Introduction to Bible Versions

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Bible Cross Christian

It is a fact that nearly all local churches, of all denominations (or none), now use the New International Version of the Bible (or similar ‘modern’ ones). They say it is easier to understand and clearer in its structure, etc. But, is this so? Certain facts need to be remembered…

What is meant by “easier to understand”? We must view this statement in the light of our ‘instant’ society. Today, few people will tolerate having to work through details. They just want the bare essentials – enough to get by on. This is what American TV News is based on: very quick images in succession, each item not more than about 30 seconds in length, so that viewers don’t get bored!

This same quickie-mentality is prevalent in schools, where hard-pressed teachers are harassed to find easy-to-assimilate and quick-to-disseminate methods of teaching. Children have a TV approach to their ‘studies’, which means they will not bother with hard work or with a proper, systematic method. Instead, they want fast delivery of academic ‘food’ already well-chewed by their teachers! No thinking involved, just a summary of facts. (I discovered this when I taught in schools: 80% just wanted to get through the day. Only a few worked hard at learning something. Yet, when the 80% failed, society was expected to support them).

In many churches, preachers are being encouraged to find new ways to present God’s word. These ways must be bright and breezy, or at least short and free of boring details! The problem with this is that a preacher must speak as God leads, not as the people want. This can and does involve a detailed and sometimes complex study of God’s Word. For people to suggest this is ‘boring’ or that they ‘do not understand’, is to admit to their own ineptitude and unwillingness to look into God’s word, which is not what God’s word says to them. In his letters, Paul consistently likens proper study and the Christian life to work, or a race demanding top-rate and hard-spent effort. Few Christians want this in their busy lives! They want well-chewed baby-food that does not require much effort. That’s why they sit back on Sundays and let the pastor do all the leg-work!

When it comes to Bible Versions, it is easy to see why the NIV is so popular! But, is this ease of reading an indication of better scholarship? No it is not! One of the very first modern Bibles, the Revised Version, was instigated and led by two men (Westcott and Hort – see my website series on this) who openly declared that their mission was to rid the world of the Authorized Version, which they say they “hated”.

Nearly all other versions since, including the NIV, are based on this earlier version or on its methodology, and almost none are actual translations. They are, usually, just the personal ideas of the writers, or paraphrases. This should make Christians think twice about using them. Why? Let me put it this way: if a woman says she hates children, would you entrust her with your baby for a week? If a man says he loathes black people, would you ask him to write an unbiassed report on the situation in racist societies? Or, ask Hitler to write prose in favor of Jews?

It stands to reason that if a man says he hates a book, and then he is entrusted with rewriting, interpreting, or translating it, that he will do what he can, whether openly or subtly, to destroy that book. Or, he will be even more clever and interpret it in such a way as to undermine its authority and authenticity. And that is what happened when these men ‘translated’ the AV Bible!

The NIV, for example, omits vital wordings and even part sentences. It translates other words in such a way as to mask or change actual meanings. It tends to play down the Lordship and authority of Jesus Christ. In short, it goes a long way toward making Roman Catholic claims more palatable. Can we ignore this? I know that I, personally, cannot do so!

To ignore these vital facts is to minimize Satan’s very clever strategy. Bit by bit, he is causing men to fashion the Bible into what he wants it to say. He is changing words, altering meanings. (This is the strategy for all anti-God movements, from homosexuality to environmentalism to Islamism. Words are changed to mean something else). Satan is ensuring that all churches throw out their Authorized Version (which is despised and not used by Roman Catholics and many charismatics because it spells out salvation by Grace alone), and replacing it with the NIV or similarly corrupt texts.

Think on this – if there are no more AV’s, but only modern versions (which change and are added-to continually), then there will no longer be a reliable text to check against. If we did not have rulers or accredited master measurements, how would we really know what an inch was? Without a master measurement no man could follow an architect’s plans properly!

This I see to be Satan’s task today. Versions change so rapidly that many Christians do not know what to accept anymore! They think that easy-reading must mean better theology. But, this is not so. After over 50 years of intensive study of the AV, I am still only scratching the surface of the word of God! The NIV and similar versions take away the ‘work’ of study and provide ready-made ‘meanings’, all supplied by pro-Romanist or other unbelieving editors who redact scripture. How convenient!

This is not a call to be archaic or to do hard work for the sake of it. There is nothing wrong with making doctrine easier to understand. But what most modern versions do is to give simplistic answers. By removing the impetus to study for oneself, they give propaganda meanings provided by unbelieving theologians. Also, they use corrupt sources (see my series on the KJAV). There is the danger. The AV on the other hand is the most reliable text ever to be made available. It was translated by godly men whose only desire was to glorify their Lord by translating as He wanted them to translate. So – what/Who will YOU trust?

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The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author and are not not necessarily either shared or endorsed by iPatriot.com.

Barry Napier

Founder, Bible Theology Ministries, and christiandoctrine website. BEd., BA, MA, PhD, plus professional diplomas and certificates. Work experience in hospital, counselling, colleges, research. Writer for forty years, Pastor. Any queries/comments, write to [email protected]

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