July 21, 2019

"Comparisons of Bible Versions, III"

By Steve Youngblood, Pastor

Mark 6:11b

  • KJV: "Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city."
  • NAS: This sentence is deleted without any marginal reading to inform the reader of such editing.
  • NIV: This sentence is deleted without any marginal reading to inform the reader of such editing.
  • NAB: This sentence is deleted without any marginal reading to inform the reader of such editing. (Note: The New American Bible is a popular Catholic translation)
  • NWT: This sentence is deleted without any marginal reading to inform the reader of such editing. (Note: The New World Translation is the "bible" of the Jehovah's Witnesses)

Houdini himself could not have performed a better vanishing act than what is found in Mark 6:11b in the modern versions. An entire sentence that includes 23 words spoken by the Lord Jesus Christ disappear into thin air by the mere sleight-of-hand utilized by liberal textual critics. Just as Sodom and Gomorrha were blasted into oblivion by the judgment of God, so this sentence that speaks of those two notorious cities is razed to the ground by the judgment of fallible and unbelieving scribes.

What is so deceptive about the deletion in this verse is the fact that the modern translations retain the first sentence or statement that is found in the KJV, but simply choose to cast aspersion upon the second sentence by acting as if it never existed. For example, the New American Standard states in Mark 6:11: "And any place that does not receive you or listen to you, as you go out from there, shake off the dust from the soles of your feet for a testimony against them." The average reader of this version would assume (without even thinking about it) that he had read the entire contents of Mark 6:11, little realizing that the Received Text actually contains another sentence. What does the individual do who makes the discovery that his modern translation is different from the King James Version in this verse? Where does he turn to for a solution to this discrepancy between the two translations?

The perplexed Bible reader may go to his local Christian bookstore and be sold a copy of The King James Only Controversy by James White, a popular book among those who seek to defend the Nestle/Aland Greek text as superior to the Received Text (KJV). Can White offer an answer to this problem? On pages 156-58 he seeks to uphold the new Greek text that the modern versions are based on by conjecturing that the "extra" words found in the KJV are simply the result of "parallel influence," i.e., the practice of textual scribes to harmonize passages of Scripture by bringing phrases or sentences from a parallel gospel account over to another gospel. Thus, in Mark 6:11b scribes of the past incorporated this second sentence in the KJV from the parallel passage found in Matthew 10:15, at least that is the hypothesis that White hopes his reading audience will buy into.

Let us consider this point a little further to show the irrationality of White's reasonings. He further states on pages 158-59: The first thing to note of relevance to the KJV Only controversy is the fact that in each instance where the NIV lacks a phrase in its text that is found in the KJV, that same material is found elsewhere in the NIV New Testament (emphasis by White). The importance of this should be clear: if the NIV (or any other modern translation) is attempting to 'hide' something, why include the very same material in another place? Such a translation procedure simply makes no sense at all, and yet this is the constant accusation of KJV Only materials against modern translations."

What do you think of such reasoning? Does it sound plausible, or do you "smell something rotten in Denmark"? White has sidestepped the real issue in order to defend repeated deletions found in the modern translations by superficially averring that the deletions are found elsewhere in the NIV. Do you recognize the blunder that White has committed? Any first-year student in logic would recognize that White's smokescreen is indefensible. The real issue is this: Did John Mark write the words found in Mark 6:11b through the activity of the Holy Spirit, or did he not? If he did, then it makes no difference whatsoever if the deleted sentence is found elsewhere in the Bible. That translation is placing itself under the judgment of God in subtracting from the words of divine inspiration! That is what White should seriously ponder, for the Bible is not to be treated as a naturalistic book that can be sliced up according to the whims of textual critics who do not believe that the Bible is a supernatural book, unique among the volumes of history. Those who are "in the know" will readily recognize that White's philosophy of textual criticism places him in the camp of neoorthodoxy.

Consider this: Throughout church history the Roman Catholic church had her corrupted manuscripts, and the true church spread over the face of the earth had the pure manuscripts. Until 1881, the true church had the disputed sentence found in Mark 6:11b copied into her manifold translations. But since that date, those who have been termed "separated brethren" by Rome no longer have that second sentence in their "bibles." That simply adds up to this: Modern-day believers have forsaken the scriptures that the true church possessed throughout church history for new translations that our forefathers would condemn as heretical in nature since they repeatedly agree with the "bible" of Rome!

Mark 9:29

  • KJV: "This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.
  • NAS: "This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer."
  • NIV: "This kind can come out only by prayer."
  • NAB: "This kind can only come out through prayer." (Note: The New American Bible is a popular Catholic translation)
  • NWT: "This kind cannot get out by anything except by prayer." (Note: The New World Translation is the "bible" of the Jehovah's Witnesses)

Does liberal scholarship have "hands-on" experience when it comes to casting out demons? One might think so when noticing that two words have been deleted from the modern translations. Perhaps fasting isn't necessary when dealing with the demonic realm, or perhaps Jesus was mistaken in the proper methods of exorcism, or perhaps...?

Let us compare the marginal notes of the New American Standard and the New International Version concerning the deletion of "and fasting" in this verse. The NAS states: "Many mss. add and fasting." Curiously, the NIV asserts: "Some manuscripts prayer and fasting." Not only do we find a contradiction between the KJV and the new translations, but we also discover a contradiction between the "scholars" who worked on the NAS and NIV in their marginal notes. Now which is it? Is it only a few manuscripts that contain the deleted words, or are there many manuscripts that include them? And if the marginal note in the NAS is correct, then why did the translators choose to excise the two words? The truth is that the vast majority of manuscripts and lectionaries contain the two disputed words, and the "scholars" who served on both of these translations knew that full well.

Now to some, the omission of two "little" words may seem insignificant, but the problem is that these "little" omissions occur repetitiously. For example, in Mark 9:24 an alert student will discover the disappearance of only one "little" word from the KJV in the modern versions, the word "Lord." The father of the demon-possessed boy cried out, "Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief." All of the other translations omit the word "Lord," thus subtracting from this man's confession of belief that Jesus of Nazareth was more than a mere teacher or prophet! These "little" omissions add up as you turn page after page in these newer bibles, just as pennies add up over time as you continue to add them to a piggy-bank or some other container. One word deleted by itself might seem trivial, but add all of the deletions in toto and it becomes a serious matter!

Mark 9:42

  • KJV: "And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me..."
  • NAS: "And whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble..."
  • NIV: "And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin..."
  • NAB: "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe [in me] to sin..." (Note: The New American Bible is a popular Catholic translation)
  • NWT: "But whoever stumbles one of these little ones that believe..." (Note: The New World Translation is the "bible" of the Jehovah's Witnesses)

In this verse we find disagreement among the modern versions about the two words, "in me." The NAS and the NWT agree together in choosing to delete the words, while the NIV and NAB agree together in selecting to keep the words, although the NAB puts them in brackets. It is obvious that the inclusion of "in me" specifies who the little children are placing their faith in, i.e. Jesus Christ. The omission of the words raises a question concerning who or what the children are believing in. Are they believing in their parents, Santa Claus, luck, Christ, Satan, happiness, or in themselves? Isn't it interesting that Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus disagree among themselves repeatedly in their respective texts, and in Mark 9:42 the scholars who translated the Greek into English could not agree together on what was the true text!

Mark 9:44 & 46

  • KJV: "Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched."
  • NIV: Verses 44 and 46 are completely missing from the text.
  • NAB: Verses 44 and 46 simply have an asterisk in brackets, with no text. (Note: The New American Bible is a popular Catholic translation)
  • NWT: Verses 44 and 46 simply have a bold slash mark, with no text. (Note: The New World Translation is the "bible of the Jehovah's Witnesses)

Here is a case where the textual critics felt that the repetition of "where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched" was unnecessary. Let the New American Bible give us the explanation for the removal of two of the three statements found in Mark 9:44,46,48: "These verses (vv.44 & 46), lacking in some important early manuscripts, are here omitted as scribal additions. They simply repeat v.48, itself a modified citation of Is.66:24." Thus, the verdict of the jury is that too much repetition can be monotonous. However, if the Lord Jesus actually made this statement three times, then who are we to take the liberty to cut out his words twice? What would these so-called scholars do with Psalm 136, where the phrase "for his mercy endureth forever" is repeated in every verse for a total of 26 times?!

Exceedingly solemn is the context of Mark 9:43-50! Repetition is most justifiable when an instructor is seeking to make an emphatic statement that will not soon be forgotten. Speaking of hell and the fire that will never be quenched, Christ drove home the horror of hell by repeating his words three times. What an impression would have been made upon his listeners concerning the awful damnation that awaits those who are lost!

Those who use the NIV as their primary text for reading and study find themselves in a somewhat embarrassing situation when it comes to the deletions found in their bible. The NAS, NAB, and NWT all acknowledged the missing sentence in verses 44 and 46 by means of brackets, asterisks, or slash marks, but the NIV completely left out the sentences and verse numbers from the text! Unless the reader notices the alphabetical endnote at the end of verses 43 and 45, he will not even be aware that an entire sentence has been dropped -- not once, but twice from his bible. About the only way an NIV advocate would become aware of these "missing links" would be for a preacher using the KJV to ask his congregation to turn to Mark 9:44 and/or 46. Then, perhaps for the first time, the reader would become aware that there are no such verses to be found in his translation. They just aren't there!

Taking exception to the marginal note of the NAB, we would suggest that some unimportant corrupted manuscripts have deleted these verses, but the vast majority of preserved manuscripts and lectionaries contain them. Let us not join hands with those who have no problem treating the Word of God as though it were just another book to be edited by professorial redactors, but rather let us hold to every word and sentence that the Spirit of God inspired of old through holy men.

Mark 9:49

  • KJV: "For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt".
  • NAS: "For everyone will be salted with fire."
  • NIV: "Everyone will be salted with fire."
  • NAB: "Everyone will be salted with fire." (Note: The New American Bible is a popular Catholic translation)
  • NWT: "For everyone must be salted with fire." (Note: The New World Translation is the "bible" of the Jehovah's Witnesses)

Just as Peter said that there were some things Paul had written that were hard to understand (2 Peter 3:15,16), so we find statements by the Son of God that appear to be enigmatic in the gospels. Mark 9:49 is one of those statements. As this article is not seeking to give a commentary on various passages, we will simply refer the interested reader to a good commentary for help on understanding the intent of this statement.

What we would draw attention to is the fact that (once again) the modern versions have abbreviated their text by omitting eight words that are found in the KJV. Interestingly, both the NAS and NIV chose not to inform their readers that a clause was missing from this verse, not even giving a footnote to notify them of such a deletion. It is the Catholic bible that serves up this information in a footnote with these words: "Some add 'every sacrifice will be salted with salt.'" The footnote states that the "better" manuscripts contain the abbreviated reading. Actually, a few years ago the Reader's Digest produced their own condensed bible for modern-day readers, but their labors were unnecessary since the modern versions already "beat them to the punch." Those who use the modern translations have a shorter text than those who rely upon the KJV because of the repeated deletions and omissions.

Mark 10:21

  • KJV: "...and come, take up the cross, and follow me."
  • NAS: "...and come, follow Me."
  • NIV: "Then come, follow me."
  • NAB: "...then come, follow me." (Note: The New American Bible is a popular Catholic translation)
  • NWT: "...and come be my follower." (Note: The New World Translation is the "bible" of the Jehovah's Witnesses)

In response to the rich young ruler who wanted to know what he needed to do to inherit eternal life, Jesus told him to sell all his possessions and give them to the poor. Afterwards, he was to come, take up his cross, and follow Jesus. At least, that is what the KJV has recorded the words of Jesus were to that young man. However, all of the modern translations omit the words of Christ about taking up the cross! And to top things off, not one of those versions even so much as mentions in a side- or endnote that those words are found in many manuscripts. Does it matter?

Consider the following: A warden comes to the cell of an inmate and says, "Come, follow me." Would the prisoner have any reason for concern? Perhaps, perhaps not! The warden may simply be leading him to a private room where he can talk with a visiting relative, or he may be leading him to the front gate to grant him his liberty. However, if the warden says, "Come, follow me to the electric chair," then the prisoner will know that he is giving up his life when he follows him. Those four words -- "to the electric chair" -- are full of weighty importance, are they not?! The significance of those words on that man's life can only be understood when they are spoken! As long as those infamous words are not spoken, there is a sliver of hope for the prisoner that a judge somewhere will pardon his offenses.

In the same way, when Jesus told the rich young ruler to "take up the cross" he was calling him to self-denial. The ruler understood that those who bore a Roman cross did not return home to eat dinner later in the day! They experienced a painful and agonizing death while suspended between heaven and earth. The ruler knew that he was being called to discipleship, and that that discipleship involved dying to his own wishes, wants, and desires. The Lord Jesus was making it clear that following him would involve great sacrifice. Thus, the omission of those four "little" words are full of weighty importance. Their deletion fails to signify that the Christian life is a calling to "come and die!"

Mark 10:24

  • KJV: "Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!"
  • NAS: "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God."
  • NIV: "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God."
  • NAB: "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!" (Note: The New American Bible is a popular Catholic translation)
  • NWT: "Children, how difficult a thing it will be for those with money to enter into the kingdom of God." (Note: The New World Translation is the "bible" of the Jehovah's Witnesses)

Although the New World Tranlation tries to alleviate the difficulty of this verse as seen in the modern translations by adding the topic of money, it still falls short since it makes the mere possession of money an obstacle to eternal life. The King James Version alone specifies that the problem of wealthy people is their trusting in riches, while neglecting the more important issue of their eternal destiny. Riches can give people a false sense of security, making them think that they have power, prestige, and control of their future. Because of their obsession with riches, they have no time to think about eternal realities, for they simply aren't interested. They are living for the here-and-now.

Considering the translation given by the modern versions in Mark 10:24, could there be a better verse for any sect or organization that teaches salvation by grace plus works? Catholicism teaches that the faithful must endure the agonies of a purifying purgatory before they enter into the glory of heaven. Such a teaching is based on the denial of "grace alone," and rests on the false notion that men can and must perform acts of righteousness to make themselves acceptable to God, including the following: the offering up of masses, confession to a priest, prayers to the saints, pilgrimages, penance, receiving the sacraments, faithful church attendance, etc. Such a path to heaven is truly difficult! Rules, regulations, rituals, and traditions can lay a heavy yoke upon those who are seeking to be pleasing to God. Earning one's way to heaven is not only hard, but totally impossible!

Undoubtedly, proponents of the newer translations will say that the preceding verse (10:23) specifies that the wealthy are the ones who have a hard time entering into the kingdom of heaven. Even so, Mark 10:24 in the modern versions still stands on its own two feet, challenging anyone who thinks that going to heaven is simple. Taken at face value, it would lead some to think that maybe the Catholics, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, and others may be right, after all.

The Gospels make it clear that the obtaining of salvation for guilty rebels was not an easy thing, for the Son of God had to experience the incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension in order to redeem them. However, salvation (rightly understood) is not a "hard" thing, for when the Philippian jailor asked what he needed to do to be saved, the apostles did not say, "How hard it is to enter the kingdom of God." No, they simply stated, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house" (Acts 16:31). When one rests his entire weight upon the finished work of Christ by faith alone, and ceases from laboring to produce a righteousness that God will find acceptable, he finds that that which is impossible with men is possible with God! Jesus said, "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me...For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:29,30). Let us stay away from those translations that seek to place a heavy yoke upon its readership by denying them all of God's Word.

Mark 11:3

  • KJV: "...and straightway he will send him hither."
  • NAS: "...and immediately he will send it back here."
  • NIV: "...and will send it back here shortly."
  • NAB: "...and will send it back here at once." (Note: The New American Bible is a popular Catholic translation)
  • NWT: "...and will at once send it off back here." (Note: The New World Translation is the "bible" of the Jehovah's Witnesses)

Here is a most interesting contradiction among the translations. The KJV and NAS unite together in asserting that if any individual asked the apostles what they were doing when they untied the colt to bring it to Jesus, that they were to tell him (or them) that the Lord had need of him, and that the owner of the colt would then let the animal be taken to Christ. We say that the NAS agrees with the KJV since the word "he" is not capitalized, and the NAS translators state in their "Explanation of General Format" that "Personal pronouns are capitalized when pertaining to Deity." If the NAS had capitalized the word "he," then that statement would have been changed to mean that the Lord would return the colt to its rightful owner after he was through riding it into Jerusalem. Such a translation would have lined up with the NIV, NAB, and NWT which set forth the latter view.

It is obvious in this "mysterious" narrative that Jesus was making it clear to his men that the owner or any bystanders who questioned their seeming thievery of the colt would immediately acquiesce to their request when they mentioned that the Lord needed the animal. Jesus assured them that the owner would freely send the colt to him in fulfillment of his words. In contrast to the modern versions, the KJV says nothing about Christ telling the owner that the colt would be returned after it had fulfilled its mission. Thus, the KJV (and the NAS) disagree with the other three "bibles" which theorize that the owner and/or neighbors of the colt would be pacified when the disciples told them that Jesus fully intended to return the animal to its owner as soon as its mission was fulfilled. Whether the animal was ever returned to its rightful owner or not, we do not know. One thing we do know: The KJV gives us the reading which would support the "providential" element of the story. It is not natural for people to let possessions be seemingly "stolen" when it is in their power to stop a thief. What amazes us (according to the KJV rendering) is that the bystanders let the colt go when it was mentioned that the Lord had need of him -- without any guarantee that the colt would be seen again by its rightful owner! On the other hand, it is easier to understand the response of the men to allow the animal to be taken when they were assured that the Lord would have him returned as soon as he was through with him. Most people are willing to lend some of their possessions to others (even strangers at time) because they know that the item will be returned. Such a translation may seem right to "modern men," but it also denudes the story of its providential oversight.