Revised Standard Version Considered

 Dr. W. Noble King
All Rights Reserved

The Bible
The Revised Standard Version

1. Whatever I say tonight must be understood strictly as my own responsibility.  I officially represent no group or institution. I am, however, fully aware that my opinions, my judgments, and my conclusions are shared to the full by many. I would not be here by invitation if such were not the case.
2. When this self-styled Revised Standard Version first left the press and was presented to the gullible public, in a half million dollar publicity campaign, those who were for it either took the floor, or were given the privilege of the floor, and then did most of the talking. In fact they did so much talking, in tones of such ultimate finality, that the rest of us became somewhat suspicious.
 3. Those slightly skeptical with regard to its spiritual atmosphere and with regard to its doctrinal implications remained somewhat silent at first. But as time moved on and certain doctrinal implications became more apparent, their voiced opposition and objections began to be heard.
4. Tonight in the limited time of one lecture, I shall make a few observations in its favor, for I want it understood at the onset that I was not jaundiced against it. Then I shall observe certain aspects that I consider at variance with the historical and evangelical understanding of Godís written revelation to mankind. Further it should be understood, at the very beginning of this discussion, that whatever controversy may exist with regard to the Revised Standard Version, does not exist between the Revised Standard Version, and the King James Version alone. It is misleading to think so. Rather, the controversy lies between the Revised Standard Version and mankindís evangelical understanding of Godís inspired revelation to the human race. Of course the three Versions that stand out championing mankindís understanding of Godís written and inspired revelation are the King James Version, The English Revised Version, and The American Standard Version. Chief of the three is the King James Version. 
      First then let us notice a few things, with regard to the Revised Standard Version, that could be listed either in part or totally in its favor.
1. It is written in clear, simple and modern English that should be understood by all. Such words as thou, thee, thine, ye, and verb endings such as est, edst, eth, and Th and are given their present forms of you, your, and yours, etc. Then when such words as Thou, Thine, Thee, and, Thy, etc., refer to God they remain unchanged. This, I think is a good thing. Then the tetragram, YHWH, which is translated Jehovah, or Yahweh, in some versions, is left as capitalized LORD, as it is in the King James Version. This, I also think is a good thing. We know neither the original pronunciation nor the original spelling of the NAME (YHWH). Itís nearest known spelling, and possibly its most accurate pronunciation is the third person Ehyeh (I AM).
 2. Obsolete words, phrases, clauses, and idioms, which have lost their original meanings, are changed to words, and expressions with present day-meanings, and in present-day use. The word let as it appears in I Thessalonians 2:7, is changed to, hinder or prevent or restrain. Ghost is changed to Spirit; "take no thought" is changed to "be not anxious"; anon to "by and by" or  "presently". There are thus new expressions in it that give it the appeal of the new. In places it rises to great literary heights, especially when it quotes from the King James Version.
3. Sections of the King James Version are written in poetic-prose lines that may be put to music and sung. The twenty-third psalm, the Lordís prayer, sections of Isaiah, and other areas are good examples. Corresponding sections of the Revised Standard Version are placed in poetic lines. Let me quote from Isaiah 53: 6, first from the King James Version, and then from the Revised Standard Version:
                 All we like sheep have gone astray: we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
                 All we like sheep have gone astray: we have turned every one to his own way;   And the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
There is a slight visual difference between the two ways of stating the verse, as one looks at them. One is in prose-lines, and the other is in poetic-lines. However, when they are read the only audible difference is in the verb hath." The Lord hath laid on him" and "the Lord has laid on himí. 
Secondly, let us notice a few faulty inferences and conclusions that spring from the backgrounds and present beliefs of the thirty-two men who have served on the revising committee. In dealing with their backgrounds and beliefs we shall be as brief and as courteous as possible.
 1. The sponsoring organization behind those men, The National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA, is liberal throughout. It is highly questionable if any one of the thirty-two men could be classified as fundamental in the evangelical sense.  Most of them are radical liberals. This is no secret, as it is revealed in their writings. Thus they would not believe that the Bible was given to man, by special divine revelation, as no other book has ever been or will ever be given. They would not believe in the Genesis account of creation, nor in the fall of man. They would not believe in Old Testament prophecy regarding the coming of the Christ, nor in the blood atonement. They would not believe in crisis experience as a necessity for all, nor in the possibility in falling therefrom. They would not believe in a personal devil, nor in eternal punishment for the finally impenitent. Their social gospel tendencies have at times led them into questionable company. This is alleged in particular of two of them. We shall now quote without comment:
                  "DR Weigle has been affiliated with the coordinating committee to lift the (Spanish) embargo, cited by the Congressional Committee on Un-American Activities as one of a number front organizations set up by the Communist Party during the Spanish Civil War. He was also affiliated with the North American Committee to aid Spanish Democracy, cited as a Communist front organization by the Congressional Committee on Un-American Activities: and affiliated with the National Religion and Labor Foundation set up by radicals in 1932 to propagandize "the new social order"
                     "DR. Walter Russell Bowie¼ is well known as a radical; and has been a member of a number of Communist front organizations.  He was related to the American Committee for Protection of the Foreign Born, cited as subversive and communist by Attorney General Tom Clark¼ He was related to the American Committee to Save Refugees, cited as a communist front organization by the Congressional Committee on Un-American Activities, and also to the Church League for Industrial Democracy, cited in the Massachusetts Committee on Un-American Activities¼ He was a member of the Civil Rights Congress, listed as subversive and communist by Attorney General Tom Clark. All together he has been named on fifteen communist or communist front organizations"(Herald of the Coming, Dec. 1952, p.1).
                           2. Evangelical Christianity has historically held to verbal, mechanical, dynamic, or plenary Inspiration. Our position, with regard to the inspiration of the Scriptures is stated in our 1948 Manual as follows:" We therefore believe in the plenary inspiration of the Old and New Testament scriptures, and that they contain all the truth necessary to faith and Christian living." To this position I personally subscribe without equivocation or reservation. However, Liberalism holds to an inspiration common to all Christian, or to natural inspiration, or to the inspiration of the genius. Other great literary works, they claim, are as much inspired, as is the Bible. óFor instance the works of Shakespeare. Thus there is no differentiation between the words of man, and the words of God. You notice that in the King James Version certain words, and phrases, and clauses are in Italics, and other areas of the Bible are not. The areas in Italics were added by the translators when they believed that the English language called for further explanation for the sake of clarity. Thus, words and thoughts added by man, and words and thoughts given by God are distinguished from each other. In the King James Version, we thus know what was given by God, and what was added by man. However in the Revised Standard Version no such differentiation is made, or deemed necessary, as all areas alike are inspired by genius.
      (1) We now quote from the Revised Standard Version, Preface, page five, as follows: " Sometimes it is evident that the text has suffered in transmission. Here we can only follow the best judgment of competent scholars as to the best possible reconstruction of the original text" Here we have a voluntary, unsolicited, declaration that they have chosen a mutilated, and thus un-authoritative text to further their own viewpoints. The members of the revising committee, have thus, added or subtracted from the Bible as they saw fit. The determining criterion, in so doing was their own best judgment. Their own best judgment is thus held superior to divine revelation.

 (2). Hence they have dropped Mark 16:9-20 from the original text, and they have placed the area in footnotes as of inferior value. They have also dropped the closing section of the Lordís Prayer from Matt.6: 9b-13, and have mutilated it beyond recognition, by omissions, as is stated in Luke 11:2-4

 (3). It is further stated in the Revised Standard Version, preface, page vii, That "The King James Version of the New Testament was based upon a Greek text that was marred by mistakes, containing the accumulated errors of fourteen centuries of Manuscript copying. Of course the same charges stand against the Old Testament scripts. The sober truth of the matter is quite different, as we shall show:

When the Northern Kingdom of Israel was carried away into Assyrian captivity, and the Assyrians were settled in Samaria, and in the surrounding areas, a copy of the Hebrew Pentateuch was made by them. That copy was made after 722 BC and before 606 BC. Both the Samaritan Pentateuch and the Hebrew Pentateuch were later recopied many times independent of each other, and did not come in vital contact with each other again for centuries. When they did again contact each other there were no vital doctrinal difference between them. 
(1.) Then the Septuagint, or Septuaginta Version, was made about 277 B.C., in Lower Egypt, by seventy of the Worldís greatest scholars. This was the Version used by Christ, and later by his Apostles. It contains the Old Testament, written in Koine Greek, and has come down to us today.
 (2) Further, Aguilla, a learned Jewish proselyte, made a word for word translation of the Hebrew text into Greek about the end of the second century A.D. Symmachus also made a translation from the Hebrew into the Greek about the second century A.D.  A version of both the Old and the New Testaments was made into the Syriac tongue, known as the Peshitta (plain or understandable) about the second century A.D. Christianity entered Ethiopia in force about 330 A.D. And a Version in the Ethiopic tongue was made about a century later. The greater part of the Old Testament is also found in the Coptic dialects of Egypt. Those writings probably belong to the third or fourth centuries A.D. The Georgian Version was made in the sixth century A.D., largely from the Armenian or Syriac versions. The Slavonic Version was made in the ninth century A.D,  by two brothers, Cyril and Methodius of Thessalonica, who were missionaries to Bulgaria and Monrovia. Then the Arabic Versions were made between the ninth and the twelfth centuries A.D. Some of those scripts were out of vital contact with the scripts foundational to our Bible for a thousand years or more, and others for hundreds of years. During that time many recopyings were made, and yet, when they again re-contacted each other, and were compared, there was a startling doctrinal similarity among them.
(1) Furthermore, the great leaders of the early Christian Church of the third, fourth, and fifth centuries were erudite scholars, and voluminous writers. St. Augustine of North Africa belonged to that brilliant group of men. Then the Latin Vulgate Version is thought to have been begun about 200 A.D. in North Africa, and finished later by St. Jerome. In any case St. Jeromeís home was in North Africa, but he spent most of his active years in Palestine, but a few miles away from the place where the scrolls of Isaiah and Habakkuk have just been found. In fact it is highly probable that St. Jerome was working on the Vulgate at Bethlehem when those scrolls were placed in that cave.
(2) Then the books and scripts, that ultimately became our Bible, were tested in the school of Christian experience and daily living by laymen and clergymen alike. The whole Church thus selected the scripts that it held to be inspired. Then the Synod of Carthage, about 400 A.D., recognized the selection of the Church as a whole, and canonized that selection. It is thus incredible to think that the laymen of the early Church, and the great and early leaders of the early Church were not familiar with the scripts now being found, that date back to the third, fourth, and fifth centuries A.D. Indeed Erasmus and Beza, whose works were foundational to our King James Version, had access to and were familiar with the greatest scripts of the fifth and sixth centuries. It is highly possible, indeed more than probable, that those scrolls, now being foisted upon the unwilling attention of all evangelicals, were discarded by those great men, of the early Christian centuries, as worthless.
Thirdly, let us notice that prophetic statements in the Old Testament, with regard to the Christ, and great redemptive and doctrinal words, cherished through the ages, are, in many places, either dropped or else given their weakest possible meanings.
 1. The Virgin Birth of the Christ is attacked more than realized at first glance. Liberalism holds that there are no direct prophecies, in the Old Testament, of the coming Messiah. New Testament enthusiastic writers, in an effort to magnify their Idol to the level of worshipful Deity, made certain great statements, referring to others, slant to the Christ. We shall observe two such great statements:
(1) In Deuteronomy 18:15,18 we read as follows: "The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me: unto him ye shall hearken. . . .  I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and I will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them as I shall command him." 
  Liberalism says that those words refer to Joshua, but are made to slant from Joshua to Christ by the New Testament writers. As a matter of recorded fact Joshua had been a supreme commander of the victorious armies of Israel for a period of forty years, and had subdued kingdoms and dethroned kings. He had also been selected by God as the successor to Moses, and had publicly been installed in that office several months before Moses wrote this. 
How then could Joshua have been referred to by Moses?  For Moses is writing of one yet to be raised up.
(2). In Isaiah 7: 14 we read: "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bare a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."  Liberalism says that those words refer to a young woman in the court of Judah during the time of Isaiah, who was presently to bring forth a child.  Now, the facts in the case are that no such young woman existed at the court at that time.  Had such a child been born as is prophesied of, it would have been known far and wide, as he was to be God with us.
   If the word Almah, in this case with its royal court setting, being told by the appointed court historiographer, is to be translated young woman, it must be inferred that that young woman was a married young woman.  Now, in major qualities the one typified must resemble the type.  If the type were a young married woman that would in itself strongly suggest that Mary was also a young married woman. This in fact has already been declared in certain liberalistic sections.
 2. A basic law, in Biblical hermeneutics, is that no doctrine, or basic belief, can rest, foundationally, on a parable, a type, or a symbol, etc. The purpose of parables, types, and symbols, etc., are to shed light upon the doctrinal facts already given or about to be given. For instance, the great fact of the entrance of death into the race by sin is taught in the basic statement: " In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt die." The fact that sin brings death to the soul as well as the body is taught in the basic statement: " The soul that sinneth, it shall die." The doctrine of the initial work of grace rests on foundational statements, such as; "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved."  Full salvation (entire sanctification, or Heart Purity) rests on such rock-bottom concrete statements as: " The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin"; and, "Without holiness no man shall see the Lord", and " Blessed are the pure in heart."These basic doctrines and beliefs and experiences are illustrated by parables, and types, and symbols, etc.; but they themselves rest on direct statements that refer to nothing else.
(1). Now as a matter of fact Moses directly referred to the Christ, who is greater than he, and yet to come. Jesus so interpreted the statement on his way to Emmaus with his two disciples (Luke 24:44). The King James Versionists rightly interpreted the statement when they capitalized, on both occasions, the word Prophet. The Revised Standard versionists do not, and thus deny the fact of the prophesied Christ.
(2). Thus the Revised Standard Version wrongly interprets the word Almah as a young woman, and the King James Version interprets it correctly as a virgin. Hence both Deuteronomy 18:15, 18 and Isaiah 7:14 are great rock-bottom, unmovable factual statements that find their direct and only fulfillment in Luke 1:31-35: "And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the highest shall overshadow thee: therefore that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God."
(3). As long as the Old Testament prophecy of the coming of the Greater than Moses, by virgin birth, stands in crystal clear, un-impeached and unimpeachable, the New Testament declaration of the fact will remain unchallenged. Remove the prophecy of the virgin birth, and the New Testament account of the matter will at once be brought into question.
 3. Liberalism with regard to the Word of God has ever been interested in subtraction. Hence we find that certain words are dropped, and others are deleted without sufficient reason.
(1). In Colossians 1:4, the statement "Through his blood" is removed. The Revised Standard Version reads: "In whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. "The King James Version reads: "In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins". The Standard Greek text of Westcott and Hort has the clause and reads as follows: "di_ to_ a_matoV a_to_ "([dia tou haimatos autou): that is. "through the blood of him." or "through his blood."
(2). The word Calvary has become a very meaningful word in the English speaking world. It is a Latin combined translation of both the Hebrew and the Greek for "The place called the skull," and is taken from the early Latin translations. It is totally dropped from the Revised Standard Version, and the words ĎThe Skull" are substituted. There is no justifiable reason for doing so (Scott).
(3) The word backslide, or its cognates (meshûwbâh), is mutilated in many places, and milder and meaningless words are often substituted for it. In Jeremiah 3:14, The King James Version reads "Turn O backsliding children. "In the Revised Standard Version, we read: "Return, O faithless children." One suggests having been saved, but the other expression does not so suggest. We hold to a definite crisis experience of salvation necessary for all:"Ye must be born again." Then the one who endures to the end shall finally be saved in heaven at last. The Bible clearly states and human experience teaches that one may backslide, and remain rebellious in heart, and finally perish as a result of that heart rebellion. However, Liberalism has no such crisis experience, as a necessity for all, and consequently no definite place from which to backslide. Thus a great warning word is weakened.
 (4). The King James Version on Matthew 27:54b, reads as follows: "Truly the Son of God" with a capital S to the word Son. The Revised Standard Version reads: "Truly this was a son of God", with no capital s for the word Son. The Standard Greek Text of Westcott and Hort reads: "_Alhq¢V Qeo_ u__V _n o_toV" (Al_th_s Theou hui_s _n _utos): Truly Godís Son was this." This same refusal to recognize the Deity of the Christ, by refusing to capitalize words referring to him, appears in Hebrews 1:5, and in Psalms 2:7. The Deity of the Christ is again undermined, and the weakest possible interpretation is placed on one of revelations greatest statements.
4. Then when we come to the word sanctification, and its cognates, we find the same principle at work. In certain places the word is dropped, and in other places the very weakest possible interpretation is given to it. The Greek word hagi_s (_gioV ) means, with regard to man make pure or holy. We sometime say that the word sanctification has four meanings: separation, dedication, consecration, and purity; but purity is its basic meaning. The others are stepping-stones to that one central fact
(1) The word is dropped from Jude 1. The King James Version reads: "Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called." In the Greek text of Westcott and Hort, the clause on sanctification reads  "to_V _n Qe_ Patr_ _gapm_noiV" [tois en the_ patri _gap_menois]: "lit.," to the by God the Father sanctified."  The Revised Standard Version leaves the clause out., and has the verse read as follows: " Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to those who are called, beloved of God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ."
(2). In Isaiah 6:7 we have an unscholarly vitiation of a great statement. The King James Version reads as follows: "And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and now thy sin is purged." The Hebrew in thought carried the past up to the present. Thus in our thinking it would be: "Thine iniquity has already been taken away, and now thy sin is purged." The Revised Standard Version reads:" And he touched my mouth and said, "Behold this has touched thy lips: Your guilt is taken away, and your sin is forgiven. "Heart purity is thus removed from Isaiahís great Temple experience.
 (3). The word perfect (tam) means purity when it is used with regard to the Old Testament saints. Thus Noah (Gen. 6:9), Abraham (Gen.17: 1), and Job (Job 1:1; 1:8; 2:8) are all said to be perfect. In each case the word perfect is removed and the word blameless is substituted for it. A man could be a drunkard and yet be blameless as far as murder is concerned; but he could not be perfect in heart and at the same time deliberately guilty of anything definitely wrong. Thus the great book of Job, an historic classic on heart purity, could no longer be used as holiness people have always used it, and as it was intended to be used. Many other passages in the Old Testament, examined by me, have also been weakened with regard to heart purity.
(4). In John 17:19, the King James Version, we read: And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth." Then in Acts 15:8, 9 we have the answer to the prophetic prayer of Jesus with regard to Pentecost, from which John17:19 is taken.  We there read," And God which knoweth the hearts bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. "Jesus had prayed that their hearts be purified, and Peter then pointed out that this prayer of Jesus was answeredótheir hearts were purified. Sanctification comes from two Latin words meaning to make pure or holy: sanctus-ópure or holy; facareóto make; thus we have sanctification meaning to make pure or holy.  Consecration could be used with regard to Jesus who was eternally holy, but it can not be used with regard to the disciples. However the Revised Standard Version substitutes the word consecration for the word sanctification in Jesus prayer for his disciples regarding Pentecost. Thus the same thing is done with regard to Pentecost as is done with regard to the virgin birth of Christóthe foundation is removed, and consecration for service could be substituted for heart purity.


 1. Thus the spiritual atmosphere of the Bible is impaired by the backgrounds and beliefs of those men. Faith in inspiration, in any special sense is removed. The best scripts were supposed lost for 1400 years, and the scripts we did have were very poor to began with, and then rendered further inaccurate by the accumulated errors of the translators and copyist during the 1400 years. Now if God did not see fit to conserve the Bible, how do we know he supernaturally gave it in the first place? Further, if we have not had the correct Bible for 1400 years, how do we know we have it now? Other scripts may yet be found that would prove everything we have had or now have as incorrect. Thus real vital faith in the Bible is gone.
2. Prophecy, the virgin birth, Pentecost, and a great many other central and redemptive words, and doctrines are impaired by the omission, or the weakening of words connected thereto.  I have personally checked a score or so of passages in the Old Testament referring to the coming of the Christ or to his saviorhood in which references to the Christ or to his Deity are either removed are weakened. By way of example I refer to Daniel 9:25 in which the capitalized personal pronoun Messiah is used with regard to the Christ. In the Revised Standard Version the word Messiah does not appear. It is translated into English as anointed one, but the words anointed one are not capitalized; hence Christ is not definitely referred to, and his Deity is not even implied. Some may point out that there are places where it is correctly stated. That is true; but we are primarily interested here in what they have removed without authority. If another version of this nature is made in the future with an equal number of omissions, and a further weakening of words already weakened, and a weakening of an equal number of words of equally vital importance, we shall have very little left. The fact remains that scholarship alone is not sufficient to properly interpret the Bible, and minister in spiritual things.
3. From the first attack on the Bible on February 24, 303 A.D., by Diocletian when he issued an order commanding all churches and all Bibles to be burned, to this last "Nuisance raid" on Christian thinking, the inspired revelation from God has been preserved by the ONE who originally gave it. It has been, and will remain the Lode-Star for the souls of men to guide them to a better land.
 4. We are reminded of David, when he stood before that armed soap-bubble and said, "Let no manís heart faint because of him." And the next moment down came the soap bubble, punctured in a vital spot. Godís word is forever settled in heaven, and one jot or one tittle shall not pass till all is fufilled.

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