Over the years, Bible translations have come off the press at an alarming rate. At last count, there were more than 100 different versions from which to choose. Even for the most mature Christian, sorting through such a library to select the "best" version would be a daunting challenge, but for a new babe in Christ, the challenge would be impossible. Is God pleased with this proliferation of versions?
The largest of all commercial Bible publishers is Zondervan Corporation. It owns the rights to the New International Version (NIV) which is probably the best-selling Bible version on the market today.
Zondervan Publishing is owned by HarperCollins Publishing, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch. Rupert Murdoch is a print-media mogul. He is to the print industry what Bill Gates is to the computer industry.
In addition to owning Zondervan, he also owns newspapers in Australia, England, and America (including the New York Times). TIME magazine reports that he also owns "raunchy, intrusive tabloids," sports teams, and has film interests. The Church Bus News, a Christian magazine, reports that he owns Fox Television and "The Simpsons." One cannot help but wonder why such a man would want to own a "Christian" publishing company. Obviously, it is not because he loves the Lord and wants to produce the finest in Christian reading materials.
In an October 25, 1999, interview with TIME, Murdoch described himself as a libertarian, a very liberal religious group which denies the verbal inspiration of God's Word; yet, millions of Christians are relying on his company to produce a translation of their Bible! That same interview goes on to describe Rupert Murdoch as a "monster." If you run a search of his name on the Internet, you can easily find remarks from former employees who whole-heartedly agree. While such character descriptions are second-hand, it leads one to question whether Rupert Murdoch would even profess to be a born-again believer.
In addition to the NIV, Zondervan Publishing has also released the NIrV, a very liberal Bible version supposedly released in England for children, and the TNIV, a gender-neutral Bible version presently only available in the New Testament. With such a track record, should this company be trusted to produce your copy of the Bible?
Concerning the NIV itself, some Christians are surprised to learn several verses have been omitted from it. Try looking up any of the following in the NIV: Matthew 17:21, 18:11, 23:14, Mark 7:16, 9:44, 9:46, 11:26, 15:28, Luke 17:36, Romans 16:24, or Acts 8:37.
In addition, the NIV both omits and changes the meaning of the text, sometimes even teaching the opposite truth. Consider prayerfully, the following passages. (Underlining is mine.)
Matthew 1:25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.
NIV: But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
Psalms 10:5 His ways are always grievous; thy judgments are far above out of his sight: as for all his enemies, he puffeth at them.
NIV: His ways are always prosperous; he is haughty and your laws are far from him; he sneers at all his enemies.
Jeremiah 51:3 Against him that bendeth let the archer bend his bow, and against him that lifteth himself up in his brigandine: and spare ye not her young men; destroy ye utterly all her host.
NIV: Let not the archer string his bow, nor let him put on his armor. Do not spare her young men; completely destroy her army.
Hosea 10:1 Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself: according to the multitude of his fruit he hath increased the altars; according to the goodness of his land they have made goodly images.
NIV: Israel was a spreading vine; he brought forth fruit for himself. As his fruit increased, he built more altars; as his land prospered, he adorned his sacred stones.
Hosea 11:12 Ephraim compasseth me about with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit: but Judah yet ruleth with God, and is faithful with the saints.
NIV: Ephraim has surrounded me with lies, the house of Israel with deceit. And Judah is unruly against God, even against the faithful Holy One.
Proverbs 17:8 A gift is as a precious stone in the eyes of him that hath it: whithersoever it turneth, it prospereth.
NIV: A bribe is a charm to the one who gives it; wherever he turns, he succeeds.
Proverbs 26:22 The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.
NIV: The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man's inmost parts.
Is God pleased with the proliferations of Bible translations? I don't think so. Is the NIV a reliable translation of God's Word? I don't think so. Be careful about casting away your KJV! There are some reasons it has been around for 400 years. If it seems difficult to understand, pray and read it again. God will give you the wisdom to understand it. (James 1:5)