The Story of the English Bible

A Comparison between Faithful Bibles of the Protestant Reformation and Corrupt Versions of Modern-Day Deformation

Jeffrey Khoo

Albert Einstein once said, “A man with one watch knows what time it is, a man with two watches is never sure.” Allow me to restate Einstein by making it applicable to the Bible: “A Christian with one Bible knows what the Truth is, a Christian with two Bibles is never sure.”

There is but one Bible (the 100% inspired and 100% preserved Bible in the original languages of Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek) though there be many translations of it. Insofar as translations go, there are good versions and there are bad versions. Bad versions are due to a corrupt base-text or a wrong translation method, or they could be due to both. The English translations of the Bible can be divided into two main periods of production: Versions produced in (1) the period of the Reformation (16th and 17th century), and those produced in (2) the period of Deformation (19th and 20th century).

Reformation Translations

No Bible, no Reformation! “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom 10:17). It is God’s Word that brought about the 16th century Protestant Reformation. The Reformation did not happen by chance or by accident. It was a special event preplanned by God and it finally happened in God’s perfect time. According to Church historian Philip Schaff, “The Reformation of the 16th Century, is next to the introduction of Christianity, the greatest event in history.” Just as the Lord Jesus Christ came miraculously in “the fullness of the time” (Gal 4:4), so did the Reformation. In light of Biblical precedents and Divine providence (providentia extraordinaria), the Protestant Reformation was a “miracle event” from God.

The Reformation fire was lit by the Light of God’s Word. The Word of God had to be put into the hands of the common folk. The Lord used His servants like Wycliffe, Tyndale, Coverdale, and finally the King James translators to put the Bible into the hands of the people in the pew so that they might know the truth, and the truth shall make them see and set them free (John 8:32).

Wycliffe’s Translation

John Wycliffe (1330–1384) was the most famous Oxford theologian of the 14th century. He was called “The morning star of the Reformation” for his attacks against the heresies of the Roman Catholic Church. Wycliffe spoke against the false RCC doctrine that salvation was by works and the selling of indulgences or “forgiveness tickets.” He believed the Scriptures to be the perfect Word of God from God’s very own mouth and superior to the sayings of the pope or the Church. He was told to stop teaching his personal convictions as truth. All who taught or defended Wycliffe’s views were threatened with excommunication and execution. This threat did not deter Wycliffe from defending the faith. Gifted with a sharp pen, he continued to write in defence of the truth.

The RCC had kept the people in spiritual darkness and bondage. No one was allowed to read or even own the Bible. Only the priest could read and interpret the Bible for the people. One can imagine that the interpretations of Scripture would be twisted to fit the corrupt doctrines and practices of the Roman Church.

Wycliffe realised that the best way of freeing the people from the shackles of Rome was to let the people read the Bible for themselves. Wycliffe was the first to translate the whole Bible into English. The translation was done not from the Hebrew and Greek since Wycliffe knew no Hebrew nor Greek, but from the Latin Bible—the Vulgate. Although the translation was not as accurate as could be since it was not from the original languages, it was accurate enough for God’s purpose to be fulfilled. At long last, the people could finally read for themselves the truth of salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone.

It has to be noted that it was not easy to mass produce the Bible in Wycliffe’s day because the printing press has yet to be invented. To produce one copy of the Bible would take about 10 months. One copy would cost about 5000 chickens. How much would it cost to buy that many chickens today? Since it was so costly, the Bible was sold in parts or in pages. Some could only pay a few cents just to have the New Testament to read for just a day.

To spread the gospel truth, a group of pastors known as the Lollards used Wycliffe’s translation to read and preach the Word to the common folk. For reading the Bible and preaching the gospel to the people, many of these Lollards were burned to death. Many copies of Wycliffe’s Bible were also burned. Nevertheless, the production of Wycliffe’s Bible could not be stopped, and the world today still has 200 copies of it. Faith is the victory, and the Bible is indestructible.

Wycliffe’s Bible spearheaded the Reformation movement which led many to reject the falsehoods of the RCC. It goes without saying that the RCC hated Wycliffe intensely. Their hatred for him was so great that they did all they could to dishonour him at the 40th anniversary of his demise. Seeking to wipe out all memory of Wycliffe, the RCC dug up his bones, burned them, and cast the ashes into the River Swift. God would see to it that such a disgraceful act of wicked men would serve only to hasten the Reformation instead of deterring it. The more the Truth is opposed, the more it will flourish. The Truth cannot be snuffed out. As Luther later wrote, “The body they may kill, his truth abideth still; His kingdom is forever.”

Tyndale’s Translation

William Tyndale (1494–1536) was a scholar of the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures having studied at Oxford and Cambridge. Seeing how the priests were so ignorant of the Scriptures, and how the people were so lost without God’s Word, he decided to translate the Scriptures into English from the original languages. He completed translating the NT in 1525. 15,000 copies were printed and distributed in England. The Church of England then under the Roman Catholic Church refused to allow the people to read the English NT. The Church burned every copy of Tyndale’s Bible they could find. For translating the Scriptures, the Church branded Tyndale a criminal. He was arrested and put in prison.

When in prison, Tyndale wrote this letter to the Marquis of Bergen which revealed how greatly he loved the Bible and how much he suffered for Christ: “I believe, right worshipful, that you are not unaware of what may have been determined concerning me. Wherefore I beg your lordship, and that by the Lord Jesus, that if I am to remain here through the winter, you will request the commissary to have the kindness to send me, from the goods of mine which he has, a warmer cap; for I suffer greatly from cold in the head, am afflicted by a perpetual catarrh, which is much increased in this cell; a warmer coat also, for this which I have is very thin; a piece of cloth too to patch my leggings. My overcoat is worn out; my shirts are also worn out. He has a woollen shirt, if he will be good enough to send it. I have also with him leggings of thicker cloth to put on above; he has also warmer night caps. And I ask to be allowed to have a lamp in the evening; it is indeed wearisome sitting alone in the dark. But most of all I beg and beseech your clemency to be urgent with the commissary that he will kindly permit me to have the Hebrew bible, Hebrew grammar, and Hebrew dictionary, that I may pass the time in that study. In return may you obtain what you most desire, provided that it be consistent with the salvation of your soul. But if any other decision has been taken concerning me, to be carried out before winter, I will be patient, abiding by the will of God, to the glory of the grace of my Lord Jesus Christ, whose spirit (I pray) may ever direct your heart. Amen.”

Tyndale was finally condemned to death. He was strangled and burned at the stake. Tyndale was ready to die for His Lord and His Truth: “That light o’er all thy darkness, Rome, in triumph might arise; an exile freely I become, freely a sacrifice.” His dying words were: “Lord, open the King of England’s eyes.”

Coverdale’s Translation

Myles Coverdale (1488–1569) was a graduate of Cambridge University who became an Augustinian priest. Influenced by the Reformation movement, he broke away from the Roman Catholic Church. From England, he fled to the Continent where he found Tyndale and there helped Tyndale with his translation work. Coverdale continued Tyndale’s work and completed translating the Old Testament. The whole Coverdale Bible was completed in 1535.

By that time, the King of England had already broken all ties with Rome, and was eager to see an English Bible. Coverdale’s Bible received the king’s approval. Tyndale’s prayer was answered; the Lord had opened the eyes of the king of England.

Great Bible

In 1537, another Bible was published in England called the Matthew’s Bible. It was the work of Thomas Matthew (1500–55) who was a friend of Tyndale. Thomas Matthew was not a translator but an editor of the Bible. He combined the Tyndale and Coverdale translations to form a complete Bible. The Matthew’s Bible was the basis for the Great Bible. Published in 1539, it received the king’s authorisation for public use. It is called the Great Bible for its size and cost. The Great Bible was later revised in 1568 and became known as the Bishop’s Bible.

Geneva Bible

The persecution of the reformers by the Roman Catholic Church led many of them to seek refuge in Geneva. It was in that great city that William Whittingham (1524–79)—Calvin’s brother-in-law, and Knox’s successor as pastor of the English Church in Geneva—translated the NT in what was to become the Geneva Bible. Whittingham used the Textus Receptus (Stephanus’ edition), and next to Tyndale became the version that had the most influence on the KJV. The Geneva Bible was both Calvinistic and anti-Catholic. It became very popular with the people because it was inexpensive and handy. The KJV was its successor.

King James Bible

The King James Bible (KJB/KJV) is built upon all the Reformation versions of the English Bible and is undoubtedly the best English version of all. It has stood the test of time and blessed many millions all over the world for nearly 400 years.

There are four reasons why the KJV is superior to all other English Bible versions:

It is Based on a Verbally and Plenarily Preserved Text

All Christians should believe in the inspiration and preservation of Scripture (2 Tim 3:16, Ps 12:6–7). Jesus used the OT Scripture during His earthly ministry, and considered every word of it to be inspired. In Matt 5:18, He said, “Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” This surely implies that the Hebrew Scriptures have been preserved through the centuries, to the extent that every bit of it has been left intact. If God has so providentially preserved the words of the OT Scriptures so that none of them is lost, will He not also preserve the NT Scriptures in the same way? Based on God’s promises and power, we can say with certainty that we have the autographs of the NT in the verbally and plenarily preserved Hebrew and Greek manuscripts (or words) on which the KJV is based.

It is Translated by Godly and Able Scholars

The King James Version is an excellent translation of the Holy Scriptures. It is a good fruit. It is a good fruit because it comes from a good tree (Matt 7:15–20). The KJV is a good translation because of good translators; in terms of their intellect and learning, they were brilliant; and in their faith and devotion towards God, they were vibrant. There were a total of 57 scholars of the highest rank who translated the KJV. They were not only men of great learning but also of great piety. They were skilled in the biblical languages, and lived in a period when the English language was at its glorious height. It was a most providentially opportune time to translate the Scriptures into the English tongue. They began their work in 1604 and completed it in 1611—a total of seven years. I do not think that today one can assemble such an august company of devout Bible scholars and theologians.

The KJV is a result of God’s special providence. Consider Alexander McClure’s “Evaluation of the KJ Translators and Translation.” He wrote, “As to the capability of those men, we may say again, that by the good Providence of God, their work was undertaken in a fortunate time. Not only had the English language, that singular compound, then ripened to its full perfection, but the study of Greek, and of the oriental tongues, … had then be carried to a greater extent in England than ever before or since. … it is confidently expected that the reader of these pages will yield to the conviction, that all the colleges of Great Britain and America, even in this proud day of boastings, could not bring together the same number of divines equally qualified by learning and piety for the great undertaking. Few indeed are the living names worthy to be enrolled with those mighty men. It would be impossible to convene out of any one Christian denomination, or out of all, a body of translators, on whom the whole Christian community would bestow such confidence as is reposed upon that illustrious company, or who would prove themselves as deserving of such confidence” (Translators Revived, 63–4).

How do new versions and their translators compare to the KJV and its translators? According to McClure, “As to the Bible in its English form, it is safe to assume the impossibility of gathering a more competent body of translators, than those who did the work so well under King James’s commission. … And what has not been done by the most able and best qualified divines, is not likely to be done by obscure pedagogues, broken-down parsons, and sectaries of a single idea, and that a wrong one,—who, from different quarters, are talking big and loud of their ‘amended,’ ‘improved,’ and ‘only correct’ and reliable re-translations, and getting up ‘American and Foreign Bible Unions’ to print their sophomorical performances. How do such shallow adventurers appear along side of those venerable men … The newly-risen versionists, with all their ambitious and pretentious vaunts are not worthy to ‘carry satchels’ after those masters of learning. Imagine our greenish contemporaries shut up with an Andrews, a Reynolds, a Ward, and a Bois, comparing notes on the meaning of the original Scriptures! It would soon be found, that all the aid of our moderns could render would be in snuffing the candles, … Let tinkers stick to the baser metals; and heaven forefend that they should clout the vessels of the sanctuary with their clumsy patches” (Translators Revived, 233–4).

I dare say that the Bible scholars, theologians, and linguists of today fail to come even close to the calibre of scholarship and spirituality that we find in the King James translators. I sincerely doubt that the KJV will ever be surpassed by a superior translation. In any case, until the Lord providentially raises up equally faithful and competent servants to give us a new version which is equally accurate and reliable, let us stick to the good old version—the KJV.

It is Accurately Translated Word-for-Word

The KJV employs a superior method of translation. The KJV uses the verbal/formal over against the dynamic equivalence method of translation. The verbal/formal equivalence method is the only acceptable method for the translation of the Holy Scriptures. Why? Simply because the Bible is the verbally inspired Word of God!

God gave a very serious warning in Rev 22:18, “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 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 out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” In any attempt to translate the Scriptures, it is paramount that there should be no addition to, subtraction from, and changing of God’s Word. It must be word-for-word translated without any alteration of its divine sense or intent.

The dynamic equivalence method is a subjective and interpretive thought-for-thought method. Such a method may be applied to human literature, but certainly not Holy Scripture. The Bible’s divine origin and its verbal inerrancy forbid it. “Virgin” must be translated “virgin,” and not “young woman” (as in the RSV), and “blood” must be translated “blood,” and not “death” (as in the TEV), and “only begotten” must be translated “only begotten,” and not just “one and only” (as in the NIV).

It is Faithful to Historic Protestant Theology

The KJV preserves all the fundamental doctrines of the Christian Faith like the (1) Inspiration of Scripture (2 Tim 3:16), (2) Preservation of Scripture (Ps 12:6–7), (3) Virgin Birth of Christ (Isa 7:14), (4) Eternal Generation of Christ (John 1:14,18, 3:16,18, 1 John 4:9), (5) the Holy Trinity (1 John 5:7–8), (6) the deity and humanity of Christ (1 Tim 3:16), and many others. The modernistic 20th century versions on the other hand have unfaithfully manipulated these Biblical texts to change or corrupt these and other fundamental truths of the Christian faith.

One fundamental doctrine of the Christian faith that is undermined or attacked by the modern versions is the doctrine of the Trinity. They attack this important doctrine by scissoring out the clearest proof-text for the doctrine of the Trinity which is 1 John 5:7, “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” Some will argue that the absence of 1 John 5:7 does not affect the doctrine of the Trinity because there are many other biblical passages that teach it. The doctrine to them is thus not lost. While the doctrine may not be lost, a very strong testimony for it has surely been. Which other scriptural passage is as crystal clear as 1 John 5:7 in expressing the unity of the three Persons of the Godhead? We lose a very valuable proof-text by such flippant statements against the traditional preserved text in favour of the critical cut-up text. This is not a small matter as some would like to think. Paul warned, “a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” (Gal 5:9). The 7% of missing words in the Scripture in the modern versions may be considered very little, but it is this little leaven that is destructive to God’s Word, and to His Church. Furthermore, God has promised to preserve all of His words not just His doctrines, and by faith in His promise of perfect preservation, we believe 1 John 5:7 are the inspired words of God as given in the original.

Deformation Versions

The KJV has been the undisputed Bible of the English world since 1611. But a turning point came in the late 19thcentury. It was a period of time when theological liberalism was at its height. Not only were the fundamentals of the Christian Faith attacked, the words of God were altered by such liberals as Westcott, and Hort.

In 1881, Westcott and Hort produced their edition of the Greek NT. This Greek edition differed greatly from the Greek NT underlying the KJV. Westcott and Hort made no less than 9970 changes to the inspired and preserved Greek NT underlying the KJV. Their Greek NT was based on corrupt and unreliable manuscripts, namely, the Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus. The corruptions of the Westcott and Hort have has been ably and convincingly exposed by Dean Burgon.

A multitude of English versions based on the Westcott and Hort text have been produced. This brought about the steady doctrinal and practical declension of the Church, and that is one reason why there is widespread apostasy and compromise in the Church today.

Revised Version

The RV of 1885 (NT: 1881) was the first version that sought to “correct” the KJV. This was so desired because of the emergence of the new but corrupt text of Westcott and Hort which differed significantly from the Textus Receptus underlying the KJV. The WH Text differed from the TR in 5,788 places. Among those invited to produce the RV were apostates and heretics, namely, (1) Westcott and Hort themselves, (2) John Henry Newman—#1 Roman Catholic theologian in the English speaking world at that time, (3) G Vance Smith—a Unitarian (i.e. one who denies the doctrine of the Trinity).

In his book—The Revision Revised (1883), Dean Burgon ably exposed the errors of the WH Text from which the RV was translated. For example, in the WH Text, Luke 23:34: “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” is absent; and a marginal note says, “some ancient authorities omit.” Burgon, in holy indignation, wrote against this blatant attack on God’s Word, “These twelve precious words … Drs. Westcott and Hort enclose within double brackets in token of the ‘moral certainty’ they entertain that the words are spurious. And yet these words are found in every known uncial and in every known cursive Copy, except four; besides being found in every ancient Version: and, what,— (we ask the question with sincere simplicity),—what amount of evidence is calculated to inspire undoubting confidence in any existing Reading, if not such a concurrence of Authorities as this? … We forbear to insist upon the probabilities of the case. The Divine power and sweetness of the incident shall not be enlarged upon. We introduce no considerations resulting from Internal Evidence. True, that ‘few verses of the Gospels bear in themselves a sure witness to the Truth of what they record, than this.’ (It is the admission of the very man [i.e. Dr Hort] who has nevertheless dared to brand it with suspicion.) But we reject his loathsome patronage with indignation. ‘Internal evidence,’— ‘Transcriptional Probablity’, —and all such ‘chaff and draff,’ with which he fills his pages ad nauseam, and mystifies nobody but himself,—shall be allowed no place in the present discussion” (Revision Revised, 82–3).

There were many other missing verses like 1 John 5:7 as discussed above. Many readers of the RV were greatly disturbed by the excision of the Trinitarian verse from the Bible. They felt that the doctrine of the Trinity had been undermined. It is no wonder that the RV never caught on, and not surprisingly since gone out of print. The ASV of 1901 was the American edition of the RV. As with the RV, it also did not measure up to the standard set by the KJV, and has been cast aside.

Revised Standard Version

The RSV (1952) is a revision of the ASV. It is an ecumenical Bible translated by 32 “scholars” from various modernistic denominations belonging to the National Council of Churches. Read “Rome and the RSV” by Dr Hugh Farrell (Trinitarian Bible Society).

In the original edition of the RSV, John 7:53–8:11 on the woman taken in adultery was taken out from the main text and placed in the margin. The last 12 verses of Mark were excised entirely. Today we have them back in the rightful places. Why? The RSV of course did not sit very well with the fundamentalists. This was because the RSV made a blatant attack against the virgin birth by rendering the Hebrew ’almah as “young woman” (Isa 7:14). The Virgin Birth of Christ was meant to be a miraculous sign to the house of David. If a young woman conceives, how then can it be a sign? It is a God-given miracle only if a virgin conceives. It is something supernatural and unique. The angel Gabriel quoting Isa 7:14 said that the prophecy of the Virgin Birth was fulfilled in Jesus who came from the womb of Mary, a parthenos, “a virgin.” Was the angel wrong when he told us that this is the meaning of the word ’almah in Isa 7:14? No, these so-called scholars of the RSV were in error, not the angel. The angel surely knew Hebrew and Greek much better than they! Matt 1:18 and 25 tell us in no uncertain terms that Mary was a virgin from the time she conceived Jesus till the time she gave birth to Him.

It is no wonder that Rabbi Israel Bettan criticised the RSV. He said of the RSV, “The Revised Standard Version is not a faithful translation, and in some places the revisers do violence to the original Hebrew. It is a good book on the Bible, but it is not the Bible. When asked to compare the King James Version with various other translations, the rabbi said that of the English versions mentioned the King James Version was, in his opinion, the most faithful to the original” (The Brethren Missionary Herald [Feb 1958]). The same is said by Dr Robert Alter (BA, Columbia University, MA, PhD, Harvard University) who is professor of Hebrew at the University of California, Berkeley, “Modern English versions put readers at a grotesque distance from the Hebrew Bible. To this day, the Authorized Version of 1611 (the “King James Bible”) … for all its archaisms … remains the closest we have … of the original.”

Bruce Metzger and company produced a revision of the RSV called New RSV (1989). In support of the feminist movement, it has replaced generic masculine nouns/pronouns with gender-inclusive terms. The English Standard Version (ESV) published in 2001 is the latest revision of the RSV. Although it corrects the RSV by rendering ’almah as ‘virgin” in Isa 7:14, it is still deficient and untrustworthy because it is based on the corrupt text of Westcott and Hort.

New English “Bible”

The NEB (1970) was a British work published by the Oxford and Cambridge University Presses. The translation committee consisted of those from UK Protestant Churches, viz the Church of England, Church of Scotland, the Churches of Wales and Ireland, the Methodist, Baptist, and Congregational churches, and the Society of Friends. Most of the verses relegated to the margin in the WH text are also found only in the margin of the NEB. There are thus missing verse numbers.

The NEB denies that Gen 3:15 (NEB: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your brood and hers. They shall strike at your head, and you shall strike at their heel.”) is the first gospel divinely predictive of the virgin-born Messiah. Look at the NEB’s corruption of Gen 3:15: (1) “thy seed and her seed” is changed to “your brood and hers,” and (2) The singular “it” (he) is changed to “they;” and “his” is changed to “their.” Why? There can be no other reason but to deny that Gen 3:15 is Messianic, divinely predictive of the Lord Jesus Christ.

It also attacked the prophecy of the virgin birth in Isa 7:14 following the steps of the RSV. The NEB translates the word “virgin” as “a young woman is with child.”

Today’s English Version or “Good News” for Modern Man

Published by the American Bible Society, the NT of the TEV (1966) was translated by Robert Bratcher, a modernist. The complete Bible came out in 1976 and was renamed the Good News Bible (GNB).

The TEV/GNB attacks the blood of Christ. In 10 places the word. “blood” has been replaced by the word “death” (Acts 20:28, Rom 3:25, 5:9, Eph 1:7, 2:13, Col 1:14, 20, 1 Pet 1:19, Rev 1:5, 5:9). The Greek haima means “blood” not “death.” If Jesus’ death was a bloodless one, it would have been in vain, for “without shedding of blood there is no remission” (Heb 9:22 cf 1 Pet 1:19).

The TEV/GNB employed the dynamic equivalence method of translation. Dr Tan Wai Choon criticised the TEV: “a translation of this type is not really a translation at all but a paraphrase and commentary. Very little of the TEV (i.e. the Good News Bible) is literal. Almost every verse has been injected with the opinion of the translator as to what he thinks the Greek text means, rather than what it says. … Aside from its basic failure to provide a literal translation, it is simply not accurate” (“What’s Wrong with the Good News Bible?” FEBC Press, nd, np). The sound criticism above applies equally to the NIV which adopts the same erroneous method of translating Scripture.

Living “Bible”

The Living Bible (1971) was translated by Kenneth Taylor. It was not a translation of the original text, but a paraphrasing of the ASV. According to Taylor, paraphrasing is “to say something in different words than the author used. It is a restatement of the author’s thoughts, using different words than he did.” This is a most unacceptable method of translating the Scriptures. It is deceptive to name it the “Living Bible.” It is neither “Bible” nor “Living.” Such a paraphrase should be called “The Deadly Bible.” I heard a prominent Bible professor at an ETS (Evangelical Theological Society) meeting say that if he wanted to find out what the Scripture does not mean, he would consult the Living Bible.

Consider the vulgar and inappropriate language used: Gen 13:17, God tells Abraham to “hike in all directions;” 1 Sam 20:30, Saul reviling Jonathan, “You son of a bitch!;” 2 Sam 13:11, “Come to bed with me, my darling;” Isa 41:24, “Anyone who chooses you needs to have his head examined;” Zech 8:9, Jehovah says, “Get on with the job and finish it;” Matt 11:19, “You complain that I hang around with the worst sort of sinners;” Mark 2:16, “How can He stand it, to eat with such scum;” John 9:34, “You illegitimate bastard;” John 11:49, “You stupid idiots;” Acts 4:36, “Barny the Preacher.”

The Living Bible has sold at least 40 million copies. In 1996 they released the New Living Translation which is not much of an improvement from the old one. See David Cloud, “The New Living Translation: A Weak Rendering of a Corrupt Text,” O Timothy 13 (1996):1–11.

New American Standard “Bible”

The NASB (1971) is another revision of the ASV, prepared by 32 scholars who believed in the inspiration of the Bible, and published by the Lockman Foundation. It is a literal translation of the Scriptures which sought to be “as close as possible to the actual wording and grammatical structure of the original writers.” Although it has adopted a correct translational methodology, it failed in using a correct text.

Dr Frank Logsdon who was one of the NASB translators, and who wrote the preface, later renounced the version he helped produce. He renounced all attachment to the NASB because it was based on the Westcott and Hort text. One may ask, “Well, didn’t he know it in the first place?” Logsdon testified, “Well up to that time I thought the Westcott and Hort was the text. You were intelligent if you believed the Westcott and Hort. Some of the finest people in the world believe in that Greek text, the finest leaders that we have today. You’d be surprised; if I told you you wouldn’t believe it. They haven’t gone into it just as I hadn’t gone into it; [they’re] just taking it for granted. … But I finally got to the place where I said, … ‘I’m in trouble, I can’t refute these arguments; it’s wrong; it’s terribly wrong; it’s frightfully wrong; and what am I going to do about it? … I must under God renounce every attachment to the New American Standard’” (See “From the NASV to the KJV,” by S Franklin Logsdon).

New International Version

The NIV (1978) is said to be the best-selling Bible version today. Although the NIV may be written in modern-day English, it is an untrustworthy version because it is based on the corrupt Westcott-Hort text, and on a dynamic equivalence method of translation.

According to Jack Moorman, there are a total of 140,521 Greek words in the traditional Greek New Testament. Now, out of these 140,521 words, 2,886 words are missing in the corrupted Greek text used by the NIV. The NIV for instance omits the following 17 verses in their entirety: Matt 18:11, 23:14; Mark 7:16, 9:44,46, 11:26; 15:28; Luke 17:36, 23:17; 5:4; Acts 8:37, 15:34, 24:7, 28:29; Rom 16:24; 1 John 5:7. For other examples please see Jack A Moorman, Modern Bibles: The Dark Secret (California: Fundamental Evangelistic Association, nd).

There are numerous mistranslations of God’s Word in the NIV. Let me highlight a couple of these mistranslations. The NIV clearly mistranslated Ps 12:7 on the preservation of God’s words. The NIV reads, “And the words of the LORD are flawless like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times. O LORD, you will keep us safe and protect us from such people forever” (Ps 12:6–7). Note the change from “keep them” to “keep us,” and “preserve them” to “protect us.” They changed the pronouns from third plural (i.e. “them”) to first plural (i.e. “us”). Is this a correct or accurate translation?

In Hebrew, the first word is tishmerem. The -em suffix means “them” not “us.” He will keep “them” (so KJV) is correct. The second word is titzrennu. The -ennu suffix (with an energetic nun) is third singular (i.e.“him”), not first plural (i.e. “us). The energetic nun is emphatic (i.e. “every one of them,” see KJV marginal note). So it should be translated preserve “them” (i.e. “every single word of His words”) not “us” (i.e. “every single person of His people”). By incorrectly and inaccurately translating Ps 12:7, the NIV has effectively removed the doctrine of Bible preservation from this text.

Another serious mistranslation of the NIV is found in Isa 49:12 on God’s promise to the Chinese (see Timothy Tow, “NIV Turns ‘Land of Sinim’ into ‘Region of Aswan’ by a Twist of the Ball-Pen!The Burning Bush 2 [1996]: 73–5; the article is published online at http://www.febc.edu.sg/burningbush.htm). By translating Sinim as Aswan, the NIV has erased the Chinese people from the Bible!

A Return to the Reformation

In an age when the pressure to be popular, to compromise and to apostasise is so great, there is a real need to remember and to return to the old time faith of the Protestant Reformation as expressed in the Biblical dicta of Grace alone, Faith alone, Christ alone, Scripture alone, and to the Glory of God alone. In this postmodern and postconservative age, the temptation is great to renounce the forever infallible and inerrant Word of God as found in the 100% inspired and 100% preserved Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek words of the Reformation Bible and the KJV, and to denounce the Protestant Reformation of Luther and the Reformed Faith of Calvin as a mistake in the history of the church.

But true Protestant sons and Bible-loving Christians should resist the seduction of ecumenical unity at the expense of truth, and the temptations of a neo-deistic worldview that denies the present perfection of the Holy Scriptures.

Let us hold fast to the fundamental doctrine of the verbal plenary inspiration and verbal plenary preservation of the Scriptures, and the biblical practice of personal and ecclesiastical separation.

Dr Jeffrey Khoo is academic dean of the Far Eastern Bible College.

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