Double Standards in the Spanish Bible Issue

Introduction

Not everyone making accusations against the Spanish Bible in the current controversy among Fundamentalists realizes they are implementing a double standard at times. The typical accusations mentioned here are similar to charges being made. My motivating factor in writing this was to place the Spanish Bible on more even ground with the KJV, in order for others to realize that if we applied some of the standards being imposed on the Reina-Valera it could lead to invalidating the KJV. This would demonstrate that the criteria being imposed on the Spanish Bible in the hypothetical examples in this article (which are being played out in real life) are unreasonable and should be re-evaluated.

Typical accusation #1 “The Reina-Valera has some departures from the Textus Receptus”

Why this is a double standard: The KJV has a few departures from the Textus Receptus, yet this should not invalidate the KJV.

Explanation: F.H.A. Scrivener became intimately acquainted with the text of the KJV during his work on The New Testament in the Original Greek According to the Text Followed in the Authorised Version. He placed a list of around 60 places in which he believed the KJV apparently followed the Latin Vulgate in the New Testament on p. 262 of his book The Authorized Edition of the English Bible. Jack Moorman, a pro-KJV author wrote on p. 27 of the 2nd edition of his book When the KJV Departs from the “Majority” Text that “…there is a sprinkling of Latin readings in the Authorized Version.” The question should be whether a foreign translation is based on the Textus Receptus, not whether there are any departures whatsoever. No one is calling to revise the TR departures in the KJV; therefore calling to revise TR departures in foreign Bibles that are already based on the TR is a double standard.

Typical accusation #2 “The Reina-Valera 1960 is copyrighted. You cannot copyright God’s true Word.”

Why this is a double standard: The KJV has a Royal Crown Patent (the old equivalent of a copyright), yet this should not invalidate the KJV.

Explanation: As to the question “Was the King James Bible ever copyrighted?” David Cloud, a pro-KJV author, answers as follows on p. 134 of his book The Bible Version Question/Answer Database:

1. The King James Bible was produced under the direct authority of the British Crown and is owned and “copyrighted” by the crown of England.

2. The British government still licenses all printings of the text in Great Britain, typically by designating one printer as the authorized publisher and requiring other printers to obtain a sublicense from that one.

Brother Cloud then continues with other explanations, such as how the copyright on the KJV does not extend outside of Great Britain.

Typical accusation #3 “The Reina-Valera 1960 was done by the American Bible Society and the British and Foreign Bible Society, which are under the umbrella of the United Bible Societies. They are very ecumenical. We should not trust a Bible from such a source.”

Why this is a double standard: The KJV translators were affiliated with the Anglican Church (with some being Puritan conformists), yet this should not invalidate the KJV.

Explanation: It would be wrong to judge the KJV by the condition and beliefs of the Anglican Church today (some Anglicans have ordained homosexuals, performed so-called gay marriages, etc). By the same token, it is wrong to judge the Reina-Valera by the current ecumenical position of the Bible Societies which was not the case in the 1950’s while the Reina-Valera was being revised. In fact, documentation uncovered in my book The History of the Reina-Valera 1960 demonstrates that some 1960 revisers suffered Catholic persecution even during the years in which they performed their revision work.

Typical accusation #4 “Some of those involved in the revision of the Spanish Bible had some questionable beliefs.”

Why this is a double standard: Some of the KJV translators had questionable beliefs, yet this should not invalidate the KJV.

Explanation: David Cloud, a pro-KJV author, writes as follows on p. 139 of his book The Bible Version Question/Answer Database:

a. The lives of the King James translators were not universally godly. Some of the men were truly godly and some were less so. One of them was intemperate in the consumption of alcoholic wine, especially in the latter part of his life.

b. When judged from a Baptist perspective, they were certainly not without blame. As Anglicans, they held many doctrinal errors. To a man, they held the error of pedobaptism. Even the puritans among them held to state churchism.

Typical accusation #5 “The controversial Eugene Nida was involved with the Reina-Valera 1960 in one way or another. This means it should not be trusted.”

Why this is a double standard: Religious repression during the reign of King James is one reason the Pilgrims came to America, yet this should not invalidate the KJV.

Explanation: Although King James was somewhat controversial and had some involvement with the KJV, he was not among the translators. By the same token, Eugene Nida was involved at a time when he held more conservative views as documented in my book The History of the Reina-Valera 1960 Spanish Bible. Regardless, he wrote that he had no vote on textual decisions when the 1960 revisers did their work.

Typical accusation #6 “The Reina-Valera has some problem passages which could be misinterpreted.”

Why this is a double standard: The KJV also has some “problem” passages that could potentially be misinterpreted, yet this should not invalidate the KJV.

Explanation: Peter Ruckman, whom I warn about extensively in my writings, admits on p. 3 of his book The “Errors” in the King James Bible that there are about 2,000 problem passages in the KJV. Of these, he says that around 1,600 can be explained by common sense without reference to a Greek or Hebrew lexicon. Of the 400 that remain, he says that about 20 could be called “difficult” problems, and 5 of those could be classified as “extremely difficult.”

The late Bruce Lackey, a pro-KJV author, wrote the following with which I concur concerning problem passages in the KJV, on p. 46 of his book Why I Believe the Old King James Bible: “There will always be a need for teachers to explain and expound God’s word. No translation can ever take the place of God-appointed teachers. It is a mistake to assume that the Bible is supposed to be perfectly clear to the surface reader, needing no explanation.”

Typical accusation #7 “Most of the Reina-Valera revisers weren’t Baptists, and none were fundamentalists.”

Why this is a double standard: None of the KJV translators were Baptists either, yet this should not invalidate the KJV.

Explanation: The KJV translators were Anglicans, with a minority being Puritan conformists.

Typical accusation #8 “The Revised Standard Version (RSV) was consulted when the Reina-Valera 1960 was being revised.”

Why this is a double standard: The Rheims Catholic New Testament was consulted according to the notes of a KJV translator, yet this should not invalidate the KJV.

Explanation: See pp. 63 & 118 of the book Translating for King James: Notes made by a translator of King James’s Bible edited by Ward Allen. Also pro-KJV author Jack Moorman on p. 248 of his book Forever Settled acknowledges the following regarding the influence of the Rheims on the KJV: “…many improvements in interpretation were taken from the Geneva Bible, and not a few phrases and single words from that of Rheims.” I’m willing to give the KJV the benefit of the doubt that this action didn’t introduce false doctrine into the KJV. Does the Reina-Valera in turn not deserve the benefit of the doubt?

Typical accusation #9 “The writings of one of the men involved with the 1960 indicate that they believed that in some cases it was all right to follow a critical text.”

Why this is a double standard: KJV reviser John Boys wrote a book in which he was defensive of the Latin Vulgate.

Explanation: John McClintock and James A. Strong in their joint work Cyclopaedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature (1880) wrote the following on p. 869: “When the new translation of the Holy Bible was resolved on, under King James I, Bois was fixed upon to undertake the Apocrypha, which he completed, together with the portion assigned to some other party … his only published work was Veterum interpretatio cum Beza aliisque recent. collatio (London, 1655, 8vo), a vindication of the Vulgate version of the New Testament.” Fortunately, in spite of Boys’ views, the KJV ended up being based on the Textus Receptus, with relatively few Vulgate readings being discernable, which did not affect doctrine.

I am aware of an accusation of supposed double standards against those of us who accept the Reina-Valera 1960, because English Bibles were consulted in the process of revising it, whereas we supposedly reject this same concept in the new RVG Spanish Bible. Consider the following facts:

It is a standard practice to consult other Bibles including other languages when confronted with problem passages or areas of difficulty in translating the original languages. The preface to the KJV mentions that the KJV translators consulted several foreign Bibles, including Spanish. We do not object to the RVG reviser having consulted an English Bible. However, it is not normal for the translator or reviser to declare that the translation they consulted is perfect and inspired, and was the standard followed as was the case with the RVG. The 1960 revisers did not declare the English Bibles they consulted to be perfect and inspired. Numerous major differences can be noticed between the 1960 Spanish and English Bibles consulted, such as not following any instances of omitting entire verses. Bibles in German, French, Portuguese and Spanish were also consulted by the 1960 revisers, in addition to having access to a wide variety of commentaries (Nida, Eugene “Reina-Valera Spanish Revision of 1960” The Bible Translator. July 1961, p. 113)

Conclusion

I would like to say in closing that you may depend on the KJV and the Reina-Valera. They are reliable, trustworthy, accurate and proven. The things I’ve said about the KJV should not be considered an attack, as I’m not trying to persuade others to abandon it, and it is the only version I personally use and endorse in English. Keep in mind that most of the documentation in this article comes from the writings of pro-KJV authors. The difference with the negative things others are saying about the Reina-Valera 1909 & 1960 is that they are trying to persuade others to abandon it, and they do not use and endorse it. The Reina-Valera and people and organizations associated with it are not above criticism, but care should be taken to ensure that one’s criticism and motives do not constitute a double standard compared with what one allows for the Bible in English.

Read the Spanish version of this article here: La doble moral en la controversia sobre la Reina-Valera entre fundamentalistas

5 Responses to “Double Standards in the Spanish Bible Issue”

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  1. Missionary to Chile says:

    You sound like someone who has not come to a sound truth in the perfect Word of God. You go right along with many others who try to correct God’s Word, and yes that Word is in the KJV. I would not trust the translators of the 1960 no more than I trust you after reading this work. We do have a much better translated spanish bible than the 1960, as a mater of fact there are several spanish bibles better than the 1960. The 1960 comes in dead last when compared to the TR against other spanish bibles. Why not use the spanish bible the is closer to the TR? The RVG is a spanish bible you can use and preach as the Word of God and it does not have the ecumenical crowd finger prints all over it. Friend the translators of the 1960 were not even baptist, give me a break! That’s the problem with the church today, if you want to believe that junk you wrote fine, not me and not thousands of others. -Missionary to Chile

  2. Calvin George says:

    I have not corrected the KJV, and I even stated in the article that it was “reliable, trustworthy, accurate and proven.” I don’t use the term “perfect” to describe it or other translations because they are works of men. You wrote, “Why not use the spanish bible the is closer to the TR?” That is a good question. If I would have been guided by that criteria, I would have had to switch Spanish Bibles several times since I have been in the ministry, and I would be subject to have to switch Bibles in the future. Part of the complexity in all this is that there are about 25 editions of the Textus Receptus, but for practical purposes let me ignore that in this response. I believe Bible translations should be based on the Textus Receptus; but an occasional departure from the Textus Receptus does not invalidate it automatically, or else even the KJV would have to be discarded. The Bible translation I use in Spanish and English follow the Textus Receptus close enough that there are no verses missing as reflected in modern critical texts, although that is not my only criteria. Both the KJV and Reina-Valera that I use have some departures from the Textus Receptus to the Latin Vulgate. You complain about the translators of the 1960 “were not even Baptist” when one of the six revisers was indeed a Baptist, and not one KJV translator was a Baptist. My article was all about double standards, and you seemed to miss my point by using double standards yourself. My article had nine points, and it seems to me that you did not refute a single one, although I do not consider my views on the matter to always be irrefutable.

  3. Samuel says:

    Thank you for your honesty. It is refreshing to see someone look at the FACTS and not be swayed by emotions. It has pleased the Lord to use the RV60 for over 50 years to get people saved. What on Earth are we mere mortals arguing about?! That’s just pride and arrogance. Can we make it better? I believe we can but to bash it is irresponsible. If God saw fit to use it why are we talking bad about it.

  4. Samuel White says:

    Very well said brother Calvin. Thank you.

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