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Examples of KJV verses which could be better translated

The Bible only perfect in English?

I certainly couldnt be a ”KJV-onlyist” because I prefer to read the Bible in my own tongue which is Swedish.

If the KJV was ”perfect” then you would never have to go back to the Greek/Hebrew/Aramaic at any time for references and to get a more clear view, because the KJV is supposed to stand on its own legs and fully able to solve all queries. Nevertheless also KJV-onlyists sometimes go back to the Greek when they want to see the more ”original” meaning of a passage, and this is evidence in itself that KJV is inferior to the original languages and and not ”perfect”. Sometimes it’s hard also for native English speakers to understand some of the words in the King James Bible. They may have to look up the meaning of words and some words have changed meanings over the years. If the KJV was ”perfect”, the language used should always be up to date, but this is an impossible demand for any Bible translation.

Some suggest that people who don’t have English as their native tongue could still use their own Bible version of ”Textus Receptus”, and be a ”onlyist” when it comes to this particular version, but not all languages have this type of translation. Since the year 2003, there is a Swedish translation (”Reformationsbibeln”) rather close to the ”KJV” because Textus Receptus is used as a source (or the main source), but only the New Testament is translated. Besides, I’ve seen examples of errors in this translation, like adding question marks where there are none in the original Greek. Neither can we conclude that ”the very first Bible translation” from the original language to another language is the superior one for that language. This simply isn’t always the case.

Why would God select the King James Bible of all versions to be supernaturally preserved? Because he likes English speakers the best? If KJV was superior over all other versions, then all those who are not English native speakers would have to sit down by the feet of those who are, to learn the ”real” truth. As soon as there is a difference of opinions concerning a Bible passage, then the person who is a native English speaker could claim to be more accurate since he is basing his understanding on the KJV.

There are many examples of where a particular expression can be better captured in Spanish, Swedish, or some other language, rather than in English. (In other cases it might be the other way around.) It makes better sense if it’s the original Greek, Hebrew and Arameic which should correct us and not a secondary translation. As soon as you translate a sentence from one language to another, there is always a risk that the perfect nuance of the original language gets lost.

Anyway, here are some examples where KJV has an inferior translation than other versions in English. (Note, that I still feel the KJV is the best translation overall in English.)

Titus 2:13 Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus;
The New American Standard Bible 

Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;  
The King James Version 

In the NASB ”our great God and Savior” refers to one person, Jesus Christ Himself. This makes the deity of Christ clear, by calling Him ”our great God.” The KJV opens up for the possibility that ”the great God” and ”our Saviour Jesus Christ” may refer to two distinct persons.

Romans 9:5 
Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised!
The New International Version 

Romans 9:5 
Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever.
The King James Version 

Whereas the NIV proclaims that Christ ”is God over all,” the KJV avoids this claim to Christ’s deity, stating only that Christ is ”over all.”

John 5:18 
For this cause therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.
The New American Standard Bible

John 5:18 
Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God. 
The King James Version

The deity of Christ is better shown in the NASB, because only Jesus had a completely unique relationship with God, where God is His ”own” Father. God was no one else’s Father in this unique way. If we all had God as our Father in this unique way, then we would also be making ourselves equal to God.

Matthew 26:63-64 
But Jesus remained silent.  The high priest said to him, ”I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.”  64 ”Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied.
The New International Version 

Matthew 26:63-64 
But Jesus held his peace.  And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.  64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said.
The King James Version

The NIV makes it clear that Jesus’ response to the high priest, literally ”you say,” is a Greek idiom meaning ”yes, it is as you say,” (i.e. ”what you have said is true”).  Therefore, Jesus’ response is an indication of that He claimed to be the Christ, the Son of God. The KJV, fails to translate this idiom into its full meaning for modern readers, and consequently leaves doubt as to whether Jesus actually claimed to be the Son of God.

Revelation 1:8 
”I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God . . .
The New American Standard Bible

Revelation 1:8 
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord . . .
The King James Version

The KJV omits the word ”God” (Greek theos), supplying instead only the word ”Lord,” which by itself does not necessarily denote deity.

Hebrews 1:3 
And He [Jesus] is the radiance of His [God’s] glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power.  When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high;
The New American Standard Bible

Hebrews 1:3 
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;  
The King James Version

The NASB makes it clear that the nature of Jesus is precisely identical to the nature of God Himself (”the exact representation of His nature”). The KJV diminishes this expression to merely the ”image” of God.  Given that all human beings are said elsewhere to be made in the image of God (Genesis 2), it becomes difficult to establish from the KJV rendering of this passage anything more than the humanity of Jesus.

Another evidence that the KJV is not ”perfect” is the below verse.

Hebr. 6:4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. 

The word IF is not in the Greek in verse 6!

Yet, this word is what many theologians base their understanding of when it comes to this verse. Consider what Adam Clarke wrote about this and the aorist tense:

”And having fallen away” I can express my own mind on this translation nearly in the words of Dr. Macknight: ‘The participles who were enlightened, have tasted, and were made partakers, being aorists, are properly rendered by our translators in the past time; wherefore parapesontas, being an aorist, ought likewise to have been translated in the past time, ”HAVE fallen away”. Never­theless, our translators, following Beza, who with­out any authority from ancient MSS. has inserted in his version the word ”if” have rendered this clause, IF they fall away, that this text might not appear to contradict the doctrine of the perse­verance of the saints. But as no translator should take upon him to add to or alter the Scriptures, for the sake of any favourite doctrine, I have trans­lated parapesontas in the past time, ”have fallen away” according to the true import of the word, as standing in connection with the other aorists in the preceding verses.

(Theodore Beza is John Calvin’s successor.) Young’s literal translation reads:

”And having fallen away, again to renew them to reformation, having crucified again to themselves the Son of God, and exposed to public shame” (v. 6).

More articles concerning errors in the KJV can be read here and here. 

Christmas tree is not referred to in Jeremiah 10 in the Bible

JEREMIAH 10 AND THE “PAGAN” CHRISTMAS TREE?

A number or well-meaning readers of the “Origin and Meaning of the Christmas Tree” article have written me with questions or accusations based on Jeremiah 10. These readers state that Jeremiah 10 proves that the Christmas tree is a pagan custom and is forbidden by God. Therefore, they argue, all those who decorate a Christmas tree in their home are sinning in God’s sight. This is quite the serious charge.  Let us briefly examine Jeremiah 10 and the argument based upon it to see if there is any merit to this argument.

What exactly does Jeremiah 10 say? Below is Jeremiah 10:1-10:

This is what the LORD says: “Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the sky, though the nations are terrified by them. 3 For the customs of the peoples are worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel. 4 They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter. 5 Like a scarecrow in a melon patch, their idols cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot walk. Do not fear them; they can do no harm nor can they do any good.” 6 No one is like you, O LORD; you are great, and your name is mighty in power. 7 Who should not revere you, O King of the nations? This is your due. Among all the wise men of the nations and in all their kingdoms, there is no one like you. 8 They are all senseless and foolish; they are taught by worthless wooden idols. 9 Hammered silver is brought from Tarshish and gold from Uphaz. What the craftsman and goldsmith have made is then dressed in blue and purple– all made by skilled workers. 10 But the LORD is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal King. When he is angry, the earth trembles; the nations cannot endure his wrath.

The verses that the concerned readers repeatedly cite are 10:2-4: “Do not learn the ways of the nations . . . For the customs of the peoples are worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel. 4 They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter.” “Aha!” these readers say. “Jeremiah is talking about the Christmas tree!” But closer examination reveals that he certainly is not!

First, there is the immediate context of this passage. The very next verse, 10:5, goes on to say, “Like a scarecrow in a melon patch, their idols cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot walk. Do not fear them; they can do no harm nor can they do any good.” This passage and the passages that follow make it crystal clear that the “decorated tree” that Jeremiah was talking about in 10:3-4, was a tree that was cut down and made into an idol, a very common custom in the ancient world. 10:8-10 also confirms this, where the wooden idols are contrasted with the LORD, who is the true and living God. Keil and Delitsch, the well-respected Old Testament commentary, confirms this interpretation that the trees in question were idols that were then worshiped (C. F. Keil and F. Delitsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, “Jeremiah, Lamentations,” vol 8 (Grand Rapids: William B. Eeerdmans Publishing Company, 1980), 196-199).

Second, when we search the rest of the Old Testament, we find many other examples of trees being planted, cut down, or carved into idols. One of the most common examples of a tree idol was the Asherah, mentioned often in the Old Testament. Asherah was a pagan goddess that was worshiped throughout the Mediterranean world. She was considered to be the goddess of the sea, the consort of El, and the mother of Baal. She was always represented as a tree or pole, either planted or erected, then decorated. There are many warnings in the Old Testament about the Asherah tree. For example, in Exodus 34:12-14, we read, “Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going, or they will be a snare among you. 13 Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and cut down their Asherah poles. 14 Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” From a more thorough study we learn that the Asherah idol was sometimes planted (Deut. 16:21; Micah 5:14), sometimes erected at high places (1 Kings 14:23, 2 Kings 17:10), with altars and incense stands next to them where they would be worshiped (In Judges 6:25, Gideon is commanded by God to “Tear down your father’s altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it.” See also Isaiah 17:8 and Jeremiah 17:2). The Asherah, along with other man-made idols, were often decorated with various cloth hangings (2 Kings 23:7), as well as gold and silver.

Isaiah 44:14-19 gives a detailed picture of how a tree was cut down and fashioned into an idol – and the absurdity of it all.

He cut down cedars, or perhaps took a cypress or oak. He let it grow among the trees of the forest, or planted a pine, and the rain made it grow. 15 It is man’s fuel for burning; some of it he takes and warms himself, he kindles a fire and bakes bread. But he also fashions a god and worships it; he makes an idol and bows down to it. 16 Half of the wood he burns in the fire; over it he prepares his meal, he roasts his meat and eats his fill. He also warms himself and says, “Ah! I am warm; I see the fire.” 17 From the rest he makes a god, his idol; he bows down to it and worships. He prays to it and says, “Save me; you are my god.” 18 They know nothing, they understand nothing; their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see, and their minds closed so they cannot understand. 19 No one stops to think, no one has the knowledge or understanding to say, “Half of it I used for fuel; I even baked bread over its coals, I roasted meat and I ate. Shall I make a detestable thing from what is left? Shall I bow down to a block of wood?”

From the foregoing, it is abundantly clear that the “decorated tree” to which Jeremiah 10 refers is an idol, very likely the Asherah. Therefore, it is very superficial Bible interpretation and pure silliness to understand this passage as directly referring to the use of a fir tree for Christmas! If, and I repeat, if those who set up a Christmas tree fall down and worship it as a god or goddess, complete with altars and incense stands, then Jeremiah 10 applies here. Or if someone loves their Christmas tree more than God, then such a thing might also be considered spiritual idolatry. But apart from these exceptions, I think it is abundantly clear that Christians who erect Christmas trees are NOT worshiping them as gods or goddesses, nor are they loving them more than their Savior Jesus Christ. They are simply using the Christmas tree as a fun custom, one that can remind them of Jesus who is the branch of David (Jeremiah 23:5; 33:15), the root of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1). One that can remind them of the tree that led Adam and Eve to sin, but more importantly, the tree on which Christ Jesus died to make atonement for the sins of the whole world (Acts 5:30; Gal. 3:13; 1 Peter 2:24).

Christians should know that they can use a Christmas tree with a good conscience. It is unfortunate and wrong when well-meaning Christians call something sin that is not sin, and enslave the consciences of their fellow believers with imaginary sin! Shame on such Christians! Those who continue to believe that the Christmas tree is pagan and sinful, even after having their conscience correctly informed, should not use them. For it is not right to sin against conscience. This is regrettable, however, since there is absolutely nothing wrong with using a Christmas tree.

Thanks to Richard P. Bucher

through SANDRA HOOPER

We are no longer under the Law (torah) but we are still under the moral law

The Early Church had a controversy with a group called ”the Judaizers” who were teaching justification by works of the law.

And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, except ye be circumcised after themanner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. (Acts 15:1)

In other words, they taught that Gentiles need to obey the law (the Torah) and perform the works of the law (circumcision) in order to be justified. Since Paul’s ministry was to the Gentiles, he dedicated a large portion of his writings in Romans and Galatians, which were to Gentile Churches, to write against the Judaizers.

You will notice that Paul continually mentioned circumcision when discussing justification by works of the law in both Romans and Galatians.

Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Is he the God of the Jews only? (Those who had the Torah) Is he not also of the Gentiles? (Those who did not have the Torah) Yes, of the Gentiles also. Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and the uncircumcision through faith. (Rom. 3:28-30)

Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only or upon the uncircumcision also? For we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. How was it then reckoned? When he was in the circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. (Rom. 4:9-10)

Paul is arguing that Abraham was justified before circumcision, before the law of circumcision was given, and therefore the Gentiles too can be justified by faith without the work of the law of circumcision.

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. (Gal. 6:15)

For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. (Gal. 5:6)

Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God (1 Cor. 7:19).

Paul continually and repeated referred to circumcision when discussing justification ”by works of the law” and said that circumcision does not ”availeth anything” and is ”nothing” but what matters is ”a new creature” ”faith which worketh by love” and ”keeping of the commandments”.

It needs to be understood that Paul was not coming against the preaching of repentance in his epistles when he discussed justification by works of the law. In Galatia the Judaizers came and convinced the Gentile Church there that they needed to be circumcised in order to be saved. Paul wrote his epistle to the Galatians to correct this error of the Judaizers. It was not that the Galatians were repenting of their sins and Paul thought, ”I better put a stop to this”. Paul certainly would not have any problem with Gentiles repenting of their sins since his God given ministry was to bring the Gentiles to repentance (Acts 26:20). When Paul preached to the Gentiles in Athens, he told them that God was calling all of them to repent (Acts 17:30). Paul said that we needed to be circumcised, not in our flesh, but in our hearts (Rom. 2:28-29). The circumcision of the heart is putting off your sins (Col. 2:11). Paul bemoaned those Gentiles in Corinth who had not repented of their uncleanness and fornication (2 Cor. 12:21). Paul explicitly said that we should not continue in our sins (Rom. 6:1-2) but that we should awake to righteousness and stop sinning (1 Cor. 15:34). Paul even warned the Galatians that if they lived sinful lives, they would not inherit the kingdom of God (Gal. 5:19-21). It was the Apostle Paul who said ”after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath” (Rom. 2:5), and that ”repentance” leads ”to salvation” (2 Cor. 7:10). Clearly Paul would not have had any problems with Gentiles repenting of their sins. Rather, Paul was upset that the Gentile Church in Galatia started to believe falsehoods from the Judaizers about how to be saved.

A good example of how Gentiles find the forgiveness of sins is the story of Nineveh. The narrative records that the people believed God (Jonah 3:5) and turned from their sins (Jonah 3:8). When God saw this, He changed His plans and decided not to destroy them as He said He would (Jonah 3:10). These Gentiles did not need to adopt the Jewish customs, obey the Torah, or be circumcised in order to be pardoned. They were saved, or found the mercy of God, through simple repentance from sin and faith in God. Jesus even said that sinners will be condemned if they do not repent the way Nineveh did (Matt. 12:41). Therefore the way that Gentiles were saved through repentance and faith in the Old Testament is the same way that they are saved in the New Testament, according to Jesus. Repenting of sin is required in both the Old and New Testament as Jesus said and therefore repentance is not the works of the law Paul preached against.

We know that Jesus Christ taught repentance (Lk. 13:3) and Paul certainly would not have contradicted Jesus Christ since Paul was an Apostle of Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:1; Col. 1:1). Paul explicitly said that men ought to listen to the wholesome words of Jesus (1 Tim. 6:3). Paul was by no means attacking the preaching of repentance when he wrote against justification by works of the law. Paul was attacking the Judaizers and their false gospel that Gentiles must convert to Judaism, be circumcised, and obey the Torah.

Thanks to Jesse Morell

Jesus said ”I NEVER KNEW YOU” to workers of iniquity in Matt. 7:23

Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, YE THAT WORK INIQUITY. (Matt. 7:22-23)

Some understand this passage to mean that works do not have much to do with salvation because the people in the passage did many good deeds in the name of the Lord (prophesying, casting out demons and other wonders) and they still weren’t saved.  Some even suggest they weren’t saved because of an attitude where they thought works in general are needed for salvation instead of relying on ”faith alone”.  However, it wasn’t the good things they did, nor their attitude about works that prevented them from being true christians, but that they were evildoers (”you that work iniquity” = you who SIN) and didn’t have the right heart before God.

Notice that Jesus didn’t say ”Depart from me because I didn’t want you/I didn’t die for you/I didn’t choose you” but he asked them to depart from him because they were workers of iniquity. The whole section starts out with Jesus declaring that  God REQUIRES work from us! Not as in meriting or earning salvation but as a condition.:

Matt.7:21Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that DOETH THE WILL OF MY FATHER which is in heaven.

Who will get to heaven according to Jesus? Those who DO the will of the Father. Doing! (A horrible word for many.) Just believing that Jesus died for our sins is not enough to be saved – not even if you combine it with confessing it with your mouth and go to church on Sundays.  You must also make sure you are cleansed from your sins and that you DO THE WILL OF THE FATHER. The people spoken of practiced lawlessness according to another translation so ”work based salvation” was not the crime. Jesus did not have a negative attitude towards them because they added works to go with their faith but because they were SINNERS, and sins separate us from God. We can not have our sins and our salvation too, so obeying the commandments is important for our salvation. The moral law did not start with Moses but has always existed, and it’s always wrong to murder, lie and steal. Jesus said ”I never knew you” which indicates that they had been workers of lawlessness (iniquity) all along.  They were never considered either fake or true followers of Christ, but no followers of Christ at all. Compare also with

Matthew 25:12 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I KNOW YOU NOT.

This is an indication of that the bridegroom did know them at some point (like when they had oil in their lamps) but not at that particular point when it was time to go to the wedding. Also in Luke 13:27 we can read:

When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets.  But he shall say, I tell you, I KNOW YOU NOT whence ye are; depart from me, all ye WORKERS OF INIQUITY.

Jesus doesn’t say ”I never knew you” here either but ”I know you not”, and also here we can read that this is likely because they were ”workers of iniquity” – i.e. sinners..

Hebr. 12:14  Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord