We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Saturday, September 7, 2013

"New Age Bible Versions" - Chapter 11

N.  CHAPTER ELEVEN:  “King James for Kids.”  This chapter begins with the claim than anyone who says that the KJV is harder to read than newer versions is a liar.  The fallacy here is using research which says numbers of words and syllables determines how hard it is to read!  This is absurd.  It is not how many words or how many syllables which makes reading difficult - it’s the words themselves that must be understood.  Contrary to Riplinger’s assertion, my experience shows that KJV is more difficult to understand with its archaic language.  Today’s literacy rate is very poor, and this is using current English.  It is not a “lie” to say KJV is difficult language for today’s readers.  Riplinger searches for words that, in her opinion, are more “difficult” than KJV, when the words she complains of are most often more accurate and more descriptive!  Riplinger would have us sacrifice accuracy for simplicity.  Yet she claims that using “harder” words demonstrates the fulfillment of 2 Timothy 3:4 when it says, “In the last days...men shall be HEADY, HIGHMINDED” (her cap emphasis).  Let’s take a look.

1.  Charts on pp.197-204.  Most words are just synonymous, but Riplinger obviously has a problem with changing anything from the KJV.  Riplinger gives nearly 200 passages, but I will only demonstrate the most egregious claims here.  She compares the KJV with NAS, with NAS being “hard” words while KJV are “easy” words.

a.. Matt. 2:1, 3:7; KJV “wise men” vs. “magi.”  Magi is the correct term.  “Wise men” would describe anyone, whereas “magi” describes specific persons of the Zoroastrian religion.

b.  Mark 2:21; KJV “new” vs. NAS “unshrunk.”  Again, NAS is more descriptive of what “new” is.

c.  Luke 3:17, Matt. 3:12; NAS “winnowing fork” tells the reader what kind of “fan” (KJV) is used.

d.  Matt. 5:21; KJV “kill” can mean for any reason, including accidents, whereas NAS “murder” is more specific as to the context.

e.  Matt. 9:17; KJV “bottles” is not as accurate as NAS “wineskins.

f.  Matt. 9:18.  KJV “ruler” can be any ruler, whereas NAS “synagogue official” tells us which ruler.

g.  Matt. 9:20, Mark 5:25.  KJV says “hem,” which is very inaccurate.  NAS “fringes” is more expressive of the “tzittzit,” or “ritual fringe” that Jewish men wore.

h.  Matt. 20:2.  KJV’s “penny” is an English coin!  “Denarius” is the accurate word.

i.  Matt. 27:27.  KJV “common hall” is better identified as NAS “Praetorium.”  Also, KJV “band of soldiers” is better expressed by NAS “whole Roman cohort.”  This goes for parallel passages also.

j.  Mark 4:38 is an ironic one.  KJV uses five words and six syllables to say what the NAS sums up in “stern.”  KJV is the verbose text here!

k.  Mark 13:9.  KJV “beaten” can mean many things, whereas NAS “flogged” is a specific type of beating.  Other passages have the same noted “problem.”

l.  Luke 23:45.  KJV “darkened” vs NAS “being obscured.”  Then Riplinger makes the following comment:  “This has other implications.  It states that the sun was darkened by being obscured, implying the natural phenomenon of an eclipse rather than a supernatural move of God.”   Riplinger has to take her assumption into the text; her meaning is not there unless she infers it.

m.  Col. 1:13.  KJV “power of darkness” vs NAS “domain of darkness.”  Of course this is synonymous.  Ah, but there is something more important than accurate translation here - Riplinger comes up with a very silly complaint.  She says, “new versions divest the culture of our literary spiritual heritage” because Tolstoy used the KJV phrase that NAS changed.   She has reduced the Bible to literature!  Are we not to make improvements in our language because literature quotes KJV?

n.  1 Tim. 3:8, Titus 1:7.  KJV “filthy” is not nearly as harsh as NAS “sordid!

The point with these few examples is that there is nothing “harder” about newer versions, and they are often more accurate with their English word choices.  Other than that, the vast majority of the word changes are synonymous and even more easily understood by today’s readers.  

2.  P.204 in reference to memorization, and several charts for the next few pages.  The claim is that more words and syllables makes memorization more difficult.  The truth is, from my personal experience of almost a verse per week, that it is easier to memorize what flows more naturally, regardless of syllable count.  One specific complaint must be addressed:

a.  Matt. 26:41.  KJV “Watch and pray” vs NAS “Keep watching and praying.”  6 syllables to the KJV 3.  SO?  NAS is much more descriptive of the intent of the passage, regardless of length.  All other complaints are of similar comparisons.  I’d much rather be reading that which more accurately describes the author’s intent than to have fewer syllables!

3.  P.208b NKJV vs. KJV.  Whereas KJV sticks with one word, “evil,” for all the passages in the chart, NKJV describes the various types of evil.  Not all evil is the same!

4.  P.210 begins the nonsensical claim that the KJV is the “world class book” that “God wrote.”  Riplinger says, “Realize that the ‘thee’s and thou’s’ [sic] are not 1611 English, but Bible language.”  Riplinger’s primary assertion is that God wrote the KJV in “Bible language.”  This is a very cultish notion, with absolutely no facts to support it. “Thee” and “thou” are NOT “Bible language” - they were part of the language of the time!

5.  P.211;  Zech. 13:6.   Riplinger compares the KJV with the paraphrase Living Bible.  Why she thinks this is a valid comparison is beyond me.  Although it appears that Taylor is wrong to call the wounds “self-inflicted,” Riplinger is wrong to suggest the verse is referring to Christ.  Read the CONTEXT!  The messianic prophecy begins at 13:7.  And she still harps on the Lucifer thing, but we’ve addressed that.

6.  In the next section of this chapter, beginning on p.214, the charge is that new versions fulfill the charge of 2 Timothy 3:3, “In the last days...men shall be..WITHOUT NATURAL AFFECTION” (Riplinger’s cap emphasis).  New versions lead to the destruction of family culture, “The whip cracks over women in the words of new versions, as their editors have fallen prey to the Egyptian taskmasters.”  The claim is that new versions enslave and denigrate women.  There are a couple curious differences between the KJV and newer versions:

a.  1 Tim. 5:16 (with Riplinger’s bold emphasis)
KJV:  “If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them.”
“New”: If any woman who is a believer has dependent widows let her assist them.
There is certainly a difference in understanding here.  With KJV both men and women are charged with taking care of their dependent widows, while new versions leave the task only to the women.

b.  Rev. 13:16.  KJV says, “free and bond” while “new versions” say, “free men and slaves” (her bold).  Well KJV is contextually speaking of all mankind, male or female, be they free or slaves, yet in the next passage, with same context, it speaks of “no man” being able to buy or sell.  The new versions (NAS), using the term “men,” appears to me to be contextually speaking of all mankind, be they male or female.  So I think Riplinger is paranoid in this case.

c.  The next two passages cite new versions for changing from the Greek word to “guard or keep” (ouros) for the word to “work” (ergo), which, of course, turns the woman into a slave.  Riplinger says, “New version Marthas will polish while Majority Text Marys will ‘pray’.”  I’m not really sure what she means by this (she tries very hard to make some sort of pun with almost every charge or complaint).

i.  Titus 2:5:  KJV “keepers at home” vs NAS “workers at home” or NIV “busy at home.”
ii.  1 Tim. 5:14:  KJV “guide the house” vs “keep house

With 1 Tim. 5:14, Riplinger states that the Greek is “guide” (oikod) and not “keeper” (ouros).  This was a bit amusing to me because in the first passage she wants it to be keepers, but in the second one she wants it to be guide.  Now, if in the first passage the word ouros means to “guard or keep,” why can’t “keep” in the second passage mean “guide” without resorting to another word?  It seems she is inconsistent.  Nevertheless, she has found only one passage to “prove” her claim that women are left to do the work (1 Tim. 5:16).  Finding only one passage in a whole Bible which might fit her claim surely demonstrates the charge to be fallacious.

d.  This next passage, Hebrews 11:11, apparently shows that a man has to be superior to a woman and interjected into the passage.  The NIV adds many words which Riplinger says are not in any Greek manuscript, and when I looked at my interlinears of both TR and new texts, I couldn’t find them either.  Bold will be Riplinger’s highlighting the added text.

KJV:  “Through faith also Sarah herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.
NIV:  “By faith Abraham even though he was past age - and Sara herself was barren - was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise.

Now this does indeed change the focus of who has the faith in this passage.  While we must remember the NIV is a dynamic translation, and hence will be more interpretive, I don’t understand why they did this.  Even so, I don’t see where this fits Riplinger’s charge that “the whip cracks over women.”

7.  Among her claim of the new versions’ assault on women are passages showing change from examining the sin of both men and women to examining only the sin of women, that the new versions have men who are “lovers of pleasure.”

a.  James 4:4:  KJV says, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses” while the NAS says, “you adulteresses” and the Living Bible says “unfaithful wife.”  I also found that the Amplified Bible (one of the four versions in my parallel Bible) says, “you [are like] unfaithful wives.”

Here’s the thing: The passage is not about adulterers and adulteresses - it is not exposing the sin of women and hiding the sin of men.  The passage is about spiritual adultery; it is figurative!  I think Amp sums up the intent of the author being much like in the O.T. when Israel was said to be adulterous when following false gods.  So it doesn’t matter which version you look at - the intent, the context, the meaning is all the same!

b.  Riplinger then addresses the New Scofield Reference Bible.  For KJV it says “children of Belial,” while in new versions it says, “wicked women.”  Reference page is 314, but I have no Scofield Bibles from which to learn the context.  More important, THIS IS A COMMENTARY!!!!  I thought the issue was the translations of the new versions compared to the translation of the KJV!

c. John 7:53-8:11, the story about the woman caught in adultery.  New versions include this text, but have a footnote about it not being in “earliest most reliable manuscripts and other ancient witnesses.”  Riplinger says the story is “revealing the adulterers among the ‘scribes’ and forgiving the adulterous woman.”  I hate to say this, but it says nothing about adulterers among the scribes, so Riplinger is again practicing eisegesis with the text.  

Riplinger then cites someone who claims the passage is in the majority of the manuscripts, and another who claims the notes “are completely misleading.”  Hypothetically, let’s say they are correct.  The story is STILL in the new versions!  And there is nothing in the text about any of the scribes being an adulterer.  I’m not going to go into the point of the story because that isn’t germane to this examination, but it is certainly not a passage that meets her charges.

d.  Riplinger then lists 13 passages (I DO wish she put them in Biblical order) which, while the KJV lists the commandments against covetousness, including coveting one’s neighbor’s wife, all new versions omit the command against coveting the wife from these passages.  Well, as usual, she misrepresents the texts.

i. Luke 16:14 KJV says only that the Pharisees were covetous, and the context is about coveting money!  Other versions noted that they were greedy, or lovers of money.  

ii. Rom. 1:29, Eph.5:3; Col. 3:5:  KJV says they are filled with “covetousness,” while new versions say, “greedy.”  Strong’s says the meaning of this particular Greek word (pleonexia) means “greediness, avarice.” Jay Green’s literal translation of the TR also uses forms of the word “greed.”  I guess I’ll go with Strong over Riplinger.

iii. 2 Tim.3:2:  KJV says “covetous” while new versions say, “lovers of money.”  Jay Green’s literal translation of the TR says, “lovers of money.”  Strong’s says the word (philargyros) means “money-loving, avaricious, greedy.”  Again, I have to go with Strong over Riplinger.

The remaining passages are all in the O.T., and I see the same translational differences, including that Strong’s gives the meaning as forms of greed or unjust gain.  Riplinger is correct that the new versions omit the word “covetousness” and its forms, but she is very dishonest about the context being EXACTLY what the new versions say.

e.  Col. 3:5:  NAS says “passion,” while KJV says “inordinate affection,” and Riplinger parenthetically states, “passion with one’s wife is allowed.”  Forgive my bluntness, but this is just plain stupid.  In the context “passion” has nothing to do with passion for one’s wife!!  Riplinger searches and searches for something which she can use to buttress her paranoia about newer versions, and she can find nothing, so she has to twist new versions wherever possible to try to make it LOOK like she is right.  This is the kind of foolishness which makes this examination of her book so very frustrating!

f.  Matt. 19:29:  KJV has “wife” as one of the things one can leave behind, and this word is left out of the new versions.  Of course the passage is addressing men and women in the audience, and women don’t have wives!  I wonder what Riplinger would have done if the new versions said “wife or husband”?  I think she’d complain about them adding words!

g.  The final claim about new versions being anti-woman is a chart which she leads into with this statement: “Liberals crying for a bible [sic] which ‘liberates’ women would do well to look back to the KJV.”  The chart then shows 32 passages where the KJV is not man-specific and yet new versions are.  Examples are: KJV “ye” for “men”; KJV “children” for “sons”; KJV “child” for “boy, etc.  What I find is that the use of the masculine gender in new versions in all these passages is consistent with the tradition of using masculine gender when speaking of mankind in general.  There is nothing nefarious, or hints of removing females from redemption, etc.

8.  Chapter summary.  One problem with Riplinger throughout this study is that she will find just one Bible version with a passage to fit her claim, and then she broad-sweeps all English versions under the charge “New Versions.”  Time and again I can find only one version which has what she claims.

a.  Riplinger’s claim in this chapter is that the KJV is much easier to read than new versions.  What I have demonstrated is that newer versions are just as easy to read, and, more than that, are much more accurate in expressing concepts. 

b.  Another charge is that new versions relegate women to working and subordination to men, yet only one passage could be used for the case.

c.  New versions supposedly expose the sin of women but not of men, yet none of her cited passages support her.  Instead they expose her dishonesty and fraudulent claims.

d.  Riplinger claims that new versions do not liberate women because they use masculine language for discussing mankind or people in general.  Yet the use of masculine words has historically been done in the English language when referring to mankind in general.

As with previous chapters, there is nothing demonstrated in this chapter which support’s the premise of Riplinger’s book, and much to demonstrate her apparent intentional dishonesty.

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