For whatever reason, the Church at large has decided that the Bible as written isn’t really good enough to teach from as it was for almost 2000 years, and there are more versions now than ever before.
Now, I’m not talking about normal Bible translations of the various formal and dynamic titles out there. What I’m talking about might even start with these translations and then dumb them down. Yes, there are also perversions called Bibles, such as The Message (a real New Age mess), The New World Translation (Jehovah’s Witness mistranslation), the Inspired Version (Joseph Smith’s revelational translation), The Clear Word (Seventh-day Adventist corruption) and who knows what else. But there are also junk food versions which are obviously published just for the money without concern over the poor teaching they present.
Let’s look at some of these corruptions, all of which seem to have a specific agenda for their misuse of God’s Word:
1. Bible Illuminated: The Book New Testament. I first heard about this one through a Chuck Colson Break Point 5/29/09 e-mail and Media Spotlight. It uses the Good News Bible (Today’s English Version) for the text, and originated in Sweden, being the idea of a Swedish advertising executive. The format is like a thick fashion magazine with plenty of photographs.
Many of these photos are of celebrities who the editors think do good deeds. Colson said, “In some cases the photos appear to have been chosen in order to purposely mislead readers about the clear meaning of the text.” Colson cites what Katherine Eastland, of the Weekly Standard, has to say about this version: “The message is loud and clear... It doesn’t matter who you say Christ is, savior or prophet or teacher; what matters is whether you love your neighbor as yourself and demonstrate that love.”
Al Dager, of Media Spotlight, cites what the publisher claims as its mission: “Illuminated World seeks to introduce today’s audience to a revolutionary contemporary Bible, one that encourages dialogue and is culturally relevant, readily accessible and easily digestible for any reader regardless of religious, economic, racial or social background. We have no religious agenda and support no specific faith.”
While the publishers claim to have no agenda, I think there is a very, very obvious social gospel agenda. And I think the web site proves this point by how they describe their Bible: “THE BOOK, Bible Illuminated has profound messages about what it means to live in harmony with our fellow human beings, the importance of justice and mutual respect, and the urgent need to care for the planet we cohabit. Some of the images that accompany the text are graphic. But they are a testimony of what can happen when justice and the stewardship of the earth’s resources are treated with indifference. Others, we trust, depict ways in which humans have successfully reached out to one another in times of dire need. The texts that are highlighted in yellow are those linked to specific images, usually ones appearing on the same or a near-by page. Often they represent key biblical themes. We urge you to read these thoughtfully and to read the surrounding text to better understand the situations they address.”
Colson reports on what the editors chose to include as “supplementary text”: “Eight Ways to Change the World,” which is a project of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. Colson elaborates: “Readers are encouraged to help eradicate hunger and poverty, promote ‘gender equality,’ and ‘environmental sustainability.’ Interestingly, nowhere are readers encouraged to fight abortion or human trafficking - both worldwide tragedies. And nowhere - except in the small print of the scripture itself - are readers encouraged to give up their sins and follow Christ.”
While both O.T. and N.T. are available in Swedish, only the N.T. is currently available in English. And the man responsible, Dag Soderberg, plans on doing a Qur’an in the same format!
Well, this version, which seeks to be “culturally relevant,” should go very quite well with the Emergent Movement.
2. New Community Bible. This Roman Catholic Bible came out about three years ago and I reported on it then, but I thought I’d add it to this article. According to several news agencies I reviewed at the time, this version has illustrations of Joseph, Mary and Jesus as poor Indian villagers. “Mary wears a simple sari and has a bindi on her forehead alongside Joseph in a turban and loincloth.” Supposedly 30 Indian Bible scholars worked on this version for over 15 years. Aside from their illustrations depicting what Paul would call “another Jesus,” this “Bible” also has writings from the Bhagavad Gita, and includes references to Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings and other ancient Indian works. I’d say turning Jesus into an Indian and using Hindu scriptures would make this Bible apostate and blasphemous.
3. The Hillbilly Bible. This is a paraphrase of the Gospel of John, written by Stevie Rey. It is written in a southern dialect. Supposedly, this aberration “brings out new insights into the loving heart of God and the supreme sacrifice of Jesus.”
Well, let’s just take a look at a passage: “Fer the good Lord commenced to hankerin’ after the world something fierce, and up and gave ‘ees only boy so’s whoever took a notion to believe in ‘eem ort not die, but just keep on livin’ with ‘eem in heaven ferever n’ ever.” If that didn’t confuse you, try one more: “Stop flappin’ yer jaws, y’all,” Jesus says, “Nary a one a ye can come to me, less’n the Daddy reels ‘em in, and I sure ‘nuff will raise ‘em up at the end a time.”
This “bible” dumbs down to the lowest denominator, and really distorts the Word of God to an almost unintelligible triteness. I also believe it blasphemes Jesus by making Him talk like an ignorant hick.
4. The Poverty and Justice Bible. This British translation is a liberal’s dream for preaching the social gospel. It is “the first ever to literally highlight the more than 2,000 passages that reveal God’s sorrow over poverty and injustice, and His command to believers to eradicate them.” They must be reading a different Bible than I do, because nowhere do I find Jesus telling us to “eradicate” these things, and, in fact, He says the poor will always be with us! Yet the “Rt Rev Dr Tom Wright, Bishop of Durham and Bible Society’s President” has stated, “The imbalance of global wealth, famine, water shortages, exploitation and corruption are all issues that invoke outrage - and demand attention. But The Poverty and Justice Bible shows that, in speaking out on these issues, God got there first.” (Perhaps he should be more concerned with the “exploitation and corruption” of God’s Word!) The Bible Society claims they were inspired to develop this version by Rick Warren’s teachings, and of course arch liberal Tony Campolo has endorsed it. Oh, and guess what version they sifted through to find their 2000 verses? The Contemporary English Version, which teaches heresy in the opening chapter of Genesis, and is about as dynamic as you can get without being a paraphrase!
(Citations are from Christian Today)
5. Truth for Youth Bible. This New Testament uses the God’s Word version, which is similar in translational philosophy to the NIV, although I think it is a bit more dynamic. Tim Todd, of Revival FIres Ministries (that alone should ring bells), publishes this Bible version. The idea is to get “young people” to take “back what the devil has stolen.” This is another one of those “readable and relevant” ideas with “comics designed to help youth understand what the word of God has to say about topics that matter to kids.” (Agape Press, 8/16/04). I wonder how the Church taught young people for generations without comics and “relevance”? God’s Word version is easy enough for a sixth-grader; do we really need comics? And do we really want to continue preaching aberrational “revival” and SLSW stuff to kids? I don’t think so.
6. The Word on the Street. This aberration is written by Rob Lacey, a “Welsh Performance Artist.” One citation provided by Fundamental Baptist Information Service on 8/14/04, from the opening of Genesis, should be enough to tell you about this one: “First off, nothing...but God. No light, no time, no substance, no matter. Second off, God says the word, and WHAP! STuff everywhere! The cosmos in chaos: no shape, no form, no function - just darkness...total. And floating above it all, God’s Holy Spirit, ready for action.” Why do these authors and publishers (Zondervan) continually insist on dumbing down the Word of God?!
7. Today’s New International Version. One of several versions which twist the Scripture to be “gender neutral” so as to appeal to the politically-correct crowd. Adding to or subtracting from God’s Word is acting against God. Claiming we need this to reach younger readers is fallacious; how did we reach younger people for the past 2000 years? Wayne Grudem was very insightful when he said in 2005, “If the TNIV should gain wide acceptance, the precedent will be established for other Bible translations to mute unpopular nuances and details of meaning for the sake of ‘political correctness.’ The loss of many other doctrines unpopular in the culture will soon follow. And at every case Bible readers will never know if what they are reading is really the Word of God or the translator’s ideas of something that would be a little less offensive than what God actually said. In may hundreds of places, then, the new words in the TNIV do not accurately reflect the meaning of the words God originally caused to be written, and thus they are not the words of God. They are human words that men have substituted for the words of God, and they have no place in the Bible.”
A good example of how the TNIV’s philosophy obscures truth is their translation of Ps. 34:20. The NIV says, “He protects all His bones - not one of them will be broken,” which is fulfilled in John 19:36. Yet the TNIV “translates” it this way: “He protects all their bones - not one of them will be broken.” They made it plural to get rid of “His” but now it can’t be seen to be fulfilled, nor does it really make any sense. And this is the type of junk which infects this version, yet there are big names who have endorsed it in a 2005 Zondervan advertisement in Christianity Today. While I can expect endorsements from the likes of Rick Warren, Bill Hybels and Ted Haggard, I am really surprised to see Craig Blomberg, D.A. Carson, John Stott and Warren Wiersbe endorsing it! And now Zondervan is going to stop publishing the NIV.
8. Renovare Spiritual Formation Bible. This is another “study” Bible which entered the fray a few years back, using the ecumenical, gender-neutral New Revised Standard Version as its text. The “scholars” promoting this one are all into the mystical, contemplative movement. It’s primary focus is all about mystic Richard Foster’s “Spiritual Disciplines.” This version also includes the Apocrypha, making it acceptable to Romanists but promoting heresy at the same time. Of course much of the mystical teaching coming from this movement originated in the Romanist church, and much of their teachings are indeed part of the commentaries. Explanatory notes also deny the divine authorship of much of Scripture, claiming that Genesis isn’t history - only myth that gathered theological importance over the centuries. I recommend a review of an article by Dave Hunt written soon after the release of this heretical “bible.”
9. Biblezines. These are another attempt at dumbing down the Word and turning it into entertainment, emulating the secular teen magazines. After all, we know that teens can’t really “get into” the Bible without appeals to the flesh. Thomas Nelson released these things a few years back, based on the New Century version. They include articles “relevant” to teens - subjects such as sex, drugs, self-esteem, bullying, etc. The girls’ version, Revolve, includes articles about fashion (using skinny models and including immodest styles) and beauty tips, with advice for dates, and it became a huge success. As David Cloud said, “This magazine is an amazing mixture of vanity and Bible truth, and yet God commanded His people in the days of Jeremiah to separate ‘the precious from the vile.’” You might say it is a Cosmo-Bible! The success of Revolve led to the introduction of the boys’ model, Refuel, which is virtually a GQ-Bible. As time went by, Thomas Nelson decided this was a great money-making scheme and came out with many more versions: Becoming for women (a “Bible and a cutting -edge woman’s magazine rolled into one”), followed by Becoming 2; Align for men; Divine Health for adults (this one using NKJV); Real for young adults; Explore for pre-teen boys; Blossom for pre-teen girls and Magnify for kids (using International Children’s Bible version). Of course to stay “relevant” they have to keep publishing new versions - just like secular magazines. Thomas Nelson has turned the Word of God into the worst trash yet. These “biblezines” do nothing but trivialize the Word of God.
10. The Inclusive Bible. This is another old one; the article I have is from January 1996, written by Joseph Sorban. But it still makes my point about the junk food Bibles, since its claim is that it is the “First Egalitarian Translation”. This version of the New Testament is based on the NRSV, but supposedly with an attempt to correct earlier translations. Of course the purpose of this version is political-correctness, which means it is gender-neutral and uses “sensitive” language. The Lord’s Prayer starts out, “Our Father-Mother in heaven,” which demonstrates the heretical nature of this publication. “Kingdom” is considered “adrocentric and patriarchal” so it is replaced with “dominion.” “Dark” and “darkness” have been deleted so as not to cause offense to dark-skinned people, and “right hand” has been deleted so as not to offend lefties. Published by Oxford University Press.
11. As Good As New. This one came out in 2004 over in merry ole England, and was endorsed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and Great Britain’s Baptist Union President. It is subtitled, “A Radical Retelling of the Scriptures.” Radical is an understatement concerning this version of the New Testament. While it is a paraphrase rather than a translation, it is nevertheless a blasphemous attempt at making the Bible “relevant.” John’s Revelation was tossed out and the Gospel of Thomas was put in - plainly demonstrating the theology of the author, John Henson, a retired Baptist pastor. I have reports in my files from a book review found on-line (the last page with website info is missing), from AgapePress news (8/18/04) and from the Fundamentalist Baptist Information Service (7/2/04). According to these reports, demonism has been replaced by “mental illness,” and a pigeon instead of a dove lands on Jesus at His baptism while God says, “That’s my boy!” All condemnations of homosexuality are deleted and the word “wife” is replaced with “partner.” “Kingdom of God” is replaced with “God’s New World” and, of course, all language is “inclusive” (it is advertised as being “women, gay, and sinner friendly”) A wild “translation” of 1 Cor. 7, Paul says his advice is for everyone to have a regular sexual partner rather than being frustrated. Peter is called “Rocky,” and “Son of Man” is changed to “Complete Person.” Archbishop Rowan Williams wrote the forward and said it is a book of “extraordinary power.” I’d agree - it has extraordinary power to deceive people and lead them astray.
12. Common English Bible. This is the latest rage in apostate Christianity and seems to be selling quite well. And that bastion of liberal Christianity, Fuller Theological Seminary, has approved it for its classrooms. The CEB is another “inclusive language” version so as to be gender-neutral. An example is how “Son of Man” has been changed to “the Human One.” The CEB took four years and 120 translators to complete, but I wonder about the theology of those translators! After all, the CEB is designed to be “relevant, readable and reliable.” “RELEVANT” seems to be the operative word in many translations, as if the Bible as it was written is somehow not relevant. And I don’t know how it can be “reliable” if it changes all the original intent so as to be gender-neutral. Well, when one discovers that the translators’ committee was "a coalition of Protestant denominational publishing houses owned by the United Methodist Church, one of the nation's largest denominations, and the Disciples of Christ, Presbyterian Church U.S.A., Episcopal Church and the United Church of Christ" then it becomes more understandable, since these some of the most liberal denominations out there. Erin has a good review of this “Bible” over at “Do Not Be Surprised...”
13. 2011 New International Version. This is really the old TNIV updated to replace the best-selling NIV with more gender-neutrality. It seems this version is so problematic that the Southern Baptist Convention is asking that it not be sold in their LifeWay bookstores.
The Council on Biblical Manhood & Womanhood has also issued a statement as to this version’s problems.
It seems that a major theme with all these Bibles is the effort to please man and not offend the politically-correct. I know there have been many more “Bibles” which abuse Scripture (The Black Bible Chronicles, e.g.) but to report on all of them would take an inordinate amount of time and result in a book. I have reported on these so as to warn the reader away from junk food dressed up as nutrition.