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Biblical Languages, Texts and Translations III

Word RTF

Question #1:   Greetings, I would like your thoughts on Linear Bibles. I do not have any previous language training, thought I would like to become more familiar with the languages of both the old and new testaments. I was also thinking of word phrase books of both the old and new testaments to accompany the Bible, I do realize that this method will not make a expert as per say but the goal is to become more familiar.

Thanks in advance for your time and insight.

Response #1:  Inter-linear translations are of some benefit, but the benefit is limited in my opinion. I have never actually seen a Hebrew one (though no doubt they do exist), but I have looked over Greek versions, enough, anyway, to be able to comment on their strengths and weaknesses. The main problem with biblical interlinears is that, for the most part, if a person can get any true use out of them, they really don't need them much in the first place. That is to say, if a person can recognize the Greek written over the English, then said person could, 99% of the time, be able to figure out from a conventional English translation how, say, gegonen was being translated in a particular verse. The second problem is that since Greek (and Hebrew too for that matter) defies all English conceptions of traditional word order, leaves out certain words we take for granted, and includes words we can't really translate, the result is that the sub-linear English in such books will of necessity look pretty much like gobbledygook. The third problem is that because these sub-linear translations seem very scholarly (because there is Greek right above them), people using them tend to assume that they have "the truth" whereas from what I have seen reliance on interlinears generally tends to produce more rather than less error in interpretation. The KJV, for example, is creatively ambiguous enough so that where the text used is right, the translation is at least generally "not wrong" (even if often difficult to understand); the same can't be said for the translations associated with interlinears which often give the impression of the reader merely needing to straighten out the word order and smooth out the bumps to produce a "literal" translation. The last problem is perhaps the biggest: they tend to dissuade people from learning Greek rather than facilitating the same. I teach Greek for a living (and Latin), and can tell you that learning it is possible, and that every time one reads the Greek NT, one gets some insights otherwise unavailable from the English versions (and an interlinear really is an English version since it is the English sub-linear translation to which readers are responding, not the Greek). This can't really happen from an interlinear, because the insight is in the details of the Greek (tenses, moods, specific vocabulary, grammatical constructions, specific word possibilities, contexts, Greek word order, etc.).

Having said all that, I have met people who have bought and used them on their "journey to Greek" and have found them helpful transitional tools. Even more so than other languages, Greek and Hebrew are pretty difficult to learn on one's own, even with a CD or on-line help, and most adult learners have serious logistical obstacles to taking formal classes. So if an interlinear can help the process of learning the languages for someone, then I am all for it. It's just that in my experience that otherwise the expense usually doesn't justify the benefit.

In our Lord,

Bob L.

Question #2:  

Bob, what do you think of this comment of Terry Watkins on the NIV as a perversion of the Word of God.

by Terry Watkins

". . . ye have PERVERTED the words of the living God. . ." Jeremiah 23:36

This generation has a hunger for perversion. What was perversion just a few years ago, is now "normal". What was "hiding" in the closet is now "parading" in our streets. Perversion has found a welcome home - from the living room, to the White House; from our churches - to even the word of God! Our friend Webster, defines "pervert" as 1. to cause to turn aside or away from what is good or true... 2. to twist the meaning or sense of: misinterpret (Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, 1977, p.856). A perfect definition of The New International Version (NIV): "to cause to turn aside or away from what is good or true" and "to twist the meaning or sense of". If you doubt that, before you start reading this tract - get the NIV and check it as you read this tract!

The NIV perverts the deity of Jesus Christ!

I TIMOTHY 3:16: The clearest verse in the Bible proclaiming that Jesus Christ was God. The King James Bible (KJB) reads, "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: GOD WAS MANIFEST IN THE FLESH. . ." The King James says, plainly, "GOD was manifest in the flesh". The NIV reads, "HE appeared in a body". The NIV "twists" "GOD" to "HE". "HE appeared in a body"? So What? Everyone has "appeared in a body"! "He" is a pronoun that refers to a noun or antecedent. There is no antecedent in the context! The statement does NOT make sense! The NIV subtilty (see Genesis 3:1) perverts I Timothy 3:16 into utter nonsense!

PHILIPPIANS 2:6: The KJB again, clearly declares the deity of Jesus Christ: "Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery TO BE EQUAL WITH GOD" The NIV reads, "Who, being in very nature God, DID NOT CONSIDER EQUALITY WITH GOD something to be grasped,". The NIV again subtitly perverts the deity of Jesus Christ!

The NIV perverts the virgin birth!

LUKE 2:33: The King James Bible reads, "And JOSEPH and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him." The NIV reads, "The CHILD'S FATHER and mother marveled at what was said about him." The "CHILD'S FATHER"? Was Joseph Jesus's father? Not if you believe the virgin birth! Not if you believe John 3:16, that Jesus Christ was the Son of God! A subtil, "perversion" of the virgin birth. See also Luke 2:43.

The NIV removes the blood of Jesus Christ!

COLOSSIANS 1:14: The KJB reads, "In whom we have redemption THROUGH HIS BLOOD, even the forgiveness of sins:" The NIV reads, "In whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." The NIV rips out the precious words "THROUGH HIS BLOOD"! Friend, redemption is ONLY "THROUGH HIS BLOOD". Hebrews 9:22, reads, ". . . without shedding of BLOOD is no remission." That old song says, "What can wash away my sins, NOTHING BUT THE BLOOD OF JESUS!"

The NIV perverts John 3:16 into a LIE!

JOHN 3:16: The NIV reads, "For God so loved the world that he gave his ONE AND ONLY SON, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" Jesus was NOT "the one and only son" - Adam is called the "son of God" in Luke 3:38, there are "sons of God" in Job 1:6 and Christians are called "sons of God" in Phil 2:15, I John 3:2- but Jesus was the "ONLY BEGOTTEN SON"! By removing the critical word "BEGOTTEN" - The NIV perverts John 3:16 into a LIE! The NIV does the same in John 1:14, 1:18, and 3:18.

The NIV perverts TRUTH into LIES!

The NIV perverts Mark 1:2,3 into a LIE! The NIV reads "It is written in Isaiah the prophet: I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way-a voice of one calling in the desert, Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him." It is NOT written in Isaiah! "I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way" - is found in Malachi 3:1! The King James correctly reads: "As it is written in the PROPHETS, . . ." A better translation! Easier to read - BY A LIE!

Psalms 119:160 says, "Thy word is TRUE. . ." John 17:17 says, ". . . thy word is TRUTH." Titus 1:2 clearly says, ". . . God that CANNOT LIE" How could the God of Titus 1:2 be the God of Mark 1:2,3 in the NIV!? IT IS IMPOSSIBLE! For Hebrews 6:18 clearly declares, ". . . it was IMPOSSIBLE for God to LIE" It is impossible for the LIES in the NIV to be the words of GOD! Whose words are they? I'll give you a hint - Jesus Christ calls him "A LIAR, and the father of it" in John 8:44!

The NIV again openly LIES in 2 Samuel 21:19, ". . . Elhanan son of Jaare-Oregim the Bethlehemite killed Goliath the Gittite, who had a spear with a shaft like a weaver's rod." What 8-year-old doesn't know that David killed Goliath?

Romans 1:18-32 describes the "path to perversion" and verse 25, describes their decline, "Who changed the TRUTH of God into a LIE. . ."! Not surprisingly, The NIV perverts Romans 1:25 from "CHANGED the truth of God INTO a lie" to "EXCHANGED the truth of God FOR a lie"!

The NIV and sexual perversion!

Romans 1:26-32 also shows the "fruits" of "sowing" ". . . the TRUTH of God into a LIE. . ." Verses 26-27 says "FOR THIS CAUSE (vs 25 for "changing the TRUTH of God into a LIE") God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, . . ."

The last few years homosexuality and sexual perversion have "exploded" into the mainstream. Legislation is now pending making same-sex marriages legal. Books such as Heather Has Two Mommies and Daddy's Roommate, promoting homosexuality, are in our schools. According to The Washington Post, bisexuality and homosexuality, are the "in thing" in our public schools. And even churches are now welcoming homosexuals and are even ordaining them in the ministry!

A literary critic on the NIV translation was homosexual author Dr. Virginia Mollenkott. In Episcopal, Witness (June 1991, pp. 20-23), she admits, "My lesbianism has ALWAYS been a part of me. . ." To no surprise, "sodomite" is completely removed from the NIV. (Deut. 23:17, I Kings 14:24, 15:12, 22:46, II Kings 23:7) And of course, I Cor. 6:9, ". . . effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind. . ." is replaced with the non-offensive ". . . nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders. . ." Notice the NIV in I Cor. 6:9 does NOT condemn "homosexuals" or the "act of homosexuality" - but ONLY "homosexual OFFENDERS".

The NIV & Zondervan

A little known fact: In 1988 Zondervan and the NIV was purchased by Harper & Row, Publishers (now HarperCollins Publishers). HarperCollins publishes "pro-homosexual" books such as Making Out, The Book of Lesbian Sex and Sexuality described as "Beautifully illustrated with full-color photography,. . . Making Out is the complete illustrated guide to lesbian sexuality and relationships. . .the intricacies of love play. . ." and many other pro-homosexual books!

HarperCollins is a subsidiary of the global media empire, The News Corporation, owned by Rupert Murdock. The News Corporation empire include Fox Broadcasting, Twentieth Century Fox, and more than 128 newspapers. Fox Broadcasting produces some of the most sexually lewd shows on television. Murdock also publishes the British newspaper, the Sun, notorious for its nude pin-ups.

VERY IMPORTANT! For the REAL PROOF Check out this link to HarperCollins

Now where is Don Wildmon when we really need him? Don was quick to boycott Kmart because subsidiary, Waldenbooks sold Playboy and Penthouse. Kmart can't "hold a candle" to the "filth" spewed by The News Corporation. Why isn't Don boycotting Zondervan and the NIV? Friend, every time you purchase the NIV you are giving to people who produce pro-homosexuality, pornographic material AND THE SATANIC BIBLE! "Can two walk together, except they be AGREED?" Amos 3:3

Jesus Christ plainly said in Matthew 7:17-18:

Even so every GOOD tree bringeth forth GOOD fruit; but a CORRUPT tree bringeth forth EVIL FRUIT. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a CORRUPT tree bring forth GOOD FRUIT. (Matthew 7:17-18)

Do you think Jesus Christ was LIEING?

Do you really believe God would ALLOW His HOLY word to be "owned" by that group? ". . .for what fellowship hath RIGHTEOUSNESS with UNRIGHTEOUSNESS? and what communion hath light with darkness?"2 Cor. 6:14

Do you actually believe God would ALLOW His Holy Word to published by the same ungodly people who publish the Satanic Bible?

Being born again, not of CORRUPTIBLE seed, but of INCORRUPTIBLE, by the WORD OF GOD, which liveth and abideth for ever. (1 Peter 1:23)

Isn't it EQUALLY amazing that the King James Bible is the ONLY Bible that is not OWNED by men?

That's right! The King James Bible has no COPYRIGHT ownership! It's copyright is the CROWN COPYRIGHT which ALLOWS it to be published by ANYONE, ANYTIME! Without asking ANYBODY for permission!

". . .but the word of God is NOT BOUND." 2 Timothy 2:9

The NIV robs Jesus Christ of worship!

In Matt. 8:2, 9:18, 15:25, 18:26, 20:20, Mark 5:6, 15:19 "worshipped him" is removed in the NIV! Why doesn't the NIV want Jesus Christ to be worshipped? Hint: see Luke 4:7, Matt. 4:9.

The NIV perverts Jesus Christ into Lucifer!

Isaiah 14:14 reveals Satan's grandest desire, "I will be like the most High." And with a little subtil perversion - the NIV in Isaiah 14:12 grants Satan's wish!

ISAIAH 14:12: The KJB reads, "How art thou fallen from heaven, O LUCIFER, son of the morning!. . ." The NIV PERversion reads, "How you have fallen from heaven, O MORNING STAR, son of the dawn. . ." The NIV change "Lucifer" to "MORNING STAR".

BUT WAIT. . . I thought the Lord Jesus Christ was the MORNING STAR?

Doesn't Revelation 22:16 say, "I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and MORNING STAR".

The NIV CLEARY AND BLATANTLY makes LUCIFER -- The Lord Jesus Christ! WHAT BLASPHEMY! WHAT PERVERSION! And Christians claim the NIV is a "better translation"!

ISAIAH 14:15: The King James Bible condemns Lucifer to hell: "Yet thou shalt be brought down to HELL . . ." The NIV does NOT condemn Lucifer to HELL! The NIV reads, "But you are brought down to the GRAVE. . ." We all go to the GRAVE! Why doesn't the NIV want Satan in hell?

The NIV removes and perverts the place of hell!

The word "hell" occurs 31 times in the Old Testament in the King James Bible. In the Old Testament of the NIV it occurs - ZERO! The word "hell" is NOT in the Old Testament of the NIV!

And what do they do with "hell"? Take PSALM 9:17 for example: The King James reads, "The wicked shall be turned into HELL. . ." The NIV, reads, "The wicked return to the GRAVE. . ." We ALL "return to the GRAVE"! By removing "hell" the NIV perverts Psalm 9:17 into nonsense!

In the New Testament the NIV zaps out "hell" 9 times. And what "clearer" "easier to understand" word does the NIV "update" hell with? Five times they use - HADES! (Matt 16:18, Rev 1:18, 6:8, 20:13,14) What "common person" understands HADES? Everybody knows what HELL is! Do you know what HADES is? Hades is not always a place of torment or terror. The Assyrian Hades is an abode of blessedness with silver skies called "Happy Fields". In the satanic New Age Movement, Hades is an intermediate state of purification! Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary defines HADES: "the underground abode of the dead in Greek MYTHOLOGY". The NIV perverts your Bible into MYTHOLOGY!

The NIV perverts The Lord's Prayer into The Devil's Prayer!

LUKE 11:2-4: The KJB reads, ". . .Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil." The NIV removes everything that refers to a Holy God in heaven -"WHICH ART IN HEAVEN. . . Thy will be done, AS IN HEAVEN, so in earth. . . but DELIVER US FROM EVIL." Everything that distinguishes God from the Devil is REMOVED! "OUR FATHER" of the NIV is "NOT IN HEAVEN" and "DOES NOT DELIVER FROM EVIL!" I wonder who it could be? (hint: see John 8:44)

The Bible warns against taking away and adding to the words of God!

Deuteronomy 4:2 reads: "YE SHALL NOT ADD unto the word which I command you, NEITHER SHALL YE DIMINISH ought from it . . ."

Proverbs 30:6, reads, "ADD THOU NOT unto his words . . ."

And just in case you missed it, GOD'S LAST WARNING is Revelation 22:18,19, ". . . If any man SHALL ADD unto these things. . . And if any man shall TAKE AWAY FROM THE WORDS of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life. . ."

And Jesus Christ, in Luke 8:12, gives a clear aim of Satan, ". . . then cometh the devil, and TAKETH AWAY the word . . ."

The NIV completely "TAKETH AWAY" 17 verses!

Wonderful and precious verses like:

MATTHEW 18:11: "For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.".

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."

The NIV PERversion completely "TAKETH AWAY" Matthew 17:21, 18:11, 23:14, Mark 7:16, 9:44, 9:46, 11:26, 15:28, Luke 17:36, 23:17, John 5:4, Acts 8:37, 15:34, 24:7, 28:28, Romans 16:24 and 1 John 5:7!

After Mark 16:8 the NIV says, "The most reliable early manuscripts and other ancient witnesses do not have Mark 16:9-20." ZAP-There goes another 12 verses! And by the way, that is absolutely untrue! The book, The Last Twelve Verses of the Gospel of Mark, by Dean Burgon contains over 400 pages of documented evidence for Mark 16:9-20, that has never been refuted, nor ever will!

After John 7:52, the NIV, reads, "The earliest and most reliable manuscripts and other ancient witnesses do not have John 7:53-8:11" ZAP-There goes another 12 verses!

Matt. 12:47, 21:44, Luke 22:43 and 22:44 are all removed in the footnotes!

That's 45 complete verses the NIV removes from the text or in the footnotes!

The NIV "TAKETH AWAY" 64,576 words!

Don't look for the "mercyseat" in the NIV - GONE!

Don't look for "Jehovah" in the NIV - GONE!

Don't look for the "Godhead" in the NIV - GONE!

The NIV removes wonderful Bible "terms" like remission, regeneration, impute, propitiation, new testament and many others!

Despite God's clear warnings about "taking away" from His words - the NIV removes 64,576 words! Over 8 percent of God's word is "TAKETH AWAY"!

That equals REMOVING the books of Ruth, Esther, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Lamentations, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Malachi, Colossians, I Thessalonians, II Thessalonians, I Timothy, II Timothy, Titus, Philemon, James, I Peter, II Peter, I John, II John, III John, Jude and more - COMBINED!!! The equivalence of ripping out OVER 30 BOOKS of the Bible!

In case you think it's insignificant words like "thee" and "thou"? The NIV removes major portions of at least 147 verses!

Here's a small (very small) sampling of words removed in the NIV!

Matt. 6:13, "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen."

Matt. 15:8, "This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth"

Matt. 19:9, "and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery."

Matt. 20:7, "and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive."

Matt. 20:16, "for many be called, but few chosen."

Matt. 20:22, "and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with"

Matt. 25:13, "wherein the Son of Man cometh."

Matt. 27:35, "that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet They parted my garments among them and upon my vesture did they cast lots"

Mark 6:11, "Verily I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city."

Mark 10:21, "take up the cross."

Luke 1:28, "blessed art thou among women"

Luke 4:4, "but by every word of God"

Luke 4:8, "get thee behind me Satan"

Luke 4:18, "he hath sent me to heal the broken hearted"

Luke 11:2-4, "Our ... which art in ... Thy will be done, as in heaven so in earth... but deliver us from evil"

John 1:27, "is preferred before me"

John 3:13, "which is in heaven"

John 3:15, "should not perish"

John 11:41, "from the place where the dead was laid"

John 16:16, "because I go to the Father"

Acts 10:6, "he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do"

Acts 15:18, "Known unto God are all his works"

Acts 20:24, "But none of these things move me"

Acts 23:9, "let us not fight against God"

Rom. 8:1, "who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit"

Rom. 13:9, "Thou shalt not bear false witness"

I Cor. 6:20, "and in your spirit which are God's"

I Cor. 11:24; "Take eat... broken"

II Cor. 10:4, "but mighty through God"

Gal. 3:1, "that you should not obey the truth"

Eph. 5:30, "of his flesh, and of his bones"

Phil. 3:16, "let us mind the same thing"

I Tim. 6:5, "from such wthdraw thyself"

Heb. 7:21, "after the order of Melchisedec"

I Pet. 1:22, "through the Spirit"

I Pet. 4:14, "on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified"

I John 4:3, "Christ is come in the flesh"

I John 5:13, "and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God"

Rev. 1:11, "I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last"

Rev. 5:14, "him that liveth for ever and ever"

Rev. 14:5, "before the throne of God"

Rev. 21:24, "of them which are saved"

Jesus Christ says, in Luke 4:4, ". . . It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by EVERY WORD of God." But not according to the NIV! In fact, the NIV even "TAKETH AWAY" the last half of Luke 4:4 - "BUT BY EVERY WORD OF GOD"! And Jesus Christ was quoting Deuteronomy 8:3 to Satan! Does the NIV PERversion seriously think the Lord Jesus Christ does NOT know Duet. 8:3???

The LIES used to promote the NIV. . .

LIE 1) The NIV "just" updates the "archaic" words and makes it "easier to understand". Nothing is "really changed.

FACT: The NIV denys the deity of Jesus Christ; the virgin birth; glorifies Satan; openly lie; removes 17 complete verses and 64,576 words!

LIE 2) The NIV is easier to read and understand.

FACT: According to a Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level research study, The King James Bible is by far the easiest! Out of 26 different categories - the King James graded easier in a whopping 23! In selected analysis, the KJB average grade level was 5.8 - the NIV was 8.4! (New Age Bible Versions, Riplinger, pp.195-209)

LIE 3) Older and more reliable manuscripts have been discovered since the King James Bible.

FACT: Dr. Sam Gipp writes, "The fact is, that the King James translators had ALL OF THE READINGS available to them that modern critics have available to them today." (The Answer Book, Gipp, p.110) And furthermore, it is a well documented fact that 90 - 95 per cent of all readings agree with the King James Bible!

LIE 4) The NIV is more accurate.

FACT: The KJB is a literal word for word translation. When the translators had to add words for sentence structure they are in italics. The NIV uses "dynamic equivalence". Rather than a word for word translation, they add, change and subtract to make the verse say what they "thought" it should! The Preface to the NIV even says, ". . .they have striven for more than a word-for-word translation. . ."

". . . ye have PERVERTED the words of the living God. . ."

Jeremiah 23:36

The New International


Lilith in the NIV?

"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."

Psalms 12:6, 7

Response #2: 

Dear Friend,

It would take many hours to reply to every single passage criticized. Since I am not affiliated with the NIV, and since I make it my practice to do my own translations from the original languages in these studies, only quoting from other versions when I feel that the translation is not only accurate but also of particularly good quality (good translations of individual passages are hard to come by, and the NIV does often "nail" it just right), I think that an examination of the first few passages will suffice to show you my own method and what I would and would not say about the NIV:

1. 1st Timothy 3:16: KJV "was made manifest in the flesh" vs. NIV "appeared in a body". Personally I take a middle road translating myself "appeared in the flesh"; but all of these translations are synonymous. There is nothing to choose between them semantically. The KJV may seem to some more emphatic, but I do not see that in the words chosen, only in the archaic nature of the speech. Jesus, true God, became a true human being as well – that comes out clearly enough in all of these renderings.

2. Philippians 2:6: KJV "thought it not robbery to be equal to God" vs. NIV "did not consider equality with God something to be grasped". I translate: "equality with God was [certainly] not something He thought He had to grasp for"; I greatly prefer my own work here, because the point Paul is making is that since Jesus was God before the incarnation, humbling Himself by taking on un-glorified true humanity was a sacrifice the likes of which human beings cannot really even fathom. KJV is better in respect of making this point, but the use of the word "robbery" is off the mark and distorts the general understanding of the passage overall, vitiating the otherwise correct assessment of the point.

3. Luke 2:33: KJV: "Joseph" vs. NIV "the child's father". This one gets right to the heart of the matter. Here, NIV is right, and KJV wrong. The Greek text says "the child's father". Only a handful of later manuscripts have "Joseph", and that is even true of the Byzantine mss. which defenders of the KJV usually trumpet to suggest (very wrongly) that the KJV was based upon superior texts. On the other hand, there is no good reason why the Christian communities around the world in antiquity would have changed "Joseph" to "the child's father", but there at least two very obvious reasons why "Joseph" would have crept into the text in the occasional manuscript: 1) as a gloss (i.e., explaining just who Luke was talking about), and even more likely 2) to avoid the perceived theological problem that this person is upset about here. But in fact, by "father" Luke of course means "legal human father" or even "step father" rather than "biological father". We should note that Luke at Luke 3:23 goes on to clear this up so as to leave no doubt about the fact that Jesus' humanity was born without a human father when he says at the start of Jesus' genealogy through Mary "being, so it was thought, the son of Joseph". But that his legal right to claim Joseph as His step or legal Father was extremely important can be seen from the fact that Matthew gives Joseph's genealogy rather than Mary's (Matt.1).

4. Colossians 1:14: no "through His blood" in NIV. In fact, the phrase is not in the original Greek text. This is another case of the KJV being based upon a handful late manuscripts that had a number of errors. Since the early 17th century, many witnesses to the true text far earlier and better than the so-called Textus Receptus, the composite text upon which the KJV was based, have been discovered. As a Classicist by profession myself (in common with most of the translators), I can say without any doubt that the men who translated the KJV would, to a man, have preferred the demonstrably superior texts we now possess. Some cases of manuscript variation require serious efforts of textual criticism; not this one: NIV is correct. That does not mean, I hasten to add, that our redemption does not come through the blood of Christ. That point is made elsewhere in the NT quite emphatically. But whenever something is wrongly added (or deleted) from the Word, the effect may seem small, but inevitably the reality is that false additions and deletions no matter how theologically correct and how otherwise insignificant they may seem, inevitably alter the sense in ways that can have very negative effects on our understanding of the Word of God. In this passage, without the added phrase, our attention is turned more to the fact that we are "in Christ" and that it is "in Christ" that we possess the blessings of redemption, the forgiveness of our sins. That emphasis is erroneously shifted somewhat by the inclusion of the later addition of the false extra phrase.

5. John 3:16: KJV "only begotten" vs. NIV "one and only". Again, here I would have to side with the NIV. The phrase is translating the Greek word monogenes, with "mono" meaning only/unique and "gen" having to do with "being/becoming/being born". Etymologically, the KJV would seem to have a point, however the meaning of words in any language is defined by contemporary usage which may or may not be reflective of the etymology. The additional piece of information one needs to correctly translate this word is that this Greek adjective is being used to translate the Hebrew word yachidh since it is a deliberate echo of the description of Isaac as Abraham's "one and only son" in Genesis 22:2 (who is a clear type of Christ, especially in the sacrifice on Mount Moriah in that chapter). Since yachidh really means "special" or "unique" or "one and only" in the sense of being "one's very own", renderings of this sort are more helpful than "only begotten". Indeed, "only begotten" because of the "begotten" part has been fodder for heresy throughout Church history as this particular phrase seems to suggest that Jesus "came into existence through birth" whereas in fact we understand that He has always existed as God. So the KJV usage has a negative. But it also lacks the positive of making it clear how special, how unique, how incomparable Jesus is in the Father's eyes (the real meaning behind the word monogenes, however one wishes to translate it). For more on this topic please see the link: "Monogenes").

6. Mark 1:2-3: KJV "in the prophets" vs. NIV "in Isaiah". NIV is correct here too. Some later versions "correct" the original Greek because the first half of the quote is clearly from Malachi, not from Isaiah. However, I would hope that everyone who loves the Word of God would accept the principle of working hard in study to explain things they don't understand (or don't like) about what the Bible actually says, rather than changing up the Word of God to meet their preconceived ideas. To be fair, the KJV translators were once again working with an inferior text here. But on basic principles of textual criticism it is very easy to explain how "the prophets" crept into some versions: i.e., the inability to explain how "Mark got it wrong about Malachi". In fact, a reasonable answer to this question is to be found in the supposition that in the usage of the time, "Isaiah" stood as short hand for all "the prophets", since in contemporary versions of the OT Isaiah may have been the first book of the prophets (as is the case today in our English versions, though not in the Hebrew text as we have received it; order has always been somewhat variable according to period and version: in the LXX, for example, the minor prophets precede Isaiah et al.).

7. 1st Corinthians 6:9 [Romans 1:26-32 is castigated but never compared or quoted, and it is never explained what the problem is perceived to be]: KJV "effeminate" and "abusers of themselves with mankind" vs. NIV "male prostitutes" and "homosexual offenders". This seems to me a very good indication that instead of an honest criticism, this person is just taking a shot-gun approach, and here very unfairly too. Do you honestly think it would be possible to find a single Christian who would read these two sets of quotes in this passage without attribution (so they didn't know what version they were reading) and would say that the first set is more on the mark when it comes to condemning illicit behavior of this sort than the second? Of course not. The KJV was clearly unwilling to "spell out" what was meant (although given the time in which these men lived, that is understandable if not entirely forgivable), whereas the NIV goes right at it – exactly the sort of thing I would expect from an honest translation. The criticism about adding the word "offenders" is also misplaced in my view. The reason I would guess is that this word is added is to draw a distinction between tendencies and actions. The Greek word used here, arsenokoitoi, means, etymologically, "men-liers" or "men-sleepers", i.e., those who actually commit the sexual act of sleeping with a man as with a woman, regardless of "tendencies". This rendering removes all doubt that the Bible is talking about the act of such fornication.

There are many problems with the NIV, but the passages I have particular problems with are not surfacing in this treatment. Like all translations, it is by nature imperfect, and any Christian would always be wise to take advantage of the positive aspect of this modern day and technological age of plenty and avail him/herself of multiple translations (and good Bible teaching too of course which explains the translations from the original language).

If this exercise has shown anything, it is that the KJV has its own problems too.

In the One who is the living Word of God, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #3:  

Hi Bob,

As always, you have a good reply for whatever I send your way. Some stuff we agree on and some we don't. I like getting other peoples points of view, like yours, when it come to different topics, not just Biblical ones. Sometimes it is frustrating but it is always enlightening.

In regards to your previous response (link: Issues of Transmission), the word for camel as it applies to Matthew 10:25 and the animal camel and the needle gate. Not all camels are the same size(nor is rope, but rope is different than what would normally go through a needle), so it is quite possible for a small camel to march into the Holy city with worldly possessions and all. No humbleness needed. Where as the rich man would find it very difficult if not impossible to part with his worldly wealth, unless he were a small camel. If you find no credence in the needle gate then the animal camel would make a bloody mess getting through the eye of a sewing needle. If you look at the same Scripture as a rope, just think what would be involved in getting a rope through the eye of a needle. The rope would have to be unwound down to it's simplest form, a thread. No longer would it have it's strength that it possessed when here on earth, but it would have to be a very frail and humble piece of thread, a mere fraction of what it had built itself up to be. It would be reduced down to it's very essence in order to make it into Heaven, the eye of the needle. All three have good analogies. One needs a needle gate, one does not. One is impossible without total destruction and death of the person trying to get into heaven and one just needs to unwind and let Yahshuah draw him through into His Kingdom in man's simplest terms.

I don't think that Yahshuah was saying to strain gnats and swallow ropes, they may sound very similar but have different meanings all together(Greek words for camel/rope). But that does bring up another interesting point. When in a shopping mall in England and you hear someone talking about God, which God are they talking about? Point being, using a one word fits all approach as in KAMILOS/KAMELOS (camel/rope) or God/Lord (creator/deity/king/ruler/master/Allah/Zeus/YAHWEH) can get confusing. It all depends on how you hear the word and understand the thought process of the person who is speaking. Look how often the dispels were confused by what Yahshuah was saying? Reading Exodus 3:14-15 & 6:3 makes me wonder why generic terms are used for His Name. It is confusing.

Do you know if there are any copies of original manuscripts from the writers of the Bible? If not, wouldn't be possible that the original words were translated? Not changed, just written in a language that another people could read, kind of like what we have done from the Greek.

Response #3: 

1) Yes, my entire point in that e-mail was that you cannot possibly get a camel through a needle's eye. That is what our Lord was telling us – no salvation possible apart from God. So the text is correct because the illustration makes sense without emendation or invention of colorful stories (and the emendations and colorful stories, by the by, don't hold up to scrutiny as having any basis in scripture or even in contemporary customs).

2) God uses many different names for Himself. They all means something. There are plenty of instances in scripture of apostate or unbelieving Jews use the name YHVH, so that one might get the (false) impression from hearing them that they were believers. "By their works you shall know them". Once again, while form is of some value, substance is more important to an incalculable degree; then too excessive preoccupation with form has often been a symptom of cult-like activity.

3) Take it from me, the biblical manuscripts as we have them (Hebrew and Greek) are very close to the originals. The NT is by far the most well documented of all ancient texts. There are plenty of ancient translations (i.e., into Armenian, Latin, Syriac, Coptic, etc.) and they all diverge significantly from the original, whereas the Greek MSS. are, for all the different strains and issues, identical in about 99% of the text. Especially given the fact that the books originally circulated independently of each other, any scenario which has them originally translated from another language defies probability to such a large degree as to be unworthy of consideration (this is not something that could have happened in the 50 or so years between the events described and the surfacing of significant witnesses to the text). Add to this the fact that, given such a tremendous amount of evidence for the Greek text outside of manuscripts, e.g., on papyri, ostraka, etc., it defies good sense to assume these are just translations, especially since not a single shred of any "original" exemplar in any other language has ever been found.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #4:  

Hi Bob,

Why does the King James version say "his water" vs other translations using "its water" out of the rock?

Response #4: 

This is a translation choice in Numbers 20:8. Later versions of the KJV (at least in the Scofield Reference Version I use) have "its" instead of "his". Ancient Hebrew is big on suffixes to denote objects (something Modern Hebrew dispensed with when the language was resurrected). But Hebrew doesn't have a neuter gender, and the word for "Rock" here is a masculine noun in any case. What all this means is that the suffix on the word water in this verse, -ayv, can be translated either "its" (if you think that the antecedent is the rock) or "his" (if you think that the antecedent is the Lord). Either one works grammatically. I don't think we can say for certain that the original KJV was interpreting the passage to mean "his" = "His" (i.e., the Lord's); I think it is equally possible that the translators in their old English way were happy to use "his" to refer to the rock/Rock. In any case, since the Rock represents Jesus Christ, I would go with "its" to avoid confusion (which is I assume what later versions of the KJV thought too). For I do think it is clear from context that the Rock is the true object since the water comes from the Rock (although of course God is the ultimate source, no question about that).

Hope this helps!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #5:  

I was thinking – does the book of Isaiah apply to us for today. It was written by Isaiah for the nation of Israel (God's chosen people), right? How do we apply it all towards us today. Is it taking it out of context to apply verses for them, for us? How do we go about doing that?

Here's a for instance: Isa 58:1 Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. (KJV) --- I've heard that verse used by street preachers. But isn't that verse talking about crying aloud to God's people to show them their sin? And then it goes into why he should cry aloud - because they were doing their fasting wrong. That seems like the context is totally different than the matter of street preaching. I'm not trying to pick on street preachers here, but this is just a question rolling around my head.

Sometimes the Old Testament seems almost too big a task to try to study because comments I've heard like "that's not for us today, but rather just for them back then". How do we know what's for us today, and what is just for history's sake?

Response #5: 

As Paul tells us in the Spirit, "For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." (Rom.15:4; NIV).

Not just the Old but the New Testament too needs to be interpreted correctly. Just because there is an additional level of difficulty in doing so does not mean we should rule doing everything we can to find the truth and make sure the truth we find is correct. Naturally, the individual believer usually does not have the opportunity to go to seminary and take classes in exegesis and hermeneutics (not that doing so in and of itself qualifies a person to really understand these issues completely either – there is also the issue of spiritual gifts, for example). Any believer can benefit from reading any portion of the Bible. All believers should be very careful, however, about drawing conclusions about doctrinal principles based upon a casual reading of an English translation – especially when the "truth" they think they may have found seems very different in any respect from what they already know to be true (or should). There is a place in the Church for Bible teachers, just as there is a place and responsibility for individual Bible reading and individual Bible study.

You do make a good point: every scripture needs to be correctly interpreted based upon all appropriate factors, the author, the time of writing, the purpose of writing, the precise doctrinal information contained in the scripture – and, very importantly, all of these factors and more can never really be separated from what the text actually says in the original language.

To get a bit closer to what I think is your primary concern here, it is very true that much of what we find in Old Testament prophecy is specifically directed towards the nation of Israel at the precise time when the prophet was speaking/writing under the direction of the Spirit. So the primary application of those sorts of scriptures is usually to be found there. However, as Romans 15:4 makes clear (and as the frequent citations of the NT by our Lord and the apostles make clear), everything we find in the Old Testament may have some additional application today. The trick is getting it right. That takes understanding of the principles of prophetic interpretation (for example, the application of "the Day of the Lord paradigm" among other things; see the link: part 1 of Coming Tribulation on this, section IV.1, "Hermeneutic Issues"). That also takes skill in biblical interpretation generally, and, past a certain point, the gift of pastor-teacher is a requirement in many instances as well (along of course with the appropriate preparation to practice that gift).

In the case of the passage about which you ask, Isaiah 58, it is true that this castigation of Israel was specific to Israel and does not apply directly to us today. On the other hand, some of the principles mentioned in that chapter do. Our contemporary church-visible would certainly fall into the category in most cases of "seeming eager" to know the Lord, but in fact being lukewarm about Him and His Word (see the link: Laodicea: the Era of Apathy). I would say that drawing that application would be a correct and appropriate use of the OT scripture. However, for those who would want to use this chapter to suggest that we ought to be fasting or fasting differently, or that we ought to obey the Sabbath, or that we ought to vote in a socialistic government to redistribute the wealth, etc., etc., – well, none of that is justified by the passage at hand, because the specific charges are unique to historical Israel. Since neither we in this country nor any other group of Christians in any other country are a divinely ordained and guided theocratic state, trying to apply any of these specifics to us is entirely unwarranted. But as far as what God thinks of spiritual lukewarmness, yes indeed, that certainly does in my view fall into the category of something "that was written in the past [that] was written to teach us".

In Him who is the living Word of God, our Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #6:  

Robert in Daniel 9:26 the Hebrew word shachath (Strong's 7843) is translated as 'Shall Destroy' – can this word also be accurately translated as 'He Shall Destroy' as it is in Daniel 9:24-25? It appears in Hebrew (pictorially for me – grammatically for you) to be the same Hebraic word spelling.

Daniel 9:26: And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.

In addition, can the Hebrew word for 'am' (Strong's 5971) which is translated as 'People' ever be used as 'im' (Strong's 5973) and translated as 'By or With'? They look identical also.

Robert you should be one of the most happy men alive – you should just try to get to Heaven with my Biblical language skills – I must concede I am in some real danger.

Please help me if you can find the time, it will be most appreciated.

Response #6: 

As to yashcheth, the form in Daniel 9:26, I do not find this root or anything close in Daniel 9:24-25 (perhaps the citation is incorrect?). But that probably doesn't affect the gist of your question. Unlike English where we absolutely need to provide either a pronoun or a noun in order that people will know who the subject of a given verb is, in many ancient language (Greek, Hebrew, Latin, Aramaic, for example), the main verb forms contain pronouns within themselves. So it is true that yashcheth can theoretically be translated "he will/shall destroy", because that is what the form means in a vacuum. However, genuine language never occurs in a vacuum. I like to tell my students on this point that they should think of the pronouns on the verbs as being in square brackets; to use the form in question here, yashcheth would then mean "[he] will/shall destroy". Now if there is no expressed subject in the nominative, one uses the bracketed pronoun; however if there is an expressed subject in the nominative, then one must replace the bracketed pronoun with said subject. In Daniel 9:26, were we to use the "he", we would have no sensible grammatical place to put the phrase "the people of the prince who is to come". It is true that, theoretically, this could then be the object of "he will/shall destroy", but there are two problems with that construction: 1) there is no object marker ('eth) which is generally required for definite direct objects of this sort (although it is also true that this is sometimes omitted in BH), and more significantly 2) in that case we would have nowhere to put the true direct object, "the city and the holy place", which, in context, can only be the thing which [he/it] (i.e., the people of the prince who is to come) is going to destroy.

On 'am vs. 'im, these two words do look pretty much identical in Hebrew. In fact, they both have the same two consonants (ayin and mem). The only difference is the vocalization, with the word for "people" having a patach (a short "a"), and the word for "with" having a hireq (an "i"). Now it is true that neither of these vowels is original, since neither of which would have been represented historically in the pre-vocalized ancient texts through the use of a mater lectionis (i.e., the occasional use of a yodh or a waw to indicate the presence of certain long vowels). The vowel points themselves date to the era of the Masoretes (circa A.D. 600-800, give or take), so these vowles are in a sense an interpretation (albeit a relatively ancient and authoritative one). While there are certain times and places where I would wish to read different vowel points (and not be genuinely changing the text thereby), I have found that this is something that one should do most sparingly as the witness has a high degree of reliability. However, were we to make use of that emendation here, one could produce a reading that would solve the problem noted above and read "he will/shall destroy the city and the holy place with the prince who is to come". But, in addition to changing the interpretation of a passage that makes wonderfully good sense as is, this begs the question of who the "he" would then be, and, further, of how the "prince to come" himself could have been around when the holy place was destroyed during the first century. To my mind, it makes much better sense to understand antichrist as the "prince", and the Romans as his "people", since the beast will build the last "emperor" of the revived empire (see the link: CT 3B: Antichrist and his Kingdom).

As to language skills, I praise God that my salvation has nothing to do with anything academic! On the contrary, it is a profound regret, that from what I can tell, very few of my colleagues in academia generally are at all interested in finding the narrow road which leads to eternal life in Jesus Christ. True faith in Jesus is worth more than any earthly treasure, academic prowess definitely included.

In the One in whom we have trusted for eternal life, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #7:  

 Thank you so very much for the help. Bob, it will take me the rest of tonight and the better part of tomorrow to try to figure out what you have said – I have printed it out. Have you forgotten whom you are talking with? The reason I asked the questions about the words I did is because that the actual results of the translation of the OT Greek/English Septuagint Sir Lancelot C.L. Brenton published by Samuel Bagster & Sons, Ltd., London, 1851, arrived at exactly what you have just stated:

v.26: And after the sixty-two weeks, the anointed one shall be destroyed, and there is no judgment in him: and he shall destroy the city and the sanctuary with the prince that is coming: they shall be cut off with a flood, and to the end of the war which is rapidly completed he shall appoint the city to desolations.

Is this correct as far as grammar is concerned?

Response #7: 

Sorry for being so obtuse. If it's any consolation, my students usually feel the same way! As to "and he shall destroy the city and the sanctuary with the prince that is coming" in the translation you've just given me, yes, the alternative text we discussed in the previous e-mail is the one which one of the Septuagint traditions reads (we have two major surviving LXX texts for Daniel). It is not uncommon at all for the LXX to completely misread the Hebrew, as the people who translated it in many cases obviously didn't have a very sophisticated understanding of Biblical Hebrew. Some people rely pretty heavily on the LXX for OT textual emendation, but I have spent quite a lot of time on this issue and I can honestly say that the LXX if a very thin and weak reed upon which to lean. In this particular case, one can understand at least where the translation comes from, and L.C.L. Brenton has done a creditable job translating this particular Greek text. But as I say, the Hebrew text, which is behind the translation one finds in most of the major versions, is to be preferred in my view for the reasons already mentioned.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

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