A Voice in the
Wilderness

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December 11, 1998

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Q/A Topics:
WHAT BIBLE TRANSLATION TO CHOOSE?
(Answer Newly Revised: March, 2003) (updates: January, 2006)

QUESTION:
Please tell me, if you were to purchase a Bible today, that would be the closest translation to the truth, which would it be? I want to know God's word and not mans ideas...thank you for your help.

QUESTION:
What do you feel are the best English translations of scripture, and why?


VW ANSWER:
Since the VW-Edition is now available it, of course, is 'most' recommended. You can read a description of it in "About This Edition"; and it is 'freely' Downloadable as modules for Online Bible, e-Sword, Bible+ (palm), Olive tree (pda), PDF; and for 2006 is now also in print.

In considering English translations of the Bible, one must understand that any 'recommended' version -MUST- come from the correct set of Antiochal manuscripts. Any of those coming from the perVersions of Alexandria, where the rebellious Jews of Jeremiah's time went to live, in disobedience of God's command to "stay" in the land as 'remnants' after the Babylonian captivity, as they retorted to Jeremiah that they also -WOULD- continue their idolatrous worship of the Queen of Heaven (Jeremiah 44), -MUST- be rejected. Yes, God's Word was delivered into the hands of the Jews for safekeeping. (Rom3:1-2) But we must remain true to those who were faithful to Jesus Christ where they were first called "Christians in Antioch". (Ac11:26) Just as the Jews who went to Egypt engaged in idolatry and rebellion, they also perverted the Scriptures by changing little things here and there. And while most of today's modern translations coming from the Alexandrian texts boast how they are "older" manuscripts (thus academically presumed to be 'closer' to the 'source'), they nevertheless also come from those who were in gross rebellion against God. The ones coming from Alexandria are ones like ASB, NASB, NIV, RSV, Amplified, etc. In addition, the "apocryphal" books are also sourced out of Alexandria.

Until the VW-Edition came about, there were essentially four reliable Antioch-based versions: KJV, NKJV, MKJV, LITV. (Perhaps also: KJ21 & YLT?)

KJV: -was very good for its day. Has been the "standard" for 4 centuries. But its English is "old" and many words are not understood by most modern English-speaking people. And in many cases, some words have changed meaning...some, even, meaning the "opposite" of what they did 400 years ago. So, anybody reading it is not only reading a "translation" but in turn must "translate-as-he-reads" into current English. But if you understand old English, it is likely, of the four, the most 'accurate' to the manuscripts.

NKJV: -for something in modern English, NKJV is better in many things than KJV. (KJV-only crowd will disagree with this, be that as it may.) When compared, honestly, against "proof text" lists of references the KJV-only crowd publishes to denounce anything that doesn't agree with the KJV, even when using AV/KJV-based study tools and lexicons, NKJV typically is more "accurate" to the originals than KJV is, with regard to the issues on those lists.

No, I'm not too crazy about the "triquetra" symbol TN chose to use, because of the connotation of its use by many New Age, pagan and occult entities. Not sure yet as to the "truth" of its origin, as both sides of the debate embellish their causes to persuade people to believe their side of the issue. I have noticed that the occult and satanists use it with the circumscribed circle, not alone; much as the "celtic cross" has its mother earth "spirit" circle around the cross. I suspect the "circle" makes a difference in how the symbol is used? But then too, many KJVs are published with variations of the pagan symbols of the 'cross', also used by many satanists; where God commanded -NOT- to have any "likenesses". (Ex20:4) And many people object to the marginal reference notes for suggested Westcott/Hort-based word alternatives. But when the "BODY TEXT" itself is considered, if you have a NKJV, don't necessarily throw it out.

For more on the NKJV please check out: NKJV: a Brief Discussion

MKJV & LITV: -Green's LITV and MKJV are no longer endorsed by VW. For a time, both were posted at this website for online reading, and I had been solicited by them to help coordinate proofreading efforts, and also did the physical updates from JaySr's notes to the text files that became the 2001 printed edition. But their past business practices regarding people's orders (i.e. falsely promised delivery dates, other dishonesties, etc) and the translations, themselves, have turned out to be a bit rather less-than 'as advertised'.

    (2006: I have no knowledge one way or the other of their latest mutation of the LITV into the "KJ3")
    (May,2007: I've just been informed, and googled to verify it, that Sovereign Grace Publishers/Christian Literature World websites are no longer online, the online postings of MKJV and LITV no longer exist, and that their office phone numbers have been disconnected. This, from a person who had paid for a new KJ3 several years ago, and has never received it. So apparently, they are out of business?)
    (October,2007: New information. SGP is back, but not doing much due to lack of funds. [click] to read Jay Jr's confessions and explanation.)

    (August,2008: the KJ3 is still not in print. They are still trying to get organized financially. But now the explanation has come out as to why the LITV is being called "KJ3". For "marketing" reasons. The "literal" translation is being called a "KJ" because translations with "KJ" in their title -sell- better! This, from Jay Jr, himself. Also, JaySr has met his Maker as of May 20, 2008. What the future of SGP may be, seems a bit shaky right now. Who/what will emerge to lead it, once the battles between those who wish to please the Lord and those who are tugging against it are finished? A struggle that often happens when a long-time founder passes on. Conflicting forces struggle to fill the void: some with good intentions, and others sinister.)
As the VW-Edition was compiled, I've had a chance to see the LITV at the word-for-word comparative level. While there are many good corrections, there are also many places where the words chosen are, simply, 'wrong'. Mr.Green purports to present "what God said", but in many places the LITV does NOT! Furthermore, there are little inexplicable places throughout, where complete phrases and/or sentences are missing. So... rather than give them 'coverage' by even spending more time explaining their faults, I'm going to leave them thus. However, if you already own one of them, don't throw them out... many things about them surpass both the KJV and NKJV.

Conclusion: - As the VW-Edition is now complete, of course, it is recommended.

However, the process of compiling the VW-Edition has somewhat shifted the 'weight' as to how I would recommend the others (KJV vs NKJV), compared to previous postings you may have read here in this Q/A answer; having now gone through them word-by-word.

Of all the English translations (in print) today, that I know of, I am leaning back towards the KJV. For the day in which it was written, for its day, it was MUCH more accurate to the texts, than the NKJV is today. But in order for it to be 'accurate', the reader must 'understand' the ancient English as one reads. And therein is the dilemma. When the modern reader does not fully understand the ancient language, his 'understanding' can end up being less accurate than from reading the NKJV, even though the NKJV, itself, is less accurate than the KJV. And actually, even though in the catagory as a "perversion" (mainly because of the N.T.), the NASB (1971) is likely more accurate (overall) in the O.T. than the NKJV is.

While the NKJV comes from the correct texts, the scholars have added a lot of their own 'flavor' to the words to give it a more "liturgical" feel. e.g. speaking of "lay people". (2Chr35:5,7,etc) The word "lay" is not in the texts, but the NKJV scholars added it. It has Nazirites and others "taking" vows (Nu6:2,21, Ac18:18, 21:23) with a similarly flavored terminology that monks "take" vows of celibacy, silence, etc.; instead of the O.T. vow being a faith-promise to God to fulfill whatever the matter was, being promised. The priests in their duties are spoken of "meeting the needs" (Num3:38) of the people, or "attending to the needs" (Num8:26, 18:3,etc) of fellow-priests, where the actual ordinances have to do with keeping the "charge" of Jehovah in ministry to Jehovah, regarding the tabernacle and offerings. Sacrifice was not for man, but unto God. They were keeping the "charge of Jehovah". (Lev8:35, Nu18:8, 31:30, etc)

The NKJV also contributes to the ability of many to accept "replacement" theology by changing "seed" to "descendants". (Gen12:7, etc) Thus the nations can try to negotiate away God's land to others. But God covenanted with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob's "seed", and sealed the covenant by the instrument of seed... circumcision.

And there are many/countless other similar touches; subtle shadings of word choices that give the NKJV more of a liturgical and 'feel-good' (social-gospel) feel, making it more man-centered, full of 'ritual', instead of the heart being focused properly on God, than is the case with other works. (And actually, the KJV has a few less-noticable places like this, too; and as such, the MKJV/LITV actually tend to be less 'liturgical' than either the KJV or NKJV)

In addition to the above-mentioned "many-touches", another thing about the NKJV glares out at me, as I've been compiling the VW-edition: If you read through the KJV in the Gospels or Revelation (particularly) you will notice how the text says "And", verse-after-verse. In some places it almost seems that 'every' verse begins with the word "And". The NKJV scholars apparently didn't like that, as they changed many of those "And"s to either "Then" or "Now". If you think about the difference in meaning between "and" and "then", you will understand how the word "then" adds a sort of 'time-table' dimension to the narrative. One thing happens, and "then" (after that) this other thing happens.

Many things in the Gospels are -not- 'sequential', but NKJV's use of "then" makes it seem that they are. While the book of Revelation does contain some sequential elements, most of it is -NOT-. Inserting "then" all over the place adds credence to all those prophetic false doctrines that exist where people treat Revelation like one huge "time-line". And in the Gospels, when the word "Now" is used, it creates a false sense of the narrative following the word "now" as being somehow totally 'disjointed' from the rest of the narrative. With the correct word "And" used, one understands that the narrative is a "collection" of events and teachings; possibly 'in-order', but also, not-necessarily so. When "And" is correctly used in Revelation, the reader can more-correctly understand that the book contains many "pieces" of the prophetic "puzzle", as if laid out on the 'table', but not necessarily all put into place to create the entire -assembled- 'picture'. [This is something I've not seen addressed by the KJV-onlyists when they denounce the NKJV.]

Thus, with the (above) non-endorsement of the MKJV/LITV, and all these -little- "flavor" issues of the NKJV, I am now finding myself lumping the NKJV, MKJV and LITV together as not-recommended. Where the NKJV might be more accurate than the MKJV/LITV in those 'bigger' words where MKJV/LITV are "wrong", and the MKJV/LITV might have more of the 'little' words right than the NKJV; how does one balance one kind of error against another? However, if you already have one (or all) of them, don't necessarily throw them out, either. For all their faults, they do at least have their basis in Antioch.

Thus, the KJV is most accurate of the four; but not for the reasons the KJV-onlyists say. In all those KJV-onlyist 'lists' of their supposed 'proof-texts' you see posted all over at the various "1611" websites, the NKJV is, indeed, more accurate than the KJV. But as it is becoming apparent, those KJV-onlyist 'lists' are but a minor insignificance compared to the whole. The "gnats" they strain out are actually 'good' gnats, whereas they have missed the entire "camel" (Mt23:24) of the MULTITUDE of -MANY- 'little' things.

However, while it turns out that the KJV is best-of-the-four, it, too, has problems... which is why the VW-Edition was necessary...

which is all explained in the VW-Edition: "About This Edition" link.

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VW's purpose:

Letter:
I am writing a book on the Internet, and I would like to include your web site as an example of a great site to see... I would like to include a paragraph that best lets readers know what they can find at your web site... if you would like to write it yourself...a paragraph about your site and I will include it...

[Ed.]
Here's an excerpt of my reply to this person...

There are several purposes for VW's existence.

  1. to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the unregenerate who have never heard.
  2. to present the Gospel to the "church" who THINK they are saved, but are not.
  3. to provide Scriptural nourishment to Believers so that they might
    • grow in the Faith, and
    • to warn them of false teaching and false prophets.
  4. for people to understand that the return of the Lord is "imminent"
    • to receive His Believers to Himself, and
    • to judge the world for its wickedness and rebellion against Him.

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VW or Scripture?

Q.
So, if I read you rigth, I should not read anything you send but only read the Bible. OR Are you saying that I should check everything as the Berean people did. You did not make that point clear.

[Ed.] This one has been in the "folder" awhile, I must admit, I don't rightly remember which article this is in response to. But....

A.
This "question" answers itself. On one hand Jesus promised the Holy Spirit Who would be the "Teacher" into all Truth. (Jn16:13) As such, a Believer does not "need" another human teaching them. The "anointing" of the Holy Spirit (1Jn2:27) provides this. But on the other hand, God set things up such that there are "shepherds" (Jer23:4) to be "teaching pastors." (Eph4:11)

While a teacher is responsible for "what" he teaches and the "blood" of those who hear is on him (Ez33:8-9,Heb13:17), a person's own guilt is his own. One who rejects God's Word will "die in his [own] iniquity" (Ez33:9) When a person stands before God in judgment (which we all do -Rom14:10b), we will not have the option of pointing the finger at someone else's failings. We each give account before God, individually. (Rom14:12)

While VW website is subtitled "an Oasis of Biblical Truth" it is the responsibility of each one of you to know the Scriptures for yourself. When reading an article, look up the Scripture references. See if what is said lines up with Scripture. Hide God's Word in your heart/s...your "own" heart. (Ps119:11) The "Bible [IS] our Sole Authority."

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Witnessing on the job: "Christian Duty to Speak Up" (Morsels)

Comment:
WOW! Words I needed very badly to hear today. I know OUR GOD is amazing but this is really amazing to me. I started a job...and was told I could speak of Jesus. That was the start of the persecution and gave notice...of my intent to quit....Never did I beat anyone over the head - always done in Love and yet I was told I was too heavenly minded to be any earthly good, etc.

[Ed.] excerpted

A.
Just one little thought about "evangelism" in the work place. And what I suggest may not apply at all to the situation you speak of. However...when we work for an employer, they do not hire us to witness and preach. They have work which they need us to do for them... producing goods and/or services. Sometimes in such a setting it is more appropriate to "quietly" show Christ in our lives. Peter wrote of such in 1Pet3:1 about Believing wives winning their unregenerate husbands "without a word." That verse following on the heels of 2:18-25 about "servants" ...and Peter says about the wives "likewise, wives..."

Again...I don't know the circumstances. But just thought I'd throw along this "two cents" worth. -smile-

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Christ's Return when we're in the midst of Revival?

Comment:
I love your page and thank God for it, however I do not like to see anyone set any kind of dates as to the second coming of christ, even the y2k buffs.

Luke 19:10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

If this verse stands on its own then why would Christ return now when the world is in a revival thousands are being saved every day all over the world. Why would Christ return now in the middle of this turn to Him by so many?

A.
Trouble is...there are **NOT** "thousands..being saved every day." The so-called "revival" is *NOT* It does not exist...period! It's a big scam by God's enemies, made to "look like" something "Christian."

Comment:
Luke 18:8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

It seems to me that it will look very bleak for believers when the Lord returns maybe even as though there were none.

A.
This last comment states pretty clearly where things "actually" are now. To True Believers, that's exactly what it looks like, that "there were none" hardly. So, you see...the time is closer than many realize... They don't realize that these "revivals" are false. They are not looking for "His appearing." (Tit2:13)

"..the lord of that servant will come in a day when he does not expect, and at an hour when he does not know. And he will cut him apart, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. (Lk12:46)

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