A Study of Translations: The Living Bible

By Bobby L. Graham

An admitted paraphrase (putting what the author thought the verses means rather than what the original text says), this book was composed by Kenneth Taylor for his children on his way to work. A simple reading is enough to convince the reader that, after all, not much time or thought was required to produce this one! The book has slang and curse words; two picture editions of the Living Bible, The Jesus Book and Reach Out, use pictures of trances, rock music groups, and couples in embrace to illustrate (imagine it!) the inspired Scriptures. Outright vulgarity appears in the Old Testament section of this “children’s book”.

At least two errors appear in Genesis 1: verse one has “when God began creating” and later in the chapter we find”period of time” used to explain the days of creation. A later Genesis passage, 6:2, says, “Evil beings from the spirit world became sexually involved with human women.”

The plan of salvation could not be learned from this perversion. It speaks of Abraham finding favor with God by faith alone in Rom. 4:12; says that trusting (faith) is a gift from God in Eph. 2:8; words Rom. 8:3 thusly: “We aren’t saved from sin’s grasps by knowing the commandments of God, because we can’t and don’t keep them”; and Rom. 6:3 like this: “We became Christians and were baptized.”

Instead of maintaining Paul’s contrast between the partial information available to any one person under the administration of the miraculous and the full knowledge under the completed revelation of God’s word, 1 Cor. 13:10 says, “When we have been made perfect,” without any warrant whatever.

The false idea of inherited sin is taught in Eph. 2:3 (“being born with evil natures”) and in Ps. 51:5 (“born a sinner”).

Romans 8:16 talks about the Spirit speaking to us in our hearts and telling us that we are God’s children, in a real distortion of what the verse really says. “Only those who have the Holy Spirit within them can understand what the Holy Spirit means,” according to 1 Cor. 2:14-another twisting to teach the direct operation of the Holy Spirit.

Premillennialism comes in for its share of help in 2 Tim. 4:1, which speaks of Christ appearing to set up his’ kingdom; Isa. 2:2, in speaking of Jerusalem and the Temple becoming the world’s greatest attraction in the last days; and Rev. 7:14, where special emphasis is given to the Great Tribulation by means of its capitalization.

The crude language of the gutter, not what the text says, is found in 1 Sam. 20:30; Gen. 19:5; 2 Sam. 11:4, and John 9:34.

Such flippancy as to be absurd occurs in Isa. 5:14; Eccl. 10:11; 1 Kings 20:11; and Acts 23:3.

It should be obvious that genuine respect for the word of God is just as lacking among those who claim to be giving the world a more readable Bible as it is among unbelievers and agnostics.

Truth Magazine XXII: 29, pp. 471-472
July 27, 1978