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

Sunday, July 21, 2013

“New Age Bible Versions” - Chapter 10, Part 1

As with my review of Chapter Nine, I have to split this chapter into two due to its length.

L.  CHAPTER TEN:  “Self-Esteem Dream.”   This chapter is about how new versions promote the “self-esteem dream.”  The NIV and NAS are usually cited to support those “who look up to man.

1.  P. 179 chart.  To be “proud” or “boastful” is not always a result of high self-esteem, contrary to Riplinger’s claim.

a.  2 Cor. 1:4; KJV “your rejoicing” vs. “be proud.”  Riplinger again takes out of context with deception.  KJV says, “we are your rejoicing.”  NAS says, “we are your reason to be proud.”  Put “be proud” in context and KJV and NAS say the same thing, as does the NIV.

b.  2 Cor. 5:12; KJV “glory on our behalf” vs. “be proud.”  NAS actually says, “giving you an occasion to be proud of us” (NIV is similar).  Again, in context they say the same thing.

c.  2 Cor. 1:12; KJV “rejoicing” vs. “our proud confidence.”  The sense is the same in context.

d.  2 Cor. 7:4.  Let’s look at the passage first, since Riplinger addresses two phrases from it, and I  will bold the phrases in question:
KJV: Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.
NAS:  “Great is my confidence in you, great is my boasting on your behalf; I am filled with comfort.  I am overflowing with joy in all our affliction.”
NIV:  “I have great confidence in you; I take great pride in you.  I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds.

The first phrases addressed are obviously synonymous in context - that Paul is talking about his confidence in them.  The second phrase (KJV “great is my glorying” vs. NIV “take great pride”) is again synonymous, and NIV actually is clearer. 
My understanding of Paul’s “boldness of speech toward you,” is that his confidence in them leads him to talk boldly about them.
Matthew Henry says,  “And he adds it was his great affection to them that made him use such boldness or freedom of speech towards them, and caused him to glory, or make his boast of them.”  [my bold emphasis].
If Henry understood the boasting, what is Riplinger’s complaint?  There is no promotion of self-esteem here.

e.  James 1:10.  An example of Riplinger’s dishonesty.  KJV “(no Greek)” vs. NIV “take pride in.”  NAS says “glory in”; the word is italicized to show it isn’t in the original.  But NAS is a formal equivalency translation whereas NIV is more of a dynamic equivalency translation and doesn’t italicize.  There is no deceit in adding the phrase in v.10; it’s just clarifying the passage by carrying over the thought from v.9.  KJV does the same thing each time it uses a word that is italicized.  Whether there is an original word in that place is irrelevant to Riplinger’s argument - it has nothing to do with promoting self-esteem.

f.  Phil. 1:26; KJV “your rejoicing” vs. NAS “proud confidence.”  Let’s look at it in context, starting at v.24:
KJV: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith; That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus CHrist for me by my coming to you again.
NAS:  “yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.  And convinced of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith., so that your proud confidence in me may abound in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again.

The two, in context, say the same thing.  There is no hint that the boasting is of oneself, and therefore no hint of teaching self-esteem.

g.  James 1:9; KJV “rejoice” vs. “ought to take pride in.”  One has to wonder why this wasn’t addressed together with v.10; if it had been, then the deceit there would have been exposed.  Although these could be seen with a different sense, again there is no reason to suggest it “promotes self-esteem.”  

h.  Gal. 6:4.  Let’s look at the full verse and see that pride is the context of both:
KJV:But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.
NIV:  “Each one should test his own actions.  Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else.

2.  P.180.  There are several verses in which Riplinger has a phobia over the use of the word “self.”  When someone speaks of “self-control” or “self-restraint,” there is the understanding that this is something a person has the capability of doing on their own.  The Spirit does indeed empower us, but we make our personal choice to act with “self-control/restraint.”  If we take Riplinger’s  logic to its conclusion, homosexuals can just claim they don’t have the Spirit so they can’t exercise self-control.  Riplinger is WRONG when she says self-control/restraint are “virtues which are solely the fruit of the Spirit.”  The Scriptures do not say this.  As a matter of fact, atheistic humanists exercise self-control.  Even the words KJV uses reflect choice.  The following passages show, in sequence, KJV, NAS, and NIV verbiage:

a.  1 Tim. 2:15  sobriety,  self-restraint,  propriety
b.  Acts 24:25  temperance, self-control, self-control
c.  1 Cor. 7:5  incontinency, lack of self-control, lack of self-control
d.  1 Cor. 9:25  is temperate, exercises self-control, goes into strict training
e.  Gal. 5:23 temperance, self-control, self-control
f.  2 Tim. 3:3 incontinent, without self-control, without self-control
g.  Pet.1:3 [sic]  [nothing at 1 Pet . 1:3 or 2 Pet. 1:3]

3.  P.180 chart claiming that “self’ stands first in the lines of new versions.”   The chart says “NAS, et al,” but NIV reads the same as KJV, so she is wrong here.

a.  Rom. 15:1 in NAS says that we who are strong are to bear with the weak, and not “just” to please ourselves, but to please our neighbor.  Riplinger points out that “just” is not in the Greek, and that the word being there is about pleasing ourselves, apparently in addition to pleasing our neighbors.  KJV says we are to bear with the weak in our neighbor, “and not to please ourselves.”   (NIV reads as KJV).  So, apparently with the NAS we can please ourselves as long as we also please our neighbors while with KJV we only please our neighbors.  This is a very finely nuanced difference, but I don’t see where this is evidence that the NAS is promoting self-esteem.

b.  1 Pet. 3:3.  This is another very weak case, based on the NAS adding the word, “merely” to external.  Even when KJV was the only Bible I owned, I understood this verse exactly the way NAS puts it: that outward beauty is okay, but that it is secondary to inward beauty.  Peter isn’t saying one can’t adorn themselves outwardly.  What he is saying is that outward adornment is not as important as who the person is. The passage in the NAS is certainly NOT promoting self-esteem.

4.   P.181.  Complaint about the word “likeness.”  Riplinger also makes the statement, “The words ‘as’ and ‘like’ are not interchangeable.”  However, a good unabridged dictionary demonstrates that a meaning for “like” is indeed “as.”  Her contention is that the use of “like” or “likeness” is leading us to want to be “like God” in the same manner as “Lucifer” in Isaiah 14:12.  She gives us only two examples:

a.  1 Pet. 2:2.  KJV says “as newborn babes,” while NAS/NIV say “like newborn babes.”  These mean the very same thing!  At least I understand these both the same way; as a newborn in Christ, like a newborn in life, we are to crave spiritual milk the way a baby craves milk.

b.  Eph. 4:24.  Here we have another claim that we are trying to be like God.  Since context is everything, let’s look at Riplinger’s claim first:

NIV, NASB, et al.:  put on the new self which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness.”
“KJV:  put on the new man which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

In both these citations, the bold emphasis is Riplinger’s.  Now let’s look at what NAS and NIV really say:
NASB: put on the new self which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
NIV:put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

Riplinger’s emphasis on “true” implied that the other versions deleted that word, when all she did was cut the NAS citation short.  The understanding of the last phrase is the same in all versions.
The whole point of this passage is that, now that we are Christians with the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, we are to “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”  (KJV 2 Cor. 7:1).  In other words, we are to strive to be like God in our holiness (not that we will ever be like God, but that in Christ we are to live in holiness); the new man takes after God in righteousness and holiness.  Whether we take “after God” or behave in His “likeness,” the understanding is identical without any hint of self-focused attempts to be gods ourselves.

5.  P. 182.  KJV “followers” vs NIV, NASB, et al “imitators.”  The claim is that “imitation Christians are being produced by “imitation Bibles.”  What Riplinger seems to be ignorant of is the fact that “imitate” also connotes being as much like the imitated as possible!  For the word “imitate,” Webster’s says, “1. to try to act or be the same as; to follow the example of; as, one should imitate the wise.”  Riplinger found two places in the whole Bible where the word “imitators” was used, yet she claims this is creating “imitation Christians.”  (Even if she was correct about the word being misused, it would still be a logic fallacy of the small/unrepresentative sample.)  But let’s look at her two examples of “imitators” vs. “followers” and let Matthew Henry’s words answer the charge.

a.  1 Cor. 11:1:  The first verse of this chapter is put, by those who divided the epistle into chapters, as a preface to the rest of the epistle, but seems to have been a more proper close to the last, in which he had enforced the cautions he had given them against the abuse of liberty, by his own example:  ‘Be ye followers of me, as I also of Christ’ (v.1), fitly closes his argument; and the way of speaking in the next verse looks like a transition to another.  But, whether it more properly belong to this or the last chapter, it is plain from it that Paul not only preached such doctrine as they ought t believe, but led such a life as they ought to imitate.  ‘Be ye followers of me,’ that is, ‘Be imitators of me;  live as you see me live.’ (bold emphasis mine)

b.  Eph. 5:1:  ‘Because God,  for Christ’s sake, has forgiven you, therefore be you followers of God, or imitators of him;’  or so the word signifies.  Pious persons should imitate the God whom they worship, as far as he has revealed himself as imitable by them."  (bold emphasis mine)

6.  P.182, bottom chart.  Another absurd complaint, supposedly showing man setting himself up as his own god.

a.  John 10:34; KJV “ye are gods” vs NAS “YOU ARE GODS.”  These say exactly the same thing, so I assume the capitalization is what bothers Riplinger.  This is a style that NAS uses when quoting O.T. passages (Ps. 82:6 in this case).  Riplinger is surely aware of this, so this charge is a dishonest ploy apparently to incite distrust in the NAS.

b.  Rev. 4:4
KJV:around about the throne were four and twenty seats
NAS: around the throne were twenty four thrones.”

The problem apparently is that NAS uses the word “thrones” instead of “seats,” which surely means that the NAS is making us equal with God.  However, the Greek T.R. which underlies the KJV uses the same word - thronos - for both places.  A throne according to Webster’s, is “a seat occupied by one having power of authority.”  I believe if one continues reading Revelation, one will see that the elders do have some authority.  The point I must make is that the KJV should have translated “thrones” rather than “seats.”

c.  Gen. 1:27.  When God made man in His image, isn’t that the same as saying He made man like himself?  In other words, “Like God did God make man.” (LB)  The Living Bible was originally written for children, who may not understand the word “image.”  And it is dishonest of Riplinger to use a paraphrase for children as an example of what’s wrong with new Bibles.

7.  P.183 chart.  The claim here is that new versions change the distinctive “blasphemy” to “slander,” which hides “a critical aspect of the word.”

a.  Col. 3:8.  Matthew Henry says,  And, as the corrupt principles in the heart be cut off, so the product of them in the tongue; as blasphemy, which seems there to mean, not so much speaking ill of God as speaking ill of men, giving ill language to them, or raising ill reports of them, and injuring their good name by any evil arts.
Sounds like “slander” to me.  If Henry understood it this way, why not Riplinger?  Thayer’s says the word means, “slander, detraction, speech injurious to another’s good name.

b.  Mark 7:22 & Matt. 15:19.  Thayer’s here is the same as Col. 3:8.  Henry understood it to be slanderous talk against God or man.  Our modern usage of “blasphemy” is directed only against what is holy, whereas “slander” can be used of God or man, hence it is a better word here.

c.  Titus 2:5.  KJV “blasphemed” vs. NAS “dishonored.”  The word “blaspheme” itself means the dishonoring of that which is holy.  NAS “that the word of God may not be dishonored,” and NIV “no one will malign the word of God.”  Both give the very same meaning in context as “blaspheme.” 

d.  2 Tim. 3:2.  In context “blasphemers” does indeed seem to be a better word than NIV “abusive.”  This is the only example of the five verses Riplinger gives that I see as possibly a legitimate complaint.  But does it change doctrine, give succor to New Agers, or encourage self-esteem?

8.  P.184, the removal of the “Godhead” being apparently due to ascribing divinity to man, and “The Antichrist’s ‘divine nature’ defended.”

a.  Rom. 1:20.  The Greek uses the word theiotes, “divinity.”  Vine’s says, “The attributes of God, His ‘divine’ nature and properties.”  I think, in context of this verse, “divine nature” is definitive.  

b.  Acts 17:29. Vine’s says, “In Acts 17:29 it is used as a noun with the definite article, to denote ‘the Godhead,’ the Deity (i.e., the one true God).”  This appears to be a legitimate complaint from Riplinger in that the choice of words in the newer versions is not as good.  In the context of this verse, even I don’t like “Divine Nature.”  However, this doesn’t come to anywhere near her charges of defending a “divine nature” of the Anti-Christ or pointing a divine nature in man!

9.  P.185; verses that help man recognize his divine affinity.”

a.  Ps. 8:5; KJVlower than the angels” vs. NAS “lower than God.”  If you’re a little lower than God, can you not be lower than the angels?  And if one is lower than the angels, is he not also lower than God?  In context, I find little difference in the understanding.  Can it be twisted?  Yes, but so can just about anything in the KJV, which is the Bible of choice of the Mormons!

b.  Heb. 2:7, which is a quotation of Ps. 8:5.  NAS’s added phrase here (“for a little while”) may be from the Septuagint, whereas their own Ps. 8:5 may be from the Hebrew.  NIV says “angels” here and “heavenly beings” in Ps. 8:5, but those are essentially synonymous.  At the resurrection man will be equal to the angels (Luke 20:36), so “for a little while” could refer to that time before the resurrection.  There is no doctrinal problem with this.

10.  P.186 and the charge that new versions have removed references to God in “the process of building a pedestal form man.”  As far as Riplinger is concerned, if you don’t actually say “God” over and over in the same paragraph or sentence, then you are removing references to Him!

a. Rev. 21:4; KJV “God” vs. “He.”  In context “He” is obviously God, and I don’t believe anyone reading this would understand “He” to mean anything other than “God.”  After all, in vv.5-7 KJV just says “he” for God; is KJV removing references to God?  The context of the paragraph is discussing God, so reference to God has not been “removed.”

b.  Heb. 10:9; “O God” is missing.  It is missing here, but “God” was just cited at v.7 when the writer quoted Ps. 40:6-8.  At v.9 he is just going over it a section at a time.  God is still referred to.

c.  1 Tim. 3:16; KJV “God” vs. “He.”  NIV and NAS both footnote “God” as being in later mss.  Nevertheless, the context says he is talking about God.  God is indeed referred to .

d.  Gal. 1:15.  Complaint against the NAS only.  But the context can mean only God.

e.  Matt. 22:32.  “God” is all over this verse.  To use “He” once in the whole verse is not glorifying man or removing references to God in any way.

f.  Col. 2:19; KJV “Head” vs. NAS “head.”  The reference is to Christ as head, not God the Father, so no reference to God was removed.  Whether or not it is capitalized, the analogy is the same - Christ is the head and the church is his body.

g.  Matt. 6:33  was addressed in C.2.e.

h.  The truth is that all references to God remain in NAS/NIV.

11.  P.187, two charts, both discussing the replacement of “God” with “divine.”  Charts say “NASB, NIV, et al,” which makes NAS or NIV guilty by association.  The charge is that God is being pushed aside and is being replaced with “personal power.

a.  Gen. 41:38.  NIV is the same as KJV, saying "the Spirit of God” is in Joseph, which are more explicit than NAS which says “in whom is a divine spirit.”  While NAS recognizes the divinity of the spirit indwelling Joseph, it doesn’t specifically state the divine spirit is the Spirit of God (although, in context, what other spirit is divine?)  So does this intimate personal power instead of God’s power?  Not hardly.

b.  Rom. 11:4.  KJV says, “What saith the answer of God?” vs NAS, “What is the divine response?”  Contextually, Paul is referring to God, who is indeed mentioned as God in the previous passages.  There is no way that this could be taken by any one to mean a “personal power” instead of God. (I continue to wonder if Riplinger understands how to read context.)

c.  Acts 19:27.  This one is against the NIV.  Here should be no problem using “divine majesty” instead of KJV’s “her magnificence” because reference is to one of their gods, and context dictates that the reference is not to the true God anyway.

d.  1 Sam. 28:13.  KJV says “gods” vs. NAS “divine beings” and NIV “spirit” (but footnotes, “Or . . . spirits” or. . . “gods”).  Context shows all three are good descriptions of what is taking place.

e.  2 Cor. 10:4; KJV “mighty through God” vs. “divine power.”  The context of “divine power” is power that comes from God.  I see no problem here.

f.  Acts 8:10.  In this case the people are talking about a man who “used sorcery, and bewitched the people.”  I think it is better that the distinction is of not being the “power of God,” because his power was from the occult.

g.  One out of six examples is a somewhat valid complaint about word choices, but does not validate the charge that references to God have been removed to give man “personal power.”  This is one verses out of the whole Bible, and even if all six complaints were valid, even that is an unrepresentative sample!

12.  P.188 chart where, supposedly, “man’s ‘divine’ powers preclude the need for God.”  Riplinger doesn’t specify which new versions - she just says “NEW VERSIONS” as if all are guilty.  She claims new versions of the BIble “either omit ‘God’ entirely or show man ‘helping him along.” (It really would help in checking her citations if she just once listed the passages in Biblical order - she makes people go back and forth through the Bible to check her statements for any truth.)

a.  1 Cor. 16:2.  KJV “as God hath prospered him.”  vs “as he hath prospered.”  “God” is italicized in the KJV - not in the original manuscript; argument dismantled.

b.  2 Cor. 5:21.  More of Riplinger’s dishonesty.  She says that the KJV says, “we might be made the righteousness of God in him” [her emphasis], while “new versions” say, “we might become the righteousness of God.”  This is from the NIV, but the verse in CONTEXT says, “in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  Every version I have says virtually the same thing.  She has no case with this verse (unless it’s in a version I’ve not seen) - just rank dishonesty.

c.  Gen. 12:3:  KJV “in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” vs RV “the families of the earth shall bless themselves.”  The RV at least footnotes:  “Or, in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”  I don’t know how the average person would look at this, but I certainly understand RV to say the same as the KJV.  It’s saying that we bless ourselves when we are blessed by God.  But I’ll give this one to Riplinger as for being a bad translation, even though she makes all versions guilty by association with RV.  I don’t see how this one statement “preclude the need for God.

d.  Gen. 12:7; KJV “seed” vs. NAS “descendants.”  Riplinger uses Gal. 3:16 as identifying which word is correct because it used a singular “seed” vs a plural “seeds.”  However, Gal. 3:16 appears to be discussing another meaning, a spiritual “seed,” but Gen. 12:7, as well as Gen. 13:15, in context, are obviously speaking of literal, multiple descendants.  Matthew Henry, at Gal. 3:16, says,

“And [Paul] give us a very surprising exposition of this.  We should have thought it had been meant only of the people of the Jews.  ‘Nay,’ says the apostle, ‘it is in the singular number, and points at a singular person - that seed is Christ.’  So that the covenant is still in force; for Christ abideth forever in his person, and in his spiritual seed, who are his by faith.”

e.  Gen.4:1.  “With the help of the Lord” or “From the Lord,” the thought is the same.  We routinely say we got something “with God’s help” when our thought is “directly from God.”  This is a very weak complaint, especially since Eve was having a baby and NEEDS to work with the Lord in order for it to be born - God has yet to let a woman give birth without her assistance!

f.  John 9:4; KJV “I must work” vs. “We must work.”  KJV appears to be better if Jesus is just talking about himself, which KJV shows.  However, those which use “we” appear to have Jesus saying that ALL of us are to do God’s work while the time is still available.  So they aren’t saying God needs man’s help, nor are they eliminating God from the equation, nor are they even hinting at man being divine, as charged by Riplinger.

g.  1 John 4:9;  KJV God’s love “toward us” vs. NAS/NIV God’s love “in us.” NAS/NIV demonstrates a more personal relationship, not that of “precluding God.”

h.  1 Peter 4:11;  KJV “ability” vs. NAS/NIV “strength.”  This is nit-picking.  I understand it to be “strength in our abilities.”  In context it is similar, but definitely doesn’t “preclude God.

i.  John 10:29.  KJV “My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all” vs complaint against TEV for:  “What my Father has given me is greater than everything.”  Notice first that “them” in KJV is italicized and not in the original manuscript.  Riplinger says the TEV “tells man that he not God ‘is greater than everything.’” The ironic thing here is that Riplinger refers to NAS/NIV footnotes as concurring with TEV.  These footnotes have never been mentioned when they concur with KJV!  This says she only uses the NIV/NAS footnotes when they suit her bias.  At any rate, the TEV footnotes agree with KJV.
Nevertheless, in context the TEV does NOT appear to be saying that what God gave Jesus was his followers, rather it seems to be referring to the authority God gave Christ, which allows Christ to say that no one can snatch his followers away from him.  I would never have thought it was about man being “greater than everything” had not Riplinger made that a possibility.  It appears to me to derive from Riplinger’s bias.

j.  Not a single passage is guilty of the charges Riplinger laid against them of omitting God or having man helping Him.

Part Two of my examination of Chapter Ten will be in the near future.

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