The Making of the English Bible!

“Speaking about the “New English Bible” just published (1970), Gerald Hammond wrote, New_English_Bible_cover“Partly the loss of faith in the Hebrew and Greek as the definitive word of God has led to the translators’ loss of contact with it, but more responsibility lies in the belief that a modern Bible should aim not to tax its readers’ linguistic or interpretative abilities one bit. If this aim is to be achieved then it seems clear that a new Bible will have to be produced for every generation, each one probably moving us further away from the original text, now that the initial break has been made. In the New English Bible’s title, ‘new’ is the operative word. The contrast with the Authorised Version could scarcely be greater…It has, in effect, unmade a Bible which took ninety years to make, and which held the imaginations and emotions of its readers for three hundred and fifty years” (G Hammond, “The Making of the English Bible”).

“In order to assure that a textbook will be purchased and used by teachers, a sixth-grade textbook may be written down to a fourth-grade reading level in order to assure that all the students can read it. It’s a simple matter to translate this into the modern Bible production context. The challenges presented to Bible Publishers to make lucid, ancient Near Eastern sacred texts, originally written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, to appeal to a population on a downward slide from literacy, are simply massive” (T Letis).

The publishers obviously think that “Christians” are dummies, with very little, in the way of, “linguistic or interpretative abilities” as per Hammond. And each and every one now and again come up with an updated version. How can you update the word of God, I ask myself? All of them prosaic, losing the poetic beauty of the original Hebrew, not to mention the literalness of God’s word. Murdoch’s popular NIV is quietly going gender neutral, in fact, I think it has already arrived. How long before they produce an all-inclusive version, catering to the Churches in West who have and are increasingly caving into the LGBTQ agenda?

Hammond was right, “a Bible produced for every generation,” and more even.

The Quest Study Bible

The New Student Bible

Women’s Devotional Bible

The Adventure Bible

The Teen Study Bible

Men’s Devotional Bible

Couples’ Devotional Bible

The NIV Life Application Bible

The NIV Study Bible

Youthwalk Devotional Bible

The above list is just from one publisher, the godless Murdoch empire. It is not an exhaustive list either. I think at the last count there are eighty-one private versions of the Bible in the UK alone. According to the Oxford University Press, “we have reached saturation point.” It would seem not, for Crossway have just produced an ‘update’ including the Apocrypha. Rome will be well-pleased. Now she too can abandon the gender-neutral NIV, which the ESV was a reaction to we believe. With JI Packer of “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” at the wheel of the ESV translation business, this doesn’t come as a surprise. The Bible has gone from being a possession of the Church to being the property of commercial landlords.

Further to this, the National Council of Churches, who owns the copyright to the old RSV, which is the basis of the ESV, eighty-one per cent of it, as can be clearly seen from the copyright page of the ESV itself. Where this is made perfectly clear. That a licensing fee must be paid for the use of copyright material is standard procedure in the publishing world. That Crossway has such a contract with the National Council of Churches has also been confirmed by the National Council of Churches themselves. Therefore, Crossway very much financially benefits the National Council of Churches. A Council, I might add, that is committed to ecumenism in the extreme, and is supportive of the gay-rights agenda, the ordination of both homosexuals and women, and that abortion should not be prohibited. Should any right-minded evangelical Christian, or Christian publisher be supporting such an organisation?

With the widespread and deepening apostasy, it’s not too difficult to see where this is going to end up. However,

“I do not believe, that anyone has the right, nor the authority, to pontificate to the Christian world one Bible alone as Holy Scripture, while anathematizing the rest to the incinerator (the Holy Spirit Himself must ultimately bear witness to the Divine final authority). We have all heard testimonies of people who have come to the Christian faith by reading a Jehovah’s Witness Bible. Martin Luther received salvation light from a Roman Catholic Latin Vulgate. We should never think that the Holy Spirit is limited to Elizabethan English.

But to whom much is given, much will be required. Those of us who have become aware that the modern Bibles represent more the abstract concerns emanating from the competing textual theories of various specialists, as well as representing the more pragmatic concerns of the Bible marketing industry which has capitalized on the loss of consensus produced by the specialists, it would seem we have a responsibility. That is, to direct young and seeking pilgrims, as well as seasoned saints, back to the “old landmarks.”

John Wesley stated it this way: “I have thought, I am a creature of a day, passing through life as an arrow through the air. I am a spirit come from God, and returning to God: just hovering over the great gulf; till, a few moments hence, I am no more seen; I drop into an unchangeable eternity! I want to know one thing — the way to heaven; how to land safe on that happy shore. God Himself has condescended to teach the way; for this very end, He came from heaven. He hath written it down in a Book. 0 give me that Book! At any price, give me THE Book of God” (T Letis)!

Further reading:

(James R Hamilton, May 2019)
Sermon Audio


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