Sunday, May 26, 2013
"New Age Bible Versions" - Chapter Nine, Part 1
Chapter nine is a very long chapter, with much to examine. For this reason, I am dividing the review of this chapter into two parts. I just finished reviewing this section, and want to get it posted before I begin work on the remainder of the chapter.
K. PART II introduction, pp. 149-151. This short section is nothing more than vitriolic nonsense, ending with the slanderous charge, “Here comes the New Age Bible.” The “algebra” is ludicrous. I can allow no credibility here.
L. CHAPTER NINE. The premise of this chapter is, “Men Shall Be Unholy,” and Riplinger’s examples supposedly demonstrate how “new version” Bibles encourage sexual immorality and every “unholy” attribute.
1. P. 154. Rom. 14:1. KJV says, “not to doubtful disputations,” while new versions say, “not for the purpose of passing judgment.” Supposedly this means the new versions promote a God who doesn’t judge anyone. Let’s read the passages in context and see if Riplinger is correct:
KJV: “Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.”
NAS: “Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions.”
NIV: “Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.”
To me it looks like they are saying the same thing, but my opinion is most likely not good enough for Riplinger or her followers, so let’s take a look at what Matthew Henry taught about this passage in the KJV:
“Those who are weak must be received, but not to doubtful disputations, v. 1. Take this for a general rule; spend your zeal in those things wherein you and all the people of God are agreed, and do not dispute about matters that are doubtful. Receive him, proslambavesthe—take him to you, bid him welcome, receive him with the greatest affection and tenderness; porrigite manum (so the Syriac): lend him your hand, to help him, to fetch him to you, to encourage him. Receive him into your company, and converse, and communion, entertain him with readiness and condescension, and treat him with all possible endearments. Receive him: not to quarrel with him, and to argue about uncertain points that are in controversy, which will but confound him, and fill his head with empty notions, perplex him, and shake his faith. Let not your Christian friendship and fellowship be disturbed with such vain janglings and strifes of words.—Not to judge his doubtful thoughts (so the margin), "not to pump out his weak sentiments concerning those things which he is in doubt about, that you may censure and condemn him.’’ Receive him, not to expose him, but to instruct and strengthen him.”
According to Henry, Both NAS and NIV mean the same as KJV - don’t judge someone based on disputable matters. Paul then continues to explain his meaning, which is clear in any version. No doctrinal problems here; no hint that new versions are encouraging something unholy or immoral.
2. P.155 chart which is addressing specifically the NAS only, dealing with the subject of NAS’ use of “immorality” instead of KJV “fornication.” Riplinger states, “The word ‘immorality’ carries with it no description of what is forbidden.” Well, the common use of the words “immoral” or “immorality” are usually in the context of sexual immorality. My unabridged Webster’s dictionary gives the following:
“immorality: (1) The state or quality of being immoral. (2) immoral behavior (3) an immoral act or practice; vice.
“immoral: not in conformity with accepted principles of right and wrong behavior; contrary to the moral code of the community; wicked; especially not in conformity with the acceptable standards of proper sexual behavior, unchaste; lewd; licentious; obscene.”
Notice it says especially, “not in conformity with the acceptable standards…of proper sexual behavior.” With this in mind, the NAS use of “immoral” or “immorality” validates absolutely nothing in Riplinger’s argument, since the sense of these passages is sexual immorality. Let’s look at the chart and see what the NAS says:
a. Rom. 1:29. KJV “fornication” vs. “wickedness” (Riplinger says “OMIT” - as if no word addresses it). Yes, if this was the only verse, these would not necessarily reconcile. However, “wickedness” must, by definition, include fornication. When one reads the whole letter to the Romans, the whole context becomes clear, and the idea of “fornication” is very clear.
b. 1 Cor. 5:1. the word “immorality” is described in the same verse as obviously being of a sexual nature - a man has his father’s wife!
c. 1 Cor. 6:13. “The body is not for immorality.” The context is more inclusive than just fornication, so KJV is not as descriptive.
d. 1 Cor. 6:18. The context includes fornication and any other sexual sin, speaking about immorality being against one’s body.
e. 1 Cor. 12:21 “impurity, immorality and sensuality” sounds like sexual immorality to me.
f. All the remaining 16 verses on the chart, in context, refer to sexual immorality. When I first became a Christian in January 1974, my new Bible was NAS, and it was my only Bible for years. From the very beginning I understood these passages to be talking about sexual immorality. By stating that the action is “immoral,” doesn’t that say it is “forbidden”? Would anyone truly understand any of these verses differently if they said “fornication”? Especially when sexual immorality would include involvement with pornography, lust and adultery, let alone fornication, while the word “fornication” would be less inclusive.
3. P.155 bottom chart and its phobia against the use of the words “nature” and “natural.” Riplinger says, “The NASB calls ‘natural,’ what God calls sin.”
a. James 3:15. KJV says “sensual,” NIV says “earthly.” So, if NAS says “natural,” contextually it is the same understanding, i.e., of the “flesh” instead of the “Spirit.” Matthew Henry says,
“For observe, whence such wisdom cometh: It descendeth not from above, but ariseth from beneath; and, to speak plainly, it is earthly, sensual, devilish, v15. It springs from earthly principles, acts upon earthly motive, and is intent upon serving earthly purposes. It is sensual indulging the flesh, and making provision to fulfil the lusts and desires of it. Or, according to the original word, psychike, it is animal of human - the mere working of natural reason, without any supernatural light.”
Notice his use of the words “earthly” and “natural.” In neither text does God call it “sin,” contrary to the chart heading.
b. James 5:17. Again, no mention or intent of “sin.” Elijah had natural desires, zealousness, “passions” (not in the sexual sense). In other words, he had a “nature” like us. The sense of the context in either version is identical.
4. P.156, first chart, in reference to “whoremongers” in KJV, and “immorality,” “immoral men,” “immoral person,” and “immoral persons” in NASB. As with above in reference to the word “immoral,” the context in all four verses is one who is sexually immoral. This term is actually more inclusive of ALL sexual immorality, rather than just “whoremonger.”
5. P.156, regarding 1 Tim. 1:10. KJV says, “them that defile themselves with mankind,” while NASB says, “homosexual.”
We now have the charge that, “The NASB’s non-judgemental translations [note the plural] echo the policy statements of many mainline denominations.” Yet we have only ONE example given. That’s because this charge is false.
If this one verse appears non-judgemental (although I don’t know who would see it that way), that is certainly not the case with the rest of NASB’s translations of verses dealing with homosexuality. Lev. 18:22 is quite explicit in calling homosexuality an “abomination”; Lev. 20:13 says it is “detestable” and the homosexuals are to be put to death. Rom. 1:26, 27 calls homosexuality “degrading” and “indecent.” Now we come to 1 Cor. 6:9 where KJV just says, “abusers of themselves with mankind” (same Greek word as used here), which really doesn’t say how they abuse themselves (violent actions? sharing needles”?), while NAS clarifies the intent as “homosexuals” who won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Jude 7, in reference to Sodom, says “fornication” in KJV but “gross immorality” in NAS.
By using just one verse to call NAS “non-judgemental” in regard to homosexuality - and missing the fact that another verse uses identical verbiage - Riplinger is guilty of the logic fallacy of the unrepresentative sample. And that is ONLY if that one passage would be “non-judgmental” by any reader! Her argument has been conclusively dismantled and destroyed with the actual facts!
6. Pp.156-157. We have here an irrelevant discussion of how “university students” from 1985-1991 understood the meaning of “immorality” or “sexual immorality.” This is an example of the logic fallacies of composition, unrepresentative sample and questionable statistics.
NAS and NIV were translated before the relativistic/values clarification teachings in public school took effect. By 1985 our value system had redefined much in the realm of sexual immorality to the point where what used to be immoral in the 1950s and 1960s became the norm 20-30 years later. Additionally, universities are notorious for their liberal teachings over what is accepted by the population at large. A survey of university students’ ideas in the late 1980s has no bearing on the understanding, by the population at large, of terminology used 20-30 years earlier! Words do indeed change in their meaning. After all, what did the word “gay” mean in the 1950s and 1960s?
The argument on P.157 is another logic fallacy of post hoc ergo propter hoc. And I sincerely doubt that Pastor Cole was not able to give someone a Biblical reason why pre-marital sex is wrong. I have to believe the context of the conversation was misunderstood by either Cole or Riplinger. Just off the top of my head, I can give the following verses from NAS (you know, the one that isn’t definitive on sexual immorality): Rom. 13:13-14; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; 1 Cor. 6:15-20; 1 Thes. 4:3-5; Heb. 13:4.
7. P.158, Mark 10:21. KJV says, “and come, take up the cross and follow me” while new versions say, “Then come follow me.” Leaving out this phrase does no damage to the sense of the text, nor does it change doctrine. Yet Riplinger claims this is an example of making men “unholy.”
8. P.161 chart which supposedly demonstrates the removal of references to holiness or perfection.
a. 2 Pet. 1:21, “holy men” vs. “men.” The context is obviously in reference to men set apart by God because they were “moved by the Holy Spirit” and “spoke from God.” By definition they would be “holy.” Where is the problem?
b. 1 Pet. 1:22. KJV “pure heart” vs “heart.” CONTEXT!! NAS and NIV both talk of the whole person being purified, which must include the heart!
c. 2 Tim. 3:17. KJV “perfect” vs new “adequate.” “Perfect” is indeed missing, but what does it change? NAS/NIV both have the same sense, in that the “man of God” will be thoroughly equipped, with knowledge of God’s Word, to do good. I believe the word “perfect” here means “complete.”
d. Jude 1. KJV’s “sanctified by God” becomes “called” in NAS/NIV. In both cases the sense is of being “set apart.” Sanctified may give more emphasis on holiness, but, in context, is the sense changed? Matthew Henry says, in relation to this verse, “All who are effectually called are sanctified.”
To make her point with the next two, Riplinger says, “Campers are equipped, but not necessarily perfect.”
a. Eph. 4:12, “equipping” vs. KJV “perfecting.” In context both mean the same; i.e., a continual equipping to perfection (completion) to prepare for ministry. All three versions say they are making better.
b. Heb. 13:21. KJV “make you perfect” vs “equip you.” As with Eph., when you are fully equipped, you are perfect in that sense. None of these are saying you are a perfect person or that you are being made into a perfect person. When I say I will make you a “perfect” camper, I am saying that I will equip you to perform the duty.
In this next group, Riplinger says, “College students may complete their degree, but are not necessarily blameless or perfect.”
a. Luke 6:40. KJV “Perfect” vs. “fully trained.” Identical in meaning in context (there’s that ugly word again). Henry says, “perfect, an established disciple. . .a complete disciple.”
b. 2 Cor. 13:11. KJV “perfect.” NIV says “perfection.” In context of NAS, “complete” is an adjective meaning “perfect,” not a verb as Riplinger states in her example of a college student completing a degree. This is the logic fallacy of equivocation.
c. Rev. 3:2. “Perfect” in KJV and “complete” in the others mean the same - finished! The Lord is saying the works are imperfect, incomplete, or, as Henry says, “not filled up; there is something wanting in them.”
d. 1 Thes. 5:23. KJV “preserved blameless.” NIV also says “blameless.” NAS does say “preserved complete,” except Riplinger didn’t finish the verse! NAS says, “preserved complete without blame,” which to me says the same as “blameless!” If this was intentional, it was deceitful.
e. Matt. 19:21. “Perfect” vs “complete.” Same argument as with Rev. 3:2, and NIV reads the same as KJV.
For the next passage Riplinger says, “Career Fortune 500 managers may get an ‘award of excellence,’ but not of virtue."
Phil. 4:8, KJV “virtue” vs. NAS/NIV “excellent.” Henry says, “The apostle would have the Christians learn anything which was good of their heathen neighbors: If there be any virtue. . . think of these things - imitate them in what is truly excellent [my emphasis] among them…” Riplinger again equivocates.
For the final three passages in the chart, Riplinger makes this statement: “Centenarians (100 years old) may be mature, but are not necessarily perfect.”
The passages are Heb. 6:1, Eph . 4:13 and 1 Cor. 2:6. With the first one the word “perfection” is replaced by “maturity,” while in the other two it is “perfect” vs “mature.”
This is another equivocation by Riplinger. Centenarians are “mature” in age, but “maturity” cited in the passages has to do with spiritual maturity, which is the same as spiritual perfection.
9. P.161, bottom. In Matt 5:44, new versions omit the phrase, “bless them that curse you, do good to those who hate you.” NAS omits this without footnotes, while NIV footnotes it. No doctrinal change, and in context of the whole N.T. this phrase is repeated numerous times. What is the effect of this omission for Riplinger’s claim of reducing holiness? Absolutely none.
10. P.162, Gal. 6:1. Riplinger makes what she obviously sees as a joke: “If you can’t follow the Pied Piper, at least don’t get caught.” KJV says, “overtaken in a fault,” while new versions say, “if any man is caught in any offense.” Again Riplinger equivocates. KJV, NAS and NIV all say the same thing, just in different verbiage. If I am “caught,” I had to be “overtaken!”
11. P.162 chart, supposedly showing inactivity in new versions over action in KJV.
a. 2 Cor. 5:9, “labour” vs. “ambition” (NAS). NIV says “goal,” which was not addressed! Henry says,
“Philotimoumetha - we are ambitious, and labour as industriously as the most ambitions men do to obtain what they aim at. Here observe, 1. what it was that the apostle was thus ambitious of - acceptance with God. We labour that, living and dying, whether present in the body or absent from the body, we may be accepted of him, the Lord (v.9), that we may please him who hath chosen us, that our great Lord may say to us, well done. This they coveted as the greatest favour and the highest honor: it was the summit of their ambition.”
Notice his use of the words “ambition” and “ambitious” in his understanding of the text. “What they aim at” (i.e., “goal”), “the summit [i.e, “goal”] of their ambition.” So, is the use of the word “ambition” changing the meaning of the text? I don’t think so!
b. John 7:17 (NIV not addressed); KJV “will do” vs. “is willing to do.” To say you are “willing to do” something implies that you “will do” it when asked. Even Henry saw the same:
“That the most competent judges of the truth and divine authority of Christ’s doctrine are those that with a sincere and upright heart desire and endeavor to do the will of God (v.17): If any man be willing to do the will of God, have his will melted into the will of God, he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God or whether I speak of myself.”
c. 2 Tim. 3:12, KJV “will live godly” vs. “desire to live godly.” Right off the bat I have to say NO ONE can live godly. All we do is try and “desire” to do so, which I see is the context.
d. 1 Tim. 3:13. KJV “boldness” vs “confidence” In CONTEXT, what is the difference? Absolutely none!
For the next three passages in the chart Riplinger claims, “Substituting ‘talk’ for ‘walk.’”
a. 2 Cor. 2:8. KJV “Confirm your love toward him” vs “reaffirm your love for him.” Again, what is the difference? NONE! In point of fact, KJV “toward Him” is not as personal as “for Him,” so which is really better?
b. Titus 2:4: KJV “teach” vs “encourage.” NIV says “teach” and NAS says “train.” So we need to look elsewhere for her examples. However, when one “teaches,” do they not also “encourage?” And when one “encourages,” do they not incidentally “teach?” In context they all say virtually the same thing. Is “teach” stronger? Yes. Does it change the overall understanding of the text? NO!
c. 1 Tim. 4:4, KJV “thanksgiving” vs. NASB “gratitude.” When we show gratitude for receiving something, does that not include thanksgiving? Can I be grateful for something without at the same time being thankful? Is this an example of “talking” but not “walking”? NO!
h. Rom. 12:13; KJV “distribute” vs. NAS “contribute” and NIV “share.” Riplinger says this is “substituting lucre for labor.”
Henry says, “It is the duty of those who have the wherewithal to distribute, or (as it might better be read) to communicate to those necessities.”
Webster’s defines “contribute”: “to give or grant in common with others; to give to a common fund or for a common purpose; to pay a share of or make a gift toward.”
No matter which of the words chosen, the CONTEXT is the same; share what you have with those in need. Contrary to Riplinger’s assertion, labor may indeed be involved in all.
For the last two passages in the chart, Riplinger says, “Singing ‘Easy is Right’” - the implication being that in the new versions the translation has the believer taking the “easy way.”
a. Heb. 11:6: KJV “diligently seek” vs. NAS “seek” (NIV says “earnestly seek.”). While the KJV uses an adverb, the word “seek” alone could include the idea of “diligently or earnestly seeking.” It becomes an assumption on Riplinger’s part to say that readers will assume an “easy” way of seeking God because of NAS. At any event, is there any doctrinal change? No.
b. 1 Pet. 1:16. KJV “be ye holy” (and Riplinger adds “[do it]”) NAS “you shall be holy” (and she sarcastically says, “[magic?]”. Again, Riplinger chooses her definition to fit her thesis. “Shall” is not always future tense! In fact, I usually find it to mean present tense emphasis on what must be, and in the regulations for my work “shall” always means mandatory. An argument could be made that KJV is weaker with just “be ye holy,” while NAS is emphatic: “You shall be holy, whether you like it or not!” And that seems to be the CONTEXT! (That word, “context,” keeps rearing its ugly head against Riplinger.
12. The next charts on pp. 164-166 argue that in new Bibles salvation gives way to riches, righteousness to prosperity; that they promote covetousness.
a. Matt. 6:1. KJV “alms” vs. “righteousness”. According to Webster, the “obsolete” (KJV era?) use of alms was “deed of mercy.” Henry says,
“The giving of alms is a great duty, and a duty which all the disciples of Christ, according to their ability, must abound in. … Divers ancient copies here for ten eleemosynen - your alms, read ten dikaiosynen - your righteousness for alms are righteousness, Ps.112:19, Prov.10:2. The Jews called the poor’s box the box of righteousness.”
If Henry understands it as such, what is Riplinger’s problem? Additionally, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, in his Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, has this to say:
“Here there is no doubt at all but that the Revised Version is, at this point, superior to the Authorized Version which reads like this: ‘Take heed that ye do not your alms before men.’ It should be: ‘Take heed that ye do not your righteousness (or, if your prefer it, your piety) before men.’ . . . This again is just a question of a textual difference in the manuscripts. Without a doubt the second is the better version, and all good commentators are agreed in saying that this word should be ‘righteousness’ rather than ‘alms.’”
It appears to me that “righteousness” is the understanding of the KJV “alms,” and has been that way at least since Matthew Henry!
b. Col. 2:2. KJV “riches” vs “wealth.” Aren’t “riches” and “wealth” synonymous in this context?
c. Prov. 8:18. KJV “riches and righteousness” vs NIV “wealth and prosperity.” Wow - something which really does have a distinct difference in understanding! However, either version could be true, but in context the NIV is still not guilty of the charge. Yes, if this verse in NIV is used by the Word Faith movement, it could be used to alter doctrine very easily - BUT, they already do that with KJV passages! Although the verse has changed, the context of the chapter has not.
d. Prov. 21:21; KJV “findeth life, righteousness” vs NIV “finds life, prosperity.” NIV does footnote the alternative reading. Contextually, prosperity seems better. At any rate, there is no doctrinal change, nor suggestion of promoting covetousness.
e. Jer. 29:11.
KJV: “‘For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,’ saith the LORD, ‘thoughts of peace.’”
NIV: “‘I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you.’”
“Prosper” actually is very good contextually. More of Riplinger’s equivocation; in this context prosperity has nothing to do with monetary wealth.
f. Rom. 9:28. KJV has “in righteousness” and modern versions omit this. The passage is quoting Isa. 10:22,23. In neither KJV nor new versions does the passage cite Isaiah verbatim. So perhaps we could complain about the KJV omitting part of Isa. 10:22-23?
g. John 16:10 and John 16:8. In both passages the KJV has the word “righteousness,” which is supposedly omitted in new versions. Riplinger claimed that “upcoming versions” would also omit this passage. NAS & NIV both say the same as KJV, so I decided to look at others. NKJV, ESV (new since the book), HCSB (new since the book), RSV, Darby, Beck, TEV, NLT (new since the book), NCV, JNT, Logos 21 (new since the book), Berkeley, NET (new since the book), and REB all use “righteousness” or, in very few, synonymous language (“right with God,” “true goodness,” “God’s approval,” “justice”). I found only two versions which omitted “righteousness” or similar language: NAB (Catholic) and CEV (and this version has MANY problems). So Riplinger has painted with a very broad brush condemning all new versions when I could find only two guilty of her complaint! And she claimed that “upcoming” versions would omit the word, yet of the versions out since the book, NONE are guilty. And even in the two “guilty” versions, omitting the word does NOT imply prosperity, lack of righteousness, nor promotion of covetousness.
h. 1 Tim. 6:6.
KJV: “godliness with contentment is great gain”
New: “godliness actually is a means of great gain.”
This could be a valid complaint, because it can be twisted easily by the Word Faith movement. KJV and NIV both say that godliness is the gain, while NAS says godliness is a means of gain. Definite difference. However, is it guilty of the charge of promoting prosperity? Only if the “gain” was twisted to mean money. But the Word of Faith already twists the KJV to support their money-grubbing claims, so why doesn’t Riplinger complain about those KJV passages? Because it isn’t the text which says these things, rather it is abuse of the text.
i. Ecc. 10:10.
KJV: “wisdom is profitable to direct”
New: “wisdom brings success.”
I’m sorry, Mrs. Riplinger, but in this CONTEXT “success” does not mean financial success. In CONTEXT, KJV, NAS and NIV all say the same thing. Again, Riplinger equivocates on a word meaning.
Well, I hope to start on part 2 of this review this week. It is an arduous task!