Do Words Matter
Dr. Walter D. Huyck Jr. D.Min.
Our culture is
proliferated with versions of the Bible (well over 300) written in the English
language. Many of them say
approximately the same thing. So
the question arises, do the words really matter?
This question is best answered directly from the Word of God
itself. Do the Words of scripture
matter to God. God commanded
mankind to be very careful not to change a single word contained within His
precious and inspired Word. The
18 For I testify unto every man that
heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these
things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
19 And if any man shall take away from
the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the
book of life, and out of the holy city, and
from the things which are
written in this book.
Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall
ye diminish ought from it, that
ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.
Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be
found a liar.
Clearly, both the Old Testament and the New Testament warn us
not to change the Word of God in any way.
Jesus revealed the level of integrity that God requires from His Word
when He said,
For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or
one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Jesus’ words inform us that not so much as a cross on a “t” or
a dot on an “i” should be lost or changed within God’s Holy Word.
Hence, God implies emphatically that the words and even the pen strokes
contained within His written Word matter.
So how does this affect the modern translations of the Bible?
When one examines the motives and philosophies of those who work upon the
various translation committees it becomes readily evident that only those who
served on the committees serving to translate the King James Bible had hearts
desiring to maintain an absolutely literal translation of the written Word of
God. Those men who translated the
King James Bible recognized the divine inspiration of the Bible.
They recognized that it was God’s Holy preserved Word, and they were
determined to loose absolutely nothing in its translation.
It should be obvious that only a literally translation of the
Bible can in any way maintain the word for word intent of God contained within
the Bible. The New International
Version (NIV) is a dynamic equivalency; it intends to translate thought for
thought. This is far from God’s
revealed intension concerning His precious Word.
The Message can be nothing less than a paraphrase at best, it attempts to
reveal culturally significant meaning.
This is also far from the word for word intent of Almighty God.
Of the commonly accepted versions of the Bible only the King James and
the New American Standard version claim to be literal translations.
Hence, if God’s intent is that mankind change nothing
contained in His Word then only a literal translation can even come close.
The King James translators were so concerned about not adding a single
word to the Bible that when they felt they had to add words for grammatical
clarity they placed those words in italics so every reader could clearly see
which words were not contained in the original text.
The New American Standard version gives no such indication.
Hence, only the King James Bible is a literal translation in the truest
sense of the form.
There is also the issue of the manuscripts used in the
translation of the Bible. The King
James translators were the only ones who used the Textus Receptus which
represented those manuscripts that had been in the Churches hands since its
beginning, and were considered the very Word of God.
The New American Standard claims to base its authority on the three
ancient incomplete texts know as the Alexandrius, Vanticanius, and Sinanaticus
all of which were relatively recent discoveries and often disagree with one
another. Hence, the King James
translators held the attitude that God’s word was still God’s Word in their day,
perfectly preserved and maintained by God.
Modern translators only attest that we have an approximation of the
original text of the Bible, which explains their tendency to be less concerned
with each individual word.
God said that the words and pen strokes mattered.
He said that not a single pen stroke would ever change in His hallowed
Word. But do they really make a
There are two levels of understanding for each and every
passage of Scripture. These are
revealed in Scripture as well.
These are the milk and meat of the Word of God.
The Bible states,
1 Peter 2:2
As newborn babes, desire the sincere
milk of the word, that ye may grow
11 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered,
seeing ye are dull of hearing. 12
For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you
again which be the first
principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and
not of strong meat. 13 For every
one that useth milk is
unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
14 But strong meat belongeth to them
that are of full age, even
those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and
God demands that every word be perfectly maintained because
God, through the Holy Spirit, draws the milk and meat of the Word out of each
passage and word as He see appropriate for each individual child of God.
If some translator changes a single word then he makes it completely
impossible for the milk or the meat of the Word to find its appropriate place.
Mans opinion cannot replace the inspiration (out breathing) of God in the
penning of His written Word.
Therefore, the words really do matter.
If a translator takes even a slightly lower attitude in his
consideration of the Word of God then his resulting translation is a result of
his motivation. If the translator
does not believe that he is handling a perfectly preserved written Word of God
when he starts, then the result of his work will reflect his position.
The translation can only be as good as the translator and the translator
can only be as good as his point of view concerning his starting point.
When a diligent comparison of passages between the various
translations is performed the importance of the words becomes evident.
In 1 John 5.6-7 one discovers that verse five is missing from the passage
all together. In Luke 4.4 the
phrase “but by every word of God” is missing.
In Romans 5.8 the word “commendeth” is changed to “demonstrates” which
completely and incorrectly changes the meaning of the verse, God does not desire
to show us His love but intends to unite us with his love.
These are just a few of the changes that permeate the whole of
the biblical text. Changes can be
found in almost every passage, and in most cases these changes
Why do these changes matter so much, not because we think they matter but
because God said they matter. God
is the one who commanded us not to change a single word that is contained in His
written Word. The question is, will
we hear and heed God, or will we hear and heed the philosophies of modern
Jan 8, 2008