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The Story Behind the Versions Paperback – 2012
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Today, the Bible is available in many English versions. What is the story behind this proliferation of versions? Which translations are trustworthy? The Story Behind the Versions tells how the Scriptures have been preserved and lays out the principles and philosophy of translation. Then, it explores the history and trustworthiness of modern versions, and gives guidance for making wise decisions about Bible translations.
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Top customer reviews
I definitely recommend this book to anyone who want to know the real history, instead of someone's opinion. It will present you with the facts and then let you decide for yourself which text family, etc. you think is the best.
1. The author tries to set you up on page 5 to buy into the false idea that if you like one particular Bible it must be perfect. All the critical text men use this as one of their "battle cries." If we can't find a single book in English (or Greek, Hebrew, or whatever language) that is perfect, they all must be imperfect. There is nothing in the Bible to support this argument. Just because men can't FIND and IDENTIFY a perfect version DOES NOT mean it does not exist. God said his word is preserved and settled and He does not lie. He did NOT say that His ideas were preserved, He said His WORDS are preserved.
2. On page 18, the author states that "of the 5,000 Greek manuscript portions of the New Testament that are in existence, no two are exactly alike." There is no note of citation backing up this claim. Did the author personally check all variants or did he trust an apostate like Bruce Metzger, B.F. Westcott, or A. Hort to slide into this assumption?
3. On page 19, the author claims that "the role of the textual critic...[is to] weigh the evidence for each variant and tell us which is more likely to be the original one in each passage." This is nothing but religious humanism. The Holy Spirit has been banished from the process. These men think they are smarter than God. This is the common thing you'll see with textual critics; they depend on their own "wise, scholarly efforts" over God's wisdom.
4. Another common textual critic argument is that if a passage is covered in one area of the Bible and not another, it is not important to argue about a passage that is in "question" such as 1 John 5:7,8. The author tries to do just that on pages 22-23. His argument fails in that it is not to the point. In other words, he sets up a straw man argument. Read Pappas' book on this subject for an excellent series of arguments for 1 John 5:7,8 being in the Bible AND tracing to historical documentation in extant manuscripts from the FIRST century.
5. On page 26, the author claims that the oldest manuscripts must be the best (another "battle cry" from the textual critics). Not only is this not true, it is fairly easy to prove it wrong. This author has read too much of the bad scholarship on this topic and not enough of the right thinking. I noticed he referenced John Burgon's book The Revision Revised in his bibliography. I wonder if he actually read the book with care. Burgon's arguments against the textual critics have NEVER been refuted since they were written over 100 years ago.
6. Yoder writes that Erasmus gathered only a few manuscripts to do his work on his Greek New Testament. What Yoder fails to mention is that Erasmus recognized the inspiration of Scripture and treated it as such. He only needed ONE manuscript if it was right. There is NO good argument to support the idea that the more manuscripts one has to compare to each other, the better the translation. The more wrong translations that get compared, the worse the translation will end up.
7. The author cites Johann Jacob Greisbach as being a authority on textual criticism and a founding father of sorts of modern textual criticism. This is true, but he fails to mention that Greisbach and his ilk were unregenerated (unsaved). A question to the reader: Is it better to have a saved sinner studying ancient manuscripts and completing translation work WITH HELP from the HOLY SPIRIT or have unsaved, unrepentant men compiling made up Greek texts and completing translation work? Most of the key textual critics in the lineage of the compilation of the false Greek text fall in the second group.
8. The author cites Greisbach's, Semler's, Westcott's, and Hort's rules of criticism on pages 49-53. One of them is "the more difficult the reading is more likely to be correct." The author himself uses the word 'assumes' in his paragraph following the rule to explain that this rule (as are the others) based on an assumption. The assumption is not a good one. It is merely a convenient one for those who prefer to be guided by men's thinking rather than God's thinking.
9. On page 57, the author states, "most textual critics of today agree..." to make the assumed point that because a majority thinks that the Byzantine manuscripts are not worth considering, then it must be the fact that they are bad. This is a classical error in good logic. It is commonly known as the "appeal to the majority" combined with the "appeal to whoever has the most degrees." It goes right back to the common concurrence amongst these critics that men are wiser than God (although they would never admit that they think that way).
10. On the same page 57, Yoder appeals to Hodges and Farstad as being experts on the Textus Receptus side. The problem with that is that they used the same (or very similar) method of religious humanism to determine the "best" textual variants from the majority text. Once again, the Holy Spirit was left behind. Yoder needs to read more of the right books. Hodges and Farstad are not the right people to stand behind on the Textus Receptus/Majority text side.
11. The author doesn't think the King James (Authorized) Version is best because the language is archaic and it is too much trouble to learn what men meant in 1611 to apply it to today. Again, this is humanistic thinking. It is not our job as Christians to spoon feed the Bible in 'baby' language to the man on the street. Individuals have a personal responsibility to study the Word and to understand it. It is best done in Greek and Hebrew, but when that is not possible, the next best thing is to use the best English (or whatever language) translation that is available. In our case it is the Authorized Version. The authorized version is not perfect, but it does not have any major theological errors as do all other modern versions (save perhaps the Geneva and the NKJV - but those have more problems than the KJB). There are 356 major theologically important differences between the KJB and the NIV and I suspect just as many if not more between the KJB and the ESV (which the author apparently adores).
12. In the bibliography, the author cites James White as being an expert refuter of the KJB. White took a number of liberties with regard to the facts in his book, and should not be trusted. While he is correct that the KJB is not itself inspired directly from the breath of God, it does not change the fact that it is the best we have in English at this time AND it is based on the BEST Greek foundation.
I'll stop here, but I could go on and on. This author appears to have attempted to write a lay book on a complex subject. Unfortunately, in my view, he failed miserably. I recommend the following reading to fully understand this issue: Which Bible? by David Otis Fuller, The Revision Revised by John Burgon, Which Version is the Bible? by Floyd Nolen Jones, Forever Settled by Jack Moorman, Defending the King James Bible by D.A. Waite, God's Perfect Book by David Sorenson, True or False? by David Otis Fuller, Touch Not the Unclean Thing by David Sorenson, The Modern Bible Version Hall of Shame by David Cloud, In Defense of the Authenticity of 1 John 5:7 by C.H. Pappas, Early Manuscripts, Church Fathers, and the Authorized Version by Jack Moorman, and Counterfeit or Genuine? by David Otis Fuller. I have also read many books and papers by the unregenerate textual critics such as Bruce Metzger, B.F. Westcott, Arthur Hort, Daniel Wallace, etc... which are FULL of speculation and conjecture, BUT SHORT ON THE FACTS.