The True Bible - Part 10

Written by: John Sernaque

Dear Reader,

This will be the closing article from our series of articles outlining the history of the Bible. Prayerfully, these articles have helped to lead you to the most accurate translation of the Bible, and will continue to help you avoid the many spurious translations which exist today. This series of articles are based on the book “The King James Bible and Modern Translations” written by Vance Ferrell. Let’s pick up where we left off.

Joint Catholic-Protestant Bibles

In order to unite the many Protestant, Orthodox, and Catholic denominations, they realized that they must have a common Bible. Three publications have been released to accomplish this goal.

1) The Revised Standard Version: The Apocrypha

The Apocrypha of the Old Testament, Revised Standard Version, was published on September 30, 1957. This was a common version that was acceptable to both Catholics and Protestants. This was very important to the ecumenists. The Vatican could not approve the RSV until the Apocrypha was included in it.

2) The Revised Standard Version: Catholic Edition

A joint Catholic-Protestant edition of the Revised Standard Version was published in 1965. The Catholic approved revision was the regular RSV plus a number of changes. The first was restoring 16 passages found in the Received Text that the RSV had placed in the footnotes. The second consisted of giving a different translation. “Divorce” becomes “to send her away quietly.” Jesus’ “brothers” become “brethren”, based on the belief that they were not real brothers. All of what Protestants call the Apocryphal books, with the exception of two, are included. Ecumenists wanted a way to unite the denominations, so Rome was willing to accept what is primarily a Protestant Bible. Although the problems of the Old Testament remain, Protestants and Catholics have for the most part come to an agreement on the translation of accepted books. The result is that all the churches can use the same authoritative text, facilitating dialogue between them.

3) Common Bible

After the successful completion of The Revised Standard Version: Catholic Edition, the ecumenical objective had not been fully achieved. Protestants continued to buy the regular RSV and Catholics would buy the Catholic edition. So, in 1973 the committee published the RSV Common Bible with the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical Books. The Common Bible has received the international endorsement of the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church, many Protestant denominations, and importantly the Greek Orthodox Church. Now they can all use the same translation. For this reason, dialogue between these different churches has accelerated since the early 1970’s.

Roman Catholic Bibles

There are three major 20th century Bibles which were prepared solely for Roman Catholics.

1) The Knox Bible- The New Testament translation from Monsignor Knox was approved by the Vatican in 1945 and the Old testament was published in 1948. His translation was based on the 1592 edition of the Vulgate. The Apocrypha is also used and scattered throughout the Old Testament.

2) Jerusalem Bible (JB)- The first complete Roman Catholic Bible to be translated from the original Greek and Hebrew, published in 1966. The text is more paraphrastic than the RSV but not as much as the Phillips. The Apocrypha is scattered all throughout the Old Testament.

3) New American Bible (NAB)- The Jerusalem Bible is in the jargon of Britain, so an American version was needed for the Americans. The NAB was published in 1970. It was the first complete American Catholic Bible translated from the original languages. The translation team consisted of fifty- nine Catholic and five Protestant scholars. The Greek text used in the New Testament is Nestle-Aland's. The New American Bible is primarily based on Westcott-Hort/Nestle-Aland/UBS Greek Text style.

The Apocrypha

The Apocrypha was included in all 16th century English versions, including the KJV of 1611. These books are revered by Catholics as inspired and canonical Scripture. Rome calls them deuterocanonical. The Council of Trent in 1546 decreed these books as sacred and canonical. These books were produced between 250-150 BC. They were included in some post reformation Bibles to appease Catholics who might want to buy them. Rome requires their inclusion in all the bibles they publish because these books teach various Catholic errors, such as purgatory and prayers for the dead. The papacy requires every faithful Catholic to accept the Apocrypha as fully inspired. According to a decree of the Council of Trent, not to do so is a mortal sin. One of the popes pronounced a curse on anyone who should print a Bible without the Apocrypha in it. The Old Testament was completed with Malachi at approximately 400 BC. From this time to the birth of Christ in 4 BC was about 400 years. During this time there was considerable religious and political activity. Many uninspired Jewish writings were produced, including the Apocrypha, the Pseudepigrapha, and the writings of the Qumran community of Essenes. The term Apocrypha means something hidden and usually refers to a group of writings that appeared in the Greek (Septuagint) translation of the Hebrew Old Testament. These were never accepted in the Hebrew canon and both Jews and Christians recognized that the Apocrypha was not divinely inspired. The Apocrypha are uninspired books which were added to the Septuagint about 100 years before the birth of Christ. Jerome only included the Apocryphal books in his Latin Vulgate at the insistence of the pope. Even Jerome did not believe that it was divinely inspired. The Apocryphal books are not included in the Hebrew canon and Jesus never quoted from them. They teach false doctrines such as: the smoke from a burning fish will drive away devils and that it is holy to pray for the dead. The only worthwhile book in the Apocrypha is 1 Maccabees as it includes fairly reliable history of the Maccabean revolt against Antiochus Epiphanes from 175 to 135 BC and tells about the struggles of the Jews for religious and political liberty in the 2nd century BC. However, other books combine Old Testament teachings with Alexandrian ideas derived from Platonism and Stoicism. Others are legendary narratives and fictitious stories. The Pseudepigrapha books, by the order of the Council of Trent, are all included in Roman Catholic Bibles. They have never been considered canonical by any denomination, even by Catholics. Roman Catholics are not required to accept any of these books. They are full of folklore and fiction. The pseudepigrapha were apocryphal books which taught various errors, and were non-inspired books. Photius, a Christian writer in the 9th century, listed over 280 of these fake New Testament books. But not even Rome accepted any of the New Testament pseudepigraphal books. The Qumran Documents were prepared by Jews who lived in the Qumran community near the Dead Sea. They were called Essenes. They prepared copies of the Old Testament and several original documents, where only a few of these are complete enough to be useful. They mostly contain the rules and regulations of the community. Rules of warfare are also outlined.

Presently, the English- speaking world is flooded with Bible translations. As long as it makes sales, anything goes. There have been over 134 translations from 1893-1973.There are many errors found in the modern translations from Genesis to Revelation, by inclusion or omission. The omission of Mark 16:9-20 from the modern translations constitutes the largest single omission. Of the ancient Greek manuscripts, 618 have the ending of Mark and two do not. Of all the translations, only two had the omission, one was the Sinaitic Syriac, which like the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, was prepared in Alexandria, Egypt. The other was the Codex Bobiensis, a Latin manuscript. The quotations of the early “fathers” did not omit the missing passages in Mark, as the modern translations have. The lectionaries that were read from the pulpit all include the ending in Mark. Why was the ending of Mark left off in the first place? It was discovered that the omission of Mark 16:9-20 in both the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus was made by the same scribe. The copyist was instructed to leave them out, so he obeyed. So, modern Bible translators keep removing these verses as they assume that Westcott-Hort knew what they were talking about. The KJV does contain a couple of doctrinal factors we need to point out. In 2 Samuel 15:7, it reads “after forty years” where it should read “four” years. The account in 2 Samuel does not reconcile the events if the term of forty years is used. The word translated “soul” in the KJV New Testament is from the Greek word “psuche”. In an equal number of times, psuche was translated “life.” That is the word that should be used in many instances, “life” and not “soul.” In Matthew 10:28, the word “life” should be used instead of “soul”, as we know that the soul is not immortal. There were no commas used in the ancient manuscripts. In Luke 23:43, a comma is incorrectly placed in front of the word “today”, where it should be placed after the word “today.” The Bible is clear that Christ Jesus did not go to heaven on the day of the Crucifixion. Hell is always translated from the word “sheol.” Sheol means “the grave.” The KJV also includes the Apocrypha writings, which are segregated between the Old and New Testaments. They are included as the king asked that it be included. The KJV translators listed seven reasons why the apocryphal books were to be categorically rejected as part of the inspired canon.

The Bible is easily one of the best-selling books of all time, but exact sales numbers are hard to nail down. The number is estimated to be in the billions. Many different versions have been published. Over the centuries, many of these Bibles have been either sold to or provided to clergy, congregations or given away to the public during evangelistic efforts. But of all these versions, which one is the best, the true and correct version? Prayerfully, these articles will help you answer this question for yourself. But why is it so important to know the answer? Because if you are being led under false doctrines and teachings, your salvation may be jeopardized. It is dangerous to be misled by the wiles of Satan, for it is by subtleties that he will trap you in his snare. There is only one version that is true and correct based on the history laid out for you. May it lead you to a closer walk with God.

Conversion Removes Darkness of Ignorance From the Mind—

In the Bible the will of God is revealed. The truths of the Word of God are the utterances of the Most High. He who makes these truths a part of his life becomes in every sense a new creature. He is not given new mental powers, but the darkness that through ignorance and sin has clouded the understanding is removed. The words, “A new heart also will I give you,” mean, “A new mind will I give you.” A change of heart is always attended by a clear conviction of Christian duty, an understanding of truth. He who gives the Scriptures close, prayerful attention will gain clear comprehension and sound judgment, as if in turning to God he had reached a higher plane of intelligence.—The Review and Herald, December 18, 1913. {RH December 18, 1913, par. 8}

The Bible contains the principles that lie at the foundation of all true greatness, all true prosperity, whether for the individual or for the nation. The nation that gives free room for the circulation of the Scriptures opens the way for the minds of the people to develop and expand. The reading of the Scriptures causes light to shine into the darkness. As the Word of God is searched, life-giving truths are found. In the lives of those who heed its teachings there will be an undercurrent of happiness that will bless all with whom they are brought in contact. — The Review and Herald, December 18, 1913. {RH December 18, 1913, par. 9}


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