by Bertrand L. Comparet

You have noticed that sometimes I point out to you some matter on which your King James Version of the Bible is not accurate, or I may quote a verse from another translation in not quite the same words you find when you look it up in your King James Version. Some of you probably wonder, "Why doesn't he just stick to the old King James Version with which we are all so familiar?" Here is the answer: I do this because you are entitled to be told THE EXACT TRUTH as to just what the Word of God really says. If I couldn't tell you the exact truth, I'd stop broadcasting. No matter how old an error is, no matter how we have become accustomed to it or have grown to love it because of its familiarity, IT WON'T DO TO BE MISTAKEN ABOUT WHAT GOD REALLY SAID.

Am I attacking religion or the Bible by correcting errors in this way? Not at all. RELIGION IS THE SUPREME TRUTH, and only when we get man­made mistakes out of it can we have the purest religion. So what about the Bible? Well, let's start at the beginning.

As you know, the Bible was written many centuries before there was any such language as English. The Old Testament was originally written in the Hebrew language; and about 300 B.C., a group of 70 scholars in the city of Alexandria translated it into Greek---and their translation is called the Septuagint (meaning "seventy"). The New Testament was originally written in the language which Jesus Christ spoke --- Aramaic (a language closely related to Hebrew)---later translated into Greek. All Catholic versions of the Bible were translated from the Greek into Latin, by Jerome, whose translation was called the Vulgate; and from the Vulgate into English. Protestant Bibles are nearly all translated into English from Hebrew manuscripts of the Old Testament and Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. Thus, in these repeated translations, there were multiplied opportunities for errors to creep in.

I believe that the Bible, AS THE PROPHETS ORIGINALLY WROTE IT, IN HEBREW AND ARAMAIC, was truly the Word of God, inspired by Him, true and correct. So far as the translators have made a perfect and exact translation into English, without the slightest change, it is still the Word of God: but wherever the translators have changed it, it is no longer the Word of God but only the word of the translator or interpreter, and we cannot accept or rely upon it in those particular verses which were changed. We must get back to the exact words and meaning it had in the original.

The King James Version was published in the year 1611. At that time there were no ancient language scholars as well-trained as the best we now have, for then they had relatively little of ancient writings to study. Again, King James expressly forbade them to make any but the most necessary changes in previous translations or "to make any innovations." In those days, heresy (which, in practice, was any disagreement with the religious hierarchy) was still punished by most horrible torture and death; so the translators were not eager to dispute older translations. The best scholars today tell us that there are a great many mistakes in translation in the King James Version. By far the greater part of it is correct; and where it is correct, I quote from it, because it is so well known and loved for Its majestically beautiful wording. But the errors must still be corrected. What sorts of errors are there?

First, those where they just didn't understand the meaning of the Hebrew or Greek word, and so used the wrong English word. The best scholars of today can find and correct these errors without any doubt.

But it is not all that simple. In nearly all languages, some words have more than one meaning; so which do you take? For example, the English word "fast"---F-A-S-T: what does it mean? First, it means 'capable of moving very rapidly"; second, it means "stuck so firmly that you can't move at all"; third, to go without eating, fourth, as applied to colors, "not fading from sunlight or washing"; and fifth, in a slang sense, it means "of doubtful moral character." Which meaning will you give it when you translate it? Sometimes the general context will tell you; but not always. For example: "I asked the Captain 'Can you get your ship out of the harbor into the open sea within an hour?' and he replied "My ship is fast." Did he mean "My ship is Speedy, so I can do it"? Or did he mean 'My Ship is STUCK FAST AGROUND, so I can't move it at all."? When you find a word of double meaning in the Bible, you must carefully compare EACH meaning the word has with everything the other prophets wrote on that same subject, and see which meaning is entirely consistent with all of God's message on that subject. Sometimes one translator gets it right, sometimes another; hence the need to compare many translations. Sometimes a certain sect has founded its principle doctrine on a definitely wrong translation; in such a case, I can only stick to the correct translation, no matter what someone's erroneous doctrines may be.

Another difficulty can arise where the Hebrews or the Greeks used different words than we use in English to express the same idea. Each language has its own idioms. For example, if you heard a man say "I sure PAINTED THE TOWN RED, last night", you would know what he MEANT---but that's not what he SAID. Suppose you translated that, word for word, into German: can't you imagine some solemn German wondering why a man would spend the night slopping red paint on other people's houses? To translate the MEANING exactly, you would have to use other words; and probably ten different languages would have ten different ways to say it. These cases are the most difficult of all to translate, for you must truly get into the spirit of both languages--­and no one translator can always do it. The one who translates one Hebrew phrase with brilliant accuracy will make a terrible botch of another; therefore, there is NO One perfect translation of the Bible. That is why I have in my library 11 different translations of the Old Testament and eighteen different translations of the New Testament. In all doubtful points I compare many, and choose the one which is clearest and most accurate.

For example, let's take Jeremiah 8:8---in your King James, it reads, "How, then, do we say, We are wise, and the Law of the Lord is with us?' Lo, certainly in vain made He it; the, pen of the scribes is in vain." If this means anything at all, it must mean that God made His law in vain --- poor, weak God, He meant well, but He just wasn't able to make it stick. You know that Jeremiah never wrote anything that silly. What did he really write? Smith & Goodspeed, An American Translation, translates this, "How can you say, 'We are wise, and the Law of the Lord is with us'? When, lo, the lying pen of the scribes has turned it into a lie!" Moffatt translates it, "What! You say, 'We are wise, we do have His directions'---when lo, your scribes have written them wrong and falsified them." Rotherham is the same. Truly, as God said through the prophet Isaiah (43:27), "Thine interpreters have transgressed against Me."

Again, the meaning of some English words has changed greatly since the King James translation was made. For example, take Psalm 119:147, where the writer (probably Hezekiah) says 'I PREVENTED the dawning of the morning." You don't really believe that King Hezekiah didn't allow the sun to rise, do you? And he never said that was what he did. In the year 1611, the English word "prevent" meant "to anticipate" or "to come before if Hezekiah merely said that he ANTICIPATED that morning would soon dawn; and that's what People who read the King James Version in 1611 understood it to mean. Today, prevent" means "TO HINDER","NOT TO ALLOW SOMETHING TO OCCUR." There are many other old English words which have changed meaning like this. Wherever such a word is used in the King James Version, it will mislead you. In such cases, I use one of the modern English translations: sometimes Moffatt, or Smith & Goodspeed, or Ferrar Fenton, or Rotherham, or Weymouth, or Panin, or Bagster's translation of the Septuagint, or Lamsals translation from the Aramaic; or yet some other. Sometimes nothing but a literal translation of the Hebrew or Greek will give enough precision of expression.

So I am not disputing the Divine inspiration of the Bible: I am defending and upholding it. There is only one true Bible, and that is just exactly what God expressed in the languages in which it was first written. Wherever men have changed this, they are wrong, no matter how good their intentions may have been. We must go back to the real Bible, the true Word of God.