WALTER VIETH AND HIS WAR ON THE BIBLE (WELL….SOME BIBLES) PART 1
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Part 1

The article we’re going to be looking at is twenty-nine pages long, but it doesn’t begin to examine actual Bible passages until page fourteen; and that’s where I’ll be beginning. (There are no page numbers as it reads online, but those were the page numbers when I printed it out.)

On page fourteen there’s a heading that reads: “Examples of Pertinent Changes and their Origin.” Below that is a small paragraph that begins with this important statement: “Modern translations undoubtedly alter the Biblical witness of Jesus Christ and downplay his deity and supremacy.” Obviously, that’s an extremely serious charge WV makes there. And since he prefaces his charge with the word “undoubtedly,” one would expect that he’s going to make a case for his charge that will be so clear that no honest reader can doubt the truth of his assertion.

He then briefly mentions “the Nestle-Aland (NA) text.” (The NA is some manuscript that WV believes is very bad. He says many modern translations are based on it. And he refers to it often as he goes through the various passages).

He finishes the paragraph by saying, “It is not the intention of this document to list all the hundreds of omissions and alterations found in modern versions based on NA, but a few pertinent ones are worthy of note and are here adapted largely from Rudolf Ebertshauser’s document…” (He gives the title of the document, but it’s in German.)

Immediately after that paragraph he begins examining various Bible passages, with the first section being entitled, “a) The equality of the Son with the Father.” In this section he attempts to prove his assertion that the “modern translations downplay Christ’s deity.” In it he examines ten Bible passages. And it’s this section, and these ten Bible passages, that will be the focus of part 1 of this study. (So as not to pick and choose, I’m going to look at all ten of the passages he examines.)

I’d like to say one more thing before beginning: Since WV says there are “hundreds of omissions and alterations,” and he’s only going to “take note of a few pertinent ones,” I think we would certainly be justified in expecting that these few pertinent ones are going to be some of the strongest, clearest, and best examples. And as he says in the first sentence, they should “undoubtedly” prove that the modern translations “downplay Christ’s deity.”

Passage #1—1 Timothy 3:16

“God was manifest in the flesh.” {1 Timothy 3:16 KJV}

WV: NA renders “God was manifest in the flesh” as “He was manifest in the flesh.
This opens the way for Jesus to be just a created being as gnosis would have it. The NIV here follows the lead of NA.”

ME: First, none of the modern translations read, “God was manifest in the flesh.” All the word-for-word translations read like the NIV, “He appeared in the flesh.” And all the thought-for-thought translations read, “Christ appeared in the flesh.” (I’m sure they read like that because that’s who the verse is referring to.) Beyond that, I can’t say which reading more correctly expresses what Paul was wanting to say there.

While the modern translations don’t call Christ God there, at the same time, it can’t be claimed that they deny that Christ is God, it’s just that they don’t really touch on that issue.

Personally, I like how the KJV reads (of course, I’m used to it that way). At the same time, I think it’s a bit of a stretch for WV to say that how the NIV reads “opens the way for Jesus to be just a created being.” (I could understand him saying that if there were no other passages saying that Christ is God, but as you’ll soon see, there are other passages—lots of them.)

Passage #2—1 Timothy 6:14-15

WV: “That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords.” {1 Timothy 6:14,15 KJV}

“…to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time—God, (not necessarily Jesus Christ) the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords.” {1 Timothy 6:14, 15 NIV}

In their context it is possible that these verses can refer to the Father, but the title King of kings uniquely belongs to Christ in the NT and so it is rendered in the KJV. However, the NIV adds the word “God” twice in vs 15 (although it does not appear in the original) so that Jesus is deprived of His place and title in these verses.

ME: So, even though WV admits, “in their context it is possible that these verses can refer to the Father,” he still makes the charge that the NIV, “deprives Jesus of His place and title in these verses,” by applying those verses to the Father instead of Christ.

But… WV has a huge problem here, because the very next verse, which is clearly a continuation of the two verses he comments on, goes on to say, “whom no man hath seen, or can see.” Of course, those words can only apply to the Father. (See passage #4.) So the passage is indeed talking about the Father, not Christ; and yet WV criticizes the NIV and says it “deprives Jesus of His place and title” by making it apply to the Father.

Some may fault me for saying this, but I believe it needs to be said: Considering what a Bible scholar and researcher WV is, it’s hard to fathom how he made such a bad mistake there. (He himself said, “in their context it is possible that these verses can refer to the Father;” which certainly implies that he read the surrounding verses.)

Passage #3—1 John 5:7

“For there are three that bear record in heaven.” {1 John 5:7 KJV}

WV: NA deletes “in heaven,” which is found in the great majority of manuscripts.

ME: All the modern translations leave out the words “in heaven.” (Both Albert Barnes and Adam Clarke also leave out the words in heaven.) Beyond that, I don’t know which reading is correct, but I can’t see how leaving out those two words, in heaven,“ downplays Christ’s deity.” Maybe I’m missing something, but to me it seems like WV is grasping at straws there.

Passage #4—John 1:18

“No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” {John 1:18 KJV}

WV: NA drops the article for the begotten Son and changes the rest to begotten God (GR. Monogenes theos), making nonsense of the entire verse.

ME: I want you to see for yourself how the top two selling modern translations translate John 1:18.

“No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.” {NIV}

“No one has ever seen God. But his only Son, who is Himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has told us about him.” {NLT}

This is a perfect example, not only of how completely wrong WV is—that the modern translations downplay the deity of Christ—but of how the fact of the matter is actually precisely the opposite of what he claims. Both the NIV and the NLT, in clear and specific words, say that Christ “is Himself God,” while the KJV doesn’t in any way say that. Now I’m not at all faulting the KJV, but what I’m saying is, if the translators of those modern translations were really trying to downplay the deity of Christ, as WV claims they are, they certainly wouldn’t have translated John 1:18 as they did.

In the desire to be completely fair and honest, there are a few modern translations that read somewhat confusing like WV claims. But even they clearly proclaim the deity of Christ:

“No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.” {ESV}

Passage #5—Matthew 1:18

WV: In Matthew 1:18 Gnostic writers have changed just one letter in the Greek to make Christ a created being, whose origin started at his birth. This perversion is found only in P1, Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, 6 manuscripts, and a few minuscule. Almost all of the modern translations don’t dare to include this perversion but follow the Textus Reciptus rather than their preferred “most ancient manuscripts.” The Jesuit inspired Douay, of course, shows no such sensibilities.

ME: WV then quotes the King James and the Douay. (I’ll only quote the portion that applies, and I’ll italicize the one specific word that applies.)

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise.” {KJV}

“Now the generation of Jesus Christ was on this wise.” {Douay version}

First, WV himself says, “almost all of the modern translations don’t dare to include this perversion.” So why does he cite this passage as one in which the modern translations downplay Christ’s deity? And is this supposed to be one of those “few pertinent ones,” out of “hundreds,” that “are worthy of note?” To me, that speaks volumes as to how strong his case is.

(I found twenty-eight different translations on the internet, and other than that Catholic translation WV quotes, not a single one of them “include that perversion.” They all say the same thing the KJV does.)

Passage #6—Mark 1:1

“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” {Mark 1:1 KJV}

WV: NA questions the authenticity of the “Son of God” based on the Sinaiticus and one further majuscule. In NA 25 they actually leave the words out.

ME: Again, I found twenty-eight different translations on the internet. And every single one of them says the exact same thing the KJV does—“Son of God.” So why does WV cite this verse as proof that the modern translations downplay Christ’s deity? It’s absolutely absurd. (And again, what does it tell you about the strength of his case?)

Passage #7—John 6:69

“And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” {John 6:69 KJV}

WV: The NIV renders this text: “We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” This suits Gnostic and Arian sentiments.

ME: All the modern translations read like the NIV. And I have no idea why WV says translating it that way “suits Gnostic and Arian sentiments.” But I do know that he’s again trying to send the message that the translators of the modern Bibles are purposely trying to downplay Christ’s deity.

Tell me: How does translating that verse, “the Holy One of God,” downplay Christ’s deity? I just don’t get it. (And every one of those modern translations capitalize both of those words, Holy One, which is usually done as a sign of deity.)

WV: Isn’t it interesting that NA changes “Son of God” in John 9:35 to “Son of Man,” and that P75, Sinaiticus, and one majuscule leave out verse 38, which reads: “And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.” Most modern versions include the text, but a number of them leave out or modify the portion on worshipping Jesus Christ. In Luke 24:52 NA left out “and they worshipped Him” on the basis of one manuscript (codex D).

ME: On John 9:35—Pretty much every modern translation reads, “Son of Man,” instead of “Son of God.” But I don’t see how WV can find fault with that, because Jesus called Himself the Son of God only five times, while He called Himself the Son of Man over seventy-five times. (Maybe WV should have done a little more research.)

As for John 9:38—WV says “most” modern translations include verse 38. I found twenty-eight translations on line, and every single one of them include verse 38. Also, none of the leading modern translations “leave out or modify the portion on worshipping Christ.”

And as for Luke 24:52—Not one single modern translation leaves out “and they worshipped Him.”

To me, it’s truly mind-boggling how incredibly baseless these last three or four passages have been. And these are supposed to be some of the most pertinent ones out of hundreds? For such an intelligent and well-studied man as WV is, something’s definitely wrong.

Passage #8—Revelation 1:8

“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” {KJV}

WV: The setting of this verse, together with verse 11, testify that this is the Revelation of Jesus Christ, the one speaking the words, the Alpha and Omega, and is one of the strong arguments for the deity of Christ in the Bible. NA robs Jesus of this position of equality with the Father and shifts it to the Father only by creating the impression that it is the Father who is speaking. Following the NA, the NIV renders Rev. 1:8—“I am the Alpha and Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Me:The NIV leaves out the words, “the beginning and the ending.”)

ME: To me, this one was the most complicated. But I’ll do my best and I’ll try to keep it as short and simple as possible.

Most of the modern translations leave out those words, “the beginning and the ending,” in Revelation 1:8. (The NLT leaves them in.) To make a case for why they leave that part out, I’ll share with you what three commentaries have to say:

“The beginning and the ending”—These words are of doubtful authority; they are in all probability taken from Revelation 22:13, and interpolated here.” (Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers)

“The beginning and the ending”—These latter words are not here a part of the genuine text; they come from Revelation 22:13.” (Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges)

“I am the Alpha and Omega” is here not followed by “the Beginning and the End,” which the Vulgate and some other authorities insert from Revelation 21:6 and Revelation 22:13” (Pulpit Commentary)

Beyond that, I don’t know which reading is correct—the KJV or the modern translations. But I do know that Revelation 22:13 reads the same in all translations: “I am Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” (NIV) And there can be no doubt as to who it is that’s speaking there: “I Jesus have sent mine angel…” (vs. 16)

So, if WV is right, and the translators of the NIV were trying to “rob Jesus of His position of equality with the Father” by taking out that phrase, “the beginning and the ending,” why didn’t they do it in Revelation 22:13.

Passage #9—John 7:8

“Go ye up onto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast; for my time is not yet full come.” {KJV}

WV: NA replaces the “not yet” with “not going” making Jesus either a liar or robbing Him of His foreknowledge.

ME: First, let me say that by far, the better share of the modern translations leave out the word “yet.” Second, a large share of commentaries on this verse say something like the following: “I go not up yet—The best authorities decide that the word yet should be rejected from the text. His true words are, I go not up to this feast.” All of those commentaries then go on to explain what they believe Jesus was saying, why He said it, and what He meant. And I have to say, many of them seem to make a good argument for the translation, “I go not up.”

Having said all that, I still admit that the KJV certainly seems like the correct translation, and that the modern translations can cause confusion and questions. But apart from that, there’s another point that I think needs to be considered: All those translators, of all those modern translations, knew full well that two verses later it says, “But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up onto the feast.” So they had to have known that translating that verse the way they did—“I go not up”—was going to cause problems, because He obviously did go up. In my mind, I can’t see them opening themselves up to such criticism if they didn’t feel they had to.

Passage #10—1 Corinthians 12:3

“Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.” {KJV}

WV: Here the Alexandrian scribes smuggled a diabolical perversion into the rendition of the text. In almost all MSS the verse is rendered in the indirect speech, but the Alexandrian MSS have it in direct speech thus forcing the reader inadvertently to curse the Lord when reading the text out loud.

“Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.” {1Corinthians 12:3 NIV}

ME: Without telling them why, and asking them to read both translations carefully, I’ve shared this verse from both the KJV and the NIV with numerous people and asked them if they saw any difference between the two translations. Not one person said they saw any difference.

To me, saying “Jesus accursed” is no different than saying “Jesus be cursed.” One is just Old English and the other is New English. And more importantly, one can’t honestly separate that part of the verse from the preceding part—“no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed.”

So I’ll just ask you: Do you think WV is right in saying that how the NIV translates this verse is a “diabolical perversion?”

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Now that we’ve looked at all ten passages that WV shares in his attempt to convince people that the modern translations downplay Christ’s deity, and before I say a few final words, I have another set of passages that needs to be brought out.

I did a search on the internet asking the question, “What are the best passages proving the deity of Christ.” Of all the passages I found, I picked out the ones that were common to most of the sites and that I felt were the best. I then looked them up in both the KJV and the modern translations. I’m going to quote each passage from both the KJV and the NIV. The only reason I’m sharing from the NIV is because that’s the translation WV most often attempts to discredit. I could share all of these passages from any modern translation and they’d all say the same thing. (I’ll italicize the key portion of each passage.)

Passages on the Deity of Christ

“Unto us a child is born… his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” {Isaiah 9:6 KJV}

“To us a child is born… he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” {Isaiah 9:6 NIV}

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Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” {Matthew 1:23 KJV}

“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).” {Matthew 1:23 NIV}

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“Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.” {John 5:18 KJV}

For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.” {John 5:18 NIV}

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“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…  And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” {John 1:1, 14 KJV}

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” {John 1:1, 14 NIV}

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Unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever.” {Hebrews 1:8 KJV}

About the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever.” {Hebrews 1:8 NIV}

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Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.” {Romans 9:5 KJV}

Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.” {Romans 9:5 NIV}

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“Who, being in the form of God…” {Philippians 2:6 KJV}

“Who, being in very nature God…” {Philippians 2:6 NIV}

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As you just saw, in every one of those seven passages the NIV portrays Christ as being divine just as clearly as the KJV does. (Actually, I thought the NIV did a better job of portraying Christ as divine in those last two passages.)

But I’m not quite done yet. I have two more passages to share. Please read both translations—especially the italicized part—very carefully.

“…to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” {2 Peter 1:1 KJV}

To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours.” {2 Peter 1:1 NIV}

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“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” {Titus 2:13 KJV}

“While we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” {Titus 2:13 NIV}

Did you notice that in both of those passages the NIV calls Jesus God, while the KJV doesn’t?

(All the modern translations, as well as both Albert Barnes and Adam Clarke, agree with the NIV on those two passages.)

This is another perfect example of how completely untrue it is that the modern translations downplay Christ’s deity. The truth of the matter is precisely the opposite: the modern translations do all they can to exalt the deity of Christ whenever possible.

Before leaving those nine passages, I can’t help but ask: Was WV not aware of those passages? And if not: Why wasn’t he? I can’t imagine presenting a study on how the modern translations downplay Christ’s deity without examining all the major passages that speak of His deity.

I’ll finish this section by just saying this: For reasons unrelated to the subject of this study, I’ve not listened to a whole lot of WV’s videos (I believe all of those endless, dark conspiracy theories that he spends so much time on are not the true message of Adventism—it certainly wasn’t the message of Ellen White and the pioneers), but I have listened to enough of them to know that he does a tremendous amount of research. Knowing that, I’ll just repeat what I said earlier—something’s definitely wrong.