Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Understanding the Problem

I am often asked, "Bro. Shutt, how do we fix the problems within these modern versions?" To be honest, that is the wrong question (in my opinion, anyway).

I'm reminded of a story I once heard. A college math professor who wrote a mathematical equation on the blackboard. His students immediately began shouting out answers - most of which were wrong. After several minutes, the students could tell that they were getting no closer to finding the correct answer. One of the students said, "Prof, why don't you help us out? You're just sitting over there without really giving us any direction on how to answer the question." The professor simply stood, walked to blackboard, then gave this response: "I gave you all the information you needed to find the correct answer. You can never gain the solution, until you first address the problem."

This the exact same thing that is going on when it comes to the 'equation' of modern versions today. Most of the people who are working on them want to give 'answers' to a problem that they seldom even address, and often challenge within their text. Let me give you an example:

In Mark 1:40-41, we are introduced to a man who has leprosy. This is a man who is dying a slow, and very painful death. The King James Bible gives the account in this manner:

"And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean." (emphasis mine)

This is a clear demonstration of the nature of Christ - having compassion upon those who desire and need it. This is also a perfect parallel to salvation: Anyone who desires to be saved can come to Christ, and he (having compassion on them) will save them.

The NIV2011 has recently come out (in honour of the 400 year anniversary of the King James Bible...I haven't quite been able to figure that one out, but that's another issue), and has a quite different view of this passage...

"A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, "If you are willing, you can make me clean." Jesus was indignant. He reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" (emphasis mine)

Now, I have to admit, I was not entirely sure what indignant meant. So I looked it up. It means, "filled with contempt; angry or annoyed." This was quite baffling to me...because compassion and indignation are two very different words. These words are antonyms - they don't share the the same meaning at all, not even remotely could they mean the same.

Folks, would you want to talk to someone who gets angry at people who need help? Not hardly. You see, in an effort to answer the question of "how do we make something brand new?", the NIV2011 translators ignored the equation all together. The question they should have asked themselves is "According to the other places in scripture [specifically where Jesus said "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."], and according to historical evidence before us, which reading is correct?" This question was ignored completely, and sacrificed on the altar of the expedient and new.

There are literally dozens of other examples where the problem is never addressed, but where it is apparent that the modern versions merely wanted an answer of some sort. Whether or not it was correct, biblically and historically, was (apparently) irrelevant.

We must understand the problem when it comes to modern versions. Were all the people involved lost? No, I do not believe so - but that is not the question. The question is: Why would we need an update on something that is right to start with? It could also be asked: Why do we want an update that challenges the very nature of our Saviour? Once the problem is understood...it is then that we may begin to find the answer to it.

God Bless!

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