An analysis of the text of the RVG Spanish Bible

In this analysis we will present selected passages of the Old Testament to see if the RVG is aligned with the KJV as promised. The following is one of the main reasons that had been presented to justify the RVG:

“To accomplish this work we have put parallel [sic] the Textus Receptus, the 1909 Spanish Bible, and King James. We have gone verse by verse making sure first of the purity of the text and then comparing the 1909 with the Authorized KJV. Every single verse that did not line up with the TR or the KJV we immediately corrected. Because not all the words mean the same in every language we have used the best words available in our Spanish language, the words that have the most meaning, never contradicting the TR or the KJV.” (

“If the King James Bible and our [Spanish] Bible come from the same text, logically they have to concur. They have to concur. It’s the same Hebrew text, the same Greek text.” (Gómez, Humberto. Conference against the Reina-Valera 1909 to impose the RVG in Iglesia Bautista Los Olivos, Balch Springs, TX, April 7-9, 2009. Recording 1 at the 31 minute mark)

“We are recommending the Reina Valera Gomez as it matches the King James Version.” (The Landmark Anchor. Dec. 2009, p. 6)

With the publication of the RVG2010 leaders behind the revision began teaching that both the KJV and RVG2010 were perfect and inspired. Let’s see if this would still be possible taking into account the following differences between the two translations:

Gen. 11:9 The KJV has “Lord” twice; the RVG has Jehová only once.

Gen. 17:1 The KJV has “Abram” twice; the RVG only once.

Gen. 23:6 The KJV has “mighty prince;” the RVG has príncipe de Dios (prince of God).

Gen. 24:29 The KJV has “Laban” twice; the RVG only once.

Gen. 25:25 The KJV has “red;” the RVG has rubio (blonde).

Gen. 28:18 The KJV has “rose up early in the morning;” the RVG only says he rose up in the morning.

Gen. 35:1 The KJV has “the face of;” the RVG omits this phrase.

Gen. 35:16 The KJV says “a little way;” the RVG is more specific by translating media legua de tierra (half a league of land).

Gen. 37:27 The KJV has “And his brethren were content;” the RVG has Y sus hermanos acordaron con él (and his brothers agreed with him).

Gen. 45:26 The KJV has “Jacob;” the RVG omits it.

Gen. 50:14 The KJV has “his father” at the end of the verse; the RVG only has a pronoun in its place.

Ex. 2:24 The KJV has “God” twice; the RVG has God (Dios) only once.

Ex. 10:15 The KJV says that the plague of locusts covered “the face of the whole earth;” the RVG says that the plague of locusts cubrió la faz de todo el país (covered the face of all the country).

Ex. 12:34 The KJV says “clothes;” the RVG has sábanas (bed sheets).

Ex. 14:20 The KJV has “Israel” once; the RVG has “Israel” twice.

Ex. 28:8 The KJV refers to a “curious girdle;” the RVG only has girdle (cinto).

Ex. 39:43 The KJV has “Moses” twice; the RVG has Moisés only once.

Lv. 3:16 The KJV has “Lord” only once; the RVG has Jehová twice.

Lv. 5:6 The KJV says “of the goats;” the RVG omits the phrase.

Lv. 11:34 The KJV mentions only one vessel; the RVG has vasijas (vessels) twice.

Lv. 14:56 The KJV makes mention of a “bright spot;” the RVG says the spot was blanca (white).

Nm. 13:24 The KJV speaks of a “brook;” the RVG in its place mentions a valle (valley).

Nm. 14:34 The KJV says “breach of promise;” in its place the RVG has castigo (punishment).

Nm. 24:1 The KJV makes mention of “other times;” the RVG has primera y segunda vez (first and second time).

Dt. 1:44 The KJV has “bees;” the RVG has avispas (wasps).

Judges 15:8 The KJV says that Samson “dwelt in the top of the rock Etam;” the RVG says that Samson se fijó en la cueva de la peña de Etam (placed himself in the cave of the rock of Etam).

Judges 19:5 The KJV does not specifically refer to a Levite; the RVG does (levita).

1 Sam. 4:21 The KJV does not use the word “death” in this verse; the RVG in turn has muerte (death) at the end of the verse.

1 Sam. 6:19 The KJV does not mention “God” in this verse; the RVG has Dios (God).

1 Sam. 19:7 The KJV mentions “Jonathan” three times; the RVG mentions Jonathan only once.

1 Sam. 20:12 The KJV says “any time;” the RVG in turn has a esta hora (at this hour).

1 Sam. 20:19 The KJV has “quickly;” The RVG omits this detail.

1 Sam. 21:5 The KJV has “bread is in a manner common”; the RVG says el camino es profano (the way is profane). It should be noted that “bread” in the KJV is in italics.

2 Sam. 3:22 The KJV has “troops;” the RVG has campo (field, camp, countryside).

2 Sam. 4:5 The KJV has “noon;” the RVG has siesta (nap).

2 Sam. 6:20 The KJV makes mention of “the daughter of Saul;” the RVG omits this phrase.

2 Sam. 16:16 The KJV has “Absalom” twice; the RVG mentions “Absalom” only once.

2 Sam. 17:16 The KJV does not mention “Jordan” in this verse; the RVG does.

2 Sam. 18:22 The KJV ends the verse with “seeing that thou hast no tidings ready?” the RVG ends the verse with si no recibirás premio por las nuevas? (if you will not receive a prize for the news?)

1 Kings 5:18 The KJV in this verse refers to “the stone squarers;” the RVG in turn makes reference to los giblitas (the Gebalites).

1 Kings 6:4 The KJV says “narrow lights;” the RVG in turn says anchas por dentro, y estrechas por fuera (wide on the inside, and narrow on the outside).

1 Kings 10:16 The KJV says that “six hundred shekels of gold went to one target;” the RVG in turn says that seiscientos siclos de oro gastó en cada escudo (six hundred shekels of gold [he] spent on each shield/target)

1 Kings 12:2 The KJV mentions “Jeroboam” twice in this verse; the RVG in turn mentions “Jeroboam” only once.

1 Kings 15:13 The KJV uses the word “mother” only once; the RVG in turn uses the term “mother” (madre) twice.

1 Kings 16:7 The KJV ends the verse saying “because he killed him;” the RVG in turn does not end referring to a man, because it is in the feminine gender: por haberla destruido (because of having destroyed her).

2 Kings 1:17 The KJV does not mention “Ahaziah” by name in this verse; the RVG does.

2 Kings 6:21 The KJV asks twice “Shall I smite them?” the RVG asks only once.

2 Kings 8:11 The KJV mentions the phrase “the man of God” only once; the RVG mentions the phrase twice.

2 Kings 8:15 The KJV does not have the phrase “of Benadad;” the RVG has de Benadad.

2 Kings 10:10 The KJV mentions “Lord” three times; the RVG mentions Jehová only twice.

2 Kings 13:3 The KJV says “all their days;” the RVG says por largo tiempo (for a long time).

2 Kings 13:17 The KJV mentions “Elisha” only once; the RVG mentions him twice by name.

2 Kings 16:5 The KJV ends the verse with “overcame him;” the RVG in turn ends the verse with tomarla (took her). Since the KJV uses the word “him” (it appears in italics), it apparently refers to Ahaz as a person, the king mentioned in 2 Kings 16:2. The RVG by using the term tomarla (feminine gender) apparently refers to Ahaz as a city (“city” is in the feminine gender in Spanish).

2 Kings 19:23 The KJV has “forest;” the RVG in turn has monte (hill).

2 Kings 24:7 The KJV mentions the king of Egypt twice; the RVG mentions him only once.

Comments and conclusion

This list which covers Genesis through 2 Kings will probably be extended to the end of the Old Testament in the future. But in the meantime we feel that the data of the first twelve books of the Bible is sufficient to verify that aligning the Old Testament in Spanish with the Masoretic text does not result in a Spanish Bible perfectly in line with the KJV. In the future we may make a textual analysis of the RVG from other perspectives (not only the differences with the KJV as in this study) and also including the New Testament.

In many cases, the passages mentioned in this study of the Old Testament of the RVG are justified upon studying a Hebrew lexicon. We’re not necessarily saying that all these passages in the RVG are wrongly translated, although in some cases there appears to be some omissions or additions to the Masoretic Text. Many passages in the RVG listed here have the same reading in the RV 1960, but this shows inconsistency when the 1960 is criticized for not conforming to the KJV. We just want to note that in our opinion, the RVG was not aligned with the KJV (except in selected passages), which was one of the main reasons presented to justify its existence.

Some who are against the RVG have incorrectly stated that the RVG was translated directly from the KJV. This analysis demonstrates that those who have said this have not studied the matter.

We omitted many passages in order to not bore the reader with so many details. For example, 1 Kings chapter 6 is only mentioned once in this study, but differences were found (some less significant than others) in verses 9, 16, 26, 31 and 33 of that chapter.

The official sales site for the RVG states that this translation is “The Spanish Bible that reads like the beloved King James Version.” It also assures its readers that the RVG was very successfully brought in line with the KJV. ( Perhaps that could be said of passages in the Reina-Valera that have been criticized in the past, but what of isolated passages as in this study? The RV 1960 has been severely criticized for containing differences with the KJV in the Old Testament, but this study demonstrates that the RVG suffers from much of the same kinds of differences.

We have criticized the leaders behind the RVG for stating that the KJV was the standard to follow, but here we have documented that this criterion was not consistently enforced in the process of producing the RVG. Our view is that the RVG followed the KJV as the standard mostly in passages where the Reina-Valera had been criticized. In this study we have focused on passages that critics of the Reina-Valera have overlooked in the past. When there are differences between the RVG and the KJV, the leaders behind the RVG excuse themselves by saying that it is due to language differences. We do not deny that this may be the root of many of these cases, but not all. For example, Judges 15:8 in the KJV says that Samson “dwelt in the top of the rock Etam.” The RVG says that Samson placed himself in the cave of the rock of Etam. “Cave” is the reading of the Latin Vulgate and the Septuagint, not the Masoretic Text.

It is possible that the leaders behind the RVG will try to excuse this data by stating something to the effect, “our concern is where the Old Testament of the Reina-Valera has deviated from the Masoretic text.” If that were true, why is it that the most bitter attacks against the RV 1909 and RV 1960 have been in passages where there was no difference in the Hebrew texts? For example, in his speech at the annual meeting of the Dean Burgon Society of 2007, Brother Gomez’s said his eyes were “opened” to the problems with the Reina-Valera when an American preacher (who preached often for Peter Ruckman by the way) compared Daniel 3:25 in Spanish with the Bible in English. You can look at any common modern Hebrew text in competition with the Masoretic text, and you will see no difference with the keyword in this verse. To provide another example, the book God’s Bible in Spanish claims there is “falseness in the text” in 2 Sam. 21:19 in the RV1960, but in reality this version follows the Masoretic text literally in this verse!

There will be those who will defend the RVG against observations ïn this study saying that if the RV 1960 agreed with the RVG in these cases, those who defend the 1960 have no right to mention it. But something to consider is that the leaders behind the RVG have officially declared in their book God’s Bible in Spanish that the RVG is perfect and inspired. Since they have stated that both the KJV and the RVG are perfect and inspired, a diligent study showing differences from one another to put that statement into question is not out of place. If the leaders behind the RVG2010 really believe that it is infallible, inspired, and has no textual error as they have publicly stated, they cannot change the text now, because what is truly perfect is not perfectible. If the RVG2010 is inspired, it means that God supposedly breathed out the RVG2010, since that is the meaning of the Greek word for inspiration in 2 Tim. 3:16. Of course we do not believe that, and RVG leaders do not teach that God breathed out the RVG, but they amazingly still insist that RVG2010 is inspired! That a Spanish Bible–the RVG–is inspired (“God-breathed”) is a new doctrine in Spanish-speaking fundamentalism. Beware of new teachings! Our position at about the KJV is that it is reliable and trustworthy, but not inspired or perfect. This is the historical position, which reflects the views of the first to write books defending the KJV in the past, such as John Burgon, Edward Hills, Philip Mauro, and so on. But assuming that the KJV was perfect and inspired, this study demonstrates that both the RVG and the KJV cannot both be infallible and inspired. How can both be infallible and inspired if in Judges 15:8 Samson is presented as dwelling on top of a rock, when the other says that he dwelt in a cave? How can both be perfect and inspired if in 2 Kings 16:5 Ahaz in one is a king, but in the other translation Ahaz is a city? We could present dozens of examples, but these should be enough to convince a reasonable thinking person that translations are not perfect, because they were not translated by God himself. By insisting that both the RVG and the KJV are perfect and inspired in spite of the differences we have shown, means that they are cheapening the meaning of such terms as inspiration, perfection and infallibility. We are not in favor of a direct translation from English into Spanish, but those who believe that the KJV is perfect and inspired and believe it should be translated directly into other languages (ignoring the original languages) are more consistent in their view–despite their mistake–than those who say that both the RVG and the KJV are perfect and inspired.

Personal Prediction

Have you noticed that when the RVG2010 was presented, it was declared perfect and inspired, but it was not officially stated that “this is the final edition, never to be revised again?” I predict that in the future Brother Gómez will abandon his supposedly “infallible and inspired” RVG2010 for editions (RVG2014? RVG2018? 2022?) increasingly closer to the KJV to please those who believe the KJV is perfect (and also to please himself, since he has publicly stated that the KJV is perfect). And although they have taught that the RVG2010 is perfect, they will teach that future editions of the RVG with all their changes will be perfect and inspired also. Since they are insisting that both the RVG and the KJV are infallible, and that in their book God’s Bible in Spanish they taught on pp. 94-95 that the KJV is the final authority for other languages, in order to not lose credibility they will have to revise the RVG to conform it more to the KJV. If someday in the distant future they truly do finalize revising the RVG, the final product will not be much different than if they had translated it directly from the KJV into Spanish. Of course I can be wrong in this; it is only a personal prediction.

* The verses of the RVG in this study were verified with the RVG2010 paperback edition published by Chick Publications.

The verses and words in italics in the KJV were verified with the bilingual edition of Holman Bible Publishers KJV/RV1960.

In some cases when a name was missing that appeared in the KJV, the RVG had a pronoun, or vice versa.

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