By Gary Amirault
"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" and "Knowledge puffs up" are both Scriptures. To balance both without leaning unevenly to either side of these Scriptures is one of the purposes of Dew from Mount Hermon. The Bible produces nothing but foolishness unless it is spiritually discerned. But a poor translation will cause a spiritual person much trouble because what he or she discerns in the spirit may not agree with the way the translation is worded. All Bible translations fall short of being "inerrant." The myth of an "inerrant" Bible has caused many people, including myself, much grief.
"Study to show yourself approved," is a Scripture which should speak to all believers in this day. When we come to understand the Scriptures spiritually, we should find enough wonderful truths to make us want to spend much more time studying the things of the Kingdom than the things of this world.
Most of the books we will review, will center around good research books which will bring us closer to the actual meaning and intent of the Scriptures. The books will focus on the Bible and how to get better understanding from it. We will concentrate our reviews on Bibles and reference books that a lay person can understand and use. They will, however, be more on the technical side than on the entertaining side. Occasionally, as with the book What Happened to the Fire, we will review books outside of the area of research an reference books. For the main part, we want to focus on books that will get us closer to the original manuscript version of the Scriptures always being mindful that even if we had a perfectly written English translation, the letter can only kill. It is the Spirit that gives life.
The English Bible from KJV to NIVby Jack P. Lewis
Publisher, Baker Book House
Paperback, 512 pages
This lengthy paperback is the second edition of the book, the first being a hardback. The bulk of the book deals with excellent reviews of the top selling English translations of the Bible. The translations considered are: KJV, ASV, RSV, NEB, NASB, JB, NAB, NWT, LIVING BIBLE, TEV, NIV, NKJV, REB, and the NRSV. He also gives a brief history of the early English translations.
In my opinion, everyone who can afford this book should buy one. This book should dispell forever the myth of the so-called "inerrant" Bible, especially when it comes to the King James Bible. He points out hundreds of specific examples of error after error found in the many different editions of the King James. He conclusively proves that the King James has gone through many different revisions. If the King James Bible was "inerrant" to begin with, why have there been hundreds of changes over the last 350 years? He points out that history has no record of this version every being "authorized" by anyone. The early printings of the KJV had numerous printers errors, some of which were quite amusing. One 1611 edition had "Then cometh Judas" in Matthew 26:36, which should have been "Then cometh Jesus." One of the editions eliminated omitted the word "not" from the 7th of the 10 commandments. One edition which came to be known as the "Unrighteous Bible" had "the unrighteous inherit the earth."
Unfortunately, most of us have been greatly misled by many teachers and books which claim the King James Bible as an "inerrant" translation. We are not told by these writers that the original King James Bible had the Roman Catholic Apocryphal books between the Old Testament and the New Testament. These books were in many editions of the King James Bible up to the 19th century. We have not been told there were changes made in 1612, 1613, 1616, 1629, etc. In 1727, the King's printer issued an edition in which several thousand errors in the marginal materials on the Old Testament were amended and corrected. No known Greek manuscript has "book of life" in Rev. 22:19. The manuscripts read "tree of life."
Jack Lewis clearly points out literally hundreds of examples which should prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that those who teach that the King James Bible is "inerrant" are either extremely ignorant, or blatant liars.
Mr. Lewis gives a brief of the makeup of the committee or author of each translation. The majority of the book contains literally thousands of places in the Scriptures where he feels the translators are in error or have contradicted themselves.
Mr. Lewis's view of the value of the Bible can be summed up by the next to the last paragraph:
While versions differ in translating specific statement, all of the available English translations present the basic duties towards God and man. By comparing one with the other, the person who has no language training can be warned against going astray because of the peculiarities of one translation. He may be challenged to new ideas by reading a new translation.
At the end of the book is a very lengthy bibliography loaded with other sources for further comparison of translations.
I highly recommend this book for those who like to dig. My main complaint would be that he focused on the leading "best seller" translations. I personally have found some of my greatest eye opening experiences with the Bible have come from many translations written by so-called "unorthodox" scholars. After all, Jesus and His "little flock" were anything but orthodox from Israel's religious leadership point of view.