|FROM THE NASV TO THE KJV|
The Testimony of a Man Who Helped Organize the New American
Standard Version Translation Project
Two questions were handed me tonight which if I could answer them would take care of almost all the other questions:
"Please tell us why we should use the Authorized Version and why the New American Standard is not a good version, and the background from which it came."
"What is your opinion of the 1881, 1901 and other variations of the Bible in relation to the Authorized Version?"
May I point out to you very specifically, not that you do not know but to stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance, we are in the end time. And this end time is characterized by a falling away, and of course that is apostasy. That is the meaning of the word: Falling away from truth. And when there is a falling away from truth, concurrently there is always confusion because they are sort of Siamese twins.
With confusion there is mental and heart disturbance, and people naturally come short of the high standard of the Lord. Everything we have or ever will have will be found here [in the Bible], as we have said so many times. All that God does for us, in us, with us, through us, to us must come by the way of this Word. It's the only material the Spirit of God uses to produce life and to promote it. Name it, and it has to be here.
So you can understand why the archenemy of God and man would want to do something to destroy this book. I ought to whisper to you, and this is no compliment to the devil, but he knows it can't be destroyed. He tried to destroy the Living Word. You don't see this depicted on Christmas cards, but the night Jesus Christ was born the devil was there in that stable with one third of the fallen angels whom he had dragged down, to devour the manchild as soon as He was born. Rev. 12:5. Now he couldn't do it. Just think. Satan was there when Jesus was born, with all of those cohorts, those fallen angels, for one purpose: to devour the manchild. He couldn't do it.
So failing to abort the Saviorhood of Jesus Christ both at the manger and at the cross--when he said come down from the cross, that is, before your work is finished come down--he is going to do what he knows is the next most effective thing, that is try to destroy the Written Word.
You understand, I am sure, there are places in this book where you can't differentiate between the Living Word and the Written Word. You know that. John 14:6--"I am the life." John 6:63--"My words are life." Different life? The same life. You can't differentiate because after all the Written Word is the breath, if you please, of God, and Jesus Christ is God made flesh or the Word that came to earth.
THE DEVIL'S ATTACK ON THE BIBLE
Nevertheless, getting back to this, the devil is too wise to try to destroy the Bible. He knows he can't. He can't destroy the Word of God. But he can do a lot of things to try to supplant it, or to corrupt it in the minds and hearts of God's people.
Now he can only do it in one of two ways: either by adding to the Scriptures or by subtracting from the Scriptures. And you mark it down in your little red book: He's too wise to add to because those who have been in the Word for a long time would say, "Wait a minute; this is not in the Bible." So he subtracts from it. The deletions are absolutely frightening.
For instance, there are in the revisions (1881 and 1901), so we are told 5337 deletions, subtractions if you please. And here is the way it is done. It is done so subtly that very few would discover it. For instance, in the New American standard we are told that 16 times the word "Christ" is gone. When you are reading through you perhaps wouldn't miss many of them. Some you might. And 10 or 12 times the word "Lord" is gone. For instance, if you were in a church when the pastor is speaking on the words of the Lord Jesus in his temptation, "Get thee behind me, Satan," if you have a New American Standard you wouldn't even find it. It's not even in there. And there are so many such deletions.
So this is done in order to get around it and further blind the minds and hearts of people, even though it may be done conscientiously. There isn't any worse kind of error than to have conscientious error. If you are conscientiously wrong it's a terrible situation to be in.
Nevertheless, when there is an omission that might be observed, they put in the margin, "Not in the oldest manuscripts." But they don't tell you what those oldest manuscripts are. What oldest manuscripts? Or they say, "Not in the best manuscripts." What are the best manuscripts? They don't tell you. You see how subtle that is? The average man sees a little note in the margin which says "not in the better manuscripts" and he takes for granted they are scholars and they must know, and then he goes on. That's how easily one can be deceived.
THE HISTORY OF THE CRITICAL GREEK TEXT
Let's go back to say 352 A.D., when Constantine, the Old Pagan Wolf, as he was called, was concerned because his kingdom was threatened with a schism. There were those who held to the Babylon doctrine of the mother and child coming up through history, and there were others who held to the Roman doctrine of mother and child. In order to cement his kingdom, he felt he ought to bring about a Bible that would satisfy both sides which were threatening to destroy his kingdom. So he called upon Eusibius. (There were two men of that period called by this name, but I am referring to Eusibius the historian.)
Who was Eusibius? He was a protege of Origin. And who was Origin? Origin was one who believed that Christ was a created being, like the Jehovah's Witnesses, therefore he's not divine. Now a man who studies under a teacher like that certainly would imbibe some of it. Nevertheless, Eusibius brought into being a Bible that would somehow or other not offend those who had the Babylonian doctrine or those who had the Roman doctrine of the mother and the child.
ROME IS THE CUSTODIAN OF THE CRITICAL TEXT
There are two copies of those Bibles in existence, A and B, the Codex Sinaiticus and the Codex Vaticanus. And where are they? They are in the custodial care of Rome. Now almost all of our revisions, of recent years in particular, come through that stream. And that necessitates this comment: There is the false and the true streams of manuscripts. And either our manuscripts come through the false stream, or they come through the approved stream of manuscripts.
When people speak of the oldest manuscripts, they usually mean the A and the B, the Codex Sinaiticus and the Codex Vaticanus. But nobody has seen [Vaticanus. It has] been under lock and key in Rome. And the only copies we have are the copies that Rome decided to give to the outside world, and I don't trust them one inch. Never, never, never! And I'll tell you why in just a moment.
None of our scholars today have seen Codex B [Vaticanus], unless they've seen just a page or two through a glass case. But that's not enough to get the feel of the whole thing, just to see a page that is open at one place. So here we have the stream of manuscripts and the stream of Greek texts coming down through the "custodial care" of Rome. And if it's in the custodial care of Rome, I don't want anything to do with it.
I've come to this place now: I can't stand toe to toe with the scholars, with those who have delved into the manuscripts and textual criticism for years and years. I've had too many other things to do. And you haven't been able to, either. So what do you do? I don't argue with them anymore. I'm not going to argue with any of them. I'm just going to ask, On what manuscript or manuscripts is this version based? And if it's based upon a manuscript that came down through this Roman stream, I don't want anything to do with it.
You say, How can we know? Well, when God was ready to tell the world through a converted monk that the just shall live by faith, he raised up a man--and I'm sure that God raised him up; couldn't be otherwise--by the name of Erasmus. Erasmus is said by those who seem to know--scholars, we have to take their word for something--that he was the wisest man this side of Solomon that ever lived. It was said that he could do ten days work in one day. Brilliant. I forgot how many languages he spoke; they say he was at home in eighteen or twenty different languages as easily as we can move around in the English language.
He knew the manuscripts that were available, and he brought about a Greek text. Now he was so brilliant that the pope offered him--that is to keep him, I suppose, from doing this Greek text--offered him the position of a cardinal, which is a high-ranking position for those in the Catholic Church. I know a little bit about it because my father's people were from Ireland and were Roman Catholic all the way back. I have three cousins in Chicago who are priests. I have a cousin in the Chicago area who is a nun. That was quite an offer to be offered the position of a cardinal, yet he refused it.
The British government, I am told, offered him one of the highest positions possible in the British commonwealth. And at his own price he turned it down. Germany did the same thing, but he turned it down because he felt God had called him to bring about the pure Greek text.
All of this goes off into so many areas. We have a friend in one of our Baptist churches, very delightful chap, very educated, and he speaks against Erasmus because he had some attachment to the Roman church. But how could you speak against a man, claiming that he is Roman, when he turned down the offer of a cardinalship and campaigned against monasticism, against the liturgy of the Catholic church, and was detested by the Catholic people?
And not only that, but listen to this: Do you know one of the reasons the Jesuits came into being under Loyola? Their main project was to supplant the Erasmus text, get it out of the way somehow, just undermine it. And this is their pledge. You can go to the library and get this directly, if you care. They said, `In order to supplant the Erasmus text we'll send our men to Protestant seminaries, Protestant Bible schools; we'll get them into teaching positions in seminaries; we'll get them into pulpits of churches.' To do what? The whole aim around the world is to destroy the Erasmus text, and the Authorized Version of course came from the Erasmus text.
Getting back to this one matter that really impresses me a great deal. When God was ready to tell the world that the just shall live by faith, he got hold of the heart of Luther and he tacked his thesis to the door--"the just shall live by faith"--and took all the persecution that comes to one who turns against the church of Rome. If the just shall live by faith, where do we get faith? Romans 10:17--"Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." If they're going to have pure faith they had to have the pure Word of God. Doesn't that make sense? And so God raised up Erasmus to bring about what was called the pure Greek text, and had it completed when Luther came thundering forth "the just shall live by faith." He had the Greek text of Erasmus to translate. Someone put it this way: Erasmus laid the egg and Luther hatched it. Just at the right time he had the text, and all he had to do was to translate it into German.
I think I mentioned the other night, since there is so much concern about these versions and paraphrases and so on, it is a marvelous opportunity for the devil to get in his strokes, you know. Through computerized procedures they have tried to determine the accuracy right down the line. You have lists of those in various books. The Authorized Version is right at the top. Friends, you can say the Authorized Version is absolutely correct. How correct? 100% correct! Because biblical correctness is predicated upon doctrinal accuracy, and not one enemy of this Book of God has ever proved a wrong doctrine in the Authorized Version. You've never heard of anyone's intellect being thwarted because he believed this Authorized Version, have you? And you never will. You've never heard of anyone anytime going astray who embraced the precepts of the Authorized Version, and you never will.
I tell you, I used to laugh with others when a person would try to slander the intelligence, perhaps, of some who say, "Well, if the Authorized Version was good enough for Paul it's good enough for me." You get a lot of ha, ha's. Say, that perhaps is true. If this is the Word of God, and Paul had the Word of God, then things equal to the same thing are equal to each other. We have the Book that Paul had! It's true there could be, and perhaps should be, some few corrections of words that are archaic. And a few places where it could read just a little more freely.
But after all, as I said to the men this morning in the class, just think of the countless millions of dollars of God's money spent on all these versions and translations which could have been spent on God's service. There are 100 of them right now. Think of it.
When I say corrected, I mean just some of the archaic words such as "he who lets will let until he be taken out of the way." Now we don't use the word that way, but you can find out what it means by taking just a moment to look it up.
Back in Jeremiah 4:22 we read, "My people are sottish." There wouldn't be two people in the congregation that would know what that means. But I like it because when I looked it up, I found that it had more meaning than any other word you could put there. It means thickheaded. God says, "I can't get through to you because you are thickheaded." And maybe He wants it to stay there. If a persons looks it up he gets a better understanding of it than if another word were put in there to change it.
There are places where I believe the Spirit of God led the translators of the Authorized Version. You read their biographies. They were mighty men of God; spent as much as five hours daily in prayer; and some of them knew twenty-some languages. And it was before modernism filled the air, and before their attention was diverted by so many other things, television and so on.
Actually, after I've listened in so many places to all these arguments and I've listened to the scholars and sat with the translators, to be honest with you I haven't found anything seriously wrong anywhere with the Authorized Version. Really. Really! Just a couple of archaic words that are not in usage today. Well, they could be changed.
I personally don't think the "thous" and the "thees" should be changed. God's thoughts are above our thoughts, higher than our thoughts, and these words are expression of His thoughts, and I like to see it a little different here and there from men's ways and men's thoughts.
Actually I don't think there is anything wrong with this [the Authorized Version], and it has been tested for 362 years. Are you ready to throw it overboard because the scholars have come along and said, "Well now, this is better; reads better; you can understand it better"? I mean to tell you, with all their self-justification [of the new, easier to read versions], people know less and less about God's Word.
THE 1881 ENGLISH REVISED VERSION
To begin with, the revisers for the 1881 weren't to be revisers; they weren't to bring out a new Book. They were revisers to bring some of the words up to date because the language had changed. They were to be revisers, but the fact is--and believe me, this can't be refuted--there wasn't enough in the Authorized Version to revise to make it worth the while, to cater to the ego of scholars.
So when they saw that there wasn't much to revise, here they had their committee arranged. One was a Unitarian, a man by the name of Smith. That's why you find on verses concerning the incarnation there's something wrong. Such as 1 Timothy 3:16--"By common consent great is the mystery of godliness." Don't you believe that the mystery of godliness depends upon what man thinks, or his opinion. The verse continues in the 1881 version--"he who was manifest in the flesh." You've been manifest in the flesh; I've been manifest; [that statement alone is meaningless]. It's God who was manifest in the flesh. Do you see the Unitarian flavor there? He got in some blows somewhere, and that must be one of them.
But nevertheless, they didn't have enough to revise. So what are they going to do? Well, two brilliant Cambridge scholars by the name of Dr. Hort and Dr. Westcott had been collaborating on a new Greek text built on the Codex Sinaiticus and the Codex Vaticanus which they believed were the very best manuscripts, held by Rome. So they said to the committee when they saw there wasn't enough to revise--I don't know if they said these exact words, but they said, "We would suggest that we bring about a new version." And they had those men pledge themselves to secrecy that they wouldn't tell anybody about the text they were using until after the book was out. Afraid, I guess, that they would be curbed, that the King of England or somebody would prevent them.
Twice British royalty refused to have anything to do with the 1881 revision. But at any rate it was deception to begin with. Their own text hadn't even been published yet, hadn't stood the scrutiny of the public. So the 1881 was built upon that. And the only fundamentalist who stayed on the board was Dr. F.H.A. Scrivener, and before he died he felt he had to break his promise to this group of men, and he let the world know that they took advantage after advantage in the text. That's where we've gotten the number of something like 5,337 deletions. [That was his count.] And he said, "Every time I raised an objection I was voted down, and they took liberties with God's Word." He was right there at almost every meeting, and he revealed that to the world before he died.
[Our readers can read Scrivener's own words about this deception by ordering Scrivener's The Authorized Edition of the English Bible. A reprint of this is available from Bible for Today, 900 Park Avenue, Collingswood, New Jersey 08108. Order Item # 1757. Which Bible, edited by David Otis Fuller, also contains information about Scrivener and his protests against the ERV. Scrivener is listed 20 times in the index to that volume. Which Bible can also be obtained from Bible for Today.]
Now when the 1881 came out many people liked it because it said Jehovah instead of Lord in many places. Well, that's minor; you can say that with the Authorized Version. But it was scarcely 10 years before it proved to be a failure. That is, it didn't get anywhere.
THE 1901 AMERICAN STANDARD VERSION
Within 10 years they started communicating with spiritual leaders on this side of the water to work with them on another printing called the 1901 edition, feeling, I suppose, that if the Americans cooperated that they would have a wider sales range. Well, just think. When the 1901 came out it had gone 10 years when it was practically a failure, because in 1911 in the third centenary of the Authorized Version the publishers had 34 outstanding scholars to go over the Authorized Version and see what legitimate changes could be made here and there. You know, they took the 1901 edition and they could only take two out of every 100 corrections in that. Only two percent. And immediately they discovered that the 1901 was not trustworthy. And it didn't go very long until it died out. In all of my pastorates I can only remember one person who ever owned one of those 1901 American Standard Version Bibles.
THE NEW AMERICAN STANDARD VERSION
Back in 1956-57 Mr. F. Dewey Lockman of the Lockman Foundation [contacted me. He was] one of the dearest friends we've ever had for 25 years, a big man, some 300 pounds, snow white hair, one of the most terrific businessmen I have ever met. I always said he was like Nehemiah; he was building a wall. You couldn't get in his way when he had his mind on something; he went right to it; he couldn't be daunted. I never saw anything like it; most unusual man. I spent weeks and weeks and weeks in their home, real close friends of the family.
Well, he discovered that the copyright [on the American Standard Version of 1901] was just as loose as a fumbled ball on a football field. Nobody wanted it. The publishers didn't want it. It didn't get anywhere. Mr. Lockman got in touch with me and said, "Would you and Ann come out and spend some weeks with us, and we'll work on a feasibility report; I can pick up the copyright to the 1901 if it seems advisable."
Well, up to that time I thought the Westcott and Hort was the text. You were intelligent if you believed the Westcott and Hort. Some of the finest people in the world believe in that Greek text, the finest leaders that we have today. You'd be surprised; if I told you you wouldn't believe it. They haven't gone into it just as I hadn't gone into it; [they're] just taking it for granted.
At any rate we went out and started on a feasibility report, and I encouraged him to go ahead with it. I'm afraid I'm in trouble with the Lord, because I encouraged him to go ahead with it. We laid the groundwork; I wrote the format; I helped to interview some of the translators; I sat with the translators; I wrote the preface. When you see the preface to the New American Standard, those are my words.
I got one of the fifty deluxe copies which were printed; mine was number seven, with a light blue cover. But it was rather big and I couldn't carry it with me, and I never really looked at it. I just took for granted that it was done as we started it, you know, until some of my friends across the country began to learn that I had some part in it and they started saying, "What about this; what about that?"
Dr. David Otis Fuller in Grand Rapids [Michigan]. I've known him for 35 years, and he would say (he would call me Frank; I'd call him Duke), "Frank, what about this? You had a part in it; what about this; what about that?" And at first I thought, Now, wait a minute; let's don't go overboard; let's don't be too critical. You know how you justify yourself the last minute.
But I finally got to the place where I said, "Ann, I'm in trouble; I can't refute these arguments; it's wrong; it's terribly wrong; it's frightfully wrong; and what am I going to do about it?" Well, I went through some real soul searching for about four months, and I sat down and wrote one of the most difficult letters of my life, I think.
I wrote to my friend Dewey, and I said, "Dewey, I don't want to add to your problems," (he had lost his wife some three years before; I was there for the funeral; also a doctor had made a mistake in operating on a cataract and he had lost the sight of one eye and had to have an operation on the other one; he had a slight heart attack; had sugar diabetes; a man seventy- four years of age) "but I can no longer ignore these criticisms I am hearing and I can't refute them. The only thing I can do--and dear Brother, I haven't a thing against you and I can witness at the judgment of Christ and before men wherever I go that you were 100% sincere," (he wasn't schooled in language or anything; he was just a business man; he did it for money; he did it conscientiously; he wanted it absolutely right and he thought it was right; I guess nobody pointed out some of these things to him) "I must under God renounce every attachment to the New American Standard."
I have a copy of the letter. I have his letter. I've shown it to some people. The Roberts saw it; Mike saw it. He stated that he was bowled over; he was shocked beyond words. He said that was putting it mildly, but he said, "I will write you in three weeks, and I still love you. To me you're going to be Franklin, my friend, throughout the course." And he said, "I'll write you in three weeks."
But he won't write me now. He was to be married. He sent an invitation to come to the reception. Standing in the courtroom, in the county court by the desk, the clerk said, "What is your full name, Sir?" And he said, "Franklin Dewey..." And that is the last word he spoke on this earth. So he was buried two days before he was supposed to be married, and he's with the Lord. And he loves the Lord. He knows different now.
I tell you, dear people, somebody is going to have to stand. If you must stand against everyone else, stand. Don't get obnoxious; don't argue. There's no sense in arguing.
But nevertheless, that's where the New American stands in connection with the Authorized Version.
I just jotted down what these versions, translations, and paraphrases are doing. Consider:
One, they cause widespread confusion, because everywhere we go people say, What do you think of this; what do you think of that? What do young people think when they hear all of that?
Two, they discourage memorization. Who's going to memorize when each one has a different Bible, a different translation?
Three, they obviate the use of a concordance. Where are you going to find a concordance for the Good News for Modern Man and all these others? You aren't going to find one. We're going to have a concordance for every one; you're going to have to have a lot of concordances.
Four, they provide opportunity for perverting the truth. There are all these translations and versions, each one trying to get a little different slant from the others. They must make it different, because if it isn't different why have a new version? It makes a marvelous opportunity for the devil to slip in his perverting influence.
Five, these many translations make teaching of the Bible difficult. And I'm finding that more and more as I go around the country. I mentioned this thing the other night. How could a mathematics professor or instructor teach a certain problem in a class if the class had six or eight different textbooks? How about that? How could you do it?
Six, they elicit profitless argumentation. Because everywhere we go they say this one is more accurate. Which one is more accurate? How do they know? And this is not a reflection against those saying this, because I would have done this a few years ago.
Lest I forget, in one of these questions somebody said, "How can we know that we have the whole truth?" Well, just simply by believing God. And what do I mean by that? John 16:13--"When he the Spirit of Truth is come he will guide you into" how much? Tell me. Tell me, now. "All truth." And if we don't have all truth, the Holy Spirit isn't doing His work. We have to have all truth for Him to lead us into all truth. And there are many, many other passages which teach this.
If we could hear His voice we would have no trouble learning His Word from the Authorized Version. Let me tell you this: You might not be able to answer the arguments, and you won't be [able to]. I can't answer some of them, either. Some of these university professors come along and say, What about this; what about that? They go into areas that I haven't even had time to get into.
As I said to you a couple of minutes ago. You don't need to defend yourself, and you don't need to defend God's Word. Don't defend it; you don't need to defend it; you don't need to apologize for it. Just say, "Well, did this version or this translation come down through the Roman stream? If so, count me out. Whatever you say about Erasmus and Tyndale, that's what I want."
And besides this, we've had the AV for 362 years. It's been tested as no other piece of literature has ever been tested. Word by word; syllable by syllable. And think even until this moment no one has ever found any wrong doctrine in it, and that's the main thing. He that wills to do the will of God shall KNOW the doctrine.
Well, time is up. Let's be people of the Book. It took my mother to heaven; and my dad, my grandfather, my grandmother. It was Moody's Book; it was Livingstone's Book. J.C. Studd gave up his fortune to take this Book to Africa. And I don't feel ashamed to carry it the rest of my journey. It's God's Book.
"Our Father, we thank Thee and praise Thee for Thy Word. Help us to love it, and preach it, and teach it, and tell everybody we can the Good News through thy Word. In Jesus' name. Amen."