Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 20, 1969
NUMBER 41, PAGE 12-13

Reviewing The Today's English Version (III.)

Donald P. Ames

This is now the third and concluding article reviewing the American Bible Society's translation and showing the liberties they have taken to substitute and change as they so desired. It is a translation designed to appeal to the various denominations by including in it various translations that will have special appeal to each group — regardless of the original language. For comparison, we are using the New American Standard Bible, but also urge you to check and compare your own translations as well.

As mentioned in the last article, this translation not only discredits the deity of Christ, but also casts shadows of doubt on the apostle Paul as well. In Gal. 1, Paul relates his conversion, and points out he did not receive it from men, nor get it by sitting around listening to them. In verse 18, he adds, "Then three years later I went up to Jerusalem to become acquainted (footnote — visit) with Cephas, and stayed with him fifteen days." (ASB) The TEV has decided Paul realized he did not have enough information of his own, and decided he had to broaden his horizons. So they translate it as follows: "It was three years later that I went to Jerusalem to get information from Peter, and I stayed with him for two weeks." Poor Paul! They are now ready to tell us his inspiration just gave out and he had to go to men to learn what to preach!

In Eph. 5:32, Paul draws his conclusions concerning his teaching of the wife-husband, Christchurch relationship, "This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the Church." He knew what he spoke of, and pointed it out to those who were to receive the epistle. The TEV, however, shows a lack of certainty in Paul's writing, as they render it: "There is a great truth revealed in this scripture, and I understand it applies to Christ and the Church." How did you get this understanding Paul — from Peter when you went to "get information." Don't you know, or is it merely an "understanding?"

In I Cor. 5:13, Paul points out that fornicators, etc. do not belong in the fellowship of those who seek to be faithful followers of the Lord. He concluded by pointing out to them this must be corrected and gives them the Lord's wishes in this matter. "But those who are outside God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves." Rather than appealing to the authority he has vested within him as God's spokesman, the TEV decided Paul had no right to tell them what to do and makes a lame-duck appeal to the fact the Bible had already said so, "As the scripture says, Take the evil man out of your group."

Now let us direct our attention to a rather controversial passage. Despite our personal differences relative to the interpretation of this passage, I still believe we can readily see a lack of true interpretation involved. Let us turn to I Cor. 11:4-5, which is translated by the ASB as follows: "Every man who has something on his head while praying or prophesying, disgraces his head. But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying, disgraces her head; for she is one and the same with her whose head is shaved." In an effort to modernize and up-date this passage, the TEV renders it as follows: "So a man who in public worship prays or speaks God's Message with his head covered disgraces Christ. And any woman who in public worship prays or speaks God's Message with nothing on her head disgraces her husband; there is no difference between her and a woman whose head has been shaved." I have called special attention to the differences. (1) "In public worship." Now Paul may or may not have meant public worship. He may or may not have limited it to such (See I Cor. 14:34). They have, however, taken the liberty to insert into this passage something not in the original, and presume to tell us just exactly under what circumstances Paul was commanding women to wear a covering and when not to. Suppose it was not a "public worship," would she have to have a covering then? Not according to TEV. (2) "Speaks God's message." I am well aware of the fact all prophesying is "edification, and exhortation, and consolation" (I Cor. 14:3). However, the reverse of this is not true. Merely to "speak God's message" is a far too broad a term to translate "prophesying." All Presidents of the U.S. are American citizens, but not all American citizens are Presidents of the U.S.! Prophesying was a miraculous gift, and in Bible usage was limited to the idea of a man being put forth as a spokesman for God — either a true or false God. It carried with it the idea this God (or gods) gave the message direct as to what they were to speak. "Speaking God's message" can refer to not only inspired teaching but to anyone else today who picks up a Bible and says "let me read you something." Again they have taken the liberty to alter as it has suited them. By the way, they do correctly render verse 16 "neither we nor the churches of God have any other custom" rather than dismissing it as some do today that say it was all merely a discussion of customs.

And while on the subject of miraculous gifts, it might be of interest to also consider their translations of other similar passages. In Acts 10:46, Peter and his companions were convicted of the truth that the Gentiles were accepted by God when they saw them receive the Holy Spirit as they did on the day of Pentecost. This was not to help Cornelius, but to convict Peter and his companions (See Acts 11). The New ASB says here "For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God." Now that ought to be simple to understand. And certainly we should have no trouble translating it. But leave it to the TEV and their denominational appeal: "For they heard them speaking with strange sounds and praising God's greatness." The same expression is also used uniformly in Acts 19:6 and all of I Cor. 12 and I Cor. 14. Note: "To one man he gives the ability to speak with strange sounds; to another he gives the ability to explain what these sounds mean" (I Cor. 12:10). "The man who speaks with strange sounds then, must pray for the gift to explain what they mean" (I Cor. 14:13). etc. etc. Think what a blessing this will be to our Holiness people, as well as some of the extreme liberals in the church today! No more need to make sense, speak an actual language, etc. — just mumble a bunch of garbled throaty grunts, and then claim God is giving you the gift to speak with "strange sounds." Do they know better? Of course! In Acts 2, they present the apostles as "all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to talk in other languages, as the Spirit enabled them to speak" (Acts 2:4). Just another denominational appeal — and without justification, especially in view of the possible interpretation just a translation could have.

They even tried to help Charles Holt and those associated with his new found and wild fantisies pertaining to the elders and the church. Consider the following from TEV in I Tim. 3:1-2: "This is a true saying: If a man is eager to be a church leader he desires an excellent work. A church leader must be..." If only Bro. Holt had this translation handy when he launched his attack against the place of elders. Further, note Phil. 1:1 — "From Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus — To all God's people living in Philippi who believe in Christ Jesus, together with the church leaders and helpers." ("Helpers" is also used for "deacons" in I Tim. 3). [Come to think of it, Bro. Holt would have lost to "elders" in the other passages anyway. Sorry about that — I thought at last he had something going for him.]

And, in conclusion, if any denomination is slighted, they have helped all our Baptist friends, and the general denominations to get something going on "Faith only." In Rom. 1:17, where Paul says in the gospel "the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith," the TEV says, "For the gospel reveals how God puts men right with himself: it is through faith alone, from beginning to end." In Rom. 3:28, Paul affirms, "For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law." The TEV again adds to suit itself: For we conclude that a man is put right with God only through faith and not by doing what the Law commands." Turning to Gal. 2:16, Paul says, "Nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus..." they have added their pet translation again: "Yet we know that a man is put right with God only through faith in Jesus Christ, never by doing what the Law requires."

Thus, we are forced to the position that this translation has taken liberties to insert what seems good to them without God's authority; modify what they do not like; and, then, to deliberately (I say this for want of another term that could more honestly describe it) mistranslate other passages to appeal to various denominations, or at least to use questionable language to confuse rather than clarify the true meaning of the passage. When men take these liberties with the word of God, we cannot endorse nor condone such actions, but rather are instructed to "have nothing to do with people who do worthless things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring these out to the light." (Eph. 5:11 — TEV).

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