Ask OldTimer

"New Age" Bible Versions: How Dangerous Are They?

The Question:

Some people state that the only Bible we should use is the King James Versions, and that all the other versions are "New Age" and dangerous. Which version should I read?

The Answer:

I have been studying the Bible all of my life, in fact I literally teethed on our family Bible. I also have a BA in Religion from Hollins College with an emphasis on the Bible and graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. I tell you this not to be boastful, but to let you know that I am somewhat qualified to put forth an opinion on Bible translations.

ANY translation is an interpretation, including the KJV. The REAL Bible is written in Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic. If someone wants to split hairs about it, the ONLY Bible we should be using is one in the original language! Of course that
creates another problem - most of us don't know Hebrew, Greek or Aramaic. And most of us don't have access to the original manuscripts. (Even the Bible that the Apostles most likely used (according to the scriptures they quoted) was the Septuagint, which was a Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament.)

I have taken Greek, and it is the most difficult class I've ever had - more difficult than even computer architecture or statistics. So I have some knowledge of it, but far from enough to do my own translation or to read it totally in Greek without
help. I've thought about taking Hebrew, but that seems even harder.

So we are left with a dilemma - since most of us have to use a translation - which one to use? My personal answer is to use as many as possible. The KJV is a beautiful translation, and has been around for almost 400 years now, but the language it was written in is Shakespearean English, which is not only hard for the modern reader to understand, but even those who claim to understand it often put modern connotations on Shakespearean words, sometimes with disastrous and heretical results.

We have been blessed with many choices of translations today, and to say any of them is "New Age" is strange, since the whole tenor of the Bible is anti-occult. And for someone to take 400 years of Bible scholarship to task and repudiate EVERYTHING that has been accomplished since King James sat on the throne is presumptuous at best, and destructive at worst.

Some people go so far to believe that the KJV is the ONLY translation we should read... and that everything since 1611 is somehow of the devil. These same people will tell you that the KJV is the same version Paul read, which is nonsense, because the KJV wasn't translated until nearly 1500 years after Paul died!

I have read several articles about this topic, and one critic in particular who calls hersefl "Sister Riplinger" (the critic quoted by the questioner) compares the new versions to the KJV instead of to the ORIGINAL manuscripts in the original languages. So what she's doing is comparing a translation to another translation! And I was very disturbed at the haughty tone and hateful derision expressed there.  If the scholars she derides ARE in error, this is no way to correct it. You see bringing a slandering accusation against a member of the body of Christ and creating division in that body is not a work of the Spirit but an act of the flesh and a reflection of the spirit of disobedience.

As for myself, I do not want to be a part of such a battle. The KJV is a fine translation, if you want to stick to that, OK. Basically the KJV and the NIV are both translations of the Hebrew/Greek original documents - and both are efforts by men to interpret the Bible in a language the readers understand. The KJV, while beautiful, is written in the English spoken 400 years ago, and is difficult for modern readers to understand and interpret. The NIV is one effort by modern scholars to make the Bible understandable to us today.

I use several versions, including the KJV, NIV, Amplified, NASB, Living (which I know is a paraphrase), and Amplified. I also have a Greek New Testament, and recently purchased an Interlinear (which has the original Greek and an English literal translation, word by word). In fact, at last count I have about 15 translations, plus several others available over the internet. When I teach, I study out of all these versions, and have found that the unlying meaning is the same. (The only translation I've examined that I do NOT recommend is The New World Version - as it is not faithful to the original texts.)

So put your mind at ease! The devil has NOT gotten into all of our Bibles and made them new age texts! The important thing is not to argue about which translation to use, but to ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in which one to use, and to USE it!

Return to Top

All files 1999 Karleen E. Page, All Rights Reserved. ONE copy may be printed or copied to your PC for personal use only. Please email for any other permissions. Thank You. Posted at Ask OldTimer.

This page has been visited times.