There’s something important we need to keep in mind when reading ANY Bible translation of the English (or other languages). All translations are not 100% accurate. But, isn’t the Bible God’s Word without error? Yes, it is. But, God’s Word was written in Hebrew for all the Old Testament and the New Testament (Nope, the NT was not originally written in Greek, contrary to beliefs. It was written in Hebrew, as that was the language of Paul, and later translated to Greek so the Gentile nations could understand. Side note that on the cross, “King of the Jews” was written in Hebrew, Greek, & Latin, not Aramaic). So, God’s Word is infallible (which means totally accurate and un-ultered), but God’s Word is not written in English, nor any other language. Man translated God’s Word from the originally inspired Word of God YHWH to other languages. Since man is flawed with sin, we can be assured that any translation written by the hand of man is flawed as well. So, the only way to truly understand God’s Word is to learn Hebrew, but since most of us won’t actually take the time to do that, the second best thing we can do is to make sure that any version we are studying from is…
- First, translated from the original Hebrew texts, not pulled from other translations. You never want a story from a story. We are familiar with the telephone game and how the original story is never the ending story when it’s past from person to person. For example “The Message”, paraphrase in 1993 to 2002 (not actually the Bible, but sold as the Bible.) Its author, Eugene Peterson, had no knowledge of either language, but took his current Bible (not sure of the version he was using), thought it was boring, and spiced it up with ‘modern lingo’ to try to make it more upbeat and ‘cool’ for his congregation that had been previously falling asleep during his sermons (boy, there’s a hint there!) And, a key note is that he removed all references to the Holy Spirit. Hmmmm….
- Second, translated by scholars who have actually learned and know Hebrew and understand not only the language, but the culture surrounding the use of the language as this language is highly unique and unlike any other languages. For example, the Jehovah Witness Bible (New World Translation) was written in 1906 based off of Kittel’s Biblia Hebracia. Its authors did not understand Hebrew and so their version is slanted to veer their text in a direction they wanted it to take and they’ve also omitted various verses for who knows what reason. Here’s a comparison of some omitted and changed verses to consider: http://avoidjw.org/en/holy-bible/missing-verses/
- Third, translated as literally as possible, rather than generalizing concepts. For example, the NLT generalizes concepts and is not literally translated and so it changes the meaning of many phrases by doing so and can lead us astray in understand what God was actually trying to convey to us.
Another suggestion is when studying God’s Word, open up the Hebrew and Greek Strong’s yourself and check words or phrases that you have in question. See what the actual word or phrase might mean and what other possibilities it has and see where else it has been used. I’ve discovered this tool and it is an amazing aid to try to help you to see what might be actually meant. Of course, since I don’t know either language, I’m still flawed, but at least I can see for myself that there might actually be other meanings that should be considered. There are some Scriptures that I’ve researched and the actual language is entirely different than my English translation so could have an entirely different meaning. Makes me really wonder! Here’s a link: http://biblehub.com/greek/1074.htm
Another thing to keep in mind is when you study commentaries. Remember that all commentaries are written by man and even though some of these men have studied Scriptures in colleges for years, that all colleges (and other educational methods) are swayed in their teaching, so no commentary is completely accurate. They may give you incite into background scenarios and such, but they are just opinions and not God’s Word. Do not depend on their commentaries as the Word of God. Take them into consideration only, but each believer has been given the Holy Spirit who is our teacher, so ask for guidance when reading Scripture and the Holy Spirit is truly our teacher. You don’t have to be a Biblical Scholar to understand Scripture as God reveals His Word to His children as we spend time in His Word and in prayer. He will show you what you need to know.
The most accurate English version, I’ve been told, is the original King James Version (1611 older version), but even with this version, I’ve found that there are some passages that aren’t accurate. To date, the most accurate versions I have found is the Aramaic Bible in Plain English (http://biblehub.com/aramaic-plain-english/matthew/1.htm). Another pretty good one is the 1599 Geneva Bible (GNV), but I’m still preferring the Aramaic one. However, I have an app on my ipad that I prefer above all, but I cannot get it online, so it’s just on my ipad. I’ve referenced The Cepher in a previous post.
How can you tell if it’s accurate? We can do some tests spot checking verses. Here’s three tests that I use…
1 – FIRST TEST: Matthew 1 – Here, we are given the genealogy of Jesus. We find that in verse 17, we are told about the sets of 14 generations,
“17 So [f]all the generations from Abraham to David, are fourteen generations. And from David until they were carried away into Babylon, fourteen generations: and after they were carried away into Babylon until Christ, fourteen generations.” Matthew 1:17 (GNV)
But, if we go up to verse 16, most versions, including the GNV, state the following,
“16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, that is called Christ.” Matt 1:16 (GNV)
If this is in fact Mary’s husband, Joseph, then we have an error and only 13 generations have been listed even though verse 17 said 14 generations. And, this genealogy does not match the lineage in Luke 3. Both lines are entirely different, though still from the house of David. I was always confused by this.
What we come to understand then is that God’s Word is trying to show us the lineage of both Mary (through her father, Joseph, the rightful lineage of the kings) and of her husband Joseph. Both lineages are from the house of David and thus shows the perfect bloodline for Jesus (though He wasn’t actually of either of their blood). In Hebrew, there was no word for husband so the translators just decided to add that word and not really consider another option. When Adam was joined to Eve, she was his woman. He was her man. The same word for Hebrew is for woman (for wife) and woman (the human gender). The translators made an error in English in Matthew in verse 16. In actuality, Mary’s father’s name was also Joseph, which is really confusing, but this validates the Scriptures and thus completes the 14 perfect generations as identified in verse 17. So, Matthew 1 is the lineage of Mary. Luke 3 is the lineage of her man, Joseph.
We find that only in the Aramaic version, that it is accurate in this way…
” 15Eliud begot Eliazar, Eliazar begot Matthan, Matthan begot Yaqob. 16Yaqob begot Yoseph the guardian of Maryam, her from whom was begotten Yeshua, who is called The Messiah.” Matt 1:15-16, Aramaic – Joseph is the father of Mary, so this is the lineage of Mary
“23But Yeshua was about thirty years old, and he was considered the son of Yoseph, son of Heli *, 24Son of Matthat, son of Levi, son of Melki, son of Yannai, son of Yoseph,” Luke 3:23-24, Aramaic, the lineage of Joseph, Mary’s husband
2 – SECOND TEST: For another spot test, I like to test Acts 8:37, Here we read the story when Phillip talks with an Ethiopian eunuch who is having a hard time understanding the prophet, Isaiah…
“30Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31And he said, “Well, how could I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.” Acts 8:30-31
There’s a verse following that is intentionally left out in many translations, and I’m not sure why, but it would seem that from the verse that it should be included in the translations since it is in the original text, Acts 8:37:
“36And as they were going on the road, they were arriving at one place that had water in it, and that Eunuch said, “Behold, water! What is the hindrance to me being baptized?” 37And Philippus said, “If you believe with all the heart, it is authorized.” And he answered and said, “I do believe that Yeshua The Messiah is The Son of God.”* 38And he commanded to stop the chariot and the two of them went down to the water and Philippus baptized that Eunuch. “*” Acts 8:36-38, Aramaic
NIV, ESV , MSG, NLT, NWT – Omitted – Since they left out this verse, I would not trust any of these versions. There are others, but I’ve only listed these main ones that most people are familiar with.
- “37And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”” NASB (Trusted)
- “37And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” KJV (Trusted)
- “37And Philippus said, “If you believe with all the heart, it is authorized.” And he answered and said, “I do believe that Yeshua The Messiah is The Son of God.”” Aramaic (Trusted)
- Some other popular versions listing this verse: NAS 1977, Jubilee Bible 2000, NKJV, 1599 Geneva Bible GNV, NCV
3 – THIRD TEST: Has Jesus come in the flesh? We are told that not everyone who claims, “Lord, Lord” actually knows Jesus, so we are commanded to test the spirits to see for ourselves. This one test I found to be pretty weird, but it turns out it is actually true. We are told in 1 John 4:1-3 to see if they confess that Jesus has come in the flesh, or come into the human body and became flesh, Greek Strong’s Word, #4561 sarx, “flesh.” If “flesh” is not present in the version, we know that it is not from God because God Himself stated that it must confess this to be legit. The word is originally in the text in 1 John 4:3, so let’s see who has removed it, and thus intentionally removed a word that was inspired to be recorded. Let’s test it…
“1 Dearly [a]beloved, believe not every [b]spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: for many false Prophets are gone out into the world. 2 [c]Hereby shall ye know the Spirit of God, [d]Every spirit which confesseth that [e]Jesus Christ is come in the [f]flesh is of God. 3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is not of God: but this is the spirit of Antichrist, of whom ye have heard, how that he should come, and now already he is in this world.” 1 John 4:1-3 (1599 Geneva)
Here’s the Greek written for comparison: http://biblehub.com/interlinear/1_john/4-3.htm
Here’s a few FAILS (1 John 4:3):
- New International Version: but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
- New Living Translation: But if someone claims to be a prophet and does not acknowledge the truth about Jesus, that person is not from God. Such a person has the spirit of the Antichrist, which you heard is coming into the world and indeed is already here.
- English Standard Version: and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.
- Berean Study Bible: and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming, and is already in the world at this time.
- New American Standard Bible : and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.
- Contemporary English Version: But when someone doesn’t say this about Jesus, you know this person has a spirit that doesn’t come from God and is the enemy of Christ. You knew this enemy was coming into the world and now is already here.
- Good News Translation: But anyone who denies this about Jesus does not have the Spirit from God. The spirit that he has is from the Enemy of Christ; you heard that it would come, and now it is here in the world already.
- International Standard Version: But every spirit who does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist. You have heard that he is coming, and now he is already in the world.
- NET Bible: but every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God, and this is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming, and now is already in the world.
- NWT – New World Translation (Jehovah Witnesses): “3 But every inspired statement that does not acknowledge Jesus does not originate with God.e Furthermore, this is the antichrist’s inspired statement that you have heard was coming,f and now it is already in the world.g“)
- American Standard Version: and every spirit that confesseth not Jesus is not of God: and this is the’spirit of the antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it cometh; and now it is in the world already.
- English Revised Version: and every spirit which confesseth not Jesus is not of God: and this is the spirit of the antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it cometh; and now it is in the world already.
Here’s a very few PASSES (1 John 4:3)
- World English Bible: and every spirit who doesn’t confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God, and this is the spirit of the Antichrist, of whom you have heard that it comes. Now it is in the world already.
- Jubilee Bible 2000: And every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ, is come in flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, of which ye have heard that it should come, and that now it is already in the world.
- Aramaic Bible in Plain English: And no spirit that does not confess that Yeshua has come in the flesh is from God, but this is from that False Messiah, him whom you have heard that he will come, and already he is in the world.
- American King James Version: And every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof you have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
- King James 2000 Bible: And every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, of which you have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
- King James Bible: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
- 1599 Geneva Bible: 3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is not of God: but this is the spirit of Antichrist, of whom ye have heard, how that he should come, and now already he is in this world.” 1 John 4:1-3 (1599 Geneva)
MAJOR TRANSLATION ERRORS – Stay away from these versions
Few Christians realize that there have been over 200 new Bible translations published in the last 30 years. Why? It seems obvious that the reason is for profit. It’s not because they’ve done additional research into the Hebrew language and culture and have realized errors from their past interpretations of these actual Holy Scriptures.
MSG – The Message Errors – I could go on for days about this, but do not EVER trust the MSG translation in any shape or form and do not even read it or regard it as helpful in understanding God’s actual Word. It is a complete corruption and any Christian church, pastor, or author referencing this translation should not be regarded, or should be approached to be corrected and if rebuked and they do not change from their ways, do not continue to be lulled into their false teaching. For further reference, google search problems with this translation. There are too many to list.
NWT – The New World Translation Errors – Jehovah Witness Bible. Again, there are too many errors to list here, but if you read this version, or consider it accurate, do a search on where the differences are between this version and more accurate versions of the Bible. This version should not be considered for any type of study as it has gross errors in the meaning and fulfillment of eternal life, and much more.
NLT – New Living Translator Errors (1996)
I thought I’d spend a few minutes talking about one of the most popular translations (and yes, I did start out with the NLT because it seemed like the easiest for me to read when I first became a Christian, but at that time, I trusted people within my church who told me to pick this version. I’ve since learned that we need to test everything and trust nothing in completeness.) On the NLT website, they state their version is ‘accuracy you can trust,’ but we will discover that it is far from accurate. Let’s start with the most famous verse of all time, John 3:16…
When we look at the NLT, we see something very strange indeed:
“16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave[a] his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16, NLT – We learn here that God gave us his only Son, but aren’t we all sons of God as shown in 1 John 3:1? “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.” So, the word begotten is extremely important and intentionally left out, but a part of the original Scriptures. God has one begotten Son, or in other words, only one Son who was born directly from Himself, but God has given many of us the right to become sons if we put our trust in the only begotten Son. We are not begotten directly from God, but we are adopted as sons. (NIV has eliminated begotten as well)
The NLT, 1999, is based upon Kenneth Taylor’s Living Bible of 1971. The Living Bible had sold over 40 million copies in North America alone. The NLT is not based off of the original Word. It is a story taken from an already perverted story. Increasingly, we will see modern Bible translations must become more politically correct in order to sell at high volumes. You’ll even find versions now which take out the masculine form of God and make Him feminine, or even trans-gender. Homosexuality has also been stricken from many of the new versions, or the terms changed to not convey the original meaning.
Here are some of the verses that have been changed in the NLT (I looked each of these verses up myself and I was so shocked that I cannot believe that anyone would choose to remove parts of Scripture as this is strictly forbidden in God’s Word. We cannot take away or add to God’s original Holy Word, or we heap judgement upon ourselves. Wow, my heart is so sad that I depended on this translation for so many years and had recommended it to others. I’m so thankful I came away from it.)
- MAJOR MAJOR MAJOR ALERT – 1 John 4:3 – We are told we are to test all spirits and that those who cannot say that Jesus has come in the flesh are not from God. So, this verse alone should show which versions are from God and which are not. Do they actually quote “in the flesh” in their text? — (“And no spirit that does not confess that Yeshua has come in the flesh is from God, but this is from that False Messiah, him whom you have heard that he will come, and already he is in the world. ” Aramaic) (NLT: “But if someone claims to be a prophet and does not acknowledge the truth about Jesus, that person is not from God. Such a person has the spirit of the Antichrist, which you heard is coming into the world and indeed is already here.” ) (NWT- Jehovah Witnesses – “3 But every inspired statement that does not acknowledge Jesus does not originate with God.e Furthermore, this is the antichrist’s inspired statement that you have heard was coming,f and now it is already in the world.g“) The word, “flesh” must be present: sarx (Greek: #4561): flesh, It must state that Jesus came in the flesh body to earth.
- Deuteronomy – “sodomite” changed to “temple prostitute” (totally different meaning, the term actually refers to the sexually immoral including fornicators (sexual relations outside of marriage), and also is specifically calling out homosexual relations as spelled out in the story of Sodom. This term does not refer to prostitution only, but includes a number of sins that in today’s society we call acceptable, and thus the reason why the English was dumbed down to include prostitutes in the temple of God only. This takes the focus off of our ‘acceptable’ sins.)
- 1 Kings 14:24 – “sodomites” replaced with “shrine prostitutes” (totally different meaning)
- 1 Kings 15:12 – “sodomites” replaced with “shrine prostitutes” (totally different meaning)
- 1 Kings 22:46 – “sodomites” replaced with “shrine prostitutes” (totally different meaning)
- 2 Kings 23:7 – “sodomites” replaced with “shrine prostitutes” (totally different meaning)
- Matthew 17:21 – entire verse omitted(““But this kind does not go out except by fasting and by prayer.”
- Matthew 18:11 – entire verse omitted (“For The Son of Man has come to save whatever has been lost.
- Matthew 19:9 – half of the verse is omitted and both mean a totally different thing (But I say to you, “Whoever divorces his wife apart from adultery and will take another, commits adultery, and whoever will take her who is divorced commits adultery.” Aramaic) (NLT:”And I tell you this, whoever divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery–unless his wife has been unfaithful.”)
- Matthew 23:14 – entire verse omitted (“Woe to you Scribes and Pharisees, pretenders, for you shut the Kingdom of Heaven before the children of men, for you are not entering, and those who are entering you do not permit to enter! ” Aramaic)
- Mark 6:11 – half of the verse is omitted(“And all who will not receive you and will not hear you, when you leave that place, shake off the dust that is on the soles of your feet for their testimony; truly I say to you that it will be tranquil for Sadom and Amorah in the day of judgment compared to that city.” Aramaic) (NLT: But if any place refuses to welcome you or listen to you, shake its dust from your feet as you leave to show that you have abandoned those people to their fate.”)
- Mark 7:16 – entire verse omitted (“Whoever has an ear to hear, let him hear.” Aramaic”)
- Mark 9:44, 46 – entire verses omitted(““Where their worm does not die and their fire is not quenched.” , “Where their worm does not die and their fire is not quenched.” Aramaic)
- Mark 11:26 – entire verse omitted (“But if you are not forgiving, neither will your Father in Heaven forgive you your faults.”Aramaic)
- Mark 15:28 – entire verse omitted (And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “He was numbered with wicked men.” Aramaic)
- Mark 16:9-20 – entire passage is questioned by a footnote that says, “The most reliable early manuscripts conclude the Gospel of Mark at verse 8”
- Luke 4:8 – “get thee behind me Satan” is omitted
- Luke 17:36 – entire verse omitted(““Two shall be in a field; one shall be taken captive and the other shall be left.” Aramaic)
- Luke 23:17 – entire verse omitted (“For it was a custom to release them one prisoner at the feast.” Aramaic)
- John 3:16 – the all important word “begotten” is omitted, thus denying the deity & uniqueneess of Christ
- John 5:4 – entire verse omitted (“For an Angel descended to the baptismal pool from time to time and moved the water for them; whoever first descended after the moving of the water was cured of all sickness whatever he had.” Aramaic)
- Acts 8:37 – entire verse omitted (“And Philippus said, “If you believe with all the heart, it is authorized.” And he answered and said, “I do believe that Yeshua The Messiah is The Son of God.”” Aramaic)
- Acts 17:29 – completely removes the “Godhead” (““Men, therefore, because our lineage is from God, we ought not to think that gold or silver or stone carved by the skill and knowledge of a man is like The Godhead.”
Aramaic) (NLT: “And since this is true, we shouldn’t think of God as an idol designed by craftsmen from gold or silver or stone.”)
- Acts 28:29 – entire verse omitted (“And when he had said these things, the Jews went forth and many were debating among themselves. ” Aramaic)
- Romans 1:20 – completely removes the “Godhead” (“For the secrets of God from the foundation of the world are appearing to his creatures through intelligence, even his power and his eternal Godhead, that they will be without a defense, ” Aramaic) (NLT:”For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.”)
- Romans 16:24 – entire verse omitted (“But unto God who is able to confirm you by my Gospel, which has been preached concerning Yeshua The Messiah, by the revelation of the mystery, which from the times of the world has been hidden, ” Aramaic)
- Philippians 2:6 -removes the word “equal,” thus denying Christ’s deity (NLT: “Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. “) (“He who, while he was in the form of God, did not esteem this as a prize, that he was the equal of God, ” Aramaic – It actually states He is the equal of God. Wow is this shocking to me that I’ve misread this verse so many times in other versions!)
- Colossians 2:9 – completely removes the “Godhead”
- 1 Timothy 6:5 – “from such withdraw thyself” is omitted (“And the misery of the children of men who corrupt their minds and are cheated of the truth, and they think that making money is the worship of God; but stay away from these things,” Aramaic) (NLT: “These people always cause trouble. Their minds are corrupt, and they have turned their backs on the truth. To them, a show of godliness is just a way to become wealthy.”)
- 1 Peter 4:1 – “in your place” is omitted (“If therefore The Messiah has suffered in your place in the flesh, be you also equipped with the same mind, for everyone who has died in his body has ceased from all sins; ” Aramaic) (NLT “So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin.“)
- 1 Peter 4:14 – half of the verse is omitted(“And if you are reproached for the sake of the name of The Messiah, you are blessed, because The Glorious Spirit of God rests upon you. ” Aramaic) (NLT: “So be happy when you are insulted for being a Christian, for then the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you.”)
- 1 John 3:16 -completely removes “the love of God for us” (“By this we know his love toward us, for he gave his Life in our place, and it is right for us that we would give our lives for the sake of our brothers.” Aramaic) (NLT: “We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.”)
- 1 John 5:7 – half of the verse is omitted, thus denying the Godhead (“And The Spirit testifies because The Spirit is the truth. ” Aramaic) (NLT: “So we have these three witnesses– “)
- 1 John 5:13 – half of the verse is omitted (“These things I have written to you that you will know that you have Eternal Life, you who believe in the name of The Son of God.” Aramaic) (NLT: ” I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life. “)
So, in conclusion, select the most accurate version of the Bible for your studies if you truly do desire to hear from God. Do not partake in any of the ways of darkness. Research your version fully and choose wisely as they are definitely not all the same and may give you an entirely different impression of Father God, Jesus the son, and the Holy Spirit.
JUNE 2018 Update – I’ve been learning much from this historian, Bart Ehrman, and what you’ll hear in this short video is quite shocking to say the least: