Which Bible Version: Does It Really Matter?

(Based on an address given by the Rev. David Blunt to the TBS Day Conference held in Inverness, Scotland, October 2003)

The subject of Bible versions is by no means an academic one, as some may think. It may have academic aspects to it but it is really a very personal subject which affects every believer. We trust that we have all been called by the grace of God to know and love the Lord Jesus Christ. Our desire now is to glorify and to enjoy God. We believe that the Word of God is the only rule to direct us in this our chief end and we believe that the Word of God is to be found only in the Bible. If we are to glorify and enjoy God then we are bound to make use of the Bible. But which Bible are we to use? There are a great many versions on offer today. We must therefore make a choice of one version from among the many. Which one will it be? Will it be the Authorised Version? Will it be a modern version? Does it really matter? Every Christian should have a keen interest in this subject.

Read more: https://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.tbsbibles.org/resource/collection/D4DCAF37-AEB6-4CEC-880F-FD229A90560F/Which-Version-Does-it-Really-Matter.pdf


“Righteousness” versus “Righteous Acts”

A. Stoutjesdyk:

What would Luther think of modern English translations of Revelation 19.8? Here the Word of God tells us that the saints will ‘be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints ’. Now compare the phrase in bold with the wording found in many modern Bible versions used today. According to these, fine linen is (or stands for) the ‘ righteous acts ’ of the saints.

Luther would have objected strenuously to such a translation. The Lord had taught him that he had no righteous acts to commend him to God’s favour; his own righteousness was no more than filthy rags. Luther needed to have Christ’s righteousness wrapped about him just as a fine linen garment is wrapped around the shoulders of a human body, as the prophet Isaiah so aptly describes it (61.10). Christ’s imputed righteousness is the only justifying righteousness of the saints.

~”The Bible and the Protestant Reformation,” page 10 (13 of 29), Trinitarian Bible Society, available online at https://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.tbsbibles.org/resource/collection/3F452A51-1CC4-4DB6-964F-9D234CC4E7CE/The-Bible-and-the-Protestant-Reformation.pdf

What is JEDP Theory?

Question: “What is the JEDP Theory?”

Answer: In brief, the JEDP theory states that the first five books of the Bible, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, were not written entirely by Moses, who died in the 1400’s B.C., but also by different authors/compilers after Moses. The theory is based on the fact that different names for God are used in different portions of the Pentateuch, and there are detectable differences in linguistic style. The letters of the JEDP theory stand for the four supposed authors: the author who uses Jehovah for God’s name, the author who uses Elohim for God’s name, the author of Deuteronomy, and the priestly author of Leviticus. The JEDP theory goes on to state that the different portions of the Pentateuch were likely compiled in the 4th Century B.C., possibly by Ezra.

So, why are there different names for God in books supposedly written by a single author? For example, Genesis chapter 1 uses the name Elohim while Genesis chapter 2 uses the name YHWH. Patterns like this occur quite frequently in the Pentateuch. The answer is simple. Moses used God’s names to make a point. In Genesis chapter 1, God is Elohim, the mighty Creator God. In Genesis chapter 2, God is Yahweh, the personal God who created and relates to humanity. This does not point to different authors but to a single author using God’s various names to emphasize a point and describe different aspects of His character.

Regarding the different styles, should we not expect an author to have a different style when he is writing history (Genesis), writing legal statutes (Exodus, Deuteronomy), and writing intricate details of the sacrificial system (Leviticus)? The JEDP theory takes the explainable differences in the Pentateuch and invents an elaborate theory that has no basis in reality or history. No J, E, D, or P document has ever been discovered. No ancient Jewish or Christian scholar has even hinted that such documents existed.

The most powerful argument against the JEDP theory is the Bible itself. Jesus, in Mark 12:26, said, “Now about the dead rising—have you not read in the book of Moses, in the account of the bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’?” Therefore, Jesus says plainly that Moses wrote the account of the burning bush in Exodus 3:1-3. Luke, in Acts 3:22, comments on a passage in Deuteronomy 18:15 and credits Moses as being the author of that passage. Paul, in Romans 10:5, talks about the righteousness Moses describes in Leviticus 18:5. Paul, therefore, testifies that Moses is the author of Leviticus. So, we have Jesus showing that Moses was the author of Exodus, Luke (in Acts) showing that Moses wrote Deuteronomy, and Paul saying that Moses was the author of Leviticus. In order for the JEDP theory to be true, Jesus, Luke, and Paul must all either be liars or be in error in their understanding of the Old Testament. Let us put our faith in Jesus and the human authors of Scripture rather than the ridiculous and baseless JEDP theory (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Recommended Resource: Inspiration and Authority of the Bible by Benjamin Warfield and Logos Bible Software.

Source: https://www.gotquestions.org/JEDP-theory.html

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Contrary to the Facts

Arian, Unitarian pastor Dr. Vance Smith, who was on Westcott and Hort’s Revision Committee:

“…It has been frequently said that the changes of translation…are of little importance from a doctrinal point of view…[A]ny such statement [is]…contrary to the facts.”

~Texts and Margins of the Revised New Testament Affecting Theological Doctrine Briefly Reviewed, by Dr. Vance Smith (London: 1881), page 45.

Source: https://puritanboard.com/threads/review-of-burgons-revision-revised.94168/page-2, Comment 36

Protestant Bibles Could No Longer Be Distributed

Here is some food for thought in light of previous posts showing the Roman Catholic Church’s involvement in the modern Bible translation industry.  Is their involvement something Protestants should applaud?:

Nino Lo Bello, The Vatican Empire, “The Lateran Treaty V:”

The 1929 treaty was actually a unity of three separate agreements: the Lateran Pact, which provided for the creation of the new State of Vatican City; the Financial Convention, which granted payments to the Church for the loss of its temporal powers; and the Concordat, which gave the Vatican powers and privileges to administer its own special affairs…

The Concordat also stipulated that Protestant Bibles could no longer be distributed in Italy, that evangelical meetings in private homes were forbidden, and that Catholicism was to be Italy’s official religion. Furthermore, religious teaching was to be extended into state schools and religion made a compulsory subject at the primary and secondary levels; Church-related educational institutions were to receive preferences over similar lay or state institutions. Finally, February 11 was named a national holiday to commemorate the signing of the treaty.

Read more: http://www.jamesjpn.net/roman-catholicism/the-vatican-empire/6/

A Jesuit on the Committee

Dr. Ken Matto, “Did Rome Give Us The Bible?:”

Let us bring the Greek manuscripts to today. The Hort and Westcott manuscripts are found today in the United Bible Societies Greek New Testament, the latest being the fourth revision and the Nestle Aland Novum Testamentum Graece which has had 27 revisions. Both of these underlie all the modern versions which means they are derivatives of the Roman Catholic manuscripts of Hort and Westcott.

On the editorial committees of each one is a man named Carlo Montini. Carlo Montini is a Jesuit Cardinal. This means that not only are the manuscripts Roman Catholic, there was even a Roman Catholic Jesuit on the Greek committees of both the Nestle-Aland and the United Bible Societies. This means that Rome has been heavily involved in the modern version movement since these manuscripts underlie all the modern versions.

Source and read more: http://www.scionofzion.com/rome_bible.htm

They Do Not Have The Spiritual Or Intellectual Tools

I find the flaw in that thinking as follows: the men who originated and developed the field of rationalistic textual criticism, adopted by the Germans, and then imported wholesale into the critical philosophy and text of Westcott and Hort, and from there into all modern studies – these original men held (with rare exceptions) an anti-supernatural bias: miracles are untrue, Jesus Christ was not God manifest in the flesh (and get rid of that verse in 1 Tim 3:16!), there is no personal god and no personal devil (away with such superstitions!), thus there is no supernatural aspect to either the writing or transmission of the Bible. When these men, with this thinking, put their hands to the text, they will naturally gravitate away from the cares and values of the church – into whose care the Bible was committed, just as it was committed into the care of the priests of the OT – and they will adjudge the genuineness or falsity of various readings, variants, texts according to a methodology not neutral but hostile to the Faith. They will not have the spiritual or intellectual tools to properly deal with the Deposit they have gotten hold of. Like a group of men given to cut the rarest of diamonds, say, around 7,000 carats uncut – almost twice as large as the Cullinan Diamonds (3,106 uncut) – and the tools they use would be a sledgehammer and rock chisel. They’ll cut it, alright, but they’ll destroy it, or at least what it could have been, because their tools and philosophy are not adequate for the job. Or to use another figure. You have a new Mercedes Benz with a loose sparkplug; you take it to a village blacksmith in the forests of Australia who has never seen a car, and tell him to fix it. He does not have the tools or the knowledge to put his hand to the car. He cannot but hurt it.

Can men who do not believe in God, or in the word this God inspired men to record, be qualified to put their hands to it? Nay, men who hate even the idea of this God and His kingdom of righteousness, can they be accounted worthy to put their hands to His Book and tell others what is true and false with regard to it?

Now these men may be able to do things which pertain to the flesh, such as cook a good soup, write good poetry, build a good bridge, conceive of and make computers, fly into outer space, etc etc. But can they discern the name of the Lord, or that which is magnified by Him above all His name, to wit, His word? (Ps 138:2)

They may be able to literarily criticize worldly books, but what have they to do with the Book of the Sovereign of Heaven and earth, being His avowed enemies, and loathing His commandments?

Source: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/skepticism-and-doubt-toward-the-bible.52046/, Comment 11