A Study of Translations

By Bobby L. Graham

The Revised Standard Version

This version, a purported revision of the American Standard Version of 1901, has served as a vehicle for modernism since its publication. Its appearance in 1947 was the result of an effort on the part of liberals, especially the liberal National Council of Churches. Its translators were extremely modernistic, denying the inspiration of the Bible and the deity of Jesus Christ.

One of the major faults of this version is its omission of italics whenever words have been supplied by the translators, thus giving no indication of where the sacred text spoke or where the translators spoke.

Another of its major faults is its attack on the miraculous conception of Jesus in the womb of Mary by the Holy Spirit by means of its faulty rendering of “virgin” in Isaiah 7:14 as “young woman” and its change of Mary’s “I know not a man” in Luke 1:34 to “I have no husband.” Another area of the modernistic attack is the deity of Jesus, His being the only begotten Son of God: In John 3:16 and in five other verses the expression “only begotten” is mishandled in such a way as to cast doubt on the deity of Christ and to verify the deliberate attempts of the unbelievers on the translating committee. The New English Bible, the British counterpart in the liberal movement of the Revised Standard Version in the United States, does the same damage in the areas of Jesus’ miraculous conception and His being the only begotten Son of God. That pernicious paperback perversion, Good News for Modern Man, dogs the same thing to Jesus’ deity.

This RSV also butchered Jesus’ avowed relationship to the Law and the prophets in Matthew 5:17 by having him say that he came not to abolish, but to fulfill. To the contrary, He did come to abolish it according to God’s eternal purpose and to enact a better covenant to take its place. Paul even said that the Old Law had been abolished by Jesus’ death on the cross (Eph. 2:15). Yes, the same version has Jesus doing exactly what they have Him saying He did not come to do! The point of Matthew 5:17 is not the abolishment of the Law, but Jesus’ attitude and action toward it. He meant that he did not come to destroy it, to run roughshod over it and to disregard it, but rather to respect it, to observe it, and by so doing to fill it full or to complete it; and that means abolish it!

The final area of fault in the Revised Standard Version that we shall concern ourselves with in this brief study is its omission of the final paragraph of Mark 16, for which there is completely adequate evidence that it was a part of Mark’s original record of the life of Christ. The RSV, however, leaves it out of the text and relegates it to the position of a footnote.

On the basis of these and other glaring weaknesses, the RSV does not deserve a place with the King Tames Version and the American Standard Version. Its poisonous parts are enough to render it unusable for teaching the whole gospel and for propagating New Testament Christianity.

Truth Magazine XXII: 26, pp. 421-422
June 29, 1978