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"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15


Weaknesses of the Translation Explosion

 Ken Johnson


The men who have given their labors and time for the creation of this century's translation explosion are many and from various walks of life. Their beliefs and disbeliefs are legion to say the least.


Many today ignorantly assume these translators are men who excel far beyond the translators of the King James Version. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It must readily be admitted that they were men of normal humanity, but it is also admitted by those who choose to speak with honesty that of the fifty-four men who lived and completed the work of the King James Version, there was not a man among them that did not admit to believing God gave the Book by Divine Inspiration and this motivated the translators to handle the task as responsible to God.


Such is not the case with our modern translators. On the committee for the Revised Version were men of notorious doubts of the sacred book and even one Unitarian.


Westcott believed in the "Universal Fatherhood of God." He wrote:"The thought, which is concrete in v.28 is here traced back to its most absolute form as resting on the essential power of God in His relation of universal fatherhood." (See The Gospel of John by B. F. Westcott, p.159).


Dr. D. A. Waite reviewed five books written by Westcott and Hort and found none of them speaking for plenary verbal inspiration, but discovered often places where restrictions and limitations were found concerning the content of Scripture. (See Heresies of Westcott and Hort by D. A. Waite, p.4).


The Bible is not to be treated like the books of men because of its Divine Origin and Author. It is a step of gross ignorance to proclaim the Bible must be studied like all other books and subjected to scientific criteria of inspection. One must start, it is claimed, as a neutral. This you cannot do. To be neutral is to ignore God, His ability to reveal Himself, and the matter of faith which is an abstract principle and not subject to laboratory analysis.


The basic difference in the approach to the translators work of the KJV of 1611 and all the revisions after 1881 is the criteria of difference between those who have faith in a God who can divinely inspire, preserve, and propagate His Word as opposed to those who in a surrounding of unbelief produce versions opposed to orthodoxy and given to various degrees of acceptance of liberalism.


Consider This Weakness Of The Twentieth Century Explosion


1. It has produced the seeds of corruption. II John 6 says, "And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandments. That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it."


If we do not have the teaching of Christ and the New Testament Apostles, how can we walk in what Christ taught from the beginning?


Modern translations are filled with doubt followed by doubt. The TEV has three separate endings to the Book of Mark. It ends with v. 8 - it ends with "an old ending to the gospel," and it adds, "another old ending." Verses 9-20 is left out of Nestles Greek Text by brackets and placed in doubt by Weymouth, Moulton, Confraternity, and Wesley. They are bracketed in six other versions also.


Modern translations are filled with denials of words and verses. "First born" in Mt. 1:25 is left out in over 20 of the new works of the New Testament. The verse of Mt. 12:47 is left out of seven new works. The verse of Mt. 18:11 is left out of twenty-two and bracketed by two.


Modern translations are filled with doctrinal weakness. In a debate concerning the RSV, Professor George R. Stevenson defended the liberal position saying, "We religious liberals are not trying to deceive anyone. But we are endeavoring to rescue our church people out of the dark ages and bring them into this era of enlightenment. Our task is that of religious education. Science disproves the old ideas about the nature of things holy."


"Religious liberalism accepts the scientific revelation that all holiness is in humanity and nowhere else. The new Bible is our text book. It is an agency of enlightenment."


II. Our second point is this - the translation explosion has produced a setting for continued compromise. II John 8,9, says, "Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God, he that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son."


Compromise is openly seen in the various doctrinal weaknesses of the translators. Bratcher thought nothing of putting "virgin" in his 1966 edition of the TEV and taking it out of his 1968 edition in the book of Matthew.


Kenneth Taylor in the Living Bible treats verses that are pointedly doctrinal with almost total carelessness. I Cor. 7:12 implies Paul threw in a few thoughts of his own for no reason. I Cor. 11:18, II Cor. 1:1, 11:2, and Eph. 1:22 and other verses degrade the place of the N. T. Church to little more than a miscellaneous meeting of minor purposes.


Compromise is seen in the work of the liberal establishment. The preface to the RSV illustrates this: "It is 'a' record of God's dealing with men." "The Bible carries its full message, not to those who regard it simply as a heritage of the past or praise its literary style, but to those who read it that they may discern and understand God's Word to men." This is the Neo-orthodox position that the Word of God is conveyed to those who discern it. Nowhere in the preface does the indication of Divine Inspiration come through as a dogmatic.


III. Our third point is the weakness of the versions produces substitutions for Grace.


I Peter 2:2 in the T.E.V. says, "Be like new born babes always thirst for the pure spiritual milk, so that drinking it you may grow up and be saved." You do not read the Word of God to grow up and be saved. The sinner comes to God drawn of the Holy Spirit who works repentance and faith in the sinner's heart. The sinner must be born-again by the power of God unto salvation that is eternal.


Acts 2:38 says, "Be baptized...so that your sins will be forgiven." Baptism does not wash away sins nor is it a condition for having sins forgiven. Which washes away the most sin, the blood or the water?


I Peter 2:2 in the Living Bible says, "Eat God's word - read it, think about it, and grow strong in the Lord and be saved." The implication of a sinner's ability to grow strong by study of the Word of God that he may obtain salvation is not the message of the gospel and is certainly not the meaning of this verse.


This is perversion of the Word of God and salvation by Grace. Other perversions concerning salvation exist in various forms in II Thess. 2:13, I Pet. 3:21. RSV has "faith" left out of Rom 5:2. Version after version leaves out Acts 8:37 and many leave out Rom. 11:16.


IV. Our closing point reveals the weakness of the versions produces a sabotage of missions.


What message do you have if the Bible is gone or reduced to some trustless subjective collection of words? II Cor. 10:16 says, "To preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man's line of things made ready to our hand." Paul had something final, an objective truth, to tell the nations of sinners world-wide.


What ministry can you have if the Bible cannot be given in one's own language? You have little more than men's ideas and men's concepts of social behavior. To gain converts to nothing more than ideas on a human level is nothing more than converts to a new culture - this is precisely the social gospel. Give man something that will better his lot in life; give him an elevated standard of living; make him what you are!

If the whole man is not changed, it is evidence the whole truth of the Word of God has not been preached. The Word of God is that which is "quick and powerful and sharper than any two edged sword." It is the Word of God in its purity that can be preached and become the "sword of the Spirit" that men's hearts will be convicted and they repent and turn to God for true salvation.