A good friend of mine, Gregg Stone, has a wonderful newsletter he calls "the Preacher's page". I greatly enjoy it and look forward to receiving each one. The messages are always very timely and true. Below, you will find a quote from the latest one that really got me to thinking.
"In 1631 an English Bible printer forgot the NOT in one of the Ten Commandments. Here's how his mistake in Exodus 20:14 read: "Thou shalt commit adultery." Because of this colossal goof, the edition became known as The Wicked Bible, and the printer had to pay a large fine.
An edition of the Bible printed at Cambridge , England in 1653 contained the following printer's error: "know ye not that the unrighteous shall inherit the kingdom of God?" (1 Corinthians 6:9)."
As you can see, leaving a small word out of the text- not- makes a HUGE difference in the meaning of a verse.
We live in a day and an hour that, in an effort to "make the word of God more understandable", keeps printing newer and newer versions of the "word of God". In principle, I have no problem with the idea itself. If someone were to go back to the KJV (King James Version) and go through the Greek manuscripts that those translators used, then a truly more understandable version could be brought out- without changing the word of God.
For example,1 Peter 3:1-2 states, "Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the CONVERSATION of the wives; while they behold your chaste CONVERSATION coupled with fear." In our current culture, the word "conversation" generally means to be in a good talk with someone. Therefore, many think that, in this scripture, the husbands will be reached by what the wife says to her husband. How many men, no offence to the women that are truly trying to reach their husbands, grow weary of their wives "preaching at them"?
In truth, however, the word Conversation comes from the Greek word "anastrophe", which means "behavior". It really is by how his wife acts AND talks that the unregenerate husband is won over- not simply by what she says. To put it bluntly, a wife can preach at her husband all day long, but if the husband sees no love of God in her actions and hears no love of God in her voice and attitude, then she's wasting her words.
If someone were to come out with a version of the Bible that said, in 1 Peter 3:1-2, "Be Christlike, wives, and be in submission to your own husbands; that way, if any husband does not obey the word of God, they may, without your trying to pound them with the word of God, be won to God by the Godly lifestyles that they see displayed by their wives; because they see the pure lifestyle coupled with the fear of God.", I'd have no problem with that.
That having been said, however, the truth is that the "modern translations" are not translations at all! They are transliterations. Instead of going word for word, as the KJV translators did, and translating the word into the (at that time) modern equivalent to that word for people to be able to understand it, they've reworded the word of God in such a way as to make the word of God ineffective.
Here's one example. John 3:13 is one of my favorite verses. It reads, "And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the son of man which is in heaven." In this one verse, Jesus was revealing to Nicodemus that, although he was speaking with Jesus face to face, Jesus was also in heaven at the same time he was speaking to him. In other words, he was telling Nicodemus that even though all he saw was a man, Nicodemus was actually talking to the very real God of the universe.
The New Living Translation says, "No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the son of Man has come down from heaven".
The Message Bible says, "No one has ever gone up into the presence of God, except the one who came down from that presence, the son of man."
The New American Standard says, "No one has ascended into heaven, but he who descended from heaven: the son of man."
The NIV says, "No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven- the son of man."
Can we not see the changes that they've made? Can we not see that they all leave the phrase "which is in heaven" completely off? Do we not understand the damage that they have done to the true meaning of the word of God?
John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life."
There is much in this verse, but we will focus on this one part. If a person believes, they SHOULD not perish. It does not say SHALL not. It is not a guarantee or a blank check. By believing in a biblical way, we have the option to follow Jesus and let him live through us. If we stay in that relationship with him we will make it to heaven. If, however, we choose to leave that relationship, we will NOT make heaven. That's why it says SHOULD, not SHALL.
When a couple gets married, they've made a commitment and are joined together in the eyes of God and man. If, however, one of them decides to leave the other and go off with someone else, they break the covenant. The marriage, in most circumstances, is over (and biblically could be). If we leave our covenant relationship with Jesus, we break the marriage and unless we go back in real repentance and pray back through, we will (in the words of a good friend of mine) bust hell wide open!
Now, what do the other mistranslations say?
The NIV says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him SHALL not perish but have eternal life."
The NAS says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him SHALL not perish but have eternal life."
The Message says, "This is how much God loved the world: he gave his son, his one and only son. And this is why, so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go through all the trouble of sending his son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him IS ACQUITTED; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that persons failure to believe in the one of a kind son of God when introduced to him."
The NLT says, "For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only son, so that everyone who believes in him WILL not perish but have eternal life."
In short NO TRUE BELIEVER should ever use the modern translations. It's that simple. They are not the whole word of God. A little bit of leaven leavens the whole loaf. A little lie written and passed off as the word of God makes the true word of God in the rest of the book to have no effect. Stick with the KJV and a good Strong's concordance. For now, anything else, is not the word of God!