NOT PRECISE. Adapted for illustration purposes only.

Return to Front Page


Though content is scrutinized for biblical support, written material presented from outside sources is not a blanket endorsement by THE SACRED SANDWICH of all the views and opinions the various authors may hold.  We reserve the right to test all viewpoints against Scripture, and encourage our readers to do the same.
Back to Front Page
J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), translator for the Phillips Translation
PHILLIPS HAD VISITATIONS FROM A DEAD MAN: "A few days after (C. S. Lewis') death, while I was watching television, (Lewis) 'appeared' sitting in a chair within a few feet of me, and spoke a few words which were particularly relevant to the difficult circumstances through which I was passing." from J. B. Phillips, "Ring of Truth". Macmillan Company, 1967, pp 118-119.

Dr. Robert Bratcher, chief translator of Today's English Version (TEV), also published as the Good News Bible
"If we build our faith wholly on the Bible, then we are building our faith on shifting sand. We must follow the facts or there is nothing to believe. We cannot literally follow Jesus, only go in his direction." (The Greenville News, Greenville, South Carolina, November 8, 1970.)
"Only willful ignorance or intellectual dishonesty can account for the claim that the Bible is inerrant and infallible ... To invest the Bible with the qualities of inerrancy and infallibility is to idolatrize it, to transform it into a false god." (as quoted in Faith for the Family, Greenville: Bob Jones University, Sept. 1981. Note: the Bob Jones publication did not agree with Bratcher's position.)
"We are not bound by the letter of Scripture, but by the spirit. Even words spoken by Jesus in Aramaic in the thirties of the first century and preserved in writing in Greek, 35 to 50 years later, do not necessarily wield compelling authority over us today." (The Baptist Courier, Apr. 2, 1981; the Courier is the South Carolina SBC state paper.)
Does your church or Bible study group like to single out Bible verses from various contemporary translations to support their teachings? While this might be harmless enough, the practice of jumping from one translation to another for the purpose of “proof-texting” is a technique which can easily confuse or manipulate your clear understanding of God’s truth. Don’t be misled by the misunderstandings that this can produce. We’re not talking about translations that simply change “thee” to “you.” We’re talking about translations that muddle God’s clear doctrines. Do you really know the facts about your church’s choice of Bible versions?
William Tyndale, the martyr, who passionately fought for the Bible to be translated into English for the sake of the common man, would be dumbfounded to see how many Bible translations are available today for the masses. By all outward appearances, it would seem that his vision to supply God’s word to the lay person, including the lowly ploughboy, has been fully realized. Based on numbers alone, it might be assumed that Tyndale, if alive today, would be overjoyed with this modern proliferation of Bibles. But would he?

The sad truth is that some of the modern translations being published today cannot rightly call themselves the Holy Bible. There is nothing holy about these popular Bible versions which purport to be faithful in their translation of the original Greek and Hebrew manuscripts, and yet are nothing more than veiled commentaries from liberal theologians who have not only “dumbed-down” the biblical text for public consumption, but have interjected their bias into their textual renderings. Among these newer versions, God’s word has been twisted to include everything from New Age mysticism, humanistic psychology, pro-gay sentiment, and even denial of the major tenets of the Gospel. Surely, Tyndale would be scandalized by these perversions of Holy Writ.

While Tyndale truly desired to see the Bible mass-produced in the familiar tongue of the people, it certainly cannot be said that he advocated publishing careless Bible versions at the expense of God’s plain and precious truths. From the very beginning Tyndale was wise enough to realize that the impact of the Bible for commoners would only come if God’s word was preserved in its strictest and most literal form. In the preface of his 1530 translation of the Pentateuch, Tyndale was adamant that “it was impossible to establish the lay people in any truth, except the scripture were plainly laid before their eyes in their mother tongue, that they might see the process, order, and meaning of the text.”

Some of the modern Bible translations, however, have ignored the godly judgment of Tyndale and have clouded that vital “process, order, and meaning of the text” as found in the original languages of God’s word. In fact, the more recent crop of Bible translations aren’t really translations at all, but are paraphrases that have abandoned a more formal, “word-for-word” translation for an imprecise technique that conveys the basic “gist” of a verse in modern lingo. Though some evangelical leaders like Rick Warren covet these paraphrases for presenting God’s revelation in “new, fresh ways,” these Bibles are often nothing more than watered-down offerings for a fickle, undiscerning public who fail to realize that they have sometimes replaced God’s unchangeable truth with a falsehood.

Though The Sacred Sandwich does not advocate a “King James Version only” position, we definitely encourage Christians to study with one of the more “formal equivalent” translations of the Bible that are the most faithful to a word-for-word rendering of God's precious truth. (We realize, of course, that translating Greek into English cannot be done literally word-for-word or it would be too difficult to read.) Problems arise, however, with the use of Bible paraphrases that have mishandled God's word by including lengthy insertions or omissions to make it more readable or culturally appealing. In some cases these paraphrases are used to convey a misleading interpretation of the verse based on the theological bias of the translators. Proverbs 30:6 clearly warns us, “Do not add to His words lest He reprove you, and you be proved a liar.”

The bottom line: We should be very thankful for our modern availability of God's word in various languages and translations. Yet we should always be wary of this latest trend to produce Bibles where precision and context is being abandoned for the appeal of postmodern sentiments and cultural relevance. For your discernment, we offer the following critiques of some of these latest Bible paraphrases. If possible, we also encourage you to purchase a solid, more "formal equivalent" translation of Scripture and do your own comparison to see the subtle shifts in meaning that take place in many modern paraphrased versions. (Our first recommendation: the New American Standard Bible.)

See Further Reading Links (upper left column) and Bible Comparison Chart (above) for more information on the important differences in translations.