English language. What few realize, however, is that these modern translations (1) are translated from highly questionable sources, (2) tamper with the text in such a way as to change key Bible doctrines in some places, and (3) actually omit words, entire verses, and even entire sections of Scripture which we are told are not found in the better manuscripts.” How often do these differences occur? The so-called
critical editions of the Greek text, which virtually all modern translations are based upon will differ some 5,000 times with the Traditional Text from which the King James Version was translated.
Defenders of modern translations immediately cry out that there is no key doctrine omitted that cannot be found elsewhere in the same translation. This is a clever subterfuge which misses the point completely. If we truly believe that EVERY WORD IS INSPIRED BY GOD and that He has promised to PRESERVE HIS WORD FOREVER (Ps. 12:6-7), then we must be concerned about even the smallest amount of tampering. God certainly is on record that His Word is not to be altered in any way (Deut. 4:2; Rev. 22:18-19). I have
always found it interesting that the same ones who use the argument that changes don’t matter because the doctrine is found elsewhere in the same translation, rail against the New World Translation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses which alters words that effect doctrine. Yet those same altered doctrines can be found elsewhere in that apostate cult’s translation of the Bible. It would seem that a double-standard is in full force when they promote the N.I.V. or the N.A.S.V., but reject the New World Translation, all of which have the same flawed approach to the issue– and all of which were also translated from the SAME FAMILY of so-called BETTER MANUSCRIPTS. Where did these “BETTER MANUSCRIPTS” come from?
Virtually all modern translations trace their roots to what is known as the ALEXANDRIAN FAMILY of manuscripts. In this family, two have risen to particular prominence and use: Codex Vaticanus, also known as “B” and Codex Sanaiticus, also known as “Aleph.” Where did this ALEXANDRIAN FAMILY come from?
A man by the name of Origen (185-254 A.D.) was the key architect of the ALEXANDRIAN approach and source of this Family. He became head of a school in Alexandria, Egypt which specialized in Greek studies. Origen edited a six-column Bible known as Hexapia which the translators of today’s modern versions hail as the “greatest textual enterprise of ancient times.” There is one significant problem with that view. ORIGEN WAS AGNOSTIC! He did not believe in Hell. He did not believe in the pre-existence of the soul. He tampered with the deity of Jesus Christ. In short, Origen would have made an excellent Jehovah’s Witness. Thus, we should not be surprised that the Origen’s ALEXANDRIAN FAMILY is the basis, not only for the translation of the New American Standard and the New International Versions, but also the New World Translation of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. The ALEXANDRIAN FAMILY is a corrupt line of manuscripts originating with a man who held corrupt beliefs. Yet 99% of all modem Bible translations owe their existence to this Family of manuscripts to some degree.
What about the King James Version? The K.J.V. is translated from a completely different Family of manuscripts known as the Traditional Text. In fact, 80-90% of all existing manuscript particles tend toward agreement with this Text, upon which the K.J.V. is based. The other 10% of existing manuscript particles, which include the ALEXANDRIAN FAMILY, are both divided and inconsistent.
The King James Version is translated from a Greek text known as the Textus Receptus, or the Received Text. We may look to Church history and see great men of God quoting the Scriptures in a manner that agrees with the Textus Receptus. The Great Reformation was based upon the use of the Textus Receptus. In fact every great revival of modern times has been based on the Textus Receptus and, in the English-speaking world based upon preaching from the King James Version which was translated from the Textus Receptus. God has clearly had His hand of blessing upon every people and church that preached from the King James Version. Yet, this cannot be said for the N.I.V. and the other modern translations. While revivals have followed the King James Version a decline in spirituality and eventual liberalism has been the fruit of those movements devoted to the modern translations. Example after example could be cited.
The so-called scholars of our day have told us that the doctrine of divine inspiration perished with the original manuscripts. They claim that it must be recaptured through scientific means. They declare that two men who lived in the l9th Century named Westcott and Hort used scientific rules to produce a Greek Text (1881) which has succeeded in recapturing the TRUE READING of Scripture. In effect, they deny God’s promise in Psalm 12:6-7 to preserve His Word forever and ignore the words of the Lord Jesus in Matthew 24-35 that, though Heaven and Earth would pass away, His Word would never pass away. This position effectively says that God left His Church for over 1500 years with an inferior and inaccurate reading of His Word. Astonishingly, most pastors and professors in fundamental churches and schools accept this fallacy as fact! And in doing so they display a serious lack of scholarship. Even a cursory examination of the Westcott-Hort Committee, and the attitude of Dr. Hort in particular, reveals a primary
goal of the destruction of the Textus Receptus. The translation they produced is biased toward this goal. Where does it have its roots? In the ALEXANDRIAN FAMILY of manuscripts, of course. One does not have to be a Bible scholar to spot the familiar hand of Satan up to his old tricks again.
Is the church dependant upon the modern day infidels to recapture the Word of God for us? THE ANSWER IS CLEARLY NO! The inspired Word of God (II Tim. 3:16) has been divinely preserved from generation to generation (Ps. 12:6-7) just as God promised. It arrived in the hands of the English translators in the form of the Greek Textus Receptus. And they labored faithfully under divine direction to produce the King James Version in 1611. The evidence is clear that when we read this Version of the Bible, we may know that we are reading the authoritative Word of the God of Heaven. We must not be fooled
by Satan’s substitutes. YES, THE CHURCH SHOULD BE CONCERNED ABOUT BIBLE TRANSLATIONS!
(The above material was published by Beebe Publications.)
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