GOD'S UNCHANGING WORD
INTRODUCTIONThere is such a need today for God's people to have an unshakable confidence in God's Word. It is my hope that this brief look into the "versions issue" will help people lay aside the confusion that will in time take a toll on such confidence.
This booklet is not intended to be an exhaustive work or a defensive work. By its design as a booklet, it is simply my desire that it be a flashlight to illumine briefly one thing-that this whole issue is not as intellectually puzzling as one might think- therefore, one does not need a degree in Textual Criticism to know what is right.
May God use this in conjunction with His Word to help settle this issue for you.
A special thanks to:
Dr. Clinton Branine
Abbreviations Used In This Article
KJV-King James Version
NASB-New American Standard Version
NIV-New International Version
TR-Textus Receptus (original language text behind the KJV)
NT-Nestles Text (original language text behind the NIV and NASB)
YEARS OF AVOIDING THE ISSUE
"Patience is a virtue..." or so they say. Scripture calls it part of the fruit of the Spirit. Yet, there seems to be no place in this debate for patience. Churches are split, life-long friendships are severed, believers become guilty of violating biblical principles of communication, and half-truths are used constantly to prove a point-all in the name of defending God's Word!
Patience. Thank God people were patient with me! It took nearly twenty years of ministry before these issues were settled in my life. For twenty years I ministered from the KJV while believing that there were only two issues that could be understood by a non-textual critic scholar. First, to change from the KJV would bring needless division. Second, the only difference between the KJV and a modem translation was the updated language.
So there I stood-firmly positioned-on a foundation of mush! I was almost apologizing to new Sunday School teachers for requiring them to teach from the KJV, while assuring them I saw nothing wrong with them having their daily devotions from whatever. It is no wonder that lay people struggle with this issue, when leadership is so vague.
Finally, I had had it! Disgusted with my stance and embarrassed about my ignorance, I decided that enough was enough! So back to school I went. I was convinced that one class in Textual Criticism would not transform me into a scholar. (I was right about that.) I was doubtful that one class would even be very helpful. (WRONG!!) After all, I had been convinced that to really understand the issues, one would have to be a Greek and Hebrew scholar and spend years comparing Greek and Hebrew texts against the versions-and I was not about to do that. Nevertheless, I went with an open heart and mind.
Three weeks into the class, there I sat-shamed before God! Shamed-for all those years of being indecisive and ignorant and not doing anything about it. Shamed-to have thought that God would have made such an important issue too difficult to be understood. Shamed-because as a leader I had led wrong. Shamed, but grateful. Grateful-for the man who was teaching the class. Grateful-that he had done his homework well. Grateful-that he would take time to teach me.
SOME ISSUES WE WON'T TAKE TIME FORWhile there are many issues that are too complicated to explain, authenticate, and illustrate in a booklet this size, I thought it might be worthwhile to at least ask some questions to bring some of the issues to light.
1. Did you know that the KJV and most modern Bible translations are not translated from the same text? The KJV is a translation of the TR and most modern Bible translations are translations of the NT.
2. Did you know that there are over five thousand manuscripts that are in agreement with the TR, and only two (2, not 2000) in agreement with the NT?
3. Did you know that there are more discrepancies between the two manuscripts of the NT than there are between the thousands of manuscripts of the TR?
4. Did you know that no non-Catholic has been allowed to see the two manuscripts of the NT [Codex B (Vaticanus) and the Codex Aleph (Sinaiticus)] in the last 500 years? (That's right, all we have is the Vatican's word for what they contain!)
5. Did you know that the manuscripts behind the Nestles Text are referred to as Alexandrian texts? They are named after the corrupt school in Alexandria that produced them.
6. Did you know that the early church fathers gave warning about the corrupted manuscripts coming out of Alexandria?
THE HEART OF THE ISSUE"There really is no difference between them, this one is just much easier to read..." "Oh! No, you don't lose anything by switching to the NASB; if anything, you gain some..." Have you heard that before? Yeah, me too. Well, let's take a quick look to see if an old enemy is up to his deception again!
In the next few pages I will try to demonstrate for you that there is a conspiracy to change the unchangeable Word of God. Conspiracy, don't you just hate that word? We hear political alarmists use it over and over, until we almost want to say that there is no such thing as a conspiracy of any kind. However, God has recorded in His Word a warning that we need to echo at this point. "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 that are written in this book "- Revelation 22:19.
Before you lay this aside, please let me set one thing straight-I do not have a problem with the use of a modern word or phrase replacing an archaic word or phrase. If you will simply stay with me a while longer, I believe that I can show you some things that you will be glad to know.
Okay, one more question and then we'll get started. What will you do if you see that the new versions are not trying to simplify the Scriptures, but to plunder them?
THE HEART OF THE ISSUE for me is simply this-Is the Word of God inspired, inerrant, and unchangeable? I mean from Genesis 1: I to Revelation 22:21-is it, or not? Was that a "yes," I heard? Then how could you ever have confidence in a version that came from the NT, which denies many of those verses? How? And, how could a preacher hold up a KJV at one point in his ministry and declare every verse, every word, every jot, and every tittle to be God's inspired Word-then later give credence to a version that leaves some of it out? I know-you want me to stop ranting and raving and start producing-right? Well-grab a KJV and one of the modern versions and let's get to work.
I John 5:7 - The keynote verse in the Bible for the Trinity.
Probably just an oversight-right? Wrong! Your modern versions leave out "these three are one, " the strongest statement in Scripture establishing the doctrine of the Trinity. Please don't think that verse eight covers that, because it doesn't. Verse eight simply says, "they agree in one. "
Mark 16-9-20 - Did you know that these eleven verses are not even found in the manuscripts of the new versions. I know-but they are in your Bible-right? Look closer. Do you see a marginal note or a footnote that reads like a disclaimer? This time they make you wonder whether these verses belong in the Bible-next time they leave them out.
It is amazing that some readers will still be saying, "well if that's all you have got-leave my new version alone." What ever happened to the "I believe every verse, every letter, every jot and tittle" attitude? It is my prayer that those of you who are beginning to see the problem will not be afraid to take a stand.
I am sure you know that the Morning Star of the Bible is Jesus Christ-see Revelation 22:16. Now turn to Isaiah 14:12.
In your KJV you will read about the fall of Lucifer from Heaven, but in your modern versions you will read about the fall of the Morning Star.
Matthew 18:11 - This verse is not in the corrupted manuscripts either. Try to find it in an NIV, you cannot! The NASB has it with a disclaimer. What a verse to disclaim - "For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost, " This is just one of many omissions about Christ in the NT and the modern versions.
Have you noticed that the doctrine of Hell is not very popular these days? You know-all that "where the -worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched" stuff is just kind of old fashion. Oh well, it probably doesn't matter anyway, so what if they decided to leave it out of Mark 9:44, 9:46, 6:II? A lot of people probably don't care-do you? If you're thinking, "well that is only three verses," check a concordance for the KJV, the NASB, and the NIV-you will be shocked at how many times they have taken "Hell" out of the NASB and the NIV.
While -you have your NASB or NIV concordance out, read number 3 again and then try to find the Devil's name "Lucifer." You can not even find his name in most of the modem versions. What a deceiver!
Don't put that NASB concordance away yet. Look up "the One." You will find 800 blanks where the original Greek or Hebrew word should be given. "Why?" I am glad you asked! They are replacing masculine nouns and pronouns referencing God with "the One." I am sure that the feminists who despise the masculine nature of God will be glad, No doubt the New Age group approves, since that is a title for their god-whoever he is. Just a few verses to get you started-John 6:69- John 4:42- 1 Corinthians 15:28.
If you are still thinking, "Well, those things happen in translation work," let's talk about the original language texts behind the KJV (the TR) and the modern versions (NT).
Remember these are the original language (Greek and Hebrew) texts-not works of translation. They are even changing the Greek and Hebrew in the NT. That's right, the current edition of the NT is the 26th. Not the 26th printing, but the 26th edition (in less than 100 years). Pray tell me-If Jesus said, "not one jot or tittle" would pass away in His Word-how can they call that mess, "His Word?" But, the poor old TR (the Greek and Hebrew texts behind the KJV)-it don't got none of them there edition numbers. It just says the same old thing it said over 300 years ago.
Thank God some things do not change!
Pastor Eddie Egbert
Bethel Baptist Church