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Let's Compare Bibles – A Factual Biblical Response


 Ben Rast

  Contender Ministries


A couple of months ago, we received an email from a person living in southeast Asia, who lamented that his church is being torn apart.  The divisive and destructive force was coming from a couple of members who were King James Only (KJO) advocates.  This is sadly a story we hear all too often.  KJO proponents have been known to intimidate pastors and split congregations by alleging that modern translations are “perversions” of Scripture, and all who read the NIV or NASB are being used of Satan.  Their strong stance is based in a belief that the King James Version of the Bible is the only inspired and infallible English Language translation.  Many KJO-ists will go so far as to prefer the KJV renderings over the Greek and Hebrew texts when the two disagree.  Their devotion to this wonderfully poetic, four hundred year old translation is largely an emotional response, and their arguments rarely hold up to historical fact and scholarly scrutiny.  At Contender Ministries, we challenge this movement as one that is erroneous, destructive, and nearly idolatrous in their devotion to a book, rather than the message within. 

 

Recently, I happened across a King James Only (KJO) website.  As is all too typical for these sites, it was loaded with vitriol and calumny for those of us who use modern translations, such as the NIV or NASB.  One page on their site was entitled “The KJV Bible Handbook.”  A section of this handbook was subtitled, “Let’s Compare Bibles.”  In this section, the author listed several verses from the KJV, gave a brief commentary after each verse alleging conspiracy or satanic collusion on the part of modern translations, and then lists the alternate readings found in the modern translations.  I wasn’t surprised to find this section misleading, error-filled, inconsistent, and intellectually dishonest.  I feel compelled to respond in truth to the errors, and to set the record straight.  Below is the excerpt from this page.  My responses to each allegation will follow in blue text.  Parenthetically, I do not harbor ill will toward the King James Version or those who prefer it.  I simply want to correct errors that are often used in the division of churches.

Psalm 12:6-7

The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

The above promise from the King James Bible tells us that God intends to preserve His WORDS forever. Notice how the new versions destroy this promise by making you think the context is God's PEOPLE rather than His WORDS:

NIV....... you will keep us safe
NASB... Thou wilt preserve him
 

Where does Psalm 12 say that the “words of the LORD” refer to the King James Version of the Bible?  It doesn’t.  Nowhere does this passage tell us how God will preserve His words.  Does this mean He will do so by ensuring that no one can ever change the substance of those words, or does it mean that He will always make sure there is one infallible version in one or more languages or translations?  The passage doesn’t tell us.  It’s quite possible (and it’s the position of the NIV and NASB translators) that verse 7 is referring back to verse 5, which reads, ‘Because of the devastation of the afflicted, because of the groaning of the needy, Now I will arise,’ says the LORD; ‘I will set him in the safety for which he longs.’” (NASB)

Isaiah 7:14
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Notice how some new versions attack the Virgin Birth of Christ by robbing Mary of her virginity. As anyone well knows, a young woman or a maiden is NOT necessarily a virgin:

NRSV... young woman
REB...... young woman
NWT..... maiden

 

First, I should point out that the NIV and NASB both have “virgin” in this verse, and it’s a reading with which I happen to agree.  Nevertheless, the Hebrew word here, according to Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon, is ‘almah, which means “virgin, young woman of marriageable age, maid or newly married.”  The KJV translates this word as “maid” in Exodus 2:8 and Proverbs 30:19.  It also translates it as “damsels” in Psalms 68:25.  So the KJV is inconsistent in how it translates the same word. There is a word that can ONLY mean virgin, and that is bethulah.  Yet the KJV translates IT as “maid” in Jeremiah 2:32, 51:22.  Nevertheless, even in the modern translations, the virgin birth is evident – they make no attempt to hide it, and readers of modern translations still consider Isaiah 7:14 as prophetic of that virgin birth. 

Luke 2:33
And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.

Here the new versions attack the Virgin Birth by telling us that Joseph was Christ's father:

NIV....... The child's father
NASB... His father

 

See Luke 2:48, where in the KJV Mary refers to Joseph as Jesus’ father.

See John 6:42, where the KJV calls Jesus “son of Joseph”.

See Luke 2:27 and 2:41 where the KJV talks of Jesus’ “parents”.

If KJO advocates are going to be consistent in condemning the NIV and NASB for referring to Joseph as Jesus’ father, then they should condemn the KJV as well.  The NIV and NASB are both QUITE clear that Joseph was not biologically the father of Jesus, but rather filled the family role of father.     

Isaiah 14:12
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

Revelation 22:16 tells us that Jesus Christ is the "Morning Star". The King James Bible never gives this title to anyone else. However, in some new versions, Jesus Christ and Satan are the same, because some versions have taken the liberty to call Satan the "morning star" in Isaiah 14:12. Although some versions do not go so far as to call Satan the "morning star," they still throw out the name "Lucifer".

NIV....... morning star
NASB... star of the morning

 

The Hebrew word here is heylel, which means, “shining one, morning star.”  The name “Lucifer” never appeared anywhere before Jerome put it in the Vulgate here.  The NIV and NASB present a more literal translation of this verse than the KJV.  And unless someone reads the verses out of context, they’ll never confuse the individual described in Isaiah 14:12 with the One described in Revelation 22:16.  Most people can exercise common sense here. 

Daniel 3:25
He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.

This is an excellent Old Testament verse which shows that Jesus Christ existed long before He was born in Bethlehem. Naturally, the new versions will pervert it with pagan foolishness:

NIV....... a son of the gods
NASB... a son of the gods

 

This is not the verse you want to use to show the pre-existence of Jesus.  First, the NIV and NASB rightly translate the Hebrew.  What the author of this article doesn’t say is that the person speaking in Daniel 3:24 is King Nebuchadnezzar, a firm believer in “pagan foolishness.”  In his mind, there were an abundance of gods.  Furthermore, while the pre-existence of Jesus is quite doctrinally sound, and easily supported with the NIV and NASB, this is the wrong verse to use as a support.  In context, the four men consisted of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and the fourth whose form was “like a son of the gods” was an angel of God, not Jesus.

Colossians 1:14
In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

Satan hates the Atoning Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, so we shouldn't be surprised to find the blood missing in modern translations:

NIV....... redemption, the forgiveness of sins
NASB... redemption, the forgiveness of sins

 

Once again, the oldest Greek has been correctly translated.  This verse is essentially a repeat of Ephesians 1:7, which in the NIV reads, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace.”  If the modern translations were trying to hide redemption through Jesus’ blood, they’re failing miserably, because it’s found right there in Ephesians. 

Romans 14:10-12
But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ….

If you'll read the above verses carefully, you will notice how it magnifies Jesus Christ. According to verse 10, we will stand before the Judgment Seat of CHRIST, and verse 12 says that when we do we will give account to GOD. When we stand before Jesus Christ we will be standing before God--an excellent text on the Deity of Christ. Now watch as the new versions throw Jesus Christ clear out of the passage by replacing the word "Christ" in verse 10 with "God:"

NIV....... God's judgment seat
NASB... Judgment seat of God

 

Okay, here we simply have differences in the Greek text used in the KJV versus the modern translations.  The oldest texts have the word Theos, which means “God,” whereas the texts used by the KJV have Christos, which means “Christ.”  Yet the argument could be turned around on the KJO-ist.  In Acts 16:7, the NIV says, “…but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to,” whereas the KJV leaves the name of Jesus out.  Following KJO logic, I would contend that the KJV is denying the deity of Jesus at Acts 16:7.  Of course, I know that the KJV as a whole supports the deity of Jesus, as does the NIV and NASB. 

Acts 8:37
And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

This verse is very important because it places a definite condition upon water baptism: one must first BELIEVE ON CHRIST. Many modern versions throw the entire verse out of the Bible:

NIV....... entire verse missing

 

It’s true that this verse is not in the NIV, except for the textual footnote.  Why?  Because this verse is found in only a very few Greek manuscripts, none earlier than the sixth century, and Erasmus inserted it into the TR due to its presence in the Latin Vulgate and in the margin of one Greek manuscript he had.  This is an example of Catholic influence on the KJV.  I like the verse personally, and it preaches well, but there’s a strong argument for this being a Catholic addition, rather than a modern translation deletion. 

 

II Corinthians 2:17
For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.

You can imagine how this verse must be a thorn in the flesh to the modern translators who are busy CORRUPTING the word of God day and night. So, do they repent of their sins and get right with God? Of course not:

NIV....... peddle
NASB... peddling

 

The Greek word here is kapeleuo, which literally means “to be a retailer, to peddle, to sell anything for a profit.”  The KJV translators simply didn’t do a very good job of accurately translating the Greek.  We could reverse the argument and ask, “Are you suggesting it’s okay to peddle the word of God as long as you don’t corrupt it?”  Of course not, and you won’t find a reader of the NIV or NASB who believes it’s okay to corrupt the Word of God. 

II Timothy 2:15
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

This is the one command in the New Testament to "study" and "rightly divide" God's word, and the Devil does NOT appreciate it:

NIV....... Do your best...correctly handles
NASB... Be diligent...handling accurately

 

Once again, this is a matter of translation.  The NIV misses some of the “oomph” of the NASB here, but I feel sorry for someone who just reads the KJV and assumes the narrow definition of “study”.  A person can study without being diligent or doing their best.  And “correctly handling” is synonymous with “rightly dividing.” 

I Timothy 6:20
O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:

Many lies are being propagated today in the name of "science" (evolution for example), but I Timothy 6:20 has been warning us about it all along - except in the new perversions:

NIV....... knowledge
NASB... knowledge

 

The author obviously didn’t research this very well.  The Greek word in question here is gnosis.  Gnosis is used 29 times in the KJV, and 28 times the KJV translators correctly translated it as “knowledge.”  In this one instance, they gave it a poor definition of “science.”  Strong’s Greek Lexicon defines gnosis as:

1) knowledge signifies in general intelligence, understanding

      a) the general knowledge of Christian religion

      b) the deeper more perfect and enlarged knowledge of this religion, such as belongs             to the more advanced

      c) esp. of things lawful and unlawful for Christians

      d) moral wisdom, such as is seen in right living

 

As you can see, the bulk of the KJO arguments here are without factual basis. The author’s accusations that the modern translations (perversions, as he calls them) are in collusion with Satan, denying the deity of Christ, and meddling with “pagan foolishness” are morally and intellectually dishonest.  The Word of God is too sacred and important to be used as a pawn in baseless slander and divisiveness.