From the Mailbag, Volume 2
by Brandon Staggs, editor
This website generates an enormous volume of email. I am unable to respond to much of the mail I receive, but I thought it would be a good idea to give a sampling of the email and my responses. To that end, here is volume two of From the Mailbag. To protect privacy, names and email address are not included.
Have you any evidence or examples where [the NKJV] blunders badly in relation to the Westcott and Hort text?
The NKJV is a dangerous translation because so many people assume it to be a mere "update" of the King James Version. Although it does not include as many of Wescott and Hort's alterations as most modern translations do, it still includes many, and incorporates numerous footnotes that cast doubt on the reliability of God's word.
An examination of some of the problems with the NKJV can found here.
Here's a thought, brother, for those who ask you, "How can God preserve His Word?" To say it simply, "Did He not make the universe?" "Did He not make the earth and all things there in it?" "Did he not make man in His own image?" "Does He not have control over the seasons and the weather?" "If he can do all that, and preserve the air so we can have air the breath, how hard would it be for Him to preserve The Bible?"
I tell others this when asked. It may not be popular, but then again, doing anything for God is never popular. The flesh does not want anything but to please itself.
I am struggling with folks that want to use a more modern text for their "readability" and as your research suggests have even been confronted with a pastor that draws question to our Trinitarian doctrine based on the omission of 1John 5:7 in the newer versions. Recently a new version has come out that has been adopted by many Baptists called the Holman CSB. Do you know what the origins of this version are and who its authors are?
The "readability" issue is one I have found to typically be a red herring. I never did well in my English classes, I have been diagnosed with dyslexia, and my Bible of choice was the NIV for many years. But once I decided to trust the KJV, I got over the "hard to read" notion pretty quickly, and in fact found things were made more clear to me than they ever had been before.
The other day I was doing a Bible study with my eight year old son. We were reading a summary account of an Old Testament story which was written in contemporary English. He read a sentence that said "how are you," and he paused, looked at me, and said: "or, how art thou?" It got me thinking -- if an eight year old boy can seamlessly switch between contemporary English and "King James" English, why can't adults? Of course, he has the benefit of having been raised on the King James Bible, and I don't discount that either.
But the real question comes down to study. The Bible says that a workman is to study to show himself approved. An English speaker shouldn't use difficulty with English as an excuse not to read from the KJV. I'm more concerned with the preeminence of Christ being slashed out of my Bible than with the need to reference a dictionary on occasion.
But take it from someone who switched from an "easy" translation (the NIV) to the KJV. Any learning curve is easily handled with a short period of study with a dictionary (such as the Webster's 1828 Dictionary), or a small "lexicon" like the King James Bible Companion. I've even got an abridged version of the Webster 1828 as a KJV Dictionary on the site.
You mention 1st John 5:7. That is an excellent example of a direct attack on Scripture and the vary nature of God.
As for the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB): it is nothing more than yet another translation from the corrupt Westcott and Hort style manuscripts (in this case, the NA27 and UBS4 variants -- nothing new there). To help the Christian "understand" his easy to understand Bible, they helpfully put entire verses and phrases in brackets, so the reader knows they are not part of the "original text." A sort of do-it-yourself Bible correction kit, I guess. The Holman CSB is just another publisher's attempt at cashing in on the "Bible of the year" club.
Will Kinney has an article on the Holman CSB.
[Have you] thought about updating your comparision in all the newest versions of the bible that have come out?
At the rate publishers are releasing new versions, I don't think I could keep up. I think the best comparison tool is to use the Wescott and Hort Magic Marker Binge sheet as a guide for "testing" a Bible version to see where it comes from.
cs..@b.n, writes (in response to the example of Mt 1:25):
To make all "moderns" as trying to adhere to RCC doctrine and deny that Mary had more children is simply silly. That is not the only place where one can find from Scripture that Jesus had
brothers... If they wanted to take this idea out, wouldn't they have "changed" (as you wrongly put it) Luke 2:7 also where the doctrine is clearly seen? I could go on to other places where the "modern" versions have not taken this away.
The writer is referring to Matthew 1:25, where the KJV reads "firstborn son" and most modern versions read "a son."
I include this comment not because of the doctrinal issue in question, but because it highlights a fallacy commonly employed by defenders of modern versions. As the above argument goes, if a modern version doesn't remove every reference to a point, then it really hasn't attacked it at all.
Only a little bit if discernment need be had in order to see what's wrong with this line of thinking. Of course a Bible translation isn't going to, in one fell swoop, remove every reference to the deity of Christ (or in this case, references that clearly imply Mary had more than one son). Just as there had to be a New International Version before there could be a Today's New International Version, there is a clear and obvious progression of corruption. An examination of Bible versions over the last 200 years does in fact show a steady worsening of what is removed and changed. Arguing that it's "still in there somewhere" is not exactly convincing. By the time it's finally completely gone, you won't even notice at that point.
What I don't understand is why you (and obviously many others) would spend so much time nitpicking all the other translations of the Bible.
Calling attention to verses about the Deity of Christ being changed or deleted isn't what I'd call "nitpicking."
"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" (Hosea 4:6). Somebody needs to point out what's actually happening here. Most Christians, through no fault of their own, have no knowledge of the origin and translation of the Bible. They are told by bookstore salesmen that which Bible you choose is no more of an issue than what brand of shoes you like to wear.
I had no idea of the scale of the differences between "versions" of the Bible until someone showed me.