- Trivial Omissions
One of the most common accusations leveled against the newer versions are the omissions of titles to Jesus being Lord or Christ in many verses. David Sorenson in his book “Touch not the Unclean Thing” says that the NASB deletes 178 references to Jesus by name or by title being Lord or Christ. He admits that the NASB doesn’t destroy the doctrine of the Lordship of Christ, but that this translation greatly dilutes it and weakens it. One of these examples is absolutely biased and laughable when you see the difference:
Romans 14:6KJV He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.
Romans 14:6 NASB He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, 1does so for the Lord, for he agives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God.
The KJV says Lord 4X and the NASB says it 3X…do we smell a conspiracy? If the NASB was trying to rid the Bible of The Lordship of Christ, they forgot the other three references! Anyway, there are other verses that are more obvious where there are omissions of these titles for example:
2 Corinthians 4:10 KJV Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
2 Corinthians 4:10 NASB always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.
Both versions are word for word formal equivalent translations, so they both are accurately reflecting the underlying text. The NASB follows the NA27 and the KJV follows Beza’s TR. So, among the translational differences between these formal equivalent translations, the main issue is the Greek text. So, is there a reason why the NA27 has fewer title references that can be easily explained? I believe so.
Why would the newer Bibles not include these passages or titles that are not found in the majority or TR? There is a theory that makes sense, although it may not be totally provable since none of us were there. In some cases, it’s obvious that a verse has been either repeated or imported from another place in the text. In Mark 9:44 and 46 the phrase “where the worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched” has possibly been inserted into later manuscripts in both places, repeating the very same phrase found later in verse 48. It is impossible to say that someone was purposefully trying to hide or change anything. Most of the time these differences are found in the footnotes, which a conspirator would hardly try to include. This borrowing language from one part of scripture added to another place is usually for the harmonization of a passage when a scribe would copy a page. So prevalent is the occurrence of parallel influence that it is unnecessary to examine each and every example. Instead, we can look at a few that are often cited as examples of corrupting the text and you’ll see that they are not a corruption, but rather that the TR may have had some scribal insertions from other parts of scripture.
KJV Other Version Borrowed Verse
|Matthew 1:25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.
||Matthew 1:25 NASB 1but kept her a virgin until she agave birth to a Son; and bhe called His name Jesus.
||Luke 2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
|Matthew 8:29 And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?
||Matthew 8:29 ESV And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?”
||Mark 1:24 24 Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.
|Matthew 20:16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.
||Matthew 20:16 NJB Thus the last will be first, and the first, last.’
||Matthew 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.
The fact is, each of these (and there are many others) where the newer version is lacking a phrase, the text that is found in the KJV, the same material can be found elsewhere in the gospels in the newer versions. Sometimes these kinds of omissions also occur on verses where there is a doctrinal difference made. For example:
Colossians 1:14 KJV 14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
Colossians 1:14 NASB 14 ain whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
There are a number of parallels between Colossians and Ephesians so there is also a harmonization between the two that may have been done with texts like this by scribes that wrote some of the foundational texts of the majority Byzantine MSS. As you can see, the blood is not left out of the NASB in Ephesians: Ephesians 2:13 But now in aChrist Jesus you who bformerly were cfar off 1have cbeen brought near 2dby the blood of Christ.
Again, the charge of conspiracy doesn’t hold up. Could it be said that the NASB is weaker? It could, but if you are a Bible student who diligently studies, you will not miss this doctrine in the NASB or any other good formal equivalent translation.
Then there are differences that are not due to parallel influence. They are due to a difference in the MSS due to the scribal errors, or copying a MSS that they had with a different word:
Matthew 16:20 KJV Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.
Matthew 16:20 NASB Then He 1warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was 2bthe Christ.
How can these possibly be explained? At times the “expansion of piety” led scribes to insert a name in such a way as to create a problem. This verse provides us with such an instance. After the great confession of faith by Peter, the Lord tells him to keep his identity a secret for a while. It would be very well known that the Christ is Jesus. Those being spoken to would not have had a problem understanding, and neither should we. The pronoun “he” directly refers to the one speaking – obviously, Jesus.
Again, these omissions are in the original text that is being translated from and the reason for their omissions are really not known for sure by anyone. Could it have been a conspiracy to take away from the Word of God? Possibly, but unlikely since there are so many other references to Christ’s Lordship, deity, and so forth.
If someone wants to insist that the modern versions are corrupted for leaving out these titles and references to Jesus, then that same standard must be used against the KJV. For example:
John 6:47 KJV Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
John 6:47 NIV I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.
The KJVO Advocate will be quick to point out that the NIV has omitted the words “on me” which do not appear in the older MSS and it could be argued that believing in general isn’t sufficient for salvation… right? Believe on who? Santa Clause, the easter bunny, the tooth fairy? DA Waite says: “This is one of the clearest theological errors in these new versions. To make salvation only a matter of believing rather than solely, as Christ said in this verse “believing on me” is truly another gospel. If you were trying to lead someone to the Lord with an NIV or NASB, you could lead them to any of the world religions. This is a serious theological perversion! This is certainly a matter of doctrine and theology.”
This kind of outrageous statements are made to strike fear into your heart about another version, but it shows his incredible bias because just a few verses earlier, the NIV reads:
John 6:35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.
John 6:40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
If the NIV was purposely trying to pervert the gospel, they forgot to delete “in me and in him” in these verses. I think people like DA Waite are so blatantly biased, that they will purposefully ignore these verses to push the KJVO hype and scare undiscerning Christians who read their books full of conspiracy theory and vitriolic anger.
If you really want to say that the other texts and versions are perversions because of these kinds of differences, then that same standard that Waite puts on the NIV will also condemn the KJV. Here’s what I mean:
Mark 9:23 KJV Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
Romans 1:16 KJV For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
Believeth in what or who? It doesn’t tell us specifically, but the context answers the question for you in the KJV just like it does in the other problem verses concerning the other versions. In fact, there are some places, where the NIV, NASB, ESV and others might look stronger in doctrine than the KJV if this argument is to be taken to its full logical conclusions:
KJV Other Versions
|Romans 8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died,
||Romans 8:34 ESV Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died –
|1 Timothy 1:17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
||1 Timothy 1:17 NIV 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
|1 John 4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God:
||1 John 4:3 NASB and every spirit that adoes not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the bantichrist,
|Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
||Titus 2:13 NASB looking for the blessed hope and the aappearing of the glory of 1bour great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,
|2 Peter 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:
||2 Peter 1:1 NKJV Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:
2. Weightier Omissions and differences
Are there any omissions that would cause a real theological problem? I have found a few that I think could possibly be a real dilemma:
Matthew 5:21-22 KJV Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: 22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
Matthew 5:22 ESV, NASB, But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother1 will be liable to judgment; whoever insults2 his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell3 of fire.
In the newer versions, “without a cause” is missing in the older MSS and so the teaching, if isolated, becomes a blanket prohibition against anger and that there is no cause or reason for anger that is justifiable. As we know, the Bible is full of places where the anger of the Lord was kindled. So, we know that no all anger is sinful – such as the Lord’s righteous indignation. So, this passage makes it unclear about that and could possibly cause confusion if a person is not knowledgeable about how to study the scriptures deeper to find out more about the subject. “Without a cause” is really a disclaimer or a “qualifying” clause that makes the teaching more clear. Some may argue that the words were not in the originals, but they really don’t know that either. So, to be safe I would go with the KJV and NKJV reading. The same kind of argument can be said about passages concerning baptism: if Acts 2:38 Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
If this verse was the only one in the Bible dealing with salvation, I would have to say that baptism is essential for justification, but based on other teaching, we should realize that it is not saying that. The same goes for the anger verse. If you read the rest of scripture, you’d come to understand the difference between sinful anger and righteous anger.
Here’s another problem verse that gets a lot of attention by those advocating a KJVO position:
John 7:8 KJV Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast; for my time is not yet full come.
John 7:8 NASB Go up to the feast yourselves; I do not go up to this feast because aMy time has not yet fully come.”
The difference here is one word that apparently makes Jesus look like a liar in the NASB. He says he’s not going to the feast yet in the KJV, but in the NASB, he just says that he’s not going, which appears that he’s not going at all. Then in verse 10, John 7:10 NASB 10 But when His abrothers had gone up to the feast, then He Himself also went up, not publicly, but as if, in secret.
There is a perfectly understandable explanation of this without involving Jesus in dishonesty: By not going up to the feast, Jesus is referring to the public procession to Jerusalem that would have involved thousands of people. The “not going” could be interpreted “not going openly, or not going yet” because he states that his time has not yet come. Even though this may be a good explanation for the omission of the word, it still makes more sense that the word be there and is a safer reading in the KJV if Jesus is referring to not going to the feast at all. But what if Jesus is saying I’m not going at all in the way his half brothers are telling him to go: openly, as Messiah, which is what they meant? Then you have the context fixing the problem of the word “yet” not being there, if in fact it is supposed to be missing in the originals. Here’s what I mean:
In some early manuscripts, the word yet does not appear in John 7:8, so some translations read, “I am not going up to this feast.” Some people will say that a copyist probably added the word yet to verse 8 to bring it in harmony with verse 10 and prevent the appearance that Jesus lied and that the original text would not have included the word yet.
In verse 8, Jesus says, “I’m not going” in response to his brothers’ invitation to accompany them and to make a big production of Himself at the feast. It was a little premature to come on the clouds in glory. In His second coming, Jesus will re-institute the feast of tabernacles according to the book of Revelation. So by saying that I’m not going to this feast, He could have meant I’m not going like you all are telling me – openly, in glory – to this feast.
In verse 9, It says that Jesus in fact did not go. He did not accompany them, and He did not go as a public figure, as they wanted. In verse 10, it says “However, after his brothers had left for the feast, he went also, not publicly, but in secret.”
So it seems to me that even if the word yet is a well-intended scribal emendation, it is what Jesus meant and what John intended to represent Jesus as meaning. The brothers say, “Jesus, you ought to go and make a public spectacle of yourself, to show everyone who you really are.” John adds, in an aside to the reader, that they were really trying to call Jesus’ bluff, they didn’t really believe in Him. Jesus says, “No, it isn’t time for me to do that, so under those conditions, I’m not going.” Since Jesus wanted to go incognito, He couldn’t go with people who intended to make a big deal out of Him. And so in fact He didn’t go with them. But after they left, it was possible for Him to go secretly, so He did.
Imagine if someone drove up in a dilapidated old car and said, “Are you going to church? Why don’t you ride with me?” You look at the jalopy and you remember that the driver is a speedster with a bad driving record, so you say, “No way! I’m not going.” They drive off, and then you take the bus. You didn’t lie when you said “I’m not going.” It was an elliptical statement that included the context of the situation. It could be that a scribe inserted the word “yet” as a way to clarify what Jesus meant (scribal revisionism) much like translators do today when they think they know how the reading should go. Could it be that someone added to God’s word in this case? Maybe, but either way, the Bible vindicates itself.
Another one that is commonly pointed out as an error in the newer versions is concerning the deity of Christ in regard to who His father is:
Luke 2:33 KJV And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.
Luke 2:33 ESV And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him.
This is the case of a textual variant in the original MSS, and the older ones say “father” while the Byzantine primarily says “Joseph”. This shouldn’t be a problem because the in all translations they make it clear that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Ghost – Matthew 1:20 NASB But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “aJoseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for 1the Child who has been 2conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.
If that doesn’t satisfy you, then you need to again, use this argument against your own KJV and level the same heretical charge against it in Luke 2:48 And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.
So, as we have seen from a number of passages from various other versions, the differences that seem to be of enormous consequence are really rather trivial in relation to theology. They don’t change anything. Of course, like I said last week, there are other versions that do have a political agenda in their choice of words in the translation and I am not interested in defending or vindicating them. We can see from these popular versions: the NIV, ESV, NKJV and NASB that concerning the doctrine of God, they are certainly not guilty of being perverted.
3. The KJV and NKJV
Before we finish, I wan to address the New King James Version which is also rejected by the KJVO advocates for various spurious reasons. I often read and study from a NKJV and recommend the MacArthur Study Bible which is also available in the NKJV. One of the most staunch KJVO advocates, Dr. David Sorenson wrote a book a few years ago called “Touch Not the Unclean Thing” where he refers to the other versions and MSS as unclean and apostate. We have already seen that although some apostates may have had their hands involved in the textual criticism and translation of the newer texts and newer versions, they still hold together as the inspired Word of God – howbeit in some cases – perhaps incomplete.
David Sorenson critiques the NKJV and tries to discredit for various reasons. Some of the reasons would be these:
- The more precise KJV language uses pronouns such as the “thee’s, thou’s and ye’s,” are all substituted for the more general word “you”. This, he claims, makes it weaker. Well, the truth is – nobody talks that way anymore, and the increasing number of people who are in our country speaking English as a second language have a hard time understanding these kinds of words as well as other archaic.
- The footnotes refer back to the Older Alexandrian MSS when there is a textual variant. According to Sorenson, these MSS are “apostate” and he thinks that the NKJV undermines the true readings of the originals. However, if you are aware of the text issues and you have learned the history of how we got our Bible, these footnotes should not alarm you.
- Inconsistency in capitalizing the prounouns referring to God. This feature is not found in any other version that I can find, but because they may have missed a few, Sorenson uses this to discredit the NKJV’s reliability. EG Psalm 89:27 Also I will make him My firstborn, The highest of the kings of the earth.
- The changing of the word “miracle” to “sign” which only appears four times in the book of John only. He tries to accuse the NKJV of downplaying the supernatural, but the truth is, Jesus’ miracles in John are considered signs as John himself calls them in 20:30. They were just trying to be consistent in translation with John’s use of miracles.
- Weakness in translation concerning Christ as Creator.
John 1:3 NKJV All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
1 Corinthians 8:6 NKJV yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.
This again, is a spurious argument. The Greek word “dia” is literally means “through, by or by means of”. This does nothing to undercut Christ’s deity or His being the Creator. If this is all that he can come up with to discredit the NKJV as a weak or faulty translation, then you should be encouraged to use one, because these arguments show either his ignorance or blatant bias.
In closing, let me read from the preface to the reader from the translators of the KJV written in 1611 which is probably not in most of your Bibles anymore, but is very important that we understand what they had in mind when they translated it:
“Many men’s mouths have been opened a good while (and are yet to be stopped) with speeches about the translation so long in hand, or rather persuals of translations made before: and ask what may be the reason, what the necessity, of the employment? Hath the church been deceived, say they, all this while? Hath her sweet bread been mingled with leaven, etc…We hoped that we had been in the right way, that we had had the oracles of God delivered unto us, and that though all the world had cause to be offended, and to complain, yet that we had none….Was their translation good before? My do they now mend it? Was it not good? Why then was it obtruded to the people?…Do we condemn the ancient? In no case: but after the endeavors of them that were before us, we take the best pains we can in the house of God….We are so far off from condemning any of their labors that travelled before us in this kind…we acknowledge them to have been raised up of God for the building and furnishing of his church, and that they deserve to be had of us and of posterity in everlasting remembrance.
-An Answer to the imputations of our adversaries-
Now to the latter we answer, that we do not deny, nay we affirm and avow, that the very meanest (poorest) translation of the bible in English set forth by men of our profession containeth the word of God, nay is the word of God as the kings speech which he uttered in parlament, being translated in French, Dutch, and Latin is still the king’s speech….Truly dear Christian reader, we never thought from the beginning that we should need to make a new translation, nor yet to make of a bad one a good one; but to make a good one better, or out of many good ones one principle good one, not justly to be excepted against; that hath been our endeavor, that our mark.
Some, perhaps would have no variety of senses to be set in the margin, lest the authority of the Scriptures for deciding of controversies by that show of uncertainty should somewhat be shaken. But we hold their judgment not to be so sound in this point….it hath pleased God in his Divine Providence here and there to scatter words and sentences of that difficulty and doubtfulness, not in doctrinal points that concern salvation (for in such it hath been vouched that the Scriptures are plain) but in matters of less moment (less theological weight) that fearfulness would better beseem us than confidence and if we will resolve to resolve upon modesty with St. Augstine: ‘it is better to make doubt of those things which are secret, than to strive about those things that are uncertain.’ There are many words in the scriptures which be never found there but once, so that we cannot be uphlpen by conference places…Now in such a case doth not a margin do well to admonish the reader to seek further, and not to conclude or dogmatize upon this or that peremptorily (absolutely or positively)? For as it is a fault to doubt those things that are evident, so to determine of such things as the Spirit of God hath left questionable, can be no less than presumption. Therefore as St. Augustine saith, that variety of translations is profitable for the finding out of the sense of the Scriptures. So diversity of signification and sense in the margin, where the text is not so clear, must needs be good, yea is necessary as we are persuaded.
Another thing to admonish thee of, gentle reader, that we have not tied ourselves to an uniformity of phrasing (what Sorenson gripes about concerning the NKJV), or to the identifying of words…
We commend thee to God and to the Spirit of grace….he removeth the scales from our eyes, the veil from our hearts, opening the wits that we may understand His word.”
May we learn and take the good advice of the KJV translators. Amen.
 Defending the KJV, DA Waite, p.158