Bible Translations to Avoid

The world of Bible translations it can seem very intimidating to a new believer. While there are a number of very good and useful English translations out there, there are also ones which you should avoid. This article is intended to identify specific English Bible translations which you should NOT use.

Cult Bible Translations

The New World Translation – This Bible “translation” is published by a cult called The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (aka Jehovah’s Witnesses). There are a number of incorrect translations in the NWT which are intended to support heresies taught by Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Holy Bible, King James Version published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – While the text King James Version itself is not an issue, this specific version is published by a cult called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka the LDS Church, or the Mormon Church). Their KJV contains numerous resources in footnotes and appendices which reference their other scriptures and support heretical or cultic teaching.

The Joseph Smith Translation – The JST is not a complete Bible translation, but rather a number of verses and passages which the founder of the Mormon Church, Joseph Smith, re-wrote. The verses in the JST can be found in the footnotes and an appendix of the KJV published by the Mormon Church (above). It has also been published as a separate book.

The Recovery Version -This translation was made by a cult called The Local Church (translated and published by their publishing arm, Living Stream Ministry). The Recovery Version contains a number of footnotes which support cultic doctrines and, in some places, heresies.

Is it sinful to read these translations?

No, it is not necessarily sinful to read them, however, as a new believer you are in formative times and these cult groups thrive on tricking people who don’t know better yet. I personally have all of these translations and they are very useful for understanding cult theology, but I would never trust them any further than that.

Catholic Bible Translations

There are a number of Bible translations which have been translated by Roman Catholics. One primary reason for avoiding Roman Catholic translations is because Catholics have added books to the Bible which are not Scripture (the books they have added are called The Apocrypha). Some of the most popular Catholic translations include:

Douay-Rheims Bible (DRB)
The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
The New American Bible (NAB)
The New American Bible, Revised Edition (NABRE)*

*there are a number of study notes in the NABRE which betray a Catholic theological bias

Is it sinful to read the Apocrypha?

It is not sinful to read the Apocrypha, per se. What is sinful is to raise non-inspired writings to the status of Scripture. There is limited historical value in studying the Apocrypha, but it must be remembered that those writings were not considered scripture by the early church or by the majority of Christian leaders in the ancient world (it wasn’t until the mid 1500s when the Roman Catholic Church canonized the Apocrypha).

This Bible article is a part of the Christianity 101 Series.

Quote: Robert McNiece on Blood Atonement in Mormonism

Quote for 3/15/16. McNiece, a Presbyterian minister wrote the following in an article about Mormonism. He lived in Utah and studied LDS theology first hand in the 1870s and 80s. Blood Atonement in Mormonism is a dangerous teaching, for it logically implies that the atonement of Christ is not sufficient to cleanse one of all their sin.

And now to cap the climax of all these blasphemous and horrid doctrines is one which is the most horrid of all, namely: the doctrine of Blood Atonement. According to this terrible doctrine there are some sins which cannot be forgiven or atoned for except by cutting the throat of the man who committed them, and pouring out his blood as an atonement. Three of these sins are apostasy, disclosing the secrets of the Endowment House, and marital unfaithfulness on the part of a wife. It has been taught by the head men of the Church that it is a meritorious act for any Saint to spill the blood of a person guilty of any of these sins. That there may be no doubt about the correctness of these statements concerning this most horrible doctrine, the following extracts are taken from Brigham Young’s published sermons:

“There are sins that men commit for which they cannot receive forgiveness in this world or the world to come, and if they had their eyes open to see their true condition they would be perfectly willing to have their blood spilt upon the ground, that the smoke thereof might ascend to Heaven as an offering for their sins, and the smoking incense would atone for their sins, whereas if such is not the case, they will stick to them and remain with them in the spirit world.”

On another occasion he said:

“I could refer you to plenty of instances where men have been righteously slain in order to atone for their sins. I have seen scores and hundreds of people for whom there would have been a chance (in the last resurrection there will be) if their lives had been taken and their blood spilled on the ground as a smoking incense to the Almighty, but who are now angels to the devil until our elder brother, Jesus Christ, raises them up and conquers death, hell, and the grave.”

Robert G. McNiece, “Mormonism,” The Presbyterian Review II, no. 5–8 (1881): 339.

No less an authority than Brigham Young is cited here. This is not a doctrine which can be ignored by any faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Quote: Robert McNiece on Polytheism in Mormonism

Quote for 3/11/16. Today’s quote is from a Presbyterian academic journal published in 1881. The author, Robert McNiece, spent 3 years living in Utah to study Mormonism and wrote the following in regard to their polytheism (i.e. the existence of many gods).

In the first place, Mormon theology is based on rank polytheism. The Mormon people are not only taught to believe in a plurality of gods, but to entertain ideas of the Divine Being which are connected with the grossest corporealism. They ridicule the idea that God is a Spirit, as Christ taught in John 4:24. One of their standard works is called a “Key to the Science of Theology.” It was written by Parley P. Pratt, who, while he lived, was one of their leading men, being one of the Twelve Apostles. This work is used as a text-book among the people; and this is what it says in confirmation of the statement that the Mormons are polytheists and have grossly corporeal ideas concerning the Deity:

“It will be recollected that the last chapter recognizes a family of Gods, or, in other words, a species of beings who have physical tabernacles of flesh and bones in the form of man, but so constructed as to be capable of eternal life.…
“A General Assembly, Quorum, or Grand Council of the Gods, with their President at their head, constitute the designing and creating power.… Wisdom inspires the Gods to multiply their species, and to lay the foundation for all the forms of life, to increase in numbers, and for each to enjoy himself in the sphere to which he is adapted.” (Chap. vi., pp. 46–47, 4th Liverpool edition).

Robert G. McNiece, “Mormonism,” The Presbyterian Review II, no. 5–8 (1881): 336.

It is a cherished practice of Mormons to say that Christians misrepresent their beliefs. You will note how McNiece quotes their own authorities in support of his research and conclusions.

In Their Own Words: Joseph Smith’s Narcissism

In their own words, 3/10/16. Today’s quote is from Joseph Smith, the founding prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka the LDS Church or Mormonism). Most people are surprised to read these words so they seemed a fitting way to launch a series aimed at giving visibility to the nitty-gritty reasons why Christians take issue with non-Christian teachings (regardless of how much the group goes out of their way to disguise themselves as authentic Christians).

“Come on! ye prosecutors! ye false swearers! All hell, boil over! Ye burning mountains, roll down your lava! for I will come out on top at last. I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet…When they can get rid of me, the devil will also go.”

(History of the Church, Vol. 6, p. 408, 409)

Joseph Smith viewed himself as superior to Jesus Christ. He boasted of this openly. Christians do not invent this stuff out of thin air. Joseph said this in public, and went on to have it published. And to add to that, it is still being published today!