By: David Norris of the UK


When we turn to the Scriptures, we are on different ground, for they are the revealed, inspired, preserved Word of God and are not the words of men. Many have been misled into thinking that the argument surrounding the use of the Authorised Version is one of ancient texts and language, when in fact the real issues lie elsewhere. As long as our attention is diverted and channelled in the wrong direction, the real questions will go unasked and unanswered. What we should be asking ourselves is where the unadulterated Word of God is to be found today, something the Bible itself will tell us. Can I be sure the book I have in my hand is in truth word for word the infallible, perfect, sufficient Word of the Most High? Some seem to be saying in not so many words that I cannot be sure. The first shift instigated by the modernisers concerns the nature of the Scriptures available to me, the Bible I hold in my hands. Attack the Scriptures after this manner and our access to the divine revelation of God's sovereign redemptive purposes in Christ is immediately weakened or even severed. The reason for this is that with such an imperfect Bible in our hands, we can never be sure whether what we are reading in any precise place is indeed exactly what God said. Once we move away from a high view of Scripture, we have left the firm ground of faith and are already knee deep in the shifting sands of unbelief and sinking fast. We are playing into the hands of scholarship that is itself no longer subservient to Scripture. Soon all the teachings of the Bible will be judged on this basis not only, as hitherto, by what the Bible teaches about itself.

Part of the problem is that many have never been taught the fundamentals of the faith, but live all too often from a meagre diet of 'blessed thoughts' culled from a few isolated favourite passages. Worse still, many expecting bread have been given a stone.

It is not because people do not know about the Bible that they are misled, it is because they do not know what is in it.

And this is where much error begins:
"Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?" Mark 12:24
Instead of answering from the Scriptures themselves, more than likely the modern-isers will refer you to the problematic area of texts and translations. This is to put the proverbial cart before the horse. Before we do anything else we need to determine what claims the Word of God makes for itself - and this anyone can do whose eyes have been opened by the Spirit of God, no further qualification other than being able to read is needed. For the genuine Bible believer there can be no explanation of textual or any matters concerning the transmission of the text, or of translation, that stands in contradiction to what the Bible says about itself. Now that is taking the authority of Scripture seriously. The alternative approach leaves us in the hands of a priestly caste of scholars saying things about the Bible, whilst drawing upon their own wayward human reason in their understanding of matters of textual criticism. A study of the ancient texts is certainly a legitimate one, but it must proceed on the basis of faith, of a conviction that what God has revealed and inspired He will preserve in its purity right through to the translated copy I have in my hand. Nothing else will do, nothing else will set my heart at ease, knowing that what I am reading when I pick up my Bible is word for word the very utterance of the living God. If you do not have this confidence in your Bible, dear preacher, quit now, stop preaching, stop sowing the seeds of doubt and unbelief among the children of God. You are only reflecting the state and condition of your own heart! We are not looking to see if God has kept His promise in this biblical text or that, but how He has done so. The 'iffers and butters' do not operate from a position of faith, but out of doubt - we must check and see if what God has said is true!

What we are being encouraged to believe by some is that as only the manuscripts actually produced by the original Scrip-ture writers, prophets and apostles, were inspired, and these have long since disappeared, so the copies of them we now possess cannot possibly be inspired and are therefore subject to error. If this is true, bin your Bibles they are flawed, we have all been deceived, the Bible we have cannot possibly be God's Word. It means that God, although having inspired the originals to ensure perfect accuracy, has then done little or nothing to keep His promise to preserve His Word.

That such a shift has taken place can be demonstrated by a comparison of The Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689, republished by C. H. Spurgeon in 1855, with the Strict Baptist Affirmation of Faith 1966. In this newer Confession inspira-tion is limited to "the very words of the original Scriptures" [emphasis ours]. In the 1689 Confession we are given a vital assurance, ominously absent from the 1966 Affirmation, (what then is being affirmed?), that the Old and New Testa-ments in Hebrew and Greek "being immediately inspired by God, and by his singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentic."
Think for a minute, someone writes down 'God is love', but the second I copy this out word for word and produce an identical copy, it somehow becomes an uninspired text. Or if I change the same expression into another language does inspiration likewise disappear? A child can see there is no difference whatever.

When normally intelligent people come with reasoning that is so plainly stupid, it can only be that either what little sense they had has left them, or that they have something else in mind than is at first apparent.

That we need to look at matters concerning the text no one would deny, but we shall get no where near showing the Bible to be God's Word, if we already assume before we start that God has not perfectly preserved His Word in the manuscripts available to us. Our trust is in the One who inspired the Bible also to preserve it and to guarantee that the book we hold in our hands is His infallible Word.

Worms is remembered for its Diet and Luther's brave stand, but in 1526 around 6000 copies of a small Bible were printed there. They were about the size of a small hymn book. This was Tyndale's New Testament. Although the Authorised Version is a translation in its own right, Tyndale laid a foundation upon which the translators of the AV were able to build. Here for the first time was a Bible easily understood by ordinary people. This was a direct fulfilment of Tyndale's boast to a cleric that one day the "boy who drives the plough shall know more of the Bible than do you." These words are often used to justify new translations. The stated aim of many modern Bible translators of producing a Bible 'in the language of the people' - not quite what Tyndale said - in the belief that they will therefore understand it better is misconceived. First, it is worth pointing out that something that can be understood by everyone is not necess-arily written in the way those same people normally speak to each other every day. Second, there is no virtue in deliberately using obscure language, but the suggestion seems to be that if only people were able to read and understand the language of the Bible, somehow they could be persuaded to accept the Gospel, or, modern language makes the Gospel more accessible to them. We would deny that the Authorised Version is as inaccessible as the modernisers make out; also, the Bible gives us a very different reason as to why unbelievers will not understand the Bible, whatever the translation!
"But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." 2 Corinthians 4:3-4
What could be clearer than that? If people do not understand the Word of God, it is because their minds are blinded by Satan. We need to pray that such will be delivered and that God will grant them the illumination of His Spirit that they may read and understand.

The clamour for modern versions reflects a changed view as to the nature of the Bible itself, how sinners respond to the Gospel, and of the way in which we should approach God, consequently also of our understanding of the Christian Gospel itself.

God speaks through His Word to the mind of man in a human language that is clear and understandable; but more than this, His Word pierces to the very deepest recesses of the human heart, exposing all that is there, convincing of sin, calling for repentance and faith in Christ. It is
"... quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Hebrews 4:12

Those translations that dilute and pervert the Word of God will do no such thing, no promise of God rests upon them. Not enjoying the blessing or approval of God they can, and often are comfortably read by those who wish to remain undisturbed on the road to hell.

Isaac Watts, it is said, read the biblical languages without difficulty as a child. John Bunyan said he never mastered either Hebrew or Greek, but that he was enabled by the Holy Spirit to understand the Word of God. Without such divine illumination neither man could have profited themselves from the Scriptures and then have been a blessing to others. Without such divine illumination neither man would have been able to fulfil the very different roles God gave to each. How poorer we would all have been without Bunyan's writings and the hymns of Watts! All men, whatever their educational ability or opportunity, are dependent upon the same Holy Spirit. A man may have a string of letters after his name reaching round the globe, or an abundance of natural intelligence that surpasses that of the greatest thinkers of our age, but unless God dispels the natural darkness of the human heart, unless blind eyes are made to see, the Scriptures will forever remain 'foolishness unto him'. Another man may be able to read and little more, yet possess wisdom of which the wise of this world know nothing. Says the Psalmist,
"I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts." Psalm 119:99-100

When a people turns its back on God, this will find expression in the culture. Language is an immediate channel for the expression of the depravity of any people. The baptist preacher, J.C. Philpot, made this observation shortly before the appearance of the English Revised Version.
"Instead of our good old Saxon Bible, simple and solid, with few words obsolete, and alike majestic and beautiful, we should have a modern English translation in pert and flippant language of the day." The idea that one can translate the Bible readily into any spoken language on earth is an unrealistic one. Into whatever language the Bible is translated, civilised or primitive, without changes to the language itself, a translation coming anywhere close to the Biblical text is all but impossible. The myth of the 'noble savage' spoilt only by the onset of civilised society, dreamt up by the infidel philosopher, Rousseau, stands the truth on its head. The cultures of primitive tribes do not present us with unspoilt human beings, they are degraded cultures to which their often unspeakable practices and customs bear ample testimony. As they stand, their languages will hardly be suitable receptor languages for the Word of a pure and holy God. English is often spoken today only in a degenerate and debased form. Every book requires language appropriate to its content, a debased language is no proper medium for the Word of God. Neither our Authorised Version nor the translation of Martin Luther was written in a language precisely as it was spoken by anyone in their day, and yet their beauty is that they were readily understood by all. Both Bibles have had a wide and profound effect on their respective languages. This has been particularly true of Luther's Bible in Germany, where to this day regional dialects, as distinct from 'high German', are still widely spoken.

The confusing and condescending vocabulary, the convoluted grammar of many modern translations makes most of them more difficult to read than our 1611 Authorised Version. Who can deny that the "Show me a penny" of the AV is easily understood by a child, whereas the "Show me a denarius" of the NKJV would need some explanation? Comment on the simplicity and beauty of the language of the AV is often forthcoming from those with no theological axe to grind.

"The King James Bible was published in the year Shakespeare began work on his last play, The Tempest. Both the play and the Bible are masterpieces of English, but there is one crucial difference between them. Whereas Shakespeare ransacked the lexicon, the King James Bible employs a bare 8000 words - God's teaching in homely English for everyman." The Story of English, Robert McCrum, William Cray, and Robert MacNeil, (London, 1992)

Despite the obvious simplicity of language in the AV, the objection is made that it is full of difficult terminology. Every specialist area has its own vocabulary whether it be medicine, engineering, linguistics, or the world of computers, why then do we make such a fuss about the Bible? What did men ever know about justification, sanctification, and all the other Biblical terms? The naturally unregenerate mind remains closed and opposed to the spiritual truths these words reveal. With respect to genuinely archaic words, their actual number in the Authorised Version is surprisingly small, possibly something less than 200. Apart from passages where the teachings themselves are quite complex and therefore couched in language of similar complexity, the history, doctrine, and precepts of Scripture can be read easily by anyone. Independent educational reading level indicators have shown time and again that the Authorised Version is far easier to read than most modern versions and is well within the reach even of children. The view that the AV is more difficult to read than other versions is just not supported by the evidence.

We are being asked to accept that these changes are being made honestly and soley in the interest of making the Gospel more readily understandable and relevant to modern men, despite the fact that the reason why men do not turn to Christ certainly has nothing whatever to do with 'communication' or 'image'. Much of what is being claimed by the modernisers among us is simply untrue, and this needs to be said clearly and cogently. Either those engaging in such loose talk are unbelievably naïve, or are so remote from their fellow men that they cannot make a proper assessment as to what such people understand of what they read. What is more serious is that they seem to demonstrate an abysmal ignorance of what God's Word says about the reason why men do not understand the Gospel. We cannot allow ourselves the dangerous luxury of self-deception in these matters. Some seem to have confused an 'open mind' with having a hole in the head!

Satan comes as an angel of light, as a beautiful and enticing creature, rather than the repulsive character he truly is. The new trends may be accompanied with much talk about love, meekness, unity in the Spirit, whilst underneath 'another Gospel' is making its debut. When once the end of the string is reached and further argument fails, any remaining resistance is damned as 'legalism', and there are furtive allusions to mysterious 'Galatian' believers who, so it is said, are attempting to add acceptance of the Authorised Version to 'faith alone' in Christ. The reality is that our accusers themselves have already gone seriously astray and are taking others with them along the road to destruction. They have forsaken the only reliable pathway to the truth as it is in Christ Jesus. Instead of the pure Word of God we are being offered unreliable, confused perversions, a veritable Babel of 'bibles', each shouting something diff-erent. Anyone who is misguided enough to attempt to expose what is really going on is apparently committing some new sin called 'judging motives'. The same Bible verses are misquoted ad nauseam, whilst others are conveniently over-looked. The natural man is blind to things spiritual but "he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man" (1 Corinthians 2:15). The objec-tions are superficial and insincere, the real motive is to stop the mouths of any critics. We do not have to be mind-readers to know what the modernisers think on any number of issues as few let slip the opportunity to expose us to the nonsense going on in their heads.

The words of the Psalmist come to mind: "If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?" (Psalm 11:3) Once we become aware of what might be going on, there are a number of things we can do. The first thing we must do is to establish the facts of the matter and we do not do this 'researching', by buying and devouring every book we can on the subject, but by going to the one place we can be sure to find the truth of the matter, the Scriptures themselves. We must become clear in our minds about what God Himself has said about the revelation, inspiration, and preservation of His Word, and about the illumination of the Spirit of God necessary to its understanding. Having done this we can then turn to any other books we like and confidently discard any statements that violate the teaching of the Scriptures. This requires few human skills and can be undertaken by most Christian believers prayerfully dependent upon the Spirit of God. What we shall discover is that down through the centuries Satan has attempted to pollute and pervert God's Word. He has inspired haters of Christ and the Gospel, often clad in clerical garb, using quasi-scientific procedures and outright theft and fraud, to produce corrupt and perverse texts. These ever-evolving texts are now used, almost without exception, as the basis of new translations. The effect has been to introduce doubt and confusion where once there was none. This alone is sufficient condemnation of these novel manuscripts. A gap has been introduced between the reader and the utterances of God, for he can never be sure that what he is reading is truly from God. Once the question is being asked, "Hath God said?" then Satan has achieved his end. A further effect of this whole dreadful business is that the student of Scripture is left to the not so tender mercies of a priestly caste of scholars, the majority of whom are unbelievers, and among whom there may be considerable difference of opinion on any number of points. Direct access to the oracles of God, the holy words, the unadulterated and perfect Word of God is thus cut off.

The blessing of God lies only upon the Word of God. It is only through that Word that men and women truly find salvation in Christ and the saints are built up in the faith. The blessing of God does not rest upon any of the modern versions now being peddled as God's Word.

Pastor, are you preaching from the NIV, the NASV? Then you may just as well use the Watchtower New World Translation for if you make some comparisons, you will find little difference on many crucial passages.

Do not expect God to bless your ministry, He has not promised to do so, nor can He do so. Brother and sister in Christ, draw these matters to the attention of the pastor, the leaders in your Church, seek to persuade them of better things. Point out the problems, ply them with questions, be persistent, do not let yourself be fobbed off with platitudes and the usual stock answers. If you are not satisfied, then you must decide whether you should continue where the Lord has promised no blessing, or search out the company of those seeking the instruction of the Lord in our English Authorised Version, upon which the hand of God has rested for so many years.

There is the true Church, there is the false; there is Jerusalem, there is Babylon. Many restrict the use of the term 'Babylon' to the Roman Catholic church. Certainly she is included, but it is to be feared that when the truth is eventually manifested, we shall all be shocked. Many whom we may of thought of as fellow-believers will be uncovered as apostates, knowing nothing of Christ and His Gospel. False prophets preaching a false Gospel will become increasingly difficult to detect.
"For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." Matthew 24:24

If we are being pernickety then it is with good reason, after a lifetime of serving Christ who would want to hear these terrible words? "I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity"(Matthew 7:23). An apostate Church needs apostate bibles, it will not tolerate God's Word. We ought not to be surprised, when many involved in producing such a perverted bible as the NIV - soft on sodomy, lenient on lesbians - along with those 'pastors' who foist it on their unsuspecting flocks, should themselves eventually turn out to have been sodomites themselves all the time, devouring the sheep not feeding them, tearing apart their own families. Truly an enemy hath done this. This is only the beginning, the use of a perverted modern version is always a sign of yet worse to come. It is the first step away from the authentic biblical Gospel. We have no choice in the matter, the will of the Lord in this matter has been made clear to us. Should we find ourselves in a church or fellowship where this steady drift away from the truth is underway, it is clear what we should do.

"Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities." Revelation 18:4-5

"Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach." Hebrews 13:13

David Norris

Click here to go to:OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW!(Part ONE)

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