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Bible Versions, Bible Translation, and Bible Reading III

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Question #1:

There is a situation that has been bothering me for some time, and I suppose you’ve addressed this many times. If, in your web site you’ve already addressed it I apologize and ask that you would direct me to the answer in your site.

This may be an ‘opinion’ question, but I would like your opinion in any case.

Which Bible version is the most accurate? I have a KJV, NKJV, NASB (1977), NIV, ESV, and Amplified. Only a few days ago I received a copy of Gary F. Zeolla’s ALT (NT). The more I read on this topic the more confused I become. I have read several authors and the two extreme opinions are KJV (1911) only versus anything goes – all are God’s Word. I understand that only the original autographs were perfect. Basically, as I understand it, there are two manuscripts used in arriving at a Bible version; the TR and the CT. One author says the CT, being earlier, is the most accurate while another says the TR is the most accurate.

Thank you for answer.

Response #1:

Good to hear from you again. Thanks for your question. I wouldn't frame it in quite these terms, however. First, we are talking really about four things: 1) the original Greek and Hebrew (which you correctly term the "autographs"); 2) ancient manuscripts and other ancient evidence for the former; 3) modern text-critical editions based on these manuscripts and other evidence where editors do their best in considering these materials to produce a text which is as close to the autographs as possible (according to their judgment); and 4) translations (specifically, English translations), which render into the target language "the Bible" based upon one or more of category #3 but also sometimes using materials in category #2, but in no case (of which I am aware) with a pristine and 100% consistent methodology.

So when you ask about "accuracy", it is a good question based upon a logical assumption that any English translation will have as its top priority an accurate rendering (in our case into English) of category #1. However, translation is both an art and a science. Greek (since your email seems to focus on the New Testament), is not English. Every language differs from every other, and there are enormous grammatical and form differences between ancient Greek and modern English, not to mention idiomatic and cultural differences (or the fact that without understanding OT references and underlying theological constructs meaning will be lost). This is a long way of saying that a "literal" translation is not an achievable goal since the two languages are so different. Translating "word for word, as any user of an interlinear Bible should see immediately, will produce only nonsensical gibberish. Nothing could be worse than a final "version" which is a mess of gobbledegook capable of being understood by no one. Now if I "take liberties" to convert the Greek into something that actually "makes sense" in English, and if I take the further step of producing English which is grammatical, and if I take the further step of producing English which is readable, then I have "translated". Whether I have produced a "good" translation or not, however, is for others to say. If my translation is barely readable but hews close to the original in a way that is helpful to non-Greek readers for the purpose of figuring out what the Greek really means, that may have utility for some. If my translation sings and thus reaches the heart of the English reader more effectively, that clearly has some utility as well, even if at times I have mistaken what the Greek (or the theology behind it) really means or have taken too many liberties in my rendering. And there are other factors as well. Anyone who has read any work of literature in the original and also as translated into their own language will know only too well through comparing the two experiences that beyond the base meaning there are other factors to consider: tone, emphasis, and that indescribable something of the feeling produced by the particular words in question, very difficult to reproduce from one language to the next (as well as to avoid presenting the wrong or a somewhat "off" feeling in the target language which is not present in precisely that way in the original).

What all this means is that there can be no perfect translation, and no translation into English of which I am aware which is so superior to all the rest that a person could rely on its "accuracy" if it contradicts all the others on some particular passage. This is not, for the most part, primarily a question of what text or what manuscripts have been employed but rather of what method has been used and what approaches translators have made use of. It would be nice to be able to identify a method with specificity. The reality is that there are as many methods as there are translators, that all of the major versions employed multiple translators, and that even when it comes to the same translator (whether this information has been made available or not), quality will differ from passage to passage (as we say in Classics, "Even Homer nods off from time to time").

In terms of the versions you mention, apart from the Amplified Bible (which should be handled with care; and I have no experience with the ALT), I would classify all of them as "good"– which does not at all mean that I would give a blanket endorsement to their "accuracy" in each and every passage. Far from it. What I always counsel readers is to make use of multiple versions of the Bible, and to make a point of consulting as many versions as possible whenever a passage is encountered which seems "odd" or "off" for whatever reason (at least as a first step before "building doctrine" on one passage in one version) – and then of course to consult orthodox teaching on the problem area if they are all going the same way. In terms of what "text" a version is consulting, as I suggest above, it's really not so simple as all that. Most versions, KJV included, are not absolutely consistent in sticking to one text (KJV, for example, "deviates" from the so called "Textus Receptus" in many places, and the TR itself is a hodgepodge of previous critical versions). Moreover, since translators must and certainly do take the liberties mentioned above, the text type is not the only thing to consider by any means. One of the things that all major commercial versions do in any case is to surrender to public opinion where it conflicts with the evidence. That is the reason, just for example, why the wrongly inserted pericope of the adulterous woman can always be found in John's gospel, even though it is most certainly not part of the Bible (see the link: "Interpolations into the Bible").

My own method when citing passages is to make use of one of the versions where the translation is good (both accurate and providing the correct emphasis/tone et al.), but to translate myself where the versions have missed the boat on some critical point. As you no doubt are aware, I usually find the need to resort to many parenthesis and filling in of (logical) lacunae when so doing, with the result that my own translations are cumbersome, if illuminating when it comes to the true meaning. This demonstrates two things: 1) as far as translating is concerned, I am a better Bible teacher than I am a translator; 2) no version can ever hope to bring out the full meaning of a biblical passage: that is why the Church needs Bible teachers.

If I have not exactly answered all your questions, I believe I have at least dealt them all a "glancing blow" by now. Please feel free to write back about any of the above. Also, here are some links where these topics are considered in the Ichthys postings:

Bible Versions and their Veracity (in "Read Your Bible")

The New International Version of the Bible and some issues in Bible translation

Are New Bible Translations Part of a Conspiracy?

Bible Versions, Bible Translation, and Bible Reading II

Bible Versions, Bible Translation, and Bible Reading

Biblical Languages, Texts and Translations VI

Biblical Languages, Texts and Translations V

Biblical Languages, Texts and Translations IV

Biblical Languages, Texts and Translations III

Biblical Languages, Texts and Translations II

Biblical Languages, Texts and Translations I

Some Issues of Transmission, Translation, and Transliteration

How to use the Bible translations at Ichthys.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #2:

I got an Amazon Kindle earlier this year so that I could stop carrying around pounds of books wherever I go. At first I was a little bit hesitant to try Bible study on it because I thought navigation would be difficult, but it turns out not to be too bad (I can actually jump directly to any verse I type in). Also, for people like me who don't know Greek/Hebrew/lots of history, there is a nifty feature that lets you tie in with a dictionary like Strong's Greek/Hebrew, or Vine's Expository Dictionary as well as the International Bible Encyclopedia (all in digital format so that there are no 10 pound sets of volumes, just 1 ebook). I believe it is more effective than paper reading, but I haven't really tried devoted study on the internet either. Do you read physical Bibles, or do you do your dedicated study on the internet? Also, to what degree do you annotate when you read scripture?

Response #2:

Internet resources are wonderful. I use them extensively. One site I would recommend is "Blue Letter Bible" (see the link). This site has Strong's Concordance and Gesenius' Hebrew Lexicon linked in, along with many Bible versions and other resources. That said, I love books, and I do read physical hard-copy Bibles every day (in English, Greek and Hebrew). Lately, however, I have also begun to do some online with an IPAD. I find the new technology a wonderful supplement, but not a substitute. Finally, I'm not much of an annotater (I used to be more so), but I will put what I think are important notes or cross-references in when I might otherwise miss something or to save myself looking something up for the umpteenth time (I'm not good at remembering numbers).

Question #3:

I have used both NIV and NASB for my verses in what I have done so far, but thought that several of yours conveyed the meaning in a more effective way. How would I go about citing your translation if I did decide to use it, and are you OK with such a thing? Similarly, you use reftagger (the logos software plugin), which seems to be much more effective than linking stuff to another page. How did you give it the option to change what version you use on your website? I haven't messed with my HTML yet, and would rather do it in one fell swoop rather than tweak it for days. The default is ESV I think, but I would rather give readers a variety like you do.

Response #3:

I would be very happy with you making use of any of the Ichthys materials, translations included. As to citation, that is an interesting question which has never come up before. Perhaps just "Ichthys" next to the verse info would be sufficient. As to reftagger, see the link FAQ#21 for the way to change this on my site. As to the "how to" for your own site, this is a very simple matter of adding in the codes they provide at their site. Once you get around to engaging with that, let me know if you have trouble and I'll see what I can do to help (it wasn't a difficult process as HTML problems go).

Question #4:

I have decided that I want to start an in depth study of the Gospels and the Psalms before I sink my teeth into some of the rest of the Bible. In terms of Revelation and pre-history, you've got me covered, but I want to get some solid teaching on the life and ministry of Jesus and the advice that the psalms have before I go much farther with my own ministry. From my poking around on the internet, it seems most people agree that the classical commentary is better than the newer politically infused variety. With this in mind, what do you think of the following authors and their works? (I would love to read the Greek, but I can't. I think solid commentary is second best?)

– J.C Ryle's commentary on the Gospels

– John Calvin's Commentary on the whole Bible

– Matthew Henry's Commentary on the whole Bible

– John Gill's Commentary on the whole Bible

– Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown's Commentary on the whole Bible

– Adam Clarke's Commentary on the whole Bible

– Albert Barnes's Commentary on the whole Bible

– Charles Spurgeon's Treasury of David (commentary on the psalms)

Response #4:

I don't like commentaries, generally speaking, and have found them almost universally disappointing in my life and career (I can't recommend anything you list here). Linguistically oriented ones can be helpful, especially in the early going of learning Greek and Hebrew. But in terms of theology and the truth and inspiration of scripture, a good version – and a good study Bible (I like the Kenneth Barker ed. ones; NIV and other versions available) – are superior choices in my view. Reading and re-reading scripture is the key; not spending gobs of time on secondary sources. If you really want to get into the detail, you'll have to learn Greek and Hebrew (there's no substitute). See the links:

What is your opinion of the Abingdon one-volume Bible Commentary?

Can you recommend a good commentary on the book of Romans?

Question #5:

I was having a discussion about different translations with someone quite devoted to Young's Literal Translation (NASB otherwise). Some research led me to identify Young's primary source as the Textus Receptus, which made me a little bit suspicious of its accuracy (even though it is still pretty similar to to Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, it is noticeably different in some places, as I'm sure you know much better than I). What do you think about it? I'm kind of a hypocrite because I'm fond of the KJV myself, which is also based off of the Textus Receptus (I check NASB and 1984 NIV if something looks funny). I just thought it might be important to convey to her how Young's stringent literalism was actually based on an old manuscript. What do you think of Young's in general, and should I try to convince this person to switch to something else?

Response #5:

As to versions, they all have their pluses and minuses. I like the KJV too (especially to listen to). And when it comes to a version to cite whenever I am writing, I never restrict myself to one particular one. Some do a good job on one verse, but a bad job on the next, etc. The manuscript problem is just one issue. There is also the issue of theological assumptions and linguistic skill. But translation is as much an art as a skill, so that any verse may be better or worse in any version. That is why I always tell readers to make use of multiple versions if possible, to get familiar with more than one, and to cross-check whenever they find something "new" or "disturbing". Past this point, a good source of Bible teaching is necessary to straighten out the "issues" of interpretation common to all versions. Even reading in the Greek and Hebrew is not "magic"; the hard work of proper interpretation is always going to be necessary as long as we are on this earth. As to Young's, I find it more "gobbledygook-ish" than literal. This is often what results when people want to be "literal" – as if Greek, Hebrew and English were all essentially the same and admitted of no idiomatic differences (e.g.); occasionally the approach yields good results, but more often what one gets is something that doesn't really make sense in English. The purpose of a translation is to convey meaning – properly. Hiding behind translationese and calling it "literal" is not a solution. See the link to get started with this complex question: "Bible Versions, Bible Translation, and Bible Reading".

Question #6:

As for the commentaries, I was not surprised when you said you weren't fond of them in particular. I did preface my list with the statement that obviously Greek and Hebrew proficiency would be best, but that I currently am nowhere near proficient in either (at all). Certainly there must be some commentary that is not devoid of usefulness? I am also somewhat interested in perhaps some other basics on theology, as in a reference book on systematics or the like. Could you just perhaps provide a short list of things you would consider good for a Christian to have other than the Bible as study resources? It need not be comprehensive, I would just like some things to start with. Something else that I came across that I thought was interesting was the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge (TSK), which is basically a huge cross-referencing resource that links words/verses to others throughout the Bible, that "lets the Bible speak for itself." What do you think of such a thing? I was not sure if they did it by the Greek/Hebrew words (which would be ideal), or by the English words, but it still sounds like a useful resource.

Response #6:

I like (and mostly agree with) M.F. Unger's Commentary on the Old Testament (2 vol.); I sometimes (very rarely) look at Jamieson, Fausset and Brown's Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible and do not feel nauseous (I have a physical copy) – I most certainly could not endorse anything they have to say blindly. As I mentioned, the Barker Study Bible is, essentially, a verse by verse commentary – most of what it says is helpful and more often theologically correct than not. The Bible Basics series at Ichthys is meant to be, essentially, a systematic theology. While it is true that it is not yet complete, the eschatology section's lack is more than made up for by the two complete series, Satanic Rebellion and Coming Tribulation; the other three missing parts all have stubs with abundant links to other postings at Ichthys, and what would constitute the "guts" of most systematic theologies is already present: Theology proper, Angelology, Anthropology, Hamartiology, Christology, Soteriology and Pneumatology. I could recommend some other things, but I have to tell you in advance that you may see what I mean about obvious deficiencies:

A Survey of Bible Doctrine by Charles Ryrie (Chicago 1989)

Systematic Theology by L.S. Chafer (Dallas 1948)

The former is less than you probably want (and often incorrect); the latter is multi-volume, and much more than you probably want (and not entirely correct). They are, however, the "best" out there of which I am aware (and I use the adjective advisedly).

The "Treasury of Scripture Knowledge" (also public domain online at the link) is indeed essentially a compilation of cross-references. Good cross-references are a boon – a very nice supplement to concordances (Greek, Hebrew, and English), but only if they are well thought out and selected with discernment. In my opinion, that is not at all the case with this particular reference work. The Barker study Bible cross-refs, by way of contrast, are almost always true cross-references.

Question #7:

I have one last question about particular study Bible versions. You mention the "Barker Study Bibles" as being very good resources, but I am as yet unsure of exactly what you mean by the Barker Study Bibles (the Zondervan NIV and NASB study Bibles?). I know Barker worked on the NIV translation originally and helped write many of the study notes, but has he been updating it since then? I ask this because I am about to order a NASB study Bible and a NIV study Bible, and would like to get the ones that you find most useful. They have updated the notes in the NIV study Bible since the original 1985 release (I believe the years they updated were 1995, 2002, 2008, and 2011 with the new translation), so what "version" of the study Bible should I buy? I could only find one version of the NASB Study Bible (here), but can find many versions of the NIV pre-2011. Do you think it really matters what update version it is as long as I avoid the 2011 change in translation? The easiest one to locate is the 2008 update version (as in here), but I could spend the time looking for an earlier version if you think it would be worth it.

Response #7:

I'm not an expert on the sub-versions of this Bible, but I personally have and enjoy the 1985 version of the NIV Study Bible. I would imagine that the NASB notes are the same (or very similar). So the choice between NIV and NASB is a matter of preference of version (not so much any difference in the notes of this study Bible). I am also not sure if the notes are any different between the versions – I would doubt it, but I really couldn't say for certain in every case (a brief look at the link you provided and comparison of some of the notes in Genesis showed that the notes were in fact identical). Personally, I find the NASB of some use in research, but not particularly readable. The Psalms are always a good litmus test for any version in this respect: are they decipherable, and if readable, how close to the Hebrew are they (a difficult line to walk)? I couldn't recommend the 2012 NIV version because the new version of the NIV – and it really is a new version – is in my opinion far inferior to the 1984NIV (as you know).  The Scofield Reference Bible is of course another famous study Bible.  It has gone through many revisions and editions since the original work; I find it valuable mostly for its verse cross-references (see the link).

Question #8:

Dear Professor,

I wanted to ask you a question regarding two resources which you recommended to one of the readers of your website: Charles Ryrie's "study Bibles" and "The NIV Study Bible" ed. K. Barker. I plan to purchase both and just wanted to know if it's a good idea to invest in both and whether anything worth reading has been published since (you made this recommendation in an email which seems to go good few years back).

Charles Ryrie's book is available as an e-book, which makes things easier for me, but I could only find "the NIV Study Bible" in paper (is it because of the NIV1984 not being available any more?). I looked at Zondervan's website and the same author has also written "NASB study Bible" and "The Expositor's Bible Commentary", among others. Would you consider getting any of these too?

I feel I a good study version could really help me, let me know your thoughts.

With constant prayer for you and your ministry and in our Lord,

Response #8:

The Barker edition is what you want. The paperback I do not have but have been told by others who have gotten it that it is next to worthless (small and severely abridged). You might be able to find the Barker 1984 NIV used or from some outlet like an Amazon affiliate or Abe Books. I'm surprised if it's really out of print. I found the hardcover available new when I had a look online. The Ryrie NASB Study Bible I have is perhaps better than most but terribly disappointing. The notes are hit and miss in terms of quality, and there are precious few of them. One thing I really find useful about the Barker NIV is that the verse cross-references are quite good – not perfect, but extremely useful. The verse cross-references in the Ryrie Bible are very poor by comparison (again, not as good and not nearly as many). I have not come across anything better than Barker. But then I haven't been searching. I would advise being careful before buying without being able to examine. Amazon has a "look inside" feature on many items; if I weren't buying firsthand from a bookstore, I would probably want to see that and determine the quality before I bothered to spend the extra money for something that might not be any particular improvement on a simple copy of the translation (which would be much cheaper).

Ryrie's book on systematic theology is so basic it's probably of very little use to you with all you've absorbed in the past couple of years. About the only benefit I can see there is that it would give you a good feel for the state of the theological status quo in the evangelical community at large (at the upper end of understanding and complexity, and with most of the warts). I have about half a dozen volumes of the Expositor's Bible Commentary. These are compilations by various authors (who treat individual books) and are widely divergent in quality . . . ranging from occasionally of some small use to absolutely no use whatsoever. The fact that some of it is sometimes of some small help puts the series head and shoulders above 90% of the commentaries produced since WWII. However, I would only recommend buying it to a person who has 1) no limitation of funds, and 2) generous library space.

Your friend and future neighbor in the New Jerusalem.

Bob L.

Question #9: 

Dear Professor,

Your guidance is as always invaluable. I might then purchase Barker, unless there is anything else you would recommend me to get at this stage. You speak highly of the commentaries pre-dating WWII, let me know if I should consider any of those, and if I am ready for them also.

Most commentaries, as you say, are of little use and I have to admit I have been helped by them very rarely. Daily Bible reading is certainly bearing fruit and thanks to your continuous support I get much more out of it than before. Yet it would be so helpful to have a good chapter introductions, maps, good cross-references and at least some passage clarifications available.

You've been through that path yourself, so let me know what is worth investing in, and I will go with your recommendation.

In our Lord and with prayer,

Response #9: 

Thanks friend. Yes, Barker is worth it in my opinion. All of the tools we are talking about overlap in terms of their functions and potential usefulness. For example, one would expect to find introductions to individual books in study Bibles, commentaries, Bible encyclopedias, Bible handbooks, etc. The best such are to be found in the "Introduction to the (New/Old) Testament" genre, however (see the link), while a good study Bible will give a quick version which will be helpful largely because of its brevity and handiness. Study Bibles are "good" if they present the text in a readable fashion, have a large number of useful cross-references for finding verses which express similar ideas, and have useful (and doctrinally and historically accurate) notes of explanation. For more detail, especially for linguistic insights, commentaries are sometimes helpful. On that score, when I say post-WWII commentaries are largely useless, that should not be taken to mean that pre-WWII commentaries are what they should be. I consider a commentary useful if 1) it has detailed and accurate information about the manuscript evidence; 2) it discusses the passages it treats with linguistic skill and insight; 3) it deals with historical, textual, and language issues in a conservative way – by which I mean from the standpoint that this is the Word of God rather than the creation of men, and that the canon is a settled issue (the Anchor Bible series, for example, is so "fast and loose" on this point that it's of little value because that secular viewpoint infects everything and so they deal in pure speculation as opposed to struggling to actually understand the text). On the last point, some of the best linguistic/historical/textual commentaries are somewhat "squishy" on this issue, which can be OK if they are not entirely "Jello" (as Anchor tends to be); on the other hand, it is sadly often the case that commentaries written by those who are on the right page theologically tend to be woefully lacking in linguistic/historical/textual prowess, so that they have virtually nothing to offer the scholar who knows Greek and Hebrew (and something about the Bible), and is searching for insight into the text. On the specifics, I think we've talked about this before, but just in case I'll say again that in terms of complete-set Bible commentaries the two I have found the most helpful by far (though far from perfect by any measure) are: Keil and Deilitzsch's Commentary on the Old Testament for the OT, and Meyer's Critical Exegetical Handbook New Testament for the NT. In this country, at any rate, because these have been out of copyright for many years, they can usually be found for not much money (especially considering they are about a dozen or so hard-back volumes each). I believe both are also available online as well (as a start, you might want to check the link: Internet Archive).

As to maps, these are always going to be subjective to a degree since they clearly have to be interpretive, but there is also a genre called the Bible Atlas. As with other such things, some are useful; others are a waste of money. I have gotten some use out of the Oxford Bible Atlas and also Aharoni's MacMillan's Bible Atlas (although the latter is more historically focused as opposed to being about the detail in the maps themselves; you might want to have a close look at that one before purchase).

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #10:

Where can I buy a chronological bible?

Response #10:

Dear Friend,

I am not aware of any such Bible. No doubt that is because of the serious issues that would be involved in trying to create one. Please see the links:

Chronological Bible I?

Chronological Bible II?

Chronology of the Bible I

Chronology of the Bible II

I would be happy to answer any specific questions you may have (to the best of my ability to do so – as you will see from the links, there is much that is not known and really unknowable in terms of this issue).

Yours in Jesus Christ,

Bob Luginbill

Question #11:

Dear Bob,

Periodically, s visit and I generally talk to them for a while. In the course of the last conversation I made the statement that, as far as I could tell, Jesus was Jehovah and used John 1:18 as my beginning argument. He began to protest and read John 1:1-3. In John 1:1, their unique Bible translated what other Bibles translate as "Word was God" as "Word was a god." He went on about how the Greek required an article and one of their elders explained it but my visitor couldn't remember the explanation. He went on to say that God the Father did the creation. Jesus only lent assistance. That sent off red flags all over the place and this is the second time I've caught them in a unique translation. Note, I didn't see his Bible and don't know whether God had a cap G or lower case as seems customary but "a god" implies one of many. In any event, it struck me as placing Jesus on the same plain as Satan. I'm about ready to ask them to stop coming but I thought I would check with you first. I've not seen another translation like theirs. Does the word translated as "God" in this case require the article or is it a situation where it would be up to the translator?

Yours in Jesus Christ who is not one of many,

Response #11:

Yes, the so-called "New World Translation" (NWT) is one developed by the JW's to further their doctrines and "prove" their points. It has many problems, although this is perhaps the most famous mistranslation. The argument your disputant could not remember is as you suspect, i.e., trying to prove Jesus is not God by rendering the Greek word theos as "A god". Anyone familiar with the New Testament knows that the only thing which could possibly be described therein as merely "A god" would be a pagan god. There is God and there are "gods", but "A god" would belong to the latter category and could never have any place in the presence of THE God. In fact of course the translation is wrong, and the version is not consistent; that is to say, later in John the same word, theos, in the same form and in the same grammatical situation (i.e., no definite article) is in fact translated correctly as "God" (i.e., given a capital letter and with no indefinite article, that is, not "a") – because later it clearly refers to the Father. NWT only has a problem with theos meaning God when it clearly refers to Jesus Christ. Here is a footnote from BB 1: Theology explaining this passage:

In verse one of John 1:1-2, the clause "the Word was God" cannot legitimately be translated "the Word was a God". First, earlier in the verse, the apostle John had used the definite article with the Greek word theos (θεός) to refer to the Father according to customary usage ("the [sc. Father] God"), and so to use the identical combination again to refer to the Word would be potentially confusing, making it seem as if "the Word" was really identical to "the [sc. Father] God", one of the very points that John is disproving here. Secondly, Greek does not possess an indefinite article ("a/an"), but it does have an indefinite pronoun, tis (τις), meaning "a certain one" – the very word that a Greek reader would expect here if the point was that Christ was somehow a god, but not really "God". So John only had three ways to write this: 1) the Word was "the God" (but this would mean that there was no real distinction between the Father and Christ); 2) the Word was "a certain god" (but this would mean that Christ was a lesser sort of divinity, not God on the level of the Father); or 3) the Word was "God" – what John actually did write, thus fully and unambiguously attributing deity to the Word as distinct from the Father.

And here are a couple of links where this issue vis-a-vis the JW's translation is discussed at some length:

What does "the Word was with God" mean in John 1:1-2?

"And the Word was God"

John 1:1 NWT translation

Yours in Jesus Christ, "my Lord and my God" (Jn.20:28).

Bob L.

Question #12:

Thanks. Bob. I should have known you had this covered but I thought it was unique so I didn't even look to see. I'm sorry. I appreciate your explanation. I see no reason to further entertain their visits. They are adamant about considering nothing but their own unique version of truth and won't discuss anything else.

Thanks for answering my question even though it was a repeat of what you have answered before. I'm not offended if you point me to links with the answers instead of a direct response. However you choose to answer, know that I very much appreciate your willingness to field my questions.

Yours in Jesus Christ,

Response #12:

You're very welcome.

I agree that there are times when further communication with certain people/groups is pointless.

Keep up the good work for Jesus Christ!

In our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #13:

Hello Sir,

I hope you are fine? I just read today's email response about NIV 1984 vs 2011 edition. I am upset because what I have bought is a 2011 edition. Should I read it or no? The Bible App which I use has also removed the 1984 edition.

In Him,

Response #13:

Hello my friend!

Always great to hear from you.

I wouldn't let it bother you. I was a bit over-zealous in my remarks because of the way in which these changes were made. The 1984 version is better, but the 2011 version is indeed mostly the same. It's just that they have made it worse rather than better in some places, and have changed a number of key passages that many of us had become familiar with. To the extent that you have not memorized the 1984 version (or become so very familiar with its phraseology that it amounts to the same thing), to that extent I think it would be alright if you prefer the NIV to other versions. I have been using the NKJV and NASB, and experimenting with the ESV and NLT (to some degree), but still often find myself falling back on NIV, even in the new iteration. So what you have is still very good – in spite of what has transpired.

So don't be upset. We have other burdens to bear, you and I, without getting too out of sorts about this "problem".

I am keeping you in prayer for deliverance day by day, and your family too.

Your friend in Jesus Christ who is our all and our everything.

Bob L.

Question #14:

Hello, Doctor.

In one of your replies I just read you stated you keep a list of "whopper" mistranslations in the 1984NIV. I have one and would love your list if you have it available.

In our Lord,

Response #14:

I don't have a list per se, but here are some links where this subject is discussed with examples:

The NIV "switcheroo".

The New International Version of the Bible: Some Issues of Bible Translation

Bible Versions, Bible Translation, and Bible Reading.

I'm keeping you and your family in my prayers – thanks also so much for yours!

Yours in our dear Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #15:

Dear Professor,

I wanted to ask you whether you had a chance to take a look at the NIV SB published in 2011? I was looking for a computer version of the NIV SB I've got in order to make the study a little easier logistically (clicking on links rather than browsing the book) and I found this:


I purchased this resource to check how it matches with the 1984 version and I have to say that the footnotes seem almost identical. Sometimes different passages are given as cross-references and at places new were added and the notes were expanded.

Should it be good for the study, I would go with it, as it makes going through the content a considerably faster and I have to say that time really is an issue.

Another question I wanted to ask is your view of the English Standard Version, as this is the version available for free on the Olive Tree software it will come up when I click on the passage links in the NIV SB. If you don't recommend it, then NASB (to which I quickly came back since I last wrote) is available for purchase also.

In our Lord,

Response #15:

Always wonderful to hear from you, my friend. I don't have a copy of this but I have been using the 2011 NIV online. If as you say the Barker notes and cross-references are much the same, then I wouldn't have a problem with using it. My main "gripe" with their pretending that the Bible is the same as the 1984NIV is in their making the older one inaccessible and also in making things "inconvenient" for me personally: since I know the 1984 version pretty well, I also know where I can trust it and where I can't, but if I had gotten used to the 2011 version in the same way, it would amount to the same thing. So enjoy!

As to ESV, I have used it on occasion and do like it – although it doesn't seem to me to be much different from the RSV (on which it was based).

You are in my prayers day by day.

Your friend in Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #16:

Hi Bob,

I try not to bother you with little things, but a small translation detail really hit home to me in the New Living Translation. I have a special place in my heart for the Johannine works, whose author I consider to be the holiest writer of the Bible. Usually, I John 5:21 has 'Dear children, keep away from idols,' but the NLT has 'Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.' This, I feel, perfectly captures the message of I John.


Response #16:

I think this is a very good illustration of the pluses and minuses of the NLT. NLT is a paraphrase/interpretation, and sometimes in some passages it does a good job of illuminating the true meaning of the Greek (less so the Hebrew). I don't like it is a translation so much for a reader not familiar with other versions, and this instance is a good example of why: such a person would not even be aware that literal idols are what John is talking about: the NLT version only means what it say by extension of the analogy of a real idol to a "spiritual" idol.

As to being holy, well, the Holy Spirit has inspired the entire canon, so that every verse in the Bible is equally holy. John does have a wonderful style, I'll grant you.

Yours in Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #17:

Hi Bob,

Yes, the Holy Spirit inspired every writer of the Bible, but John was Jesus' beloved disciple, and His choice of disciple is likely because John was a special apostle in some way (also illustrated in that he saw Jesus' second advent). I feel that I have grown the most from reading John's writings.


Response #17:

I get that. It's OK to have favorites; humanly speaking, it's probably impossible not to. But just like parents may have favorite children, it's a mistake to let that preference affect how one deals with them. Just so in scripture, it's OK to have a favorite book or writer, but not if it causes us to neglect any of the rest of scripture or see any scripture in any way as any less the Word of God.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #18:

Dear Bob,

These are not questions of overwhelming importance, just curiosity. I have a copy of "The Oxford New Revised Standard Version" ecumenical study bible that I inherited from my mother's estate. It reads a little better to me than the NIV; less colloquial and a larger type face. What is your opinion of this NRSV if you're familiar with it? Should I use it or get the old RSV? I don't recall that you addressed the NRSV in your comments on bible versions, but if you did, a link would be appreciated.

Also, in Revelation 19:16, KJV reads "And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS." Would you comment on the background of why this name might be written on his thigh? Or was it just coincidence? Was this connected to Roman and Israelite battle tradition? Or something specific to medieval battle custom? Revelation has Him mounted. The name on his chest would be recognized by cavalry but on His thigh, only by ground pounders. (Am I correct in understanding vesture as a surcoat or doublet worn over armor?) How would you translate Revelation 19:16?

Response #18:

Good to hear from you.

As to your questions:

1) I'm not a user of the NRSV. I was brought up on the RSV but haven't really had much to do with that version in a long time (though I do check it occasionally). The RSV is a fairly generic version; I would put it in-between NASB and NIV, being a bit more readable than the former and less so than the latter. It doesn't take very many risks in departing from traditional understandings of the older English versions (i.e., not much different from the American Standard Version or "ASV", the precursor of the RSV, itself a late 19th century American update of the KJV). My understanding of the revision to NRSV is that there a few updates in the OT (to accommodate the Dead Sea Scrolls – which probably means mistranslating some things that were formerly correct), removing some archaic language (not a big deal compared to KJV vs. NKJV), and fixing politically incorrect "gender language"; i.e., "men" becomes "people", etc.

2) On Revelation 19:16, the Name is written on the robe, specifically, where it covers the thigh (we could translate, "even on His thigh" as the Greek conjunction kai allows that possibility). I would side with most commentators who conclude that the Name is written there as to be most visible when riding on horse-back – as our Lord is here.

Yours in our soon-to-return Lord Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #19:

Could you please tell me what version of the Bible you use in your studies?


Response #19:

Good to make your acquaintance.

For my primary studies, along with English versions, I consult the Hebrew and Greek scriptures directly. I am also a reader of many English translations. When including an English translation of a verse in a posting or study, I try to make use of some standard, readily available English version (such as the NKJV), but will occasionally translate anew myself when that is required to bring out the particular point in question.

In terms of preference, I enjoy reading the 1984NIV (not so much the "new" NIV; n.b., the "change" was a secretive one; most of the online versions available today are not the superior 1984 version). The KJV is also a favorite, although it suffers from anachronism and has other "issues". No version is perfect, so, as I say in the first link below, it's not a bad idea for a believer to become familiar with more than one English translation, especially for those who have no recourse to the original languages.

Here are some links that go into detail on these matters:

Bible Versions.

The New International Version of the Bible and some issues in Bible translation

Are New Bible Translations Part of a Conspiracy?

Bible Versions, Bible Translation, and Bible Reading II

Bible Versions, Bible Translation, and Bible Reading

The Greek Text of the New Testament and some Issues of Textual Criticism.

Biblical Languages, Texts and Translations I.

Biblical Languages, Texts and Translations II.

Biblical Languages, Texts and Translations III.

Biblical Languages, Texts and Translations IV.

Biblical Languages, Texts and Translations V.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob Luginbill

Question #20:

I’m so interested in using the proper Bible that I bought several books defending the newer translations, because truthfully I like the NIV and the NASB. However, a question arises: Why are there so many words, verses, and even passages in the KJV that are absent in the NIV? I suppose it has to do with which manuscript(s) were used, but I don’t understand all this. Perhaps when I get into these books I’ll understand.

Thank you.

Response #20:

Good to hear back from you.

I'm a user of all three of these versions, and I don't know of any significant omissions in the two more recent versions you cite. Even in cases where we do have unauthorized false interpolations (see the link), my memory is that NIV and NASB both print these passages (and merely point out in footnotes that they are late – if it were me, I would leave them out; see prior link).

Can you give me some examples of what you are referring to?

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #21:

Thank you for your response. I hope I don’t appear to be argumentative; I just want to understand this issue better. I bought several books that I think will help me: The King James Version Debate by D.A. Carson, One Bible Only? by Roy E. Beacham and Kevin T. Bauder, and The King James Only Controversy by James R. White.

I have a chart in my drafts that compares the Majority text (KJV) vs the Minority text (NIV). It outlines 20 omissions in the NIV that appear in the KJV. Also, there are differences in the wording of 24 verses/passages that the chart insists are very important differences that change the meaning of God’s Word and affect what we believe.

The site where this chart is seen is www.ecclesia.org/
truth/m-m.html (Comparisons between the Majority KJV and Minority NIV texts.)

A note of interest: I have a friend who was involved with church ministry here who came to faith in Christ by reading The Living Bible.

Thanks again.

Response #21:

I had a look at the chart. I think if you look at it carefully it will be clear that while there are a relatively large number of passages listed, in almost all of the cases it is a question of a few words only which are late additions to scripture which none of the modern versions include or at least footnote / bracket or what have you to let the reader know that they don't belong in the Bible. This is true, if memory serves, even of the New King James (NKJV). I'm no fan of the new NIV (which is significantly different from the 1984 NIV). The real point is that the KJV has included some few passages that don't belong in the Bible because at the time it was translated most of our best documentation for the Greek text of the New Testament had not yet come to light. The two biggest passages "left out" are actually present in NIV and most versions (merely bracketed) and should be left out entirely (i.e., Mk.16:9-20 and Jn.7:53 - 8:11). My advice to all believers is not to read or even consider material that is not scripture in the context of Bible reading. For more on these issues, please see the links:

The erroneous ending of Mark

Interpolations into the Bible (wherein more links will be found).

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #22:

Hi Bob – I just discovered a neat site which offers extensive material refuting the KJV-only arguments. You’re probably aware of this site, but just in case you’re not it’s www.bible.ca/b-kjv-only

Thanks again for everything.

Response #22:

Thanks for this. I should note that I try never to recommend sites where the people/person/group running it is not revealed. This happens much more often that you might think! Here is what I found out about the site you list from CARM (a site I do know fairly well):

CARM does not recommend the website since it promotes baptismal regeneration, denies that Jesus is a man right now, denies salvation by faith alone in Christ alone . . .

So while I like their point of view on this issue we've been discussing, I'd be leery of them trying to insert their own views on some other probably more important topics.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #23:

Hi Robert, why are there so many people who feel that any other translation other than the KJV is Satanic ? One guy even said the same company published the satanic bible as well as the NIV. Any ideas on this? What's up with that? I am reading the ISV New Testament. Have you checked this one out yet?

Hoping all is well.

Response #23:

Taking your last question first, I'm not a user of the ISV but from what I can see it is a version of little significance. It hasn't caught on from a popularity point of view and I really don't see what its "niche" would be. In terms of scholarship, the few things I am familiar with regarding this version are dreadful. It woefully messes up Genesis 1:2 out of either complete partisanship or stunning ignorance. It includes most of the major false interpolations as if they were scripture (e.g., the longer ending of Mark, the woman caught in adultery, "Father forgive them", Jesus' sweating blood, etc.), with little more than a footnote even to suggest that there is a problem (and sometimes not even that: e.g., the erroneous first half of Revelation 20:5). Where the Greek says one thing but tradition has mistranslated out of ignorance, ISV follows tradition (e.g., 2Cor.5:3 where they leave out the negative "not" like all the rest!). In terms of its diction, it's pretty pathetic in my view, merely watered down with colloquialisms. It doesn't rise to the level of the 1984NIV let alone the NLT in terms of being understandable to contemporary readers through being powerful in its phraseology (although NLT is awful too in the Psalms, e.g.). As I say, I've not read great swaths of it, but I am disappointed with everything I've seen thus far.

As to the KJV's defenders, this has been a problem for a long time, and one I have written about at the site many times. Why do KJV lovers get so worked up about the competition? There are many reasons, mostly having to do with tradition. The origin of the "conflict" probably has a lot to do with pastors who have always used it being challenged when other versions put things differently (especially in terms of footnotes where the false interpolations are challenged). But, then, people getting worked up about all sorts of minor things while inevitably leaving out what is really important is a phenomenon that has been around a long time and is always prevalent where lukewarmness and legalism rule the roost as is the case today:

"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel."
Matthew 23:23-24 NIV

Here are some links where this topic is discussed:

Bible Versions and Translations II

Bible Versions and Translations

KJV versus other versions

KJV not divinely inspired

KJV "onlyists" I

KJV "onlyists" II

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #24:

Hello--I wonder if you could answer a question for me about the King James Bible translation. Do you know if the original translators used any ancient manuscripts in order to translate the New Testament? Have you ever heard of a "Manuscript P"? It supposedly has "made us kings and priests" in Rev. 1:6, but most other manuscripts have "kingdom and priests".

Ever hear of this guy?

Hugo McCord---http://www.gospelgazette.com/

A converted prisoner in the Joseph Harp Correctional Center, Lexington, OK, who is a careful Bible student, grows in the "knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18). Now I learn he also is studying the Greek New Testament! I am amazed! He writes wanting to know why there is a "mistranslation of basileia" in the NKJV in Revelation 1:6: Christ "has made us kings and priests to His God and Father." Jerry's point is that basileia means "kingdom," not "kings." The explanation is that the NKJV scholars, and the 54 KJV scholars before them, followed the Greek manuscript P, which has the word basileis, "kings." Furthermore, the context in Revelation 1:6 calls for "kings," not "kingdom." It is awkward to say that Christ "made us to be a kingdom, to be priests unto his God and Father" (ASV). Much smoother it is to say Christ "made us to be kings, to be priests unto his God and Father." If someone insists on following the Greek manuscripts that have the word "kingdom" (as A), then parallel to "kingdom" would not be "priests," but a "priesthood" (hierateuma, cf. 1 Peter 2:5, 9), and making the translation Christ "made us a kingdom and a priesthood." But the translation "kings" (of P) is parallel to "priests" and so a translation would be Christ "made us to be kings, to be priests." I am sorry I did not use those words in my printed translation of the New Testament.A parallel passage to Revelation 1:6 is 5:10, with the resulting awkwardness of associating "kingdom" and "priests": "and madest them to be unto our God a kingdom and priests" (ASV, following manuscript A). The awkwardness disappears by saying "and made us unto our God kings and priests" (KJV, NKJV). It is awkward to say "they reign upon the earth" if the "they" points to "a kingdom and priests."However, the KJV and the NKJV err in the last part of Revelation 5:10 in following the manuscripts that say that the kings and priests "shall reign [basileusousin] on the earth." Accuracy calls for the translation of manuscripts that use the present tense: "they reign [basileuousin] upon the earth" (ASV). The reigning of the kings and queens (all Christians) and the service of all priests (all Christians) are now "upon the earth" over their bodies: "Do not let sin reign in your mortal body" (Romans 6:12). The earthly reign of kings and queens ceases when they are "caught up together" in "the clouds to meet the Lord in the air" and they "will always be with the Lord" (1 Thessalonians 4:17).

But Wikipedia--I know, not the best source, but it is footnoted, has this to say:

the translators appear to have otherwise made no first-hand study of ancient manuscript sources, even those that – like the codex bezae – would have been readily available to them.[123]in addition to all previous english versions (including, and contrary to their instructions,[124] the rheimish new testament[125] which in their preface they criticized); they made wide and eclectic use of all printed editions in the original languages then available, including the ancient syriac new testament printed with an interlinear latin gloss in the antwerp polyglot of 1573.[126] in the preface the translators acknowledge consulting translations and commentaries in chaldee, hebrew, syrian, greek, latin, spanish, french, italian, and german.[127]

the translators took the bishop's bible as their source text, and where they departed from that in favour of another translation, this was most commonly the geneva bible. However, the degree to which readings from the bishop's bible survived into final text of the king james bible varies greatly from company to company, as did the propensity of the king james translators to coin phrases of their own. John bois's notes of the general committee of review show that they discussed readings derived from a wide variety of sources and versions, including explicitly both henry savile's 1610 edition of the works of john chrysostom, and also the rheims new testament,[128] which was the primary source for many of the literal alternative readings provided for the marginal notes. . ."

So, which is correct?

Response #24:

The Wiki info is correct: KJV was translated from a common editorial edition (not a manuscript); the name generally used for that common compound text is the Textus Receptus (think of it as an early Nestle-Aland). Erasmus' work is the most famous edition at the core of this "received text" and was based on only seven, late miniscule manuscripts of Byzantine origin. There is an uncial ms. P (codex Porfyrianus, 9th cent.), and it does contain the book of Revelation, but this was only rediscovered by Tischendorf in 1862. This is probably what your correspondent is referring to. So it is impossible that the KJV translators "followed" a ms. which would not come to light for another four centuries or so.

Yours in Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #25:

Hi--Thanks for your reply. I think the text in question was something called "P18" fragment. The controversy is over where Rev. 1:6 says "a kingdom and priests" or "kings and priests". I checked our bibleworks4.0, and the KJV is practically the only translation that has "kings." I think it is much ado about nothing, since a kingdom is made up of people ruled by a king--in this case, King Jesus rules those who believe in Him.

Anyway, what do you know about the P18 fragment? Wiki had an entry for it, but not when it was discovered.

Thanks again.

Response #25:

If so, then correspondent would be talking about papyrus (p) 18. It's incorrect to call it a manuscript. This is a papyrus fragment that does have a very small portion of the book of Revelation (four verses in chapter one, to be precise). So this is probably what correspondent means although it has been described in a most confusing way (uncial manuscript P [note the capital letter designation] is one of the few that actually does have the entire Book of Revelation).

The papyrus itself is from the Oxyrhynchus dig in Egypt, and excavation at that site did not even begin until 1882 (so no question of KJV translators seeing that). What correspondent may mean (or have confused) is the argument that this fragment supports the TR reading in this instance. I note that later in the same verse it differs from the majority text (by omitting the phrase "of the ages" – or the second "and ever").

So, yes, this is much ado about very little in my view. The sense is much the same in any case, and a good rationale can be given for why p18 is wrong (i.e., in vocalization or in reading without word divisions the end of "kingdom" looks like it may be the Greek particle an which would make the verb contrary to fact, "He would have made", and thus invite an erroneous correction for that reason).

As to the other question, I was understanding the present day as the ad quem.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #26:

I hope you and your family are well sir. If you have a moment to spare may I ask your thoughts on a matter? I was reading about the "Modern Hebrew New Testament" which is put out by the Bible Society in Israel, from what I have been able to read about it, it appears to be a relatively decent translation of the NT. However, I didn't know what text it uses to translate from, or its translation philosophy, etc. May I ask your thoughts of the text? Is it a good text, accurately translated?

Shalom, and Blessings to you and your family in Jesus' mighty name!!!

Response #26:

Prior to this version, the famous Old Testament scholar Franz Delitzsch translated the New Testament into Biblical Hebrew as an evangelical device for his fellow Jews. I have used that work on occasion and find that it gives excellent insights into what the Greek may mean from the Judeo-Hellenic way of thinking. However, Delitzsch' work, a product of the late 19th century, was designed to reflect the contemporary Hebrew of the first century. Modern Hebrew is significantly different, so the version you ask about was created (fairly recently). Here's a link to the society's page which explains the origins of the translation:


I have not seen this translation personally. All they have to say about the Greek text is that they were "faithful" to the ancient mss. They also describe the process wherein a team of scholars met to discuss issues. This a typical sort of process where we have a team approach to the translation. Most modern versions in English have kept the details of the process "close to the vest" – the sausage may be good but seeing it made can be off-putting to the appetite.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #27:

Hi Robert,

How are you? What is your take on The Complete Jewish Bible by Stein?

Response #27:

I believe it's Stern (not Stein). I've never read it (snippets only); OT seems to be somewhat more literal (in a bad way) with certain concessions to Jewish sensibilities. The NT seems full of hyper-Messianic material (e.g., Paul is Shaul, Jesus is Yashua – even though that is NOT what Paul actually wrote). There doesn't seem to be much use to it, but it's a sign of the times. Here are some links to consider before going head-over-heels for this sort of thing:

The Dangers of Messianic Legalism I

The Dangers of Messianic Legalism II

The Dangers of Messianic Legalism III

The Dangers of Messianic Legalism IV

The Law, Love, Faith-Rest and Messianism

In Jesus our Lord,

Bob L.

Question #28:

Why don’t you show the ISR Scriptures in your list of books, or the RNKJV? Are you afraid of the TRUTH?

Shabbat Shalom,

Response #28:

Dear Friend,

It has only been in the last few years that I was able to add Reftagger to the Ichthys site so that readers could get the texts of Bible references simply by highlighting them with their mouse pointer (and there are still a few "bugs" in many of the files – but I'm working on the problems).

Reftagger currently allows for users/readers to select their own Bible versions (there is a drop-down menu on the Logos box provided at the bottom of each Ichthys page for you to make your selection and personalize your experience). At present, Reftagger has seventeen versions available. Unfortunately, the ISR and RNKJV are not among them. This may have to do with those two versions being unwilling to share copyright in this way. I ran across this problem with "new" NIV which replaced the 1984 (far superior) version: Biblica has withdrawn the rights to the 1984 version. Reftagger can be further customized if you use Logos Bible software, so that perhaps you can get your versions to display that way (I'm not a Logos user so I can't say for sure). As to the possibilities of adding ISR and RNKJV, you might want to contact the folks at Reftagger about that (see the link).

When no version reference is included in a citation after a quotation, it means that I have translated the verse myself (please see FAQ #12: "Where do the translations of scripture that appear at Ichthys come from?"). For my use of sigla within the translations, please see the link: FAQ #20 "Would you explain the abbreviations and symbols used in the translations at Ichthys?".

Hope this answers your question.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who is the very truth, the Word of God incarnate.

Bob L.

Question #29:

Shalom Bob,

Thank you for your reply I use the ISR Scripture, along with e-Sword which has about 20 versions of the Bible and I have only one teacher, my Brother Yahushua Ha Mashiach, not jesus which is Greek for hail zues, now don’t get me wrong, I once believed in jesus, but He told me that it wasn’t His name.

Response #29:

You're very welcome. However, "Jesus" is merely the Greek spelling of "Joshua" (יְהֹושֻׁעַ). The notion that the Name "Jesus" has anything to do with a pagan god is entirely wrong (see the link). As someone who teaches and researches in Greek for a living, I can tell you that this false etymology is so absurd even on its face (even to non-linguists with any historical background) that it only opens up to ridicule those who use it. Those who wish to disparage the Name "Jesus" would do better finding another argument.

I'm also a little confused about your reference to our Lord as "my Brother". I don't find anywhere in scripture where believers have ever called our Lord "brother", and, frankly, it seems a bit forward to me. I suppose that is your business, but I mention it because the entire tone of your email calls into question for me you understanding of the nature of the second Person of the Trinity.

Do you not accept the deity of Christ?

If our Lord were not divine, He could not have been the perfect substitute for our sins; and if He had not died spiritually for all of our sins, we could not be saved. So I'm afraid I can't see how anyone who does not understand about Jesus, both His perfect work (being judged for our every sin in His human body) and His perfect person (coequal deity with the Father who took on true humanity to die in our place), might possibly be born again.

. . . Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.
Philippians 2:5b-7 NKJV

Hoping I have misunderstood your position here.

In Jesus Christ our dear LORD (YHVH) and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #30:

Shalom Bob, I know you mean well but Yahuah speaks to me, and this is what He tells me. If we are children of the Creator (Yahuah) then His Son must be our Brother. It’s that’s simple.

Response #30:

Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
Matthew 1:23 KJV

You're not God too, are you?

Jesus is.

Question #31:

Shalom Bob,

Number one, I am not G_D.. For those in the know, know the term is Elohim, which is the plural form of El, Eloi. Elohim means the Father and Son in one being. Have you ever read the Books of Enoch? If you had you would realize that we all are SONS of the Creator because we are descendants of Adam and Eve plus

Mat 12:46 And while He was still talking to the crowds, see, His mother and brothers stood outside, seeking to speak with Him.

Mat 12:47 And one said to Him, "See, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You."

Mat 12:48 But He answering, said to the one who spoke to Him, "Who is My mother and who are My brothers?"

Mat 12:49 And having stretched out His hand toward His taught ones, He said, "See My mother and My brothers!

Mat 12:50 "For whoever does the desire of My Father who is in the heavens is My brother and sister and mother."

BTW, I don’t know this or not but the Hebrew for Joshua and Yahushua are both the same Yod Hei Vav Shin Vav Ayin.

Response #31:

No one questions that Jesus was a genuine human being (at least that heresy is not as prevalent today as others). The point is that Jesus is God, the second person of the Trinity, and that He took on true humanity to come into the world to save us. He had to be man as well as God to stand judgment for our sins – the only way we could be saved:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
John 1:1-4 KJV

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Philippians 2:5-8 KJV

In Jesus Christ, my Lord and my God -- and my Savior,

Bob L.

Question #32:

Shalom Robert,

After many emails between us I’ve finally come to the conclusion that you don’t have any idea what you’re talking about when it comes to Scripture, and I don’t have the time to tutor you on the subject.

I pray this article will open your eyes to the truth, I'm not in the habit of making up things, i only speak the TRUTH!


Response #32:

I am sorry to have to inform you that the article you included here has been built upon terribly faulty logic. The word "God" is the traditional word used to translate 'elohiym in Hebrew and theos in Greek into English. The acceptability of using the word as a translation is shown by the fact that the Greek New Testament – in fact our Lord Himself and His apostles when speaking Greek – used the Greek word theos, and did not instead substitute the Hebrew word 'elohiym. That they easily could have done, were it an issue. Thus we can see without question from examining the actual usage in the Greek New Testament that the idea that Hebrew names only are legitimate is incorrect. If the Greek word kyrios was acceptable to the Holy Spirit as a translation for YHVH, who are we to argue with Him?

I have no qualms, therefore, about using the name "Jesus", instead of, e.g., Yehoshua. I do not quibble with my brothers and sisters in Christ who want to use Hebrew names. That is your business. What concerns me is whenever those of this persuasion make the mistake of taking this too far and adopting also the traditional misunderstanding of the Trinity that has held sway among the unbelieving portion of the Jewish people for many centuries, importing that into their own religion. I say religion instead of Christianity because it is very clear that without accepting the testimony of the New Testament and the truth that Jesus is God as well as man, a person is necessarily rejecting who He really is and not truly understanding what He has actually done in dying for the sins of the world. How then can you be saved?

Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
2nd Corinthians 5:20-21 NKJV

In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, "My Lord and My God",

Bob L.

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