FRIEND, IT IS ONLY THROUGH GOD'S WORD, the Bible, that a person learns how
to get saved and go to Heaven when they die. Therefore, it is important that God's
Word be clear and concise, free of ambiguities. We can't very well trust our eternity-
bound souls to a Bible whose uncertainties can easily lead to misunderstandings.
Of course, the devil would love for us to misinterpret God's Word. The Bible, referring
to Satan, says, "Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field
which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman [EVE], Yea, hath God
said[?]" (Gen. 3:1). From the beginning, the devil has always tried to cast doubt on
God's Word; often, in a very subtle way. That's why the devil loves the confusion
created by all the different Bible versions on the market today. The most popular among
them is the New International Version, also known as the NIV.
If you use an NIV, perhaps you bought it because it is advertised as a translation that
strives for "the fidelity to the thought of the biblical writers." Perhaps you first tried to
read the King James Version (KJV), with its emphasis on "word-for-word translation,"
and felt it was difficult to understand. However, it's more important to know God's
exact words than the writer's "thoughts or intent." The NIV's attempt to provide the
thought-behind-the-words has led to verses whose wording is ambiguous and
misleading to the reader. As you will learn, such ambiguities subtly work in Satan's
For example . . .
In the KJV, 1 Tim. 1:9 says, "Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous
man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners..." God
makes it clear that we are ALL sinners, not just sinful, not just men and women who sin
a lot, but SINNERS. It is the condition [that] we are born in (Rom. 5:19; Gen. 5:3). "Sinner"
denotes that we sin by nature, not just by choice. We are all sinners, regardless of how
much, or how little, we actually sin. We don't become sinners because we sinned.
Rather, we sin because we are sinner--from birth! Sinful acts are the RESULT of being
a sinner. (See also Matt. 15:16-20; Mark 7:21-23.)
Of course, man's pride will deny that he is a sinner, and the devil knows it. So along
comes the NIV and says, "We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for
lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and SINFUL . . ." "SINFUL," is a relative term and,
thus, can be used as a self-righteous "loophole." "Sinful" is more descriptive of what we
do--our behavior. Thus, anyone who feels they don't "grossly sin a lot," will rationalize
that they are not a sinful person--what a subtle, misleading, contrast the KJV's point-
blank, black and white indictment of everyone being a sinner, PERIOD!
LET'S LOOK AT MORE EXAMPLES as we compare the NIV against the less ambiguous
King James Version (KJV). You will see how clearly defined, and "black and white," the
KJV is compared to the NIV. And as we examine these two Bibles, ask yourself:
Who benefits from the NIV's subtle and ambiguous wording, God or Satan? If it were YOUR SOUL on the line, which version would you rather trust, considering
the fact that God will judge you according to His exact Words (John 12:48)?
As a professing Christian, if you were leading someone to Christ, which Bible would
clearly show them [that] they are a sinner?
Which version would allow that someone to rationalize that they are not that bad,
and thus not deserving of a sinner's Hell?
Judge for yourself . . .
"For as by one man's disobedience many were
made sinners, so by the obedience of one
shall many be made righteous." Rom. 5:19
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT to recognize that we are
sinner? People who don't see their condition, as
lost, hell-bound sinners, before God, will not realize
that they are condemned already (John 3:18; Rom. 3:19).
Thus, they won't see their urgent need for a Saviour--
namely, Jesus Christ. The NIV does an injustice by making it
sound as if people are being condemned only for their "sinful
acts." Behavior, most will rationalize, can be controlled
(whereas a sinner's condition is beyond his/her control).
Therefore, many assume that if they simply control the
amount of sinning, they can get right with God--they won't
need to go "overboard," repent, and make Christ their Lord
and Saviour. Referring back to 1 Timothy 1:9, there is another
subtle injustice the NIV commits:
KJV - "Knowing this, that the law is not made for a
righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient,..."
NIV - "We also know that law is made not for THE
RIGHTEOUS but for lawbreakers and rebels,. . ."
The Bible says, "There is none righteous, no, not
one:" (Rom. 3:10). That's why the KJV expresses "A
righteous man," in ideal terms. Whereas by saying, "THE
righteous," the NIV makes it sound as if there are actual
righteous persons walking around.
Many self-righteous people reading "the law is made not
for the righteous" will immediately exclude themselves by
assuming [that] the law was made only for the sinful (i.e. criminals).
The devil is subtle, remember? (By the way, the 1978 version
of the NIV is even worse, using the term "GOOD MEN"
instead of "the righteous.") There are other NIV verses that
re-define our hopeless condition, as sinners, into a sinful, yet
"reformable," behavior. For example, Genesis 13:13:
KJV - "But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners
[their condition] before the LORD exceedingly."
NIV - "Now the men of Sodom were wicked and WERE
SINNING GREATLY (their behavior) against the LORD."
KJV - "And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a
sinner [her helpless condition, requiring a Saviour]..."
NIV - "When a woman WHO HAD LIVED A SINFUL LIFE (a
sinful behavior she can rectify on her own) in that town . . ."
KJV - "For consider him that endured such contradiction of
sinners [a condition that only Jesus Christ can cure]...."
NIV - "Consider him who endured such opposition from
SINFUL MEN (a behavior that anyone can correct). . ."
Even though a sinner by any other name is still a sinner,
sometimes the NIV gives the impression that some sinners are
worse than others. Notice Luke 13:4:
KJV - "...think ye that they were sinners above all men
that dwelt in Jerusalem?"
NIV - ". . . do you think they were MORE GUILTY than all the
others living in Jerusalem?"
1 Samuel 15:18:
KJV - "And the LORD sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and
utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites...."
NIV - "And he sent you on a mission, saying, 'Go ye and
completely destroy THOSE WICKED PEOPLE . . ."
KJV - "Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his
days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with
them that fear God, which fear before him:"
NIV - "Although A WICKED MAN commits a hundred crimes
and still lives a long time, I know that it will go better with
God-fearing men, who are reverent before God."
Sometimes, when the NIV does use the word sinners it
qualifies it, grammatically. Notice the quotes in Luke 15:1:
KJV - "Then drew near unto him all the publicans and
sinners for to hear him."
NIV - "Now the tax collectors and "SINNERS" were all
gathering around to hear him." (See also Matt. 9:10-11)
Why does the NIV put quotes around "sinners"? Is the
reader supposed to assume that "sinners" is a relative term?
Are these "sinners" not real sinners because, after all, they
follow Christ around and therefore can't be that bad?
Friend, sinners are sinners! How many misguided, self-
righteous people will notice those quotes and assume that
since they too are sincerely interested in Christ, they must be,
quote-unquote, "sinners," but not real sinners. Do you see the
confusion the NIV can create in a very subtle way? Who do
you think benefits from these ambiguities? God or Satan?
Let's look at 1 John 2:16, where the NIV subtly provides an
"excuse" for someone who doesn't want to admit that they
are an unrepentant sinner and not a child of God.
KJV - "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh,
and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of
the Father, but is of the world."
NIV - "For everything in the world--the CRAVINGS OF SINFUL
MAN, the lust of his eyes and THE BOASTING OF WHAT HE
HAS AND DOES--comes not from the Father but from the
Two things stand out. First of all, everyone has a flesh.
The flesh is often descriptive of our sin nature. (Even the NIV
alludes to that fact a number of times). And while everyone
can't deny they have a flesh, most will deny they are "sinful."
Also, to most people, "cravings" are not the same as
"lusts." "Cravings of sinful man" is an ambiguous statement
that can even mean a criminal with a sweet-tooth!
Secondly, "the pride of life" encompasses a lot more than
the NIV's "boasting of what he HAS AND DOES." Many
people who don't normally brag of what they have or do, will
assume [that] this verse doesn't apply to them, even though they
are oozing with pride in many other areas.
Thus, through its subtle wording, the NIV provides false-
assurance to any self-righteous person who assumes that God
is their heavenly Father. The devil is subtle, isn't he?
Let's look at Proverbs 20:6:
KJV - "Most men will proclaim every one his own
goodness: but a faithful man who can find?"
NIV - "Many a man claims TO HAVE UNFAILING LOVE, but a
faithful man who can find?"
The KJV's wording is a perfect indictment upon a self-
righteous attitude. God brings to mind how people will tend
to compare themselves with others, and conclude that they
are not that bad after all. Jesus even rebuked the Pharisees
for making such comparisons: "And he said unto them, Ye
are they which justify yourselves before men; but God
knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed
among men is abomination in the sight of God." Luke 16:15
The NIV, however, says "UNFAILING LOVE," which takes
the emphasis away from self-righteousness. People are not
likely to lose sleep over their lack of unfailing love--much less
fall under conviction. (Score another one for the devil.)
Finally, Proverbs 21:4 says:
KJV - "An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing
of the wicked, is sin."
NIV - "Haughty eyes and a proud heart, THE LAMP OF THE
WICKED, are sin!"
The Bible says "So then they that are in the flesh
cannot please God." (Rom. 8:8). Therefore, even
something as noble as plowing a field does not impress God
when the man plowing is a rebellious, unrepentant, sinner.
The NIV's choice of words? Well . . . you explain it!
The Bottom line . . .When it comes to any issue relating to salvation, "God is not
the author of confusion" (1 Cor. 14:33), but there is one who
is: "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled
Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be
corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." (2 Cor.
11:3). The Bible is meant to be read by us laymen! When you
open your Bible, you don't normally find scholars standing
around, ready to clarify any ambiguous wording.
Nor will the translators of the NIV stand beside you on
Judgment Day, taking responsibility for any fatal
misunderstanding [that] you may have had. It will be strictly
between you and God. So it is important to use a Bible that
doesn't leave you scratching our head wondering if it really
means this, that, or more than one thing.
After all, your soul is on the line . . .
IF you were to die today, are you 100% SURE
you would go to Heaven? The Bible says
YOU CAN BE SURE (1 John 5:13).
BUT FIRST, you must realize that what keeps you
from going to Heaven are your sins, because:
"...your iniquities [sins] have separated
between you and your God," Isaiah 59:2.
In fact, in God's eyes YOU ARE A SINNER: "For
all have sinned, and come short
of the glory of God;" Romans 3:23.
SECONDLY, you must realize that there is
NOTHING you can do to save yourself and earn
Heaven: "For by grace are ye saved through
faith; and that not of yourselves: it is
the gift of God: Not of works, lest any
man should boast." (Eph. 2:8-9) Baptism, good
deeds, church membership, self-righteousness are
all examples of good works that cannot save you,
because: "Not by works of
righteousness which we have done, but
according to his mercy he [Christ] saved
us," Titus 3:5.
THE ONLY WAY you can get saved is through
Jesus Christ. He said: "I am the way, the
truth, and the life: no man cometh unto
the Father, but by me." (John 14:6) THAT'S
WHY: "...while we were yet sinners, Christ
died for us." Romans 5:8-9
THEREFORE: You must REPENT (change your
mind); admit that you are a Hell deserving sinner
and can't save yourself. And call upon Christ, and
Him alone, to save you. "if thou shalt confess
with thy mouth the Lord Jesus [REPENT], and
shalt believe in thine heart [TRUST] that God
hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be
saved." Romans 10:9
SEND THE LIGHT
P.O. Box 815 Fargo, ND 58107
[Christian Helps Ministry (USA)] [Christian Home Bible Course]