In the never-ending battle keep the KJVO movement in check there is an immediate need to address a claim that I was just recently made aware of. A friend of mine who (for reasons unknown) follows Steven Anderson and his KJV heresy, recently tried to slander the NIV by stating that the translators purposefully removed certain words from the Bible. The list was copied from a popular KJVO website and was quite easily explained.
It removes 64,576 words as compared to KJV. The word Godhead is not found, nor is regeneration, mercyseat, calvary, remission, Jehovah, omnipotent, comforter, holy ghost, quickened, etc. Of course the word “sodomite” is gone, probably because the publishers were a bunch of sodomites. The NIV removes the name JESUS in 38 places. Don’t tell me that it didn’t belong there and that thanks to the demonic Alexandrian manuscripts we now have an accurate English translation; It’s of the Devil.
(Stated by a friend that will go unnamed but copied a number of KJVO websites)
While many of us can see the obvious flaws in the accusations, mainly that matching any two English Bibles word for word is impossible, I will still go on to explain the issues stated. However, I want to first make a quick note that none of the KJV Bibles match word count either. So by their same accusations they failed the test. The same is true for the claim that the NIV removed the name of Jesus. The NIV uses the name of Jesus hundreds of times more than the KJV. It’s of no consequence that 38 times the NIV used the proper pronoun for Jesus (he/him) rather than his name.
Words NOT found in the NIV
Godhead – This word or combination of words does not exist in Greek or Hebrew. The actual Greek word in question is θεότης which a combination of two pieces of grammar. The first piece is the generic word for god ( θεός ) the second part is definite article being used in the genitive case ( της ). When this type of conjugation is done the word becomes an abstract noun. An abstract noun is a noun that usually gets used like an adjective. It becomes descriptive. So it literally means “of god” or more literally “of the god.” But the idiomatic use basically just means god-like or divine. It’s ued in other Greek literature as well to mean something of divine nature or something god-like.
Regeneration – Some (not all) of the newer translations use the word “renew” instead of regenerate. They are practically the same word. Not really sure why it matters which one you use.
Mercyseat – This word also does not appear in either Greek or Hebrew. The idea of a mercy seat (or seat of grace) actually comes from Tyndale who lifted the translation from German. Martin Luther referred to the top part of the Ark as the “Gnadenstuhl”. Consequently, since much of the KJV, which was carried over from the Tyndale and Coverdale Bibles, the phraseology stuck. However, in nearly ALL Hebrew lexicons and resources nowhere does ( הַכַּפֹּֽרֶת ) get translated as any kind of seat. The reason is because the word refers to a cover or various types of coverings, depending on the conjugation. Mercyseat is a terrible translation of the word which is why the English word eventually died a quick death. The English rendering of Mercyseat also leaves out any context as to how the word Gnadenstuhl was understood in it’s own language. Even the Masoretic scholars who helped the KJV translators preferred a different translation which is still reflected in the JPS English translations today.
Calvary – This name also does not appear in the NT Greek. It does appear in Latin though. When the Vulgate was translated they used the translated name of the Greek name, Calvariæ, and not the transliterated name. Thus “Γολγοθᾶ ” (place of a skull) became Calvariæ which was a Latin translation of the same name (of a skull). But we are not Latin, we are English. As such, modern translators have abandoned the Latin word and transliterated (not the same as translated) the actual Greek name of the location which read Golgotha.
Remission – This word is virtually identical to forgiveness. We could discuss the differences between the two but it would be a waste of time.
Jehovah – The word Jehovah is nowhere in the Bible… anywhere. In fact, there is no J sound in Hebrew. I could spend a bunch of time explaining how it ended up in the KJV Bible or you could just read the article I already wrote on the subject (Hebrew has no J sound).
Omnipotent – This English rendering of (παντοδύναμος) to omnipotent is just silly for today’s readers, even though it is an accurate translation. The Greek word means almighty or all powerful, which is what the new translations read. The Greek is the combination of παντο which means all and δύναμος which means power(ful). It can also mean all mighty. The word omnipotent just another way of saying the same thing as all-powerful. Omni = all & potent = power. Omni-potent.
Comforter – The underlying Greek word is (Παρακλήτου) “Paraclete”. This was someone “called” ( κλήτο) “close-by” ( Παρα). It has a wide semantic range from helper to advocate to counselor. It can mean comforter but in the biblical context it wouldn’t make sense. Most often it is used to refer to someone who is called to make a legal defense for someone else or defend someone.
Holy Ghost – Ghost and Spirit have very different meanings today. Ghost today is universally known today as the spirit of someone that is deceased. I am sure the translators of the Medieval period used it differently but English has changed since then. It’s not that anything is necessarily wrong with the word ghost, it’s just that we use it differently today than when the KJV was made. The word Spirit better represents the idea that the scriptures is trying to convey, whereas ghost is more commonly known as a haunting spirit of sorts.
Quickened – I don’t even know how this word made the list except out of desperation. I could bother looking it up in the Bible and finding the Greek and Hebrew references but honestly nothing important or theological hinges on this word. Moreover, dozens of variations exist for synonyms of quickened. This is merely grasping at straws at this point.
One can easily see that nothing nefarious has happened in the NIV translation. These changes were made out of common sense and the result of changes to the English language. Unfortunately, some are even a result of bad translation on part of the KJV translators.