By Pastor Bruce K. Oyen
First Baptist Church
This post is an evaluation of what seems to be a very popular DVD and youtube video called “New World Order Bible Versions.” I have watched it very closely at least four times, and it is clearly a promotion of what is known as King James Bible/KJV-onlyism. For those who are not familiar with this subject, King James Bible-onlyism is the belief that only the King James Bible or King James Version is the Word of God in English.
After carefully viewing this presentation, I must say at once it is one of the most pathetic defenses of KJV-onlyism available. With friends like this, the King James Version doesn’t need enemies. There are so many faults in this “defense” of the King James Version, that it would take a small book to deal with all of them. Therefore, only some of the major and obvious ones will be considered. An honest look at these faults will alert readers to the fact that they must be careful about the rest of the presentation.
Fault number one: manipulation is used to support what the two main speakers believe about the King James Version. It is certainly legitimate to present evidence to support one’s view of any subject of interest. But evidence and manipulation of it are not the same thing, and manipulation is evident right on the cover of my copy of the DVD, which is produced by FRAMINGTHEWORLD.COM. It has a person with a hood over his or her head (the face is not clearly visible), and it has a sinister look to it. In front of this person there are pictures of four modern English Bible translations: the New International Version, the New King James Version, the New Living Translation, and the English Standard Version. The point being made is obvious: there is a sinister influence behind these translations. What is striking is that a “translation” put out by an organization with a long record of opposition to the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith is not pictured along with the others. To the best of my knowledge, the New International Version, New King James Version, New Living Translation, and the English Standard Version were produced by persons who adhere to the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith. But this is not so of the one that should have been in the picture because it does have a sinister influence behind it. I am referring to the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ “Bible.” Why was this one left out of the picture on the DVD’s cover? Maybe an it was an oversight, but that does not change the fat that the DVD/video has an agenda to discredit any translation that is a serious challenge to the acceptance of the King James Version by the general public. So, the producers of this DVD/video resorted to manipulation right from the start.
Fault number two: the DVD/video starts out with a presentation about the forthcoming new world order, but then links it to modern English Bible translations. Those of us who believe the Bible to be what it is, the Word of God, and have read it carefully, know that it teaches a forthcoming new world order, though it does not use that term. This new world order will be headed up by Satan and his agent, the antichrist. And we believe that Satan and the antichrist can cleverly use even Bible translations to accomplish their goal. This would be especially true of any translation that deliberately undermines the fundamentals of the Christian faith, such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ “Bible” clearly does. But to link Satan’s plan to bring in his new world order to any and all modern English translations is plainly a serious error. But that is what the DVD/video does. One of the “evidences” that the DVD/video gives to link the new world order to modern English Bible translations is how some of them word part of Hebrews 9:10, in comparison to how it is worded in the King James Version. Here is how the KJV words this verse: “Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances imposed on them until the time of reformation.” The context of verse 10 shows that the time of reformation came with the passing of the Old Covenant and the introduction of the New Covenant, which was done by the Lord Jesus Christ. The Zondervan KJV Study Bible ( not to be confused with those with similar names) has a good note on Hebrews 9:10’s reference to the time of reformation. Here is what it says: “The new covenant, with its new priesthood, new sanctuary and new sacrifice, all introduced by Christ.” But, here is how the Common English Bible words verse 10: “These are superficial regulations that are only about food, drink, and various rituals ways to wash with water. They are regulations that have been imposed until the time of the new order.” The DVD/video makes “the new order” to refer to the “new world order,” even though this is not what the CEB says, and even though the context of Hebrews 9:10 in the CEB makes it clear that “the time of the new order” was the introduction of the new covenant by the Lord Jesus Christ. The wording of the NIV in Hebrews 9:10 is also condemned, for it says this: “They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings — external regulations applying until the time of the new order.” Like the CEB, the NIV does not say “new world order,” but “the new order.” And the context of the verse in the NIV makes I clear that it is not referring to “the new world order,” but to the new covenant introduced by the Lord Jesus Christ. The wording of the NET Bible (New English Translation) in Hebrews 9:10 is similar to the CEB and the NIV, and, of course, condemned. The NET Bible says this: “They served only for matters of food and drink and various washings, they are external regulations imposed until the new order came.” The NET Bible does not refer to “the new world order,” any more than do the CEB and NIV, and for the same reasons.
Fault number three: The DVD/video teaches that the New Testament’s book of Hebrews was in the translation of the Hebrew Old Testament into Greek, known as the Septuagint, even though the New Testament was completed long after that Greek translation of the Old Testament. This is one of the strangest faults in the DVD/video. The DVD/video shows a picture of The New English Translation of the Septuagint, and condemns it for its translation of Hebrews 9:10. The picture displayed in the video even says it is a new English translation of the Septuagint. But remember, the book of Hebrews, along with the rest of the New Testament, was written long after the Septuagint was made. The New Testament writings are no more in the Septuagint than the speeches of President Abraham Lincoln. Do the producers of the DVD/video, or its speakers, not know what the Septuagint is? Do they think that no one viewing the DVD/video would notice this big blunder? Does this blunder lend credibility to the DVD/video?
Here is what might have happened: they intended to denounce the previously-quoted NET Bible (New English Translation) because of how it words Hebrews 9:10, but showed a copy of the New English Translation of the Septuagint, not knowing the difference between the two. If that is so, it reveals major ignorance on the part of the producers and speakers.
Now, what does the Greek word translated in the King James Version as “reformation” in Hebrews 9:10 mean? Strongest Strong’s Concordance of the King James Version gives the following definition of the Greek word: “a new order.” Yes, that is the definition it gives: “a new order.” It does not say “a new world order,” but “a new order.” Therefore, it is wrong to draw the conclusion made in the DVD/video about the other translations referred to above.
Fault number four: the DVD/video builds a case against some modern English Bible translations by a mishandling of Galatians 5:12 and 1 Corinthians 9:27. Both verses will be considered. First, consider Galatians 5:12. Here is how the King James Version words the verse: “I would they were even cut off which trouble you.” The context of this verse is the fact that when the Lord Jesus Christ instituted the New Covenant (also known as the New Testament), he thereby brought the Old Covenant to an end, including its many rules and regulations, one of which was the rite of circumcision. But there were false teachers in the first century A. D. who insisted that circumcision was still obligatory. They did what they could to convince believers in the Lord Jesus Christ to continue this now-outdated rite. They, therefore, caused a lot of confusion among Christians. Not only is this a subject dealt with in Paul’s letter to the Galatian Christians, but also in Acts 15. But what did Paul mean in Galatians 5:12? It can be understood in at least two ways: 1) One view is that Paul meant he wished the ones who were causing the confusion among the Christians would cut themselves off from the fellowship of the believers, thereby helping to end he confusion. This is a legitimate interpretation of the verse. It is held by many Bible students, and is the one promoted in the DVD/video. 2) Another view is that Paul used a deliberately-exaggerated statement, called hyperbole, in which he said he wished the false teachers would not stop with circumcision, but would also emasculate themselves. This is the view of some translators of modern English Bible translators, and it is seen in their translations. Consider some examples: The 1984 edition of the NIV says, “As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!” The ESV says, “I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves.” The updated edition of the New American Standard Bible says, “I wish that those who were troubling you would even mutilate themselves.” The Holman Christian Standard Bible says, “I wish those who are disturbing you might also get themselves castrated.”
Now, the point to understand is that the speaker in the DVD/video condemns such translations because he mistakenly insists Galatians 5:12 must be understood literally. And he, therefore, thinks the translations just quoted are teaching self-mutilation of one kind or another, which, we agree, is not taught in the Bible. So, what does the Greek word translated “cut off” in the KJV mean? Strongest Strong’s Concordance says it means, “to cut off; emasculate.” That is what it says: “to cut off; emasculate.” The Greek word is used six times in the New Testament, and it is always translated as “cut off” in the King James Version. However, we need to understand that the words “cut off” are sometimes to be understood figuratively, as in Galatians 5:12 and other verses in the KJV, and sometimes literally, as we shall learn from examples found in the KJV. We find a figurative use of these words in Mark 9:43, in which Jesus said, “And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off.” In verse 45 he said, “And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off.” Very few persons think the Lord meant these statements to be taken literally. Therefore, since these are hyperbolic statements by the Lord himself, it is legitimate to believe Galatians 5:12, even in the KJV, is a hyperbolic statement about self-mutilation. And that is why the translations quoted above word verse 12 the way they do. We do not know for sure how the KJV’s translators themselves understood their wording of Galatians 5:12. Did they think it means to cut oneself off from Christian fellowship? Or did they think it has a figurative meaning? Since we do not know the answers to these questions, we should be careful to not force our interpretation into their words, and we should be careful in how we evaluate other translations.
Now, let’s consider some verses in which the words “cut off” are to be taken literally. John 18:10 tells us that Peter took a sword and “cut off” the right ear of the high priest’s servant. John 18:26 refers to the man whose ear Peter had “cut off.” In Acts 27:32 we read, “Then the soldiers cut off the ropes of the boat, and let her fall off.” The contexts of all these statements help us to decide when the words “cut off” are to be taken literally or figuratively. We should not, therefore, read a literal interpretation into verses which could be understood figuratively, and then condemn translations that don’t fit into our notion of how the verses are to be understood.
Here is how Galatians 5:12 is worded in the Wycliffe Bible, which preceded the King James Version: “I would that they were cut away, that disturb you. [I would that they that distrouble you, be also cut off.] (I wish that those who disturb you, or who trouble you, wanting you to be circumcised just like they be, would cut it all off!)” This quote is from the Bible Hub website.
If the producers of the DVD/video and its speakers had looked more carefully into how to interpret Galatians 5:12, it would have helped them to see that it can be understood in at least two ways. And it would also have helped them to avoid their mistaken conclusion about the meaning of 1Corinthians 9:27 as it is worded in some other translations. The KJV words the verse this way: “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” But the 1984 edition of the NIV words it this way: “No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” The speaker on the DVD/video takes the NIV wording literally and claims it is promoting Roman Catholic theology of self-abuse. But the NIV wording is not to be taken literally any more than the KJV wording of Mark 9:43 and 45, discussed above. What does the Greek word translated “keep under” in the KJV mean? Strongest Strong’s Concordance says it means, “to wear out, weaken; to beat up, treat roughly.” Here is how the Geneva Bible, which preceded the KJV, words the verse: ” But I beat down my body, and bring it into subjection, lest by any means after that I have preached to others, I myself should be reproved.” The Geneva Bible no more promotes Roman Catholicism than does the NIV. In both translations, hyperbolic language is used. Here is how the Wycliffe Bible, which preceded the KJV, words the verse: “but I chastise my body, and bring it into servage, (or into servitude, or into slavery); lest peradventure when I preach to others, I myself be made reprovable.” What is true of the Geneva Bible is true of the Wycliffe Bible. And what is true of those translations is true of the NIV’s wording of this verse. Not one of them supports Roman Catholic theology.
Fault number 5: the DVD/video says the Bible does not say that Joseph was the father of Jesus, either literally or otherwise. Those who are familiar with the Biblical accounts of the earthly life of the Lord Jesus Christ will be puzzled that the DVD/video makes this claim about Joseph’s relationship to Jesus. This puzzlement is due to what we read in Luke 2:42 – 50, the key verse being verse 48. Here are verses 41 – 52 from the King James Version. They were taken from this website: http://www.biblegateway.com.
“Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover.42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.43 And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.44 But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance.45 And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.47 And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.48 And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?50 And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.”