It’s Like Daring God
By David W. Daniels
Even when people realize they are sinners and need Christ, they may respond, “I can’t do that now; I’ve got to clean up my life first.” Did you know you can find this misconception in changes to important words in some modern bibles?
Look at Acts 2:38, right after the men of Jerusalem are stricken in their hearts and declare, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”
In the 1938 copy of the Douay-Rheims Bible, verse 38 says: “But Peter said to them, Do penance, and be baptized....” Do penance? I have to do a work to be saved? Of course not. We can’t do works to get saved. John 6:29 declares: “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”
So any translation that makes a work into what we do to be saved in Acts 2:38 cannot possibly be what God said. It has to be man’s words. In the “Cotton Patch” version of this verse it says: “Rock said to them, Reshape your lives....” I thought Jesus reshaped my life. Someone is mistaken.
In “The Message” version: “Peter said, Change your life. Turn to God...” Change my own life? The hymn correctly states: “What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought, since Jesus came into my heart.”
But here, it makes it into our work, doesn’t it?
Another new version, The Common English Bible with Apocrypha, says: “Peter replied, ‘Change your hearts and lives....’” So it’s not just your life, you have to change your own heart …and your life!
With these twists in their bibles, it is easy to see how someone would assume he has to “clean up his act” before he can come to Christ. And even after someone “accepts Christ” he may still think that he is doing the work, instead of letting the Holy Ghost work in him.
What does “repent” mean? A person lost in sin is facing away from God, fallen, under His judgment and needing Him desperately. But the Lord is 180 degrees away, completely separate from sin. I have to turn 180 degrees, and face the Lord Jesus. That’s the meaning of “repent” for an unbeliever: Turn, in faith, and trust the Lord Jesus and His shed blood, which alone is able to save and forgive our sin.
But these are not the only modern bibles that have adopted this definition of repent: You’ll find “change your hearts and lives” instead of “repent” in the Youth Bible (1991), the International Children’s Bible (1987) and in the English Version for the Deaf (1978). A new version called The Expanded Bible not only says, “Change your hearts and lives,” but it also adds commentary right into the text of the scriptures. So man’s guesses, conjectures, and interpretations that are usually at the bottom of the page, are right there in the text!
And once you start, where do you stop? I never want to stand before Jesus on Judgment Day and have Him say to me, “Why did you put your words in my Bible?”
Every time we elevate our words to the level of scripture, we are taking a chance with God.
We are almost daring His anger.
For additional information about the pollution in the modern Bible versions, see Did the Catholic Church Give Us the Bible? by David W. Daniels.