Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Are Modern English Versions of the Bible Corrupt? -- Part 10

This is the tenth installment in a multi-part series concerning social media posts that are circulating and accusing the NIV and other modern English translations of the Bible of taking out important words and concepts, leaving out verses, and other nefarious things.

Read part 1 here
Read part 2 here
Read part 3 here
Read part 4 here
Read part 5 here
Read part 6 here
Read part 7 here
Read part 8 here
Read part 9 here

Some Closing Thoughts

After reviewing all this data, we must confront the elephant in the room: the motives of the persons who originally put these posts together and started circulating them. While only God and the individuals involved in the creation of these memes and articles know what was in their hearts, we can make some educated deductions based on the fruit they have borne.

Let me make one thing clear: I am not talking here about the motives of the people who have shared and circulated these alerts out of a heartfelt concern and love for God and His word. Most people sharing these alerts don't know all of the information I have presented over the past nine articles. They simply see something that grabs their attention using alarmist language, look at the few cherry-picked examples that allegedly support the claims being made, and then share or forward it without looking deeper or asking someone who has more knowledge in this area (such as a pastor or even a friend who is a Bible nerd). As I stated in the first post in this series, they have a zeal for God, but they lack knowledge. The purpose of this series is not to condemn these brothers and sisters, but rather to fill in the gaps in their knowledge.

With regard to the originators of these types of articles, in the very best case— giving them the maximum benefit of the doubt—they are simply ignorant of the facts, and need to do more study and research before trying to teach others (James 3:1 could be applied here).

Or worse, they know these facts, but willingly choose to ignore them, preferring to bear false witness against brothers and sisters in Christ who have dedicated their lives to the study and translation of the Scriptures. And the last time I checked, bearing false witness is a pretty serious thing. The creators of these memes use alarming language that implies there is some kind of conspiracy or plot to alter and undermine God’s word in order to goad well-meaning people—who don’t know the facts, or don’t know how to find them out—into helping spread lies.

Now, if someone has actually taken the time to do reading and research—learning about textual criticism, the text families behind the Textus Receptus and the critical/eclectic texts, and translation theory, and has at least a basic knowledge of biblical language issues—and still believes the Textus Receptus is a superior base text, I can respect their opinion, because it is an informed opinion. They actually have some knowledge of the issues involved. But the originators of these “warnings” do not provide any research or documentation beyond leading statements in alarmist language that is formulated to direct people toward the conclusion they want them to reach, and to incite them to spread the false information to as many people as possible, because the concern is so “urgent.”

In the extreme worst case, the people who initiate these false reports are intentionally spreading false information just to stir up trouble. (I’m writing this in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, and I have seen many “exposé” articles on social media that have so many obviously wrong “facts” in them that the only logical conclusion is that someone is producing the most outlandish theories they can come up with just to see how far and fast they will spread before someone checks the facts.)

In one of the places I saw this false information about modern translations shared, someone commented, “They will find a way to justify these changes, but this is just another way Satan uses to deceive.” In my opinion, the real Satanic deception going on here is perpetrated by the originators of these false posts. They are stirring up strife among believers, and Proverbs 6:16–19 says that one of the seven things God hates (in addition to “a lying tongue,” which they are also guilty of) is “he that soweth discord among brethren” (KJV), or as the NIV puts it, “a person who stirs up conflict in the community.” The Bible says that Satan is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44). Since we have established that this “warning” is full of falsehood, is it unreasonable to conclude that its origins are diabolical? What would please Satan more than to trick believers into fighting one another rather than doing the work of the Great Commission, all while believing they are defending the truth?

So, now that you know “the rest of the story” and the truth about the claims in this “very critical alert,” if you have in the past shared one of these posts, you should own up to it. Don’t simply delete it from your social media feed. Make a new post (or a comment on the original post where you shared it) admitting that you were taken in by—and helped to spread—false information. Share the truth about the matter with people. Repentance from spreading falsehood involves not only ceasing to spread lies, but replacing those lies with the truth.

I don’t really care if you share my articles or not to teach people the truth about this—I’m not out to gain traffic for my blog. Feel free instead to share my friend Carmen Imes’ series (links below) that she wrote in 2015 about this same meme (I discovered her articles on this after I was already halfway into writing my own series—if I had found it earlier, I would probably have simply pointed people there to start with).

In our final installment, I will provide a set of links to other resources on this topic, for those who wish to pursue it further.

Dr. Carmen Imes’ series "Does the New NIV Distort the Scriptures?";

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