Reasons why Evangelicals should not use the New International Version of the Bible
The nineteenth century witnessed the emergence of a movement which infected the Church. The terms 'modernism' and 'liberalism' have been widely employed to describe and distinguish this movement, and although they differ in shades of meaning, nevertheless they are synonymous with the hellish onslaught against Christ, His Gospel and His Church.
'Modernism' denotes the preference of this movement for new over old.
'Liberalism' denotes the movement's free criticism of all theological claims - in effect, a freedom to deny each or any Biblical doctrine.
This movement not only embraced but was well rooted in the so-called 'findings' of the Higher Critics, scholarly investigators who, sadly, based their investigations of the Scriptures upon the false assumption that it was not a divinely inspired revelation. The movement therefore repudiated the doctrines of the divine revelation and inspiration of Scripture. This inevitably led to a belief in God that was formed out of the human consciousness, and a denial of the fundamentals of the Christian faith.
Over the years many 'Evangelicals' have taken a great pride in their opposition to - and defence of - the Christian faith against Modernism and Liberalism. Many have, and still do, raised their voice of opposition against those who embrace this satanic movement. Yet, sadly, we live in an age where many who seek to resist Modernism unwittingly spread it. The spirit of Modernism and Liberalism has crept into many evangelical churches and pulpits. There are many who are adamant that they will not give up their Christian faith; their belief in the Scriptures as the inspired revelation of God; their belief in the Trinity; their belief in the deity of Christ; nor their belief in the virgin birth, virtuous life, vicarious death, victorious resurrection and visible return of the Saviour; and yet, week in and week out, in their homes and in the pulpits of their churches 'Bibles' are used which are not only the fruit of this movement but the very seed bed of its continuance.
The examination of every 'modern' version of the Bible is impossible in this article; there we will restrict ourselves to a brief examination of what is often termed the 'Evangelical Version', namely the New International Version or N.I.V.
1. The CONCEPT behind the N.I.V. displays its Modernism
The modernism of this particular version is evident at its very heart. It was the intention of the translators to produce "an accurate translation" with a high degree of clarity and literary quality - one which meets the standards of modern English but which, at the same time, preserves 'some measure of continuity' with the long tradition of translating the Scriptures into English.
To do this the translators would have had to employ the philosophy of 'literal equivalence' which is based on the principle 'as literal as possible and as free as necessary', and which holds to the Divine inspiration and inerrancy of the Scriptures as the Word of God. Thus a translation would result which differed from the original texts and other literal translations only in idiomatic expressions, word order, and alternative word definition. There are, however, scholars who reject the inspiration and inerrancy of the individual words of Scripture. They hold that it is not so much the words but the thought and truth behind those words that is important. This is, of course, the fundamental concept behind Modernism - a rejection of the Scriptures as the inspired revelation of God. Those who embrace this concept have as their philosophy of translation 'dynamic equivalence' rather than 'literal equivalence'. Any translation of the Scriptures by those holding to this view does not possess word-for-word accuracy, but thought-for-thought equivalence.
Now whilst the translators of the N.I.V. avoid using the term 'dynamic equivalence' of themselves, it is clear that they employed this practice. Their aim was for "more than a word for word translation", seeking rather "fidelity to the thought of the Biblical writers". They endeavoured to achieve a translation which would speak to people in their own culture by "frequent modifications in sentence structure and constant regard for the contextual meaning of words".
Thus the N.I.V., by the admission of its own translators, is not a literal translation, but one which seeks to convey the thoughts and truths behind the words. This in itself should sound the alarm bells for all Evangelicals. How can we uphold the doctrine of the plenary verbal inspiration of the Scriptures from a translation which has employed the modernistic approach to the very words of Scripture that we claim to hold in such high esteem?
2. The CONTENT of the N.I.V. displays its Modernism
Modernism, as ever, sought to deny and undermine the fundamentals of the Christian faith. One would therefore expect that a translation based upon the principle of Modernism would have modernistic tendencies. In the case of the N.I.V. there are instances where fundamental truths are denied.
(a) The deity of Christ is undermined
At the heart of the Gospel lies the fundamental truth that God the Son became man. I Tim. 3:16 - "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh […]". This wonderful statement is not found in the N.I.V. In this version the text reads: "[…] he appeared in a body […]". There are many who would point to the fact that we know that the word 'he' refers to Jesus, and we know that Jesus was God. Yes, 'he' is Jesus, and 'he' Jesus did have a body; but it does not say that 'he' is God. When you come face to face which those who deny the deity of Christ, you cannot substantiate your belief from this verse if you use this modern translation. Neither can you uphold the deity of Christ from the translation of Romans 14:10,12 - "[…] for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ […]. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God." Here in the Authorised Version Christ is affirmed to be God, but the N.I.V. changes the word 'Christ' to 'God'. With a very subtle stroke of the pen the deity of Christ is removed from the Scriptures.
(b) The Incarnation of Christ is undermined
Luke 2:33 - "And Joseph and his mother marvelled […]". The N.I.V. states: "[…] the child's father and his mother marvelled […]". Joseph, while he was the adopted father of Jesus, and chosen by God for that honourable role, was not the father of Jesus. Jesus had no earthly father. His conception was supernatural. He was conceived of the Holy Ghost. To portray Joseph as the father of Jesus lends support to the false view of many modernists that the incarnation was a myth. It lends support to the view that Christ was not born of a virgin but the child of Mary and Joseph conceived out of wedlock.
(c) The Atonement of Christ is undermined
Colossians 1:14 - "In whom we have redemption through his blood even the forgiveness of sins." Redemption is declared to be through the blood of Jesus. It is only through the blood of Christ that redemption has been accomplished. Modernism has always had an abhorrence to the blood of Christ. The N.I.V. once again reveals its modernism in the translation of this vital text. The verse reads: "[…] in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins". The blood is omitted from the text. The atoning blood of Christ is erased from this translation of Scripture.
These are but a few of the many errors found in the N.I.V. There are numerous others, but these suffice to show the underlying modernism of this translation.
3. The CONFUSION caused by the N.I.V. displays its Modernism
In addition to the omissions of words and phrases, whole passages are omitted. A note such as "The most reliable early manuscripts and other ancient witnesses do not have Mark 16:9-20" stands where the omitted text ought to have stood. The same occurs in John 7:53 - 8:11.
The incident regarding the impotent man recorded in John 5:1-9 reveals another interesting omission. In verse 7, the N.I.V. records the words the words of the man as: "I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred." What does he mean by the words "when the water is stirred"? The N.I.V. does not give us the answer, for it omits verse 4: "An angel went down at a certain season into the pool and troubled the water." This is no isolated instance. There are numerous Scriptures that are deleted from this version, and many others have been tampered with.
The result is confusion - confusion because the N.I.V., by its errors, omissions and notes, casts doubt upon the veracity of the Word of God. This was Satan's ploy from the beginning when he cast doubt upon the Word of God in the Garden of Eden. It was Satan's ploy in the temptation of Christ when he misquoted the Scriptures in his attempts to corrupt Christ. It was Satan's ploy in the last century when Modernism and Liberalism, backed by the higher critics, sought to cast doubt upon the truths revealed in the Scriptures.
How can we as Evangelicals uphold the truths that we hold so dear from 'Bibles' which deny, undermine and cast doubt upon those very same truths? How can we preach with authority and certainty when the very foundation upon which we seek to build cannot support us?
Let us cast aside these faulty tools and take hold of the tried and trusted translation of the Scriptures. Let us return to the old path and stand foursquare upon the Authorised Version of the Bible.