The Instigator
dthmstr254
Pro (for)
Winning
13 Points
The Contender
NapoleonofNerds
Con (against)
Losing
6 Points

Translations of the Bible are not unBiblical, and are, in fact, commanded.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/11/2008 Category: Religion
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,064 times Debate No: 1717
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (5)
Votes (5)

 

dthmstr254

Pro

The hot topics among protestant Christians today include mainly the split over music types and the translation used by the church. Many say that alternate versions are not Biblical, or worse, satan-induced. My stand is quite the opposite. The KJV is not the only good translation and is far from an inspired translation. The only inspired version of the Bible was the original autograph in the Greek and Hebrew.

That is my stance. Since this is a large topic, I am making this a 5 round debate.
NapoleonofNerds

Con

I think that the contention that no authentic translation of scripture exists expresses the least hope for God's care over the Church that I have ever seen, even from hardcore Evangelical Protestants.

I. Implications for Salvation

Your profile says you're a Baptist, and Baptists, like most Protestants believe that one must hear the word and believe it in order to be saved. Koine Greek and Biblical Hebrew are hard languages to learn - I know, I've had to do both. If the only way that a person can read and understand scripture, and by your faith be saved, is to read and understand these texts in the original languages, you are condemning a huge number of people who would otherwise be saved to Hell. To suggest that God wants everyone who has learning disabilities, who is bad at foreign languages or alphabets, or who doesn't have access to the materials necessary to learn Greek or Hebrew to be damned is entirely inconsistent with a Loving God who desires that all be saved, a conception of God which has been affirmed since the Church's earliest days.

II. The Problem of Originals

The original copies of the Bible don't exist. The oldest manuscript of the Bible is the Codex Vaticanus, and it isn't complete (It lacks several Epistles and the Book of Revelation) and it wasn't written until the 4th century. We don't have the original books that the various authors of scripture wrote. Some scholars even conjecture that the Gospel of Mark was based on or derived from a now lost Aramaic text given that most of its idioms are not Greek. What's more, all the old manuscripts vary, usually in minute details. Your argument has the result that there was no inspired Word in the world well before the Fall of the Roman Empire, let alone in the modern age.

III. Implications for God's care

Jesus commanded the Apostles to make disciples of all nations, not just the ones that spoke Greek. Your argument seems to imply that God could not or did not allow for inspired translations other than the originals but that God did inspire scripture, which means that God either didn't have the power to do something or that he didn't care enough about creation to actually do it. This means that only the select few with the capacity to read the original copies, which we no longer have, have heard the Word.

IV. Practicalities

On a functional level, the Church cannot function without translation, and cannot function well without a variety of translations. God's inspired word subsists in all academically accurate translations, and scripture is know to us in the modern age even without the originals. Anything else would cause a person to abandon Christianity.
Debate Round No. 1
dthmstr254

Pro

I will respond as you have posted, point by point

I. Definitely an excellent starting point for you to begin with, bringing salvation, as it should be, to the forefront of the discussion. I did not say that we were to learn Greek and Hebrew, though I most certainly will be taking at least Greek after I finish my Bachelor's Degree in Sign Language Interpretation. (I inserted that fact for a later point that I will show relevance of my degree in.) THe Bible says:

How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? (Romans 10:14)

I would ask a question here. How can one understand the Bible WITHOUT a preacher? Some people say that people who read the Bible looking for salvation should know how to read that level. Statistics, on the other hand, have been clear. Baptist International Missions Incorporated released a study three years ago that searched for the age most Christians are saved at. The study revealed that over 75% of Christians were saved before the age of 15 and 80% before the age of 25 (Dr Rodney Kelley, seated on the board of BIMI). That is a vast majority of people that are saved. Santa Fe Community College teacher Mrs Judy Canova recorded that 50-60% of applicants to SFCC were required, based on their grades, to take remedial reading and/or writing courses at entrance. This would mean that their reading level is below that of a standard 4-year college applicant. The King James Version (alternately called the Authorized Version) has been evaluated as a post-college reading experience, meaning it requires knowledge of old British Literature. Where does that leave people in small towns in Arkansas (no offense to those from said state) where there might not be a church within driving distance and all they have is a Bible? They are left high and dry without the ability to comprehend what they are reading. If the KJV is THE inspired version of the Bible (and I am convinced by evidence that it is not), then if that version they have is not KJV, then they would be considered mislead. Would the God described in the Bible do something like that? Condemn a person because the only Bible they had access to was an NIV? Most certainly not, because the Bible says that he who calls on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ SHALL BE SAVED.

II. And I still state that there was not an inspired copy. In the Bible, it clearly states that the scriptures are "Theopnuestos," which, correct me if I am wrong, means, literally, "God-breathed." God was straightforward with identifying the autographs as inspired and put His stamp of approval in Paul's epistles to Timothy. In fact, God is behind everything that is claimed as true, as evidenced by the hundreds of times a variation of "Thus saith the Lord" is found in the Bible. This gives us a "psychological profile" of God, if you will. God signed off on everything He did or said.

In the KJV, and every translation before and after it, there is not a single, non-translated part where God would, if He had inspired, put such a signature. In fact, the translators of the KJV went out of their way to say that translating would continue on further versions, as evidenced by the major revision of the KJV from old English into Middle English in 1769, and the later revision in the mid-1800s, known as the Revised Version.

Father of modern translating, John Wycliffe had a motto. When he finished his first translation, did he stop? Absolutely not. Even after he was put in jail, he got paper and his old version, making change after change after change to the translation. He was never happy with the translation he had currently. He wanted more. That is a stark contrast to the church of today, which has creeped into more than translation. The church wants to keep to the status quo. We see it again and again. Churches don't want to change their music, and God forbid a visitor sits in your pew. Dr Rodney Coe, pastor of First Baptist Church of Starke, is tracking a 3 year study wherein a man has visited a different church every service to see how hospitable churches would be. At the latest report, he had visited 191 churches (in his report, they were KJV-only Baptist churches), and had only been spoken to once by someone other than an official greeter, and that was to move his seat.

In contrast, you go into a church where they use different versions, or even multiple versions, AND they still teach biblical truths, it is found hard to keep from getting involved somewhere. FBC Starke is one of the hottest places to be as churches come, though they are also among the smaller churches in their county. Even on the big scale, Highland Park Baptist Church, which was raised under the leadership of Dr Lee Roberson, now uses more and more different versions, and even had one evangelist come in and translate directly from a copy of Erasmus's Greek New Testament during his service, hitting almost exactly what the concept of the words we read in our modern versions; they are found hard to stay uninvolved, with an active new membership class and a Deaf ministry that is made smaller only because of the Deaf church inside 30 miles of the church. I have never walked into a Baptist church with alternate versions where they were not excited about Christ and about getting new members involved in the church.

Moving on:

III. Christ didn't speak Greek in the first place. Archaeology shows that he probably spoke Aramaic, which was the commoner's language at the time. Even when reading the scriptures, he read the Greek Septuagint, and not the proclaimed Holy Hebrew scriptures that the Pharisees used. If we follow Christ's example, we would be translating continually from the Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic into languages used today, not 400-500 years ago.

Also, the implications on Christ's care are also dramatic on your side of the argument. If the KJV is the inspired translation of today, where does that leave non-English speakers? Are you going to hang all non-western society members out to dry simply because they can't speak English? Better yet, would God do that? ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!

IV. Actualy, I don't know how or if I should respond to this one, as the implications of what you said bolster my side of the argument more than destroy it.

Adding my own set of points:

1. The KJV is flawed in translation in several ways. First John 1:8-9 is hailed by many as proof that alternate translations have twisted the scriptures. In fact, the part they claim is removed wasn't removed, but added by the translators of the KJV. THe phrase in the end of verse 8 and beginning of verse 9 is only found in 8 late-era Latin copies of the scriptures (Dr Scott Carrol is my source for all archaeological statements on this, as well as the book "Traditions and Encounters" which is a History textbook).

The only reason that statement is added in there is because of pressure from the Roman Catholic Church on the translators, as well as more than a few bribes from them. God only works through people who are devoted to Him and WILLING to serve in that capacity. If you want evidence of this, there were no Psalms from David during the mess with adultery and murder he had with Bathsheba.

2. Outdated word usages are prevalent in the KJV. How do you find mercy in your bowels? THis and other such phrases are in need of explanation, where there should be easily accesible words for people to read.
NapoleonofNerds

Con

I'll deal with your points first, then return to my own.

1. KJV is flawed, but so is every translation of the Bible. Flaws due to human weakness are not a sign that a translation is inspired or not. I'm trying to present that every translation with reasonable scholarship or care for the Word is inspired, based partially on the necessity for the Teaching actions of the Church but also because "Wherever two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them." (Mt. 18:20) I know that this will make Protestants uncomfortable because it means the Holy Spirit acts to aid the Church definitively, but you've said far more Catholic things in this debate, so that's of little concern.

What is of concern is the fact that you seem to think the Catholic Church had any hand in the King James Bible. King James was a hardcore Protestant who commissioned the KJV for the purpose of galvanising England's Christians against Catholicism by offering the liturgy in the vernacular. Anyone with the remotest sense of British History would know that it's impossible the Catholic Church had anything to do with what the King James Bible says.

Also, Jesus actually probably did speak Koine Greek. It was the Lingua Franca of the East, Judea had been under the control of Greek speakers for several hundred years before Jesus was born, and Jesus himself preaches in the Greek speaking cities of the Decapolis.

2. There are a ton of idioms in the bible that only make sense after a ton of Scholarship and in the original languages. The Seat of Moses in Matthew and the Eye of the Needle (a gate in Jerusalem, not a literal sewing device) as well as rhetorical devices and historical allusions abound in the Scriptures. If using language of a certain time and place is a fault, it is a fault of Scripture itself, and I doubt you want to go there.

My points:

I. This is dangerous territory for you, and I'm surprised you went here.

If it's necessary scripture has a preacher, where does that preacher need to get what they preach from? It seems there are two options:

a. They get it from Scripture, which means you created a distinction without a difference and the preachers incur the same problems that any faithful reader does.

b. They get the truth from the preachers who preached to them, and so on until you reach Jesus and the Apostles, a line of descent going back 2000 years, protected by the Holy Spirit, and preaching truths independent of Scripture. But then you have a problem. That is word for word what Catholics believe about the Bishops and the Teaching Authority of the Church. As a Baptist, it's impossible for you to believe this version, because then there is no reason not to be a Catholic. If you want to be a Catholic, that's really cool, but I doubt you're in RCIA right now.

Further, I think you misunderstand my advocacy. I think the KJV is inspired along with all the others, not that the KJV is inspired to the exclusion of the others. As much grace is imparted from the KJV as it is from the NIV, New Jerusalem, NAB, or any other responsible translation. God inspires his word in many forms so that many can hear it.

II. I think there's a major problem with your interpretation of scripture, so I'm going to ask you a question under this point - How do you know that everything you believe to be scripture is scripture, and how do you know that everything you don't believe to be scripture isn't? The Gospel of Judas, for instance, claims divine inspiration, but it isn't in the KJV. Is it scripture? How do you know?

I ask because it seems that "The book says the book is special" is self-referential and not something that a God of Wisdom would be happy with.

I don't understand how any of what you say about Protestant churches being stagnant (the effect of being rife with schism and not having Councils to shake things up periodically) is relevant to the debate.

III. Oh, wait, you didn't respond to points three or four. I hope you will in future rounds.
Debate Round No. 2
dthmstr254

Pro

In order

1. http://www.markdroberts.com...

That deals with the end of your response to my first point. Jesus probably knew Greek, but it definitely wasn't his main language, as the main language of those He serviced was Aramaic. "He came to His own, and His own received Him not."

As to the flawed inspiration, the two are mutually exclusive terms. God is, by definition from the Bible, perfect and meticulous in everything He does. He created the original autographs without flaw and with a signature. Your belief implies that God would do something imperfect, which would contradict what the Bible says.

However, Baptists DO believe that the Holy Spirit works directly on the world. In fact, it is in most Baptist church statements of faith. However, We have no evidence, be it scriptural or not, that the Holy Spirit inspired any translation. What we believe is that when one is in God's will, God will bless all that he does, and, as He did with Jabez, expand their horizons so as to share His word more fully. What seperates us from Catholicism is the FACT that Mary was human, and as Paul stated in the book of Romans, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." That, and the fact that the Bible states that "vengeance is mine, thus saith the Lord" and that Jesus is the ONLY mediator between God and man, not Mary, and not the pope, just Jesus. (going off topic, I am glad that God doesn't require me to go through rituals just to find forgiveness from Him, but that it is by His grace and not how many times I say the Hail Mary. Ok, my rant is done, back on topic.)

As to Catholic intervention in the KJV translation, the evidence is there. Firstly, the only place where 1 John 5:7b-8a (specifically: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood:) is found is in 8 late copies of the Latin Vulgate, a fully Catholic Bible at the time. There is not a shred of non-Vulgate documents that have that particular passage in them. A true translation would, by definition, only include them as a footnote, if at all. The fact that it is found in the main text is evidence enough of Catholic influence. As to your ideas to history, if they are correct, then a whole lot of history classes at secular and Christian colleges need to get their act together, because they mention the influence more than once.

2. I am not speaking of using allusions to places in Jesus's time. I am speaking of using phrases such as "Have ye any bowels of mercy?" when it is explained in the pulpit as "do you have compassion and mercy?" Why not skip the middleman on that and simply say that? The phrases are a lot of the time specific to Old English phrases, not Greek, Hebrew, or Aramaic.

coming to your points on the second half

I. Firstly, Jesus commanded us to go and spread the gospel at the end of all four gospels, and until the truths were written down, God continued to work miraculous things among the church. However, at the end of Revelations, God puts a "the end" on the age of miracles. He stated that any who add to or take from the scriptures (and in the Greek, the word is plural, not singular, meaning that it included ALL books of the Bible, not just Revelations) would receive the tribulations and trials offered in the Bible, specifically the punishments. That would mean that even adding what the Catholics hold dear would bring judgement on those who added and followed those things. This would also mean that God had deemed humans fit and able to do His work without Him giving step-by-step instructions. It doesn't mean that He won't bless those who do His work, only that He isn't going to do it for them anymore, for, as Jesus said, the man who believes and has not seen is more blessed than the one who has seen and believed.

As to the ending on this point, I think that you have misnoted what the pro v con was, but no matter, I can continue the debate and start one where the sides are more established. :)

II. I thought you would never ask that one. This is where I have my hayday.

There are three ways of telling if something should be canonical: Quality of copying, quantity of copies, and time interval between the oldest copy and the autographs.

Quality of copying refers to how well the copy was made. The Old Testament copies take the cake on this one, due to the extreme lengths the Masorites (I think that is how it is spelled, but I am talking of the group of people who copied the Old Testament prior to the New Testament) went to so that the copy was as close to perfect as possible. They were required to cleanse themselves and destroy their pen every time they wrote the name of God, whether it is Yehova, Yahweh, or Elohim, or any other one of His names (my favorite being El-Shaddai ). When they were finished copying a page, they counted the number of letters on each page and if they were off by even one letter, they had to burn that incomplete copy and start back again. When a copy was found damaged or faded, it had to be recopied and then the old faded or damaged copy be burned or buried. THey took their job seriously.

Quantity refers to the number of copies available. The New Testament takes the cake here, with upwards of 30000 non-Vulgate early copies of the New Testament. With that many copies, one can cross-reference to make sure they have a correct translation.

Time interval is where the apocryphal books, such as the alternate gospels die out. There is upwards of 300 years from the first copy of the Gospel of Judas back to when Judas hung himself, while the canonical gospels hail as close as ten years from the autographs.

Finally, after all this checks out, one must look at whether it contradicts the canon. The Macabees and the other books in the Catholic KJV (yes, the version now used by American Catholic churches is a KJV) fall out here, as they contradict main points of the Bible.

Finally, I did respond to points 3 and 4, directly after I said "Moving on:"

I didn't answer number four except to say that it bolstered my side of the debate.
NapoleonofNerds

Con

NapoleonofNerds forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
dthmstr254

Pro

ok, I hope you get the next round in, gut right now, I don't have anything new to post, so, good luck in responding.
NapoleonofNerds

Con

NapoleonofNerds forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
dthmstr254

Pro

I am guessing that my opponent is not going to show, but either way, I will post my closing arguments and recap what I perceive is my opponent's stance.

Napoleon seems to believe that all well-researched and dutifully translated are inspired, despite the weaknesses and flaws. He finds this on the Catholic "teaching principles," and a few verses. He also denies the Roman church's involvement in the KJV translation based on the history of the British, specifically the king's stance toward Catholicism.

This is wrong for the following reasons:

A. In response to blanket inspiration of translations.

The farthest the Holy Spirit goes in aiding translations is to bless those involved. Whenever God has done something, it has had earmarks of His handiwork. The cells in our body have parts that cannot be used anywhere except that place, with the specific parts they work with, and nowhere else. That is God's signature on the humans, animals, and plants. In physics, if you change any known constant by less than even a percent, this universe would not be capable of sustaining life. That is His signature on the laws of physics. In the scriptures, His signature is found in 2 Timothy 3:16:

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,

There is no signature of God's work on any translation, and, in fact, most translation committees, including the original KJV translators, went out of their way to state that their translations were blessed, but not inspired. God has a pattern. He does not change, and the lack of a signature on any translation is evidence that there is no inspiration, because He has a habit of signing off on things He does.

B. In response to inspiration of flawed works and sinful people.

God is perfect, just, and excellent in ALL He does. If God had inspired a translation, it would be absolutely perfect, down to the conceptual translation of every word. There would be no words that would fail to translate into English, and there would be no words there that were not there to begin with. There would be no need for the translators to gather documents for cross-referencing, nor a need of knowledge of Greek, Aramaic, or Hebrew.

Secondly, God is holy, set apart and will not come close to sin. Evidence is found in the distinct lack of Psalms written by David from the time he committed adultery with Bathsheba to the time he wrote the confession out. There were no inspired words from David during his time trying to hide sin from God. Why would inspired words flow from the pen of a person guilty of bribery, lying, and stealing, as the college history books and archaeologists say they were guilty of?

C. In response to the claim of Catholic non-involvement in the KJV translation.

Traditions and Encounters, a secular history text book from Mcgraw-Hill publishers, a widely accepted textbook publishing agency, and Dr Steve Carrol, a Christian Archaeologist, as well as numerous online sources, all agree that there was bribery involved from Bishops who had previously had churches in Britain, as well as those from outside the British Isles. These bribes included the adding of phrases from the Latin Vulgate, from which 1 John 5:7b-8a was taken and added to the translation. Translators saw that discrepancy in modern translations and removed the passage to the margins of their translation, stating clearly that only a marginal number of late manuscripts have that phrase there. As Grissom off of CSI, I go where the evidence leads me. The evidence all points toward Catholic involvement. They had motive (They didn't want to lose control of Britain), they had a track record (the massive execution of protestants starting with Martin Luther and not ending till after the KJV was released), and they left fingerprints and DNA (figuratively, the historical and archaeological data (fingerprints) and the source of the Latin Vulgate (DNA)) with which to place them at the scene.

My argument was that no single or number of translations is inspired. They all have flaws, but the KJV is not the best, but only one of many high-quality translations out there. Matter of fact, I would choose to have a multi-version cross-reference Bible versus any single translation, to lessen the chances of flaws in the translation.
NapoleonofNerds

Con

NapoleonofNerds forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by dthmstr254 9 years ago
dthmstr254
I don't get it, people vote the win to the one who forfeited more than half the debate. Has logic left the minds of people?
Posted by philomathesian 9 years ago
philomathesian
Stop right there, translations of the Bible have only promulgated righteous reform, not dissension from morality. When Gutenberg invented the printing press and the Gutenberg Bible became the first mass-produced book it instigated the Reformation leading to more interpretations of the Bible which decreased the amount of corruption in the Catholic church. Even before in the Talmudic articles, Jewish tradition exhorts people to interpret their faith, not to be spoon-fed and be a complete conformist. Religion is supposed to exemplify self-expression not do leave people in "quiet desperation."
I agree to interpretations.
Posted by dthmstr254 9 years ago
dthmstr254
This is getting annoying. Where is my opponent?
Posted by ekagarwala 9 years ago
ekagarwala
In the story of Babel, God forced different languages upon people so that they would have to spread. I assume that he still meant all of them to know "the good word."
Posted by beem0r 9 years ago
beem0r
what do you mean by they are 'commanded?'
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