"AS I SEE IT" 

Volume 8, Number 6, June 2005

 

“I too will have my say; I too will tell what I know.

For I am full of words, and the spirit within me compels me;

Inside I am like bottled-up wine, like new wineskins ready to burst.

I must speak and find relief; I must open my lips and reply.

I will show partiality to no one.  Nor will I flatter any man.”

Job 32:17-21

 

[“As I See It” is a monthly electronic magazine compiled and edited by Doug Kutilek.  Its purpose is to address important issues of the day and to draw attention to worthwhile Christian and other literature in order to aid believers in Jesus Christ, especially pastors, missionaries and Bible college and seminary students to more effectively study and teach the Word of God.  The editor’s perspective is that of an independent Baptist of fundamentalist theological persuasion.

 

AISI is sent free to all who request it by writing to the editor at: DKUTILEK@juno.com.  You can be removed from the mailing list at the same address.  Back issues sent on request.  All back issues may be accessed at http://www.KJVOnly.org

 

All articles are by the editor (unless otherwise noted) and are copyrighted but may be reproduced for distribution, provided the following conditions are met: 1. articles must be reproduced in unedited, unabridged form; 2. the writer must be properly credited; and, 3. such reproduction must be for free distribution only.  Permission to distribute in any other form must be secured in writing beforehand.  Permission for reproduction in Christian print periodicals will generally be given.]

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Dorothy Was Right!

 

“The truth is, I hadn’t really lived in America until I moved to Kansas.”

 

Brian Williams of NBC Nightly News,

Quoted in the Wichita (Kansas) Eagle, May 22, 2005

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Revelation 13:16--A Question About How It Should be Translated

 

“Mon. 30, May 2005

 

Hello there,

 

I am a senior in high school and I have been researching this KJV Only stuff like what seems to have been forever so far. I first got interested in it when I first started attending an independent, fundamental Baptist high school.  I come from a non-denominational church and I have grown up reading the NIV, so this stuff is all very confusing to me.  My youth pastor sent me your website and I have found it all very helpful to me.

 

My question for you is one that I have been trying to find the answer for a while. This is not a very important question, but it has been on my mind for a long time. Revelation 13:16 reads (KJV) “And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads.”

The NIV replaces the word "in" with "on". These are two totally different ideas in themselves, which one do you think is right?

 

Thanks again for your website, it's very helpful.

 

In Christ,

M--------“

 

 

--------

 

 

Dear M-------

 

Thank you for your letter and question.

 

The facts regarding Revelation 13:16 are these:

 

1. The Greek word in question is "epi" (borrowed into English in hundreds of words that begin with epi- such as epitaph, episode, and epigram); it has the primary and usual meaning, in contemporary American English, of "on" or "upon."

 

2. The Latin Vulgate version of Jerome (NT made around 385 A.D., and the dominant Bible in Central and Western Europe from around 500 A.D. to after 1500 A.D.) translated this Greek word by "in" which is genealogically related to our English word “in.”

 

3. The Latin Vulgate translation strongly influenced the KJV in many places (see my article "Is the King James Version a ‘Roman Catholic Bible’?" found at www.kjvonly.org) as it no doubt did here.  An examination of numerous earlier English translations before the KJV--Wycliffe, Tyndale, Matthew's, Geneva, Bishops’ and Rheims--shows that they also all read "in" at Revelation 13:16, under the same Vulgate influence.

 

4. A check in Webster's Third New International Dictionary indicates that "in" has many meanings and usages in English, and notes particularly a chiefly British usage in the sense of "on."  Since the KJV and those English versions which preceded it were all of British origin, it should not surprise us that such a usage is found at Revelation 13:16, as is evidently the case.

 

So, in British English--of 400 years ago when the KJV was made and earlier, and also to this present day--"in" may be used in the sense of "on" or "upon."  So, in a context of British English or a translation for British readers, "in" may be an apt and suitable translation of epi in Revelation 13:16.

 

Of course, we Americans do not speak British English, and so translating the Greek word epi at Revelation 13:16 by "in" sounds strange, even inaccurate, to our ears.  And since the NIV is by design a translation using "international" rather than distinctively British English, and other versions such as the NASB are intended to be expressly American in dialect, it is proper and right that they should employ "on" or "upon" to translate the Greek at this place, in order to clearly communicate to modern American readers what the Greek says and means.

 

So, to summarize--while "in" may be suitable in British English at Revelation 13:16, in American English, "on" or "upon" is the better choice for translation.

 

Doug Kutilek

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What Did Jesus Promise the Repentant Thief?--

Another Question From a Reader

 

“Mon., 23 May 2005

 

Doug,

 

Is this accurate info?  And, is the interpretation correct?  Came across this on the internet.

 

A---- R-------

 

     "LK 23:43 is a proof verse of immediately going to heaven after death.  Is paradise heaven? It seems from REV 2:7 that it is associated with the tree of life, which is associated with the garden of Eden, which is associated with the earth (GEN 2:9) and the new earth (REV 21:24, 22:2). How many times is Paradise used in the bible anyway?"

 

     "Another problem with this verse is that the translators of the KJV made an error, probably due to subconscious bias. They put the comma in the wrong place. The way it appears in the KJV, it violates the rules of Greek grammar. The rules are: When  ‘today" follows a verb, it is connected to that verb. This applies to our verse in question.  "Today" is attached to "say". Other examples of this are MT 21:28 and LK 22:34.

 

     When "today" is separated from the verb by "hoti", it is attached to the next clause.  Examples are LK 19:9, 4:21 and MK 14:30. The word "hoti" does not appear in LK 23:43.

 

     Therefore, our phrase should read as follows: "Verily I say unto thee today, thou shalt be with me in paradise".

 

In reply: first, caution is always warranted in accepting anything down-loaded from the internet.  Anyone can write and post anything there, “without let or hindrance,” as they say, no matter how bogus, fraudulent, false or deceptive.  You do well to follow the admonition: “caveat lector” (“Let the reader beware”).

 

No doubt, the author of this internet piece is from some cult--probably either a Seventh-day Adventist or a Jehovah’s Witness or something else of similar stripe--which teaches “soul sleep” and denies the conscious existence of the soul after death, and is trying to disprove the obvious sense of Luke 23:43 as commonly (and correctly) understood.  On the subject of the continued conscious existence of the spirit of man in the period between physical death and resurrection, I wrote in an article on Adventism published some years ago in Frontline magazine (vol. 10., no. 6, November/December 2000, pp. 15-16) which reads in part--

 

In truth, the Scriptures consistently teach that the spirits of both saved and lost people continue in conscious existence after the death of the body, and, in fact, that the spirit never, for all eternity, ceases conscious existence.  After their physical deaths, we find the disembodied spirits of Abraham (Luke 16:23), Moses (Matthew 17:3), Samuel (I Samuel 28:12ff), Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16:22,23), Jesus (I Peter 3:19; Luke 23:43), the repentant thief (Luke 23:43), and vast multitudes in heaven (Revelation 7:9-15; etc.) fully conscious and able to communicate, hear, speak, understand, worship, sing, etc.  There is no "soul sleep" in Scripture.

 

In regard to "paradise": “paradise” is an ancient word of apparently Persian origin, found in both the Hebrew OT (Nehemiah 2:8; Ecclesiastes 2:5; Song of Solomon 4:13--always in its literal sense of “park,” “woodland,” “orchard”) and the Greek NT (Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 12:4; Revelation 2:7--figuratively, as the place of the soul’s repose and rest).  In the Greek translation of the OT, the Septuagint, “paradise” is used in all three OT references noted above, and is used besides repeatedly elsewhere, especially in the translation of Genesis 2, 3 for the Hebrew “gan” which means “garden,” that is, Eden.  The Greek OT version in many ways established the theological vocabulary of the Greek NT.

 

In Scripture, especially the NT, “paradise” is used of the state or place where a person is at peace and rest with God--originally, and literally, Eden, then "Abraham's bosom" (Luke 16:19ff, until the resurrection of Jesus), then heaven itself (where Paul's spirit was caught up in 2 Corinthians 12), and finally, in the new heaven and new earth (as noted, Revelation 2:7).  The title or designation “paradise” migrates in Scripture, as the place of the soul at rest with God changes over time from Eden (originally) to Hades (until Christ’s resurrection) to heaven (currently) to the new earth (yet future).  It is as much a term of one’s state and condition as it is of a place.

 

Regarding the sophicated- and learned-sounding musings on the use of “hoti” (usually translated into English by the subordinating conjunction “that”)--these are the mutterings of someone posing, but only posing, as a scholar.  I'd like to see a published reference to these supposed "rules of Greek grammar" regarding “hoti” and its position relative to “today” of which the writer speaks.  I can find nothing of the sort. 

 

The claim that the absence of "hoti" is somehow decisive in Luke 23:43 is

bogus.  This verse is an example of “direct speech,” that is, where a person’s exact words are quoted.  In classical Greek usage, direct speech usually (though not universally) does not employ “hoti” at all, though there are not a few exceptions to this.  The koine Greek of the NT generally follows the classical pattern--that is, of not using “hoti” before direct quotations, though with so-called “redundant ‘hoti’ ” sometimes used in such constructions.  A.T. Robertson wrote: “In the New Testament, as in the Old Testament and in Homer, direct discourse is far more frequent than the indirect.  Quotations are usually given directly [that is, without using “hoti” to introduce the quotation]. . . [b]ut sometimes recitative hoti occurs which is not to be translated and which serves only to call attention to the quotation like our quotation marks. . . .” [A New Short Grammar of the Greek New Testament, 10th ed., 1933, p. 449].  “As a rule the direct discourse is simply introduced with a word of saying or thinking. . . . The instances of direct quotation without hoti are very numerous.” [A Greek of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research, 4th ed., 1923, pp. 1027, 1028.  Other Greek grammarians, classical and NT, say the same thing.  See the grammars of Burton, Goodwin, Blass, DeBrunner and Funk, et al.].

 

By simply examining side by side direct discourse in parallel passages in the synoptic Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, one can see that “hoti” is commonly absent from one or more of the Synoptics in parallel texts: Luke sometimes doesn't use it where Matthew and Mark employ it, and Mark sometimes lacks "hoti" where the Matthew parallel employs it, and so forth. The “rule” is that "hoti" in introducing direct speech is 'optional' and is often absent in koine Greek, as in classical Greek--

 

One such case is Matthew 26:34=Mark 14:30=Luke 22:34.  

 

Matthew reads, literally rendered--"Amen I say to you that [hoti] in this night before the rooster calls. . ."

 

Mark reads--"Amen I say to you that [hoti] you today in this night before

the rooster calls. . . "

 

Luke reads--"I say to you, Peter, the rooster will not call until three

times you will deny . . ."

 

Matthew and Mark employ recitative “hoti” in quoting Jesus’ words, while Luke does not.  (I am tempted to ask: since Luke doesn’t’ use “hoti” here, and since the absence of “hoti” supposedly throws the following word into connection with what precedes rather than what follows, should we translate the clause, “I say to you, Peter the rooster, . .. “?)

 

Furthermore, when Luke records in 22:61 Peter's remembrance of this

statement by Jesus, there Luke does introduce the quote with "hoti"--"how

he said to him, that [hoti] 'before the rooster shall call today, you will deny me. . ."

 

It is clear from the statements of Robertson, and these examples that the presence or absence of "hoti" in introducing Jesus' direct speech to Peter changes nothing, and to turn around and affirm that “hoti” is in fact NECESSARY in Jesus’ direct speech to the repentant thief in Luke 23:43 in order for "today" to be connected with "you will be with me" rather than "I say" is devoid of any foundation whatsoever.

 

Further, since the presence or absence of "hoti" does not change the meaning of a passage involving the presentation of a direct quotation, Mark 14:30 is a clear example where the "today" must go with what follows, not with the introductory "I say."  Luke 4:21 & 19:9, though referenced above in support of the “Today I say” view, in fact support the usual understanding of Luke 23:43 for the same reason.

 

And just what would be the point of such a statement as "Today I say. . ."  What other day would Jesus have to say it, since His death was imminent?  But if the connection is "I say to you, TODAY you will be with me. . ." then the force is obvious: “Have hope!  You requested that I remember you when I enter into my kingly reign.  You need not wait that long!  Your present suffering will end shortly [those crucified sometimes lingered in excruciating agony for several days--ed.], and your faith will be soon rewarded with peace instead of pain, rest instead of agony, joy instead of regret.  There is conscious existence after death, and for you, it will be in my personal presence--and that begins TODAY."

 

In checking the analysis of the passage by genuine and recognized Greek scholars-- Henry Alford in his The Greek Testament, H. A. W. Meyer, A. B. Bruce in the Expositor's Greek Testament, Alfred Plummer in his I.C.C. volume on Luke, Geldenhuis in the NICNT series and Leon Morris in the Tyndale series--I found just what I expected: to a man, they reject the connection of "today" with "say" as unnatural, pointless and ridiculous.

 

Doug Kutilek

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Recent Articles Worthy of Your Attention

 

In my reading, I recently came across two articles published in periodicals that are worthy of note and need to be brought to the reader’s attention.

 

First, in the July/August 2005 (vol. 8, no. 4) issue of Archaeology Odyssey, Leo Depuydt, associate professor of Egyptology at Brown University, has an article regarding ancient Near Eastern chronology and how it is established from documentary evidence.  “How to Date a Pharaoh” (pp. 27-33) covers much the same ground as our “Issues in Biblical Chronology” published in AISI 8:2 (February, 2005), though he gives greater detail in some areas, additional sources and numerous additional references. 

 

Second, in the June 2005 issue of Popular Science, vol. 266, no. 6, “Ringed Victory” by Michael Moyer (pp. 82-85) gives a brief account, well-illustrated with magnificent photos, of the recent Cassini-Huygens spacecraft exploration of Saturn and its moons.  As with every such mission, the result was endless surprises as the unexpected and inexplicable was discovered: a tiny moon with an atmosphere, complete heterogeneity among Saturn’s 34 moons (if they all “evolved” out of the same stellar cloud, they should be generally uniform in composition), retrograde orbits (“backwards” in relation to the spin of the planet), demonstrable instability of Saturn’s rings, and more--all of which are completely at odds with the assumption of the “Big Bang” and billions of years of age for Saturn and our solar system.  Indeed, “the heavens do declare the glory of God and the sky does show His handiwork,” but too many are blinded by their anti-theistic, materialistic assumptions to see the obvious.  The one great redeeming virtue of space exploration--originally intended to prove evolution--is that it invariably demonstrates the impossibility of purely natural explanations for the universe as it exists.

---Doug Kutilek

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BOOK REVIEWS

 

Francis Schaeffer: the Man and His Message, by Louis Gifford Parkhurst, Jr.  Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers, 1985.  250 pp., hardback.

 

I can remember my first introduction to Francis Schaeffer.  It was in August 1972.  I was home from my first year of Bible college for about a month, and read through Schaeffer’s brief Escape From Reason on the shady porch of my parents home over a period of several days.  Frankly, it was very much beyond my capacity to comprehend and a second reading proved necessary.  In the years since then, I have read another 5 or 6 of Schaeffer’s numerous writings (some 25 titles in all, occupying over 2,100 pages in his collected works constitute the body of his writings).  Through his writings, Schaeffer has helped me see more clearly the culture war that exists between Biblical theism and materialistic rationalism.  Upon being reminded that Schaeffer died in May 1984, I had to ask myself, can it really have been 21 years ago?

 

Schaeffer sought to engage the culture in pressing the claims of Biblical revelation on individuals to an extent far beyond that of most evangelical Christians, who had and have adopted a largely de facto siege mentality--seeking merely to preserve what we have, rather than taking the fight to the enemy and seeking to take back the cultural territory that has been surrendered.

 

Parkhurst, in this so-so account of Schaeffer’s life and influence written immediately Schaeffer’s death to cancer, traces his life from birth in eastern Pennsylvania in 1912, his conversion as a high school senior through personally reading the Bible, education in college, his study at Westminster and later Faith Seminary, his activity in the Bible Presbyterian denomination, and his settling in Europe in the post-World War II decade in Europe, where the chief field of his labors occurred.  The famous L’Abri ministries established in Switzerland and elsewhere are recounted.

 

Parkhurst’s indifferent volume lacks any real discussion and analysis of Schaeffer’s writings, though he does give an extensive listing of his writings, and tapes (of the latter, there are thousands of hours).  However, the reader interested in Schaeffer should take note of two briefer yet better treatments of Schaeffer that are readily available, to wit--

 

1. “Francis Schaeffer” by Colin Duriez in Handbook of Evangelical Theologians, edited by Walter A. Elwell (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1993), pp. 245-259, which gives more than 10 items in its bibliography (Parkhurst not among them).

 

2.  “Francis Schaeffer 1912-1984” in Five Evangelical Leaders by Christopher Catherwood (Wheaton, Illinois: Harold Shaw, 1985), pp. 111-161.  Catherwood is the grandson of Martyn Lloyd-Jones.

 

I do not mention here the no doubt valuable writings of Edith Schaeffer regarding her husband Francis and his ministry (praised and employed by Duriez), simply because I have no personal acquaintance with them

---Doug Kutilek

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The History of the Reina-Valera 1960 Spanish Bible by Calvin George.  N. l., n.p., 2004.  134 pp., paperback.  $6.00

 

While the partisans and principals of the KJV-only movement imagine that they are doing God’s service and defending the Bible from the assaults of unbelief, thereby preserving and protecting the common man’s confidence in the Bible, in nearly all countries of the world where KJVOism has spread, its effects have been diametrically opposed to its adherents’ professed intentions.  By claiming that the KJV is THE perfect Bible on earth today (and thereby  “assuming facts not in evidence”), KJVOers de facto and often openly subvert confidence in foreign language versions.  Largely ignorant American Christians with all the arrogance that made “the ugly American” a stereotype around the world, have told believers in Romania, Hungary, Germany, Holland, Japan, Indonesia, and elsewhere, but especially in the Spanish-speaking world, that they cannot trust their native-language Bibles--the very Bibles that brought them to Christ, the very Scriptures which have fed their souls day by day for years and decades, and in not a few cases the only Bible they have available to them.  And why were these Bibles--some in use for centuries and in a couple of cases Bibles which preceded the KJV and were consulted by the KJV translators themselves!!!--why, I ask, were these Bibles summarily declared corrupt, untrustworthy, unusable, even accounted demonic and deserving desecration?  Why, they differed from the KJV is some particulars!!!

 

Of course, the standard of truth for the KJV translators themselves was not their English version or any other, but the original language Bible texts in Hebrew and Greek, as the lengthy “Translators to the Readers” in the original KJV repeatedly affirms (it is not for nothing that the title page of the KJV reads in part “translated out of the original tongues”).

 

One particular version singled out by KJVO cultists for their irrational and unfounded condemnation is the 1960 revision of the Reina-Valera Spanish Bible.  This is by far the Bible most widely used by fundamentalist and evangelical missionaries and believers in the Spanish-speaking world.  Millions have come to Christ through the preaching and teaching of those who have used this particular translation, and many millions have fed their souls and been built up in the faith, “prepared for every good work” by its constant reading and study.  But such a track record is not good enough for the KJVO extremists--it isn’t exactly like the KJV (of course, neither is the KJV they hold in their hand today exactly like the original 1611 edition--consistency is not a hallmark of KJVOism).  All kinds of attacks, slurs, accusations, claims and innuendos have been directed against the R-V 1960--claims of Catholic influence and subversion, claims that the translators were infected with higher critical views, claims that the R-V 1960 was influenced by the RSV and the UBS Greek texts, claims that Bible society apostates controlled and corrupted the translation, and more. 

 

Calvin George, whose previous book, The Battle for the Spanish Bible, was reviewed in AISI 7:6, has written the current book to correct and refute the misinformation, misrepresentations, and blatantly false accusations leveled by zealous but uninformed KJVOers against the R-V 1960, its revisers, its sponsors and its text.  While we gave his earlier volume a mixed review (we agreed with his basic premise that the common Spanish Bible is reliable and authoritative and that those who sought to undermine confidence in it were often in error in their criticisms of it, but we had to note that in that book Mr. George frequently adopted unwittingly some of the very assumptions--unfounded though they were--propagated by the KJVOers), the quality of Mr. George’s work in scholarship, research and analysis shows a decided improvement in this present work.  We urged that he needed to broaden his understanding and study of the issue at large.  It is evident from his latest book that he has been productively studying the whole issue in greater depth and has gained a fuller and better understanding of it.)

 

By careful and painstaking research, George has investigated the forces that led to the organization of the committee to revise the R-V 1909, and has investigated in extensio the men who made up the committee, as well as the advisers from the Bible societies, and the process by which the revision was made.  George in detailed biographical accounts of all the translators (he also gives an account of the Bible society consultant Eugene Nida), demonstrates that all the translators were academically qualified (one had three earned doctorate degrees), were committed theological conservatives (from Methodist, Presbyterian and Baptist backgrounds), strongly opposed Catholicism and were all actively involved in productive Christian ministries of various kinds.

 

The movement for a revision of the R-V 1909 came from a general consensus of Spanish-speaking evangelical Christians, who recognized that changes in the Spanish language had rendered that version obscure in not a few places, misleading to modern readers in others, and actually offensive or profane in others.  The decision was made to make a revision of the translation only, not address the question of variant readings in Greek manuscripts and texts.  Prospective translators were chosen from a number of qualified individuals, the work was carried out, in consultation with representatives of the Bible societies that would publish the finished work (these consultants did none of the actual revision), and was duly copyrighted and published.

 

George defends the R-V 1960 in many particulars--the changes in the Spanish language which compelled revision of the 1909 edition; the revision’s non-use of italics; its being copyrighted; its occasional departures from the KJV and its base Greek text.  Along the way, George points out that there is no one textus receptus, but various so-called textus receptus editions that vary among themselves and differ from the majority text in some particulars (George minimizes the differences of the textus receptus and the majority text, which in fact differ by one count in 1,838 places, many of these involving clauses and phrases, not just individual words, and in several cases whole verses).

 

George notes that changes made by the 1960 committee in the 1909 edition can in most cases be defended by appeal to precedent in textus receptus-based versions in other languages (French, Italian, German, Portuguese), or the ancient Old Latin and Peshitta Syriac versions.  While this is true, this is mis-guided.  The basis on which the R-V 1960 should (and can) be defended is appeal to the Greek text.  It could be further noted that many, many of the differences in Greek texts between the receptus editions and critical Greek texts can be defended on the same bases--appeals to receptus-based versions, as well as to the Old Latin and Syriac versions.

 

He also notes, rightly, that probably no version in any language exactly conformed in all details to any particular textus receptus edition (the KJV certainly doesn’t), so the 1960s failure to conform to any particular published Greek text in all details is simply following universal precedent.

 

Our only serious criticism of this volume by George--and it is not a central point in the book--is that he unjustifiably assumes throughout that the textus receptus editions collectively are the closest modern approximation to the original form of the Greek New Testament.  He even defends the genuineness of I John 5:7--appealing to “faith” as the basis for his view (he could not accept it as genuine on the basis of the evidence, which is decisive and unambiguous in declaring this passage as a non-original scribal insertion).

 

It must be noted, too, that most of the arguments which George employs, justifiably, to defend the revision of the 1909 Spanish Bible by the 1960 committee, apply with equal validity to revisions of the KJV over the past 200 years, and to defend the one (R-V 1960) is to defend the other (especially revisions that followed the same Greek text as the KJV, such as the New King James Bible).

 

Ordering information for this informative and helpful book can be found at www.literaturabuatista.com

---Doug Kutilek

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The Use of Spanish Bible Versions in Spanish Language Study

 

As I am seeking to improve my rudimentary knowledge of Spanish for practical ends (not the least of them being communicating the Gospel with Spanish speakers, both in the local jail--some 150-200 such are housed there--and in my city at large--estimates are of some 30,000 Spanish speakers in Wichita, or nearly 10% of the population), I have come across a worthwhile tool to facilitate my study.  From the International Bible Society, P. O. Box 35700, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80935-3570 (phone 1-800-524-1588; web address: IBSDirect.com), I acquired last October “El Nuevo Testament in Cuatro Versiones” [“The New Testament in Four Versions”].  The four versions in question are the Reina-Valera 1960 revision (RV), the most widely-used Spanish Bible among evangelical Christians, Dios Habla Hoy (DHH) the Spanish equivalent of the English “Good News for Modern Man”; La Biblia de las Americas (LBLA), the Spanish equivalent more or less of the English language New American Standard Bible (both come from the Lockman Foundation); and the Nueva Version Internacional (NVI) the equivalent of the New International Version, indeed clearly influenced by the NIV throughout, and from the same publisher (on the NVI vis-à-vis the NIV, see “Notes on Several Foreign Language Bible Translations and Their Relationship to English Versions,” in As I See It 4:5)

 

I commonly, when studying a Biblical passage in Spanish, will read it consecutively in all four of these parallel versions.  First, two of the four (RV and LBLA) are formal equivalence/ “literal” translations and two (DHH and NVI) are “dynamic equivalence”/ “functional equivalence” translations with one of these (DHH) straying into paraphrase frequently.  Such diversity in rendering helps the reader grasp more clearly the sense of the passage.  Two (RV, LBLA) persist in the archaic practice of using 2nd person forms of the pronoun and verb--e.g., “tu eres” and “vosotros sois”--rather than the modern day practice of using the 3rd person forms when addressing superiors or those other than close acquaintances, namely, “Usted es” and “Ustedes son.”  The accepted modern-day practice is by way of contrast employed in two of the versions (DHH and NVI).  Learning the older forms (roughly equivalent to learning the proper use of “thou art” in antique English) from the RV and LBLA is helpful in reading older Spanish writing, older Bible versions, and in comparative grammatical studies (Spanish in relation to other Romance languages--of interest to me), while learning the modern practice from the DHH and NVI is important since inappropriate use of the familiar forms can be deemed offensive, even arrogant or overbearing.  The use of versions following both practices has been highly instructive to me.

 

Then, again, while the RV largely follows the textus receptus editions generally, the other three--DHH, LBLA, NVI--follow the critical texts, texts I am fully convinced more faithfully present the original wording of the Greek New Testament than the receptus (though the LBLA does not follow the critical texts as closely as the NASB, and in fact frequently returns without explanation or justification to demonstrably non-original receptus readings.).  By familiarity with all four, I can be aware of places where differences in text might raise a question in a reader’s mind.

 

One of the stumbling blocks to reading texts in a foreign language is the appearance in an otherwise intelligible phrase, sentence or paragraph of an unknown word or two or three.  What do you do?  Stop every time and look up the word in a dictionary and thereby interrupt your train of thought?  Well, sometimes this is exactly what you must do, but when you have three parallel Bible versions, commonly one or another will use a synonym for the word you don’t know, or in the case of DHH, will give an explanatory phrase instead of a literal translation, and in many cases this is sufficient to enlighten you on the meaning of the unknown word, and consulting a dictionary is unnecessary.

 

Finally, reading the text in four parallel versions acquaints me with these four versions, and I can note their style, peculiarities, excellencies and also errors (my standard of accuracy is the Greek text, not the RV 1960 or the KJV).  I have thereby been able to note striking accuracies--and inaccuracies--in each (I have found places where each one stood alone in correctly giving the sense of a word or verse--even in the case of the DHH which alone gives “unico” as the meaning of monogenes at John 3:16 et al, traditionally translated “unigenito” (“only-begotten”), a translation taken from the Latin Vulgate, and unquestionably inaccurate; “unico”--“unique” is the Old Latin rendering and true to the Greek (see my article “An Inductive Study of the Use of Monogenes in the New Testament,” in As I See It 6:7).

 

I am making a running list of such strengths and weaknesses of each version as I read, which will serve to enable me to render a definite opinion about each of these versions in the future.

---Doug Kutilek

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