|YOUR WORD IS VERY PURE|
"Your word is very pure; therefore Your servant loves it." Psalm 119:140 (NKJV)
As new versions of the Bible proliferate at an alarming rate, so too does the criticism of them. Is it warranted? This teaching is an attempt to answer that question, in addition to explaining the basic differences. It is only a brief summary, and many finer points and technical details have been left out in the interest of brevity and simplification. Every attempt has been made to present the facts in an unbiased manner, but opinions are also offered. It is the authorís hope that the facts presented will enlighten readers, even if they disagree with the conclusions.
There are difficulties in Bible translating which make it far more complicated than simply taking each word and putting it in a different language, which those who translate languages for any reason are well aware of. The problems also escalate with more complicated languages, and the Bible languages, Hebrew, Greek and some Aramaic, are not the easiest to work from. There is, for example, the question of how to deal with idioms. An idiom is an expression which cannot be understood by analyzing the individual words or elements that make it up, and which are peculiar to a particular culture. Examples for today would be "keep tabs on," or "I lost my shirt," or "she talked a blue streak". Questions arise as to how literal the translation of these types of word problems should be.
Two Major Differences
Basically there are two major differences regarding translations today. One is the question of what original manuscript or manuscripts are used, which is a textual question. The other is the manner of the translation Ė basically whether it is word for word or interpretive, which is a translational question.
First Major Difference: The Manuscript The Textual Question
There are approximately 5,300 original manuscripts of the New Testament, some of which are not complete. However, they are all amazingly similar, revealing Godís divine hand in the guidance of their writing. God also preserved the integrity of His Word by causing many copies to be made, which has prevented any one person from gathering them all up and changing them. Manuscripts have been found in caves, or hidden in the sand, or in libraries, and each new legitimate discovery verifies the fact that the Bible is the book that God gave to man. However, there are some questions about the differences in certain manuscripts.
Byzantine and Alexandrian
Scholars have categorized the different manuscripts into major types, according to their similarities. These types generally reflect the geographic origin of the manuscripts, and the four major ones are Byzantine, Alexandrian, Western, and Caesarean. Of these, the basic two types are Byzantine, which the King James Version (KJV) is based on, and Alexandrian, which some of the modern versions are based on. The Byzantine texts comprise the vast majority of Greek manuscripts which we have today, and they were used for most translations up the 1970ís. Around that time some of the modern translations, such as the NIV, began to use the Alexandrian texts.
The Byzantine is considered to be a "fuller" version, because it has more words. This is especially true when one compares its references to Jesus Christ. In a number of places Christ is referred to as "He" or "Him" in the Alexandrian texts, but as the "Lord Jesus Christ" in the Byzantine texts. This has brought about criticism that the Alexandrian texts demote or diminish the lordship and deity of Jesus Christ. There are also other differences, some of which will be examined later with direct comparisons. When translators work, they generally use several manuscripts to make their final text. For instance, when the KJV was written, the translators used a variety of source manuscripts to produce what is known as the Textus Receptus, or Received Text. They relied heavily on the work of Desiderius Erasmus, who wrote an English version in 1516. This work was based on the Byzantine manuscripts, but changes were made by the King James 1611 translators, based on Hebrew and Greek references and the best information available.
Most scholars believe that the older the manuscript, the more accurate it is. Some scholars believe that the Byzantine type texts must be newer, because they are fuller, and that the reason they are fuller is because of what is called the "expansion of piety." The idea is that later translators added the fuller titles for Jesus, and other words to the text, because they were trying to be more reverent. However, one might wonder if this could possibly be true Ė for unlike today, reverence for the Word of God was so great in the past that it seems unlikely that anyone would dare to purposely add or change a word that was not in the original text. Moreover, there is no actual evidence to prove that the Alexandrian manuscripts are older, and many of the additional words they contain do more than "expand piety". The following Scripture comparison is an example:
Romans 8:1 (NIV) Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus
Romans 8:1 (NKJV) [There] [is] therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
It seems highly unlikely that someone copying the sacred Scriptures hundreds of years ago would have purposely made up the last portion simply because they were trying to be reverent. On the contrary, to fabricate such words would rather indicate severe irreverence toward God.
The New King James Version, which uses the same Textus Receptus as the King James Version for the New Testament, but a different text for the Old Testament, states the following in its introduction regarding the Alexandrian texts:
"The manuscript preferences cited in many contemporary translations of the New Testament are due to recent reliance on a relatively few manuscripts discovered in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuriesÖ Some scholars have shown reason to doubt the faithfulness of these manuscripts to the original text, since they often disagree with one another and show other signs of unreliability. The Greek text obtained by using this minority of sources and related papyri is known as the Alexandrian text."
One might also wonder what the reason would be to change source documents when the KJV has been used for hundreds of years. However, it should also be understood that the KJV was translated just as any other translation is made. The original version had footnotes to explain difficulties in the translations, and alternative words and phrases from other Byzantine manuscripts. Consequently, it should be clearly understood that the KJV is not the only inspired version of the Bible. Some "King James Only" advocates think otherwise, but common sense tells us that the Bible can be translated into modern languages accurately, and that there is a need for this if the Bible is to be read and understood in commonly used language. If this were not the case, then how could the Bible be accurately translated for all the different languages that exist throughout the world?
Understanding the Inspiration
We read about the holy inspiration of Scripture in the following verses:
"For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." 2Peter 1:21 (NKJV)
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." 2Timothy 3:16 (NKJV)
How, then, can minor differences exist between Bible manuscripts, if they are considered to be inspired? The answer is found in the understanding of how God has worked through man from the beginning of the world. God did not make automatons, nor does He use men in that manner. We see in the Scriptures, although divinely inspired, a flavor of the personalities and writing styles of the men that were led to write the individual books that make it up. This does not impugn the purity of Godís words, but it rather reveals that it is Godís method to condescend and team with man to accomplish His will on earth. We see the quintessence of this in John 1:14 (NKJV) where we read, "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among usÖ" Jesus took on an earthly, physical appearance, and became a man, although a perfect man, that He might reach us on our level. Similarly, God reaches us with His perfect Word through the imperfect media of mankind Ė for man is left with the task of copying, updating and translating the Bible. In other words, it is through fallen men He has chosen to preserve His Word, so the imprint of the individuality of man is found amid the divine, inviolate Words from God. For instance, a confirmation of Godís divine care is revealed in the Dead Sea Scrolls, which were discovered in 1947, and are one thousand years older than any Old Testament manuscripts found to that time, and may date back to 250 B.C. They clearly demonstrate the reliability of the Bible, because they are almost identical to other Old Testament manuscripts.
In the original languages the Bible is pure, and its doctrines and deep truths are not impaired by minor differences that result when sincere men humbly attempt to record copies of it so that more people on earth might be saved and enlightened. The differences are on the level of English nuances such as saying, "After that," instead of "When he was finished," or "In the place," instead of "At the place." These differences are emblematic of manís individual nature, which is manifest in everything he touches. Furthermore, this is where the essence of faith and spiritual understanding begins. Even as Jesus challenged men in John 6:66 to drink His blood and eat His flesh and many walked with Him no more, God tests our faith by allowing worldly reasoning to challenge the spiritual revelation He has given us. For the understanding of the fact that the Bible is inspired by God is only imparted spiritually. None of us would believe if the Holy Spirit had not enlightened us when we were regenerated. People do not accept the premise that a book thousands of years old is from God, unless God reveals this to them, for we read:
"But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." 1Corinthians 2:14 (NKJV)
Moreover, let us consider how we might treat other great documents, which do not have the holy, inspired imprimatur of Scripture. Let us assume that a history professor whose specialty is the Civil War has an opportunity to read a copy of a letter that General Lee sent to all of his generals. However, there are actually two copies the professor may choose from Ė one that has been used for hundreds of years, and another that has been newly discovered but has fewer words than the first one. With his keen interest in history, is there any doubt that the professor will choose the letter with the most words? Will he not want to decide for himself whether the extra words are important or not? As Christians, do we want to have the ability to choose in this same manner, or will we be satisfied with versions skimpier than our ancestors have read for many years?
Second Major Difference: The Method of Translation
An analogy might be instructive in helping us to understand what is occurring with some translations that are not word for word. In economic theory, we find that whenever a country that uses paper money leaves the "gold standard", its money eventually loses its value. When money is tied to the gold standard, it is backed by the gold in a countryís treasury, and can be traded for the amount of gold it represents. But when a country goes off the gold standard, the money cannot be redeemed for anything in that country, and it becomes what is called fiat money. Fiat essentially means arbitrary, and the term fiat money denotes the fact that the value of the money may change quickly and drastically, when it bears no direct relationship to anything of solid value.
If we apply this analogy to Bible versions, we will find that we are seeing "fiat" versions today, because we no longer adhere to the gold standard; that is, translating word for word. Translations are now made that are interpretations of the original language texts, and since this Pandoraís box has opened, we may find the values and doctrines of the Bible becoming as arbitrary and ambiguous as the value of money becomes when it has no correlation to anything other than printed paper. We have, in fact, lost the God standard in our translations, and His standard is clear:
"You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you." Deuteronomy 4:2 (NKJV)
"Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar." Proverbs 30:5-6 (NKJV)
"And if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book." Revelation 22:19 (NKJV)
Direct Translation or Dynamic Equivalency?
A direct, word for word translation, also called a formal equivalency, is one in which each word from the Greek and Hebrew of the original texts is translated into a word in English. The King James Version, The New King James Version, and others are direct translations. In contrast to a direct translation is a method called dynamic equivalency, which is a fancy term that denotes a translation that has been interpreted by the translators, rather than simply translated word for word. A dynamic equivalency is essentially a close paraphrase. Some scholars would argue this point, but the definition of the word paraphrase, according to the American Heritage dictionary is "a restatement of a text or passage in another form or other words, often to clarify meaning." The New International Version (NIV) is one of several versions which is a dynamic equivalency. The Living Bible and The Good News Bible, to name just two, are self-admittedly paraphrases, because more liberty in interpretation was taken with them than with dynamic equivalency translations. In comparison, when one is reading the KJV or the NKJV, and a word appears in italics (or in brackets on computer programs) this indicates that the word is not in the original language, which confirms the closeness with which the translators have tried to follow the original text.
Some Dynamic Equivalency in All Translations
To make things even more complicated, there is some degree of dynamic equivalency in all translations. In the Greek language there are many more descriptive words for most activities than one finds in English. For instance, one would translate the word love from a variety of Greek words such as eros (erotic love), phileo (brotherly love), or agape (God-like love). However, Hebrew is somewhat the opposite, in that there may be only one word used to describe several different English words. For instance, bayith is generally translated as "house" but it can mean temple, household, prison, dungeon, human body, etc. So when a translator is working from the original Hebrew, he or she must look at the context of the sentence to determine the correct correlation to an English word. However, rarely is the interpretation in question because the context of the words generally makes it clear. Also, today translators can fall back on the Greek translation of the Old Testament made by rabbis thousands of years ago for the Jews who did not know Hebrew when Israel was under Roman rule. That translation is called the Septuagint version.
In any event, when decisions of this type have to be made, an element of dynamic equivalency is brought into the work of word for word translations. However, let us clearly differentiate between the two methods: In a word for word translation, this type of subjectivity is minimal, because it is used rarely, whereas in a dynamic equivalency translation it is typical, and it makes the translator more of an interpreter of the Scriptures than a translator. Some scholars argue that the dynamic equivalency versions are pure, and defend them by saying that there is dynamic equivalency in all translations. We see this is true to some extent, but there is a vast difference between using it sparingly, when one has no other choice, and using it as the sole method of translation. In a word for word translation, the translator is doing everything possible to be faithful to the original text, but with the dynamic equivalency, the translator is taking the liberty to change words and phrases according to what he or she thinks the meaning is. The following Scripture is an example:
Luke 9:44 (NKJV) "Let these words sink down into your ears, for the Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men."
Luke 9:44 (NIV) "Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men."
The NIV translators decided that readers could not understand "sink down into your ears," and so they changed it. However, many readers might consider the expressive nature of the original text to be more descriptive and forceful than the NIV interpretation.
A Message for You from God
To put this in perspective, let us consider that a person we do not know (for most of us do not know Bible translators personally) comes up to us at church and tells us that he has a message specifically for us from God, but it is in Greek. He tells us that he speaks Greek, and he can either give us the message word for word in English, or he can interpret for us, and tell us what he thinks it means.
How would we answer him? Would we want to know every exact word, so we can determine for ourselves what the Almighty is communicating to us? Or would we rather leave it up to this person, about whom we have no personal knowledge? If we are satisfied with his interpretation, then a dynamic equivalency translation of the Bible will also satisfy our reading of the Scriptures. But if we want to know the exact words, we would do well to read a word for word translation.
Much Ado About Nothing?
So is this just more huffing and puffing by legalists, or rabid King James only fanatics who believe that their version is the only one that is right in the whole world? No, this is not the case. Certainly the extremism of some has stopped many Christians from taking this matter seriously, even as those who bomb abortion clinics ruin the credibility of those who peacefully protest the murder of infants.
Is it a small matter for a person to take the words of the Living God and change them? For centuries no one in orthodox Christianity dared to, but in recent years many have. Even most secular writers whose books are translated in other languages want it done with the least amount of changes Ė so is God different? Would the One who said, in Matthew 24:35 (NKJV) "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away," consider it a minor thing for a man to change His words? And if God states that teachers will receive a stricter judgment (James 3:1), then a mere mortal attempting to translate the only divine book in the world probably ought to be exceedingly careful and proceed only with "fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12).
It is not that the NIV does not have some good qualities. Although it leaves out words that many would deem important, and interprets instead of simply translating, in some places it explains the original texts better than some word for word translations. However, this is also the problem. For we know that changes that occur subtly are the most dangerous, because they are less perceptible. And we will soon see the result of allowing this type of translation to be called a Bible, as we analyze The Message, one of the recent modern translations which, although it claims to be from the original languages, bears little resemblance to them. First, however, since the "proof is in the pudding," letís compare the NIV to the KJV and the NKJV.
The New International Version
Comparison Number 1:
Luke 2:33 (NIV) The child's father and mother marveled at what was said about him.
Luke 2:33 (KJV) And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.
Luke 2:33 (NKJV) And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him.
Josephís name is in the Greek original text for the KJV, and we certainly know that Joseph was not the father of Jesus Ė the Holy Spirit was. In fact, it has been Satan's plan from the beginning to deny the deity of Christ, which all the cults do.
Comparison Number 2:
Deuteronomy 4:2 (NIV) Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you.
Deuteronomy 4:2 (KJV) Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish [ought] from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.
Deuteronomy 4:2 (NKJV) "You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.
The word used here in the Hebrew, which the NIV writers have evidently purposely left out to exonerate themselves, is "dabar" which means "word, saying, commandment, speech, or speaking" in Hebrew. It is found both in the Byzantine and Alexandrian texts, so this was a translational choice. The NIV writers have taken out many original words and added over one hundred thousand of their own.
Comparison Number 3:
Colossians 1:14 (NIV) in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Colossians 1:14 (KJV) In whom we have redemption through his blood, [even] the forgiveness of sins:
Colossians 1:14 (NKJV) in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.
We know that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin, but the NIV manuscript has left out these three words. (Hebrews 9:22) The Greek word "haima", which means blood, is in the original Greek text of the majority of manuscripts.
Comparison Number 4:
John 6:47 (NIV) I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.
John 6:47 (KJV) Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
John 6:47 (NKJV) "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.
Again, we see two words left out which bring into question the object of our hope and faith.
Comparison Number 5:
Matthew 6:13 (NIV) And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
Matthew 6:13 (KJV) And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Matthew 6:13 (NKJV) And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
The NIV leaves out the last part of the Lordís prayer.
Comparison Number 6:
Acts 9:6 (NIV) "Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do."
Acts 9:6 (KJV) And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord [said] unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
Acts 9:6 (NKJV) So he, trembling and astonished, said, "Lord, what do You want me to do?" Then the Lord [said] to him, "Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do."
The interaction between Paul and Jesus is not recorded.
1Timothy 6:4 (NIV) he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5 and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
1Timothy 6:4 (KJV) He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, 5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
1Timothy 6:4 (NKJV) he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, 5 useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a [means] [of] gain. From such withdraw yourself.
One might consider the advice to withdraw from this type of person to be an important admonition.
"The Message" Bible
Another translation that is off the "God standard" is "The Message," which claims to have been translated from the original languages. This is one of the hottest new translations, and it is highly recommended by many well-known Christian ministers and teachers, who have made comments such as:
"The Message is the boldest and most provocative rendering of the New Testament Iíve ever read", writes one internationally known pastor and teacher. Another well-known teacher writes: "The Message is certainly destined to become a devotional classic - not to mention a powerful pastoral tool." Let us examine The Message, and see if we agree.
Comparison Number 1:
Matthew 6:9 KJV: "Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be thy name."
Matthew 6:9 The Message: "Our Father in heaven, Reveal who you are."
Here we hear Jesus making a request that He did not make, nor would He have to, since He is one with the Father.
Comparison Number 2:
John 10:30 KJV: "I and my Father are one."
John 10:30 The Message: "I and the Father are one heart and mind."
By changing the original language, this version appears to demotes the deity of Christ and deny the Trinity.
Comparison Number 3:
John 14:28 KJV: "For my Father is greater than I."
John 14:28 The Message: "The Father is the goal and purpose of my life."
The original language simply does not say this.
Comparison Number 4:
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 KJV: "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God."
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 The Message: "Unjust people who donít care about God will not be joining in his kingdom. Those who use and abuse each other, use and abuse sex, use and abuse the earth and everything in it donít qualify as citizens in Godís kingdom. A number of you know from experience what Iím talking about, for not so long ago you were on that list. Since then, youíve been cleaned up and given a fresh start....".
Here we see references to fornication and homosexuality replaced by vague references to "abuse." Even a politically correct reference to abusing the environment, of all things, is included. Throughout The Message, sexual immorality and homosexuality are veiled with this type of language.
Comparison Number 5:
Romans 1:26-27 KJV: "For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet."
Romans 1:26-27 The Message: "Worse followed. Refusing to know God they soon didnít know how to be human either - women didnít know how to be women, men didnít know how to be men. Sexually confused, they abused and defiled one another, women with women, men with men - all just lust, no love. And then they paid for it, oh, how they paid for it - emptied of God and love. Godless and loveless wretches."
Read carefully and you will see how this version has left open an interpretation that same-sex love is only wrong if the participants do not love one another Ė which is the contemporary argument by homosexuals.
Comparison Number 6:
Colossians 2:10 KJV: "And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:"
Colossians 2:10 The Message: "You donít need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without him."
This translation is such a distortion that it speaks for itself.
Comparison Number 7:
1Timothy 4:1 (KJV) "in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils"
1Timothy 4:1 The Message: "as time goes on some are going to give up on the faith and chase after demonic illusions put forth by professional liars."
Demons are not illusions, and giving up is not the same as departing, and the latter times are not the same as "as time goes on." Moreover, there is no mention of professional liars in the original text. This is again a gross distortion of the true Scriptures.
Comparison Number 8:
1Corinthians 6:18 (KJV) Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.
1Corinthians 6:18 The Message: "Thereís more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much a spiritual mystery as a physical fact. As written in Scriptures, "The two become one". Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever - the kind of sex that can never "become one." ... In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love for "becoming one" with another."
This leaves out the term fornication, which means sex between people who are not married. It appears from this "version" that it is sex that "avoids commitment and intimacy" that should be avoided, because we might become "lonely", not because we are sinning against God. The word "sin" is also left out, as it is elsewhere in The Message.
This is just a small sample of the problems with The Message. It is a translation which demotes Christ, lessens the seriousness of sin, and introduces New Age/pagan concepts, to name just some of its errors. And this is indicative not only of this version, but of others which have deviated from the true Word of God, by making up their own words instead of translating the inspired words in the original texts.
What Are These Translations Leading ?
The NIV is not a direct translation, but it is much closer to the original texts than some of the later translations such as The Message. In fact, there is no question that people have been saved and edified by reading it. Nevertheless, the NIV is a step in the wrong direction Ė it is a subtle progression towards anarchy in the area of Bible translation. And although the intentions of the men who translated may have been good, in the spiritual realm perhaps it was a ploy to see if such a slight variation would be acceptable so that something more off-kilter could be introduced. If this is the case, it has been overwhelmingly successful Ė the NIV has sold very well and has evidently encouraged other new versions. Moreover, concerns about problems with it seem to be squelched by those controlling the Christian media, in much the same way the liberal secular press is one-sided in reporting politics. Perhaps the reason for this is that huge sums of money are made when new versions of the Bible are sold. Even as fashion designers love to change styles to get women to leave perfectly good clothing in the closet so they will be fashionable, these publishers know that new versions will be purchased if they are printed.
There is already confusion when the Bible is read in churches and people are using five different translations. Can we not imagine the disorder and misunderstanding that will result from fifty different versions Ė especially as they creep further and further away from the fundamentals of divine truth? In the 1990ís, a major publisher tried to print a new NIV Bible that referred to God as "gender neutral". But an outcry from several Christian leaders stopped it, so this version, which called God "Mother and Father", was not printed. Perhaps it was just postponed. However, can we not envision from this progressively downward spiral a Bible evolving that is distorted to the extent that one cannot find salvation reading it? Surely if we continue on a path that does not conform to Godís standard for translations, such an abomination will ultimately be produced.