If any of you are familiar with the King James Only movement (KJVO) then you are well aware of how they claim that modern bibles are perversions of the Word of God. They push forth conspiracy theories leading people to believe that all modern Bibles have some dark Satanic/worldly agenda to taint the very Word of God. Some KJVOist even go so far as to blame modern day apostasy on modern translations. I will not go into debunking the KJVO myth, but I do want to talk about the real dangers facing the church today – perversions from the pulpits.

Generally a poor translation can be spotted easily. I consider all paraphrased translations very poor because they are not literal translations of the Scriptures. It is easy to spot the weak renderings in these paraphrased translations. I do not promote using paraphrased translations. An example of a poor rendering is found in The Message 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, “Don’t you realize that this is not the way to live? Unjust people who don’t care about God will not be joining in his kingdom. Those who use and abuse each other, use and abuse sex, use and abuse the earth and everything in it, don’t qualify as citizens in God’s kingdom. A number of you know from experience what I’m talking about, for not so long ago you were on that list. Since then, you’ve been cleaned up and given a fresh start by Jesus, our Master, our Messiah, and by our God present in us, the Spirit.

Translations like the NWT: New World Translation is an example of a translation where the people had an agenda to change the Word of God to conform to their beliefs. The cult known as the Jehovah Witness set about to create a Bible version that conformed to Watch Tower dogma. The result was a truly perverted translation with some very poor textual renderings. Translations like the NWT are easy to detect. All we must do is look at the source of the translation and compare it to other Bibles. Verses like John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.” stand out as a clear perversion of the underlying text. Hebews 1:8 “But with reference to the Son: ‘God is your throne forever and ever, and [the] scepter of your kingdom is the scepter of uprightness.'” is another clear example of changing the Scriptures to support Jehovah Witness dogma.

Even the KJV has weak renderings like 1 Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” The love of money is not the root of all evil. Money is not the root cause of rape; the love of money has nothing to do with rape. If we dig long enough we can find poor renderings in all English translations.

The real poison and perversion, far deadlier than any poor translation, are the false teachings coming from the pulpits (or stage in the case of the Emergent Church). These wolves can use any translation to poison the sheep. They can use their enticing voices (2 Peter 2:1-3),their ear tickling messages (2 Timothy 4:2-4), and their form of godliness to deceive the hearts of many (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). It’s not the translation that they use that is the root cause of the problem, but rather the false teacher preaching.

If we blame apostasy on the bibles used by false teachers and cult leaders, many KJVO advocates will be alarmed to know that many major cults like the Mormons used a King James Bible to spread their heresies. The KJV destroys the Mormon myths when the KJV is taken in context. The problem is how false teachers twist and distort the Word of God to conform to their beliefs. I am sola scriptura because this belief goes a long way in preventing these types of false teachers from spreading heresy. The last thing a false teacher wants is for his people to actually read/study the Bible and ponder what they read.

I agree that poor translations can aid in bad doctrines and poor teachings. To some extent these poor translations like The Message, NWT, etc… are the cause of some questionable teachings and beliefs. Does this mean that all modern Bibles are responsible for bad doctrines and heresies? The answer is no. To blame modern Bibles for all the problems today is to convict the KJV along side the modern Bibles. The KJV was used by Oneness Pentecostals, Mormons, and various other cults. Cult leaders like Peter S. Ruckman are KJVOists. Does this mean the KJV is bad? The answer again is no.

If we take the time to follow the Berean example in Acts 17:11 NASB, “Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so,” it will help us spot these wolves and hirelings who are distorting the truth. It’s up to all of us to study the Word and ask questions about what we are being taught from the pulpit (2 Timothy 2:14-17).

The truly disturbing thing that I have seen in many from the KJVO Camp is how they refuse to address the issue of Scriptural support for their KJVO belief. KJVO advocates denounce sola scriptura in favor of prima scriptura because they do not have any Scriptural support to back their KJVO doctrine. Some go so far as to blind-eye heretics like Peter S. Ruckman, Gail “god and” Riplinger, and Sam Gipp just because they are King-James-Only. I’ve said many times in the past when debating KJVOists, “King James Onlyism pardons a multitude of sins and heresies as long as the offending party is King James only.” I fear that too often my observations are correct regarding the double standards held by many in the KJVO Camp.

Instead of worrying so much about whether the preacher is using a KJV, we should be examining what he is preaching to make sure that he is preaching the whole council of God. We need to study to make sure that no false teachings are slipping in through the pulpit. Regardless of the translation, a wolf can devour the sheep with a smile are he reads from even the most conservative translations available today.

Romans 16:17-18 (NASB)
16:17 Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them.
18 For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.

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Comments
  1. JohnOneOne says:

    Regarding Jehovah’s Witnesses’ “New World Translation” Bible and its rendering of John 1:1, it may interest you to know that there is soon to be published an 18+ year study (as of 01/2010) in support and explanation of their wording of this verse entitled, “What About John 1:1?”

    To learn more of its design and expected release date, we invite you to visit:

    http://www.goodcompanionbooks.com

    Agape, JohnOneOne.

  2. JohnOneOne,

    A simple look into the underlying text proves the JW’s changed the meaning of this passage to support their cultic doctrines.

    No true Greek scholar interprets this passage like the NWT:

    Bruce M. Metzger, Professor of New Testament Language and literature at Princeton Theological Seminary said: “Far more pernicious in this same verse is the rendering, . . . `and the Word was a god,’ with the following footnotes: ” `A god,’ In contrast with `the God’ “. It must be stated quite frankly that, if the Jehovah’s Witnesses take this translation seriously, they are polytheists. In view of the additional light which is available during this age of Grace, such a representation is even more reprehensible than were the heathenish, polytheistic errors into which ancient Israel was so prone to fall. As a matter of solid fact, however, such a rendering is a frightful mistranslation.” “The Jehovah’s Witnesses and Jesus Christ,” Theology Today (April 1953), p. 75.

    Dr. Eugene A. Nida (Head of the Translation Department of the American Bible Society Translators of the GOOD NEWS BIBLE): “With regard to John 1:1 there is, of course, a complication simply because the NEW WORLD TRANSLATION was apparently done by persons who did not take seriously the syntax of the Greek”. ( Bill and Joan Cetnar Questions for Jehovah’s Witnesses “who love the truth” p..55

  3. JohnOneOne says:

    Or, “JW’s changed the meaning of this passage to support” what the Greek Biblical text was actually saying, that is, without the influence of a Trinitarian Theological bias.

    With respect to Metzger’s comments, to the charge that an “a god” rendering here would suggest that Jehovah’s Witnesses “are polytheists,” I now quote another work of which Metzger was a principle Editor:

    “In Israel’s early traditions, God was perceived as administrating the cosmos with a retinue of divine assistants. The members of this divine council were identified as ‘sons of God’ and ‘morning stars’ (Job 1.6; 38.7), ‘gods’ (Ps[alm] 82) or the ‘host of heaven’ (Neh[emiah] 9.6; cf. Rev[elation]1.20), and they functioned as God’s viceregents and administrators in a hierarchical bureaucracy over the world (Deut[eronomy] 32.8 {LXX}; cf. 4.19; 29.26). Where Israel’s polytheistic neighbors perceived these beings as simply a part of the pantheon, the Bible depicts them as subordinate and in no way comparable to the God of Israel.”

    As taken from: “The Oxford Companion to the Bible.” Metzger, Bruce Manning (b.1914-d.2007), Professor of New Testament Language and Literature, Princeton Theological Seminary; Coogan, Michael D. (b.?-d.?), Ph.D., Professor of Religious Studies, Stonehill College, Massachusetts; Editors. (New York, New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), pp. 27, 28 (braces represent their brackets; otherwise, brackets mine). BS440 .M434 1993 / 93-019315.

    Like any number of other scholars who initially express much the same objection as Metzger had, when examining many of their further comments, that is, regarding Jesus’ mention of other “gods” within John 10:34, 35, most do clearly show their recognition of this other legitimate use of “god” for others; and, in doing so, they also unwittingly acknowledge the fact that such a use does not conflict with the Jewish strict system of monotheism. To wit:

    “The Hebrew for ‘gods’ (‘elōhîm) could refer to various exalted beings besides Yahweh [or, Jehovah], without implying any challenge to monotheism,…”

    Taken from: Blomberg, Craig L. (b.?-d.?), Distinguished Professor of the New Testament, Denver Seminary, Colorado. “The Historical Reliability of John’s Gospel: Issues & Commentary.” (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, c2002), “The feast of Dedication” ([John] 10:22-42), p. 163. BS2615.6.H55 B56 2002 / 2001051563.

    As in the case above, it is quite clear from Metzger’s subsequent remarks (appearing within another work of his) that he is also in agreement, that there were, indeed, others of whom the title “gods” had also been applied; and that this, in no way, was understood to have been suggesting that the Jews held to a ‘polytheistic system of belief,’ nor should we expect that such a use would have been understood in this way by even any of those among the earliest of Christians, especially when the same term had been applied to Jesus, within John 1:1c.

    Agape, JohnOneOne.
    http://www.goodcompanionbooks.com
    [An address to Nida’s comment regarding syntax will follow.]

  4. James White explains John 1:1 very well in this article:

    http://vintage.aomin.org/JOHN1_1.html

    The bottom line is the JW’s changed the text to reflect their beliefs.

    • JohnOneOne says:

      Dear davidjosephhorn,

      The bottom line is that, ‘Jehovah’s Witnesses have changed the text of John 1:1c to reflect what the Greek text is, indeed, actually saying.’

      Without the influence of a Trinitarian theological bias, Christendom’s scholars would do the same. But, because of their vested interest in maintaining their positions of honor, generally unknown to their flocks, they can be easily found to contradict each other, that is, in their attempts to continue to bolster their false, man-made Trinitarian philosophies.

      The following two weblinks should be of interest to anyone who is actually in search of the truth on such matters:

      Some Interesting Observations About the Trinity,
      Perhaps Not So Commonly Known
      http://goodcompanionbooks.com/Some_Interesting_Observations.htm

      Some Powerful Reasonings About the Trinity
      Not So Easily Dismissed
      http://goodcompanionbooks.com/Some_Powerful_Reasonings.htm

      Agape, JohnOneOne.

  5. Vince says:

    Ironically there is some similarity between the KJV-Onlyists and the Russellites, and in turn with the Roman Catholic Church. Both the KJVOists and the Russellites believe that God “moved” over their respective translation committees so as to prevent error, much like the Romanists believe in an Ex Cathedra “moving” of God over the pope so as to prevent error.

    Observe the hoops that the Russellites jump through in order to defend their translation of John 1:1. In fact, a user going so far as to create a screenname called “JohnOneOne” is a superb glimpse into the psychology of Russellism’s followers and the extent they will go to to defend the indefensible. And why are they so sure of their pet translation? Because they believe that God “moved” over their translation committee and that if the overlords at the Watchtower tell them it’s true, then it must be true. (Just like the KJVOists.)

    That, and fear. Because they know full-well that if they disagree with even the slightest point of doctrine coming from the Watchtower, they’ll be disfellowshipped.

    • JohnOneOne says:

      This is a false assessment of who Jehovah’s Witnesses are and what we teach and believe.

    • Jason says:

      I’d like to believe God had a hand in translating the KJV. If you don’t believe God was involved with the translation of your version, that’s ok with me lol

      • JohnOneOne says:

        I am not one to try and read the mind of God, that is, as to whether he did, indeed, have “a hand in translating the KJV.” On the other hand, if you were to have had the opportunity to read the “Original Preface to the King James Version: Translators to the Reader,” I think you might come away with a different vew,…after all, if the Translators gave no indication of such a notion, then who are we to then read back into what they accomplished something of which they never claimed for themselves nor their work.

        Even so, I am of the opinion that it makes quite a bit of sense to expect that Jehovah – from what we can learn about Him in his Word, the Holy Bible – would have a vested interest in getting this into the hand ot honest hearted ones.

        Agape, JohnOneOne.

  6. joan says:

    Thank you for this helpful article. We have a friend who pushes the KJames only with such anger it seems so condeming. I think of though I speak with the tounges of men and of angels and I have not love, I am a sounding brass and a clanging symbol. Unfortunately my husband buys into this venum. The great falling away is not going to be because of the “watered-down” translations, its because the world does not seek the greatness of God. Thanks again, I feel a little vindicated in my lack of KJO hysteria. I am more concerned about a generation of kids who don’t know who Jesus is or what sin is, or why they need a Savior and what are they being saved from…

  7. Jason says:

    First, about John 1:1. Even a man who failed Greek would never translate that article as “…a God.” If it was translated at all, It’d be “…THE God.”

    Second, in replying to another post I was redirected here. There, I was responding to blogger’s text and to his comments, but I did watch the video just now.

    To be honest, I don’t care for Ruckman at all. So anything about him is really a non-issue for me. Before I knew anything about him, I was led to believe he was a good source of information on the Bible version issue. I purchased a few of his booklets online (I like a good hard copy – it’s hard for me to really study from a computer screen). I was a bit disappointed in them/him.

    Sure, he had a little nugget of truth here and there…but most of his commentary is him babbling on about something, taking a bold stance on things the Bible leaves a question mark on, or just saying something completely off the wall. And as a preacher, I decided a long time ago, I’m not going to waste my time reading junk (ie. Ruckman) It was only later I learned about some of his more humorous beliefs.

    And yeah, I believe you’re working at a disadvantage. I said I’m KJVO by conviction. In other words, I got saved with that Book; I’ve used it in the ministry and seen others get saved. And I’ve never found a mistake, contradiction, or any other kind of error in it. I can’t say that about other Bibles. But as you know, there’s no verse that says “Thou shalt be King James Only….” Therefore I give people a lot of room.
    Could God have more than one English Bible? I suppose so, He’s God after all. And if there were only two or three different versions out there, they might be more readily accepted. But with hundreds of Bibles out there (and more on the way) you wonder if Bible publishers are really out to please God or just fill their pockets. I guess you’d call that a conspiracy theory but it’s a lot more plausible than a bunch of scholars sitting around a pentagram working on a new version.

    • JohnOneOne says:

      Jason, although you profess that, “…. Even a man who failed Greek would never translate that article as ‘…a God.’ If it was translated at all, It’d be ‘…THE God.'”

      Who ever convinced you of this as a truth has sold you into the slaverly of a liie.

      Apart from the fact that there is, in actuality, no “article” before the Greek for God (theos) within the third clause of John 1:1, please consider:

      “…, from the point of view of grammar alone, κα θες ν λγος [from John 1:1c] could be rendered ‘the Word was a god’…” – Harris, Murray J. (b.?-d.?). “Jesus as God: The New Testament Use of Theos in Reference to Jesus.” (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1992), p. 60. BT216 .H37 1992 / 92-30780.

      “[John 1:1c] could also be translated: ‘the Word was a god’ or ‘the Word was divine.’ Grammatical considerations alone fail to decide the question, since all three translations [including the common, “and the Word was God”] can be defended on grammatical grounds.”* – Loader, William R. G. (b.1944-d.?), Ph.D., New Testament Lecturer for the Perth Theological Hall, Australia; Teacher at Murdoch University as a member of the Perth College of Divinity. “The Christology of the Fourth Gospel: Structures and Issues.” vol. xxiii [23] of: Beiträge zur Biblischen Exegese und Theologie. (Frankfurt am Main; New York; Paris: Verlag P. Lang, c1989), p. 156. BT198 .L57 1989 / 89-12453. 2nd Revised Edition: (Frankfurt am Main, Germany; New York, New York: P. Lang, c1992), p. 155. BT198 .L57 1992 / 92-19502.

      “You could translate, so far as the Greek goes: ‘the Word was a God.’” – Barclay, William (b.1907-d.1978), Lecturer in the University of Glasgow. Ever Yours; A Selection From the Letters of William Barclay. Rawlins, Clive L. (b.1940-d.?), Compiler, Editor. (Dunbar, England: Labarum Publications, 1985), Portion of a letter from Barclay to Mr. David Burnett, Australia, dated May 20, 1974. bl: 85/18400 DSC. / sn: 012326083. isbn: 0948095040.

      Apparently, according to these scholars, it is, indeed, possible to render John 1:1c as “a god.” Although they would also argue that they believe (mostly for theological reasons) for their “was God” rendering, by their statements above, they are inadvertantly admitting how this could, otherwise, be rendered.

      Agape, JohnOneOne.

  8. Jason says:

    “It is sometimes necessary to leave the article untranslated. In Greek the article may appear with personal names, for example, where it usually may not (in all but a few contexts) in English. Notice the following example:
    ὁ Πέτρος (Acts 2:14)
    Peter [not “the Peter”]” http://www.greek-language.com/grammar/04.html

    I can cut and paste too. And fact is, even the W&H text (which the NWT/johannes greber used) has the same article. But if you’ll change the English to suit your doctrine, I’m not surprised if you fool around with the Greek text too.

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