Last Updated on : November 23, 2014

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The Revised Version of the Bible



There is an article in this month's issue (June 1881) on the recently released 'Revised Version of the New Testament'. Considerable discussion concerning it took place in the brotherhood. Bro. Roberts states in his comments:

"The New Testament is altered, but in substance remains the same. Some of the alterations are improvements and some are not. It is scarcely to be expected that a company of Revisers, meeting under the auspices and mainly composed of the pillars of an Episcopalian State establishment, would make a translation of the New Testament all that it might be made in the hand of those understanding the truth which it embodies.

"... Taking the revision as a whole, it will not be pronounced a splendid success by any large class. It is, of course, in many points an improvement upon King James' version, and will doubtless be a useful aid to scriptural study: but there will be a feeling that where it has made one improvement, it has made ten alterations that are for the worse."

Bro. Robert Roberts, The Christadelphian, June 1881

Taken from the July 1981 Berean Commentary, page 250

The Revised Version. (The Christadelphian, Nov. 1898)

The RV is an improvement on the AV in many points and particulars. With regard to these, it may be profitably used collaterally with the AV for purposes of reference. But as a whole it is objectionable on two grounds:

1. It makes hundreds of verbal variations where there is no change of meaning, and no occasion for change, and no advantage in the change.

2. Wherever, in the elasticities of the Hebrew and Greek idioms, there is a possibility of diverting a sentence from a divine purport, the translators show the bias of the "Higher Critics" by invariably availing themselves of it, though the rendering of the AV may be equally sustainable. If there is a legitimate choice from a grammatical point of view, the Revisers make the wrong choice -- because they were hostile and not friendly to the divine claims of the Bible.

The AV requires emendations on a few points, but the RV introduces so many needless, and some hurtful, emendations as to eclipse its excellence on the points that are good.

Comment by Bro. Rene Growcott on the Nov. 1898 quote above :

"The first point is a nuisance point, like fiddling with words in the hymn Book in reprints, to cater to someone's limited perceptions. But the second point is serious; and it is increasingly true of subsequent 'translations' (actually paraphrases). Few, if any, modern translators understand that the Bible is the infallible, wholly-inspired Word of God. This makes them incompetent as translators, regardless of other qualifications. They have no reverence or respect for the Word. The AV translators were very competent scholars, and they understood that they were dealing with the divine Word of God. The modern flood of weird and varying 'translations' is the flesh's way of undermining the Word by confusion and obfuscation, to accomplish what it has never been able to do by open and direct assault. Multiply enough unsound 'versions', and the casual reader is totally lost as to what is Scripture and what is not."

Berean Commentary, Oct. 1980, page 337