Saturday, December 6, 2014

Why Do Men “Translate” God’s Word?

Photo by John Snyder 2008

If God’s Word is forever settled in heaven (Psalm 119:89), what right does man have to change it? Obviously, when missionaries visit a remote tribe where there is no Scripture yet translated into the native language, this is an essential goal. The Holy Spirit will ensure that His Word is accurately translated into new languages, provided the translators pray for wisdom and have their hearts right with God (Matthew 5:18).

But the numerous English language “translations” of the Bible, with new versions coming out faster than the older ones enter the public domain, are actually revisions of God’s Word.

If we believe that the King James Bible (KJB) is the inerrant, unchanging Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16), how can subsequent versions, with their many changes and omissions, also be God’s Word? The KJB was first distributed in 1611 as the first complete English language Bible and remained unchallenged for nearly 300 years. Did God ensure that the KJB translators got it right in the first place, or did He allow an incorrect version of His Word to circulate for nearly three centuries?

The new versions delete verses altogether; they delete key portions of other verses; and they frequently omit the Name of Jesus, Christ and Jesus Christ. This is shocking, because God's Word tells us that there is no other Name by which we can be saved (Acts 4:12; John 14:6). The English Standard Version (ESV), for example, removes the precious name of Jesus 18 times, Jesus Christ 51 times, Christ 39 times, the Lord 66 times, and God 38 times!

These omissions make it easier for those of other religions to apply the altered verses to their personal notion of god. In 1 Timothy 3:16, for example,  the KJV states “ And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”

The ESV changes the word “God” to the word “he,” totally destroying the mystery of incarnation, as every person on earth is manifest in the flesh! According to the ESV, therefore, each of us can be a god!

The list of heretical edits goes on and on, such as denying the incarnation altogether in 1 John 4:3. The KJV states: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God…, whereas the ESV changes this to: and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God.

Even the Mormons and Muslims “confess Jesus,” meaning that they believe that such a person walked the earth. But their “Jesus” is altogether different from what the KJB teaches. Jesus Christ of the Bible is fully God; part of the Trinity; eternally Self-existent; and the only Redeemer; saving man from his sins by taking on human flesh to be the perfect Sacrifice. The Mormons believe that Jesus was a created being and brother of Lucifer; and the Muslims believe he was a human prophet eclipsed by Mohammed.

Philippians 2:6-7 in the ESV is even worse. The KJB describes Jesus as being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, meaning that Jesus is God the Son and therefore rightfully is equal in power and glory to God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. The ESV distorts this verse completely to: though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped. In other words, Jesus could not possibly aspire or claim to be equal with God!

The new versions omit many phrases emphasizing Jesus' divinity and miracles, and references to the saving and cleansing power of His blood shed for us (e.g., Romans 3:25), to wash away our sins. They omit many references to hell, Satan and demons (the ESV removes “hell” 40 times and “devil” or “devils” 83 times). They often lack clarity and specificity.

For example, in Isaiah 14, which is a key passage explaining how the created angel Lucifer fell from heaven due to his sin of pride and rebellion, thus becoming Satan, many newer versions substitute "morning star" or “day star” for "Lucifer."  Yet Day or Morning Star is one of the names for Jesus Christ Himself (1 Peter 1:19; Revelation 22:16), so the casual reader might think that it was Jesus Who sinned and became the devil!

By key omissions, even the “Lord’s Prayer,” or model prayer (Luke 11:2-4) is transformed in the ESV to an ambiguous prayer that could be referring to Satan rather than God the Father, for the father in this prayer is not in heaven and is not asked to deliver us from evil.

Another example is the substitution of "young girl" for "virgin" in reference to the virgin Mary giving birth to Jesus, God in the flesh, conceived by the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 7:14; Luke 1:27-35). Clearly there is nothing miraculous or even extraordinary about a young girl getting pregnant!

A key omission in the ESV that undermines the very importance of God’s Word itself is Luke 4:4. The ESV has Jesus telling the devil merely, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’” Yet in the KJB, Jesus clearly tells Satan “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’ The secular world has adopted "not living by bread alone" to justify their desire for a lavish lifestyle beyond basic needs, accompanied by drinking, sexual immorality, wealth and power. How far removed is that concept from God's true and complete Word!

Many changes are extremely subtle yet insidious. By changing the grammatical form of the verb “saved,” to “being saved,” for example, the ESV implies that salvation is an ongoing process (Acts 2:47; 1 Corinthians 1:18), presumably taking place by our own works, rather than the instantaneous, completed, once-and-for-all salvation that occurs by God’s grace through our faith at the moment we are born again (Ephesians 2:8-9; John 3:3-8).

Many of the newer versions attempt to be gender-neutral, substituting words such as "human" for "man." This is particularly dangerous when referring to Jesus Christ, Who came in the flesh as a man, equally Son of God and Son of Man, not as a sexually ambiguous "human" (Philippians 2:8).

You may be wondering why the other English versions of the Bible came into being. Some say it is because the KJB is in the public domain, meaning that it cannot be copyrighted and that publishers cannot make as much money selling it as they can make by selling the newer versions.

Others suggest that each new revision further attempts to undermine the divinity of Jesus Christ, His virgin birth, and His perfect sacrifice for our sins. By changing, adding or omitting words or even entire verses, the new versions blur the distinctions between Christianity and other religions. 

This casts doubt that accepting Jesus as your Savior is the only way to eternal life (John 14:6), as is so clear in the KJB, and paves the way for a new global religion (Revelation 13:4). The KJB warns that as the world approaches the End Times, false prophets will attempt to distort God's Word and deceive the people (Matthew 24:11).

God rewards those who diligently seek Him through prayer (James 5:16), by keeping His commandments (John 14:15,21), and especially by reading His Word (Psalm 119:105). Anyone can be saved and accept Jesus as their Savior by placing their faith in His death, burial and resurrection as the only Way to Heaven (1 Corinthians 15:1-4; John 14:6). Then the Holy Spirit enters every believer’s heart (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13) and will teach us to understand God's Word, if we pray to Him for wisdom and enlightenment (James 1:5) and spend quality time with the Word each day (2 Timothy 2:15).

Once you start a regular Bible reading plan, you'll quickly get used to the "thee's" and "thou's" that may seem unnatural at first. Like reading Shakespeare, it's definitely worth the effort!  You may find it helpful to use a Bible dictionary to explain some of the words that are not commonly used today, because the richness of meaning these words convey is lost in the modern versions.

The KJV Bible is the inspired, preserved, infallible, inerrant Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16). It contains no mistakes or contradictions, and it reveals scientific truths that could not have been written over 1,000 years ago unless it was inspired by God Himself.

Just as God does not change, and Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8), so God's Word will not change throughout eternity (Luke 21:33). The KJV Bible provides daily bread for our Christian walk (Matthew 4:4). So come to God's table today!  

© 2014 Laurie Collett
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Frank E. Blasi said...

Dear Laurie,
The watchtower of Jehovah's Witnesses have the New World Translation of the Bible, which deliberately eliminates the truth that Jesus Christ is God, the 2nd Person of the Trinity, and reduces the Holy Spirit to an "active force".But they were not able to translate away John 20:28, where Thomas cries out, "My Lord and my God."
An excellent post, God bless.

Brenda said...

We are in dark times now at the end of the age and I believe that if Satan can transform himself into an angel of light then he can also deceive through the alteration of scripture. I am a person that believes, as scripture says, that we must 'work out our own salvation with fear and trembling', meaning that we have to grow and mature in the Lord, having our minds renewed daily and put to death the 'old man'. Working out our salvation does not mean doing any 'works' in order to gain salvation, but it does mean acting on the word spoken to us and not just being hearers of it as some people appear to believe. The gate is narrow, hard is the way to life and few there be that find it, so it is important that we know what that word is speaking to us. God loves us and wants all of us to be saved and faith will only come through hearing and hearing by the word of God, so we do not want a word that is tampered with.
God bless

Laurie Collett said...

Dear Frank,
Thanks for your informative and encouraging comment. All the cults deny the divinity of Jesus Christ and also deny the Trinity, and the texts they use reflect their false teachings. But one day all will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!
God bless you and Alex,

Laurie Collett said...

Very true, Brenda! Many false prophets inspired by Satan are out to deceive many, especially through alteration of God's Word. This was Satan's first recorded strategy in the Garden of Eden, and sadly, it was successful. Praise God for His plan of salvation offered to whomever will believe in His Son as the only Way to Heaven. May we follow His preserved Word to know and follow Him.
God bless,
Laurie said...

This is so full and rich Laurie. I have learned lots and been given much to think on. I've always loved The Message translation and think it a relevant tool for teaching His word "for such a time as this" but would never consider it a substitution for the KJB, much to think about. Thank you for putting so much time and thought into this. It's appreciated.

Laurie Collett said...

Thank you so much for your thoughtful and encouraging comment. I'm blessed to hear that you found the post helpful and thought-provoking. May God richly bless you and your ministry.
Love in Christ,

BARBIE said...

I do use other versions of the Bible when I study it. I don't always understand the NKJV. When I was a new believer, it was hard for me to read and understand. But as I've grown more mature, it is easier to understand. Thank you for sharing at The Weekend Brew!

Aritha said...

Thanks for this. I am Dutch. I only used the Statenvertaling :-) Do you that translation?

Laurie Collett said...

Praise God that His Holy Spirit instructs us in Scripture, so that as we mature in our Christian walk, He enlarges our understanding.
Thanks for your comment and for hosting, & God bless,

Laurie Collett said...

Dear Ariella,
Thanks for your comment. I am not familiar with Dutch Bibles. However, I believe that God makes sure, through His Holy Spirit, that the fist translation of His Word into a new language is accurate. Does it come from the Textus Receptus Greek texts?
Many blessings to you,

Aritha said...

Here a link, Laurie
And yes, I am your new follower now. Thanks for you comment on mine!

Laurie Collett said...

Dear Ariella,
Thanks so much for following & also for the link! It looks like this was the original Bible in the Dutch language, and from the best sources: "The Statenvertaling ("translation of the States", or Authorized Version) was completed in 1637. Innovative about this reformatory bible translation was that it was translated directly from the most original sources available at the time - just like Luther's translation (1522-1534) and the King James Version (1611)." So I would stick with that and not the newer revisions.
God bless you,

Janis Cox said...

Much to think about. I don't have a KJV here in Arizona and I am not great at reading the Bible online. I do have an NIV - I will watch it though and make sure I understand the passage the way God intended it. I always capitalize the pronouns - that way we know that God - is - He. and He - is -God. I believe if we pray before reading any version God will reveal His truth to us.

Laurie Collett said...

Dear Janis,
I'm glad you found the post thought-provoking. A great place to read the Bible online is You can read it chapter by chapter, or search for a specific verse, and from there see the verse in all the different versions. If you have a Kindle or similar device, you can by the KJV for about 99 cents. I have it on my Kindle for travel. Sometimes you can find the KJV at thrift stores or even at Dollar Tree, and if you have a page magnifier, even the small print on the $1 paperback is readable. I agree that we should always pray before reading the Scriptures so that the Holy Spirit can teach our hearts.
Many blessings to you,

Donald Fishgrab said...

I suspect it is just a matter of time before physical copies of the King James are difficult to obtain because Satan has made such an effort to replace it. I have no doubt that God would provide a translation in more modern English if it were needed. unfortunately, almost all the new ones start with the Wescott Hort manuscript. which was deliberately modified to suit the personal beliefs of Wescott and Hort. There have been other translations of the Textus Receptus that did not have the flaws you mentioned. Because they provided little new information or simplification, they did not catch on and are no longer available. .

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks, Donald, for this informative comment. I believe that God will continue to preserve the King James and ensure its availability. Sadly, most will choose the new versions because of Satan's deceptions, and few will even realize that there are significant differences.
God bless,

Unknown said...

Very well written! We need to be sure we are reading scripture as close to the original text as possible, but I love that God has our backs. If we draw near to Him, He draws near to us!

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks so much, Bekki! Praise God for the Holy Spirit Who guides and teaches us as we study God's Word.
Love in Christ,