This is an examination of the article written by Dr. Stauffer in the June issue of the Prophetic Observer. If you haven’t heard of this article or even of the Prophetic Observer, you probably don’t need to read any further.
NIV Perverts the Virgin Birth
Dr. Stauffer argues that the RSV replaced virgin with young women, and calls it an “ill-conceived modern version.” The direct translation of the passage means “young women” which at that time was synonymous with virgins, and every preacher I’ve heard never fails to mention this fact. He also argues that because the NIV puts young women in the footnote that it is “reverting back to the reading that sunk the RSV. Satan will most likely use this footnote to justify removing “virgin” from the text in future printings of this particular NIV.” This is presumptuous and an outright lie. The NIV 2011 still says virgin in Isaiah 7:14, and to assume that they’ll start using young women in the next version is an extremely pretentious thing to say.
- Matthew 1:23 NIV2011 says “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel.”
- Luke 1 starting in verse 26 NIV2011 “… God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph …”
- Again in Luke 1, verse 34 NIV2011 “‘How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
I think I should note that people love to praise Martin Luther for translating the Bible into the common German language. I think it’s strange why KJV onlyists hate the people at Biblica so much, when the KJV was written 400 years ago in a version of English that no one speaks today.
Attacking Christ’s Deity
Dr. Stauffer makes the claim that the NIV “destroys the doctrine of the virgin birth altogether by stating that Joseph is Jesus’ father.” by changing Luke 2:33 from “Joseph and his mother” to “the child’s father and mother.” I would quote all the verses I used above to prove Jesus virgin birth, but that would be redundant. He also fails to notice that “father” is written with a lowercase “f”, while every reference to God is capital “Father.” There is a clear distinction made between God the “Father” and Jesus’ earthly “father” Joseph.
He tries to use Luke 2:48-49 to prove his point again, but that argument doesn’t hold up either. Mary says, “Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.” To which Jesus replies, “How is it that ye sought me? Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” He’s not denying Joseph as his (lowercase f) father, but makes a point about who He is and why He is here. Even Joseph and Mary are confused: “But they did not understand what he was saying to them.”
To deny that Joseph was Jesus father figure is false, and to ignore the many many other NIV verses proving Jesus’ virgin birth is selective apologetic blindness.The NIV makes it very clear that Jesus was born of a virgin named Mary and conceived by the Holy Spirit, not from Joseph.
Dr. Stauffer even goes so far as to judge and condemn everyone who has ever worked on a modern version of the Bible “One can only imagine what will happen to these Bible revisers when they appear before Him on the Day of Judgement.” I would imagine that God’s grace is sufficient.
Jesus – Manifest in the Flesh
Dr. Stauffer uses 1 Timothy 3:16 to say that the NIV doesn’t acknowledge that Christ was “manifest in the flesh.”
First of all, the NIV footnotes (which Dr. Stauffer conveniently ignores) state the very same doctrine he’s trying to prove.
“Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: He(a) appeared in a body,(b) was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.”
a Some manuscripts God
b Or “in the flesh”
Again, there are plenty of other NIV verses to prove that Jesus came in the flesh. Such as:
- In John 1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Later in verse 14, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”
- In 1 John 4:2 “This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God,”
- 2 John 1:7 “Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist.”
Jesus – From Everlasting
This section is a discussion on Micah 5:2, where it seems his main problems are with the words “origins” and “ancient times” as if Jesus had a beginning.
The Hebrew for “origin” in this passage is “עלם / עולם” or “olam”. Meaning:
- long duration, antiquity, futurity, for ever, ever, everlasting, evermore, perpetual, old, ancient, world
- ancient time, long time (of past)
- (of future)
- for ever, always
- continuous existence, perpetual
- everlasting, indefinite or unending future, eternity
The Hebrew for “ancient times” is “אלף” which means:
- a thousand
- as numeral
- a thousand, company
- as a company of men under one leader, troops
I actually agree with his dislike of this translation, and think it makes more sense to translate it like the KJV. The word “origin” is confusing, and in English subtly communicates that Jesus had a beginning. We do however use “ancient” to describe God, as in Daniel 7:9 ,13 and 22 when he calls God the “Ancient of Days”. But, I don’t see why this would be any reason to stop reading the NIV. Regardless, we have to cross reference other verses if we want to establish doctrine, not just pick one verse that we happen to like (or dislike in Dr. Stauffer’s case):
- In John 8:58 Jesus says “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I am!” -obviously claiming to be God, in reference to God’s statement “I AM WHO I AM” in Exodus 3:14.
- John 17:5 Jesus says “And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.”
- Colossians 1:18 “he is the beginning.”
- John 3:13, Colossians 1:15-17, Hebrews 1:10 etc.
Ask Dr. Stauffer if he thinks the translators of the above verses are “blind or Satanically inspired or both.”
Next, Dr. Stauffer talks about Jesus being “begotten” by the Father, using Acts 13:13 to prove that the NIV says God became Jesus’ Father. What he actually meant was Acts 13:33, not Acts 13:13. Forgivable mistake. Another forgivable mistake is his misunderstanding of the verse, which is a direct quote from Psalm 2:7 where David says:
I will proclaim the Lord’s decree:
He said to me, “You are my son;
today I have become your father.”
David most likely wrote Psalm 2, so it wouldn’t make sense for him to capitalize “son” when he is referring to himself. David is not God, so why would he capitalize a reference to himself? This is aside from the fact that no one uses the confusing word “begotten” in modern English. Do you know what it means to “beget” someone? I certainly don’t.
His casual reference to Daniel 3:25 is also questionable. The original 1611 KJV version said “sonne of God” – without a capital “S”. See http://www.kjvonly.org/doug/kutilek_son_of_god.htm
Jesus – A Sinner!
This article discusses Matthew 5:22 in detail http://www.kjv-only.com/matt5_22.html
The first point the author of the above article makes is that it’s impossible to be angry “without a cause”. Everyone has a cause for being angry, so does the cause make their anger justified? No. We technically don’t need “without a cause” to understand what the verse means.
The second point, is that the verse is not said with 100% certainty, “But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother (b) will be subject to judgement.” Footnote: (b) Some manuscripts brother without cause
The verse does not say “But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be in sin.”
Notice that the footnote (which Dr. Stauffer ignores again) even says “without a cause.”
Turning the tables, compare Matthew 5:21 and Acts 5:1-10 in the KJV version. Does this make God a sinner? No, it doesn’t. So how can KJV exclusivists claim that Matthew 5:22 and John 2:13-17 in the NIV make Jesus a sinner?
Jesus – Condemned!
Dr. Stauffer attempts to say that Jesus is condemned because of the NIV interpretation of Titus 3:10. Luke 12:51 NIV says “Do you think that I am come to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.” He juxtaposes this with Titus 3:10 which says “Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him.”
Is it just me, or does Dr. Stauffer’s KJV extremism qualify for divisiveness? He’s legalizing scripture by using over-scrupulous methods to divide Christians into KJV and not-KJV camps. He is the one causing division in Christianity. Maybe he’d be better off reading his Bible than using it as a weapon to attack people with.
Now to the argument – If you read Titus 3:10 in context, Paul is encouraging Titus to “avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because they are unprofitable and useless.” He’s talking about divisive people in the body of Christ stirring up trouble. The supposed opposing passage is Luke 12:51, where Jesus is clear about who will be divided – earthly families. The gospel of Christ is divisive because it divides believers from non-believers, not believers from believers like Paul is warning us about in Titus. Dr. Stauffer pays too much attention to the specific word “divisive” and twists it into an argument that is shaky at best.
Jesus – The Morning Star
I would summarize the article http://www.kjv-only.com/isa14_12.html, but it’s too long. Basically “morning star” and “Lucifer” both mean the same thing, so both are correct.
Conclusion – My Thoughts
I feel that I have successfully debunked all but one of Dr. Stauffer’s twisted arguments, the Micah 5:2 argument not being included since I agree with him.
While this article is mainly concerned with the interpretation of scripture, I must note that my main concern is the attitude with which KJV onlyists make their arguments. They commonly use patronizing statements like:
“Satan will most likely use this footnote to …”
“… this ill-conceived modern version.”
“One can only imagine what will happen to these Bible revisers when they appear before Him on the Day of Judgement.”
The NIV translators are “blind or Satanically inspired or both.”
Even the very title of the article “NIV2011 – Repackaged Lies”
This kind of language can never be beneficial, and only creates a greater divide in the body of Christ. It discourages open discussion and debate, which is essential if we are to understand the true nature of the Father and be a good witness to non-believers. While I understand their passion for properly defending the truth, articles like this are not the proper way to do it.
Dr. Stauffer, in love, I think that your article is divisive. I think your KJV-only agenda is the very same “foolish controversy” Paul talks about it Titus 3:9, and humbly issue a warning. I think KJV-onlyism “puts obstacles” in the way of those who might be believers and find the KJV archaic and hard to understand (I am one of them). If the arguments you have made in your article are the strongest evidence against the NIV, I hope that you reconsider your position. You don’t have to stop reading the KJV, but please stop attacking the body of Christ from within by attacking those who read the NIV. The nature of the internet doesn’t allow it, but I wish that I could speak to you in person so you could see my face – it’s not an angry or condemning one. I think that you are a sensible, educated man, and hope you objectively re-examine your views.
John Marshall Jr.