Bible Timeline, Part Two – Comparing Translations

The Scriptures

A SPECIMEN EXCERPT FROM ROMANS

Here we give a Specimen excerpt from this version, taken from the third chapter of Paul's epistle to the Romans.

THE CONCORDANT GREEK TEXT

(Romans 3:22)Testing

CONCORDANT LITERAL NEW TESTAMENT

(Selection on Romans 3:21-­23)

Testing

CONCORDANT COMMENTARY ON THE NEW TESTAMENT

21 The previous section found no one just but God Himself. No one has been able to attain God’s standard by doing or keeping the law. How then may we become just before God? Only by becoming partakers of His righteousness.

22 The channel through which we may obtain this righteousness is the faith of Jesus Christ. He alone of all mankind, not only did good and kept the law, but He believed God even when He smote Him for our sins. It is out of His faith for our faith.

24 They hated Him without a cause– gratuitously. Such is the meaning of this precious word. Justification on any other ground than the free and unforced favor of God is impossible, for none deserve it. But now Christ Jesus has effected a deliverance from all judgment, which is absolutely free to all who believe.

COMPARISON

Only by comparison can one appreciate the Concordant Version, so we propose a few examples with brief comments for consideration.

Let us look at Genesis 1:1,2.

As given by the King James “Bible,” it reads:

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth, And the earth was without form and void; and darkness [was] upon the face of the deep.

The way this verse reads, practically all readers get the impression that God created the earth “without form and void.” In the celebrated “Evolution Trial” at Dayton, Tennessee, Mr. Darrow requested of the late Mr. Bryan to describe something that could be created “without form and void!” Scientists have poked fun at the “Bible” because of this statement, and pious reverence for a “book” rather than the truth, constrained them to accept and believe it because it was in there! The Concordant clarifies the matter:

IN A BEGINNING created by God [Elohim] were the heavens and the earth. Yet the earth became a chaos and vacant, and darkness was on the surface of the submerged chaos.

That this is the correct rendering, is confirmed by Isaiah 45:18, as given by the American Standard Revised Version, which speaks of the primal creation before the earth “became a chaos and vacant.”

For thus saith Jehovah that created the heavens, the God that formed the earth, and made it, that established it and created it not a waste, that formed it to be inhabited: I am Jehovah and there is none else!

This Scripture confirms the truth that the earth was created “not a waste” in the first verse of Genesis, but “to be inhabited,” and at a later date, through some cataclysmic judgment, is disrupted—“becomes waste and sterile, and darkness is on the surface of the abyss.” Compare Jeremiah 4:23-26 and 2 Peter 3:5,6.

In John 20:1, the King James reads:

“The first day of the week . . .”

It is little known to Christendom that this is a “bogus” translation foisted upon the church by the translators, a “camel” that has been swallowed by scholars and students alike. The writer had a well-meaning brother in the Lord, who became so concerned about me and my teaching that he traveled a long distance to go over the matter with a view to readjusting me in the truth. After patiently listening to all that he had to say, I suggested a few things to him, one of which was the fact that the Scriptures, correctly translated, knew nothing about “the first day of the week.” He threw up his hands in astonishment that I would make such an irreverent indictment of the “Bible!” After facing the facts. He apparently preferred “error” to the truth, as he made no attempt to reply and quit the subject without any explanation whatever.

The original, in all three of the oldest manuscripts, reads: mia ton sabbaton, ONE OF THE SABBATHS. Our translators presumed to know more than the great Author and corrupted the word of God. They altered “one” to read “first,” inserted the word “day,” for it is not in the original and is not needed in the translation, and changed “sabbaths” to the singular “week.” Can one imagine a more perfidious and deceptive act of man? It truly is repugnant to those who reverently regard the original as the very word of God, and want it to speak to them as He was pleased to give it.

In Acts 2:40 we read:

And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, save yourselves from this untoward generation.

It has been my experience to sit and listen to a great preacher use this as a text to preach a “self­help,” “boot­strap” salvation sermon. In his superficial knowledge of God’s word, he little realized he was “despoiling” the saints “through philosophy and empty seduction, in accord with human tradition, in accord with the elements of the world, and not in accord with Christ,” in Whom they are complete (Col. 2:8-17). The passage should read:

Besides with more and different words, he conjures and entreated them, saying, “Be saved from this crooked generation.”

In Acts 19:2 the Authorized Version reads:

Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?

Due to the sense conveyed by this incorrect translation, a false and misleading philosophy has been deduced to despoil the saints, causing them to look for some marvelous “second blessing.” It should read:

Did you obtain holy spirit when believing?

It is a condition that does not apply to us today; it belongs to the Pentecostal Administration, covered by the book of Acts. In this Secret Administration of God’s grace, Paul says: “In whom you also—when hearing the word of truth, the evangel of your salvation—in Whom when believing also, you are sealed with the holy spirit of promise (which is an earnest of the enjoyment of our allotment, until the deliverance of that which has been procured) for the laud of His glory” (Eph.1:13,14).

In Romans 1:16,17 Paul speaks of not being ashamed of the evangel and states, as given by the King James Version:

For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith.

Again in chapter 3:22, they translate:

Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe.

The grand truth God has been pleased to reveal in these Scriptures has been beclouded and covered over by the translators.

They should read:

For in it [the evangel] God’s righteousness is revealed out of faith for faith.

Yet a righteousness of God, through Jesus Christ’s faith, for all and on all who are believing.

Our translators apparently did not believe that the Lord Jesus Christ had faith, and glossed it over in these passages to accord with their opinions. Christ is called “the Inaugurator and Perfecter of faith” (Heb.12:2), for He not only did good and kept the law, but He believed God even when He smote Him for our sins. Therefore, the righteousness of God is revealed “out of faith for faith,” that is, “through Jesus Christ’s faith for all and on all who are believing.”

The Authorized Version renders Romans 7:24 thus:

O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Since the King James “Bible” was made, this question has been read and reread by the saints of God, but the answer has been lacking. THE CONCORDANT VERSION, following the editor of Sinaiticus, restores the answer that has been lost all these years. It reads:

A wretched man I am! What will rescue me out of this body of death? Grace! Now I am thanking God, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

They render Romans 8:30 thus:

Moreover, whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified.

This verse is full of difficulties to the close student of the Scriptures. The “did predestinate” cannot be questioned, but how can Paul say that these were called (in the past) when Romans was penned? If this is strictly true, then we have no place in this Scripture, for we were not called until the far future from that time! The concordant method discovered that the Greek “aorist” was an indefinite, changing acts to facts, transforming deeds into truth. Notice how simply and grandly the whole passage responds to a true translation:

Now whom He designates beforehand, these He calls also, and whom He calls, these He justifies also; now whom He justifies, these He glorifies also.

The whole transaction is taken out of time and circumstance into the higher realm of eternity and truth. There is no confusion created with the time the epistle was written. The rendering blends beautifully with the great truth of the chapter, and imparts permanence and majesty to God’s method of drawing us to Himself.

Consider 2 Corinthians 8:1:

Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia.

We might as well quote the Greek in this verse and expect people to understand it today as to quote it as rendered by the King James here. Let us note the understanding, immediately, by the Concordant Version:

Now we are making known to you, brethren, the grace of God which has been bestowed in the ecclesias of Macedonia.

Note the reading of Ephesians 1:3:

Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ . . .

In the early years of the writer’s experience with the Scriptures, the rendering “heavenly places” or “heavenlies” gave no little trouble as to its meaning. I waded through the works of the great expositors of the “Bible,” figuratively speaking, but got little save “weariness of the flesh.” But let us note the light unfolded in the Concordant Version:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who blesses us with every spiritual blessing among the celestials, in Christ . . .

In Christ, we are blessed with every spiritual blessing among the vast host of celestial beings in heaven—the celestials.

An important passage is Ephesians 3:5-7:

Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto His Holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that the gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel: whereof I was made a minister.

The wonderful truth of this passage is lost to Christendom through faulty translation and punctuation. As it stands, it says the revelation was made known “by the Spirit.” But in what way is revelation made known other than “by the spirit?” Hence, there is no purpose accomplished by stating the fact here. And again, the gentiles are said to become “partakers of the promise in Christ by the gospel: whereof I was made a minister,” destroying the sense of the revealed truth in this passage also. The Concordant Version clarifies the matter:

Which is not made known to other generations of the sons of humanity as it was now revealed to His holy apostles and prophets: in spirit the nations are to be joint partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the evangel of which I became the dispenser.

The careful student will observe that this passage is concerned with making known the truth that the “nations” become “joint” allottees, and a “joint” body, and “joint” partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus “in spirit,” rather than how the revelation was given. All revelation is “by the spirit,” be it remembered. Furthermore, they become partakers of these blessings “through the evangel of which Paul was made the dispenser.”

Another text is 1 Timothy 3:16:

And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

This seems to be a favorite text of many preachers who talk much and think little. Concordantly translated it reads:

And avowedly great is the secret of devoutness, which was manifested in flesh, justified in spirit, viewed by messengers, proclaimed among the nations, believed in the world, taken up in glory.

Not only is the manuscript evidence against reading “God manifest in flesh,” but other considerations force us to the same conclusion. In the typical teaching of the tabernacle, the “veil” represented His flesh (Heb.10:20). Yet the “veil” did not reveal. But rather hid the divine presence. It could not be said to manifest it. The phrase “justified in spirit” is very inapt when applied to Christ. The “proclamation among the nations” is out of place, as no such ministry was attempted until long after He had been “taken up in glory.”

The whole passage is concerned with conduct. The secret of devout conduct is traced in its various manifestations in those who are its subjects. It should be manifested in flesh by ideal acts which it produces, it enjoys justification in spirit, is the subject of angelic inspection (Eph.3:10), is proclaimed among the nations, and will be removed from the world before the Lord appears to judgment.

The Revised Version of 2 Timothy 1:9 reads:

Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before times eternal.

If “time” is eternal, as the Revised Version translators have made it here, the psychological puzzle remains to be solved as to how something could take place “before” it! The King James says “before the world began.” This, in a way, expresses more clearly the truth than the Revised Version. The original is speaking of “times” aionion, that is, “eonian.” It should read:

Who saves us and calls us with a holy calling, not in accord with our acts, but in accord with His own purpose and the grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before eonian times.

“Before eonian times” shows conclusively that the “eon,” or “ages,” were not eternal in the past, but had a definite beginning. In fact, the Scriptures reveal that “time” has three grand divisions, “Pre-Eonian Times,” “Eonian Times,” and “Post-Eonian Times.” The “Eonian Times,” or the “times of the eons,” is bounded in the past by the “beginning” and in the future by the “consummation.” Before the “beginning” was the “Pre-Eonian Times,” and after the “consummation” will be the “Post-Eonian Times.”

A problem is presented in Hebrews 9:26:

But now once in the end of the world hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

This clearly and unequivocally states that the “world ended” when Christ was manifested in His sacrifice! It is appalling to see the contortions preachers and expositors go through, in order to justify this faulty translation. The Concordant Version clarifies the matter:

yet now, once, has He been manifested through His sacrifice, for the repudiation of sin at the conclusion of the eons.

There is no need of explanation here. What we need is faith to believe what is revealed.

How can anyone believe Hebrews 11:1?

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

“Faith” is neither “substance” nor “evidence,” as it is rendered in this passage. Faith is intangible, the very opposite of substance. It cannot become “substance” without being transmuted into sight, and is no longer faith. Later versions changed “substance” to “confidence,” yet this is not at all suitable for some of the other contexts where the word occurs. The Concordant Version renders it uniformly:

Now faith is an assumption of what is being expected, a conviction concerning matters which are not being observed.

The word “assumption” fits every passage in which this word occurs, and opens up a marvelous vista of truth. Faith assumes that to be truth which it expects to become fact in the future.
The Authorized Version of Revelation 1:1 reads:

The Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave unto Him to show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass.

Christendom is groaning under the burden of the many expository works that have been written on Revelation. And there are nearly as many expositions as there have been books written. The writer spent ten years preparing a treatise on the book, which was withdrawn just before going to press and destroyed. This was done because he became acquainted with what the Lord had really revealed, and could do nothing less than follow His word. It should read:

The Unveiling of Jesus Christ, which God gives to Him, to show to His slaves what must occur swiftly.

“What must occur swiftly”—not soon, but with speed. This is made more luminous by going entirely away from this setting and finding where the same word is used again in the original and seeing its meaning there. On the morning of the resurrection, John and Peter started together, but John ran more swiftly(not “shortly”) than Peter (John 20:4). If this prophecy started soon after John wrote, it has moved very slowly indeed. When it does commence, it will run with great rapidity. God lingers in dispensing grace, but hastens in executing judgment. This calls for an entirely future fulfillment of Revelation, after the “full complement of the nations may be entering” (Rom.11:25-27).

COMPARISON OF VERSIONS

Having shown many examples of how standardized, consistent translation opens God’s Word to our understanding, we will now quote one more verse—1 Corinthians 10:13 —as rendered in the original editions of eight versions, that we may note the improvements made in spelling, punctuation, diction, etc., over a period of about five hundred years.

WYCLIFFE—1380

temptacioun take not zou’ but mannes temptacioun’ for god is trewe whiche schal not suffre zou to be temptid aboue that that ze moun’ but he schal make with temptacioun also puruyaunce that ze moun suffre.

TYNDALE—1534

There hath none other temptacioon taken you’ but soche as followeth the nature of man. But God is faythfull’ which shall not suffer you to be tempted above youre strength: but shall in the myddes of the temptacion make awaye to escape out.

CRANMER—1539

Ther hath none other temptacyon taken you, but soche as followeth the nature of man. But God is faythfull whych shall not suffer you to be tempted aboue youre strength: but shall in the myddes of the temptacion make a waye, that ye may be able to beare it.

GENEVA—1557

There hath none other tentation taken you, but such as appartayneth to man: but God is faithful, which shal not suffer you to be tempted aboue your stengthe: but shal in the middes of the tentation make away, that ye may be able to beare it.

RHEIMS­DUOAY—1582

Let not tentation apprehend you, but humane, and God is faithful, vvho vvil not suffer you to be tempted aboue that vvhich you are able: abut vvil make also vvith tentation issue, that you may be able to susteine.

AUTHORIZED (King James)—1611

There hath no temptation taken you, but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted aboue that you are able: but wil with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may bee able to beare it.

AMERICAN STANDARD REVISED—1901

There hath no temptation taken you but such as man can bear: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation make also the way of escape, that ye may be able to endure it.

CONCORDANT VERSION—1976

No trial has taken you except what is human. Now faithful is God, Who will not be leaving you to be tried above what you are able, but, together with the trial, will be making the sequel also, to enable you to undergo it.

It is evident that God does not make “a way of escape.” As many of his saints have found by experience. If He did, why or how could that enable them to bear it? They could not endure it if He took them out of it! He makes the sequel. All the great examples of trial were sustained by the contemplation of the blessed outcome which they were designed to produce.

CONCLUSION

These examples could be multiplied many times, but this will suffice to show that we should be very careful about building divisive articles, dogmas and doctrines on such imperfections, as are manifest in these older versions. Since the King James “Bible” was issued in 1611, some forty new dictionaries have been issued to keep pace with the growth and changes in the English language. The English and American revision committees made 36,191 changes —rectifications — of the King James Version that more closely conform to the original, after which President Schaff said the work was still far from perfect!

One deplorable condition that has arisen, is that of making a god out of a book (the King James “Bible” ) rather than finding God through His revelation. Paul admonishes Timothy to “hold fast to a pattern of sound words which you hear from me” (2 Tim.1:13). Now if it was necessary for Timothy to hold fast to the particular Greek expressions given by Paul, how are we to fulfill this admonition with a version like the King James, both inconsistent and inaccurate in its translation?

Regardless of how much we may prize the King James “Bible” for its sacred memories, when we know that it does not bear out the final and crucial test of faithfulness to the original text, we should not be slow in discarding it for a newer and more accurate version. Truth lovers desire that the old Hebrew and Greek writings should speak to them as they spoke to their first readers in the days of the apostles, freed from the human traditions imposed upon them by later eras, and from unconscious errors of imperfect scholarship. Regardless of sacrifice, we should ever seek for the version that will give the clearest and purest expression of the original. A version that fails to meet this demand may serve the needs of a few for sentimental purposes, but it will fail to fill the hearts of a wider humanity who love the truth so deeply they will be satisfied only with a version that expresses exactly what God has really spoken.

Adlai Loudy

(Note: this two-part article, “How We Got Our Bible,” is chapter two (pp.29-53) of our 383-page book, GOD’S EONIAN PURPOSE.

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