© 2002 by David W. Daniels
Question: Can I read the NIV and still be saved?
Why do KJV only Christians believe that those who read the NIV are stupid, that somehow they don't know that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the second person of the Godhead, part of the Trinity, that no man can be saved outside belief in the atoning work of Jesus Christ and his shed blood for the remission of our sins. Word twisters and people without common sense who don't read things in their proper context tend to have an "us against everyone else" attitude. I don't see where the NIV, NASB, NKJV pervert the doctrines of church Jesus began. Your arguments only serve to divide Christians by placing doubt where none should be. I came to Christ through a Chick Tract when I was 12, and believe it is an essential ministry. Everything about your organization and what you are doing for the Kingdom of God is admirable, but this continue bashing of those who are not KJV believers only tend to ruin what you are doing in the first place. I challenge you to show me that I am lost and am going to hell because I read the NIV, you won't have a leg to stand on.
Answer: I know no person who gauges Christianity (salvation, I mean) by which Bible he reads.
I too, as you, have a Chick Tract to thank for my salvation, as I do Almighty God. But when I got saved, I was immediately turned to the NASV. I didn't lose my salvation. Then I read the ASV 1901. I didn't lose my salvation. Then I read the RSV, the NKJV, then the NIV, then the NKJV again for another decade. I have been saved over 21 years, and I guarantee you, I never lost my salvation for reading another Bible, even when I spent time reading the Roman Catholic New American Bible, and the Jesuit-written Douay-Rheims, the latter because it was SO SIMILAR to the United Bible Society's 3rd edition Greek Text.
Salvation is based on the shed blood of our precious Lord and Saviour, God the Son and Son of God, Jesus Christ, and faith in His atoning death. It is NEVER based upon a preference of book reading!
If anyone has said that, then almost all of us at Chick Publications would be going to hell, for having read the "other" Bibles.
That said, I cannot then say that "all Bibles are OK." Have you read the Jehovah's Witnesses' Bible? One day I read to my church a number of verses. I asked them if they sounded right. None agreed. They agreed to a one that something was wrong. Then I showed them the camouflaged Bible I read from was a JW's New World Translation. Everyone was relieved. Then I told them: "Every verse you heard is essentially the same in the NIV." Mouths were stopped. People gasped. It was a great effect! I had made a point.
But I'm not some dyed-in-the-wool, born in the Appalachians (not to offend anyone from there), raised in a FundaMENTAList church and never grown beyond my instilled doctrines Christian, either.
I got my Bachelors of Arts at what is now called Hope University, Fullerton, California, in Linguistics and Bible. I got my Masters of Divinity degree at Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California, in General Theology, majoring in Linguistics. I took the three year Summer Institute of Linguistics courses with Wycliffe Bible Translators. I was top Greek student in Bible college and walked into Advanced Greek in seminary, thrilling my ASV/NIV/NASV using denomination. After that, I spent years as a curious post-graduate, buying books about the co-called Majority Text (Hodges/Farstad), the newer Nestles/UBS Greek texts, buying copies of ancient versions, etc. No one who has known me the last two decades can deny that. I am far from an ignoramous on these issues, to be blunt.
When one (count them: ONE) of my friends brought up the issue of the King James (he's a full-grown father, grandfather, college-educated, etc.), I really disagreed, but he prayed for me anyway! He would bring up a small thought, a seminal idea, and I would (as is my nature) go crazy looking up references, versions, Greek, Hebrew, linguistics and history. (Funny I'm so big on history now: I got a C in History years ago. I guess I wanted to find out the truth, and I just got better at it.) Gradually he started making points with me.
I spent years researching the Roman Catholic religion, simultaneously to the Bible history and version issue. A few years ago, the research began to dovetail: Roman Catholic names were found involved with what happened to change the Protestant Bible into a Jesuit Roman Catholic Bible.
See, there are two histories, not just one, that emerged. If you don't mind my being simplistic, let me describe them:
I could go on. Do you see a difference? I didn't want to go to the King James Bible. My prejudices against it were so high that I ONLY said people could read it if the only other option were the Living Bible! I bought people NIVs by the dozens (literally--ask my friends), but never recommended the KJV.
When I found these and many more facts, backing up the definitive, normative, actual text being the Antiochian, Vaudois, Reformation, King James line, I didn't want to switch! But I was convicted by the evidence. I'd get old history books and check the timeline. Guess what? I found Gail Riplinger actually told the truth! And when I read her "New Age Bible Versions" book, I remembered my own occult upbringing. She's no liar. But I realized: Someone WAS lying!
There are only two possibilities here. There are only two arguments. There are only two sides. One side says the Alexandrian texts are the best we can get. The other side says the Antiochian texts are God's preserved words. Let's take a look at the argument and the associated evidence for each.
On one side is the concept that the "scholars in Alexandria, Egypt" produced a near-perfect, near original text. The problem is that of four manuscripts, each a huge, expensive, elaborately made codex (book), a man who spent a massive amount of time could find no two consecutive verses that were the same! So there is no consistent witness at all. They all disagree, both with each other and the Antiochian side. And the people in Alexandria didn't believe that Jesus was eternally God, that the Holy Ghost was eternally God, or that the miracles of the Old Testament actually happened. They were said to "spiritualize" the scriptures*. They merged Greek Philosophy with Biblical texts. Such is the Alexandrian side. That represents both the Roman Catholics and Greek Orthodox, and the Protestants who use "new versions". After the Roman Catholic Latin Vulgate was made, largely using the Alexandrian manuscripts, but forming it like the Old Latin Vulgate, they spent 900 years killing anyone who had the Old Latin Vulgate.
On the other side is the concept that the city where Paul and Barnabus taught, where "the disciples were called Christians first" (Acts 11:26) is the city where scriptures were preserved. The Antiochians were said to be "hyper-literal".** If I had to choose someone to preserve God's words, it would be a hyper-literalist! From there, in 120 AD, the apostolic groups reached the Vaudois, a group of people in the Piedmont French valley of the Alps. These people were isolated, and after releasing their translation of the scriptures in their Old Latin in 157 AD, it became the Common Bible, or "Vulgate". This is the book the Roman Catholics tried to duplicate in form, but mostly using the Alexandrian manuscripts.
Which would you choose, if you had to choose? The Alexandrian side is clearly Roman Catholic. The Apocrypha comes from the same "codices" as the so-called "septuagint" and the Alexandrian New Testament, which I afore mentioned. My choice is clear. I choose the preserved over the perverted, the Apostolic over the apostate, the Antiochian over the Alexandrian, "Thus said the LORD" over "Thus saith my teacher."
Please examine the evidence. I do not condemn you. If you are saved, you are my brother. And like a brother, I urge you to consider these things.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
And may God bless you as you read His preserved words in English, the King James Bible.
* Believe it or not, this comes from a Jesuit book on early writers, in a section about Origen.
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** This comes from the same Jesuit book.
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