Heretical Versions of the Bible
This is a follow-up to the previous post in which I highlighted a quote from John Piper (a preacher I respect greatly) that spoke to the value of many versions of the Bible.
He is correct in lifting up credible translations (NIV, NASB, KJV, NKJV, ESV, etc.) as helpful and valuable. Despite the KJV-Only claim that "you can't get save through the other versions," I find that even the NLT is valuable in proclaiming God's message. It is not close to being as good as the NASB, ESV, NKJV or KJV (or even the NIV!), but it does proclaim the Gospel adequately. I even use it in my Bible reading time and sometimes to read to my 2 year old and 5 years old daughters.
However, there are versions that hold little-to-no value. For example there is the New World Translation from the Jehovah's Witnesses. It proves its heretical intentions clearest in John 1.1: "In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god." The problem with their usage of "a god" is that it, #1 promotes a polytheism they deny; #2 it is inaccurate- consistency would call for them to retranslate "God" as "a god" in many other places; #3 though this fits with their warped theology, it was inspired by cultic writings, not credible Christian doctrines from the early Church.
Second there is the "Inspired Version" by Joseph Smith (Mormon founder- along with some demons no doubt). To stick with John 1.1, here is the Joseph Smith version: "In the beginning was the gospel preached through the Son. And the gospel was the word, and the word was with the Son, and the Son was with God, and the Son was of God." Of course there is no reason to place "Son" in this verse. There is no legitimate support from ancient texts to render John 1.1 as using the word "Son." Add to that the verse concludes, "the Son was of God," and it unites with Mormon theology and doctrine, but it departs from Biblical truth and honest translation.
Third there is The Message. I refuse to call it a Bible, because it is a shallow commentary at best, and blatantly heretical at worst. It waters down the Word so thoroughly that it becomes useless. I have a prior post on this "version" that demonstrates the problem with The Message. Here is the core of that post:
I have no respect for "The Message" bible. It continually waters-down the message of God. A prime example is the rendering of Hebrews 10.31. I will compare:Finally, is The Catholic Bible. The one commissioned most recently (mid 1900's) was The New American Bible. It was the follow-up to the Douay-Rheims Bible, the first major version for English-speaking Romanists (late-1500's to early 1600's). The inclusion of the non-canonical Apocryphal books discounts these "Bibles" for anyone who cherishes truth and honesty in Scripture. It seems to be more of a response to the losses of Rome to Biblical Christianity dating from the pre-Reformation and Reformation roots until the present. I still believe that the inclusion of the Apocrypha by Rome was a reaction to the adoption of the canonical books by the Reformers (with history on the side of the Reformers for sure).
From the King James: "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."
From the New King James: "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."
From the New Century Version: "It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God."
From the World English Bible: "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."
From the New American Standard Bible: "It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God."
From the New International Version: "It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."
From the New Living Translation: "It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God."
Even the heretical New World Translation says: "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of [the] living God." (Which many Jehovah's Witnesses will do if they do not repent from their cult)
Now for "The Message" rendering of Hebrews 10.31: "Nobody's getting by with anything, believe me."
What is wrong with that version? It totally takes out any hint of God's Judgment. The people who came up with the trash they pass off as a Bible (The Message) need to repent for their mishandling of God's Word!
The issue of the Bible and legitimate versions is essential to the growth of the true Church and the spread of the true Gospel. It gives us a foundation to expose and resist heresy (i.e.- Watchtower/Jehovah's Witnesses, LDS/Mormons, Jewish Mysticism/"Dan Brown theology", etc.) and grow in Christ.