June 25, 2019

Comparisons of Bible Versions, IX

By Steve Youngblood, Pastor

Ephesians 3:9

  • KJV: "And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ."
  • NAS: "and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God, who created all things."
  • NIV: "and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things."
  • NAB: "and to bring to light [for all] what is the plan of the mystery hidden from ages past in God who created all things." (Note: The New American Bible is a popular Catholic translation)
  • NWT: "and should make men see how the sacred secret is administered which has from the indefinite past been hidden in God, who created all things." (Note: The New World Translation is the "bible" of the Jehovah's Witnesses)

We have here a deletion that obviously affects the person of Jesus Christ. Anyone who would deny that the removal of the words "by Jesus Christ" do not affect the fullness of the revelation concerning the deity of the Son of God is being intellectually dishonest. Although other portions of God's Word express the activity of the triune Godhead in creation, to erase these three words from the text undermines the complete disclosure of Christ's omnipotence and omniscience in the origination of the universe. As previously stated, either the KJV or the modern versions are corrupt in their rendering of Ephesians 3:9, but both cannot be right! If the KJV is corrupt, then scribes of the past embellished the scriptures to magnify the uniqueness of Jesus. However, if the modern versions are corrupt, then textual critics of the past willfully chose to subvert the full deity of Christ. Can anyone deny the following statement: In comparison with the King James Version, the deletions of the modern translations repeatedly denigrate the person and work of Christ time and time again. Realizing that the NAS and NIV agree with the Catholic and Jehovah's Witnesses bibles in the majority of instances, is it not obvious that the modern "protestant" translations are hopelessly condemned by their alignment with cults that repress the teaching of the Word of God regarding the Godhood of Jesus Christ?! You would think that a proponent of the NAS or NIV would swallow hard and think twice before asserting the superiority of their translation when they realize that the New World Translation "shakes hands" with their "bibles" in the repeated deletions that affect the uniqueness of the Lord Jesus!

By the way, none of the modern translations so much as mentions a word in this instance concerning the deletion of these three words in a side- or footnote. Thus, the reader of these bibles would never even be aware that there was another translation(s) that delineates the creative activity of Jesus Christ in Ephesians 3:9. They would simply remain in ignorance concerning the omission of such a valuable revelation. The Jehovah's Witnesses must be enjoying these new days in evangelicalism, with bibles that now line up with their own, making it much easier for them to prove their own aberrant beliefs about Jesus Christ. There was a day when these cultists would come into your home and seek to demonstate to you that your KJV was an inferior translation, but there is no longer a need for such a strategy in our day, since multitudes have turned to the newer versions that are based on the same Greek text that the New World Translation is established on.

Ephesians 3:14

  • KJV: "For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."
  • NAS: "For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father."
  • NIV: "For this reason I kneel before the Father."
  • NAB: "For this reason I kneel before the Father." (Note: The New American Bible is a popular Catholic translation)
  • NWT: "On account of this I bend my knees to the Father." (Note: The New World Translation is the "bible" of the Jehovah's Witnesses)

Again, the modern translations give their readership no information in the "sidelines" regarding the subtraction of the five words, "of our Lord Jesus Christ." Having come this far in our comparison studies of the KJV with the modern translations, it should be manifestly clear that someone in the past wanted to undermine the matchless glory of our Lord and Savior. Who, other than a heretic, would have the audacity to slice up God's Word in numerous places that uphold the deity of Jesus Christ? These repeated deletions make good sense when you consider the perspective of those who oppose the uniqueness of Christ. They knew that if they removed certain words and phrases from various passages by stealth, that they could imperceptibly demolish the faith of multitudes in the unparalleled person and life of Christ. Verbal inspiration demands integrity in the practices of both scribes and translators. Those who feel they have the liberty to erase words from the pages of the holy scriptures know nothing about the Almighty God who committed the sacred writings to his people. By their presumptuous actions, they make themselves ready for everlasting judgment!

Ephesians 5:30

  • KJV: "For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones."
  • NAS: "because we are members of His body."
  • NIV: "for we are members of his body."
  • NAB: "because we are members of his body." (Note: The New American Bible is a popular Catholic translation)
  • NWT: "because we are members of his body." (Note: The New World Translation is the "bible" of the Jehovah's Witnesses)

Does the deletion of these seven words seem to be trivial? Does the omission appear to be of no real significance to the thought of the apostle? Or is the erasure of this clause a weakening of the authority of Holy Writ? Many might conclude that the questioning of the missing words in the modern versions is a superfluous exercise to generate heat, but no real substance. Realizing that such an attitude is prevalent in our times, let us once again listen to the observations of Dean John Burgon concerning Ephesians 5:30:

The last words of that verse are disallowed by recent Editors because they are absent from Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, A, 8 and 17, and the margin of 67, besides the Bohairic Version. Yet the words are genuine. They are found in DFGKLP and the whole body of the Cursives; in the Old Latin and Vulgate, and in the two Syriac Versions -- also in Irenaeus; Theodorus of Mopsuestia; Nilus; Chrysostom more than four times; Severianus; Theodoret; Anastasius Sinaita; and in John Damascene. They were publicly read by Origen and by Methodius. Many Latin Fathers also recognize them, via. Ambrose, Pacian, Easias abb., Victorinus, Jerome, Augustine, and Leo P.

We must again and again insist that such questions are not to be determined by internal considerations -- no, nor by dictation, nor by prejudice, nor by divination, nor by any subjective theory of conflation on which experts and critics may be hopelessly at issue. But they must be determined by the weight of the definite evidence actually producible and produced on either side. And when, as in the present instance, Antiquity, Variety of testimony, Respectability of Witnesses, and Number are overwhelmingly in favor of the Traditional Text, what else is it but an outrage on the laws of evidence to claim that the same little band of documents which have come before us so often, and always have been found to be in error, even though aided by speculative suppositions, shall be permitted to outweigh all other testimony?

Philippians 4:13

  • KJV: "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
  • NAS: "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."
  • NIV: "I can do everything through him who gives me strength."
  • NAB: "I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me." (Note: The New American Bible is a popular Catholic translation)
  • NWT: "For all things I have the strength by virtue of him who imparts power to me." (Note: The New World Translation is the "bible" of the Jehovah's Witnesses)

A simple pronoun replaces the name of Christ in the modern translations. For many, the change is no big deal. However, for those who are jealous that God's Word be handled in a reverent manner, the alteration is unacceptable. The usual argument is that the thought is adequately expressed by the newer bibles, even though the title has been changed to a pronoun. Nonetheless, if the apostle Paul wrote the word Christ, then noone has the liberty to make a change in the text to another word. Such "foot-loose" and "fancy-free" techniques are not to be tolerated in the realm of textual and translation work. Once again, it appears obvious that some notorious figures of the past despised the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and deliberately chose to make emendations in the text whenever it suited their fancy.

Being a stick in the mud -- in order to make a point -- consider the possibility of a heathen prisoner finding Philippians 4:13 (from a modern translation) inscribed on one of the walls of his cell by a former prisoner who was a professing Christian. Without the aid of the rest of the New Testament, the prisoner would have no idea of who the verse was speaking about. He might surmise that it was speaking of a god, demon, judge, idol, departed spirit, etc., but he would not be able to come to a definitive conclusion cocerning the identity of the individual quoted in the text. The only thing he could be dogmatic about is that the statement excluded all females. The KJV alone identifies the person as Christ, the hope and strength of the believer.

Colossians 1:14

  • KJV: "In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins."
  • NAS: "in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."
  • NIV: "in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."
  • NAB: "in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." (Note: The New American Bible is a popular Catholic translation)
  • NWT: "by means of whom we have our release by ransom, the forgiveness of our sins." (Note: The New World Translation is the "bible" of the Jehovah's Witnesses)

Of the four modern translations quoted above, only the NIV gives any clue that three words have been deleted from the text. In a footnote, the NIV states: "A few late manuscripts redemption through his blood." The defense of James White for the omission is the explanation of parallel influence from Ephesians 1:7. Once more, we are faced with the realization that the apostle Paul either wrote those words, or he did not. The KJV rendering emphasizes the blood of Christ as the cause of our redemption, while the others simply express that belivers have redemption, without specifying the cause. We know that Catholics, Jehovah's Witnesses, and other groups either deny or undermine the necessity of faith alone in Christ's finished work on the cross, choosing rather to espouse the belief that both faith and works are necessary for salvation. Colossians 1:14 (in the KJV) makes it definitively clear that the blood of Christ -- not human works -- saves the repentant.

Colossians 2:11

  • KJV: "In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ."
  • NAS: "and in Him you were also circimcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ."
  • NIV: "In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ."
  • NAB: "In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not administered by hand, by stripping off the carnal body, with the circumcision of Christ." (Note: The New American Bible is a popular Catholic translation)
  • NWT: "By relationship with him YOU were also circumcised with a circumcision performed without hands by the stripping off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision that belongs to the Christ." (Note: The New World Translation is the "bible" of the Jehovah's Witnesses)

The omission of the three words, "of the sins," in the NAS makes for confusing reading. It appears that the NAS contradicts itself, in that, while the context is speaking of a spiritual circumcision "made without hands," the latter part of the verse speaks of the removal of the body of the flesh. What does that mean? Obviously, the Christian has not experienced the removal of his body of flesh, so what does the NAS speak of? The KJV spells out that our spiritual circumcision dealt with the sins of the flesh. Thus, our sins have been removed as far as the east from the west, and we have the corresponding obligation to daily strive against the sins of our flesh. If the NAS is correctly understood, then it would appear that Christians are truly "living in the spirit," since their body of the flesh has been removed. Look carefully at the rendering of the NAS to see the inherent problem with its translation.

Colossians 2:18

  • KJV: "Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshiping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind."
  • NAS: "Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind."
  • NIV: "Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions."
  • NAB: "Let no one disqualify you, delighting in self-abasement and worship of angels, taking his stand on visions, inflated without reason by his fleshly mind." (Note: The New American Bible is a popular Catholic translation)
  • NWT: "Let no man deprive YOU of the prize who takes delight in a [mock] humility and a form of worship of the angels, 'taking his stand on' the things he has seen, puffed up without proper cause by his fleshly frame of mind." (Note: The New World Translation is the "bible" of the Jehovah's Witnesses)

Here is an interesting contrast between the various versions. The KJV states that the false teacher had not seen the things he was boasting of, while the NAS, NIV, and NWT declare that the individual had seen the things he was proclaiming. The Catholic translation sides with neither of the translations, choosing to remain silent on whether the person had seen anything, or not. Obviously, we have a contradiction between the KJV and the other translations. Either the false teachers had seen or experienced certain visions, or they had not seen them. How are we to determine the correct rendering? Let us listen to "master" Burgon once again:

A famous instance occurs at Col.2:18 where Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, and a little handful of suspicious documents leave out the "not." Our Editors, rather than recognize this blunder (so obvious and ordinary!), are for conjecturing. Dismissing that conjecture as worthless, we have to set off the whole mass of the copies--against some 6 or 7:--Irenaeus, Theodorus Mops., Chrysostom, Theodoret, John Damascene--against no Fathers at all...Jerome and Augustine btoh take notice of the diversity of reading, but only to reject it.--The Syriac versions, the Vulgate, Gothic, Georgian, Slavonic, Ethiopic, Arabic and Armenian--are to be set against the suspicious Coptic. All these then are with the Traditional Text: which cannot seriously be suspected of error.

Colossians 3:6

  • KJV: "For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience."
  • NAS: "For it is on account of these things that the wrath of God will come."
  • NIV: "Because of these, the wrath of God is coming."
  • NAB: "Because of these the wrath of God is coming [upon the disobedient]." (Note: The New American Bible is a popular Catholic translation)
  • NWT: "On account of those things the wrath of God is coming." (Note: The New World Translation is the "bible" of the Jehovah's Witnesses)

Both the NAS and NIV give us the reason that five words found in the KJV were deleted from their translations, stating that some early manuscripts contained the missing words. Realizing that liberal textual critics adore a small handful of corrupted manuscripts that happen to line up with their unbeliefs, we should not be surprised at the removal of these words. What we should be surprised at is that they retained "the wrath of God" in their newer translations. Liberals do not believe in a literal hell, thus denying the attribute of God's wrath against sin, and would naturally like to subtract from those passages that delineate God's wrath against men.

Isn't it interesting that the rendering of the KJV seems to demolish the oft-quoted statement of many evangelicals in our generation, who say that "God loves the sinner, but hates his sin." The apostle states that God's wrath comes upon the sinner himself, not just the sins of the sinner. Our presentation of the gospel has made multitudes of sinners comfortable and careless in their sins. Even though God supposedly hates their sin, they have been told that he loves them, and some have even been told that God loves them just like they are. Why should one need to flee from the wrath to come if God loves the sinner, only hating sin? However, tell a sinner that the wrath of God will come on the children of disobedience themselves, not just their sins, and many will begin to ponder the gravity of their iniquities in the face of a holy God. Once an individual realizes the fearful position he is occupying before a God of wrath he will be much more inclined to "flee from the wrath to come"! Our gospel presentations have become quite weak because of our continual harping on God's love which is found in John 3:16, but we need to remember that John 3:36 informs us that the wrath of God abideth on the sinner--in the present--right now! Thus, the KJV rendering of Colossians 3:6 is a fearful reminder to the sinner that God will one day hold him responsible for his iniquities, and will cast him--not just his sins--into eternal fire.

1 Timothy 1:17

  • KJV: "Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen."
  • NAS: "Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen."
  • NIV: "Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen."
  • NAB: "To the king of ages, incorruptible, invisible, the only God, honor and glory forever and ever. Amen." (Note: The New American Bible is a popular Catholic translation)
  • NWT: "Now to the King of eternity, incorruptible, invisible, [the] only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen." (Note: The New World Translation is the "bible" of the Jehovah's Witnesses)

The removal of one words can greatly impact the meaning of a verse, as is seen in the above comparisons. The newer translations set forth the truth that there is no other "god" besides the God of the Bible, by referring to him as "the only God." There is nothing inherently wrong with that statement, for truly there is only one God. However, the KJV also asserts the unparalleled wisdom of God, especially delineating that he is "the only wise God." Now which did the apostle Paul write? For those who do not know Greek, one guess is as good as another. One thing can be known for certain, though, and that is that the readers of the newer translations would never know that the "missing word" is found in the KJV, since their bibles do not notify the readership via a footnote that other manuscripts contain the word, "wise."

1 Timothy 2:7

  • KJV: "...(I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not..."
  • NAS: "...(I am telling the truth, I am not lying)..."
  • NIV: "...--I am telling the truth, I am not lying--..."
  • NAB: "...(I am speaking the truth, I am not lying)..." (Note: The New American Bible is a popular Catholic translation)
  • NWT: "...--I am telling the truth, I am not lying--..." (Note: The New World Translation is the "bible of the Jehovah's Witnesses)

As we have seen repeatedly, especially in "What About Bible Translations, VIII?", the newer translations repetitiously remove the names and/or titles of Jesus Christ throughout the pages of the New Testament. So again, here, the name of Christ is removed from the text, leaving the apostle to simply state that he is not lying, perhaps on the basis of his own integrity. However, the translation of the KJV shows the apostle ultimately resting his integrity on the Lord Jesus Christ. His life could not be divorced from his relationship to the one who had called him on the road to Damascus. For Paul, to live was Christ. What could have been more natural for him to have done, than to call upon the name of Christ in his defense of his apostleship?

1 Timothy 3:16

  • KJV: "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh..."
  • NAS: "And by common confession great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh..."
  • NIV: "Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in a body..."
  • NAB: "Undeniably great is the mystery of devotion, Who was manifested in the flesh..." (Note: The New American Bible is a popular Catholic translation)
  • NWT: "Indeed, the sacred secret of this godly devotion is admittedly great: 'He was made manifest in flesh..." (Note: The New World Translation is the "bible" of the Jehovah's Witnesses)

If ever the Word of God was perverted, surely it is in this place. The supposed "mystery of godliness" turns out to be quite unmysterious in the modern translations. For what is so "mysterious" or marvelous about being manifested in the flesh? We have all been manifested in the flesh, haven't we? What is wonderful, though, is the thought that God was manifest in the flesh. Truly, this is the mystery of godliness, that God was manifest in the flesh.

Liberals do not believe that Jesus of Nazareth was God in the flesh. Most of them would scoff at such a notion, pontificating that such a notion is totally out of the realm of realistic possibility. Some have turned the glorious incarnation of Christ into nothing more than the union of Mary with another man, be that Joseph, a German, or some other Jew. Nonetheless, the Bible asserts the deity of Jesus Christ in numerous places. One of those just happens to be 1 Timothy 3:16, a verse that has been denuded of any special meaning by the new bibles. They simply substituted "He" or "Who" for "God," to make their Greek text line up with their heretical beliefs. Is it any comfort for evangelicals to realize that their bibles line right up with the bible of the Jehovah's Witnesses, a cult that vigorously denies the deity of Christ? A member of that heretical group would have no problem adding his "Amen" to the reading of 1 Timothy 3:16 in any modern-day translation.

Interestingly, the NAS and NIV state that some later manuscripts have "God" in this passage. Was there ever a more brazen lie inserted into the pages of God's Holy Word?! Overwhelming proof has been given by many notable men in defense of the KJV translation, so we will simply give a most brief statement from the writings of Terence H. Brown, leaving the reader to interact with the works of men like Dean John Burgon, Edward F. Hills, Kevin James, and others. Brown states briefly:

The great majority of the Greek copies have "God was manifested", and very few indeed have "who" or "which". At the time of the Revision nearly three hundred Greek copies were known to give indisputable support to the Received Text, while not more than a handful of Greek copies could be quoted in favor of "who" or "which". It is thus apparent that the correct and best-attested reading of this verse is preserved in the Authorised Version."

The modern translations will accomodate Roman Catholics, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Jews, and atheists in 1 Timothy 3:16, for there is nothing great or mysterious about an individual being manifested in the flesh. But tell one of these groups that God was revealed in the flesh, and you will find yourself in a heated debate.

We quote once again from the writings of Terance Brown:

Unfortunately this "mutual toleration" was attempted by those responsible for the Revised Version, and Dr. G.Vance Smith, minister of St. Savior's Gate Unitarian Chapel, York, was invited to join the revising body. Dr. Smith attended a Communion service in Westminster Abbey in company with the other Revisers and in a letter to The Times of 11th July, 1870, he declared that he received the sacrament without joining in the Creed and without compromise of his principles as a "Unitarian". This evoked a solemn protest signed by several thousand clergy, and a resolution of the Upper House of Convocation in February, 1871, "That it is the judgment of this House that no person who denies the Godhead of our Lord Jesus Christ ought to be invited to join either company to which is committed the revision of the Authorized Version of Holy Scripture...and that any such person now on either company should cease to act therewith. Vance Smith nevertheless remained on the committee.