Monthly Archives: October 2013

When Is a Bible Translation Not the Word of God?


Thomas Jefferson, author of The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth

My concern is the departure from the truths of God’s Word. There are many paths away from God. The confusion caused by mistranslating His Word is only one. This blog is about only one heresy; Deliberately mistranslating the word of God.

Poor translations are not limited to Bible translations. President Jimmy Carter fired a translator while he was in Eastern Europe for doing such a poor job. The difference with Bible translation is that many poor Bible translations, such as Thomas Jefferson’s dishonest translation, are deliberate.

We must check to see if a particular translation is accurate and faithful to the original. For example, the Thomas Jefferson translation deletes material simply because Thomas Jefferson did not like it. That is not an honest translation. The Living Bible is not a translation because the author, Kenneth Taylor, paraphrased what he read in English without translating from the original languages. That does not mean that the Living Bible is not useful. It means that it is one man’s opinion. It is a commentary and not the Word of God itself.

So why are there over 400 translations of the Bible into English? A translation take time, money and effort, and each new translation has a purpose. I stand by my statement concluding the blog “What Bible Translation Do You Use?” Satan has used the many Bible translations to cause confusion among the children of God.

The purpose of any passage in the word of God has only one, or possibly two, correct teachings. In a few passages, there are double references. The Holy Spirit can apply the same passage in different ways to different people, but that is application, not the teaching of the passage. When a translation brings out a different flavor or shade of meaning it can benefit and bless the Church of God. But that is certainly not the result of many translations.

There just are not that many legitimate reasons for additional translations. For a conservative, the differences between a dynamic and literal translation are important and easily justify several attempts at each as well as the Holman attempt at a “crossover.” Expanded translations such as the Amplified are also valuable. There are also about a dozen historic translations such as the Geneva, Wycliffe and Tyndale. What is the purpose of the other 350 or so translations?

The New World Translation was made to remove every reference to the Deity of Christ. There are “gender neutral” translations, translations promoting homosexuality, translations which add books such as the epistle of Barnabas, translations which delete books of the Bible.

The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth, as Thomas Jefferson called his New Testament, cuts out everything Thomas Jefferson disagreed with. There are no miracles, no virgin birth, no resurrection and no future hope of a resurrection. What is left is words found in the Bible, but completely inaccurate. Thomas Jefferson had no qualms about deleting phrases in the middle of sentences if he did not like them.

The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth, as edited by Thomas Jefferson is clearly not the Word of God. It is a counterfeit. The problem with this counterfeit is that it is a very poor counterfeit. Counterfeit Bible Translations have become more difficult to identify.

John 1:1 in several different translations;
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. KJV

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God. Holman Chistian Standard Bible

The New American Standard Bible, the English Standard Version, the New International Standard Version and many others are word for word the same. The underlying Greek is simple and straightforward. These are both literal and dynamic translations. Yet the New World Translation has the last phrase of John 1:1 “the Word was a god.” This is a very simple mistranslation. It is in the tradition of Thomas Jefferson, denying the Deity of Jesus the Messiah.

At what point is the translation no longer faithful to the original? At what point is it a counterfeit? This issue came up when people answered the question “What Bible Translation do you use?” Some people were simply being flippant. But others legitimately meant that one translation is as good as any other.

Since every translation from one language to another is incomplete, what does the word “counterfeit” mean to a Bible translation?

At the beginning God expressed himself. That personal expression, that word, was with God, and was God… J.B.Phillips New Testament

That personal expression is not directly supported by the Koine Greek. However, it is supported by the idea of the verb “to be” which in this case means the same in English as Greek. Is That personal expression a good translation? No. Is it a deliberate counterfeit, like the New World Translation “a god?” No, it is not. While it is confusing and difficult to understand, it is not, at least for the average reader, teaching a doctrine that contradicts other doctrines clearly taught in the rest of the Word of God.

A clear doctrine would be to deliberately translate the word virgin in the virgin shall conceive Matthew 1:23 as something other than virgin. But rarely are the issues so easy to detect. The issues are not as clear as counterfeit money. With counterfeit money, the money is either genuine or it is not. While we might be deceived, the fact is that it is either genuine or counterfeit. The Bible can be translated correctly or incorrectly. And incorrect translations can be subtle.

God commands us to study His Word, directed by His Spirit. This is not a simple or easy job. But we should not be deceived by our hope that the Word of God will touch more lives, and have a greater influence, just because someone claims to have made a new English translation.

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Eyewitness Testimony: The Foundation and Basis of Reality

Picture of Crime Scene Do Not Enter - Free Pictures -

According to Wikipedia “Eyewitness testimony is the account a bystander gives in the courtroom, describing what they perceived happened during the specific incident under investigation. Ideally this recollection of events is detailed, however this is not always the case. This recollection is used as evidence to show what happened from a witness’ point of view. Memory recall has been considered a credible source in the past, but has recently come under attack as forensics can now support psychologists in their claim that memories and individual perceptions are unreliable; being easily manipulated, altered, and biased.”
“The reliability of eyewitness testimony has been questioned by psychologists since the beginning of the 20th century.

This is an accurate description of what Psychology teaches about eyewitness testimony. It is also an accurate description of the attitude of eyewitness testimony in basic law enforcement/military training. This Wikipedia article defining eyewitness testimony is a version of “Newspeak.” They seem to be devotees to Ingsoc (George Orwell, 1984). This blog, on the other hand, is written in “Oldspeak” by a Prole from Oceania.

The Free Online Dictionary defines eyewitness as, “A person who has seen someone or something and can bear witness to the fact.” Nothing about “individual perceptions are unreliable; being easily-manipulated, altered, and biased.”

Why? Because an unreliable, easily-manipulated and biased eyewitness can be rejected, or at least discounted, and replaced by a properly indoctrinated professional. The important part of the definition of eyewitness is someone who has “seen someone or something and can bear witness to the fact.”

Just like there are good and bad cooks, drivers, artists, or anything else, there are good and bad eyewitnesses. Yes, individual perceptions can be unreliable, easily manipulated, altered and biased.” That is known as a poor witness. There are also good witnesses, which is totally ignored in the Wikipedia generalization.

Crime Scene Investigators (CSI) are good eyewitnesses in court. So are police officers, military personal, most professional civilians and many untrained people who have enough time to examine the evidence thoroughly and properly record what they witnessed.

The reason this seems odd to us is that we are indoctrinated (Newspeak) to only recognize bad eyewitness testimony as legitimate eyewitness testimony. The reason for this indoctrination is the thesis at the conclusion of this blog.

A bad eyewitness is someone who viewed an event under stress, usually for under 30 seconds, in a very confused situation such as the commission of a crime, often with poor lighting and many distractions. Often these eyewitnesses are pressured to testify against their wills. All of the points in the Wikipedia definition at the beginning of this blog apply to these witnesses.

A good eyewitness has enough time to examine the evidence, enough training to understand what he is witnessing, and is someone who makes a proper record of the event. A police officer filing an accident report is a good eyewitness. A CSI has time pressure, but takes the time to examine the evidence thoroughly. The police officer is an eyewitness to the accident scene, not the actual accident. However, the evidence such as skid marks, position of the vehicles and examination of eyewitnesses of the actual accident make the officer’s report the most reliable eyewitness report available. While some might object, when a report includes the examination of physical evidence, that is an eyewitness report. It is an eyewitness of the evidence the trained witness examined, not of the accident itself. However, the good eyewitness report of the scene and the evidence by a trained professional is more valuable than a bad eyewitness of the actual accident.

The same is true of a trained professional CSI testifying in court. The eyewitness of the crime being committed is often a very poor eyewitness. The CSI investigates the evidence at the scene and files a report, which he testifies to as an eyewitness. The CSI is not an eyewitness of the commission of the crime. The CSI is an eyewitness of the crime scene and the evidence after the fact. But the good eyewitness testimony of the CSI is usually more valuable than the poor eyewitness testimony of the commission of the crime.

While this is contrary to Ingsoc training, it is intuitive. This concept of eyewitness testimony applies to every aspect of life. A scientist performs an experiment. During the experiment he performs tests, records the reading of instruments and records the results, including his observations. At some point this information is made available to others, perhaps as a published article. At this point, the scientist becomes an eyewitness. The people listening to his testimony or reading his report(s) did not perform the tests. They are relying on the author to be a good eyewitness. Good includes honest, accurate, thorough, knowledgeable, complete, and understanding what is significant.
When scientists are confronted with the reality that scientific publishing is entirely based on eyewitness testimony, there is usually an angry denial. These angry denials demonstrate how complete and thorough Ingsoc indoctrination is with these people. This eyewitness testimony in no way denies the proper use of the scientific method, tools, techniques, or conclusions. It simply points out that the method of transmitting information accurately is called eyewitness testimony.

Few people have thought through the reason for rejecting all eyewitness testimony as bad, or at least very weak. The real reason is religious. The Bible must be rejected at all costs and its authority is founded on eyewitness testimony.

Keep in mind today that I am not speaking to your children, who neither were aware of nor did they witness the discipline of the LORD your God, that is, his great and far-reaching power. Deuteronomy 11:2

“Take the book of this Law and set it beside the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD your God. Let it remain there with you as witness against you.” Deuteronomy 31:26

Go now, and write it down on a tablet in their presence, inscribing it in a book, so that for times to come it may be an everlasting witness. Isaiah 30:8

Truly, I tell you with certainty, we know what we’re talking about, and we testify about what we’ve seen. Yet you people do not accept our testimony. John 3:11

So the crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to testify to what they had seen. John 12:17

Paul said The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will, to see the Righteous One, and to hear his own voice, because you will be his witness to all people of what you have seen and heard. Acts 22:14, 15 ISV

But get up and stand on your feet, for I have appeared to you for the very purpose of appointing you to be my servant and witness of what you have seen and of what I will show you. Acts 26:16 ISV

Therefore, as a fellow elder, a witness of the Messiah’s sufferings, and one who shares in the glory to be revealed, I appeal to the elders among you: 1 Peter 5:1

What we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we observed and touched with our own hands—this is the Word of life! 1 John 1:1

If reliable eyewitness testimony is not valid, then the Bible is not true. This is real reason for the “Newspeak” revision of eyewitness testimony.

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; I John 1:9 KJV

All scriptures from ISV unless otherwise noted.

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Who are you—mere man that you are—to talk back to God? Rom 9:20 ISV

I agree with Secular Humanists about one thing – the Bible stands or falls on its truth as a whole. They, however think it doesn’t hold together.

In defending his book, Killing Jesus, Bill O’Reilly took exception to this position. He believes that the Bible is accurate in its depiction of the crucifixion but wrong about Jesus being able to speak from the cross. He said crucifixion’s method of execution is suffocation. You would therefore be unable to speak while on a cross.

Sadly, this is a typical liberal position. Anytime they run across a point they do not understand or agree with, they say the Bible is wrong.

If the Bible is wrong about Jesus speaking from the cross, or God creating the world in 6 days, or Noah building an ark and surviving a worldwide flood, how can it be accurate and truthful about other things, or anything at all?

Are you like Bill O’Reilly, sitting in judgment on God and His Word, or are you permitting God and His Word to sit in judgment on the sin in your life?

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What English Translation of the Bible Do You Use?

Satan has gained an enormous advantage over Christians by the confusion created over the hundreds of different Bible translations. Though we wrote a blog on this subject What is a Pig Translation? that blog was about translation techniques or problems in translations.
Every translation has to balance translation with education. By that we mean both writing in a style and using vocabulary that your audience understands, while keeping both the style and vocabulary true to the original meaning. This goal and this challenge are true for every translator, whatever the original language is and whatever language you are translating into.
The English standard is the King James Version. When the original translators worked on this translation, they expected that the average person would either hear it read from the pulpit or memorize the passage. No one imagined owning a personal copy to read and study. The inexpensive and readily-available written copies we have today were literally undreamed of, perhaps even beyond their comprehension.
So the translators of the King James Version emphasized literary beauty. They created a cadence that was both easy on the ears and easy to memorize. It sacrificed the strict literal reading of some words to attain this goal. The King James translation of the Bible is still one of the literary masterpieces in any language.
However, as English education continues to deteriorate, more and more people are unable to understand the beauty of the King James Version. To help modern English-speaking people understand the Word of God, many people have made hundreds of modern translations. Very few of these translations truly glorify God. Here is a brief list of some which do glorify God.
The New American Standard Bible is readily available, has modernized the syntax and vocabulary, yet sticks to a very close word-for-word translation. It modernizes, but still requires some education on the part of the reader to understand the background and setting.
The New King James is an excellent attempt to keep the beauty and accuracy of the original King James Version while at the same time modernizing the spelling.
The Amplified Bible and Wuest’s expanded translation of the New Testament each attempt to communicate the full meaning of a passage without any attempt to limit the number of English words used. The result in both cases are large, awkward translations which heavily rely on the translators’ theology. They are more valuable as commentaries than translations.
The New International Version relied on a kernel translation. This is an attempt to translate the meaning of a thought or idea of a phrase or sentence. While this seems to be too subjective, it is the standard translation technique in the business world. When instructions for a product are translated into multiple languages, the kernel or dynamic method is usually the preferred method of communication. The New International Version produced a high-quality translation in 1984. Since that time, various other “flavors” or points of view have influenced the translation process and the newer versions of the New International Version made severe departures from the original text. For this reason we highly recommend that you not use any of the various versions of the NIV produced after 1984.
The Holman Christian Standard Bible, funded in part by the Southern Baptist Convention, called their technique “optimal equivalence,” coming somewhere between a literal word-for-word translation and a thought or dynamic or kernel translation. Because the men making the translation were committed to inerrancy, this is a good translation.
While these are not all of the good translations, I mention these because the total number is small and easy to remember. Of the more than 400 translations into English, almost all them were designed to promote a theology, a point of view or something else other than the pure Word of God.
In other words, they were designed to cause some confusion among the children of God. Our God is not the author of confusion.


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No Lone Rangers

lone ranger mask eyes
Over twenty years ago we heard a sermon that God does not want lone ranger Christians. God established His Church and each and every believer is responsible to be part of His Church. It was based on a very principle of God’s Word. And let us continue to consider how to motivate one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another even more as you see the day of the Lord coming nearer. Hebrews 10:24, 25

This principle of unity or meeting together in the assembly is based in the Law, used for over 1,500 years in Israel, Jesus joined the assembly in synagogue services and at the temple. The very word church, ekklesia, εκκλησι´α is the word “assembly”. Jesus said, “That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:21, 22

So with these examples and commands of assembly, where do lone prophets such as Samuel, Elijah, Elisha, Amos and John the Baptist fit in God’s Plan? We can add Christians who stood alone such as Martin Luther to the list, but the question is the same. How do we reconcile “Here I stand. I can do no other” with the command to gather together in my name?

Samuel said, “Does the LORD delight as much in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the LORD? Surely, to obey is better than sacrifice, to pay attention is better than the fat of rams. 1 Samuel 15:22 (ISV) Sacrifices were both commanded and done in the assembly as the most important aspect of public worship, but Samuel pointed out that obedience was more important. Obedience is an individual choice.

The responsibility of the prophets was to proclaim the Word of God, even if that meant opposing the assembly. “And, behold, there came a man of God out of Judah by the word of the LORD unto Bethel: and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense. And he cried against the altar in the word of the LORD, and said, O altar, altar, thus saith the LORD; Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men’s bones shall be burnt upon thee. And he gave a sign the same day, saying, This is the sign which the LORD hath spoken; Behold, the altar shall be rent, and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out. And it came to pass, when king Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of God, which had cried against the altar in Bethel, that he put forth his hand from the altar, saying, Lay hold on him. And his hand, which he put forth against him, dried up, so that he could not pull it in again to him. The altar also was rent, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the LORD.” 1 Kings 13:1-5

The entire chapter of Hebrew 11 lists men and women who stood alone for God against assemblies of wickedness. The important points are that they were called by God and were obedient to God’s revealed Word. They did not simply neglect the assembly because they were lazy. The assembly departed from God’s Word and left them.


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The Death of Science Part 5 — The Double Standard

Secular Humanism boldly proclaims that the events recorded in the Bible are not historic. But using those same standards, neither were Plato, Socrates, Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, Sun Tzu or most historic people or events.

The oldest surviving manuscript of Plato’s documents dates to 895 AD. The Codex Oxoniensis Clarkianus 39 was copied more than a thousand years after the death of Plato. It is incomplete, containing only the first six tetralogies.

We only have references to Socrates in the works of Aristotle and Plato. There is no other evidence that Socrates ever existed.

Sun Tsu wrote around 550 BC, but the old fragments of the text are the Yinqueshan Han Slips, almost 5,000 bamboo fragments which contain pieces of 13 chapters of the Art of War. The Yinqueshan Han Slips date to approximately 140 BC.

The writings of Julius Caesar come from two manuscript sources, Amsterdam 73, 2nd quarter of the 9th century, written at Fleury and Paris lat. 5056, 11-12th century, written at Moissac. In addition, there are hundreds of references to Julius Caesar in other works, but these manuscripts are all much later. We have statues which purport to be a good likeness of Julius Caesar, but there is no way of verifying this.
None of the writings of Alexander the Great still exist in any form. His memory is preserved in works of art, such as statues, paintings and architecture. Many others wrote about Alexander, with the most well-known of these biographies being the work of Plutarch, where he compared Alexander with Julius Caesar in a book call Parallel Lives. Parallel Lives was written by Plutarch in the 1st century AD 350 years after the death of Alexander. The oldest existing MSS of Plutarch is the 10th century AD.

We could continue, but these five examples show the condition of the evidence for the most well-known and well-documented of the ancients. I do not mean to imply that this lack of evidence means that we should not trust the evidence that exists, or doubt the existence or deeds of these men. Quite to the contrary, this seems to be excellent material on which to base a highly accurate history of the time period.

And once we have established standards for evaluating history, we can then apply those same standards to other documents. First we look at the Epic of Gilgamesh. The Epic of Gilgamesh is found in fragments of cuneiform tablets. It exists in several different ancient languages, Sumerian, Akkadian, Assyrian, Old Babylonian and Babylonian. Some of these fragments are the oldest written documents known to man. Our versions are pieced together because there is no entirely complete copy. The seventh century BC library of the Assyrian King Ashurbanipal contains a nearly complete copy and this is the version most modern translations are based on. One very important detail is the variations in the texts. This variety has led to the conclusion that the Epic of Gilgamesh was a political story and the story changed to fit various political climates.

While the Epic of Gilgamesh is a story of gods and goddesses and superhuman feats, its emphasis seems very modern. It is entertaining. It is interesting. But it also establishes a caste system. It clearly shows that those who not members of the nobility (the gods and goddesses) are nothing more than what we call serfs, slaves with the responsibility of providing for the nobility. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, the nobility (the gods and goddesses) had powers you could not resist.

Second, we examine the Egyptian Book of the Dead. Probably better known than the Epic of Gilgamesh, there are complete copies of the Book of the Dead written in various tombs. It also has great variety among the various tombs. The Book of the Dead is earlier. The later versions used by the Egyptians us known today as the Book of Gates. Unlike the Epic of Gilgamesh, these were not written as political propaganda for the lower classes. Few people would ever see these tombs after they were sealed.
Perhaps there was some attempt by the priests to hold political power over the families of those who were being buried. They might have allowed a small number to view the walls before sealing the tomb. But the family members of those who were buried and the priests writing out the words on the walls believed that these spells had some power over death.

Unlike the Epic of Gilgamesh, where a simple understanding of human nature seems to answer the question of why was this book written, the Book of the Dead is written by and for people who were not only obsessed with the afterlife, but convinced that their magic charms could somehow achieve immortality.

These very general conclusions about these historical documents using standard techniques and methods have nearly universal agreement. However, when we apply the same method and techniques to the Biblical documents, a tsunami of prejudice and bigotry attempts to overwhelm the evidence. The Dead Sea Scrolls provide us with vellum, papyrus, and pottery documents which match the Masoretic text we have used for over a thousand years and date to within only a few centuries of the original authors. This is far more reliable than any other ancient document.

The Old Testament is quoted by the Church Fathers and Josephus, with copies as old as the 2nd century AD. It is translated into Greek (LXX), Latin (Vulgate), Ethiopian (Coptic), Syriac (Peshitta), and we have copies of each of these.

The Roman government executed an Empire-wide campaign to burn and destroy every copy of the New Testament and to kill everyone who possessed a copy of it. In spite of this, we have thousands of copies of the NT, fragments dating back to the first century and complete copies of the NT dating the fourth century AD. There are more eyewitness records to the events of the New Testament than any other ancient person or event, including major battles.

Why do people who claim to believe in science change their standards, their method of evaluating evidence, when they examine the evidence supporting the Bible?

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In The Image of God

God created us with a body, soul and spirit. We also have an intellect, will and emotions. Though we all have the ability to make choices, we also have the responsibility to live with the results of the decisions we make.

No matter how well we think through our beliefs or how happy, sad, angry, or indifferent we are, we are always bound by the results of our decisions. We are also bound by the results of the decisions of those around us.

The average person at this point is about to stop reading, thinking, “Yeah, so what?” The “So what” part we have to be concerned about is that, since we are made in the image of God, we should act like we are in the image of God.

If you are thinking, “What does that mean?” “What is he driving at?” or something else along those lines, then this is for you.

  • First, know God’s Word. Study to show yourself approved unto God. The emphasis is not on the study or how much information we have. The question is are we approved by God. God is interested in our character. We begin our journey to sanctification by knowing and understanding His Word. If you believe Moses, you would also believe me [Jesus speaking] since he wrote of me. John 5:46 It is not possible to believe Moses or Jesus if you do not know what they said.
  • Second, understand God’s Word. That is actually contained in the phrase “know God’s Word.” Understand is part of the word “know.” However, every single one of us are capable of reading something or even memorizing something with absolutely no idea what those letters and numbers mean. So understanding is more than just memorizing or reading. What is the context? What is the background? What do other passages say about the exact same principle or concept? How does it all fit together? What does the passage mean?
  • Third, have no known sin in your life. Known sin separates us from God’s fellowship. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: Psalm 66:18 Once we are cleansed from sin, then God can use us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. I John 1:9
  • Fourth, understand that we are in race, a warfare and we must constantly be training and be prepared. Throwing off everything that hinders us and especially the sin that so easily entangles us, let us keep running with endurance the race set before us. Hebrews 12:1 (ISV)
  • Fifth, if we are unsure what God wants, ask Him. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to everyone generously without a rebuke, and it will be given to him. James 1:5 (ISV) Sadly, some Christians never get to this point in their lives. Perhaps business, perhaps pleasure, perhaps family, perhaps simply some form of ambition, perhaps nothing more than laziness stand between us and God.
  • Sixth, when we are finally where God can use us, be ready for the still, small voice of God. At this point we must be wise as a serpent though harmless as a dove. This is where Satan is so very deceptive. Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. I John 4:1
  • Seventh, and final, obey God’s Spirit, His leading and direction. Understand, God’s Spirit never leads contrary to His Word. For this life we are on a battleground and not a playground. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:12

King James Version of the Scripture, unless otherwise noted.

Image from public by George Hodan


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