HOW RELIGIOUS DOCTRINE AFFECTED OUR TRANSLATIONS OF THE BIBLE
By Keith Roland
The Authorized King James Version is an English translation of the Christian Bible begun in 1604 and first published in 1611 by the Church of England. The Great Bible was the first “authorized version” issued by the Church of England in the reign of King Henry VIII. In January 1604, King James I of England convened the Hampton Court Conference where a new English version was conceived in response to the perceived problems of the earlier translations as detected by the Puritans. The Puritans were a faction within the Church of England.
The king gave the translators instructions designed to guarantee that the new version would conform to the ecclesiology and reflect the episcopal structure of the Church of England and its beliefs about an ordained clergy. The translation was by 47 scholars, all of whom were members of the Church of England. In common with most other translations of the period, the New Testament was translated from the Textus Receptus (Received Text) series of the Greek texts. The Old Testament was translated from the Masoretic Hebrew text, while the Apocrypha were translated from the Greek Septuagint (LXX), except for 2 Esdras, which was translated from the Latin Vulgate. Thus, the Authorized Version included the Apocrypha. (from Wikipedia)
One of the most well known errors of the KJV was in not translating the Greek word baptizo. Instead, it was made into an new English word, baptize. The reason is very clear. The Church of England believed in sprinkling and pouring, and not immersion, which is the accurate translation of the word.
baptizo (bap-tid’-zo); from a derivative of NT:911; to immerse, submerge; to make overwhelmed (i.e. fully wet); used only (in the N. T.) of ceremonial ablution, especially (technically) of the ordinance of Christian baptism:
Another wrongly translated word is Easter, found in:
Acts 12:4 KJV
4 And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.
Here is the actual word in the original.
pascha (pas’-khah); of Aramaic origin [compare OT:6453]; the Passover (the meal, the day, the festival or the special sacrifices connected with it):
Every other place, it is correctly translated; Passover.
Matt 24:1-3 KJV
1 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. 2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
Here is the original, and it means age.
aion (ahee-ohn’); from the same as NT:104; properly, an age; by extension, perpetuity (also past); by implication, the world; specially (Jewish) a Messianic period (present or future):
By mistranslating age to world, most people have misunderstood Matt. 24 to be about the end of the world instead of the end of the Jewish age, which occurred at the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.
Let’s look at some other places it is mistranslated:
Matt 13:39-40 KJV
39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.
Matt 13:49 KJV
49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,
Again, if it had been translated age, we would know that the judgment came on that age, not the end of the world.
Acts 3:21 KJV
21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.
The prophets spoke during the Jewish age. Dan 9:24 tells us when prophecy will end—at the end of the Jewish age.
Dan 9:24 KJV
24 “Seventy weeks are determined
For your people and for your holy city,
To finish the transgression,
To make an end of sins,
To make reconciliation for iniquity,
To bring in everlasting righteousness,
To seal up vision and prophecy,
And to anoint the Most Holy.
Rom 12:2 KJV
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Judaizing teachers tried to make the Gentiles keep the law of Moses, and Paul is telling them not to conform to the Jewish age.
1 Cor 10:11 KJV
11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
The end of the world did not come upon them, but the end of the age did.
Gal 1:4 KJV
4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:
Eph 3:21 KJV
21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
I wonder how those who believe the “end of the world” in Matt 24 deal with the thought of “world without end”?
However, the “age” that is the christian age is without end.
2 Tim 4:10 KJV
10 For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.
Demas went back to the law of Moses.
Heb 1:2 KJV
2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds
Obviously, there are not more than one world, but there were more than one age.
Heb 9:26 KJV
26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
Jesus put away sin at the end of the age. Notice the time statement; now.
Heb 11:3 KJV
3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
How many worlds are there?
erets (eh’-rets); from an unused root probably meaning to be firm; the earth (at large, or partitively a land):
Isa 24:1-6 KJV
1 Behold, the LORD maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof. 2 And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him.3 The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled: for the LORD hath spoken this word.4 The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish.5 The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.6 Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.
This is talking about God’s punishment of Tyre in Chapter 23, not the “earth”, but the land. In vs. 3, it is translated correctly.
In Jeremiah 6, it is also correctly translated, land.
Jer 6:12-13 KJV
12 And their houses shall be turned unto others, with their fields and wives together: for I will stretch out my hand upon the inhabitants of the land, saith the LORD
Jer 6:19 KJV
19 Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it.
Here it is mistranslated, but it is easy to know it is talking about the land of Israel by reading vs. 6:
Jer 6:6 KJV
6 For thus hath the LORD of hosts said, Hew ye down trees, and cast a mount against Jerusalem: this is the city to be visited; she is wholly oppression in the midst of her. 7 As a fountain casteth out her waters, so she casteth out her wickedness: violence and spoil is heard in her; before me continually is grief and wounds.
Jer 25:33-38 KJV
3 “And at that day the slain of the LORD shall be from one end of the earth even to the other end of the earth. They shall not be lamented, or gathered, or buried; they shall become refuse on the ground.
34 “Wail, shepherds, and cry!
Roll about in the ashes,
You leaders of the flock!
For the days of your slaughter and your dispersions are fulfilled;
You shall fall like a precious vessel.
35 And the shepherds will have no way to flee,
Nor the leaders of the flock to escape.
36 A voice of the cry of the shepherds,
And a wailing of the leaders to the flock will be heard.
For the LORD has plundered their pasture,
37 And the peaceful dwellings are cut down
Because of the fierce anger of the LORD.
38 He has left His lair like the lion;
For their land is desolate
Because of the fierceness of the Oppressor,
And because of His fierce anger.”
In the same reading, it is mistranslated earth, but then later correctly translated land.
In the New Testament, the Greek word means the same.
ge (ghay); contracted from a primary word; soil; by extension a region, or the solid part or the whole of the terrene globe (including the occupants in each application):
Matt 23:31-36 KJV
Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. 32 Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. 33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?34 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.
Shed on the land!
Matt 24:30-34 KJV
29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
What tribes were in the land? The tribes of Israel. What generation would see this? The one he was talking to.
2 Peter 3:10-12 KJV
10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
We will look at this verse in great detail. Both the words elements and earth are mistranslated.
stoicheion (stoy-khi’-on); neuter of a presumed derivative of the base of NT:4748; something orderly in arrangement, i.e. (by implication) a serial (basal, fundamental, initial) constituent (literally), proposition (figuratively):
This word is used 7 times in NT, and it never refers to anything physical!
Gal 4: 3 KJV
Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world.
Col 2:8 KJV
8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ
Col 2:20 KJV
20 Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations —
Heb 5:12 KJV
or though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.
Every time the word is used in the NT it refers to the old law! What if the translators had used land instead of earth, and principles instead of elements?
2 Peter 3:10-13 KJV
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the principles will melt with fervent heat; both the land and the works that are in it will be burned up. 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the principles will melt with fervent heat?
Now we are going to look at a word that often was not translated at all. The Greek mello means imminent, about to happen.
Matt 3:7-12 KJV
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
mello (mel’-lo); a strengthened form of NT:3199 (through the idea of expectation); to attend, i.e. be about to be, do, or suffer something (of persons or things, especially events; in the sense of purpose, duty, necessity, probability, possibility, or hesitation):
KJV – about, after that, be (almost), (that which is, things, which was for) to come, intend, was to (be), mean, mind, be at the point, (be) ready, return, shall (begin), (which, that) should (after, afterwards, hereafter) tarry, which was for, will, would, be yet.
(Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.)
Matt 16:27-28 KJV
27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.
Mello is translated shall instead of about to.
Matt 17:22 KJV
22 And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men:
Same mistake! But here we have no problem understanding it.
Mark 13:2-4 KJV
2 And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, 4 Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?
Acts 20:3 KJV
3 And there abode three months. And when the Jews laid wait for him, as he was about to sail into Syria, he purposed to return through Macedonia.
They got it right here!
Acts 24:15 KJV
15 And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.
Acts 24:25 KJV
25 And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee
How different we would have understood these 2 verses if they had translated about to?
Eph 1:21 KJV
21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
Here they missed age instead of world and about to come.
2 Tim 4:1 KJV
4:1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
About to judge!
Heb 10:26-27 KJV
26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
About to devour!
Rev 1:19 KJV
19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;
Again, about to be.
Our understanding of the book of Revelation, our understanding of Jesus’ second coming and judgment would have been easier if they had correctly translated mello.