Is the NIV a Perversion?
Is there a conspiracy among modern translations to pervert the Word of God? There are quite a few militant groups who are advocating this sort of teaching. Although there are some translations that are poorly done, this does not indicate that someone is trying to pervert the Word of God. Many of these individuals who attack the modern translations claim that the King James Version (KJV) is the only pure Word of God in the English language. All others are perversions, and part of a conspiracy to distort God's Word.. Those who hold to this view are commonly termed "KJV Only" advocates.
In this paper I wish to evaluate some of the assertions made by KJV Only proponents. As is probably apparent at the outset, I am not a KJV Only advocate. This does not mean that I believe the KJV is a bad translation, but it means that I do not believe it is the only valid translation in the English language. The KJV Bible has been a long-time favorite of millions of people across denominational lines. It is not my purpose to attack it, or defend it. Neither is it my purpose to attack or defend the NIV, or any other translation for that matter. This paper is not about which translation is the best, or which one I prefer, but is a critical evaluation of the claims being made by KJV Only advocates concerning the NIV and other modern translations.
The NIV is a translation from the Greek and Hebrew manuscripts, as are most English versions. There was a team of over 100 Biblical scholars from all different denominations who worked on the translation. I do not believe that the NIV is a perversion of the Word of God. This does not mean that the translation of the NIV is perfect, for no translation is. What it does mean is that it is a valid translation based off of Hebrew and Greek manuscripts of the Bible, and that any variants in the translation were not the result of some conspiracy of the translators to corrupt or pervert the word of God.
I would like to take some time to examine some of the arguments used by KJV Only advocates to support their belief that the KJV alone is the Word of God in the English language. Although these arguments are not made by every KJV Only advocate, they are some of the more common arguments.
Many claim an inerrant English version is a logical necessity, arguing that God could not be so weak so as to not be able to preserve His Word. But this argument side-steps the issue. I would agree that God is not so weak that He could not make an inerrant English version. The question still remains as to whether or not God did do this, how we know, and which English version is the innerant version. God can do many things that He does not. He could have made man with no free-will so that he could not sin. He could have destroyed Lucifer right after he fell. He could destroy all evil in the world. The fact remains that He does not. We may wonder why, but it does not change the fact that God had the power to do something that He did not do. God obviously did not superintend the copying of the Greek manuscripts, because of the ~5700 manuscript copies of the NT we possess, not one is in complete agreement with another. If the copies of the holy writ were not inspired and inerrant, why should we any translation will be?
The KJV is translated from Erasmus' Greek text known as the Textus Receptus, while all other modern translations (with the exception of the NKJV) are translated from Nestle-Aland's 27th edition, and United Bible Societies 4th edition Greek text. These latter two Greek texts have their roots in the Greek text compiled by Westcott and Hort. A common attack against the modern translations based on critical texts besides the Textus Receptus is based on the beliefs of the scholar(s) who compiled the text. Westcott and Hort are commonly attacked because of their doubts or denials about such matters as the inspiration of Scripture, baptism, and the historical existence of the Garden of Eden. Although it is true that one's beliefs and biases can affect the textual decisions they make, this is not necessarily so. Westcott and Hort's personal beliefs about the matters mentioned above did not change the fact that their version of the NT still included all of the passages about baptism, recorded Jesus' and the believers' miracles, and transcribed the passages that taught the inspiration of the Scripture. Although they may have worded some particular passages differently than the TR, nevertheless they did not try to stamp out the Biblical teaching altogether, which is what we would expect if their theological biases dictated the text they produced. The object of scrutiny is not their personal beliefs, but the text that they produced. Did their judgments reflect a scholarly approach to the texts, making good judgments in compiling an eclectic text of the already existing Greek manuscripts?
Often KJV Only advocates deride the Greek manuscripts, casting on them a negative light and belittling, if not denying their importance. One author has said (speaking on behalf of many), "The issue about the original Greek sets my teeth on edge--which Greek? There are Greek manuscripts galore, including the corrupted manuscripts that the Roman Catholic religion uses. The snide remarks and attacks against this utterly reliable text are unfounded." (www.jesus-is-lord.com/kjvdefns.htm) This is quite an amazing claim. What is being said here is that since the existing Greek manuscripts of the Scripture differ from one another in places, they are not reliable, so we should just stick with the KJV. What must be remembered is that the KJV is also based off of Greek texts, of the which also differed from one another. The KJV was not written out of thin air. It was a translation. The NT was inspired in Greek, and the translations must come from the Greek. It does not help to simply say "forget the Greek." If we forget the Greek, we have no Bible, not even the KJV! The inconsistency in this type of thinking is that if we are to scrap the Greek texts because they differ, then why not scrap the English versions because they also differ? Why should we stick with the KJV?
This last point needs to be examined a little further, because KJV Only Advocates merely assume that the KJV is to be preferred over all other English versions. This assumption needs evidence to back it up if it is to be proven to be true. Why is it that the KJV is to be preferred over all other versions? Many argue that God has the power to preserve His word and that He would not leave us out in the dark with an imperfect translation. It is also claimed that God divinely directed the translators of the KJV. These claims may sound good, but they simply do not have any backing. Even if there was an inspired English version (which I do not believe the evidence demonstrates this to be a possibility) what would prove this is evidence, not assertions. It would need to be proved that the KJV is inspired, and should be held above all other translations. Unfortunately this cannot be demonstrated. Arguments which say that 'God has the power to preserve His word and would not leave us out in the dark with an imperfect translation' may sound good, but this is simply opinion, not fact. I can just as easily say that God would leave us out in the dark. This does not make either of us right. All it demonstrates is a belief. Beliefs do not make something true. Something is shown to be true by evidence.
Even if we believe a "perfect" translation has to exist in English, why should we believe it is the KJV? The translation produced by Tyndale/Coverdale was the first English version based off of the Greek and Hebrew manuscripts (1537). Although it was the first version, it was not the first version printed. The Great Bible holds this place. The Geneva Bible (revised as the Bishop's Bible) was another English version, that was the most popular English version until being superseded by the KJV. Why should the "inspired English text" not be one of these Bibles? After all, they did precede the KJV.
To demonstrate that the KJV is not a perfect or innerant translation of the Hebrew and Greek, I will give a mere three verses in which the KJV translators did not translate the Greek properly, although a hundred more of this nature could be given.
The KJV rendering of Hebrews 10:23 is as follows: "Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)." The Greek word translated as faith is elpis, which means "hope," not faith. Of the 48 times the word is used in the Textus Receptus, here alone it was translated as "faith." This is an incorrect translation. The phrase should be correctly translated as "confession of hope." This shows the inconsistency of the KJV translators in their translation. If such a translation was found in the NIV, KJV Only advocates would be sure to point out such as a tampering with God's Word, but the same is excused and even vilified by KJV Only advocates.
James 3:2 in the KJV reads, "For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. The Greek word translated as "we offend" is ptaio, which means to "stumble, err, or sin." The literal translation of the Greek is, "For we all stumble in many ways." The idea of offending is nowhere communicated in the original Greek. This is a complete mistranslation.
Finally, Hebrews 9:7 in the KJV reads, "But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people." The Greek word behind the translation of "errors" is agnoema, which specifically refers to sins committed in ignorance. This idea, which is central to this particular Greek word for sin, is not brought out in the KJV translation.
What some KJV Only advocates must be able to prove to demonstrate their position is 1. how can we ignore the Greek texts because they differ in some places? 2. In ignoring the Greek texts, how can one explain the origin of the KJV, since it was based off of Greek texts, and texts that differed from one another at that? 3. Why must the KJV be used as the standard English text, when it was not even the first English Bible? What is the criteria for determining this? 4. What KJV should we use? Which revision? Why? 5. What evidence is there that would demonstrate that any English version, or any translation in any language could be inspired, other than the original OT and NT manuscripts? Until these questions can be answered with arguments based on evidence, rather than emotion and unproved assumptions, I see no reason why the KJV should be viewed as the only representative of God's Word in the English language.
With this basis, I wish to demonstrate, from the claims made on one particular web-site, that the position of those who are crying "conspiracy" and "perversion" are unfounded, made presumptuously, and without a knowledge of the transmission or translation of the Bible from its original languages into English. The address of the website I am quoting from is http://www.av1611.org/niv.html. I will first give the claim (C) made by the KJV Only advocates, and then give my response (R) to that claim.
C: I TIMOTHY 3:16: The clearest verse in the Bible proclaiming that Jesus Christ was God.
The King James Bible (KJB) reads, "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: GOD WAS MANIFEST IN THE FLESH. . ." The King James says, plainly, "GOD was manifest in the flesh". The NIV reads, "HE appeared in a body". The NIV "twists" "GOD" to "HE". "HE appeared in a body"? So What? Everyone has "appeared in a body"! "He" is a pronoun that refers to a noun or antecedent. There is no antecedent in the context! The statement does NOT make sense! The NIV subtilty (see Genesis 3:1) perverts I Timothy 3:16 into utter nonsense!
R: The point of the above statement was to demonstrate that the NIV is trying to pervert the deity of Christ. I Timothy 3:16 is from a textual variant in some of the earlier manuscripts. I do not believe it is the correct reading, but there is textual evidence for it. The translators did not pull the reading out of thin air. There is no conspiracy here. The NIV is not trying to take the deity of Jesus Christ out of the Bible. There are multitudes of other passages in the NIV that are very clear as it pertains to Christ's deity. Some are more explicit in the NIV than in the KJV (Romans 9:5; Philippians 2:5-6; Titus 2:13; II Peter 1:1 are examples of such).
C: PHILIPPIANS 2:6: The KJB again, clearly declares the deity of Jesus Christ: "Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery TO BE EQUAL WITH GOD" The NIV reads, "Who, being in very nature God, DID NOT CONSIDER EQUALITY WITH GOD something to be grasped,". The NIV again subtitly perverts the deity of Jesus Christ!
R: Philippians 2:6 is translated properly in the NIV. Most any NT scholar would agree, whether he favors the KJV or not. This is simply what the Greek means. More explicitly it would be translated that He "did not consider equality with God something to be taken advantage of." Even if the translation of the NIV is not correct, it still would not be perverting Christís deity here. How can Christís deity be diminished when they are claiming that He is equal with God? This claim is unfounded.
C: LUKE 2:33: The King James Bible reads, "And JOSEPH and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him." The NIV reads, "The CHILD'S FATHER and mother marveled at what was said about him." The "CHILD'S FATHER"? Was Joseph Jesus's father? Not if you believe the virgin birth! Not if you believe John 3:16, that Jesus Christ was the Son of God! A subtil, "perversion" of the virgin birth. See also Luke 2:43.
R: The reading of Luke 2:33 in the NIV is also due to a textual variant that appears in early manuscript copies of Luke. I will not attempt to demonstrate which reading is probably the correct reading, but both readings have strong support. Even if the reading that the NIV chose is not correct, this still does not substantiate the claim that they are denying the virgin birth. The NIV is not denying the virgin birth by this translation any more than Matthew was denying the virgin birth by giving us Jesus' lineage through Joseph (Matthew 1). Matthew and Luke both affirmed the virgin birth, and this is supported by the NIV (Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38). Matthew 1:25, even in the NIV, is explicit that Joseph did not have sexual relations with Mary until after Jesus was born. The NIV does not deny the virgin birth! Again there is no conspiracy to pervert the Word of God.
C: COLOSSIANS 1:14: The KJB reads, "In whom we have redemption THROUGH HIS BLOOD, even the forgiveness of sins:" The NIV reads, "In whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." The NIV rips out the precious words "THROUGH HIS BLOOD"! Friend, redemption is ONLY "THROUGH HIS BLOOD". Hebrews 9:22, reads, ". . . without shedding of BLOOD is no remission." That old song says, "What can wash away my sins, NOTHING BUT THE BLOOD OF JESUS!"
R: The NIV does not remove the blood of Jesus. The exact phrase, or something very similar is found in the NIV in Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:20; Hebrews 13:12; and I Peter 1:2. The reason for the difference in Colossians 1:14 is due to a textual variant. The evidence for the reading of the KJV is very late (13th century), and is not very strong. Because of this, the translators of the NIV did not believe that it was in the original autograph of Colossians, but that it was added by a scribe to harmonize it with Ephesians 1:7. Even though the NIV takes this phrase out here because they did not see the textual support for it, they obviously were not trying to take this truth out of the Bible, because they used the phrase elsewhere.
C: JOHN 3:16: The NIV reads, "For God so loved the world that he gave his ONE AND ONLY SON, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" Jesus was NOT "the one and only son" - Adam is called the "son of God" in Luke 3:38, there are "sons of God" in Job 1:6 and Christians are called "sons of God" in Phil 2:15, I John 3:2- but Jesus was the "ONLY BEGOTTEN SON"! By removing the critical word "BEGOTTEN" - The NIV perverts John 3:16 into a LIE! The NIV does the same in John 1:14, 1:18, and 3:18.
R: John 3:16 is not perverted by omitting "begotten" and saying "one and only." The Greek word behind both of these translations, monogenes, has to do with uniqueness and importance. When the KJV translators translated the Greek, they were not aware that the word carried this meaning. It was not until more recently, with the discovery of many Koine Greek manuscripts dating from around the first-century that this meaning has been ascertained.
C: The NIV perverts Mark 1:2,3 into a LIE! The NIV reads "It is written in Isaiah the prophet: I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way-a voice of one calling in the desert, Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him." It is NOT written in Isaiah! "I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way" - is found in Malachi 3:1! The King James correctly reads: "As it is written in the PROPHETS, . . ." A better translation! Easier to read - BY A LIE!
R: Mark 1:2-3 is a composite of two verses: Isaiah 40:3 and Malachi 1:3. Mark's quotation is not exact. What he says cannot be found in either Isaiah or Malachi in its totality (the first part of Mark's quotation is found in Malachi, and the second in Isaiah). The two were mixed together by Mark because they were speaking about the same general thing. As was common in those days, when an author would mix two verses together in one saying, he would attribute the verse to the more prominent prophet; in this case Isaiah. So this is not a lie. It is true, and falls within the practices of Mark's day. Again, the reason for the addition of "Isaiah" in the NIV, is a textual variant. Other manuscripts do not give the name of any prophet, but simply say the "prophets." The plural form of "prophets" would indicate that the author had more than one verse written in Malachi in mind. It was found in more than one prophet.
C: Romans 1:18-32 describes the "path to perversion" and verse 25, describes their decline, "Who changed the TRUTH of God into a LIE. . ."! Not surprisingly, The NIV perverts Romans 1:25 from "CHANGED the truth of God INTO a lie" to "EXCHANGED the truth of God FOR a lie"!
R: "Change" and "exchange" are both valid translations from the Greek. Neither word alters the meaning of the text. The point is that they did not keep the truth of God that they already possessed, but instead, believed a lie. Both the KJV and NIV accurately portray this meaning.
C: A literary critic on the NIV translation was homosexual author Dr. Virginia Mollenkott. In Episcopal, Witness (June 1991, pp. 20-23), she admits, "My lesbianism has ALWAYS been a part of me. . ." To no surprise, "sodomite" is completely removed from the NIV. (Deut. 23:17, I Kings 14:24, 15:12, 22:46, II Kings 23:7) And of course, I Cor. 6:9, ". . . effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind. . ." is replaced with the non-offensive ". . . nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders. . ." Notice the NIV in I Cor. 6:9 does NOT condemn "homosexuals" or the "act of homosexuality" - but ONLY "homosexual OFFENDERS".
A little known fact: In 1988 Zondervan and the NIV was purchased by Harper & Row, Publishers (now HarperCollins Publishers). HarperCollins publishes "pro-homosexual" books such as Making Out, The Book of Lesbian Sex and Sexuality described as "Beautifully illustrated with full-color photography,. . . Making Out is the complete illustrated guide to lesbian sexuality and relationships. . .the intricacies of love play. . ." and many other pro-homosexual books!
R: The publishing house who publishes the NIV, and the private life of Dr. Mollenkott, have no bearing on the accuracy of the translation of the NIV. I have done a brief examination into these claims and found that Dr. Mollenkott is indeed a lesbian. This fact, however, has had no bearing on the translation of anti-homosexuality passages in the NIV. What the author is trying to do here is attack the person, instead of attacking the personís argument or work. This is called an ad hominem attack. One cannot condemn a scholarly work just because of business associations or morality problems. This does not carry any weight. What needs to be examined is the validity of the translation, not the lives of the translators. The question should be whether the translation is accurate. This is what matters most. God's Word does not become polluted because it was translated by immoral people. The Word can only be polluted when it is changed. I could be a heroine addict and still translate the Greek text with integrity.
The word "sodomite" is removed from the NIV, because the Hebrew word is correctly translated as "temple prostitute." That the temple prostitutes committed such acts is not argued, but that the Hebrew word should be translated as "sodomites" is not valid.
The NIV translation of I Corinthian 6:9 is actually clearer than the KJV translation. I fail to see how "abusers of themselves with mankind" accurately brings out the idea of homosexual practices. This sounds more like bar-room brawls than it does an act of homosexuality. The fact that the NIV actually translates it as "homosexual offenders" makes it very clear that the topic is homosexuality. A homosexual is an offender, and will not inherit the kingdom of God. How much clearer could one get?
Not only is I Corinthians 6:9 a valid and clear translation, but the translation of Romans 1:26-27, which is the clearest passage teaching against homosexuality in the NT, is very clear that God condemns the practice. The NIV reads, "Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts.. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion." I fail to see with the clarity of such translations how Dr. Mollenkott's supposed homosexual bias has perverted the NIV.
Even if Dr. Mollenkottís wished to pervert the NIV translation to reflect her views, she would not have been able to do so because she was not the only one responsible for the translation. There were many other translators and editors who worked on the project. All readings had to be approved.. Even if Dr. Mollenkott would have tried sneaking her biases in the translation, it would be caught by the others. In the introduction of the NIV, it is said how the translation was determined:
"How it was made helps to give the New International Version its distinctiveness. The translation of each book was assigned to a team of scholars. Next, one of the Intermediate Editorial Committees revised the initial translation, with constant reference to the Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek. Their work then went on to one of the General Editorial committees, which checked it in detail and made another thorough version. This revision in turn was carefully reviewed by the Committee on Bible Translation, which made further changes and then released the final version for publication. In this way the entire Bible underwent three revisions, during each of which the translation was examined for its faithfulness to the original languages and for its English style."
The procedure was as follows: Initial Translation Team, then the Intermediate Editorial Committee, then the General Editorial Committee, then the Stylist and Critics, then the Executive Committee (or Committee on Bible Translation), then the Final Stylistic Review, and finally the Executive's Committee's Final Reading.
What is even more convincing is this declaration of Dr. Kenneth Barker, Executive Director of the NIV translation, in response to the accusation that there were homosexual individuals on the translation committee.
"It has come to my attention that false rumors are circulating, in both oral and written form, that the NIV is soft on sodomy (that is, homosexual sins). The alleged reason for this is that some NIV translators and editors were homosexuals or lesbians. These charges have no basis in fact. Thus they are simply untrue. And those who make such false charges could be legitimately sued for libel, slander, and defamation of character.
Here are the facts. It is true that in the earliest stages of translation work on the NIV (in the late 1960's), Virginia Mollenkott was consulted briefly and only in a minor way on matters of English style. At that time she had the reputation of being a committed evangelical Christian with expertise in contemporary English idiom and usage. Nothing was known of her lesbian views. Those did not begin to surface until years later in some of her writings. If we had known in the sixties what became public knowledge only years later, we would not have consulted her at all. But it must be stressed that she did not influence the NIV translators and editors in any of their final decisions."1
C: ISAIAH 14:12: The KJB reads, "How art thou fallen from heaven, O LUCIFER, son of the morning!. . ." The NIV PERversion reads, "How you have fallen from heaven, O MORNING STAR, son of the dawn. . ." The NIV change "Lucifer" to "MORNING STAR". BUT WAIT. . . I thought the Lord Jesus Christ was the MORNING STAR? Doesn't Revelation 22:16 say, "I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and MORNING STAR". The NIV CLEARY AND BLATANTLY makes LUCIFER -- The Lord Jesus Christ! WHAT BLASPHEMY! WHAT PERVERSION! And Christians claim the NIV is a "better translation"!
R: The word in Isaiah 14:12 translated as "Lucifer" literally means "light-bearer" or "morning star." The translation of "Lucifer" did not come from the Hebrew text, but from Jerome's Latin Vulgate. It was a carry-over from his translation, which does not reflect the Hebrew text. This is no mistranslation here. It is the Scripture, not the NIV translation, that uses this title for both Jesus and Satan. How we understand this is not the issue here, but we cannot deny this fact.
C: The word "hell" occurs 31 times in the Old Testament in the King James Bible. In the Old Testament of the NIV it occurs - ZERO! The word "hell" is NOT in the Old Testament of the NIV!
And what do they do with "hell"? Take PSALM 9:17 for example: The King James reads, "The wicked shall be turned into HELL. . ." The NIV, reads, "The wicked return to the GRAVE. . ." We ALL "return to the GRAVE"! By removing "hell" the NIV perverts Psalm 9:17 into nonsense!
In the New Testament the NIV zaps out "hell" 9 times. And what "clearer" "easier to understand" word does the NIV "update" hell with? Five times they use - HADES! (Matt 16:18, Rev 1:18, 6:8, 20:13,14) What "common person" understands HADES? Everybody knows what HELL is! Do you know what HADES is? Hades is not always a place of torment or terror. The Assyrian Hades is an abode of blessedness with silver skies called "Happy Fields". In the satanic New Age Movement, Hades is an intermediate state of purification! Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary defines HADES: "the underground abode of the dead in Greek MYTHOLOGY". The NIV perverts your Bible into MYTHOLOGY!
R: As far as finding the word "hell" in the OT, the NIV does not translate the Hebrew word, but transliterates it into English as "sheol." This word does not usually indicate a place of fire and torment like we find in the NT. Many of times it is simply referring to the state of death (Gen 37:35; 42:38; 44:29, 31; I Sam 2:6; II Sam 22:6 (translated "hell"); I Kings 2:6, 9; Job 7:9; 17:16; 24:19; Ps 6:5; 30:3; 49:14--2x; 49:15; 88:3; 89:48; 141:7; Prov 5:5; 7:27; 9:18; 23:14; 27:20; 30:16; Ecc 9:10; Song 8:6; Is 28:15, 18; 38:10, 18; Ezek 31:15, 16, 17; 32:21; 32:27; Hos 13:14--2x; Hab 2:5). It is not certain if this meaning is intended in Psalm 9:17, but it most definitely fits the context. It is said, "Let not man prevail" (v. 19), and to judge them so "that the nations may know themselves to be but men" (v. 20). This seems to be a temporal adversity that the psalmist is referring to, requesting a temporal solution. The way that God would judge these men so as to be an example to the nations would be through death. If the eternal state of hell is meant here, how could the nations witness the power of God? They would not be able to see it. However, they could see the enemies of Israel being killed by Godís servants and fear God.
For the NT, it is true that the NIV uses the word "hell" nine times less than the KJV. Each time they use the word "hell," with the exception of Luke 16:23, it is translating the Greek word gehenna, which is a clear reference to the picture of hell as fire and brimstone. The five occurrences where they replace the KJV rendering of "hell" as "hades," are all due to a different Greek word. Instead of gehenna, it is hades. They have tranliterated the word instead of translating it, as they did with the Hebrew sheol. The only exception to this is II Peter 2:4. Here a different Greek word is used, but the NIV translators still rendered it as "hell." Hades is roughly the equivalent of the OT sheol. So again, hades often refers to the state of death, rather than the place of the final abode of the wicked dead. Gehenna is usually used for the latter.
The claim that by using the word hades, they NIV is bringing pagan mythology into the Bible is absolutely ridiculous! The word hades is the Greek word appearing in the inspired Greek manuscripts. If using this word is perverting the Word of God, then we must also confess that the original manuscripts penned by the holy apostles and prophets were corrupt since they used this word. The NIV is not trying to convey pagan myths anymore than were Matthew, Luke, or John.
C: Don't look for the "mercyseat" in the NIV - GONE!
Don't look for "Jehovah" in the NIV - GONE!
Don't look for the "Godhead" in the NIV - GONE!
The NIV removes wonderful Bible "terms" like remission, regeneration, impute, propitiation, new testament and many others!
Despite God's clear warnings about "taking away" from His words - the NIV removes 64,576 words! Over 8 percent of God's word is "TAKETH AWAY"!
R: The author claims that 64,576 words have been taken away by the NIV, accounting for 8% of the whole Bible. This is utter non-sense! They have taken away no such words. They have decided to use other, more understandable, or better translated words, but they did not take any words away. Substituting different, more modern words is not the same as taking words away! KJV Only advocates who claim that changing the spelling of archaic words, or replacing them with more modern, understandable words is changing the Word of God do so based on the assumption that the inspired Word of God in English is the KJV. That is utter non-sense. It is simply a translation. All other versions are being compared to the KJV because they have chosen to hold the KJV as the standard to judge all other versions from. We need to ask ourselves two questions. First, why should the KJV be the standard that every other version is compared to. Itís not the earliest English translation. Upon what basis can anyone claim that it is the best. To demonstrate this one would need evidence, but this is precisely what the KJV Only advocates too often ignore. Secondly, why let any English translation be used to compare others? If the inspired Scripture is in Hebrew and Greek, let that be the judge of all other translations.
I will not attempt to go through each word presented in the above list, but I would like to comment on "Jehovah." It only appears four times in the KJV (Exodus 6:3; Psalm 83:18; Isaiah 12:2; 26:4). Each occurrence is not a special word, but is the same Hebrew word translated as "LORD" or "GOD" over 6800 times. There is no reason to translate it as "Jehovah" in these four cases, and not in the others. Replacing it with another word does no harm to the Scripture. The NIV simply chose to remain consistent by rendering the occurrence of this word in these four verses as "LORD."
The name "Jehovah" is not, and never was the name of God. Those who came up with this name did so because they had a misunderstanding of the Hebrew tetragrammaton "YHWH." The rendering "Yahweh" is much closer to the actual Hebrew name of God.
The reason for spelling of "Jehovah" is detailed, but a few comments are in order here. The Hebrew tetragrammaton, YHWH, is the way the name of God appears in the Hebrew Bible. The Hebrew language is a consonantal language, possessing no vowels. Vowels were pronounced, but not written. The only way the vowels could be transmitted from generation to generation was by oral tradition. By about 200 B.C., after the time of the Exile, Jews would no longer pronounce Godís name for fear that they would take it in vain by not saying it properly. Instead of pronouncing the tetragrammaton, they would say Adonai, which is the Hebrew word meaning Lord. Because of this superstition, no one today knows exactly how it was pronounced. This was also true of the Masoretic scribes who copied the Hebrew Scriptures. When the Masoretic scribes attempted to invent a system of vowels to preserve the pronunciation of the Hebrew Bible, they also inserted some vowels into the tetragrammaton. Because they too, did not know how to pronounce Godís name, and did not believe one should, they did not try to insert the correct vowels into the tetragrammaton. Instead, they inserted the vowels of Adonai. This was not for the purpose of pronunciation, but to remind the reader to say Adonai when they came to Godís name instead of pronouncing Godís name. If it was to be spelled out, however, it would read "Yehowah." Later on, in the days of the Renaissance, people were discovering the ancient languages all over again. The Hebrew Scriptures were being learned and read. When people came to the tetragrammaton, they simply pronounced it with the inserted vowels, not realizing that the vowels did not belong to YHWH, but were intended as indicators to say Adonai. So they pronounced Godís name as Yehowah. Through time and the development of the English language, it became pronounced and spelled as "Jehovah." This makes it clearly evident that taking "Jehovah" out of the English translation is not perverting the name or Word of God. If anything at all, it is bettering the English translation.
I could continue on refuting each claim made, but I see no point in debunking every one. I have only dealt with some of the more important and common claims made by those who believe that the NIV, and virtually any other English version besides the KJV, is part of some conspiracy to pervert the Word of God.
It is clear that the author of the web-site I have based my refutation from, knows nothing of the Greek Bible, the history of the transmission of the text, the Greek language, Greek syntax, nor translation theory. Nearly every one of his arguments is academically unfounded, or completely illogical. His claims, and many other like him, sound good, but do not stand to scrutiny upon closer examination. These lines of faulty reasoning have caused countless needless wars in the church, and many serious fatalities. I am not against the KJV, but neither do I advocate that it is the only valid English translation. Although I do not favor the NIV translation, I do believe that it is academically sound, that it is not part of a conspiracy to pervert the word of God, and that it should not be labeled as the tool of Satan.
1. Quoted in James R. White, The King James Only Controversy (Bethany House Publishers: Minneapolis, 1995), 245-6. <back>
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