With the ever increasing numbers of new translations of the Bible coming off the press each year it keeps the casual by-stander wondering whether to search for spiritual knowledge from this new version or to wait for the next. Each group of new translators making the same claims of better translations and correcting more errors (?) than the last. Peter gives an accurate description of such a group in II Peter 2:19, "While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage." Doubtless many noble Christians are brought into the bondage of believing these self acclaimed authorities who say the Authorized King James Version (KJV) is at least past its day of great usefulness and at most full of error and antiquated terms.
Those who applaud the New American Standard Version (NASV) and the New International Version (NIV), et al., use such descriptive terms as, "Unequaled !", "Indispensable modernity!", "Easily understood and accurately expressive of the intent of the original writers." And all this under the guise of unquestionable scholarship. It seems while the world reeks with religious gullibility all any publication needs to make it heaven sent is a nod of approval from Dr. Billy Graham or Pope John Paul II, et al. It behooves every Bible believer to be bold in seeking the truth behind every new version. Satan has a way of white-washing corruption until it appears to be legitimate correction. Let us beware of any new translation especially when God has so blessed the English speaking people with revival as they preached and believed the KJV to be the Word of God. The problem today is not a lack of linguistic clarity in the KJV, but an unwillingness to believe that which is understandable and to act accordingly.
Anyone daring to take a stand to defend the KJV as being the Word of God for today's English speaking people will soon find himself in the position of irreparable reproach among many brethren. Such labels as "emotional, traditional, and misinformed," and being identified with the group who are charged with "keeping their heads buried in the sand for about 100 years" will quickly and quietly place a person in the isolation ward of contemporary organized religion.
The promotional claim in behalf of most new translations is that word correction is greatly needed to make the KJV more easily understood. This is at best doubtful. No person can understand God's message with any practicability without the Holy Spirit's guidance. Linguistic clarity will never replace Holy Spirit conviction. The cost of clarity is too great if corruption of the Word is the price. If indeed correction of particular words is the ultimate goal of the translators of modern versions why change the entire verse involved? There is no real confusion in the KJV where Biblical love is called charity. This is one of the first words these self acclaimed 'correctors' will throw at you as being archaic. Children learn quickly that Biblical charity is Christian love without endangering their faith in the Bible as the Word of God by having two different readings. Is word correction for better understanding the ultimate intent behind the endless procession of new versions, or is it the same ancient attack used repeatedly by Satan upon the Divine Person of the Godhead?
SATAN'S AMBITION: BE LIKE THE MOST HIGH
"The anointed cherub that covereth;" was perfect from the day he was created, "till iniquity was found in thee". (Ezek. 28:14, 15). Fallen Lucifer said in his heart, "I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:...l will be like the most High." (Isaiah 14:12-14). The longing to be at least equal with God if not replacing Him on the throne of glory, was and still remains the ultimate desire of the Devil. The pronounced judgment to "be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit" (Isaiah 14:15), has not yet been fully implemented. By his own admittance Satan is upon the earth involving himself in the affairs of men. God presented this question to Satan in Job 2:2, "Whence comest thou?" His answer, "From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it." I Peter 5:8 describes Satan's present action "as a roaring lion, walking about, seeking whom he may devour.''
To be like the most High in the beginning, Satan must first displace the eternal Word that as with God and that indeed was God. (Jn. 1:1). Having failed to gain the unequaled position of being "like the most High", such position belonging only to the Son of God, he began to CORRECT the spoken Word of God that man might BETTER understand. The first shadow of doubt cast upon the mind of man concerning the truthfulness of God's Word was instigated through the subtlety of Satan upon Eve (Gen. 3:1) and later upon Adam (Gen. 3:6). As always when the corruption is noticed it is generally too late to correct the result. Every act of Satan wears the guise of correcting some error which God has made in His plan for man. The end result of believing a lie is damnation.
SATAN'S ATTACK UPON GOD'S INFALLIBILITY
The attack upon the infallibility of God's instruction to Adam in the garden was only a launching pad for a greater attack upon the Word that was made flesh. (Jn. 1:14). The first Adam having failed the supreme trial with the end result being death, Satan turns upon the Second Adam with the same subtlety, "If thou be the Son of God...", (Jn. 4:3, 6). The footprints of doubt can always be followed backward to Satanic origin and forward to rank confusion. Satan has won a victory when he can place a question mark where God has placed a period. If he can cause any information from a Holy God to seem doubtful, he has achieved his ultimate goal of damning the soul of man. Be assured that Satan's failure to insert doubt into the mind of Jesus never thwarted his plan to introduce doubt into the mind of future generations in regard to the written word.
IS THE KJV LANGUAGE SO OBSCURE, ARCHAIC AND CONFUSING?
Certainly it is not as confusing as the promoters of modern versions would have their readers to believe. Why must we accept the unqualified statement of the critics that the KJV uses "obscure, archaic and sometimes confusing language?" Does not any 10 year old who has been in Bible class know that Biblical charity means Christian love? Does not Webster's New World Dictionary define charity as "Christian love?" Where is the obscurity of the true meaning of Bible charity? Certainly it is not in the mind of those who are scripturally and spiritually instructed. It is in the mind of Satan who is constantly seeking to obscure the true meaning of pure love. Not many words today can be more obscure in meaning than 'love' without further explanation. Every homosexual makes an unashamed claim that it is 'LOVE' that compels him to commit sodomy with his male companion. Such a love would hardly qualify in I Corinthians 13. It is indeed 'charity' that would better convey the real meaning of Christian love.
WHO ANTIQUATED CONCUPISCENCE?
'Concupiscence' is also under attack as being archaic, antiquated and old-fashioned. Again all that is needed to enlighten any person who can read is a quick reference to Webster's Dictionary. It will certainly give a more accurate understanding than is revealed in either the NASV or the NIV, the two (per)-versions more widely accepted as being the most faithful(?) to the original manuscripts. Webster's Dictionary defines 'concupiscence' as "a strong or abnormal desire or appetite; especially a sexual desire or lust."
'Concupiscence' is used three times in the KJV. "But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of CONCUPISCENCE" (Rom. 7:8); "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil CONCUPISCENCE . . ." (Col. 3:5); and "Not in the lust of CONCUPISCENCE, even as the Gentiles which know not God" (I Thess. 4:5). Of the three verses I Thessalonians 4:5 is treated better where concupiscence is rendered "lustful passion" in the NASV and "passionate lust" in the NIV. Even here the translation is less forceful than concupiscence. The two remaining verses are found with even less forcefulness. Romans 7:8 in the NASV reads 'coveting' and the NIV uses 'covetous desire'. Both the NASV and NIV use 'desire' as the correction of concupiscence in Colossians 3:5. Every Bible believing child of God (and he must be a Bible believer to be a child of God) has a legitimate right to ask any translator where he gets the authority to make such changes and claims. Also to ask any lesson writer where he gets the authority to commend any translation as 'better revealing the original word of God than the KJV.' One would think these writers had a copy of the originals on their desk.
Even a casual observation of the verses before us reveals a weakening of the impact against this sin of the flesh. 'Concupiscence' is translated from the Greek word 'epithumia'. Although it is translated 'lust' 31 times and 'desire' 3 times and 'concupiscence' 3 times it is never translated 'covet'. In the three verses where 'epithumia' is translated 'desire', a high spiritual aspiration is in mind as with the Lord as He spoke to His disciples in Luke 22:15, "With DESIRE I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer.'' The same is true in the two remaining verses as Paul expressed his "DESIRE to depart, and to be with Christ," (Phil. 1:23) as also in I Thessalonians 2:17 when he longed to see their face with great "desire". The elimination of 'concupiscence' from the Bible is not correction. It is purely and simply another attempt of Satan toward corruption of God's Word. 'Concupiscence' is indeed an old word. But so also is the sin it so aptly describes. The same group who would 'antiquate' concupiscence are just as anxious to 'antiquate' the condemnation upon the sin which it describes.
DOES "BEWRAY'' REALLY BETRAY PROVERBS 27:15, 16?
Clearly the NIV translators believe it does. They leave it out. Again the self appointed guardians of the NIV hop on their pogo stick of antiquated words and terms, hopping from here to yon under the pretense of making the AV easier understood. Have they forgotten that you can still read the Webster's Dictionary and at least have access to an exhaustive concordance of the Bible with a Greek and Hebrew Dictionary? Incidentally, ask the promoters of the NASV and the NIV and any of the other modern translations which exhaustive concordance they would recommend.
Must we succumb to the persuasion that the word 'bewray' helps Proverbs 27:15, 16 "To make no sense at all", as one letter in my possession claims? It reads, "A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike. Whosoever hideth her hideth the wind, and the ointment of his right hand, which BEWRAYETH itself." The NIV reads, "A quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping on a rainy day; restraining her is like restraining the wind or grasping oil with the hand," omitting "which bewrayeth itself" as the KJV reads. It is somewhat less than honest to say that this omission gives better understanding to this portion of scripture. On the contrary, as in other places where like omissions are made, these three words add forcefulness to the issue. Again Webster will define 'bewray' for any future translator who cares to know, or any Bible student who does not already know. It very simply means "to divulge; reveal; betray."
Must we stop where the NIV stops? It gives only the comparison between "a quarrelsome wife" and "a constant dripping on a rainy day" with the difficulty of restraint compared to stopping the wind or holding oil in the hand. Why not accept the added forcefulness of the KJV, "which bewrayeth (betrays) itself?" Water will puddle with 'continual dropping' and 'contention' cannot be concealed for long and 'ointment' will soon 'bewray' itself through the fingers even though they are held ever so tightly together. If clarity or correction of archaic words was the true intent of this modern version this would have been a good place to change 'bewray' to 'betray' and leave all else alone. How much better to change one letter than to drop an entire phrase. Clarity was not in the mind of the first revisers nor is it the ultimate goal of modern revisers. It is the age old attack of Satan upon the full meaning of the Word of God.
WHICH VERSION IS VALID, PLEASE?
The following is a quote from a letter in my files: "When I point out the deficiencies of the KJV and the strengths of the NIV, I am not implying that just any translation or version is valid. Although I do not think it necessary to abandon the KJV if one is COMFORTABLE with it and recognizes the usefulness of other valid translations, personally I can conscientiously recommend ONLY the NASB and the NIV as being the most faithful to the original manuscripts." (Emphasis mine.) What a priceless possession if this man really had the "original manuscripts'' to compare his favorite version with.
And what will the person who made the above statement do when he finds out that 'begotten' is left out of John 3:16 in the NIV and is included in the same verse in the NASB and also the KJV. All three of these cannot be "faithful" to the original manuscripts even if they were available. If these promoters would be honest they would tell you that the manuscripts that the numerous new versions were translated from were not even in agreement among themselves. Is it then reasonable to accept any recommendation that holds forth two or more differing versions as both being valid? No where have I read where the NASB or the NIV translators have told the Bible purchasing public which Greek text was used in their translations. Only that theirs was the 'oldest and best manuscripts' available. Are they afraid if you knew you would begin to question their authority on other matters or do they count you too unlearned to understand?
"The King James New Testament came to us from the Greek Textus Receptus, while the Old Testament came from the Masoretic Hebrew Text.'' (God Wrote Only One Bible, by Ray, pg. 94). A further quote from the same book. pg. 88, 89. "'Brain-washed' Bible translators, who omit important words and phrases from the new Bible Versions, are 'Stealing' God's Words from those who study and teach the Bible. God says: 'I am against the Prophets, that steal my words every one from his neighbor,' (Jer. 23:30). True believers should buy King James Bibles now, because the day is coming when they shall 'wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east; they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, AND SHALL NOT FIND IT.' (Amos 8: 12).''
NO ONE CAN BE SUCCESSFULLY NEUTRAL
Pilate could not answer the question, "What is truth?", by being neutral at the mock trial of the Lord. (John 18:38). Ahab sought to disguise himself and still fight in the battle, but God's providential arrow sought him out and identified him for what he was. (I Kings 22)
Jehoiakim's penknife kept whittling at the 'roll' until it was finally consumed in the fire (Jeremiah 36:23). Satan's attempt to destroy God's Word is just as vicious today as in Jehoiakim's day and even more subtle.
Some would not keep you from studying all translations but would not want you to know that the vast majority of the modern versions come from a polluted Greek text. To know the difference for yourself the following books will be of great benefit. They will reveal the vast difference between real correction and rank corruption.
The Revision Revised by J. W. Burgon, B.D.