Thursday, March 18, 2010

New International Version Bible: Translated to Fit Worldview?

Below is a paragraph from a blog written by a former student of Liberty University, a Baptist University founded by Jerry Falwell:

"I began to wonder if even different translations of the Bible could contain different worldviews; I had a hunch that they did. When I became a student at Liberty University, I found out that my guess was correct. As a student in New Testament History, my teacher was Dr. Elmer Towns. Dr. Towns had been on the committee to translate the New International Version. In one of the lectures for my New Testament class, Dr. Towns was talking about a difficult passage of the New Testament and explained that in translating that portion of the scriptures, the group had just translated it according to their own worldview as Baptist Christians because the way it read in the original didn’t fit with their own understanding."

See the original article in context, here. UPDATE: Immediately after letting the author of the blog know I had quoted her article, she pulled it. Here is a link to her blog, though the post from which this quote was taken is no longer there.

Perhaps it shouldn't have been such a surprise but, to me, it still was. I was aware of the gender-neutral controversy regarding the NIV translation and have also heard that there were several self-proclaimed homosexuals who worked as translators on that version, but to so openly admit that the original texts were altered to fit into a Baptist's theological presuppositions? Amazing.

I don't condemn the NIV version of the Bible, nor do I condemn any of the translators. It is not my prerogative to judge someone in that manner for only God can see the heart of man.

The NIV is used by many Seventh-day Adventist pastors where it more eloquently translates a certain passage of God's Word, and it doesn't bother me at all. Yet, I still feel the need to reference the same passage in a King James or New King James version.

I believe God's Word and God's inspiration of its authors, is inerrant. I believe the Bible is as far above reproach as is God Himself...but we should always remember that "to err is human, to forgive is divine."

Do I believe in verbal-inspiration or thought-inspiration? I'd only answer that it doesn't really matter anymore. I don't believe in the verbal inspiration of any translations of the original manuscripts (yes, not even the KJV)...and those originals are long gone. But the thought-inspiration was surely preserved by the hand of God.

Click here for Dr. Towns' web page. I wanted to send him a message inquiring of the aforementioned incident, but he has no contact information on the site.

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