I remember a campus minister friend of mine who once had a family offer to support his ministry entirely, meaning that he could forget the time-consuming task of raising support and keeping in regular touch with supporters from all over the country. The only catch was, he had to agree to only use the King James Version of the Bible in everything he did. Why? Well, because, according to a book that was given to my friend by this potential benefactor, every other version of the Bible is a tool of the devil!
In case you’re wondering, he didn’t accept the offer because he just couldn’t accept the stipulation…or the belief on which the stipulation was founded. But it does raise an interesting question, doesn’t it? Why are there so many English versions of the Bible and why are people sometimes so vehement in their opinions of the differing versions?
I’m always a little surprised by how often I’m asked which English translation of the Bible is “best”. I suppose the question emerges from two competing concerns: on the one hand, people want to be able to understand the Bible and apply it to their everyday lives. On the other hand, people have heard attacks leveled against different versions of the Bible for “watering down the truth” or “injecting too much interpretation into the Bible” or even being propaganda from Satan!
But is this really what’s happening? Are the men and women responsible for various Bible translations really just wolves in sheep’s clothing, looking to mislead God’s people into serious doctrinal error and sin? Probably not.
Functional vs Formal Equivalence Translation Theories
There are two major theories of translation that shape the various versions of the Bible we’re familiar with: the theory of functional equivalence and the theory of formal equivalence. The major differences between the two theories are easy to understand.
Functional equivalence translations, sometimes also called dynamic equivalence translations, attempt to convey the thought/concept/idea from the original text into the new language without being overly concerned about reproducing the exact word-order, grammatical structures, etc of the original.
Formal equivalence translations attempt to translate each word from the original into an equivalent word in the new language, retaining the word-order, grammatical structures, etc. intact as much as possible.
Functional equivalence is sometimes described as being thought-for-thought or idea-for-idea translation while formal equivalence is sometimes called word for word or literal translation. Unfortunately, these descriptions are inaccurate and ultimately misleading. All translations are really thought-for-thought, whether you’re trying to keep the word-count, word-order and grammatical structures intact or not. The reality is that some languages do not have single words for concepts that can be encapsulated by a single term in another language. In such a case, either a whole bunch of words can and must be condensed into a single word in the translation or a single word must be translated using a whole bunch of words to get the same idea across. So, even the most strict formal equivalence translations must sometimes deviate from their policy of “literal” translation. In circumstances where a “literal” translation is not possible because the target language doesn’t have the right individual terms, it is the original thought or idea that ultimately determines how the translation will read. In this sense, it must be recognized that thought-for-thought is a foundational concern for all translations.
Conversely, most versions which follow a functional equivalence theory actually reproduce much, if not most, of the original words, word-order and structures in their translations. For instance, Acts 2:38 in the original Greek would read something like this, following the strict word-order and attempting to find a counterpart English term for each Greek term:
Peter but towards them: repent and be-baptized each of-you upon the name of-Jesus of-Christ unto remission of-the of-sins of-you…
Not terribly readable, is it? This is why all translations do things to make the idea more comprehensible. Here’s the NIV (New International Version) and the NAS (New American Standard Bible) versions of the same verse:
NIV: Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins…
NAS: Repent and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins…
Now, on the surface, these are relatively similar, and both are certainly understandable to the average English-speaking reader. The only real difference is the word order of “repent and be baptized every one of you” (NIV) and “repent and each of you be baptized” (NAS). Notice that the NIV more closely reproduces the word order of the original Greek. The interesting thing here is that the NIV is generally considered more a functional equivalence translation and the NAS is generally considered to be more of a formal equivalence translation. But in this instance, the functional equivalent translation is actually more word-for-word than the formal equivalent translation. There are many other examples that could be pointed to of this same thing throughout the different translations.
This does not mean that all translations are really following the functional equivalence model. It simply means that the two theories are best understood as extremes of a spectrum, with no translation falling entirely at either end. In effect, functional equivalence theory is more open to the possibility of altering word order or translating the core idea rather than a particular term and formal equivalent theory is less open to doing this. The practical result is that functional equivalence translations are often more readable and formal equivalence translations are often more precise.
So which is better? That depends on a great many factors. One might think that “precise” would be the goal, but it’s not quite that simple. If the most “precise” word available in English for a Greek or Hebrew term happens to be a word that most English speakers are unfamiliar with, what happens? What happens is that precision of terms leads to imprecision of comprehension. Consider:
KJV: But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. (Rom 7:8)
Say what? What in the world is concupiscence? According to Mr. Webster, it is a “strong desire”, often with a connotation of sinful desire. But how many people today, even those raised in a Christian home, would understand this from reading the KJV? Not many, which is why the NIV says:
NIV: But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, sin was dead.
Now, some of you are probably thinking “that’s better…but not by much”. How many people today even know what “coveting” is? Isn’t this word nearly as unfamiliar as “concupiscence”? Many translators think so, which is why some translations, like the Contemporary English Version which relies heavily on the functional equivalence theory, do things like this:
CEV: It was sin that used this command as a way of making me have all kinds of desires. But without the Law, sin is dead.
Arguably, “all manner of concupiscence” is the most precise translation of the Greek pasan epithumian, but since virtually no one know what concupiscence, is, does this even qualify as a translation any more? If the goal of translation is comprehension, then the case could be made that this verse in the KJV doesn’t even qualify as a valid modern English translation. Actually, even the NIV might have some problems qualifying. So you can see that there’s precision of concept and then there’s precision of comprehension. Which is more important? It seems to me that translation is really a specialized act of communication and, as such, must always be driven by a concern for producing comprehension in the audience.
This does not, however, mean that formal equivalence in any way an inferior translation theory. There are two reasons for saying this. First, translators may misunderstand the original intent of a text so that when they figure out how best to communicate that concept in the target language, they are actually communicating a false concept. While all translation is interpretive to some degree, functional equivalence theory depends more heavily on interpretation than does formal equivalence. Since the interpreters/translators are fallible human beings, this means that functional equivalence has a greater chance of misrepresenting the original text. Obviously this is not something that we want to do in any translation, let alone in a translation of God’s Word. Second, it is often the case that the form of a text is actually an important part of its ability to communicate clearly. There’s a huge difference in meaning between “John, are you going to clean your room” and “John you are going to clean your room”, isn’t there? Without getting bogged down in details, suffice it to say that there are many other ways in which the form of a message directly impacts the meaning of that message. Consequently, ignoring the form of a source text runs the very real risk of obscuring its meaning (not that functional equivalence translations actually ignore the forms of the source text…this is just not their first priority).
Formal equivalence, because it seeks to be less interpretive and to reproduce as closely as possible the original word-order and forms can tend to produce translations that are less likely to misconstrue the original author’s intention.
On the other hand, formal equivalence can sometimes obscure that same meaning it is working so hard to preserve simply by giving insufficient attention to whether or not its target audience will be able to comprehend the meaning. This is a very real problem for formal equivalence, not only with versions originally intended for earlier generations (as with the KJV) but also with versions produced recently (as with the NAS or NKJV).
The Best Translation
If it seems like I’m vacillating on the question of which translation/translation theory is best, it’s because I am. And I’m vacillating because the real answer to that question is “none of them.”
This doesn’t mean that you have to go out and learn Greek and Hebrew (although that certainly wouldn’t hurt). What it means is that slavish dependence on one translation or anther is probably a mistake. Let me say this as clearly as possible: there is no ideal translation of the Bible.
There never will be an ideal translation of the Bible. Translations are useful so long as they do two things: 1) preserve the original meaning and 2) make that meaning comprehensible to a new audience. These are the two primary concerns of every translation. Unfortunately, it is often the case that when a translation excels at the former, it falls short on the latter. And when a translation excels at the latter, it sometimes falls short on the former. More to the point, the strengths and weaknesses of a particular translation often change from passage to passage so that the KJV or the NIV or the NAS or the Message, etc. may do a great job with both concerns on one passage and not as good a job with one or both of the concerns on another passage. The same holds true for every translation I’ve ever seen.
So my advice? Easy:
1. Regularly read a good middle-of-the road translation (like the New International Version, the New American Bible or the New English Translation, all of which make moderate use of functional equivalence).
2. Consult a more heavily formal equivalence version and a more heavily functional equivalence version whenever you have questions about a particular passage. Popular versions which rely more heavily on the functional equivalence model of translation include: the New Living Translation, the Message and the Contemporary English Version. Popular versions which rely more heavily on the formal equivalence model of translation include: the King James Version (or the New King James Version), the New American Standard Bible and the English Standard Version.
 Of course, the NAS also uses “each of you” instead of the NIV’s “every one of you”, but this is an insignificant difference.
 Some reader may be interested to note that the literal translation of this would be something like “every desire”, which means that every English translation is adding words like “all manner of” or “every kind of”. Certainly no translation here can claim to be “word-for-word”.
 And calling other translations tools of the devil is probably a rather ignorant and un-Christian thing to do.
 I am often asked if the Message Bible isn’t just a paraphrase of another English translation. It’s not. The Message is a translation from the original-language texts, but it relies very heavily on the functional equivalence theory of translation, which is why it reads very differently than most other translations. I wouldn’t recommend the Message version for study, but it works very well for devotional reading.
I would have to say that while your answer has great explanation of the translation process, your justifications are dangerous. Dynamic Equivalent translations change essential doctrine, meanings and muddies truth in many,many passages which is WHY people call them tools of the devil. Think I’m being unfair? lets take a look.
Romans 8:1 says there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus in The NIV.
In KJV it concludes with “For those who walk not according to the flesh but according to the spirit”. There is a disclaimer removed that takes away justification from people who like to use Romans 8:1 to justify their carnality.
Here is another: Often the NIV and others downplay the importance of the scripture in the believers life. Why? Because Satan from the beginning has been getting man to question God’s word “Has God indeed said”? It is blatant. Here are two examples.
2 Timothy 2:15 The KJV tells Timothy to STUDY to show Himself approved..rightly dividing the word of truth.
NIV: Do your best to present yourself Timothy.. DO YOUR BEST????? They take out the mechanism for doing his best within the context of that verse which is through the study of scripture. This is carried over into Peter as well.
1 Peter 2:2 We are told to desire pure spiritual milk in the NIV and about every other poor translation. Huh? What the heck is that? Is that yoga..meditation? Some secret coconut oil from the tropics? Lets move back to the King James..
“Desire the sincere milk of the word”. Now why would they omit a greek word that gives the context of the verse? Because these translations have an agenda.
I can show you verse after verse where essential Christian doctrine is attacked by the three translations you recommended. And its no wonder when the originators of these modern…I don’t know what really to call them..modern attacks on the integrity of scripture were Wescott and Hort. Here are two good books about them written by their kinfolk: “The Life and Letters of Brooke Foss Westeott,” and “The Life and Letters of Fenton John Anthony Hort”. I think you would be amazed at who these men were. Here are some facts about them from those books.
1. They hated the Majority text and called them vile…why?
2.They did not believe the bible was any more sacred than any other religious or ancient text.
3.They both denied critical foundations of the Christian faith while still being heralded as Christians because of their scholarly works.
4. Here is what Hort thought of Evangelicals “Evangelicals seem to me perverted rather than untrue. There are, I fear, still more serious differences between us on the subject of authority, and especially the authority of the Bible” (Hort, Arthur Fenton, Life and Letters of Fenton John Anthony Hort, (New York, 1896), Volume I, p. 78.( pg 400)
They have both been accused of occultism, unorthodoxy and even blatant sinful living based on testimonies of these books. They are the primary movers behind modern translations and the use of other texts besides the Majority Text. Yeah I want these men translating my bible. Who they were explains why the bible is being systematically watered down.
Some of the NIV translation committee members themselves had questionable accusations leveled at them that the NIV committee have tried to play down like the liberal beliefs and potential homosexual friendliness of both the NIV chair and others who worked with the committee. The deeper you research it the scarier it gets. I wont get into all the accusations leveled at these people but do the research for yourself and see what conclusion you can come to.
Being that you are a Seminary Professor I would assume you know much of this, and if you do not, do you not think it is important? This little space does not give me any room to thoroughly refute your claims above (And I mean this in a very humble manner sir I know you love Jesus and the bible I have been in your class). But I strongly, strongly disagree with your conclusions. If we are going to tell people we are giving them the word of God..it better be God’s word not some watered down, occultist translated, doctrinally vapid assumption about what the early Christians meant to say. We need to handle Holy things with an element of fear and trembling. A good book on these issues is called An Understandable History of the Bible where some of my facts were taken from. the author is Samuel C. Gipp. I am not A KJV only person but I do believe it is most faithful in its transmission of the divine revelation.
We need to raise people up not dumb them down. Shalom to you.
Unfortunately this is exactly the kind of sensationalism that I fear gives God no glory and even hinders the advance of His kingdom. Honestly, I have little patience for the kind of attacks you make on Christian men and women responsible for these translations, none of whom you know personally. There is real danger in repeating accusations made against someone by others. We even have a word for it: gossip. Are you positive that these accusations are based in fact and were not made by people who desired to discredit these people? I’m not talking specifically of your statemetns about Westcott and Hort which I don’t actually think are relevant to this discussion since the modern translations you denounce were not made by them. I’m speaking instead of your accusations against the NIV translators. Ironically, your disagreement is not even with the translations per se but with the simple fact that they differ from the KJV which, alone, ought to cause you some hesitation in being so vehement in your denouncements. Has God said “I inspired the KJV”? And if not, then wouldn’t it be more productive to look at what the KJV does well and where it falls short and perhaps shore it up with other translations that do a better job at certain points? Unless you’re saying that the KJV translation is an inerrant translation, then you have to admit that it isn’t necessarily perfect, right?
Still, you responded in depth, so I will do so in kind:
1. Romans 8:1. First, you’ve misquoted the NIV. It says “therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”. It is true that this differs from the KJV which adds the words “for those who walk not according to the flesh but according to the spirit”. However, there is a very good reason why the NIV and nearly every other modern translation does not include those additional words: scrutiny of the extensive manuscript evidence clearly shows that those extra words were added to the original text in later centuries. Thus Majority Text on which the KJV was based used these later text and therefore contains several additions that were demonstrably not present in the original, inspired texts. Since thereis considerable evidence that those additional words were not present in the original text, they are excluded from nearly every modern translation. Otherwise, we run the risk of saying “thus says the Lord” whien all evidence suggests that those words were not inspired by God. This doesn’t mean that the words are false or theologically incorrect, only that there is no basis for calling them inspired.
2. 2Tim. 2:15. You favor the KJV which translates this verse as “study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Moreover, you accuse the NIV translation as being a product of Satanic influence intended to get man to question God’s word because the NIV translation is “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles trhe word of truth.” The main Greek word in question here is the verb spoudazo, translated by the KJV as “study” and the NIV as “do your best”. Let’s be blunt, the KJV translation here is baffeling because spoudazo does not mean “study”. It means “hurry”, “make great effort” or “give diligence”. For an englightening example of another use of this term, look at 2Ti 4:9, just two chapters later in this same book, where the KJV translates the same verb in this sentence: “Do they diligence to come shortly to me.” Now, I ask you, doesn’t that sound a LOT like “do your best”…which is exactly how the NIV consistently translates spoudazo. It is the KJV that has inexplicably chosen to translate spoudazo in 2Ti 2:15 with “study”. Now, given the context of “rightly divinding the word of God”, I can see why the KJV translators opted for “study”, though there is no evidence tha the word ever was used for this…but the point is that the NIV’s rendering is hardly evidence of a Satanic attack. If anything, and very ironically, it is the KJV here that is most open to the attack of not rightly handling the word of God.
3. 1 Peter 2:2 – You question the NIV’s translation of the text here as “crave pure spiritual milk” and accuse them of having a New Age agenda, but this is an unfair characterizaion. Do you believe that Paul was instructing his listener’s to crave literaly physical milk? Of course you don’t. You and I both know that Paul is speaking here metaphorically. The NIV, in an attempt to avoid confusion by the spiritually immature, added the word spiritual so that readers would not gloss over the passage and think Paul was talking about literal, physical milk. Now, what’s the contrast to “physical”? Isn’t it “spiritual”? So, to make sure the reader understands that Paul is not talking about physical milk, they added the word spiritual. Do I think this was a good idea? I’m not sure that I do, but the translator’s concern is obvious and well-founded. You would have to be quite uncharitable to attribute this to New Age agendas. Now, you seem to be concerned that the NIV does not have the words “…milk of the word” and take this as further evidence of diabolical intent. However the KJV translation here is again a bit perplexing. The original Greek reads, to logikon adolon gala which would be translate in the literalest possible terms as “the thoughful pure milk”. The issue here is the word logikon. It is related, albeint very tangentially, to the word logos which is translated as “word” and this is, presumably, why the KJV put in the words “of the word” but this is a very questionable translation. First, logikon is not a noun, it is an adjective, so at best it would be “desire the wordy sincere milk” but obviously that makes no sense. And the reason is that logikon does not mean “word” or “text”. Interestingly, the word occurs one other time in the NT, at Rom 12:1, where the KJV renders it “…which is your REASONABLE act of worship.” Here, the translation makes perfect sense of the adjective. Certainly it would have made no sense to talk about the “…act of worship of the word”. Yet at 1 Pe. 2:2, the translators of the KJV rendered an obvious adjective as a noun (“of the word”). So yet again, the KJV translators adopted, at 1 Pe 2:2, a baffeling translation. How does a word that has clear meanings of being “reasoable” turn into “of the word”? Now, the NIV translates this term both in 1Pe 2:2 and in Rom 12:1 as “spiritual” rather than “reasonable” but the reason for this was explained above. To be perfectly frank, I’m not sure I agree that “spiritual” is a better translation than “reasonable”, but it is a LOT better than turning logikos into “of the word”. The NIV is much more faithful to the original text at this point and this is not a matter of differing text traditions.
No, you attack Westcott and Hort as being vile,non-believers and non-evangelical. To begin with, please recognize this for what it is, an ad hominim attack in which you cast dispersions against an individual and thereby “disprove” their beliefs. This is rarely helpful. It may be true that Darwin was a womanizer and a drunk, but that doesn’t disprove his ideas. Neither do these charges against Westcott and Hort have any relevance at all in the matter of modern translations. First, I don’t know if these are even true statements about them. They may be true, but just because someone put such charges in writing does not mean they are true. But even if they are true, and they may be, what does this mean for the issue of modern translations. Nothing. W&H DID NOT TRANSLATE THE MODERN VERSIONS YOU’RE SO AGAINST. They worked on comparing the Greek manuscripts with one another to find where additions and changes had crept in over the centuries. Yes, their work has been significant for the current shape of the text on which modern translations are made, but only to a certain degree. Their findings are matters of fact, not opinion. If earlier texts do not have phrases that appear in later texts, then it is quite likely that the later texts contain additions. Modern translations of the New Testament are typically made from the most current UBS addition, not the Westcott Hort text. But even if they were based on the WH text, hundreds of scholars with sterling Christian character have done the comparisons of manuscripts themselves, so its not as though W&H just made it all up and foisted it on the church.
But again, they didn’t do the translations. You say “they are the primary movers behind modern translations” This is simply false. You say they were responsible for the move to other texts besides the Majority Text on which the KJV was based. This is partly true, but again, having seen the hudreds or even thousands of earlier manuscripts uncovered in countless archaeological digs, many if not most NT scholars have become convinced that the Majority Text on which the KJV was based is not the best representation of the original inspired autographs. This is not something that Westcott and Hort tricked us into thinking. It is the considered opinion of many scholars on the basis of personal interaction with the evidence. And many of these scholars cannot be dismissed as ungodly tools of the Devil as you’ve tried to do with Westcott and Hort. Again, I have not interest in defending the character of W&H. Maybe they were scoundrals. But this is irrelevant to the discussion and therefore nothing more than sensationalism. Now, if evil men were actually doing the translations rather than doing the more mechanical comparison of the Greek letters and words, maybe that would be a cause for concern, but that’s not what we have going on in modern translations.
Of course, you’ve attacked the NIV translation committee as being ungodly as well. So, any good evidence for this? Or is it simply another ad hominim attack without substantiation? And while we’re on the subject…have you ever read some of the things said about the KJV translation committee or King James himself, the guy who commissioned it? You might want to be careful with how much weight you give this ad hominim approach…you might find that you’ll have to dismiss every translation in existence.
Finally, as to your last paragraph. I appreciate the fact hat you don’t accuse me of being a tool of the devil. 🙂 But you’re concerned by all these “facts” you’ve listed and wonder why I know these facts and yet don’t favor the KJV. Why is that? Because your facts are not facts. I’ve tried to respond to most of the assertions with clear, reasonable and supportable statements, primarily taken from the Greek text of the Bible, even from the Majority Text in most instances.
At the end of the day, I think the KJV is a great translation and, while I like the NIV and several other modern translations, I don’t think they’re perfect. I’ve often said that I think the NIV may inject a bit too much interpretation into the translation. But as you can see from just the discussions above, the KJV is every bit as guilty of this. Even more so than the NIV at several points. I really don’t think these are opinions…they’re simple statements of fact based on looking at the original Greek manuscripts. But as I said in the article, every translation is to some degree an interpretation. At the end of the day, I think this wrangling over one translation being the best is simpy counterproductive.
I just let a lengthy comment and this silly thing did not publish it. I suppose it will fall through the cracks..eh?
Your distinction between the Message being not good for “study” but “works very well for devotional reading”. What good does it do to have “devotionals” based on an inadequate text that does not convey the intent of the original text? I would prefer that you tell people to just stay away from a version that has little scholarship behind it and is corrupted by modern thinking.
I simply don’t agree that the Message does not convey the original intent. On the contrary, I think the Message seeks to do precisely that, but in a way that resonates with modern readers. The Message is in fact the product of a great deal of scholarship on the part of a gifted scholar and a man whom I believe to be of sterling Christian character. I don’t always agree with his translation, but as a NT scholar I have to admit that I feel precisely the same way about the NIV, NAS, the KJV and others: while I agree with the bulk of their translations there are places in every translation where I don’t feel they’ve done a perfect job. In that sense, I don’t really see the Message as being fundamentally different or more dangerous.
I’m a bit conflicted on the question of whether or not there is any value in a translation that I wouldn’t recommend for study. I mean, if someone finds that they can read the Message and do so regularly but find the other more “literal” translations off-putting and therefore don’t read them, is the Message really a bad thing? Isn’t reading the Message translation better than not reading any translation? The only way that wouldn’t be true is if the Message distorted critical doctrine, but I don’t believe it does.
What do you think of the God’s Word Translation?
I’m not a huge fan of it, but not because I think it’s evil or something. The God’s Word Translation makes heavy use of the functional equivalence theory of translation to the point that I think it sometimes goes too far in its attempt to make things comprehnsible.
I appreciate the thoughtful reply, and while I would agree with your explanations of the few verses which I mentioned, I only used those two because I was not writing a thesis on the issue. Yet, if I had time I could demonstrate that your replies are not the only possibility but rather an Apology for the NIV. In the preface of the NIV it says one of the purposes was to render a clearer meaning, to make it easily understood, yet if you really desire me to go down that path and jumble up your blog with many, many, many ways the modern translations distort essential doctrine, muddy the meaning and insert things into the text that are not in the source manuscripts then I will. My purpose was to encourage others to “Study themselves approved” and research why we seem to get a new translation every year (One reason possibly being financial motivation). I realize Denver Seminary forces students to use these things (NIV), and you may have a leaning because of that, but it has actually helped me see how off and horrible these translations are getting because I use the KJV along side the other.
It saddens me that when dealing with the facts you would turn to the accusation of gossip. Gossip is malicious and usually untrue, or with the intent to hurt others. I am speaking of fact. Lets look at two.
On person used on the NIV committee was Dr. Virginia Mollenkott. While the NIV comitte now vigorously denies she played a major role she has equally come out with her statement demonstrating a little disappointment that they would distance themselves from her and claims she was full blown on the project from day 1 til the end. She is also a radical feminist and homosexual advocate and a lesbian. Is that gossip? She IS a lesbian. Matter of fact she won an award in 1999 for being such an accomplished homosexual. Can that cloud her scholarship? Yes, because why would I desire to have non Christians give me a bible translation? Especially one that attacks through its choice of words essential idea’s about Jesus? Sorry Craig but you cannot be a homosexual and a Christian. Your one or the other. Jesus came to set us free from sin. Maybe you disagree. I would be interested to know if you do.
Now you may retort that she had a minimal part, well not according to her and I would not doubt in the growing homosexual acceptance in Evangelical circles that it will one day come out that she did play a solid role, and the church will praise the NIV for its tolerance of sinful lifestyles that send people to an eternal separation from God.
2. Dr. Marten Woudstra: Member of Evangelicals Concerned another pro homosexual group that desires to comfort homosexuals in their sin rather than help them be delivered from it. There is plenty, plenty of testimony from firsthand sources (And if we can’t trust that we can’t trust the bible itself) that he was a homosexual, albeit possibly celibate, and the evidence points more toward the fact he was than he wasn’t. If a man who is a pillar of Bible Translation does not need to remain “Blameless” and keep his testimony clear then I don’t know who does. If you have evidence that this is a smear campaign I am open to see it. It is an issue that needs to be addressed. Yes it matters how these people lived they are changing the most trusted text we have had for most of protestantism. It is a weak rhetorical device to just say “How dare you” when bringing up peoples character. Paul was serious about his testimony not bringing shame on the name of Jesus. You cannot possible believe that I have to know someone in order to be concerned about what they do or say. You didn’t know Peter so how can you believe the claims about him are true? You didn’t know Jesus, Paul, Martin Luther, Calvin, Servantus, Augustine or any the historical heretics or Christians yet we make judgment calls about their orthodoxy and lives everyday in the scholarly realm. Why should these people be held to another weight and balance? You are not being logically consistent but are trying to make me look like I am being mean or uncharitable. Often when authorities in politics or the scholarly realm are challenged they try to cow people with the “How dare you”. I am a disciple of Christ. It is my duty to expose the works of darkness “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” Ephesians 5:11. This is neither uncharitable nor unChristlike. Or if you like the NIV “Have nothing to do with” (The Greek primary meaning works better with fellowship, another watering down, fellowship is a stronger concept, but they both say to expose them).
I am glad you acknowledged Wescott and Hort moved the translation away from the Majority text. Yes it does matter if they are scoundrels.And it concerns me the NIV committee would trust their work. If they serve the devil tampering with the translation of the bible, Greek text, or other scholarly work needs to be questioned. What was their motive? What spirit influenced their desires and decisions. Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly brother Craig. As for the mountains of evidence that support that move I think that is a claim you cannot support. There are strong arguments on both sides, and when the NIV speaks of “Not in Oldest Manuscripts” it is usually referring to the Sinaticus and other poor minority texts. It would be like all the bibles in the world were wiped out for a few hundred years and then someone found a KJV, or ESV (Not the best either but it isn’t a DE) or even a NKJV. Then they found lots of fragments from the message and one full copy of the message from the year all the bibles were wiped out (Ok the Sinaticus is later but you get the point) and went “Oh this is the right one”. The scholarship behind the move can be refuted. You choose to hold on to the one, I don’t.
We could go back and forth on these issues all day with our own research and information. I would like to settle the issue by saying I disagree with you and hope people do the research themselves. If we are going to say “We believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the inspired Word of God, inerrant in the original writings, complete as the revelation of God’s will for salvation, and the supreme and final authority in all matters to which they speak” Denver Seminary SOF, then isn’t it wise to get closest to the original autographs as we can. Isn’t it best to get the closest to the literal, word for word a translation can do rather than opinions about what we think the authors meant? That sounds more like commentary than translation. I encourage people not to take either of our views, and I am open to a public forum and debate on this issue if you would like, but DO THE RESEARCH behind the history of modern translations and the people who gave them to us. Get arguments from both sides and take it to prayer. If you are going to come into someones life and tell them you have God;s word, you better be sure it is.
As I said before Craig, I have had you in class, I know you love the bible, contend against those who would try to shake the foundations, and are super smart. But I strongly disagree with you on this issue. People should Get a literal translation and go to the original languages, use the NIV and others only if you have to as a last resort. Steer clear of the dumbed down versions. Elevate your thinking.
(sigh), so in spite of my demonstrating from the original texts that the examples you used do not support the assertion that the KJV is more literal, you still insist that the KJV is a “literal translation”? Again, there is no such thing. Some translations are more literal than others and the KJV is certianly more literal than the Message, but as the examples we looked at demonstrate, the NIV is demonstrably more literaly than the KJV at some points.
And of course I’m opposed to sin and to having unrepentant sinners doing translations for the church. But these same kinds of questions about morality have been raised against King James who commissioned the KJV and some of the scholars who participated in that translation. For that reason, I say the most important issue is the text itself: what specific examples of passages can be pointed to to demonstrate the perversion of the text by these translations? The examples you gave – and I know you could have given more, but presumably you gave some of the strongest examples – when compared to the original text, simply do not support your assertion. If anything, the KJV has taken more interpretive liberties with the passages you cited. But you haven’t seemed to reflect on what I said there at all. See, I looked at each of your examples with an open mind, looking at the KJV and other translatons and then at the original text. My conclusions were not intended to support the NIV or any other translation…but my search absolutely failed to produce evidence for the wickedness you seem to see. Did you look at the original and evaluate my arguments? You don’t seem to have. You seem to have just said “well, forget those, then, I can just get other examples.” But will these other examples fare better when the original lanugage is consulted? I don’t think you’re really asking that question. I mean, case in point, you continue to quote the KJV “Study to show thyself approved” even after I have shown that the verb there is NOT study. The NIV is much more “literal” when it speaks of doing one’s best. This is a simple, straightforward lexicon issue. Look it up. there are no examples that I can find of the verb in question there ever being transalted “study” except in the KJV and even the KJV does not translate it as “study” anywhere else.
So here’s an interesting question: since the NIV is “wicked” (your words), then it’s bad for anyone to read it? I mean, you’re seriously putting it on the same level as, say, pornography?
Oh one last thing. The wickedness of the NIV translation is further being demonstrated in their continual revising to a point where the newest edition is more political with its gender neutral nonsense than faithful. They have an agenda and they are still pushing it. The proof is in the pudding and it took severe twisting of the scripture for people to start seeing it with the 2011 edition, but it all started with the first one. I pray you see they are trying to do something. People are only being controlled by two spirits in this world, Satan or Jesus. Which one would control people who pervert the scripture?
wow. Care to give an example of this obvious perversion so we can look at the original text and see if in fact it is radically misrepresenting the original?
I did not use those examples because they were the strongest, I just grabbed them. Let me give you a few more that attack essential truth and doctrine. Now remember whenever the NIV talks about “Not in earliest manuscripts” or “Later manuscript” I reject those footnoted because the science behind it is based on the Wescott and Hort research. The changes attack serious things. Lets look at a few. Before we do though let me make it clear the KJV only people have their own issues and I do not agree with them. I have issues with KJV translating Passover into Easter and other problems like, there was never an apostle named James. Or a book of James. It was probably called Yaakov. They wanted to flatter the wicked King James. I get it. I still feel it is closer to the original and better for doctrine and reproof.
Sermon on the mount:
KJV: But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
NIV: But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
Big omission. I guess according to the NIV we don’t have to do good or bless those who persecute and hate us, just pray for them.
KJV: Matthew 17:21 “However, this kind goes not out but by prayer and fasting.”
NIV: Not there. They took it out. They took out the mechanism for which Christians are supposed to cast out certain demons.
Acts 8:37 KJV “And Philip said, If you believe with all your heart, you may. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
NIV: Not there. Pretty important disclaimer, for someone to believe with all their heart prior to getting baptized. I realize many of these are in the margins, but I am sure over time that will probably change. Some omissions in the NIV are Not in the margins they are just GONE.
Remember, in the parable of the sower, the Devil comes and takes away the word..he TAKES AWAY THE WORD!! I could go all day on these ommissions and distortions. To some they may seem petty but can’t you see. When we constantly change the word, say stuff isn’t there that has been stood upon for centuries it gives ammunition to the enemy. People starts saying “You guys can’t even agree on what the bible says how can you try to impose it on me” or “The bible’s been changed so much it isn’t reliable”. You say “No it’s reliable” but these corrupt versions keep saying it is not. That there is so much textual variation we cannot stand on the word we have to meekly say “Well I think this is what the bible says and means for your life but its not in some manuscript variants so I can’t be sure if its really the word of God”. We cannot contend.
Romans 1:29 Changes being filled with unrighteousness to wickedness. Omits fornication. Since fornicators shall not inherit the kingdom of heaven not sure why they would omit the word when its in the text. In doctrine wickedness is a different concept than unrighteousness..this is my opinion, but I think the change is bad.
1 John 4:3: KJV “And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God:”
NIV “but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God.”
In the flesh is omitted. This is horrible. There are many who acknowledge Jesus but does not acknowledge Him in the flesh, like Christian Science. They are not condemned by their heresy by the omission in this verse. Sarx is in the Greek text so they purposely omitted a Greek word.
They pervert the worship of Jesus : Matthew 8:2, 9:18, 15:25, 18:26, and 20:20 all say people knelt before Jesus. they just fell to their knees. Maybe they were tired and had to take a rest. KJV in all those verses uses the word worshiped. They worshiped Jesus. They take away from what these people were doing. Sometimes knelt may be the better choice but in most I think worship is a better term. proskyneō is what Satan asked of Jesus. I am sure Satan wasn’t saying “Hey Jesus just take a Knee before me”, there was a greater action being requested. This is a perversion. The demons also worshiped Jesus not just kneeled down.
Look I can do this all day and I guess the question becomes is how serious are we to not only transfer the right understanding to people, but right doctrine backed by correct interpretation of scripture. I believe we can fall into the error of the Pharisee’s where we search the scriptures thinking in them we have eternal life but will not come to Messiah that we may have life. I do not take the word of God lightly nor do I take people arbitrarily changing doctrinal idea’s and ommitting important contex from scripture even if it is ONE VERSE. If the NIV did it with one I would be upset. They do it over and over and over and now with all the Gender Neutral perversion of the word that they are now backtracking on it shows me their hearts. They do not take what they are doing in fear and trembling. They have an agenda. Is the KJV perfect..no. I don’t even use it. I use a version called the 21st century KJV. I look the scriptures up in their original language. I want to be sure I am giving people the living word of God. The word which is able birth people to life. We must approach the scripture with the knowledge that if we teach it in falsehood, or subtract from it Jesus may subtract us from the book of life. This is the warning He gave. These modern translations sow confusion, discord and cast doubt upon the reliability of God’s revelation to us.
Again, you’re simply mistaken about Westcott and Hort being the source for the text-critical issues. W-H are the starting point for the Nestle-Aland/UBS text, but these texts on which nearly every modern translation is based, have extensively reevaluated the textual evidence and made alterations to W-H whenever the evidence demanded it, which has been the case in several occassions. So to say “W-H is poor therefore the modern translations which use W-H are also poor” simply does not do justice to the facts. What has to be done is to compare the Majority Text to the best manuscript evidence which is, in my studied opion, the current UBS addition. While this edition is indebted to the W-H work, this is in no way a slavish dependence. For this reason, you cannot simply list verses that differ between the KJV and other versions on the basis of the manuscript basis and say that KJV is superior. The logic simply doesn’t hold.
Unfortunately, nearly every one of your examples depends on differences between the Majority Text and the current critical Greek text on which the modern translations are based. Moreover, many of these differences between the text are easily explicable. For instance, the omission of Mat. 17:21 is easily explained. It does not occur in the earliest manuscripts. Now, Mark 9:29, which is parallel to this passage, does contain the phrase “this kind can only come out by prayer” (NIV) or “this kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting” (KJV). The difference between the two is again based on the earliest manuscripts. This is simple logic: is it more likely that the original manuscripts contains “prayer and fasting” or “prayer” only? The evidence is clear: all of the earliest manuscripts contain only the words “prayer”. It is only in later (and we’re talking 100’s of years later) manuscripts that the word “fasting” shows up. This is not Wescott and Hort talking…this is straightforward comparison of the original texts which you are free to do yourself. In addition to the clearl objective evidence, we have another issue: it is easier to see how “fasting” was added to the text than how it was removed. The reason for this is simple: during the period of time in which the later manuscripts were produced, fasting had become something of a hot topic and was often used to demonstrate who was more spiritual (e.g. the monks). But in Scripture, exoricisms are most frequently shown to be possible for ALL followers of Christ (see Luke 9 and 10) with no restriction based on position or external signs of spirituality. Only in later years when monks (who produced the manuscript copies by the way), were known for their great spirituality, demonstrated by things like fasting, did fasting show up in the manuscripts. So which is more likely? That the words “and fasting” were added in the later manuscripts or removed in the earlier ones? Both the logical recognition of the motivation and the simply, clear-cut, indisputable fact that the earliest manuscripts do not have the questions words make this a pretty straightfoward determination. Now, the same thing seems to have happened in with Mat. 17:21. Some later scribe, recognizing the similarity of Matthew’s account to the Markan account simply borrowed the disputed text from Mark and inserted it into Matthew at this point. Again, the clear-cut manuscript evidence demonstrates the likelihood of this scenario: it is easy to explain the addition of words in later manuscripts, but it is very difficult to explain how the words were “removed” from earlier physical manuscripts. In other words, the evidence suggests that the NIV and other modern translations have not “removed” a text…they are simply reluctant to say “thus saith the Lord’ when the best evidence available clearly rules against these being the original inspired words. You cannot say they “took out the mechanism” unless you can demonstrate that this mechanism was in the original, inspired text rather than a later addition. The only evidence you have that it was present is the fact that it is present in the Majority Text, but as I’ve described above, this is not very convincing evidence that it was part of the original texts.
Now, I’m not saying that the KJV “added” words. Far from it. I think the KJV translators did the best they could with the manuscipt evidence they had. But since that time, thousands of additional pieces of manuscripts with farily clear provenence have come to light, allowing us to re-evaluate the quality of the Majority Text. Many, many of the changes between the Majority Text and the current Nestle-Aland/UBS addition have resulted from comparisons of manuscripts that are literally centuries closer to the time of the original composition than were used for the Majority Text. Thus, for instance, the Majority Text is often based on 7th-8th centure manuscripts and the UBS is based on 3rd-4th centuryt manuscripts. For obvious reasons, great weight is given to manuscripts that are closer by centuries to the time of the original writing…there’s simply less time for changes to creep in. But this was manuscript evidence that was not available to the KJV translators. In all honest, I rather suspect that, had they had access to these texts, they would have preferred them. But since they didn’t have access (they hadn’t been unearthed yet), they did the best they had with the best that they had.
The same thing I’ve described above holds true for all your other arguments which are based on differences between the Majority and UBS texts. I understand that it seems like these are important “omissions” in the NIV, but since a) the manuscript evidence is straight-forward and available to anyone who wants to look into it and b) the NIV supports all these critical issues (like the importance of belief in Jesus in Acts 8:37) in other places, as another reader has pointed out here, then the contention that these passages have been altered in order to undermine biblical faith is simply unsupportable.
Rom. 1:29 – the term pornea doesn’t appear in the earliest manuscripts, so the NIV and most other modern versions felt it presumptuous to put it in. But of course pornea occurs in many other places in the UBS Text (Mat 5:32, 19, 10 5:1, Col 3:5, et.al.) and is present in the NIV, so there is no basis for saying that the NIV has a low view of sin.
1Jo 4:3 – again, the disagreement is with the Majority vs. the UBS texts. All the manuscript evidence strongly suggests that the “is come in the flesh” business was not part of the original inspired text but was a later addition, so the modern translations don’t say “thus saith the Lord’ when the evidence is so strong that the Lord didn’t say those words. But its not like the NIV denies the incarnation of Christ just because it didn’t include words in this particular verse that we cannot be confident were in the original text.
You’re right, we could do this all day. I’m happy to look at each text and weigh the evidence. But when i do so, I consistently find that a) the manuscripts on which the KJV were based show signs of later additions which I do not want in my Bible. I don’t want the words of man reported to me as the words of God. b) in each of the places where the NIV is accused of having watered down the truth because it didn’t translate questionable material, we find the same truth affirmed without equivocation in other parts of the NIV.
I’m a little puzzled as to why you are so vehement in defense of the KJV above all other translations and then say you don’t even use it? If it’s so much better, then why not prefer it above all else?
I believe (and the evidence strongly supports) that the KJV was a sincere effort to effectively translate the Word of God in a way that would communicate to the people of its day, based on the best manuscript evidence they had available to them at the time. I also believe this is true of the NIV, the NAS and other modern translations. I don’t always agree with the interpretive degrees to which some functional equivalence versions go in order to “connect”. I do think this can have the effect of watering down some things, though I don’t generally think the translation supports the accusation of this having been intentional. But every translation does this from time to time. The KJV has some places where I genuinely believe the translation is wrong (cf. 2Ti. 2:15 or 1Pe 2:2 in the article above), though not intentionally. The KJV has places where it puts words in God’s mouth (based on the best manuscript evidence). But more importantly, the KJV is very difficult to understand which is precisely why we need modern translations. I would not expect people in China to listen to my preaching the Gospel in English…I would learn to speak Chinese and, since there is no Chinese KJV, I would have to do my best to translate the original texts (based on the best manuscript evidence) into Chinese. But in a very real since, insisting that modern English speakers listen to only the KJV is very close to insisting that Chinese audiences listen only to English preaching. The language has changed so much that the KJV is largely unintelligible to a modern audience. So we translate the original text (based on the best manuscript evidence available) into comprehensible modern English. Are all the translations perfect? No. Are there some translations that probably do try to water down the truth? Yes, but having reviewed the evidence I do not believe that the NAS and NIV and other like them are guilty of this.
As for the other, no I do not believe, as some would claim, that reading the NIV or any poor translation is wicked. I do not believe it will possess people. I do find it interesting that most of the megachurch, lukewarm, purpose driven lie and emergent churches use perverted versions. I think the way you approach the word reflects your seriousness about God and being correct in your understanding and worship of Him. Some take it lightly. I do not. I don’t use it to teach my children though. I give them NKJV. I want them to elevate their thinking and be hungry to know God’s word even if its hard. If they don’t know words like propitiation (Changed in the NIV but better in its original english formulation) I have them learn what they mean. I don’t dumb it down I lift them up. If I disciple people I have them use a Formal Eqiv and explain the danger of DE. Depending on your eschatology, if you are premil you have to believe that with the nearing of the reign of Anti-Christ will come great deception. There will be great apostasy in the church, yet there will still be a visible Christian church, albeit it will be dead, blind corrupt and hostile to the truth of God’s word. It will persecute the true believers. I see a movement in the Christian world to merge all divisions in the faith through convincing people to be dogmatic about anything is uncharitable and proud. That way we can be one big Babylonian whore church (The word Whore is the better translation of Harlot) that rides on the back of the beast. Its a State Church. I see this happening before our eyes. I could be wrong, it may just be a natural trend before revival, but I don’t think so. And I believe the perversion of the scripture and casting doubt upon their absolute authority and reliability is one step in the process. How my times have you heard people say “Well my bible says”?? There is only one spirit whose purpose is to sow confusion.
Sorry, I just read your comments to the brother above concerning the message. Not trying to spam your board here. Craig…we are not supposed to be pragmatist. That thinking has caused more horrible Christian practices then anything else I have seen to date. We do everything+Jesus because it might bring someone to the faith. hey let’s not criticize unbiblical seeker-friendly model churches because people get born again in them. If it works it must be ok. You and I both know God will use something inferior for His purpose but that does not mean he approves. Our job is to correctly transmit the revelation of God, in fear and trembling of the awesomeness of this privileged and allow God and the Holy Spirit to bring people to the faith. By many of the models of what is a sucessful ministry or church taught both in my undergrad and at Denver Seminary Jesus and most of the prophets were failures in ministry. Jeremiah should have toned it down he turned people off with all the women getting raped and babies heads smashed on rocks talk. And Jesus, what was He thinking taking a whip to those people, not very practical if your trying to win people. Not to mention those parables, did He say he was purposely trying to confuse people by speaking in them? How does he expect to build a church that way? Pragmatism is not our call, faithfulness is. The cross is foolishness to those who are perishing no matter how you present it. Our concern should be the glory of God alone and stop trying to make things more palatable and understandable and just stay faithful. Its not the model of Jesus, or the prophets to be a pragmatist.
Yes the Great mind of GOD, we earnestly want to understand exactly what HE said to Prophets. Strange as it may seem HE is the most wonderful summarizer. In Micah 6:8 HE gives us our marching orders: To do Justice, to love Mercy, and to walk HUMBLY in HIS company. Then when questioned on what the “great commandment” was HE answered: LOVE GOD and LOVE your neighbor (Math 22:37-39). Strange that it seems the Devil has not tried too hard to mess with translations as much as he has magnifficently succeeded in getting us to miss the great simplicity of what we need to understand.
I have few questions to you all:
1) Is any of the translations say that man is not a sinner?
2) Is any of the translation show an alternative savior than Jesus?
3) Is any of the translation denounce God altogether?
How many volumes or translations one required to prove man is a sinner and need of grace, mercy and favor from God thru a savior Jesus Christ?
Why did not not approve my larger argument but you did my supplemental thoughts?
Sorry. Wanted to be able to present your argument and my response side-by-side.
Brother. All you are doing is proving my point. Through many words you are acknowledging my original argument. That those things are taken out based on Wescott and Hort. You slip and slide around it but those “Earliest” manuscripts are what? The Vaticanus and Sinaiticus. I already told you I do not agree with the poor science behind Wescott and Hort pushing scholarship toward those texts as more reliable. You cannot deny this and often in your many statements you lightly agree that “Ok maybe they had an influence”. They were around (Minority Texts) when the Majority text was used and so were alot of other “Older Manuscripts” and they were rejected for a reason. Your main argument revolves around this which is what I told you I had a problem with in the beginning. Even those two terrible texts don’t agree with each other, the textual variations are many. Maybe that WHY they have been rejected for so long. But perverted, occultist, managed to sway Christian Scholarship toward them..and what is the end..losing key elements and texts. If your only argument is “Not in earliest manuscripts” prove to me you base that off other textual evidence besides the two which should have STAYED in the trash where they were found. They got tossed for a reason. Scholars claim it is easier to find two texts that differ than that agree but why do we turn to the inferior which changes the majority text? Based on questionable scholarship and poor justification. No one ever thought to guess that they are poorly copied translations. They even have texts crossed out. I mean Cmon brother. Why are you trying to run me around in circles rather than say I disagree with the majority texts and support the omissions. That ends this whole debate. I reject the Alexandrian texts..period. Nice to look at but not good sources. The UBS has those corupt texts as their backbone, even though those texts cannot even agree with each other. Does that even make sense. So when the verse differs from the Majority text UBS chooses those two corrupt ones as the best answer. Based on what? Wescott and Horts research. They were rejected as valid by the church they were found in (Sinaticus). If we are going to trust any old text maybe we should choose the Peshitta. Here’s an English version based on the Majority Text. Agrees with the KJ more than the NIV.
World English Bible & the Messianic Edition – Hebrew Names Version (public domain). Either way I stand by my choice, before God an Jesus Christ that the NIV, and many other modern translations are poor, and should not be used except, perhaps for a good laugh at the weak attempt and translating concepts instead of being faithful to the texts.
OK – and I’m sorry if this sounds a bit sarcastic – then you apparently have more familiarity with the original languages and text traditions than world-class, God-fearing scholars like Craig Blomberg, Craig Evans, Darrell Bock and more. I find it incredible that you would say that Craig Blomberg – who is not only a Godly man but a top-notch scholar who’s intellect and experience absolutely dwarfs mine – who has been part of the newest NIV revision team is responsible for a translation that is only good for a laugh. Does that not strike you as even a little bit arrogant on your part?
One last thought. You don’t know for sure or not if they literally had those texts. They weren’t hiding. They may not have been the only copies. The eastern church rejected them, they could have been around for a long time. The Vaticanus was around so I don’t know how you can say it wasn’t. It is believed to have been stored in the Vatican library since the 14th century. Erasmus used it to check his translation. That’s hundreds of years before the KJV and they rejected it. (Metzger, Bruce M. The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption and Restorationp. 67. )
According to a Catholic Scholar until the 19th Century no Scholar even bothered to study it considering it a product of the Latin Vulgate. Who changed that. Wescott and Hort. I’m sorry your favorite translation originates in scholarship by potentially wicked me who may have had ulterior motives for pushing those corrupt texts, but that’s the facts.
Yes, please, let’s let this be a final word. The NIV is not my favorite translation. But knowing the evidence, I simply can’t agree that the NIV is joke or a tool of the devil. If the NIV is a tool of the Devil, then the devil is a really bad tool-maker seeing as how the NIV clearly teaches the sufficiency of Christ and the necessity of personal response to the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.
Have you compared Young’s Literal Translation? I find it fascinating; I like to compare it to the King James Version and I find significant differences. It is a beautiful translation and it makes me think that too much is assumed and substituted in the KJV.
Also, the KJV tried to apply the verse template to all the books whereas the literal translation breaks it up as the original text did (though numbering the verses for reference) which seems to change or even bring together the context of the chapters better for me.
I agree that there isn’t one single best translation (though the literal is my favorite) and I don’t think any are the tools of the devil but I dislike those that try to interpret the meaning rather than simply translate the text as close to the original as possible.