August 16, 2017
 
 
 
 Verbal, Plenary Inspiration Abandoned?

 

One of the foundational doctrines considered to be non-negotiable by conservative evangelicals is the divine inspiration of the Scriptures, and to be more specific:  the verbal, plenary inspiration of God’s Word. That is, every word is inspired. Partial inspiration – the belief of liberalism – is rightfully rejected as a blatant denial of Paul’s statement in 2 Timothy 3:16 that “all” scripture is given by inspiration of God. Not certain parts or concepts are inspired. No. Every word. At least, that is the assertion of conservative Christians and theologians.

 

And, yet, there is a strange inconsistency applied to the Bible by conservatives when dealing with various translations. To be succinct, conservatives readily denounce the New World Translation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses as a deceptive and unreliable translation, yet have no qualms in using other evangelical translations such as the ESV and the NIV that drop words, phrases, and entire verses from the text. Why is this?

 

Fact: The New World Translation adds one letter to John 1:1 that undermines the deity of the Lord Jesus. Their translation states: “In the beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.” Evangelical apologists are quick to denounce this rendering as a flagrant perversion of divine inspiration, and point to God’s warning that anyone who adds to the Scriptures incurs the judgment of God (Deut. 4:2; Prov. 30:4-5; John 10:35; Rev. 22:18-19). The addition of one letter in this verse is condemned, and rightfully so. Evangelicals are united in their belief that the NWT is a perversion of God’s Word and that the adherents of the Kingdom Hall are part of a cult.

 

Fact: Until 1881, all Baptists and Protestants read from translations that stated “God was manifest in the flesh” in 1 Timothy 3:16. See the Geneva Bible and the King James Version for reliable English translations that have “God” as being manifest in the flesh. Not so the ESV or the NIV! The ESV reads: “He was manifested in the flesh”; the NIV states: “He appeared in a body.”

 

No big deal, right? Apparently not, according to the majority of evangelical Christians in our generation. The reason? The writings and teachings of seminary professors and leading spokesmen for the recent translations tell us that they are based on older and more reliable manuscripts, especially Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus. So don’t worry! After all the fuss and arguments over the contradictory renderings of 1 Timothy 3:16, it doesn’t really matter. The deity of Christ is still found in the newer translations even though they don’t have the word “God” in the text. At least, that’s what we are told.

 

Why the double standard? Why the condemnation of the Kingdom Hall for their spurious translation of John 1:1, but no problem with the deletion of “God” from 1 Timothy 3:16 in the ESV and the NIV? Can any thinking Christian really swallow the assertion that it doesn’t matter whether a translation states that “God was manifest in the flesh” or “He was manifested in the flesh”? Is there really no difference? What about verbal, plenary inspiration?

 

The fact of the matter is this: 1900 years ago the apostle Paul sat with “pen” in hand and wrote on a manuscript by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit the word “God” or the word “he” in this verse. If Paul wrote “God was manifest in the flesh,” then it is a perversion of the divine revelation to substitute, yea, to change the word to “He.” To state that “God was manifest in the flesh” is to affirm the deity of Jesus Christ. If, on the other hand, Paul wrote “He was manifest in the flesh,” then all of the translations used throughout church history that read “God was manifest in the flesh” were corrupted by orthodox theologians/translators who wanted to buttress the deity of Jesus by adding to God’s Word.

 

We can’t have it both ways. It is contradictory and hypocritical to condemn the Bible of the Kingdom Hall for their addition of the letter “a” in John 1:1 to undermine the deity of Jesus, and yet make allowance for the removal of the word “God” in rendering 1 Timothy 3:16 in the newer translations.

 

It’s a funny thing that evangelicals condemn the NWT for John 1:1, but seem to be completely unaware that the ESV and the NIV are in complete agreement with the Bible of the Jehovah’s Witnesses when it comes to 1 Timothy 3:16. Look carefully at the following:

 

New World Translation: “He was made manifest in the flesh.”

New International Version: “He appeared in a body.”

English Standard Version: He was manifested in the flesh.”


King James Version: 
“God was manifest in the flesh.”
 
(For further consideration, look at the following:
 
Tyndale New Testament, 1526:  "And without naye great is that mistery of godlines: God was shewed in the flesshe."
 
Miles Coverdale Bible, 1535:  "And without naye, greate is that mystery of godlynes. God was shewed in the flesh."
 
The Bishop's Bible, 1568:  "And without doubt, great is that misterie of godlynesse:  God was shewed in the flesshe."
 
La Biblia Reina-Valera:  "Y sin contradiccion, grande es el misterio de la piedad:  Dios ha sido manifestado en carne."
 
Luther's Bible, 1545:  "Vnd kundlich gros ist das gottselige geheimnis/ Gott ist offenbaret im Fleisch.")

 

Defenders of the modern translations that are based on different manuscripts cry to the heavens that they are more reliable, more trustworthy, closer to the originals. Well, are they? And does verbal, plenary inspiration really matter?

 

One thing is certain. We can’t have it both ways. We can’t condemn the Jehovah’sWitnesses in John 1:1 and give them a “pass” when it comes to 1 Timothy 3:16 because our newer translations happen to be in agreement on that verse?

 

What do you think? Are you an inerrantist? Do you believe in verbal, plenary inspiration? If you do, then you must conclude that Bible societies do not have the right to tamper with letters and words and entire verses, adding and deleting according to “newer” and “more reliable” manuscripts. When it comes to 1 Timothy 3:16, one translation is right and one is wrong. Both cannot be right!
 
 
 
Pastor Steve Youngblood
January 10, 2011
 
 
 
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Posted by sheryl from Colorado(kaci rydgrens mom) on 08-Jun-2014 at 21:49:22 EST
Subject: getting together

Hello brother steve.I am in Leesburg until the 18. My mom is having surgery in the morning so i came to be with her.Do you have wed.night services? If not do you have time to get together while i am here? My phone is 970-313-6645.My mom's is 229-888-1043.

Posted by sheryl rydgren on 14-Apr-2013 at 22:45:41 EST
Subject: kaci rydgren

Thank you for visiting with my daughter kaci. It was so refreshing to her. By God's sovereign and amazing grace she delights in the Lord and that delights my heart. My first husband (before I was saved) was born in Leesburg and I met him while he attended Lee high school.(the cox family) I was saved in a s.baptist church in 1972 and became reformed in 1987 after reading "Chosen by God' by R.C.Sproul. God's sovereignty is so sweet to my soul! I will come and visit on my next trip home which may be in July.

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Posted by Dweltsheatarl on 15-Aug-2011 at 12:20:58 EST
Subject: Dweltsheatarl

Tres intiresno, gracias

Posted by Ken Springer on 13-May-2011 at 13:24:51 EST
Subject: allways remember

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Posted by Alicante Airport on 30-Mar-2011 at 12:46:49 EST
Subject: Alicante Airport

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Posted by Irving Chamberlain on 17-Jan-2011 at 05:20:01 EST
Subject: The Holy Bible as God had it written.

I use, and believe the King James version of the bible. I can get so excited when God opens up a word, like cracking open an egg, and gives me the meaning of the word which He wants me to understand.