Notes on Bible Translations
By Rosco Brong (1908 - 1985)
Dean, Lexington (KY) Baptist College
The Berea Baptist Banner
Coming home on furlough in October, 1952, I quickly purchased a copy of the Revised Standard Version, called “the new Bible.” . . . Daily newspaper. . . We are protesting a proposed burning of the “new Bible.” The editorials seemed to me excellent. I was repeatedly asked my opinion. I replied: “I am against it.” We never burned a Catholic Bible in Brazil, in spite of its Apocryphal additions to the real Scriptures, its wretched translations, its notes, which often deny at the foot of the page what the Word of God says in the text above, its many false teachings, and its abundance of pictures that are just as false. Rather we encouraged all Catholics to buy their own Bibles, knowing they will obtain better versions eventually if they get interested. As T. T. Eaton used to say: “Even a Catholic Bible is full of Baptist doctrine.”
I would not burn even the version of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, which banishes the word cross. It is the only version that correctly translates into English the Greek of Matthew 16 and 18: “Shall have been bound... Shall have been loosed,” though C. B. Williams gives a similar translation and the same meaning.
KING JAMES CATHOLICISM
“Saint” Matthew. Who invented that? You never find it in the text of your Bible. The New Testament writers do not call each other or anyone else by that title. The older Greek texts do not have it in the names of our New Testament books. It reflects a dead apostasy from New Testament terminology and usage of words, of which a post apostolic Catholicism was first guilty.
The younger Roman and Greek Catholicism adhere to the misuse of the Bible word saint. From that ancient, but far too young, Catholicism, the new Bible frees us, going back to the original titles of New Testament books, as we find them in the oldest and best manuscripts. Dr. A. T. Roberson well says that preachers who go around saying Saint Matthew are just clinging to that much Romanism, though Romanism has no monopoly or patent on the error. ALL BELIEVERS ARE SAINTS. . .
Besides a lot of other erroneous notes and titles, many Romish inventions are written into the text itself of the King James version. Easter is a pagan word brought in by a false translation of Acts 7:38. Furthermore, there never was any Old Testament “Church in the wilderness.” The connotations of the word church forbids its use in any but the Christian meaning of the Greek word it translates. In Jewish or civilian Greek connotations, its meaning is its inherent sense, congregation, assembly. So the RSV correctly renders the word congregation in Hebrews 2:12. . . .
KING JAMES ERRORS
(I Timothy 6:10). Think of this translation still appearing in a new Bible: “The love of money is the root of all evils.” That never was true at any time in human history. Paul never wrote such folly. It was not the love of money that made Adam eat the forbidden fruit, nor Cain kill his brother, nor Moses smite the rock God told him to speak to, nor TRANSLATIONS IN THE KING JAMES VERSION.
Being able to read the original Hebrew and Greek is a real blessing to a devout Bible believer and student, and I wish that every Christian could have time and opportunity to learn these languages and thus be able to read the real Bible without depending on translations. Christians who cannot read the original Scriptures can be blessed by comparing different translations, but need to be on their guard against infidel or heretical so-called translators who prostitute their scholarship to the propagation of false doctrines.
The proper test of any supposed translation is not whether it agrees with some other supposed translation, but whether it expressed a possible and probable meaning of the original language. Even within these limits, there is often room for varied interpretations. Any competent language scholar will confirm these statements.
[From the Ashland Avenue Baptist newspaper; via Christopher Cockrell, Editor, The Berea Baptist Banner, December, 2012, p. 232. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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