Introduction to New Age Bible Versions
If you are reading this, you probably already know quite a lot about the Bible. But for now, let's imagine that you know very little about the Bible. Let's imagine that you don't own a Bible, but you would like to buy one, although you haven't yet made a purchase. And so, you go into a Bible bookshop, you have a look around, but you don't know which Bible is the best.
You notice that the shelves are full of Bibles. There are Hebrew Bibles and Greek Bibles, but you skip past those because you can't read Hebrew or Greek. Finally you come to the section with Bibles in English. Awesome! But there are so many to choose from that you don't know which one to pick! There are big ones, small ones, fat ones, thin ones, large print ones, small print ones, ones with pictures, ones with no pictures and just text. There are so many names of Bibles - the KJV, NIV, NASB, NRSV, NAB, RSV, CEV, TEV, GNB, and just a whole bunch of others. You don't know which one to buy - you are spoilt for choice! So next, you take a look inside the Bibles. The ones with pictures look good!
You spend a few minutes glancing through each of the Bibles on display. You soon realize that the KJV (King James Bible) seems to be a bit difficult to read. It seems a little old-fashioned. It is in rather old English. It has endings on words like walketh and doest, which seems odd. And you didn't understand some of the words, like kine or concupiscence. Some phrases and sentences are difficult. For example, you don't know what "try my reins" means. So you put the KJV back on the shelf.
Then you pick up one of the others - it doesn't matter which. Let's call it the NAT Bible. The preface says it stands for "New Age Translation". Wow - that's better! This new Bible version is much clearer and easier to read. There are no difficult words, no difficult sentences, and even a few pictures. It just seems a whole bunch easier! You figure that the Bible is a big book anyway, you probably won't get round to reading it all, but it will at least help if you pick one that is easy to read. Even better, it's much cheaper than the expensive King James Bible. So you take it over to the counter, and buy this new Bible. The "New Age Translation" is the Bible you have chosen...
Well, you won't know it yet - but you have just made the worst mistake of your life - one that will shipwreck your faith and completely mislead you over what the Bible actually says. Or, who knows? Maybe you have just made a brilliant decision - one which will make it much easier to read the Bible and understand its message. So which is it? Have you just made a terrible decision, or a brilliant one? Have you just chosen the best Bible, or the worst? Your decision to choose the NAT Bible really is that stark - either it will be a slow disaster, or it will be a steady success.
Unfortunately, most people have no idea how important it is to choose the "right" Bible. They think that all Bibles are the same. Assuming that all Bibles are the same and not having the knowledge to make an informed choice, most people simply go for the Bible that looks the easiest to read, or which has lots of pictures and notes, and things like that. And they assume that everyone who produces Bibles must be honest, upright people who care deeply about God's Word, believe in it, and want to preserve the Bible's message intact. They are Bible publishers, after all...
The problem, however, is that none of those assumptions are necessarily valid, or true. All Bibles are NOT the same. In fact, there is no reason to assume all Bibles would be the same. The idea that "they are all the same" applies to nothing else in life! All cars are not the same... Some cars are rust-heaps that are always breaking down. Others will give you years of trouble-free motoring. All houses are not the same... some are dangerous or will become expensive money-pits. Others are a joy to buy and live in. All investments are not the same... Some are offered by scam artists, while others offer solid nest-eggs that will help you prepare for the future. All men are not the same... Some are kind, loving and generous. Others are murderers or rapists. And it is not necessarily easy to tell them apart. All women are not the same... some are fun, intelligent and beautiful. Others are liars and gold-diggers. Again, it is not necessarily easy to tell them apart.
In fact, there is good and bad in everything in life. Assuming that "they are all the same" will likely lead to disaster when choosing cars, houses, investments, men and women. So why would anyone expect Bibles to be different? Why would anyone expect all Bibles to be good, or all Bibles to be much the same as any other? Wouldn't you expect some Bibles to be disasters, and others to be good, even brilliant?
Not surprisingly, when we examine the Bibles that are available today, we find exactly this. The quality varies enormously. Some Bibles are trustworthy, and are the inspired Word of God. Some Bibles are honest translations of the original languages of the Bible. Some Bibles have faithfully preserved the Word of God down through the centuries. Other Bibles are faithful translations of the Word of God that has been meticulously preserved.
But some Bibles are very different. Some Bibles are not really translations at all. You might call them paraphrases of the Bible. Or you might call them adaptations of the Bible for a modern world, in the same way that a film director might adapt a classic book for the movies, trying to make the plot more exciting or more relevant to a contemporary audience. Other Bibles mean well, but are "translated" by people whose own beliefs are contrary to the Bible, so that their translation is clouded by their own beliefs. Other Bibles hide behind a committee, regardless of the classic joke about how a committee trying to design a race-horse ended up creating a donkey. Other Bibles are just bad translations, by people whose knowledge of the original languages of Scripture is questionable. Other Bibles may well be good translations, but are translations of something that doesn't exist. Other Bibles are problematic translations of problematic Bible manuscripts, where the entire end-result is very problematic. Other Bibles are deliberate attempts to undermine the Holy Scriptures and subvert the Truth of Bible manuscripts that have historically been trusted. In fact, nowadays, a Bible translation or two is cropping up nearly every year, or so it seems.
This modern situation wasn't always the case. There was a time when a Bible was a Bible, and a Bible could be trusted. Just like a gentleman's word was once his bond, and a gentleman always kept his word. Nowadays a gentleman's word means nothing, and it's all about whether a contract was signed, and whether a signed contract can be wriggled out of in court.
In the same way, modern Bibles can't be trusted just because they are Bibles, or just because they are modern. The problem is that something bad has happened to modern Bible versions. Something bad has happened to both the translations themselves, and the "original" Bible manuscripts on which those translations are based. Something is going on. Something is happening deliberately, a policy, an intentional change for a specific goal.
But it's not something you would spot quickly. It's not something you would spot at first glance. It's like a cancer eating away at your beliefs, slowly going underground and unnoticed while it gains strength. It's like the slow creeping death of gangrene, seemingly easy to ignore, yet devastating in the end.
Now, this is a huge subject, and not easy to explain in a few articles or videos. In fact, whole books have been written about these subjects - some very detailed books which systematically present the evidence, for those who care to look. At the Bible Manuscript Society, we don't want to spend years of our life re-inventing the wheel, or re-presenting evidence that has already been presented competently by others.
Instead, we will present some of the "problem areas" associated with modern Bibles, in what we believe is in an original and thought-provoking way. We will suggest some of the areas for concern, and point you in some fruitful directions if you want to know more. You see, something dramatic has happened in the last hundred years or so. Several factors have arisen which, individually, would have been enough to subvert the Bible and lead to its being banned, denied or ridiculed. But taken together, those factors have become powerful forces indeed, working their insidious sorcery and witchcraft into the hearts and minds of those who want to read and understand the Bible, undermining the Bible and their faith at every twist and turn.
The Bible has many friends, but it also has enemies. And in these latter days, its enemies are sowing the seeds of gangrene. There is an antidote to the poison, but it needs you to make some effort to understand what is going on. And so, in the next few articles, we provide you with some areas which we suggest you need to investigate further. In fact, throughout the Bible Manuscript Society website we provide a number of downloadable books and resources which will help you, as you search for the Truth of the Bible down through the centuries.
In a magic show, the magician uses sleight of hand to deceive the audience, to make the audience think things which are not true. We will see that those who want to undermine the Bible are also using deceit and sorcery, to make the world drink from the cup of the wine of the fierceness of God's wrath. But we will show you what is happening behind the scenes, as it were, how the deceit is being carried out. Once you know what is happening, you will be protected against the wiles of the devil.
We will start by asking what exactly a translation is, and what it is not. Then we will ask what is actually being translated. Then we will take a look at some of the forces, or factors, responsible for undermining the Bible, the inspired Word of God, and what the goal, or purpose, behind it is.
If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:31-32)
Let us purpose in our heart to find out the Truth, so that the Truth can set us free.