Most Frequently Used Modern Versions

The Translators Follow the New Critical Texts


The new translations lack the accuracy, majestic cadence, and delicate balance of the King James.

"T. S. Elliot, famous American writer, described one new version as an example of the decadence of the English language in the middle of the twentieth century. "G. A. Riplinger, New Age Bible Versions, p. 212.

Here are two rather shocking examples of what you can find in the new versions:

"Perhaps he is talking to someone or else is out sitting on the toilet." 1 Kings 18:27, Living Bible.

"And if someone asks, then, what are these scars on your chest and your back? he will say, I got into a brawl at the home of a friend!"Zechariah 13:6, Living Bible.

We even find an invitation to swearing in Phillips: "For Gods sake" (Mark 5:7), "To hell, with you and your money" (Acts 8:19), "May he be damned" and "be a damned soul" (Gal. 1:9).

Do you want your children reading such a Bible?

The present writer would also like to call your attention to another flaw in nearly all of the modern versions: They replace "Thee," "Thou," "Thine," when referring to Jesus or God, with "you" and "your." The terms of deepest respect and reverence for the Godhead are replaced by the commonplace "you" and "your." This alone greatly reduces the value of the modern Bibles. 


Here is evidence that all the modern versions are based on the erroneous theories of Westcott and Hort.

John R. Kohlenberger, spokesperson for Zondervan (publisher of the NASV, Living Bible, Amplified Bible, NIV, and RSV), is author of A Hebrew NIV Interlinear, as well as Words about the Word: A Guide to Choosing and Using Your Bible. He tells us this:

"Westcott and Hort . . All subsequent versions from the Revised Version (1881) to those of the present . . have adopted their basic approach . . [and] accepted the Westcott and Hort Text."John R. Kohlenberger, Words about the Word, p. 42.

Kohlenberger goes on to praise Westcott's A General Survey of the History of the Canon of the New Testament, saying, "This century old classic remains a standard" (op. cit., p. 34).

Baker Book House, publisher of half-a-dozen modern translations, also prints a Bible selection guide entitled, The King James Version Debate. The author makes this admission:

"The theories of Westcott and Hort . . [are] almost universally accepted today . . It is on this basis that Bible translators since 1881 have, as compared with the King James Version, left out some things and added a few others. Subsequent textual critical work accepted the theories of Westcott and Hort. The vast majority of evangelical scholars . . hold that the basic textual theories of Westcott and Hort were right and the church stands greatly in their debt."D.A. Carson, The King James Version Debate, pp. 41, 75.

Dr. Edward Hills, a Princeton and Harvard scholar, declares that the "New International Version . . follows the critical Westcott and Hort Text" (E.F. Hills, The King James Version Defended, p. 29).

Even abbreviated histories of the canon, in reference works like Young's Concordance and Halley's Bible Handbook agree:

"The New Testament Westcott and Hort Greek texts, which, in the main, are the exact original Bible words."Henry H. Halley, Halleys Handbook of the Bible, p. 747.

Greenlee adds this:

"The textual theories of Westcott and Hort 

underlies virtually all subsequent work in New Testament textual criticism."J.H. Greenlee, Introduction to New Testament Textual Criticism, p. 78.

Scholarly books, articles, and critical editions of the Greek New Testament are slowly abandoning the readings of Westcott and Hort in their newest Greek texts, yet the homes of Christians are filled with Westcott-Hort based Bibles.

Philip Comforts recent book concedes:

"But textual critics have not been able to advance beyond Hort in formalizing a theory . . this has troubled certain textual scholars."Philip W. Comfort, Early Manuscripts and Modern Translations of the New Testament, p. 21.

Wilbur Pickering says:

"The dead hand of Fenton John Anthony Hort lies heavy upon us. The two most popular manual editions of the Greek Text today, Nestle-Aland and UBS, really vary little from the Westcott-Hort Text. Why is this? Westcott and Hort are generally credited with having furnished the death blow [to the KJV and the Majority Greek Text].

"Subsequent scholarship has tended to recognize Horts mistake. The Westcott-Hort critical theory is erroneous at every point. Our conclusions concerning the theory apply also to any Greek text constructed on the basis of it [Nestles-Aland, UBS etc.], as well as those versions based on such texts."Wilbur N. Pickering, The Identity of the New Testament Text, pp. 38, 42, 96, 90.

H.C. Hoskier, a scholar who authored A Full Account and Collation of the Greek Cursive Codex Evangelism and Codex B and Its Allies, A Study and an Indictment, wrote this:

"The text printed by Westcott and Hort has been accepted as the true text, and grammars, works on the synoptic problem, works on higher criticism, and others have been grounded on this text . . These foundations must be demolished." Hoskier, Codex B and Its Allies, p. 72.

Alfred Martin (former Vice President of Moody Bible Institute in Chicago) said this in a speech:

"Many people, even today, who have no idea what the Westcott-Hort theory is . . accept the labors of those two scholars without question . . An amusing and amazing spectacle presents itself: many of the textbooks, books of Bible interpretation, innumerable secondary works go on repeating the Westcott and Hort dicta although the foundations have been seriously shaken, even in the opinion of former Hortians." It is astounding that modern translators rely on the theories devised by F.J.A. Hort, theories which require a deep understanding of early church history, when the man admitted he knew little of such things!

"I am afraid I must have talked big and misled you when you were here, for I really know very little of Church History."Hort, Vol. 1, p. 233.



Who are the men selected to serve on committees, assigned to prepare a modern Bible translation?

They are selected, not so much for their careful grasp of Biblical languages, but in order to show a broad representation of denominations represented on the committee.

This is done in order to increase the later sale of the books. Those chosen may be Greek grammarians; but most are, in no sense, eminent paleographers, papyrologists, codicologists, historians, or, most importantly, earnest Christians.

The editors of the new versions do not have a background of endless hours spent in pouring over the ancient manuscripts, as did Scrivener, Burgon, Colwell, Hoskier, and scores of others. In fact, as committee member Lewis Foster admits, they are not involved with actual manuscripts or facsimiles at all!

"The New Testament translators may choose to differ from the decision founded in the Greek text he is using [the Nestle-Aland Text or the UBS Text], but he does not deal with the manuscripts themselves. He works indirectly through the use of the modern Greek Text."Foster, quoted in Selecting a Translation of the Bible, pp. 14-15.

The translators work with a single critical Greek Text, either Nestle-Aland or the UBS Text (both of which are produced by the same three men, based on the Westcott-Hort Text, and therefore are essentially identical). In addition, they peek at other modern translations, to see what they did with the passage under discussion.

Working from a single Greek Text reduces the hundreds of thousands of variant readings in the Greek manuscripts to a manageable 5,500 or so variants. How very important it is, then, that the Greek Text be a good one!

Sales are the important thing; and the subsidizing book companies recall what happened when the Revised Standard Version came off the press, and the beliefs of its translators were exposed to public view. So the publisher may choose to not reveal the name of each person on the translation team.

The committee list which prepared the New American Standard Bible remained a closely guarded secret for over 30 years, lest conservative Christians catch a glimpse of the liberal membership. (However, its leader, Dr. Frank Logsdon, has renounced his participation. At numerous speaking engagements he denounces his part in what he now perceives to be a heretical version. "I may be in trouble with God" because of it, he confesses.) 


Every modern Bible falls into the category of one or the other of the following four patterns: 

1 - The conservative revisions. These are Bibles which have sought to remain somewhat close to the King James pattern, yet which have still followed the Nestle-Aland or UBS Greek Text. Of these, the New American Standard Version has veered closer to the Majority Text than have the others.

2 - The paraphrases. These are Bibles designed to read like a novel. Because of this, they are the most dangerous modern translations of all. Their authors (the men really were not "translators") took great liberties with the meaning of the text, in order to make everything flow well and be interesting, even exciting.

3 - The Doctrinal error translations. These also include doctrinal error; but the error was deliberately inserted, to favor the teachings of a certain denomination.

4 - The rest of the modern versions vary in competence; but, as with the others, they adhere to the Westcott-Hort theory.

We will now deal with each of these four types, one at a time: 

For the remainder of this section, we will discuss the most significant or frequently used 20th-century translations of the last half of the 20th-century.


(ERV) [RV] (1881, 1885)


The original names for these two translations were the Revised Version (RV) and American Revised Version (ARV). But, in later years, scholars changed their names to English Revised Version (ERV) and American Standard Version (ASV). In order to simplify the situation, in this book we use their current names.

Because the two are nearly identical, we will discuss them together.

The English Revised Version (ERV) [RV]This is the revision that we earlier discussed, when we talked about Westcott and Hort. The New Testament was completed in 1881, and the Old Testament in 1885.

The American Standard Version (ASV) [ARV]In 1901, an American committee made a few (not many) changes and published it under the name, American Revised Version (ARV).

These two revised versions sought to render a given word in the original by the same English word consistently, regardless of its context. It was their view that faithfulness to the original demanded a meticulous word-by-word translation. They attempted a precise rendering of the tenses and the articles. Often in the New Testament they even followed the order of the Greek words rather than the word order that is natural to English. The result is that both these versions are stiff, pedantic, and unidiomatic. They lack the free literary charm of the KJV.

These versions also used archaic words which no one understood. Here are a few examples:

"The Holy Spirit testifieth . . that bonds and afflictions abide me." Acts 20:23.

"Come, and I will advertise thee what this people shall do to thy people in the latter days." Numbers 24:14.

"And all they that cast angle into the Nile shall mourn." Isaiah 19:8.

"Their own doings beset them about." Hosea 7:2.

"Though thou shouldest bray a fool in a mortar with a pestle." Proverbs 27:22.

"But doting about questionings and disputes of words." 1 Timothy 6:4.


The two translations in the 20th century which are most conservative (that is, the most like the King James Version and Tyndale) are the Revised Standard Version (RSV) and the New American Standard Version (NASV). The latter is sometimes called the New American Standard Bible (NASB).

That may come as a surprise to you, but it is true.

We are not recommending that you read these versions; but we want you to know that, of all those produced in the 20th century, they are the safest. This is due to the fact that they have the smallest amount of paraphrase. The RSV and NASV do not take liberties with the text the way that Phillips, the New English Bible (NEB), and the Living Bible (LB) do.

The above paragraph may sound like heresy; yet it is true. The RSV and NASV are the safest two modern translations. This is because they read so clearly and are so similar to the KJV, that it is much, much easier to see the errors in them than it is in the other modern versions.

However, as we have repeatedly told you, these two translations, like all the others, are based on the Nestle-Aland / UBS Greek Texts; so these will have the errors in those Texts which are based on the Minority Texts.

Therefore we do not recommend that you read either the RSV or the NASV. Stay with the KJV, and you will do best. But, if you ever need to refer to a modern version for some reason or other, the RSV and NASV are the two which will most closely match the text of the KJV. For this reason, it will be easier to see their flaws than in the paraphrastic (paraphrase) translations, such as the Phillips and Living Bible.

In case you some day have a relative who absolutely demands a modern version, buy them one of these.

Of the two, the New American Standard Version is the nearest to the Tyndale-King James pattern. (But, as you will read shortly, the NASV has its flaws too!)

For your information, there is a technical term used by Bible translators. Those modern Bibles which attempted to remain close to the pattern of the King James are called "versions." The rest are called "translations." We have not used that nomenclature in this book, but this is why only a few Bibles are called "versions."

Later in this book, we will list many of the outstanding errors in the Revised Standard Version and the New American Standard Version. 


First, we will examine those translations which especially tried to remain close to the Tyndale / King James pattern. 


In the preface to the Revised Standard Version, we read this:

"Yet the King James Version has grave defects. By the middle of the nineteenth century, the development of Biblical studies and the discovery of many manuscripts, more ancient than those upon which the King James Version was based, made it manifest that these defects are so many and so serious as to call for revision of the English translation . . The King James Version of the New Testament was based upon a Greek text that was marred by mistakes, containing the accumulated errors of fourteen centuries of manuscript copying . . We now possess many more ancient manuscripts of the New Testament, and are far better equipped to seek to recover the original wording of the Greek text."Preface, Revised Standard Version.

Well, that tells you about their prejudices!

Here is the historical background of the Revised Standard Version:

The copyright of the 1901 ASV (ARV), which had been held by Thomas Nelson and Sons, was transferred in 1928 to the International Council of Religious Education. This body is an association of the educational boards of forty major Protestant denominations of the U.S. and Canada. It was an ecumenical organization. (Later it became the Division of Christian Education, an agency in the National Council of Churches [NCC], based in New York City. We will encounter it again when we discuss the RSV Apocrypha. It is not commonly known that a subsidiary of the notorious NCC holds the copyright to the RSV!)

This council renewed the copyright that year and established an American Standard Bible Committee of scholars to be the custodian of the text of the ASV, with authority to undertake further revisions as deemed advisable. In 1937, the 

International Council of Religious Education voted to authorize a new revision, specifying that it should only be a revision of the ASV which should seek to maintain the simple beauty of the KJV.

"There is need for a version which embodies the best results of modern scholarship as to the meaning of the Scriptures, and expresses this meaning in English diction which is designed for use in public and private worship and preserves those qualities which have given to the King James Version a supreme place in English literature. We therefore define the task of the American Standard Bible Committee to be that of the revision of the present American Standard Bible, in the light of the results of modern scholarship, this revision to be designed for use in public and private worship, and to be in the direction of the simple, classic English style of the King James Version." 1937 Action of the International Council of Religious Education.

The revision committee had 32 scholars, plus an advisory board of 50 representatives of cooperating denominations. The committee was divided into two sections: one dealing with the the New Testament.

The RSV New Testament was published in February, 1946; and the Old Testament was published in 1952.

The translators said they tried to avoid a slavish devotion to the Westcott-Hort Text and theory. One of the New Testament translators, F.C. Grant, wrote this:

"With the best will in the world, the New Testament translator or reviser of today is forced to adopt the eclectic principle: each variant reading must be studied on its merits, and cannot be adopted or rejected by some rule of thumb, or by adherence to such a theory as that of the Neutral Text. It is this eclectic principle that has guided us in the present Revision. The Greek text of this Revision is not that of Westcott-Hort, or Nestle, or Souter; though the readings we have adopted will as a rule, be found either in the text or the margin of the new (17th) edition of Nestle (Stuttgart, 1941)." An Introduction to the Revised Standard Version of the New Testament, p. 41.

In thirteen passages, in Isaiah, readings were adopted from the newly discovered Isaiah scroll of the Qumran library. In seven of the thirteen instances the reading has the support of one or more of the ancient versions (Isa. 14:30; 15:9; 45:2; 49:24; 51:19; 56:12; 60:19), such as the Greek, Syriac, Latin, and Aramaic Targums. Numerous other readings, supported by one or more of these versions or (for the Pentateuch) the Samaritan recension, were also accepted. Several substantial additions to the text in various places were thus made. For example, "Let us go out to the field" is inserted in Genesis 4:8, and "Why have you stolen my silver cup?" in Genesis 44:4. In Judges 16:13-14, the revisers restored some fifteen words from the Greek which they felt had dropped out of the Hebrew text. Substantial material was also added to the traditional text of 1 Samuel 10:1 and 14:41.

More than any other 20th-century translation (with the exception of the NASV), the RSV tried to preserve the best of the earlier versions while at the same time substituting modern English for antiquated language. But it tended to still conform to the general pattern and, frequently, the exact wording of Tyndale's version of the 16th century. The revisers strove for simplicity yet dignity in rendering. But they omitted the "Thee" and "Thine" which made the KJV so much more reverent.

The text of prose passages in the RSV is arranged in sense paragraphs, as in the ASV, instead of being broken up into separate verses as in the KJV.

Poetic passages are printed in poetic form. The metrical nature of ancient Semitic poetry is better understood today than it was when the KJV was produced. One of its characteristics is accentual meter. This means that each line contains a certain number of accents or beats. A more striking characteristic is its parallelism of members. The basic unit of Hebrew poetry is a line followed by a second (or, at times, by a third), which complements it by restating it (synonymous parallelism), contrasting with it (antithetic parallelism), or further developing or completing it (synthetic or step parallelism).

The RSV tried to reproduce the accentual meter in its renderings and arrange the lines in couplets or triplets. In addition, it tried to arrange the poetic passages in stanzas. Approximately 40 percent of the Old Testament is in poetic form. This includes not only the poetic books, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, parts of Ecclesiastes, the Song of Solomon, and Lamentations, but major portions of many of the prophetic books as well. In addition, there are poetic passages in the Pentateuch and the historical books.

Regarding the tetragrammaton, the ineffable divine name, the RSV returned to the practice of the KJV, in rendering it LORD (or, under certain circumstances, GOD). This harmonized with the long-established synagogue practice of reading the letters YHWH as Adonai, meaning "Lord," as well as the Septuagint Greek rendering of Kyrios (Lord), and the Vulgate of Dominus.

The RSV translates sheol (the grave) as "sheol" (instead of "hell," as in the KJV). Frankly, this is a genuine improvement over the KJV. When people die, they go to sheol, the grave, not to a burning hell.

Later in this book, we will list a number of the outstanding errors in the Revised Standard Version. 


Gradually, the publishing firms discovered that sales figures were more important than the Westcott and Hort theories. In order to increase the sales, after the initial publication of the RSV in 1952, pressure was brought to bear on the permanent RSV Bible Committee to consider making some changes which would make the version more acceptable to the public.

The RSV Bible Committee is a continuing committee, with authority to make revisions in the text of the RSV when it is deemed advisable.

A number of changes were made in the text in 1959, as the result of criticisms and suggestions from various readers. These include changing the rendering "married only once" (1 Tim. 3:2, 12; 5:9) to "the husband of one wife." In Job 19:26, "without my flesh I shall see God" was changed to "from my flesh I shall see God." "Bread," in Matthew 7:9 and 1 Corinthians 10:17 is changed to "loaf." The Roman Centurions exclamation is now given as in the KJV: "Truly this was the Son of God!" not "a son of God" as previously (Matt. 27:54; Mark 15:39). The translation of 1 Corinthians 15:19 and John 16:23 was also improved.

The second edition of the RSV New Testament was copyrighted in 1971. Additional suggestions and criticisms from individuals and from two denominational committees were received. So a few more changes in the underlying Greek text were made. The most conspicuous of these was the restoration to the text of two notable passages previously given only in footnotes: the longer ending of Mark 16:9-20 and the story of the woman taken in adultery (John 7:53-8:11). The blank space separating them from the rest of the text called attention to them; and comments are made in footnotes. Two passages in Luke were also restored to the text (Luke 22:19b-20; 24:5) while another (Luke 22:43-44) was removed and placed as a footnote. New notes calling attention to significant textual variations in manuscripts were added in a few places (e.g., Matt. 9:34; Mark 3:16; 7:4; Luke 24:32, 51).

For improved clarity, a number of changes in the wording were also made. In 2 Corinthians 3:5-6, "competent" and "competence" are substituted for "sufficient" and "sufficiency." In Matthew 12:1 "heads of grain" replaces the British "ears of grain." "Move from here to there" (Matt. 17:20) replaces "Move hence to yonder place." 


The Lockman Foundation has produced two translations: the Amplified New Testament and the New American Standard Bible (NASV). It is a nonprofit Christian corporation formed in 1942 in La Habra, California, to promote Bible translation in several languages.

The NASV New Testament was published in 1963 and the entire Bible in 1971. Its Preface stated that its objective was to remain as close to the KJV and its simplicity as possible. The NASV sought to avoid the word-for-word literalness of the ASV and to return to the pattern in the Tyndale / KJV translations.

Sixteen men worked on each Testament. As is always done in the 20th century, the Nestle Greek Text was followed in the New Testament.

In Matthew, the doxology of the Lords Prayer (16:13) and two whole verses (18:11; 23:14) are printed in brackets in the main text; whereas they are only found in footnotes in both the ASV and the Nestle Greek Text. Contrary to Nestle, Luke 24:12 is printed in the text, but also in brackets. The NASV also follows the ASV, contrary to Nestle, in printing the "Long Ending" of Mark in the text (16:9-20) in brackets, as well as the "Shorter Ending" in italics with the title "Addition." It also has in brackets, in the text, the story of the woman in adultery (John 7:53-8:11). For examples of other differences from the text of the ASV, see Mark 1:29; 2:4, 16; 6:14; 7:4, 24; 12:33; Luke 9:2, 9; 10:42; 24:36, 40; John 8:16; 10:18; 13:32; 15:8.

There is only one column of text on each page. Each verse, like the KJV, is printed as a separate unit. Paragraphs are designated by bold-face numbers. Except in language addressed to Deity, the use of "thou," "thee," and "thy" has been replaced by "you" and "your."

However, there is one redeeming feature: Personal pronouns referring to God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit begin with a capital letter. This is true when they refer to Jesus Christ, irrespective of the speakers attitude toward Him (e.g., the mob: Matt. 26:68, 27:22; Herod: Matt. 2:8; the high priest: Matt. 26:63; Pilate: Matt. 27:11-14, et al.).

Like the RSV, the NASV translates the place of the dead (sheol, the grave) as "sheol" (instead of "hell," as in the KJV). That is very helpful.

Like the RSV, the NASV has gone back to the ancient practice of translating YHWH as LORD or sometimes as GOD.

The corresponding term in the New Testament, "hades," is likewise transliterated as "Gehenna"; however, it is translated as "hell" (Matt. 5:22, 29-30; 10:28, et al.) or "the eternal fire" (Matt. 18:9).

The NASV retains the practice, begun in the Geneva Bible and continued through the KJV and ASV, of printing in italics words for which there are no exact equivalents in the original but which have been added to make the translation conform to English idiom.

The NASV tends to be a literal, very readable, translation of the Bible. In the New Testament, it is based on the Nestle Greek Textbut that text has been considerably modified in the direction of the Textus Receptus, which the KJV is based on. A number of verses resting on the Majority Text have been reintroduced into the text from the margin. The translators apparently hesitated to follow the Nestle Text too closely. The NASV is thus closer to the KJV and its Majority Text than any other 20th-century translation.

In the Old Testament, the traditional Hebrew text is only occasionally modified by readings from Hebrew manuscripts and ancient versions. But the version does represent an honest attempt to be faithful to the Hebrew text and to the adopted Greek readings. It tries to give an accurate literal rendering of the Hebrew and Greek.

But, in the Old Testament, the NASV is not as readable as in the New. This is due to the fact that the Hebrew is often difficult to understand (because it says things so briefly). For this reason, any version which translates the Old Testament very smoothlyis adding conjectures in order to do this.

All in all, because it is the closest to the Majority Text and the KJV, the NASV is a far better study Bible than any other published in the 20th century, that is, if you want to read any Bible produced in the 20th century.


This version demands special attention since it is not what it purports to be.

There was a need for a King James Version which modernized a few words, and nothing else. This particular Bible was supposed to do that but has turned out to be partially based on the Nestle Text!

This makes the NKJV something of a fraud. How can a Bible dare to call itself "King James," when it has Westcott and Hort errors in it?

The New Testament was published in 1979 and the Old in 1982. Advertising for it showed a page from an original 1611 KJV with the comment that, since our current KJV is "just a revision," you will just love this new revision!

"People trust the King James. Its the Bible for all who love Gods Word. Since 1611, four major editions of the KJV have been published. And now Thomas Nelson the worlds leading Bible publisher is pleased to present the fifth major edition of this magnificent translation, the New King James Version."Ad for New King James Version.

The problem is that Thomas Nelson believes the "original language" is closer to the Nestle Text than it is to Erasmus Text.

"Every word of the New King James Version has been checked against the original in light of increasing knowledge about the Greek and Hebrew languages. Nothing has been changed except to make the original meaning clearer."Ad in Moody Monthly, June 1982.

In 774 instances, two alternative Greek readings are given, one in the text and the other in footnotes. Even the "-eth" and "-est" (loveth, lovest) have been removed.


The Bibles we have already discussed tend to be conservative; that is, they follow more closely to the King James pattern while also including Westcott-Hort errors in them.

Now we turn our attention to the paraphrases. These are the worst Bibles of all!

The paraphrased translations (also called paraphrastics) are prepared very differently than all earlier Bibles. These Bibles primarily read like an exciting novel. And this makes them extremely dangerous.

The two worst are Phillips and the Living Bible; but most of the others, in the last half of the 20th century, tend toward the paraphrase. The reason is simple enough: They sell better. 


J.B. Phillips had little training or competence in Biblical languages. In fact, he did not find it necessary to even bother much with a Greek Text. His translation is the result.

Phillips was a pastor who wanted to help a London youth group understand the Bible better. So he translated Colossians and read it to them. One day, he sent a copy of it to C. S. Lewis (the well-known author of Christian fairy tales), who encouraged him to go on. While smoking his pipe, Lewis wrote Phillips: "Its like seeing an old picture that's been cleaned. Why don't you go on and do the lot?"

So Phillips kept working till his Letters to Young Churches (Pauline Epistles) was published in 1947.

It was a sensation, and people from all over the world encouraged him to go on and do the Gospels. He was reluctant to do this, since people might object to his paraphrasing the actual words of Jesus. But few seemed to care for his lack of concern about what the manuscripts said. Indeed, there is a question whether Phillips knew much Greek or bothered with any Greek Text at all! The entire New Testament was published in 1958, Four Prophets in 1963, and the revised New Testament in 1973.

The great popularity of this version lies in its freshness of style and its readability. The New Testament reads as if it were originally written in 20th-century English. It does not read like a translation at all. Phillips success is due to the care he took in avoiding "translators English" and in trying out his translation with his friends.

"For myself I have taken the bold step of trying to imagine myself as the original writer, whether he be the careful and precise Matthew, the sturdy, blunt Mark, the sympathetic, understanding Luke, or the more profound and mystically inclined John."Phillips, Bible Translator, IV, (1953), p. 55.

"Greet . . with a holy kiss" becomes "shake hands." "Sandals" becomes "shoes." "Girding ones loins" becomes "tighten ones belt."

The book has paragraphs with section headings; so it is almost impossible to find a specific verse, since only the first verse in a paragraph is numbered.

In the revised edition, no verse numbers appear at all, making it even more difficult to check anything.

The most famous verse in Phillips translation is this one:

"Don't let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold, but let God remold your minds from within."Romans 12:2.

The problem is that Phillips is just too free to toss in words and move things around so everything will sound just fine.

Phillips translates Matthew 6:2, "Don't hire a trumpeter"; the Greek simply says, "Sound no trumpet." The idea that someone else is to do the trumpeting for the one who gives alms is not stated; therefore it should not have been translated in the above manner.

"Brush your hair" instead of "anoint your head" (Matt. 6:17). (But in the later edition, Phillips went back to "anoint your head.")

Phillips adds "comfortably" in Matthew 15:35, but the Greek original does not have this word. In Matthew 16:18, Phillips adds "the rock" after Peter.

The forcefulness of Jesus expression, "Because of the hardness of your hardness of hearts . ." is lost by Phillips: "It was because you knew so little of the meaning of love" (Matt. 19:8).

"Spoils your faith" for "causes you to sin" (Mark 9:42).

"Rubbish heap" (Mark 9:43) for "hell" (gehenna).

"Don't bully people" instead of "Do violence to no man" (Luke 3:14).

"Practical and spiritually minded" instead of "full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom" (Acts 6:3).

Romans 16:16 is translated, "Give one another a hearty handshake all round for my sake [in Christian love]."

"For Christ means the end of the struggle for righteousness-by-the-Law" (Rom. 10:4).

In the book of Romans, Romans 3:31 stands out as a bulwark, proclaiming the importance of obeying the law of God. You will find it in most modern versions, but Phillips manages to twist it into something quite different. He "puts the law into its proper place" as something not worth bothering with.

Phillips surely can add to the text. Compare Luke 7:33-34 in your KJV with this:

"For John the Baptist came in the strictest austerity and you say he is crazy. Then the Son of Man came, enjoying life [food and drink], and you say, Look, a drunkard and a glutton, a bosom friend of the tax collector and the outsider!"Luke 7:33-34 (Phillips).

We even find an invitation to swearing: "For Gods sake" (Mark 5:7), "To hell, with you and your money" (Acts 8:19), "May he be damned" and "be a damned soul" (Gal. 1:9).

At the urging of many, J.B. Phillips turned his translational skill to a portion of the Old Testament (Amos, Hosea, Isaiah 1-35, and Micah, arranged in that order).

Hebrew is concrete rather than abstract; so Phillips plays with the words in order to put there something that the text does not have.

"The starry universe" in place of "the seven stars and Orion" (Amos 5:8).

"The words of Amos . . which he saw concerning Israel" becomes "These are the words of Amos when he saw the truth about Israel" (Amos 1:1).

"For three transgressions . . and for four" becomes "Because of outrage after outrage" (Amos 1:3).

"The Lord said to Hosea" becomes "While Hosea was waiting . ." (Hosea 1:2).

"For she gathered it of the hire of an harlot, and they shall return to the hire of an harlot" becomes simply "For the price of her unfaithfulness pays for her betrayal!" (Micah 1:7).

If you are looking for an accurate translation, you will not be happy with Phillips production. It was not intended to be used for study purposes. He turns the Bible into something akin to a fiction novel. 


Kenneth Nathaniel Taylor was another Christian who, having little background in Biblical languages, started writing paraphrases of the Bible which then became wildly popular.

Taylor lived in Wheaton, Illinois, and would spend a little time, after the days work, rephrasing Scripture as he had evening worship with his children.

Riding a commuter train each day from his home in Wheaton to his work in Chicago, where he was the director of the Moody Literature Mission of the Moody Press, he conceived the idea of using commuter time on the train to paraphrase the Bible. Obviously, he did not have a lot of Greek Texts in front of him; in fact he had nonejust an English American Standard Version (ASV, ARV) and a notepad. He began with the Book of Romans. You could say he was translating from English into English!

In 1962 he decided to form his own publishing company, to promote the paraphrases he was producing. He called his new firm Tyndale House after William Tyndale, the father of the English Bible. What would Tyndale have thought of this?

In 1962 he published a rendering of the New Testament letters with the title, Living Letters. This was followed by Living Prophecies in 1965, Living Gospels in 1966, and the Living New Testament in 1967. In 1967 he also put out Living Psalms, followed by Living Lessons of Life and Love in 1968, Living Books of Moses in 1969, and Living History of Israel in 1970. The complete Living Bible (LB) came from the press in 1971.

Its circulation has been helped by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, which has publicized it on television and has given away hundreds of thousands of copies. In 1965, in honor of his great work of translating English into English, Wheaton College conferred on him the honorary degree of Doctor of Literature.

He includes some of the Majority Text passages (see Matt. 17:21; 18:11; Mark 15:28; John 5:3b-5; Acts 8:37; 24:6b-8a; Rom. 16:24). In most of these cases his LB has a footnote calling the readers attention to the fact that many ancient manuscripts omit the passage.

He sometimes adds quite a few imaginative details for which there is no warrant in the original. A clear example is in Amos 1:1-2. Here the ASV (the version Taylor worked from) gives a literal word-for-word translation of the Hebrew. It 

gives the title as "The words of Amos who was among the herdsmen of Tekoa . ." In the LB this becomes two full sentences: "Amos was a herdsman living in the village of Tekoa. All day long he sat on the hillsides watching the sheep, keeping them from straying." The ASV continues, ". . which he saw concerning Israel." In the LB this becomes: "One day in a vision, God told him some of the things that were going to happen to his nation, Israel . . This is his report of what he saw and heard."

At other times he gives us less than what is there: Psalm 19:7-9 extols the wonders of Gods law in a beautifully structured piece of literary art. The original has six different names for the written revelation and ascribe six different characteristics and funtions to it. In the LB, the literary beauty of the poem has given way to simple assertions: "Gods laws are perfect. They protect us, make us wise, and give us joy and light. Gods laws are pure, eternal, and just."

In one passage, Taylor says, "Look up into the heavens! Who created all these stars?" After this, he gives an analogy completely untrue to the original: "As a shepherd leads his sheep, calling each by its pet name, and counts them to see that none are lost or strayed, so God does with stars and planets!" A footnote to the word "shepherd" says, "Implied"; but there is nothing in the Hebrew implying this figure of speech.

The actual analogy is far more majestic, designed to display, as the prophet declares, the greatness of Gods might and the force of His power. The analogy is not that of a shepherd, but of a great general reviewing his army; for that is what the word, "host," means in the ASV. God, as the Lord of hosts, leads forth the stars as a general summons his forces.

Above everything else, a translation must be faithful to the text of the original. Does a translator have the right to read his own interpretation into the text. Was the forbidden tree in the Garden of Eden a "Tree of Conscience"?

Taylor adds a legend to Genesis 6. The "sons of God," in Genesis 6, are made into "evil beings from the spirit world." He holds that they were Gods "created supernatural beings, but no longer godly in character" (footnote), who fell in love with women on earth, "the daughters of men." Here is his translation:

"Now a population explosion took place upon the earth. It was at this time that beings from the spirit world looked upon the beautiful earth women and took any they desired to be their wives . . In those days, and even afterwards, when the evil beings from the spirit world were sexually involved with human women, their children became giants, of whom so many legends are told."Genesis 6:1-2, 4 (Phillips).

Taylor places the entire book of Revelation into the future! "This book unveils some of the future activities soon to occur in the life of Jesus Christ" (Rev. 1:1).

Revelation 1:10 has John going to church on Sunday. "It was the Lords Day and I was worshiping."

Look at what Taylor does to the first beatitude: " Humble men are very fortunate! " he told them, " for the Kingdom of Heaven is given to them " (Matt. 5:3). Although humility is a Christian virtue, there is something deeper implied here. The "poor in spirit" are those who have a deep sense of spiritual poverty (see Isa. 66:2). They are not only humble, but have a feeling of spiritual destitution and recognize their need of God.

Taylor repeatedly changes "son of man" to "Messiah" (Luke 21:27; 24:7), "I, the Messiah" (Matt. 8:20; 11:19; 12:8, et al.), or simply "I" (Matt. 10:23; 13:41; 16:13, et al.).

The so-called Living Bible is a translation of a translation. It is further limited by the fact that the translator frankly states he was guided by his theology. It would no doubt be helpful for the reader to know what Taylor means when he says he has "a rigid evangelical position." But this is not clarified.

By reading the way he twists Scripture, we learn more of his objective.

Consider what he does to the truth about the unconscious state of the dead:

The ASV, which he "translated" from, gives a literal translation of Psalm 115:17: "The dead praise not Jehovah, neither any that go down into silence." But, in the LB, this becomes "The dead cannot sing praises to Jehovah here on earth."

The ASV rendering of Psalm 6:5 reads: "For in death there is no remembrance of thee: In Sheol, who shall give thee thanks?" The Living Bible translates: "For if I die I cannot give you glory by praising you before my friends," implying that he could praise God in heaven.

In the Living Bible, Ecclesiastes 9:5 is "For the living at least know that they will die! But the dead know nothing; they don't even have their 

memories." Unable to effectively destroy that passage, Taylor adds this in the footnote: "These statements are Solomon's discouraged opinion, and do not reflect a knowledge of Gods truth on these points!"

Psalm 73:24 in the ASV reads: "Thou wilt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory" (possibly meaning "honor"). The last clause in the Living Bible is "and afterwards receive me into the glories of heaven."

Paul's famous saying, "For I am already being offered, and the time of my departure has come" (2 Tim. 4:6, ASV) is translated: "My time has almost run out. Very soon now I will be on my way to heaven."

1 Thessalonians 4:14 in the Living Bible reads: "For since we believe that Jesus died and then came back to life again, we can also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring with him all the Christians who have died."

Here is what Taylor has done to hellfire:

The Hebrew word for the place of the dead, Sheol, is consistently transliterated in the ASV. The LB, however, frequently translates it as "hell," as though it were a place of punishment contrary to Hebrew thought. "The wicked shall be sent away to hell" (Ps. 9:17). "Hell is licking its chops in anticipation of this delicious morsel, Jerusalem" (Isa. 5:14). "But they don't realize that her former guests are now citizens of hell" (Prov. 9:18). "The denizens of hell crowd to meet you as you enter their domain" (Isa. 14:9). All this sounds like something out of Dante's Inferno!

However, in other passages, Sheol is translated "grave." Psalm 16:10 is adequately rendered, "For you will not leave me among the dead; you will not allow your beloved one to rot in the grave." However, when this passage is quoted in Acts 2:27, the meaning is distorted by inserting the word, "body," in contrast to "soul": "You will not leave my soul in hell or let the body of your Holy Son decay." Thus a false dichotomy, foreign to Old Testament thinking, is introduced into the quotation. This is made abundantly clear in verse 31, where the word, "soul," is inserted and "flesh" is rendered "body": "The Messiahs soul would not be left in hell and his body would not decay."

This is what Taylor did to the law and the Sabbath:

"For Moses gave us only the Law with its rigid demands and merciless justice, while Jesus Christ brought us loving forgiveness as well" is the translation given of John 1:17. But salvation means more than bringing people to heaven (Rom. 1:16-17), and the righteousness of God is more than a "way to heaven" (Rom. 3:21-22).

"On every Lords Day each of you should put aside something from what you have earned during the week." The Greek has simply "on the first day of the week," and there is no evidence that it was called "the Lords Day" in the first century.

The translation of Acts 20:7 is also questionable: "On Sunday, we gathered for a communion service." Again, the Greek has, "On the first day of the week . ." The meeting referred to was obviously a night farewell service. It is not entirely clear whether the days are reckoned on the Jewish basis, from sundown to sundown, or on the Roman basis, from midnight to midnight. But the former seems most likely, in which case the meeting was held on Saturday night (see NEB, TEV). Moreover, it is not clear that this was a communion service. The original has "to break bread." This expression can mean either an ordinary meal (Acts 2:42, 46) or the Lords Supper. In any case, it was not called a "communion service" in New Testament times.

Other questionable interpretations are given in Hebrews 5:7, 13:10, 2 Corinthians 7:14, 5:1, 2 Timothy 2:8, 3:16, etc.

The translations by Phillips and Taylor are among the most dangerous translations in the 20th century. Even the Catholic and Jehovah's Witness Bibles tend to be more staid, drifting off primarily when they want to strengthen one of their errors.

The New English Bible is also a paraphrase which, sometimes, is quite extreme. 


The same year the RSV New Testament was published in the United States (1946), plans were laid in the British Isles for the production of the New English Bible (NEB).

As the result of the initiative (taken by the annual General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in approaching other churches regarding a new version), delegates from the Church of England, the Church of Scotland, the Methodist, Baptist, and Congregational churches met in conference in October. It was decided to under 

take the production of a completely new translation.

In the following year representatives of these churches were appointed to form a "Joint Committee on the New Translation of the Bible," which met in July, 1947. At its third meeting in January, 1948, the committee also invited the Presbyterian Church of England, the Society of Friends, the Churches in Wales, the Churches in Ireland, the British and Foreign Bible Society, and the National Bible Society of Scotland to appoint representatives. At a later time representatives of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Scotland also attended as observers.

The work of translating the Old Testament, New Testament, and Apocrypha was assigned to three groups. The first edition of the New Testament was published in 1961. The complete Bible was published in March, 1970, in two editionsone with and one without the Apocrypha.

The NEB differs from the RSV in three ways. First, it purports to be a completely new rendering of the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, and not just a revision of older English versions (ASV and KJV).

This means the NEB does not try to stay close to the King James Version, as does the RSV. The New English Bible abandoned the Tyndale / King James tradition and attempted an entirely new translation.

Second, it has a different method of translation. The translators of the Tyndale tradition sought to present a literal word-for-word rendering, as far as they were able to do so consistent with English idiom. In fact, from the Geneva Bible on down to the KJV, English words that were not actually representative of corresponding words in the original but were regarded as necessary to make sense in our language were put in italics.

The method of translation used in the NEB is much freer. Instead of being a word-for-word translation, it is a "meaning-for-meaning" rendering. Those are big words for a paraphrase.

Third, the NEB New Testament differs from the RSV in many passages in its use of the Greek text. The NEB boldly uses variant readings which no other modern or earlier translation dared to use! For example, it used some of the peculiar "Western family" readings which not even Westcott and Hort would use!

Here are some examples. Some of them are indeed shocking, since they are based on only one or two unimportant manuscripts:

NEB omits all of Matthew 9:34 following D and the Sinaitic Syriac, on the assumption that this verse is an assimilation to Matthew 12:24. "Lebbaeus" is substituted for "Thaddaeus" in the list of the twelve apostles, in Matthew 10:3, on the basis of D.

In place of "moved with compassion" in Mark 1:41, the NEB follows the reading "being angry" of D, which it translates weakly as "in warm indignation."

Among the variety of forms in which manuscripts give the charge of Jesus to the blind man healed at Bethsaida in Mark 8:26, the NEB has adopted the simple one found in no currently known Greek manuscript, but in one old manuscript: "Do not tell anyone in the village."

In Acts 1:26, the reading of D and its Latin counterpart, "the twelve apostles," is read instead of "the eleven apostles." "By his holy prophets" is read in Acts 3:21, with D, instead of "by his holy prophets from of old."

There are other interesting readings in the NEB Greek text that are not peculiarly Western. In Mark 8:38, as in its parallel of Luke 9:26a, "words" is omitted with the resulting translation: "If anyone is ashamed of me and mine [i.e., my followers] in this wicked and godless age, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him, when he comes in the glory of his Father and of the holy angels."

The striking reading found in some "Caesarean" type manuscripts that give the name of the notorious prisoner released in place of our Lord as "Jesus Bar-Abbas" is adopted in Matthew 27:16ff.

In Luke 10:1, the NEB has the interesting reading of "seventy-two" rather than "seventy," and this is supported by the Codex Vaticanus as well as Western and other manuscripts.

John 13:10 reads, "A man who has bathed needs no further washing." But the omission here of "needs only to wash his feet" rests on weak manuscript evidence.

The NEB translators also changed parts of the Old Testament!

They occasionally changed the order of ma

terials in the text. For example, in Genesis 26, verse 18 is placed between verses 15 and 16. Verses 6-7 of Isaiah 41 are inserted between verses 20 and 21 of Isaiah 40.

In Jeremiah 12 part of verse 14 and all of verse 15 are given after verse 17. Verses 13 and 14 of Jeremiah 15 are removed from the text and put in a footnote.

Amos 5:7 is transposed to follow verse 9.

In several places in Joel 3:9-12, the order of the lines has been rearranged.

Zechariah 2:13 is followed by chapter 4:1-3, 11-13. The remaining verses (4-10) of chapter 4 are left in their normal place after chapter 3:10.

Is such a rearranging of the materials, in harmony with modern concepts of sequential thought, the proper function of translators or should translators confine their activity to rendering the text in the order in which it has been handed down?

The superscriptions in the Psalms have been entirely omitted. These ancient editorial titles were part of the traditional text and are found in the oldest Hebrew manuscripts known. Their great antiquity is shown by the fact that, as early as the time of the translation of the Greek Old Testament, the significance of some of the technical musical terms was already unknown, as their rendering in the LXX reveals. There is no excuse for this, since the NEB translators were very willing to insert headings (many of them) in the text elsewhere in their translation.

The NEB radically changes the Creation of our world:

"In the beginning of creation, when God made heaven and earth, the earth was without form and void, with darkness over the face of the abyss, and a mighty wind that swept over the surface of the waters."Genesis 1:1-2.

A footnote gives the traditional rendering, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." Another footnote gives "and the spirit of God hovering" for "a mighty wind that swept."

What does that passage now say: (1) The earth already existed when God began His work of Creation. (2) The Holy Spirit is entirely removed from the Creation process.

These changes are astounding.

In Genesis 2:2, the NEB follows the Samaritan Pentateuch and the LXX in reading "the sixth day" rather than the Hebrew, which has "the seventh day."

"On the sixth day God completed all the work he had been doing, and on the seventh day he ceased from all his work."

The activities of the sixth day had already been described. Also, if we follow the well-known principle of textual critics that the more difficult reading is to be preferred, we would retain the Hebrew "the seventh day." God completed His work on the seventh day by inaugurating the Sabbath. This He did by desisting from His creative work and by blessing and sanctifying the seventh day.

Quite a few words, known to Britishers but unknown to Americans, are included in the NEB:

"Stooks," meaning "shocks," in the Samson story.

"Weeds" for mourning garments in the expression, "widows weeds" (Gen. 38:14, 19; Isa. 47:8; Rev. 18:7).

"In spate," meaning "in flood," is also chiefly Scottish (Job 6:17, 40:23, cf. 11:2). One wonders if the following represents a Scotticism: "Do not be haughty, but go about with humble folk" (Rom. 12:16).

Here are more strange words:

Now his sons used to foregather (Job 1:4); the stronger man seizes it from the panniers (Job 5:5); of myself I reck nothing (Job 9:21); not for him to swill down rivers of cream (Job 20:17); do not descry him (Job 23:9); broke the fangs of the miscreant (Job 29:17); tormented by a ceaseless ague in his bones (Job 33:19); and its lair in the saltings (Job 39:6); strangers will batten on your wealth (Prov. 5:10; cf. Rev. 17:16); he will get nothing but blows and comtumely (Prov. 6:33); your runnels of water pour into the street (Prov. 5:16); does that mean that Christ is an abettor of sin? (Gal. 2:17); What are they all but ministrant spirits? (Heb. 1:14); Moses, then, was faithful as a servitor (Heb. 3:5); Alas, alas for the great city . . bedizened with gold and jewels and pearls (Rev. 18:17); Do you bring in the lamp to put it under the meal-tub? (Mark 4:21); You strain off a midge, yet gulp down a camel (Matt. 23:24)! 


This is the one 20th-century translation that a book company (Zondervon, in this case) tried the hardest to make acceptable to the broadest number of people. However, like the others, it is based on the modern Greek Texts.

Interested groups from the Christian Reformed Church and the Commission on Education of the National Association of Evangelicals decided to begin working together on a Bible project. The decision to produce it was formalized by a group of Biblical scholars meeting in Chicago in 1965. In 1967, the New York-based International Bible Society agreed to sponsor it financially. The New Testament of NIV was published in September 1973.

The objective was to produce a Bible which was not too informal, was suitable for church use or home reading, not artificial and wooden, not too free or paraphrastic, and not a one-man production.

The NIV is called an international version because the committee producing it consisted of Bible scholars from such English-speaking countries as Canada, England, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as the United States. They sought to avoid the use of Americanisms on the one hand and Anglicisms on the other. (Though a British edition was published in 1974, few changes in vocabulary were felt necessary, though British spelling was adopted.) The translators came from many denominations, including Baptist, Brethren, Church of Christ, Episcopalian, Lutheran, Mennonite, Methodist, Nazarene, Presbyterian, Christian Reformed, and others. An interchange among such a wide variety of religious persuasions is an effective safeguard against sectarianism.

The governing body of the project consists of fifteen members, most of whom are well-known Biblical specialists in the USA. The Executive Secretary of this committee was Edwin H. Palmer. One hundred translators helped produce it.

It is a shame that they did not base their work on the Majority Text!

Here is a list of portions of 147 verses which have been omitted from the NIV:

Matthew 5:44; 6:13; 15:6, 8; 19:9; 20:7, 16, 22-23; 25:13; 27:35; 28:9

Mark 1:42; 6:11, 33; 7:8; 8:26; 9:38, 45, 49; 10:21, 24; 11:8, 10, 23; 12:23, 29-30, 33; 13:14; 14:19, 27, 68, 70

Luke 1:28; 4:4, 8, 18; 5:38; 7:31; 8:43, 45, 48, 54; 9:54-56; 11:2, 4, 11, 44, 54; 17:9; 18:24; 19:45; 20:23, 30; 22:64, 68; 23:23, 38; 24:1, 42

John 1:27; 3:13, 15; 5:3, 16; 6:11, 22, 47; 8:9, 10, 59; 10:26; 11:41; 12:1; 16:16; 17:12; 19:16

Acts 2:30; 7:37; 9:5-6; 10:6, 21, 32; 13:42; 15:18, 24; 18:21; 20:15; 21:8, 22, 25; 23:9; 24:6, 8, 26; 26:30; 28:16

Romans 8:1; 9:28; 10:15; 11:6; 13:9; 14:6, 21; 15:24

1 Corinthians 6:20, 10:28, 11:24

Galatians 3:1

Ephesians 3:14, 5:30

Philippians 3:16

Colossians 1:2, 14; 3:6

1 Thessalonians 1:1

1 Timothy 3:3; 6:5, 7

Hebrews 2:7; 3:6; 7:21; 8:12; 10:30; 11:11, 13; 12:20

1 Peter 4:14

1 John 4:3, 5:13

Revelation 1:8, 11; 5:14; 11:1, 17; 14:5; 15:2; 21:24

The above constitutes a total omission of 1,284 words from the Holy Bible.

Most of the so-called "harmonizing passages" that the textual critics believe were "added" to the Majority Text in Matthew (and included in the KJV) were omitted. Here are some of them:

Matt. 5:44, 17:21, 18:11, 21:36, Luke 9:54- 56, 23:17-18, 24:6, etc.

Also tossed out were words which the editors considered to be "obviously late readings." What makes them "late"? The fact that they are in the Majority Text (and therefore in the KJV), and not in their corrupt Neutral Text. This includes the second half of Matthew 6:13, "For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen." Also they included John 5:3-4, Acts 8:37, 1 John 5:7-8. But a few "late readings" were left in the text (Matthew 21:44; Luke 24:6a, 12, 36, 40, 51).

Remember the above facts, when someone tells you the NIV is a wonderful Bible.

The longer "late reading" passages, such as Mark 16:9-20 and John 7:53-8:11, were kept in the text. But lines are drawn before and after the passages and notes indicate that early manuscripts omit these passages.

There are some passages that are disputed by scholars. In regard to these, the NIV has included Luke 22:19b, 20; Matthew 12:47; Luke 22:44; Matthew 16:2-3. In John 5:2, NIV has 

selected "Bethzatha" instead of "Bethesda"; in Ephesians 1:1, it has included "Ephesus"; in Matthew 27:17, it has omitted "Jesus" after "Barabbas"; in Mark 1:41, it has "filled with compassion" instead of NEBs "in warm indignation."

Certain passages are ambiguous in the Greek text and could be translated in two different ways. Here are five verses which the NIV translated better than another modern version:

Mark 15:39 "Surely this man was the Son of God"! (NIV) / "Truly this man was a son of God" (NEB, RSV, 1st ed.).

John 1:3-4 "Without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men" (NIV).

"No single thing was created without Him. All that came to be was alive with his life, and that life was the light of men" (NEB).

John 1:9 "The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world" (NIV). / "That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world" (KJV).

Romans 9:5 "Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen" (NIV). / "To them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ. God who is over all be blessed for ever. Amen" (RSV). / May God be supreme above all, be blessed forever! Amen" (NEB).

1 Timothy 3:2 "The husband of but one wife" (NIV). / "Married only once" (RSV). / "faithful to his one wife" (NEB).

Then there is Matthew 16:18, which many modern translations twist in order to please Rome. NIV has: "And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock." To strengthen the point, the note reads "Peter means rock." It is not as explicit as NEBs "You are Peter, the Rock," but not far from it. "Peter" means a rolling stone, not a rock. This is clearly shown in the Greek of this verse. The Greek word for "Peter" is in the masculine; and the word for "Rock," in this verse, is in the neuter, showing the two do not speak of the same thing.

The NIV has followed the practice of the modernists in replacing the "thou," "thee," "thy," and "thine" with the forms of "you" and your, even when Jesus or the Father is addressed.

This translation has a short preface and relatively few notes. The notes give cross references, alternative translations or readings, and short explanatory remarks. The material is printed in one column with tiny verse numbers. There are short paragraph headings.

The NIV seems to be a nice translation; but when you read it, you find it to be fully modernized and fully in conformity with Wescott and Hort. 


Next we will discuss two translations published by the Watchtower Society (Jehovah's Witnesses).


Now we come to two Jehovah's Witnesses Bibles. (You probably did not know they now have two.) For obvious reasons, we want to carefully show you the flaws in these two doctrinally slanted translations.

Other than Catholic Bibles (which we will discuss later), Jehovah's Witnesses produce the most biased Bibles in the world.

The current edition of the New World Translation was published in 1961.

"Jehovah" is constantly given in the Old Testament (as it also was in the ASV); but, in addition, it is introduced 237 times into the text of the New Testament and 72 times in the footnotes. There is absolutely no basis for the translation of the Greek original by the word, "Jehovah."

As you may already know, the word, "Jehovah," is an artificially created word, resulting from the consonants of the name of God, transliterated YHWH (JHVH), and the Hebrew vowels of the word for Lord, Adonai. The Jews refrained from uttering the name of God and usually substituted in its place the word, Adonai. Thus the vowels of this latter word were placed with the consonants of YHWH, so that the reader would know he should read Adonai instead.

Most English Bibles follow the Jewish practice of translating YHWH as LORD (full caps), except when YHWH is preceded by the word Adonai; in this case, it is translated GOD (full caps), for Adonai itself is translated Lord.

The translators carefully select between "Lord" and "Jehovah," in order to downgrade Christ.

They sometimes use the word, "Lord," in the Greek and sometimes "Jehovah," depending on whether they think the Greek word for "Lord" applies to God or to Jesus. When they think Jesus is referred to, they use "Lord" for they do not want to call Him "Jehovah." They only consider Him to be a created angel.

An example of this would be 1 Corinthians 12:3: "Nobody can say: Jesus is Lord! except by the holy spirit" (with "holy spirit" in lower case, since they do not believe in the Third Person of the Godhead either). Another example is 2 Corinthians 4:5: "For we are preaching, not ourselves, but Christ Jesus as Lord."

But other times they translate the Greek word for "Lord" as "Jehovah," even when the reference to Jesus is clear. This is the case in Acts 19:20 where the NWT reads: "Thus in a mighty way the word of Jehovah kept growing and prevailing." They did this, even though they had earlier translated the parallel thought by the words, "and the name of the Lord Jesus went on being magnified" (Acts 19:17).

The expression, "the Spirit of the Lord," is always translated as "the spirit of Jehovah"; yet, in the New Testament, it sometimes refers to the Spirit of God and sometimes to the Spirit of Christ. Such a use even occurs within one verse, Romans 8:9: In the KJV, it says: "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His." But NWT translates it as "Gods spirit" and "Christ's spirit."

Then there is John 1:1: "In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god." This is completely in harmony with the theology of Jehovah's Witnesses; since, for them, Christ is a created being. Therefore, He is to them not God but a god.

The Greek does not have the article before "God" in John 1:1. But the structure of Greek sentence requires "the" before "God." In this verse theos (God) is a predicate noun and precedes the verb and subject. Therefore a definite article must be read here. When a definite predicate noun precedes the verb, a definite article is never to be written before the noun; but it must be read as being there. This anarthrous (lack of a definite article) construction emphasizes quality and requires that theos be translated as a fully divine being. Thus we see that there is no justification for the Jehovah's Witnesses translation of John 1:1.

There is no consistency in their translation of theos without the article. In the Gospel of John, it is always written as "God"; that is, with a capital G (including, surprisingly, John 20:28), except in four passages: John 6:45, John 1:1, John 1:18, and John 10:33, where theos is translated "a god."

John 1:18 "No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten god who is in the bosom position with the Father is the one that has explained him."

John 10:33 "The Jews answered him: We are stoning you, not for a fine work, but for blasphemy, even because you, although being a man, make yourself a god. "

In the New Testament, several passages have the names, "God" and "Jesus Christ," joined by a conjunction with one article before the first name. The rule is that when there are two nouns in such a grammatical structure, they refer to the same person or thing.

However, whenever the nouns, "God" and "Jesus Christ," are found together in the NWT, they are translated so as to make God and Jesus Christ separate persons!

Titus 2:13" While we wait for the happy hope and glorious manifestation of the great God and of our Savior Christ Jesus" (NWT). / "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ" (KJV). (Two "ands" in a Greek sentence like this can be translated "and . . "even," instead of "and . . and.") / "Awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ" (RSV). / "Looking forward to the happy fulfilment of our hopes when the splendour of our great God and Saviour Christ Jesus will appear" (NEB).

The non-NWT translations, above, are similar and make God and Jesus Christ the same person, although it is ambiguous in KJV. There is only a slight change in the NWT; but given the Witnesses theological bias, it is sufficient to show that a clear distinction is made between the two by the repetition of the preposition, "of."

2 Peter 1:1 "The righteousness of our God and [the] Savior Jesus Christ." The article is not present before "Savior" in the Greek text, but before "God" only; the translators added it to make it appear they are two separate beings.

Colossians 1:16-17 "Because by means of 

him all [other] things were created . . All [other] things have been created through him . . Also, he is before all [other] things and by means of him all [other] things were made to exist." Needless to say, the words in the brackets are not in the original but are added to say that Christ Himself was created and then He created all other things.

Philippians 2:7 "Who, although he was existing in Gods form, gave no consideration to a seizure, namely, that he should be equal to God" (NWT). / "But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men" (KJV). / JB: "His state was divine, yet he did not cling to his equality with God." / "Who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped" (RSV).

The NWT implies that Jesus gave no consideration to being equal with God while the others assert that Christ did not cling to His equality with God but emptied Himself.

The Holy Spirit is something else they want to get rid of. So "Holy Spirit" is always printed as "holy spirit"; and "Spirit" as "spirit."

Jehovah's Witnesses believe the Lords Supper was only a memorial service; so they twist the Greek of 1 Corinthians 11:24-25: "This means my body which is in YOUR behalf. Keep doing this in remembrance of me! This cup means the new covenant by virtue of my blood."

The Greek verb used is "is"; and it should have been translated thus: "This cup is the new covenant in My blood."

In order to avoid the teaching about the Second Advent, they always translate parousia as "presence." That helps explain all their predicted second comings of God which have failed to occur in the 20th century.

Then there is their use of "torture stake" for the cross and "impale" for crucify. It is based on the belief of the Jehovah's Witnesses, that the cross on which Jesus was crucified was a single stake.

First, historical and archaeological data fully agree on the cross as the means of crucifixion in the 1st century A.D.

Second, the very word, "impale," does not mean to nail a person to a post, but to run a rod all the way through him!

"Another unusual translation our unidentified [NWT] committee gives us is that of Matthew 10:38, Whoever does not accept this torture stake and follow after me is not worthy of me. Again all sorts of authorities are marshaled, this time to back their contention that Christ was impaled (Matthew 27:38, et al.).

"First it should be noted that impale is used in a sense not acknowledged by Websters New International Dictionary (Unabridged, 1949). They do not mean the Oriental custom of thrusting a body down on a pointed stake.

"Rather they give an illustration from Justus Lipsius De Cruce, showing a man affixed by nails to a single upright pole but with the hands attached about a foot above his head on the one upright. It is not mentioned that Lipsius gives five different pictures in all and that he himself held in this same book for the traditional representation as true.

"They do lay great emphasis on the original meaning of [the Greek word] stauros as a single upright pole. That this single upright pole was used for executions they prove by citing Roman literature. But there is a strange silence about the descriptions of the crucifixions of slaves at the beginning of the Christian era.

"Customarily the slaves were made to carry the patibulum or horizontal bar of their cross to the place of execution. So common was this form of crucifixion that the Roman authors use patibulum as synonymous with crux (Seneca, De Vita Beata, 19:3; Episiola 101:12, Tacitus, Historiae, IV, 3). To hold that Constantine introduced the traditional cross as a relic of his pagan worship of the sun god (p. 771) is unworthy of their evident scholarship.

"True the cross does not appear in the catacombs as a symbol of Christ before A.D. 312. Neither does their torture stake; nor later, for that matter.

"As for the fathers, it is the traditional cross they describe. To cite only two witnesses, Irenaeus speaks of Christ's cross as having five ends, two longitudinal, two latitudinal, and a fifth on the support for the body of the victim (Adversus Haereses, II, 24, 4). He wrote before A.D. 200. Still earlier is the witness of the Epistle of Barnabas, X, 8. Here the writer speaks of the cross as having the shape of a Greek tau."John Mattingly.

Jehovah's Witnesses use several devices to give the impression they are different and, therefore, above everyone else. Their impale on a stake theory. Their statement that they do not have a church or church services, but only "Kingdom Halls." Their claim that they do not keep any day, yet they always meet on Sunday.

They call the Old Testament by the name, "Hebrew Aramaic Scriptures," and the New Testament, "The Christian Greek Scriptures." This makes them imagine they are very scholarly.

H.H. Rowley, a leading Old Testament scholar, wrote this:

"The jargon which they use is often scarcely English at all, and it reminds one of nothing so much as a schoolboys first painful beginnings in translating Latin into English. The translation is marked by a wooden literalism which will only exasperate any intelligent reader if such it finds and instead of showing the reverence for the Bible which the translators profess, it is an insult to the Word of God."Expository Times 65: 41-42 (1953-1954).

Here are several examples of this strained, wooden, and peculiar translation:

Genesis 7:15 "In which the force of life was active." / KJV: "breath of life."

Genesis 16:12 "As for him, he will become a zebra of a man." / KJV: "And he will be a wild man."

Genesis 17:4 "As for me, look! my covenant is with you, and you will certainly become father of a crowd of nations." / KJV: "father of many nations."

Malachi 3:8 "Will earthling man rob God?" / KJV: "Will a man rob God?"

Matthew 6:17 "Grease your head" / KJV: "Anoint thine head."

Genesis 18:20-21 "Consequently Jehovah said: The cry of complaint about Sodom and Gomorrah, yes, it is loud, and their sin, yes, it is heavy. I am quite determined to go down that I may see whether they act altogether according to the outcry over it that has come to me, and, if not, I can get to know it. "

Genesis 6:1-3 "Now it came about that when men started to grow in numbers on the surface of the ground and daughters were born to them, then the sons of the true God began to notice the daughters of men, that they were goodlooking; and they went taking wives for themselves, namely, all whom they chose. After that Jehovah said: My spirit shall not act toward man indefinitely in that he is also flesh. "

Exodus 20:3 "You must not have any other gods against my face."

Isaiah 1:13 "Stop bringing in any more valueless grain offerings. Incense it is something detestable to me. New moon and sabbath, the calling of a convention, I cannot put up with the [use of] uncanny power along with the solemn assembly."

Matthew 5:18 "For truly I say to you that sooner would heaven and earth pass away than for the smallest letter or one particle of a letter to pass away from the Law by any means and not all things take place."

I Corinthians 5:1 "Actually fornication is reported among you, and such fornication as is not even among the nations, that a wife a certain [man] has of [his] father."

1 Corinthians 10:11 "Now these things went on befalling them as examples, and they were written for a warning to us upon whom the ends of the system of things have arrived."

We should mention here that they repeatedly use "age" or "world" as "system of things." Here is another example:

Matthew 28:20 "And, look! I am with you all the days until the conclusion of the system of things."

Last, but not least, the NWT is based on the Westcott-Hort Greek Text, so all the errors in it are brought into the NWT. 


This is, indeed, a strange translation; for it is published by the Jehovah's Witnesses, but was not written by one of them.

It is an entirely new translation by Steven T. Byington (1868-1957) who happened to put "Jehovah" in the Old Testament. So the Witnesses wanted to print it. Byington was a congregational church pastor who only had half of one year studying Biblical languages at Oberlin College, in Ohio. After his death, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society obtained publication rights to print his translation, which they did in 1972.

Why did they not translate a Bible themselves? The answer is that they lack Greek and Hebrew scholars able to do it.

Because someone may bring it into your home someday, here is a very brief overview of this translation.

In the Old Testament, "you" is used when addressing God, but "thou" in the New Testament. Byington says this is because men did not have reverent feelings for God in Old Testament times!

Regarding the overuse of "Jehovah," Byington admits that the name itself is a mismatched blunder; but he says that does not matter, since it is "a personal name."

Very strange spellings of proper names are given. Where Byington got them from, no one has been able to figure out: Hambakuk, Malaki, Sephaniah, Zecariah, Enoc, and Lamec.

Byington used something approximating the Nestle Text, but freely departed from it whenever he wished. He said the "old version" (KJV) contained "forged texts." Byington strongly disliked the King James Bible.

It is interesting to compare Byington's BLE with the NWT:

"Jehovah" is only used in the Old Testament; whereas, in the NWT, it is used in both.

The word, "God," is capitalized when used about Christ (John 1:1; 1:18; 6:45; 10:33).

Brackets are not used in Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1, as is done in the NWT. So Jesus can be identified as God in those verses.

Its punctuation in Romans 9:5 clearly identifies Christ as God: "Whose are the fathers, and from whom in the way of flesh comes the Christ, he who is over everything, God blessed forever, Amen!"

The designation, "Holy Spirit," is capitalized, contrary to the NWT.

The words, "cross" and "crucify," are used instead of "torture stake" and "impale."

The only apparent reason why the Witnesses published this translation is the translators use of "Jehovah" for Gods name in the Old Testament. If the Witnesses really had some scholars of their own, they surely would have brought out their own translation and not used Byington's, which did not include all their errors!

Byington's translation also has many very peculiar readings. But we will not list any here. The above data is enough to arm you for when the Jehovah's Witnesses knock on your door. 


The concern of many Protestant, Orthodox, and Catholic denominations to unite is urgent. They realize that, in order to successfully do this, they must have a common Bible.

In order to achieve this, three publications have been released:

The Revised Standard Version Apocrypha

An edition of the Revised Standard Version which is acceptable to Roman Catholics

The Common Bible 



As we noted earlier, the Division of Christian Education (DCE) held the copyright to the RSV. In October 1952, the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church issued a formal request to the DCE, an agency of the National Council of Churches (NCC), based in New York City, to organize a committee to revise the English translation of the Apocrypha.

The General Board of the NCC authorized the appointment of a group of scholars to make and publish The RSV Apocrypha.

The Apocrypha of the Old Testament, Revised Standard Version, was published on September 30, 1957.

The appearance of these books constituted an important step in helping Catholics and Protestants find a common version acceptable to them both. The ecumenists considered this goal to be very important. The Vatican could not approve the RSV until the Apocrypha could be included in it. (More on its RSV approval later.)

Later in this book, we will briefly overview the history and questionable content of the Old Testament Apocrypha. 


An astounding event occurred in 1965: the publication of a joint Catholic-Protestant edition of the Revised Standard Version!

However, it was to be expected. Since the National Council of Churches owned the copyright of the RSV, it would be expected that it would push for a Bible, which the major Protestant denominations and Rome could both approve.

Here is a brief description of this edition:

The 1965 New Testament edition. A Catholic-approved edition of the RSV New Testament, prepared by the Catholic Biblical Association of Great Britain with the approval of the Standard Bible Committee, was published in 1965.

This was a regular RSV, plus a number of changes. A List of Changes can be found in Appendix Two of the Bible. The minimal number of changes made consist of two kinds: those having to do with the underlying Greek text and those giving a different translation of the Greek.

The first consisted in restoring the sixteen passages found in the Received Text that the RSV had placed in footnotes. This included such passages as the long ending of Mark 16:9-20, the story of the woman taken in adultery (John 7:52-8:11), and Luke's account of Peter running to the tomb (Luke 24:12). In each instance, the RSV has a footnote stating, "Other ancient authorities add . ." The Catholic edition restores the passage and has in the footnote, "Other ancient authorities omit . ."

The second type of change consists in giving a different translation. Joseph, in Matthew 1:19, does not resolve to "divorce" Mary quietly but "to send her away quietly." The "brothers" of Jesus (Matt. 12:48ff.; Mark 3:31ff.; Luke 8: 19ff.) are "brethren," based on the belief that they were not real brothers. "The Greek word or its Semitic equivalent is used for varying degrees of blood relationship." The angel Gabriel's greeting to Mary is "Hail, full of grace" instead of "Hail, thou that art highly favored (Luke 1:28). The marginal translation is preferred in Romans 9:5, "Christ, who is God over all, blessed for ever."

Appendix One consists of Explanatory Notes of various passages as required by Canon Law. One includes the interpretation of Matthew 16:18-19.

The 1966 complete Bible. The Catholic RSV edition of the entire Bible was published in 1966. No changes were made in the RSV text of the Old Testament. All of what Protestants call the Apocryphal books, except 1 and 2 Esdras and the Prayer of Manasseh (which the Council of Trent did not consider canonical), are included as integral parts of the canon. The order of the books follow the confusing arrangement found in the Latin Vulgate, except that the additions to Esther are incorporated in that book. Twenty-three pages of Explanatory Notes are included.

The significance of this is remarkable. The Catholic-Protestant ecumenists so desperately want a way to unite the denominations, that Rome was willing to accept, what is primarily, a Protestant Bible!

The publication of the RSV Catholic Edition marks a new day in ecumenical relations. The RSV, with a few modifications, provides a translation of the Word of God that all English-speaking Christians can share. Although the problem of the Old Testament canon remains, Protestants and Catholics have largely come to an agreement on the translation of accepted books. This means that, in theological discussions (which they regularly hold in Geneva and elsewhere), all the churches can appeal to the same authoritative text. Dialogue between them is therefore greatly facilitated.

This Bible is entitled, The Oxford Annotated RSV Bible with the Apocrypha, and received the Imprimatur of Cardinal Cushing, Archbishop of Boston, in 1965a year before the publication of the complete Bible. 


The publication of a single RSV for both Protestants and Catholics did not satisfy the concern of the ecumenists for still closer unity between Protestants and Rome in their Bibles.

Their concern was aided by the fact that the RSV Bible Committee is an ongoing committee; and it has been internationalized by the addition of more members from Great Britain and Canada, as well as from the U.S.A.

As you might expect, it also now includes Catholics as well as Protestant members.

After the successful completion of the 1965-1966 Revised Standard Version: Catholic Edition, it was recognized that the ecumenical objective had not yet been fully achieved. Although both sides had essentially the same Bible (plus the Apocrytha), Protestants would purchase the regular RSV while Catholics might purchase its Catholic edition. They were not using the very same Bible! Something must be done about this.

So the committee set to work; and, in 1973, it published the RSV Common Bible with the Apocrypha / Deuterocanonical Books. Amid much advertising, pomp, and ceremonies, the new book was released during the "Week of Prayer for Christian Unity" in England, in February, and during Lent in the United States.

The Common Bible has received the international endorsement of the leaders of the Roman Catholics Church, many Protestant denominations, and (significantly) the Greek Orthodox Church.

Since the three major branches of Christendom war over the Apocrypha, as they do over many other things, to facilitate the use of the RSV as a common Bible, this edition arranged the Old 

Testament apocryphal books in two groups:

The first group is the Deuterocanonical Books, which are accepted by Catholics as Scripture. And the second group is 1 and 2 Esdras and the Prayer of Manasseh, which are not regarded as authoritative by the Roman Catholic Church, but are included in the Greek Canon of Scripture.

In the Preface, the position of the various Christian bodies with respect to the Apocrypha is clearly explained (pp. viii-xi).

The publication of The Common Bible is indeed a significant event in the history of the English Bible! Theoretically, Catholics, Greek Orthodox, and Protestants can now all use the same translation (although at home and in church they probably will use other Bibles).

But, most importantly, The Common Bible marks the end of the controversy, regarding the authoritative English text to be employed in ecumenical dialogue between different Protestant denominations with Rome and / or with Greek Orthodox churchmen. Its publication is a significant reason the ongoing "dialogue" between the different churches has accelerated since the early 1970s.

"Today in many Bible colleges, professors are constantly altering the King James Bible with Greek and English versions of the Roman Catholic Latin Vulgate. Naturally the students lose confidence in the Bible and lack power when they become preachers."Dr. Rivera, Sabotage, p. 30. 


We will here consider three major 20th-century Bibles which were prepared solely for Roman Catholics:

The Knox Bible

The Jerusalem Bible

The New American Bible 


The revised form of the Rheims-Douai was the only Catholic Bible to have official Vatican approval until the translation of Monsignor Knox's New Testament in 1945. The Old Testament was published in 1948; but, oddly enough, unlike the New Testament, it was not approved as an official version.

Ronald Knox was born into the home of an Anglican priest and educated at Eton and Oxford. Prior to his conversion to Catholicism, he wrote prose and detective novels. Knox knew how to work with words.

After converting to Catholicism at the age of 29, he entered the priesthood; and, in 1939, he began translating the Bible into English. He was heavily restricted by the fact that he was required to stay close to the Latin Vulgate; yet his translation was still new and fresh.

His translation was based on the 1592 edition of the Vulgate (which had been approved by Pope Clement VIII). He also used the Latin form for the names of the books (something which the Jerusalem Bible later abandoned). Have you ever heard of Paralipomena, Osee, Abdias, Sophonias, and Aggaeus? Of course, the Apocrypha is also included, scattered all through the Old Testament.

The ending of the Lords Prayer is omitted from Matthew 6:13. (It was also missing in the Rheims-Douai.) 


The Jerusalem Bible (JB) is the first complete Roman Catholic Bible to be entirely translated from the original languages, Greek and Hebrew. It was published in 1966.

Protestant scholars had been studying Greek and Hebrew manuscripts for centuries; and a few of Rome's adherents finally got around to looking at them. Frankly, they were ashamed of the obvious fact that Catholic scholars, on the advice of the Vatican, had been avoiding the ancient Bible manuscripts.

The Old Testament part of the Confraternity Bible had been translated from the Hebrew. Spencer's New Testament had been translated from the modern Greek Texts. But the Jerusalem Bible was the first Catholic Bible to be entirely translated from Greek and Hebrew.

(The Confraternity Bible is the original name of the New American Bible, another Catholic Bible which was not printed until 1970. More on this later.)

Previously, all Catholic Bibles were required to be translated from Jerome's Latin Vulgate, which itself is a translation (and a poor one) from Hebrew and Greek. That included Monsignor Knox's translation, which was based on the Vulgate.

Notes are included all through the JB "to help the faithful" understand the text. These notes are translated from a one-volume French edition (1956) of La Bible de Jerusalem, published 

by the Dominican Biblical School of Jerusalem. For that reason, the name, "Jerusalem Bible," was given to the book.

Because there are so many small-print notes, this Bible has 2,062 pages and weighs nearly 5 lbs! Rome wanted to make sure the faithful understood the text.

The text is more paraphrastic than the RSV, but not as much as Phillips. Perhaps to confuse the reader, it has more of the Bible in poetic form than any other translation. Even parts of John are in poetic format!

In order to help attract Protestants, personal names are always spelled as in the RSV.

The Apocrypha is scattered all through the Old Testament. When the writer prepared his book, The Magnificat, for Catholics (which required quotations from Catholic Bibles), he found it quite difficult to locate passages in the Old Testament because, with Apocryphal books inserted here and there all through it (and some of them are rather long), the result is something of a hodgepodge. For example, in the book of Daniel, Susanna is chapter 13, and Bel and the Dragon is chapter 14.

Here are other interesting features of this Bible:

The note on 1 Corinthians 3:15 says this:

"This is not a direct reference to purgatory but several Doctors of the Church have taken it as a basis for that doctrine."

Whereas other versions have "wife" in 1 Corinthians 9:5, JB translates it, "Christian woman," with this added note: "Lit. a sister, a woman (wife?)." The objective is to show that the Apostles were not married, but had nuns to help them in their work.

As you might expect, Genesis 3:15 also required a note. You will recall that the Vulgate, Rheims-Douai, and other Catholic Bibles translated this as the woman (Mary) crushing the serpents head while it was not able to even hurt her heel (Is she not immaculate?). The note says this:

"The Latin version has a femine pronoun (she will crush . .) and since, in the messianic interpretation of our text, the Messiah and his mother appear together, the pronoun has been taken to refer to Mary; this application has become current in the Church."

That was a shrewd statement to avoid stating the fact that the Hebrew has a masculine pronoun.

In Matthew 16:18 ("On this rock I will build my church," KJV), the following note appears:

"Catholic exegetes maintain that these enduring promises hold good not only for Peter himself but also for Peters successors. This inference, not explicitly drawn in the text, is considered legitimate because Jesus plainly intends to provide for his Church's future by establishing a regime that will not collapse with Peters death. Two other texts, Luke 22:31ff and John 21:15ff, on Peters primacy emphasize that its operation is to be in the domain of faith; they also indicate that this makes him head not only of the Church after the death of Christ but of the apostolic group then and there."

This note is appended to Matthew 19:11-12:

"Christ invites to perpetual continence those who would consecrate themselves entirely to the kingdom of God."


The Jerusalem Bible had been prepared in England and contains British terms and spelling.

You will recall that the New English Bible was published so the British could have their own Bible and not have to rely on the RSV, with its Americanisms in words and spelling.

For the same reason the New American Bible (NAB) was printed. (Recently, "The Catholic Bible" was added in large print to its title.) The Jerusalem Bible is essentially in the jargon of Britain; and there was felt a need for something similar, but for Americans.

The NAB is not a new version. Catholics have been struggling to get it completed, literally, for decades. Preparing Bibles is not something which comes easy to them.

The New Testament (a revision of Rheims- Challoner based on the Latin Vulgate) was published in 1941. It was called the Confraternity Version.

But, in 1943, the famous encyclical on Scripture studies, Divino afflante Spiritu, was issued by Pope Pius XII, recommending translation from the original text. So work on the Old Testament was begun, based on the Hebrew. The work went very slowly (!) and was not completed (with the Apocrypha included) until 26 years later, in 1969.

Of course, the New Testament had to be retranslated, this time from the Greek text. 

With the publication of the NAB in 1970, there exists, for the first time, a complete American Catholic Bible translated from the original languages. The translation team included fifty-nine Catholic and five Protestant scholars.

The Old Testament is based on the Hebrew and Aramaic (the Massoretic text), plus many variations based on the Septuagint, the Qumran Scroll, or imagination.

The Greek text used in the New Testament is Nestle-Alands Novum Testamentum Graece (25th ed., 1963), with some assistance from the United Bible Societies Greek Text.

In some instances, it has strayed from the modern Greek Texts. For example, it uses brackets, to indicate what are called "doubtful readings of some merit." Such readings are found, for example, in Matthew 5:5, 17:21, 21:44, 24:36, John 5:3, Ephesians 1:1.

Other readings not found in the Nestle-Aland Text include Luke 24:12, 40, 51. At the end of Mark it has followed the Nestle-Aland Text by including both longer and shorter endings within the text section. There is a line, however, between these endings and no line between Mark 16:8 and the longer ending. Besides these two endings it has also included, separated by a line from the shorter ending, the ending found in the Freer Logion. According to the note at this place, the longer ending "has traditionally been accepted as an inspired part of the Gospel," although "vocabulary and style argue strongly that it was written by someone other than Mark." The story of the woman taken in adultery is found in brackets at its traditional position in John even though the explanation in the footnote indicates it is out of place there.

Thus we see that the New American Bible is primarily based on Westcott-Hort / Nestle-Aland / UBS Greek Text style. 


The English-speaking world is today flooded with Bible translations.

In a Moody Monthly article, entitled "Which Bible Translation Is Best for Me?" John Kohlenberger wrote this:

"A generation ago few people asked, Which version of the Bible is best? The Authorized, or King James, Version had been the most popular and widely read Bible for 350 years. But an explosion of English Bible translations over the past 40 years has challenged the long reign of the King James Version. And the question Which version of the Bible is best? is now a common concern. It is a question not easily answered. For every Bible translation there is someone who will say it is the best of all possible versions. And the search for the best version is crowded with experts loaded with opinion, choked with rhetoric, confused by misused terminology, and short on objective information.

"In fact there is no best translation . . No translation is perfect, but most are for the greatest part true and sufficient. So the question is not Which Bible is best? But which of the many good translations is best for you?"John R. Kohlenberger, Moody Monthly, May 1987.

It is openly admitted that, with Bibles, anything goesas long as it makes sales.

A USA Today article reports that the American Bible Societyyes, the American Bible Societyhas released an "MTV-like" video entitled "Out of the Tombs." The article is entitled, "Behold, Rap Bible Stories Are Born on Video," and describes this wonderful new production in these words:

"In Out of the Tombs, a linguistically direct translation of Mark 5:1-20, Jesus appears in a dark jacket and T-shirt to battle a drooling, baseball cap wearing demon. The desert scenes, flowing robes and stentorian voices of most Bible films have been traded in for gritty urban landscapes, street garb and rap-like narration.

"Out of the Tombs is the first in the societys new multimedia translations that use fast-paced, MTV-like images and contemporary music to tell Bible stories. We targeted music videos as a way to reach younger people, says Fern Lee Hagedorn, director of the multimedia translations department.

"The American Bible Society would be the last to advocate not reading the Bible, but our mandate to make the Scriptures available to every man, woman and child wouldnt be fulfilled unless we used new forms of communication.

"The $14.95 video is paired with a 20-page instructional booklet.

"Next on tape: the story of the Prodigal Son and the virgin birth story."USA Today, November 19, 1992.

It is of interest that, each year, the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists donates about $85,000 to the American Bible Society, to 

do with as they wish. It would be far better if we ordered $85,000 in foreign-language Bibles from them, and gave them to our overseas evangelists to distribute to those attending their meetings.

It has been about 3,475 years since Moses sat down and began writing the first page of the Bible. Ever since then, Satan has been trying, by every possible method, to destroy that book. You and I must stand resolutely in defense of Gods Inspired Word, in spite of what others say or do.

Oh, my brother, my sister, let us stand true to God, to the end!

"To employ soft words and honeyed phrases in discussing questions of everlasting importance; to deal with errors that strike at the foundations of all human hope as if they were harmless and venial mistakes; to bless where God disapproves, and to make apologies where He calls us to stand up like men and assert, though it may be the aptest method of securing popular applause in a sophistical age, is cruelty to man and treachery to Heaven. Those who on such subjects attach more importance to the rules of courtesy than they do to the measures of truth do not defend the citadel, but betray it into the hands of its enemies. Love for Christ, and for the souls for whom He died, will be the exact measure of our zeal in exposing the dangers by which men's souls are ensnared." Thornwell.

"The grass withereth, the flower fadeth; but the Word of our God shall stand for ever."

Isaiah 40:8

"Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My Words shall not pass away."

Matthew 24:35

"These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the Word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether these things were so."

Acts 17:11

"Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law."

Psalm 119:18