Excerpts from all 9 chapters of the book “The History of the Reina-Valera 1960 Spanish Bible”


By 1946 the American Bible Society and the BFBS were reporting that numerous suggestions were being received as to the need for a new revision. Although the Valera line had undergone many minor revisions, it still retained much of the grammar and antiquated expressions from Casiodoro de Reina’s 1569 translation.

Accent marks on monosyllabic words were eliminated.

1909 1960
á a
é e
fué fue
vió vio

Spelling of names and places

The spelling of some names and places come across more like English words rather than Spanish in the 1909 and older revisions:

1909 1960
Bethlehem Belén
Jerusalem Jerusalén
Nathán Natán
Ruth Rut
Seth Set
Rachel Raquel
Ephraim Efraín

As evidenced in some words in the previous table, when the 1909 was revised “ph” had to be changed to “f,” and “th” to “t.” Also “ch” when followed by a vowel with circumflex accent was changed to “c” or “qu” (depending on the following vowel).

Absolute orthography of proper names was a problem for the revisers; therefore, they compiled a list of approved spellings with the help of Young’s Concordance,1 since none was available in Spanish. Old Testament forms of names were retained in the New Testament.

Substitution of terms that acquired a Catholic connotation

It should be noted that words that over the years had acquired a very fixed Roman Catholic connotation such as beatificación (beatification) in Romans 3:9 in the 1602, pontífice (pontiff—used as a title for the Pope in Spanish) many times in Hebrews up to the Valera 1909, and the word penitencia (penance) in Mark 1:4 in the 1602 did not reappear in the 1960.


It was recommended that the committee for such a revision should include men competent in biblical exegesis with a thorough command of Spanish, of good reputation among evangelicals in the Spanish-speaking world, and who could work happily with others. Another list added the following criteria for selecting revision committee members:

  • Good background in Biblical studies, including Greek and Hebrew.
  • Proficiency in the use of the Spanish language.
  • Deep personal devotion to the Scriptures.
  • Acceptance by the evangelical constituency as being persons sensitive to and fully sympathetic with the needs of the evangelical movement.

Excerpt from Chapter 3 THE REVISION UNDERWAY

The revision was done during four full sessions lasting approximately two months each, followed by two subcommittee sessions lasting approximately two weeks each. All six revisers attended all four full sessions for varying periods. The daily tasks were preceded by a time of prayer and meditation in the Word of God as the revisers wanted to open their hearts and minds to the blessed influence of the Holy Spirit. The six sessions took place during a six-year range, from 1951 to 1957. The three-year delay until final publication was due to proofreading, preparation for a limited concordance to be published simultaneously with the first edition, and also the realization that the type had to be reset. It was decided that the revision sessions would take place in different countries because this helped others to recognize the international scope and character of the project.

Detailed procedures

At the end of each session, members of the Revision Committee selected the books of the Bible that they would revise in a tentative fashion between sessions. In the actual sessions, each reviser would read his own draft out loud, and during that time he was chairman of the meeting. The various revisers would then take part in the discussion that naturally followed. The work was rotated so that no reviser had to read aloud and be chairman for an extended period of time. After a given portion was approved, the revised reading was placed on stencils for mimeographing, and then mailed to the consultants.


When the new Reina-Valera revision was first printed in late 1960, the response was mostly favorable. In 1961 the BFBS reported that “The introduction in the latter half of last year stimulated considerable increase in demand for the Bible on the whole of Spanish-speaking South America. It is reflected in the quantities in the Spanish Bibles which we have been called upon to send out.” In 1964, the General Secretary of the American Bible Society stated that although there was still some demand for the old Spanish version, which they would continue to print, as to the 1960: “its acceptance in Latin America has been overwhelmingly favorable.” Nida mentioned in 1969 that the 1960 had thus far been “very favorably received.”

However, it did take some time to win the hearts of Spanish-speaking Christians. Some reports of mild resistance against the adoption of the Reina-Valera 1960 were published in the early 1960’s. The Bible Societies reacted promptly by sending staff and at least one reviser from the Revision Committee out to the field to answer questions. For instance, López de Lara, who replaced Estrello as Secretary of the Bible Society in Mexico, was invited to a meeting of an independent evangelical group named Union of Independent Evangelical Churches to answer questions regarding the new Spanish text. As a result, the leaders of this movement representing 500 churches that were described as conservative decided to use the 1960 exclusively. Alfonso Lloreda visited a different group to answer questions regarding the 1960, with the resulting decision on their part to use both the old and new Valera text, with preference being given to the newer one. William Wonderly of the ABS reported in 1963 that an evangelical group whom he considered to be among the most conservative and numerous, after a meticulous examination of the text, officially endorsed it for use among their congregations. He further reported that although not all evangelical groups had yet decided one way or another, “many persons and congregations are already using it in preference over the previous revision.”


(From the biography of Alfonso Rodríguez Hidalgo, who suffered through 33 surgeries due to a growth of gangrene in his face at a young age)

Rodríguez eloquently summarizes his own testimony thus:

Precisely this ugly face of mine, all twisted and full of scars, which is certainly very visible, is one in which Jesus Christ has left his holy handprints, all pierced and bloodied by the nails of the cross of Calvary; day by day, all twenty-four hours and three hundred and sixty-five days a year, are not enough to express to the Lord my deep gratitude and my eternal thankfulness for all he has done for me, not only giving me a new face, but above all and over all, giving me new life.

Author Robert Heinze described Rodríguez in the following moving terms:

This is a man whose face was rebuilt out of the flesh of his thigh. This is a man whose superior mind might have remained undeveloped because people were repelled by a little boy wearing a handkerchief to hide his face. This is a teacher who stopped teaching History and Civics so he could begin to teach men to preach the Gospel. This is a man who tells his own story simply, in one sentence: “God gave me back my lips and I must use my lips to speak for him.”


From the biography of John Twentyman:

In his role as Secretary of the Bible Society, Twentyman sometimes traveled to remote areas to promote Bible distribution as well as visit missionaries. In answer to the often-posed question “why do we go to the jungle,” Twentyman would reply “…despite difficulties and dangers, disease and loneliness—the lost souls of men and women for whom Christ died.”

Twentyman had the admirable habit of referring to people not just as persons, but as souls. The following paragraph characterized his compassionate style of writing:

They [referring to Peruvian Indians] have souls, and are precious in His sight. They too are seeking the comfort of God’s Word, and find, as the reward of their seeking, Jesus Christ revealed to them in all His love and compassion.


In his own words–Nida on Salvation (written between 1952-1961):

As with the Pharisees, who were concerned with being accepted by God because of their works, and who substituted their rules for the commandments of God, some today exchange the doctrine of God’s forgiveness of sins for mere ethical principles about conduct pleasing to the eternal.

Especially in the field of soteriology, the Bible presents a unique way to God. For it is not a process by which man gains his salvation through hereditary privilege, ritualistic practice, or self-subjugation, but one by which God has not only sought out man, but has provided the means and the way of reconciliation to himself.

If you want to find the way, it can be only through Jesus Christ, who is “the way, the truth and the life,” who not only went ahead as “the pioneer of our salvation,” but has thus shown us the way in his atoning work on the Cross. By reconciling us to God, he has made it possible for us to be His children.

…Man has no righteousness except that which God gives to him through Jesus Christ.

As far as the Bible is concerned, man’s difficulty is his sin, which is not an error of the mind but a rebellion of the heart. Therefore, salvation comes not by intellectual assent to correct ideas, but through the heart, which in faith says yes to God.

It is not sufficient to simply reeducate man, for he must be born again. He must be converted into a new creature, for only in Christ “old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” We have come to realize that “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” is not a vain formula of psychological escape. It is the very heart of the Good News, for all men who trust in the Jesus of the Scriptures and recognize him as the redeemer of their lives, not only are rescued from their oppressive sin and fear, but also receive new life through the Spirit of God.


One way in which to avoid paying for copyright royalties for the 1960 is to purchase such Bibles directly from Bible society agencies, especially since they sell Bibles below cost. At the time this book went to press, their 1960 paperback edition was being made available in a special offer on the ABS website at only $1.69 each in case-lots, and New Testaments in case-lots at only $0.85 each. When it comes to finances, in some respects the Bible societies operate the opposite of a commercial business. Since Bible sales are subsidized, “the greater the success, the greater the loss.”


The 1960 edition possibly differs from any given edition of the Textus Receptus less often than the Textus Receptus texts differ among themselves. For example, there are approximately 250 differences between Scrivener’s 1894 TR Greek New Testament and the Stephanus 1550 TR Greek New Testament.

Therefore, if differences among Textus Receptus texts do not shatter our confidence in them, neither should a lesser amount of differences in the Reina-Valera 1960.

Many “problem” passages in the 1960 are vindicated upon consulting older revisions of the Valera, lexicons, conservative commentaries, the ancient Itala and Peshitta manuscripts, or Textus Receptus-based Bibles in other languages such as the Italian Diodati, the French Ostervald, Luther’s German Bible, and the Portuguese translation by the Trinitarian Bible Society. There is a precedent in these TR-based Bibles as well as others regarding numerous readings in the 1960 that have been questioned. When judging the soundness of a translation in any language, there needs to be an element of faith and some room for benefit of the doubt.

In some cases, changes were made in the 1960 to line it up more with the Textus Receptus compared to the former revision (the 1909). Examples include replacing Señor with Dios in 1 Timothy 6:1, adding Jesús in Luke 24:36, adding pero in John 7:29, adding afuera in Acts 5:23, and yo fuí changed to yo estaba in Revelation 4:2.


Reina-Valera 1960 consultant Domingo Fernández accurately describes the prevailing sentiment of Spanish-speaking Christians toward the Reina-Valera in these passionate terms:

The immense majority of Spanish-speaking Christians love the Reina-Valera version just as it is now…We have the firm conviction that the providential hand of God has been manifested throughout the ages preserving the Sacred Scriptures, and that the message of God to humanity has maintained itself pure, in spite of human imperfections. We can fully trust the Reina-Valera version. The message of God remains without omissions or additions. Do not allow, dear reader, the attacks of apostate “liberalism” to undermine your confidence in the Reina-Valera version, which is up to now the best of all versions.

To order this book as well as other products related to the Spanish Bible, click here.

Spanish Bible Gnostic heresy allegations at Reina-Valera-Gomez Conference

This is a critique of one aspect of a conference that took place in November 2007 in Iglesia Bautista Libertad in Matamoros, Tam. Mexico, where reviser Humberto Gomez is the pastor. The conference is covered more in-depth at Critique of Gomez Spanish Bible conference of November 2007

The first Spanish Bible reading that Dr. D.A. Waite objected to was Luke 2:22. I find it strange that he did not admit that the 1960 reading is vindicated by the Textus Receptus. This is one of the places where there is textual variation among Textus Receptus editions. In spite of this, Dr. Waite proceeded to inform those in attendance that the 1960 reading was a Gnostic heresy. Perhaps he didn’t mean to, but he in effect accused the Erasmus and Stephanus editions of the Textus Receptus of containing Gnostic heresy, because their rendering matches the 1960 reading.

Concerning Luke 4:41, Luke 23:42, and Acts 9:29, Dr. Waite complained that the 1960 readings contained Gnostic heresies. He did not inform anyone that these readings were present in the 1862 and 1909 Spanish Bibles, which would be a reading before the Westcott and Hort text was introduced in 1881. Dr. Waite stated in his 3rd speech of the conference that “Gnostic false doctrines of Vaticanus and Siniaticus were buried from 600 AD to 1881.”

As to Mark 9:24 and Acts 3:26, Dr. Waite considered the 1960 readings to be Gnostic heresies. He did not mention that these heretical readings are in the 1862 and 1909 Spanish Bibles, which would make it a pre-Westcott & Hort reading. He may not have realized that the readings he considered to be heresies are vindicated by the Syriac Peshitta, which is considered to be “based on the Received Text” by Dr. Waite himself on p. 46 of his book “Defending the KJB,” 4th edition.

As to 2 Corinthians 4:14, Dr. Waite made the sensational allegation that since the 1960 said “con Jesus” instead of “por Jesús,” this would make it a Gnostic denial of the resurrection of Christ. However, look at the first part of the verse in the 1960: “he which raised up the Lord Jesus…” (the first half reads like the KJV). It reveals the resurrection of Jesus as already completed! Also the Greek word in question (Strongs #1223) was translated as “with” in Mark 16:20, and in other places in the KJV, so the 1960 did not violate the Greek in the process of translation.

By Dr. Waite’s criteria, the KJV denies the deity of Christ in Heb. 13:20 compared to the RVG and 1960. I do not believe the KJV ever denies the diety of Christ; I am simply applying Dr. Waite’s logic to see where it would take us. I personally predict that once this becomes public, Gomez will change Heb. 13:20 to match the KJV.

The chart below (best viewed with Firefox browser) demonstrates when a Gnostic corruption allegation in the 1960 applies to other Spanish Bibles. A vindication for the Spanish Bible reading is included, without resorting to critical texts.

Verse accused of being a Gnostic heresy in the 1960 1569 1602 1862 1909 Vindication without resorting to critical texts
1 Peter 2:2 “para salvación” added X X X X 1569/1602/1862/1909/1960 reading found in the Peshitta, considered to be “based on the Received Text” by Dr. Waite himself on p. 46 of his book “Defending the KJB,” 4th edition.
 2 Cor. 4:14 “con” instead of “por”  The Greek word in question (Strongs #1223) was translated as “with” in Mark 16:20, and in other places in the KJV.
 Acts 3:26 “Jesús” missing  X  X 1862/1909/1960 reading found in the Peshitta, considered to be “based on the Received Text” by Dr. Waite himself on p. 46 of his book “Defending the KJB,” 4th edition.
 Acts 9:29 “Jesús” missing  X  x An accepted rendering of the verse in 1862 before W&H texts. Dr. Waite stated in his 3rd speech of the conference that “Gnostic false doctrines of Vaticanus and Siniaticus were buried from 600 AD to 1881”
 Eph. 3:9 “por Jesucristo” missing  X*  X*  X*  X 1569/1602/1862/1909/1960 reading found in the Peshitta, considered to be “based on the Received Text” by Dr. Waite himself on p. 46 of his book “Defending the KJB,” 4th edition.
 Isa. 14:12 “Lucero” instead of “Lucifer”  X  X  X  X  1569/1602/1862/1909/1960 reading matches definition in Strong’s Concordance. The RVG reading matches the exact spelling of the Latin Vulgate.
 Jn. 14:28 “el” instead of “mi”  X  X  X  X  1999 Donate-Park-Reyes NT called 1602-R. Dr. Waite promoted it by selling in his BFT catalog a video by one of its revisers entitled “The Spanish Bible Is the 1602 Valera Version”
 Jn. 16:10 “al” instead of “a mi”  X  X  X  X  1999 Donate-Park-Reyes NT called 1602-R. Dr. Waite promoted it by selling in his BFT catalog a video by one of its revisers entitled “The Spanish Bible Is the 1602 Valera Version”
 Jn. 8:28 “el” instead of “mi”  X  X  X  X  Spanish revision by Trinitarian Bible Society, which Dr. Waite described in his 2004 BFT catalog as “revised 2001 to conform to T.R.”
 Jn. 8:38 “del” instead of “de mi”  X  X  Spanish revision by Trinitarian Bible Society, which Dr. Waite described in his 2004 BFT catalog as “revised 2001 to conform to T.R.”
 Lk. 4:41 “Cristo” missing  X  X  An accepted rendering of the verse in 1862 before W&H texts. Dr. Waite stated in his 3rd speech of the conference that “Gnostic false doctrines of Vaticanus and Siniaticus were buried from 600 AD to 1881”
 Luke 2:22 “ellos” instead of “ella”  The 1960 reading is the rendering of Erasmus, and Stephanus TR editions, and the majority of Greek manuscripts.
 Luke 23:42 “Señor” missing  X  X  An accepted rendering of the verse in 1862 before W&H texts. Dr. Waite stated in his 3rd speech of the conference that “Gnostic false doctrines of Vaticanus and Siniaticus were buried from 600 AD to 1881”
 Mark 9:24 “Señor” missing  X  X  1862/1909/1960 reading found in the Peshitta, considered to be “based on the Received Text” by Dr. Waite himself on p. 46 of his book “Defending the KJB,” 4th edition.
 Rom. 1:16 “de Cristo” missing  X  X  X  1569/1602/1909/1960 reading found in the Peshitta, considered to be “based on the Received Text” by Dr. Waite himself on p. 46 of his book “Defending the KJB,” 4th edition.

*In brackets

87% of the time that a 1960 reading was accused of being a Gnostic heresy, it applied to the 1909, but the conference speakers did not admit it.

80% of the time that a 1960 reading was accused of being a Gnostic heresy, it applied to the 1862, but the conference speakers did not admit it.

47% of the time that a 1960 reading was accused of being a Gnostic heresy, it applied to the 1569 & 1602.

After Dr. Waite’s second session, Pastor Carter came to the front and stated regarding this: “While the 1909 needed the improvements that Brother Gomez has made, there was not a Gnostic plan behind it, to destroy these truths that Brother Waite was showing.”

It was taught or at least clearly implied in the conference that there was a Gnostic plan behind the 1960, but it was declared that it was not so with the 1909. However, 87% of the time that a 1960 reading was accused of being a Gnostic heresy, it applied to the 1909. Why would a negligible percentage increase change the Spanish Bible from not having a Gnostic plan to being corrupted by Gnostic heresies? Since the conference attendees were not being informed of the times the passages being labeled as Gnostic heresies applied to 1569-1909 Spanish Bibles, they were surely left with a false impression.

What primary source documentation did Dr. Waite reveal in the conference to prove from history that specifically the Gnostics did indeed corrupt specific manuscripts that are extant today? None. I’m aware of a couple quotes from around 200 AD that mention the allegation of tampering with manuscripts, but no Gnostics are mentioned in the quotes, nor are the manuscripts identified. That Gnostics tampered with Scriptures that affected manuscripts that are extant is a speculative theory that Dr. Waite presented as an established fact in the conference. In Jack Moorman’s book Forever Settled, published by Dr. Waite’s Dean Burgon Society, the first mention of possible Gnostic textual corruptions were presented as a theory: “This omission seems to be a mutilation of the sacred text at the hands of heretics, probably Gnostics.”(1999 edition, p. 108, emphasis mine). Not one time did I notice Dr. Waite use language as Moorman did to demonstrate he was putting forth a theory. In other words, he wasn’t saying “this verse could have/might have been tampered with by a Gnostic.” Although Dr. Waite did not say it outright, he came across as implying that the 1960 revisers were Gnostics. This led to a question from the audience as to who was behind the 1960, and whether he was a Gnostic. This aspect is picked up in Critique of Gomez Spanish Bible conference of November 2007.

A minimum of 47 percent of the verses that Dr. Waite considered to have Gnostic readings in the Spanish Bible apply to all the major translations in the heritage of the Reina-Valera (1569/1602/1862/1909/). He did not mention this during the conference, as he may not have been trying to portray the whole Reina-Valera line as being corrupted with Gnosticism. However, research demonstrates that almost half of the “Gnostic” readings that he attributed to the 1960 apply to just about every major Reina-Valera translation starting in 1569; therefore, when he made the provocative statement in the conference that Spanish Bibles previous to the 2004 RVG “contain poison,” he sadly was in effect denouncing our entire Spanish Bible heritage. I’m truly saddened that Dr. Waite, who has dedicated his life to the noble cause of defending the KJV, has gradually become more extreme in recent years.

March 2008 video on Gnosticism in the Spanish Bible

Around March of 2008 Dr. Waite and Pastor Gomez released a video on “Gnosticism in the Spanish Bible.” It made basically the same allegations as in the November 2007 conference.

This topic was presented as if every single Spanish Bible translator or reviser was duped by Gnostic readings over hundreds of years. This study consistently mentioned the 1960, but it rarely mentioned when other previous revisions contained the reading that was objected to.

When it came to trying to prove that there was Gnostic influence in the area of Christ’s resurrection in the Reina-Valera, as in other cases a serious allegation on very superficial grounds was made. Two verses were presented as “evidence” of the denial of the resurrection in the Reina-Valera: 2 Corinthians 4:14 and Romans 10:7.

As for 2 Corinthians 4:14, the complaint was that con (Jesús), instead of por (Jesús) results in a denial of the resurrection of Christ. However, a look at the first part of the verse in the 1960 removes any possible doubt: “he which raised up the Lord Jesus…” (the first half reads like the KJV). It reveals the resurrection of Jesus as already completed! Also the Greek word in question (Strong’s #1223) was translated as “with” in Mark 16:20, and in other places in the KJV, so the 1960 did not violate the Greek in the process of translation.

As for Romans 10:7, the following was alleged by Pastor Gómez: “If you have your 1960 Bible, the word [sic] ‘bring up again’ was erased. It merely says ‘to bring up Christ from the dead.’ In other words, as if Christ was still in the tomb, as if he still had not resurrected.” However, the 1960 translated this verse literally. This is not a textual variant. Both Scrivener’s 1894 edition of the Textus Receptus (Pocket Interlinear New Testament [1982] by J. P. Green) and Newberry’s Interlinear Greek New Testament based on the Stephanus 1550 Textus Receptus have “Christ to bring down,”(without “again”) matching the 1960. The word “again” is not in the Greek, but was added in the KJV for clarification. The 1960 translators were not erasing anything that was in the Greek. Notice the context also. The last part of the previous verse speaks about bringing Christ down from above, and then contrasted with bringing him up from the dead in verse seven. Baptist commentator John Gill says regarding this: “these phrases are proverbial, and often used to express things impossible.” Notice also that just two verses down from the verse in dispute, is a famous resurrection verse which ends as follows: “…and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” No one has said outright that the 1960 revisers did not believe in Christ’s bodily resurrection, but by the nature of the complaint against this verse such a thing is being implied. This is an insult to the 1960 revisers, who tended to be conservative in their theology. One 1960 reviser even composed a beautiful poem about the resurrection, with the title “¡Él Vive!” (He lives!)

The following was alleged about Burgon in the video: “As Dean Burgon has said, ‘when the Gnostics couldn’t find their heresies supported by the Scriptures, they changed the Scriptures.’”

Perhaps Burgon said this in a certain context. I do not know if he used those exact words, as no source was given for the quote. I have read him mentioning the Gnostics as a possible source for some of the differences between manuscripts. However, he also presented other possible reasons, which were totally overlooked by the speakers in this video. Among these other possible reasons presented by Burgon are the following which I describe in my own words:

1. Carelessness in the process of transcribing

2. Smoothing out the text by those who were sound in doctrine. Burgon even added that he suspected they were as much to blame as those who had less noble motives.

Burgon makes those two points in his own words as follows in his book The Causes of the Corruption of the Traditional Text of the Holy Gospels:

“We are prepared to make the utmost allowance for careless, even for licentious transcription; and we can invent excuses for the mistaken zeal, the officiousness if men prefer to call it so, which has occasionally not scrupled to adopt conjectural emendations of the Text. … I do not say that Heretics were the only offenders here. I am inclined to suspect that the orthodox were as much to blame as the impugners of the Truth.” Burgon, John. (Arranged, completed, and edited posthumously by Edward Miller) The Causes of the Corruption of the Traditional Text of the Holy Gospels. 1896, pp. 191 & 197.

By his statements, Burgon clearly implied that it was not possibly to know the exact reason for a difference between manuscripts. However, in the verses Dr. Waite and Pastor Gomez complained about in the Spanish Bible, they claimed to know the exact reason and source every time, without presenting it as a theory. I listened to their recording twice, and I did not notice them ever saying that a particular verse could have/might have been tampered by a Gnostic. It was always in the affirmative. They chose to take a conspiratorial approach instead of a balanced approach that took into consideration other possibilities as Burgon did.

Let’s end with an admonition by Burgon himself, which warns against what was attempted in the conference and the video:

Our business as critics is not to invent theories to account for the errors of copyists; but rather to ascertain where they have erred, where not. … it is by no means safe to follow up the detection of a depravation of the text with a theory to account for its existence. Let me be allowed to say that such theories are seldom satisfactory. Guesses only they are at best.

The Last Twelve Verses of Mark, pp. 100-101


Read this article in Spanish.  Análisis del video de Humberto Gómez acerca de supuesto Gnosticismo en la Reina-Valera

Critique of Gomez Spanish Bible conference of November 2007

This detailed report is a critique of a conference that took place at the end of November 2007 in Iglesia Bautista Libertad in Matamoros, Tam. Mexico, where Missionary Humberto Gomez is the pastor. Although he had advisers, Humberto Gomez was the sole man who made final textual decisions for the Bible they now call Reina-Valera-Gomez (this according to what Pastor Gomez has told me in writing). I do not consider the RVG to be a perversion nor any other tasteless derogatory labels some have used for the 1960. I urge others who will not endorse the RVG to refrain from bashing it in their attempts to explain why they will not use it. I have personally chosen not to endorse this Bible, and my reasons are outlined at “Reina-Valera-Gómez? Over 20 reasons why I cannot endorse the  new Gómez Bible”

I gathered the statements from the conference from the videos. When the statements were in Spanish, I translated them myself for this report. The videos do not state the dates of the recordings, and I do not treat statements in a chronological order. I would like to state for the record that I use the KJV exclusively in English, but I do not believe it should be treated as capable of correcting Bibles in other languages.

By missionary Calvin George

Este artículo está disponible en español.


OK to translate the KJV into other languages

During one of the question-and-answer sessions, Pastor Karl Baker, one of the conference speakers, stood up and stated that the AV had been translated into 182 languages. Then he added that we should remind people of that when they say the RVG was influenced by the English Bible. The problem with Pastor Baker’s statement is that it isn’t documented. There have been all sorts of wild figures tossed around as to how many time the KJV has been translated into foreign languages (bypassing Greek and Hebrew) but with no reference to the source of their information. See my article “Has the KJV been translated into hundreds or thousands of languages?”

RVG the first Spanish Bible of national origin?

During the same question-and-answer session, Dr. D.A. Waite, one of the conference speakers, stated the following: “Brother Daniels from Chick Publications…He studied the Spanish Bible. He told me, I have no way of checking, he told me what I think is true, that there’s not a single other Spanish Bible, with the exception of Pastor Gomez’ Bible, that’s written by nationals alone.” (At this point Pastor Gomez nods happily and begins to clap). Waite continues: “The 1960, gringos.“ (Pastor Gomez nods) 1979, gringos. Reina-Valera, gringos. Nothing from us people, this man (pointing to Pastor Gomez) is Spanish, he’s a native, that’s his language, not ours. …So the only one (pointing to Pastor Gomez), the only national Spanish original.

Casiodoro de Reina had some form of help in his revision according to biographers, but the names listed as helpers by Jorge Gonzalez in his article “La Biblia de Reina: un sueño hecho realidad” are all Hispanic. The statements in the RVG conference on foreign influence in the Reina-Valera are refuted in the words of Cipriano de Valera himself in the preface of his 1602 revision:

“The labor I have done to bring to light this work has been large and time-consuming; and even greater when I have not had help from anyone of my nation, not even to read, write or correct. I have done all of it all alone.”

There was at least one American reviser in the line of Reina/Valera Bibles, namely H.B. Pratt of the 1865 revision. But the RVG is certainly not the first Spanish Bible of national origin. The credit for the first complete Spanish Bible translated from the original language belongs to Casiodoro de Reina, who was a Spaniard.

There were some English speakers that had some connection to the 1960, but they were not on the revision committee with a vote on textual decisions. Therefore to state in the conference that the 1960 was done by “gringos” is simply incorrect. Author Luis D. Salem admired the members of the 1960 committee as “a board of scholars, totally Latin American…the pride of Hispanic Protestantism.” (“Un Acontecimiento Histórico” La Voz [Chile] Feb. 1961, p. 6). I have more documentation regarding the 1960 revisers in my book The History of the Reina-Valera 1960 Spanish Bible.

If your Bible says “Hades,” raise your hand

Shortly after Pastor Phil Stringer’s message, Pastor Gomez asked those that had a Bible that read “hades” to raise their hands. I believe this was an intimidation tactic that was inappropriate. Moments later, while Gomez was criticizing previous Spanish Bibles for having the Spanish word for hell less often then in his translation, 3-4 minutes were erased from the video recording as provided on DVD by Dr. Waite’s Bible for Today Baptist Church. This was determined by the time at the bottom of the video screen, and by the fact that Gomez was halfway through a sentence, then the recording jumped to a different topic. Perhaps there was a technical failure and no intentional editing was done. But since Gomez was in the middle of stating something very controversial it would seem like an unlikely coincidence that a technical failure would have taken place with the recording at that very moment. Naturally, if they desired to edit the recordings, they were in their right to do so, especially since nowhere does it state on the DVD’s that they were left unedited. I have a separate article that deals with what was said about hell in previous Spanish Bible at the conference: “Why the word hell appears less often in the common Spanish Bible compared to the KJV.”

Gomez: “they have taken away what is most precious, the Word of God”

Also shortly after Pastor Stringer’s message, Gomez made some other controversial comments:

“The ecumenicals are the ones that have provided the Bible they bring in their hands. That is incredible; it is shameful for us, brethren. It should be shameful (said while shaking his head). Sometimes we complain of what people take away, that they take away our praise and our music, and we forget that they have taken away what is most precious, the Word of God.”

“Ecumenical” could be interpreted as involvement with Catholics, especially since that charge has been made in the past about the Reina-Valera, without documentation. Yet there was absolutely no Catholic involvement in the 1569-1960 Spanish translations, but rather persecution. It cannot be denied that the American Bible Society (solely responsible for the 1865), and likely the British and foreign Bible Society (solely responsible for the 1909) which together sponsored the 1960, have become ecumenical (including involvement with Catholics) since the Vatican II council in the mid 1960’s. However, as documented in my book The History of the Reina-Valera 1960 Spanish Bible, efforts on the part of the United Bible Societies to explore cooperation with Catholics did not take place until 1964. I have a document that lists the denominational affiliation of the advisory council of the American Bible Society in the year 1960. Even though over 60 delegates were named, not one was listed as a Catholic.

If it is wrong to use previous Spanish Bibles because the societies that sponsored them are now ecumenical, it would be wrong to use the KJV because the Anglican Church which was mostly responsible for it (most KJV translators were Anglicans) is now ecumenical, and even some “gay” marriages are now performed in Anglican churches by “gay” Anglican priests. It is wrong to hold a foreign Bible to a different standard than the KJV.

Conference speaker: “I like friction”

Pastor Frankie Bryan was one of the guest speakers. During his message he referred to the controversy regarding the RVG and stated, “That’s OK, I like friction. It don’t bother me. It’s been a fight and a scrap all my life.” Pastor Gomez’ website had been assuring readers concerning the Spanish Bible that “we are in no controversy regarding other translations.” (http://Gomezministries.gaius.org/ourdoctrine.htm Accessed Nov. 21, 2005) However, in this conference they not only admitted to controversy, they welcomed it.

During his message, Pastor Bryan gave his position on the KJV as follows: “…the King James Bible. I believe it’s the inspired, infallible, inerrant Word of God!” In other words, he didn’t just use confidence building terms such as “reliable” and “trustworthy,” he used terms used to describe the original manuscripts. Humberto Gomez has used these same terms in describing his position on his website: “We Believe that the 1611 is the perfect word of God…We Are King James only. We believe that this is the inerrant inspired word of God.” (http://www.gaius.org/humbertogomez/OurDoctrine.htm Accessed March 11, 2006) Since Pastor Gomez believes the KJV is perfect and inspired, it is obvious what his motive was in producing the RVG, especially when the title page acknowledges that he collated it with the KJV.

Conference speaker: “Do I believe in double inspiration? Your question is too complicated!”

During an illustration in his message regarding his position on the RVG, Pastor Bryan mentioned that he had been asked recently if he believed in double-inspiration. Pastor Bryan then explained how he objected to the question, saying something to the effect that the terminology was too complicated. Here was a golden opportunity to stand up against Ruckmanism, and the guest speaker refused to do it. No one in the entire conference as presented on video mentioned anything about the danger of Ruckmanism even once. In fact, Pastor Gomez’ home church in Ohio is apparently one of the biggest distributors of Peter Ruckman books and recordings, judging by the catalog issued by the church.

Did Reina and Valera use the British to write their Bibles?

During one of the question-and-answer sessions, Pastor Stringer, one of the conference speakers, stood up and stated: “And the Roman Catholic Church accused Reina and Valera of being used by the English to write their Bibles!”

This statement is so sensational that Pastor Stringer should have presented documentation to back up his statement. After reading all the biographical information on Reina and Valera I could find during the past 10 years, this accusation is news to me. If Pastor Stringer means by his undocumented statement that Reina and Valera used the British to write their Spanish Bibles, then Valera lied when he stated in the preface to his 1602 revision that he received no help, and did his work all alone. Another possible interpretation of Pastor Stringer’s statement is that Reina and Valera were used to write English Bibles. This is less likely what was meant, but regardless I challenge Pastor Stringer to produce documentation to back up his statement at the conference.

That the Spanish Bible and at least five other Bibles in other foreign Bibles were consulted by the KJV 1611 revisers is a matter of record, as the preface to the 1611 states so. Normally, consulting of Bibles in other languages during Bible translation work is done to see how previous translators have translated certain difficult passages in which the context may be obscure. That the Spanish Bible could have influence the KJV translators somehow is not denied or objected to (in fact it is very intriguing). But with Pastor Gomez it was not a matter of his allowing the English Bible to merely influence an occasional difficult passage in his Spanish Bible. He stated in the conference that “The standard to follow needs to be the King James. I say that publicly, and I am not ashamed of it. 100 percent!”

Gomez: “If it was right to begin with, don’t take it out”

During one of the morning sessions Pastor Gomez stated: “Well if here it says that Christ is God, it’s that Christ is God. Over here also where it should say that Christ is God, it should say that Christ is God. It’s that simple. That verse that you are using to justify yourself, that verse proves that these verses were fine, that they should have been left as they were, Christ is God.”

The RVG took “holy” out of Rev. 16:5, even though it was in the Texts Receptus (though not unanimous among all editions) and had been in the 1569, 1602, 1909 and 1960 Spanish Bibles. These Spanish Bibles stated in this verse that the Lord is holy. Stephanus 1550, one of the best known Textus Receptus editions, has “holy” in this verse. Pastor Gomez stated above in certain words that if a reading was doctrinally sound to begin with, it should not be changed. Did Pastor Gomez apply that principle consistently to his RVG? Or did he use the English Bible as “the standard to follow” in this verse?

In Acts 8:12 and 15:35, the Spanish 1569, 1602, 1909, 1960 have had the word “gospel.” The underlying Greek word is interesting, because it can be translated as either “preach/announce,” or “preach/announce the Gospel.” The RVG removed the word “gospel” from these verses. On a technicality, the underlying Greek word can be translated without “gospel.” However, according to Pastor Gomez’ own criteria already mentioned, if a reading was doctrinally sound to begin with, it should not be changed. They had been translated with “gospel” in 1569, 1602, 1909 and 1960. Was this another case of Pastor Gomez using the English Bible as “the standard to follow?” Other similar examples could be given.

Waite: The one behind the 1960 was “an unbeliever”

As Dr. Waite was ending his first session, he was asked from the audience as to who was behind the 1960. Dr. Waite replied that it was Eugene Nida. When asked if Nida was a Gnostic, Dr. Waite responded as follows with no documentation: “He’s an unbeliever, he’s an apostate, and he doesn’t believe in the deity of Christ.”

To say that Eugene Nida was behind the 1960 and leave it at that was an injustice. As extensively documented in my book The History of the Reina-Valera 1960 Spanish Bible, Nida was present as a representative of the American Bible Society when the six 1960 revisers did their work, but he had no vote on textual decisions. An article in the magazine The Bible Translator of July 1961 reveals his role:

Final decisions as to the text of the Reina-Valera revision rested with the editorial committee which was set up for the program, for once the committee had been named, the Bible Society representatives were only advisers to the Committee and had no vote on decisions. The basic work of the revision was done by an Editorial Committee of six persons: Juan Díaz G. (of Mexico), Honorio Espinoza (of Chile), Francisco Estrello (of Mexico), Alfonso Lloreda (of Venezuela), Henry Parra S. (of Colombia), and Alfonso Rodríguez H. (of Cuba)…at each of the meetings there were representatives of the Bible Societies: John H. Twentyman, of the British and Foreign Bible Society, and Eugene A. Nida, of the American Bible Society, but these men had no vote in the meetings. Their task was to help in the practical arrangements of the meetings, to assist the committee in digging out commentary data or providing information on special exegetical and linguistic problems, and to help prepare copy for the mimeographed drafts to be sent to the consultors. [Emphasis added]

Without documentation, Dr. Waite stated that Eugene Nida was an unbeliever. Although Nida became progressively less conservative as he grew older, I give his testimony of salvation the benefit of the doubt. Nida became a Christian at a young age, when he responded to the altar call at his church “to accept Christ as my Saviour.” (Bankson, Benjamin A. “New Facts in Translations.” Bible Society Record. February 1969, p. 26.)

Again without documentation, Dr. Waite alleged that Nida was an apostate and didn’t believe in the deity of Christ. Let’s allow Nida to speak for himself in his own words:

The revelation of God in Jesus Christ and as recorded in the Scriptures is uniquely supernatural, for its source is none other than God Himself. (Nida, Eugene A. Message and Mission. South Pasadena: William Carey Library, 1960, p. 228.)

Dr. Waite was unfairly trying to portray the 1960 as produced by a man whom he alleged with no documentation whatsoever was an unbeliever and an apostate who denied the deity of Christ. As documented, the facts are quite different. To portray the 1960 in such derogatory terms is an insult in light of the six godly men who revised the 1960. The 1960 revisers were not fundamentalists, but neither were the Anglicans and Puritans that revised the KJV. The 1960 revisers were known for being conservative in their theology, as revealed by their own writings, and by what was being said of them during their lifetime. In my book on the history of the Reina-Valera 1960 I documented the story of the men that gave us the 1960. Four of the six revisers suffered persecution at the hand of Catholics. One reviser was known for witnessing door-to-door and, spent time in jail due to persecution.

At this time during Dr. Waite’s session Dr. Mickey Carter, one of the conference speakers, spoke up during question time and said: “Brother Waite, tell them also that Nida is the one that took the virgin birth out of the RSV.” To this Waite said “amen” and pointed to his translator to translate what Carter just said. Then Waite continued: “Nida did that very thing; he took away the deity, the virgin birth of Christ.”

It has been documented many times how Nida was not a 1960 nor RSV reviser, how he believed in the virgin birth, but this mistruth just keeps getting repeated. Once again, here is documentation regarding Nida and his belief on the virgin birth from a book he wrote on Bible translating:

It is extremely important that the translator use all care and caution in the use of the word for “virgin.” The use of a word which designates both a virgin and one who participates in certain puberty rites is often quite dangerous, unless the translator is fully aware of all the practices in such puberty rites. The word for “young girl” is often not sufficient, for in many societies a considerable amount of pre-marital and pre-puberty sex experience is taken for granted. (Nida, Eugene A. Bible Translating. New York: American Bible Society, 1947, p. 190.)

In many languages a difference is made as to the relative age of the brothers and sisters. For example, in the Maya language an older brother is called one thing and a younger brother is called another…In John 2:12 one must be sure that the word for designating Jesus’ brothers means his “younger brothers,” if the language makes such a distinction. Any other translation would seriously affect the teaching of the virgin birth. [Emphasis added] Nida, Eugene A. Bible Translating. New York: American Bible Society, 1947, p. 181.

As to the charge that Nida took the virgin birth out of the RSV, he was not even on the committee of revisers of that translation. See the list of RSV committee members on pp. 74-75 of the book, In Discordance with the Scriptures by Peter Thuesen.

During the question-and-answer session in the last day, Pastor Stringer stood up and stated among other things that Eugene Nida was “the editor of the 1960.”

That Nida had no vote on textual decisions was documented earlier.

Waite: Spanish Bibles previous to the RVG “contain poison”

During a question-and-answer session, Dr. Waite was asked what should be done with previous Spanish Bibles, including the 1909 and 1960. To this he tragically answered: “Don’t pass them on to others to use, because they contain poison!”

(Hear the 30-second recording of Dr. Waite making this controversial statement here).

I’m truly saddened that Dr. Waite, who has dedicated his life to the noble cause of defending the KJV, has gradually become more extreme in recent years. The fact that he has changed as to the Spanish Bible can be verified by comparing what he is teaching now to what he taught in 1984:

“It gets down to the book you hold in your hand, as well. If you suspect it’s just filled with errors and errors and you can’t depend on the words being accurate and that you can hold it up and say it’s the Word of God as you preach it like from the King James Version for example. You’re not going to be much either, if you have doubt, like are you sure about this. You know, you’ve got to preach it as it is. The Lord knows about all these background subjects, about the originals, and about the copies and about the Hebrew and the Greek, but you’re preaching from an English, or Spanish, if you’re a Spanish preacher, right? You can’t doubt the Spanish verse, can you when you’re preaching? You gotta preach thus sayeth the Lord! Cipriano de Valera is it? And preach it as it is! And believe it’s a good translation in the Spanish! Believe it as the Word of God in Spanish.”

Waite, D.A. Bible Texts and Translations Seminar, 1984, Tape 18, side 1

Gomez’ pastor providing the idea of placing the label “poison” on other Bibles

Missionary Humberto Gomez did downplay Dr. Waite’s poison comment when he translated, but he did not downplay anything moments later when the pastor of his home church in Ohio provided the idea of writing “poison” on the side of a non-KJV Bible. Here is was Pastor Thomas Gresham said: “What we have done is, in English there is many different versions, and if someone has something other than the King James, we tell them to put it in their personal library, write ‘poison’ on the side.”

Think about how extreme this idea is that was presented at the conference! Since Missionary Humberto Gomez’ pastor believes any English Bible other than the KJV is poison, he must believe an English-speaker cannot be saved except through the KJV. Can poison save? I personally do not use or endorse a Bible in English other than the KJV, but that will not stop me from stating that the idea of labeling a non-KJV Bible as “poison” is outrageous and extreme! I believe this group that is providing this new Spanish Bible has shown themselves many times to be on the extreme. Be careful.

Lumping those who love the 1960 in with Communists, Muslims and Modernists

In his last speech, Dr. Waite made one last derogatory comment about the 1960. Talking about how no one could take away their Bible, he stated: “The Communists can never take it away from you. The Moslems will never take it away from you. The modernist will never take it away from you. And those that love the 1960 can’t take it away.” At this moment, judging by his facial reactions, he apparently realized that he had just lumped those that love the 1960 in with Communists, Muslims and Modernists. [He then stated something indiscernible due to being interrupted by the translator] After hesitating, he then continued with a hearty laugh, and clasped his hands together. Many laughed in the background. Then Dr. Waite continued by saying, “We gotta be kind you know!”

Tarnishing the glorious heritage of the Spanish Bible with Gnostic heresy allegations

A minimum of 47 percent of the verses that Dr. Waite considered to have Gnostic readings in the Spanish Bible apply to all the major translations in the heritage of the Reina-Valera (1569/1602/1862/1909/). He did not mention this during the conference, as he may not have been trying to portray the whole Reina-Valera line as being corrupted with Gnosticism. However, research demonstrates that almost half of the “Gnostic” readings that he attributed to the 1960 apply to just about every major Reina-Valera translation starting in 1569; therefore, when he made the provocative statement in the conference that Spanish Bibles previous to the 2004 RVG “contain poison,” he sadly was in effect denouncing our entire Spanish Bible heritage. Dr. Waite’s Spanish Bible heresy allegations are treated separately here: “Spanish Bible Gnostic heresy allegations at Reina-Valera-Gomez Conference”

Editor of controversial Elephant book praised by Gomez in the most glowing terms imaginable

In 2002 a highly-controversial book was edited by Mickey Carter entitled The Elephant in the Living Room. Among other tasteless and sensational things, this book alleged that the 1960 Spanish Bible taught cannibalism and evolution, that the 1960 attacked the severity of homosexuality, it questioned whether anyone involved with the revising of the 1960 was even saved, etc. This book also contained charges that were repeated at the RVG conference, such as accusing Nida of introducing textual changes to the 1960 after he supposedly took the virgin birth out of the RSV. These charges in the Elephant book were refuted with documentation (see Critique of “The Elephant in the Living Room,” a book against the common Spanish Bible) several years ago. However, the same people continue to make the same allegations about Nida even though those allegations have been documented long ago to be mistruths. Apparently to some, “the end justifies the means.”

In my correspondence with Pastor Gomez, I brought up the Elephant book several times, because he was identifying himself with the group who wrote it. He refused to take a stand against it, and in his November RVG conference it was obvious why. He introduced the editor of the controversial book in the following glowing terms:

“I want to honor in a special way, we were going to do it tomorrow, but this man is in my book the greatest of the champions in the defense of the purity of the Word of God. This man paid a very high price, very, very high price. The work that we have accomplished was born in the heart of this man … Preacher, thank you! I cannot thank you enough for the price you paid for us! Amen. And we are enjoying it now. Our Bible never got any better [now?] it’s better than ever. Thank you for being a champion! I know you paid a great price. … I know you were misunderstood and all that but preacher, thank you! Thank you! … This man, brethren, was a champion, champion, champion, champion!”

Pastor Gomez allowed Pastor Carter to come to the pulpit and defend The Elephant in the Living Room book shortly after Dr. Waite’s second session. Pastor Gomez did not write the Elephant book, but he allowed it to be defended from his pulpit, and praised the editor in a way I have never heard anyone ever be praised before (such as calling him “champion” four times in a row). Pastor Gomez has not separated himself from those who have been extremely controversial, but rather is very thankful to those controversial figures who “prepared the ground” with the Elephant book and other literature. This was evident when Pastor Gomez introduced Pastor Carter in the following words just before he preached: “Our brother paid a high price; however, we are reaping what he sowed.”

Pastor Carter does deserve respect and honor for the many years he has been in the ministry and for all the preachers he has helped train. However, Pastor Gomez was not honoring him for that, but rather for what I consider to be a highly controversial issue which played right into Pastor Gomez’ hands.

We NOW have a pure Spanish Bible

Several speakers made statements to the effect that we now have a pure Spanish Bible. Other speakers could be quoted, but their sentiments are likely expressed in the second sermon of Pastor Karl Baker, a graduate of Peter Ruckman’s Bible institute, one of the speakers at the conference:

“And NOW God has given you the Word of God (said while holding up a copy of the RVG). … God is giving you something more perfect. … It now holds a perfection and a purity. … I’m not worried about the book anymore. … the God of grace has left you NOW with a pure book (said while holding up an RVG). … We’ve been praying that God would give you a pure Bible.”

What is wrong with the above statement? It clearly implies that we have not had a pure Spanish Bible, until Pastor Gomez revised the RVG around 2004 (the date on my sample copy). They are clearly setting the groundwork for a “Gomez Bible onlyism” movement of sorts, which I fear will involve much controversy and division like we have never seen before in the Fundamental Spanish-speaking world, threatening the revival we have seen in many areas in recent years. When previous Spanish Bibles came out (such as the 1909 and 1960) they were not promoted as “we now have a pure Bible” as is happening with the leaders behind the RVG.

Question the qualifications of other revisers, but not mine

During a question and answer session on the last morning of the conference, Gomez questioned the competence of the 1960 revisers in the area of Greek and Hebrew, and went on to say, “the majority of the Hispanics were just used for their language only.” He asked if there were any exceptions, and that moment his translator Carlos Donate answered that Charles Denyer was the exception. Perhaps Denyer went to a seminary, but I am not aware of it. He was a professional Christian translator, translating in English and Spanish (not Greek or Hebrew). He was not a member of the 1960 revision committee with a vote on textual decisions, but rather a secretary later in the project who recorded decisions and helped to assure that changes were made consistently when applicable.

What about the six actual revisers on the 1960 committee? I have documentation in my possession for three of the six regarding their training in biblical languages. According to their transcripts, Alfonso Rodriguez Hidalgo and Alfonso Lloreda both took Greek and Hebrew classes as part of their degrees at Princeton Theological Seminary. Honorio Espinoza took Greek and Hebrew at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. (SBTS does not make transcripts available on the request of third parties, but they sent me the list of required courses for his degree at the time Espinoza enrolled and graduated, and it included Greek and Hebrew). I stated in my book that Juan Díaz Galindo was a Hebrew professor, but my documentation for that is unavailable at the time of this writing, as it is in a file cabinet at my home on the mission field. As for the fifth 1960 reviser, Francisco Estrello had his seminary training oversees, where obtaining transcripts is much more difficult, and has not been pursued at this time. As for the sixth and last reviser (Enrique Parra), little is know about certain aspects of his background, especially his education. All that I could find about his education background is him teaching at the Inter-American Biblical Seminary in 1947, and later becoming the principal of a Christian school. Since he taught in a seminary, it is assumed he had theological seminary training, which traditionally includes training in Biblical languages.

If Pastor Gomez is going to question the academic qualifications of the 1960 revisers, especially in the area of original languages, I challenge him to reveal his own academic credentials, especially in the area of Greek and Hebrew.

Proof that one of the main collaborators on the RVG is extreme

Shortly after Pastor Stringer’s message on the first night of the conference, Pastor Gomez referred to Missionary Carlos Donate as one of the “main collaborators” in his Bible project. What is significant about this? During my correspondence with Pastor Gomez in 2005, I sent him a sound clip of something extremely controversial that Missionary Carlos Donate had stated publicly from the pulpit of Pastor Carter’s church on September 24, 2002, in a speech entitled “The Bridge.” The controversial statement is as follows:

What I’m going to say this morning, what I’m going to emphasize, are terrible things. Because I’m going to join the 1960 with the most corrupt putrefaction that has emerged from the sewers of hell. The most stinking miry place there is—hell, the deepest. And the 1960 is the bridge or the door that guides or attempts to guide them to that putrefaction. … I have begged with the brethren that they at least go back to the old Valera 1909, but they love to swim in the dirty murky water.

Pastor Gomez agreed that it was so objectionable, that he referred to it in his speech “The Spanish Bible Problems” at the 2005 Dean Burgon Society meeting in Canada soon after:

“There has been attacks left and right concerning the Spanish Bible. I heard some American missionary [Donate was born in New York] say so much bad stuff about the Spanish Bible, that the Spanish-speaking brethren will never hear him and will never listen to him. And they will never come to terms with the truth. I heard some American missionary say that the Reina-Valera Bible comes from hell. Yeah, I’m pretty sure they’re gonna convince the Mexicans that they need a revision! No way! … No wonder why the Mexican brethren in all the Spanish world are up in arms against everything that smells of revision, that smells American! … I’m paying a price for the people that have done such a thing. Sometimes when you hear the name Humberto Gomez some people immediately will identify me with these people.”

Pastor Gomez is indeed identifying himself with some of these people now, at least the one he mentioned that had stated that the Reina-Valera came from hell. In his RVG conference in November 2007, Pastor Gomez identified Carlos Donate (who had stated that the Reina-Valera 1960 came from the sewers of hell) as one of his “main collaborators” in the RVG project. Missionary Carlos Donate was not collaborating with Pastor Gomez at the time of the 2005 DBS speech, but Pastor Gomez knew in advance exactly how controversial Missionary Carlos Donate was, and yet eventually allowed him to become one of his “main collaborators.”

More examples of extremism are manifested in Missionary Carlos Donate’s book The Old Spanish Bible Restoration Project. 1602 – 2002, 400 Years of History published by Stringer Publications of Haines City, Florida. Between pages four and five the 1960 translators were lumped in with those of other versions and were bitterly described as “Heretic translators and revisers [sic] unsaved, modernists, liberals, neo-fundamentalists and against the traditional texts.”

More examples from Donate’s book:

“The 1960 Reina-Valera was made to join the Evangelicals with the Catholics, or those that sympathize with Catholicism.” (p. 61)

“In another translation of an African tribe, the word that was substituted for ‘lamb’ was bull. ‘Christ is the bull of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.’ – – Taken from Evangelical Missions Quarterly, July 1998, Vol. 34, #3, page 316. ‘ . . . Who do men (like Nida) say is the Son of man? . . .’ (Matthew 16:13).” (pp. 36-37)

The article mentioned as proof is “Behold The Ox Of God” by Joy Anderson. What was alleged was not “taken from” said issue of the Evangelical Missions Quarterly, as I have read the article and have a copy in my files. Nida was not mentioned even once in said article.

Not only was no proof submitted that Nida translated “lamb” as “pig,” Nida himself actually warned against doing the exact blasphemous thing he is accused of! Read on:

“…the Marshallese have no sheep. Only a few Marshallese even have an idea of what such an animal might be like. In such a case, one must borrow the foreign word “sheep” from English or some other foreign language…The story has been circulated that the word ‘seal’ was used for sheep in one of the Eskimo translations. This is an intriguing story but without foundation in actual fact. A baby seal might be considered parallel to a lamb as far as general attractiveness and reputed ‘innocence’ is concerned, but after these features the parallel stops. Such an adaptation would be completely unsatisfactory.”

(Nida, Eugene. Bible Translating. New York: American Bible Society, 1947, p. 136)

More examples from Donate’s book:

“…The 1960 Reina-Valera was designed by a Catholic who wanted the ‘separated brethren’ to return to the Holy Mother Roman Catholic Church.” (p. 64)

Who was this Catholic who “designed” the 1960? Like usual, no documentation was provided. No documentation has ever been produced showing the participation of any Catholic in editing the 1960. In fact, of the six revisers, two were threatened by their families during their youth for their opposition to Catholicism, another publicly campaigned against a law that favored Catholics, and yet another reviser even spent time in jail falsely accused of placing a bomb in a priest’s residence! All documentation concerning this is revealed in my new book The History of the Reina-Valera 1960 Spanish Bible.

Pastor Gomez has not distanced himself from some who have been extremely controversial, but in some instances has welcomed them to participate with him and has publicly identified with them and praised them.

Leader of the project a figurehead?

Around noontime on the last full day, Pastor Gomez stated the following:

“Don’t tell me there are no specialists behind this sacred book [referring to the RVG]. There are many more brains. … [he mentions three Americans at this time]. And I’m only one who carries the thunderous voice, that’s all and no more. God called me to do it, and I wanted to pay the price. All that was needed was someone that would stand up on the hedge, that would be firm and say we are going to do it for the glory of God.”

I do not know the extent to which Pastor Gomez was or wasn’t involved, but there are several matters already mentioned that have caused me to suspect that he was being heavily influenced by Americans who wanted the RVG to match the English Bible even when the Spanish Bible already followed the Greek and Hebrew closely (I don’t mean by that that the English Bible doesn’t follow the original languages closely). That he didn’t allow anyone else to have a vote on textual decisions but himself (according to what he has told me in personal correspondence) reveals that he could have been easily influenced compared to a group of men fully competent in the original languages. A one-man revision in our day for a language involving over 300 million people is not right in my opinion. Some bring up cases of one-man revisions in the past, but most of those are from an era of inquisitorial persecution or when communication was quite primitive compared to today’s standards.

A settled text not guaranteed

Moments before dismissal at the last day of the conference, Pastor Gomez stated: “It has been a tremendous labor of perfection. … In case some ask, is the Bible going to keep changing and changing? We hope not, brethren. In fact, our collaborators have reached the determination that ending this December, we are going to stop, and if God wants us to do a revision in four or five years for something that is serious, we will correct it. On the contrary, if there is nothing serious, if it’s only a matter of preferences, forget that; it’s remaining the way it is, and almost certainly it’s going to remain the way it is in December.”

KJV the standard for the Spanish Bible?

During a question and answer session on the last full day of the conference, Pastor Gomez mentioned that although his revision was based on the Masoretic Text and Textus Receptus, he believes that the standard to follow is the KJV:

“But the standard to follow has to be the King James. This I say publicly, and I’m not ashamed of it. 100 percent!”

What is wrong with this? It’s just as wrong as saying that for the English, the standard should be the Spanish Bible!

No tough questions were asked

A considerable amount of time was allowed for questions and answers during the conference. I believe the questions asked revealed that the overwhelming majority of those asking questions were already sympathetic with the RVG project. I have listed the type of questions that I felt should have been asked, although some could probably be rephrased to not sound so abrupt. These are the questions that crossed my mind as I watched the videos of the conference:

  • Why was not a committee formed, instead of only Pastor Gomez making the final decisions?
  • Did a committee of men choose Pastor Gomez as the sole leader of the RVG project in the beginning? If so, who?
  • What documentation is there for various statements made in the conference? (such as for Nida supposedly being the editor of the 1960, that he supposedly took the virgin birth out of the RSV, that he is an unbeliever, etc.)
  • Why has a complete listing of all of the RVG advisors not been made public? (Don’t those who are considering using the RVG have a right to know?)
  • What are Pastor Gomez’ academic credentials?
  • If his advisers had more academic credentials, why was Pastor Gomez not an adviser instead of the head of the project making final decisions?
  • Why was the Elephant book allowed to be defended at the conference, when documentation was submitted several years ago that revealed it contained many mistruths?
  • Why was a man who has been responsible for some of the most sickening charges imaginable (saying that the 1960 came from the sewers of hell, that Nida translated “lamb of God” as “pig of God,” etc.) allowed to become one of the “main colaborators” of the RVG project if Pastor Gomez was trying to stay away from controversy?


Even if I was in favor of revising the Spanish Bible, I wouldn’t look to this highly-controversial group for it, as I believe they are taking the wrong approach and using questionable tactics. It appears from their statements and attitudes as documented here that they are trying to start a controversial RVG-only movement of sorts. I plead with the reader to beware. If you are not in favor of the RVG, beware of how you oppose it. In opposing it we must not imitate the behavior and controversial methods of those we disagree with. For those who are still in favor of it, beware of endorsing and defending controversial divisive methods as well as “the end justifies the means” attitude as revealed in this conference. We must not allow Spanish-speaking Fundamentalism to be divided.

Este artículo está disponible en español.

You can communicate with the author at the following address: calvingeorge@gmail.com

Why the word hell appears less often in the common Spanish Bible compared to the KJV

By Missionary Calvin George

Because the Spanish word for hell appears less often in the common Spanish Bibles compared to the KJV, some have put together a conspiracy theory of sorts to put the common Spanish Bible in a bad light. The word “hell” shows up in the KJV 54 times, in the Spanish 1865 42 times, 32 times in the 1909, and finally 13 times in the 19601. Some point to this “downward progression” as evidence that there is an agenda to gradually do away with the doctrine of hell in the Spanish Bible.

Hell in the Old Testament

The word “hell” shows up 31 times in the KJV Old Testament. There is only one Hebrew word that was ever translated “hell” in the Old Testament in the KJV, and that is the word sheol. Sheol appears in the Masoretic text 65 times.

Strong’s Concordance defines sheol as follows:


שׁאל שׁאול

she’ôl she’ôl

sheh-ole’, sheh-ole’

From H7592; hades or the world of the dead (as if a subterranian retreat), including its accessories and inmates: – grave, hell, pit.

The last part of the definition after the dash represents how the word was translated in the KJV. It was not consistently translated as “hell.” In fact, as can be seen by its definition, the Hebrew word doesn’t mean hell exactly. But apparently in the Hebrew vocabulary in Bible times it was the closest word representing “hell.” By analyzing the context in which sheol was found, many translators have at times justifiably translated this Hebrew word as “hell.”

The KJV translated sheol as grave 31 times, as hell 31 times, and as pit 3 times. In other words, the KJV translated the Hebrew word sheol as “hell” less than half the time. Because sheol is such a generic word, and sometimes the context in which it is found is not always crystal clear, the translation of this word has caused translators much difficulty. To illustrate this, consider how at Ps. 49:15, where the KJV revisers translated sheol as “grave,” they placed a marginal note in their 1611 edition that stated, “or, hell.” Just six chapters over at Ps. 55:15, the opposite occurs. They have “hell” in the text, but the marginal note in the 1611 states, “or, grave.” This might have been repeated elsewhere in the 1611, but I did not continue looking for more examples.

In the Old Testament of the 1568 Bishops Bible, the word “hell” shows up 38 times, which would be seven more instances than in the KJV. The 1587 Geneva Old Testament has the word “hell” (sometimes spelled “hel”) 23 times, which means the KJV had the word “hell” in 8 more instances. The biggest surprise was the 1535 Coverdale Bible. Its Old Testament had the word “hell” or “hel” 52 times, which would be 21 more instances than in the KJV Old Testament.

All this data demonstrates how subjective the translation of sheol can be. It is not a black-and-white issue. Instead of attempting to interpret in an area where other translators have struggled and have sometimes been very inconsistent, the 1960 Spanish revisers decided to consistently transliterate the Hebrew word sheol every time it appeared in the Masoretic text. This is the reason the Spanish word for hell in Spanish (infierno) is not used in the Reina-Valera 1960 Old Testament. By not translating sheol as infierno, some figurative references to hell were avoided. For example, consider Jonah 2:2: “And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.” Did Jonah literally go to hell? Was hell located in the belly of the whale? Obviously, this reference to hell in Jonah is in a figurative sense. KJV defender David Blunt, in his booklet Which Bible Version: Does it Really Matter? published by the Trinitarian Bible Society, on p. 15 acknowledges regarding the word “hell” in the KJV Old Testament that “Not all of these are references to the place of eternal punishment, but many are…” By transliterating the word sheol the 1960 revisers avoided what in some cases would have been a reference to hell in a figurative form.

In spite of the common Spanish Bible lacking the word “hell” in the Old Testament, the doctrine of hell is vividly taught therein. Below are sample passages in the Old Testament of the common Spanish Bible which clearly teach of a place for the wicked with fire, brimstone, and eternal flames:

Proverbios 30:16 El Seol, la matriz estéril, la tierra que no se sacia de aguas, y el fuego que jamás dice: ¡Basta!

Salmos 11:6 Sobre los malos hará llover calamidades; Fuego, azufre y viento abrasador será la porción del cáliz de ellos.

Isaías 33:14 Los pecadores se asombraron en Sión, espanto sobrecogió a los hipócritas. ¿Quién de nosotros morará con el fuego consumidor? ¿Quién de nosotros habitará con las llamas eternas?

Hell in the New Testament

In Greek, there are three different words that were translated as “hell” in the KJV. These are gehennah, hades, and tartaros. Gehennah occurs twelve times, the most frequent of the three. It is defined by Strong’s as follows:





Of Hebrew origin ([H1516] and [H2011]); valley of (the son of) Hinnom; gehenna (or Ge-Hinnom), a valley of Jerusalem, used (figuratively) as a name for the place (or state) of everlasting punishment: – hell.

There is less controversy regarding gehennah, because in all twelve occurrences it was consistently translated as “hell” in the KJV as well as in the 1960. All occurrences of the Greek word gehennah are in a context in which it was clearly a reference to hell, in my opinion. However, Spanish translators have not always agreed on how to translate this Greek word. For example, the 1909 used the transliteration gehenna four times.

The next Greek word translated mostly as “hell” in the KJV is hades. It is defined by Strong’s as follows:





From G1 (as a negative particle) and G1492; properly unseen, that is, “Hades” or the place (state) of departed souls: – grave, hell.

The Greek word hades shows up in the Greek text eleven times. It was translated as “hell” ten times, and as “grave” once in the KJV (1 Cor. 15:55). Translators have not always agreed on how to translate this word. For example, the 1587 Geneva Bible translated hades as “grave” in Acts 2:27 and 2:31, in addition to 1 Cor. 15:55. How to translate hades in Acts 2:27 and 2:31 where it refers to where Christ went between his death and resurrection seems to have been debated by theologians for centuries. Albert Barne’s Commentary treats this matter at length. It is interesting that Thomas Bilson, one of the KJV translators, wrote a book in 1604 that contained the phrase “hades or hell” in the title. The Spanish 1960 revisers stayed neutral by leaving the underlying Greek word untranslated.

The 1960 revisers apparently recognized the difficulty other translators have had in translating hades consistently, therefore they opted for using the transliteration hades except for 1 Cor. 15:55.

Some have criticized the implementation of the transliteration hades in the Spanish Bible by asking the rhetorical question “do you preach that if you die without Christ you will go to hades?” I believe that is an unfair question if the same person believes it was OK to translate sheol as “pit,” sometimes a synonym for hell in the KJV. That same person should be asked “do you preach that if you die without Christ you will go to the pit?” It’s wrong to hold a foreign Bible to a different standard than the KJV.

The last Greek word translated as “hell” in the New Testament is tartaros. It is found only once in the Greek New Testament, at 2 Peter 2:4. Strong’s defines it as follows:





From Τάρταρος Tartaros̄ (the deepest abyss of Hades); to incarcerate in eternal torment: – cast down to hell.

The Spanish Bibles I have looked up translated tartaros consistently as infierno, with the exception of the first edition of the 1865, which transliterated the Greek word. Since the 1909 and 1960 translated this word as infierno, there is little controversy regarding 2 Peter 2:4.

Hell and critical texts

It should be emphasized that the questions raised about hell in the Spanish Bible have nothing to do with Textus Receptus vs. critical texts. In other words, when the Spanish Bible did not translate a certain word as “hell” it was not because the Spanish Bible was not following the Textus Receptus. In fact, if the Spanish Bible revisers were so fond of critical texts and were trying to gradually do away with the doctrine of hell, why did they not omit a single verse on hell that are omitted in critical texts? For example, Nestle’s 21st edition of the Greek New Testament omits the following entire verses on hell:

Mar 9:44 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

Mar 9:46 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

Translation of synonyms for hell

There are several terms used in the Bible that are recognized as being synonymous with hell. This would include “lake of fire,” “pit,” and “bottomless pit.”

“Lake of fire” is found 4 times in KJV, and in those same instances they were translated as lago de fuego in the 1909 and 1960. There are no complaints about how “lake of fire” was translated in the Spanish Bible.

“Bottomless pit” is found 7 times in the KJV, and in those same places it was translated as abismo in the 1909 and 1960. Abismo means abyss, which is part of the description in Strong’s definition of the underlying Greek word. To my knowledge, there are also no complaints about how this was translated in the Spanish Bible.

A number of references to the word “pit” in the KJV in the Old Testament even when not representing the Hebrew word sheol appear to be a reference to hell. But the word “pit” is used in so many different contexts and for so many different things that an analysis of this word is beyond the scope of this article. The times when the word “pit” seemed to refer to hell and I made a comparison with the Spanish Bible, there was no noticeable difference that could be interpreted by a reasonable person as an attempt to downplay the existence or characteristics of hell.

Terms that are not normally thought of as meaning hell become synonyms for hell when the context in which they are in make it obvious. For example, the word “pit” is not normally thought of as primarily meaning “hell,” and yet the KJV translators used it. In the same way, transliterations such as seol and hades become synonyms for hell when the contexts in which they are found reveal their meanings.

Does the Spanish Bible downplay the characteristics of hell?

Fellowship Tract League has a tract entitled “What You Miss by Being a Christian.” It contains an outline of 24 characteristics of hell. (It can be seen online at http://www.fellowshiptractleague.org/tract_pdf/english/145.pdf). Each characteristic of hell has a biblical reference to correspond to it. I looked up all 24 references, and discovered that only two of the references even contained the word “hell” in the KJV. All 24 characteristics of hell were readily located in the common Spanish Bible, except one. And even in that one exception, the 1960 reading followed the primary meaning of the underlying Hebrew word very close. Of the 24 characteristics of hell in the outline, the only one that didn’t match the 1960 was Ps. 18:5, where it speaks of “the sorrows of hell.” The 1960 has ligaduras del Seol, which could be translated “the ropes or knots of Sheol.” However, one reason this reading is not wrong is that the KJV translators placed a marginal note at this point that read “Or, cords.” Also observe how the dictionary in Strong’s Concordance defines the Hebrew word in question:


חבל חבל

chebel chêbel

kheh’-bel, khay’-bel

From H2254; a rope (as twisted), especially a measuring line; by implication a district or inheritance (as measured); or a noose (as of cords); figuratively a company (as if tied together); also a throe (especially of parturition); also ruin: -[the words after the dash represent how the word was translated in the KJV] band, coast, company, cord, country, destruction, line, lot, pain, pang, portion, region, rope, snare, sorrow, tackling.

The KJV reading of sorrow is not wrong in my opinion, but the 1960 reading is closer to the primary meaning of the Hebrew word. The KJV and Spanish RVG reading corresponds to the Latin Vulgate. The Vulgate has Dolores at Ps. 18:5, which means “grief, misery, pain, suffering.” (http://www.websters-dictionary-online.org)

When you consider that the Spanish reading of Ps. 18:5 is vindicated by the Hebrew, this typical outline of 24 characteristics of hell can be preached and taught from the common Spanish Bible with no problems whatsoever.

If there was a conspiracy to dilute the teaching of hell in the Reina-Valera line, why are the vivid descriptions of hell not tampered with?

A look at hell in other foreign Bible translations based on the Textus Receptus

A look at Luther’s 1545 German Bible, universally considered to be based on the Textus Receptus, yields some interesting discoveries. The German words for hell (höllischen & hölle) appeared a total of 63 times. Even though this is 9 more instances than in the KJV, there were 7 times that Luther’s German Bible did not use the German word for hell where the KJV had “hell.” In those 7 passages tode (death) or grab (grave) were utilized instead of “hell.”

The French words for hell (enfer & enfers) appeared in the 1996 Ostervald translation a total of 14 times. This is merely one more instance than in the Spanish Reina-Valera 1960. Words substituting hell include sépulcre, géhenne, and abîme. The Ostervald is considered to be based on the Textus Receptus, and the 1996 edition I have was printed by Bearing Precious Seed of Milford, OH.

The Italian word for hell (inferno) appeared in the 1649 Diodati translation a total of 29 times, and only 9 times in the New Testament. Words substituting hell include geenna and sotterra. The Diodati is traditionally regarded as being the Textus Receptus-based Italian Bible.

(The accuracy of the above figures are subject to verification by fluent German, French and Italian speakers).


If we had to build our doctrine of hell based solely on the definitions of sheol, gehenna, hades and tartaros, I believe we would have a weak case, considering how these words were sometimes translated. The definition of tartaros in Strong’s dictionary is the strongest, but it could be pointed out that the only time it is used it is a reference to sinning angels being cast there. What strengthens and ultimately proves the conservative theological teaching of hell is the vivid descriptions found in the Bible. As documented, I do not see the descriptions of the characteristics of hell toned down in the Spanish Bible.

In spite of the fact that the characteristics of hell have not been tampered with in Spanish Bibles of the Reina-Valera lineage, derogatory references to the “downward progression” of sometimes removing the word “hell” in the Spanish Bible keep surfacing. It was recently brought up by Humberto Gomez in a conference to promote his translation in December of 2007. He stated it in the following words according to the video of the conference:

“They [Spanish Bible revisers] couldn’t do it all at once. They have been mining little by little. They have been mining little by little. Little by little they have been mining. Therefore let me give you a good illustration. The word ‘hell’ was in the Bible 54 times. By 1865 it was there 40 times, by the old 1909 it was there 30 times, and by 1960 it was there 13 times. Fifty-four, forty, thirty, thirteen.”

To begin with, most of his numbers are inaccurate. The 1865 had the word hell 42 times, not 40. There were three times that the 1865 used the plural form for hell, and in the first edition the 1865 transliterated tartaros. The 1909 has “hell” 32 times not 30, if we include the plural form for hell used twice in the 1909. Also he states that “the Bible” had “hell” 54 times. The Greek and Hebrew words underlying “hell” are in the Bible 89 times. Why does Brother Gomez say that the Bible has “hell” 54 times? He didn’t say it was because that is the amount of times it was translated “hell” in the KJV. Of 89 possible times, why does his Spanish translation have “hell” 54 times, if he wasn’t following the KJV? Was it just a coincidence that both the Spanish RVG and the KJV have “hell” exactly 54 times, considering how inconsistently translators have historically translated the underlying Greek and Hebrew words?

In a partial response to this, Humberto Gomez implied in an article that the way “hell” was translated in the 1960 is due to the American Standard Version (ASV) because of the following data: ASV hades 10 times – 1960 hades 10 times; ASV hell 13 times – 1960 infierno 13 times; ASV sheol 65 times – 1960 seol 65 times. Actually, the manner in which “hell” was translated in the 1960 already follows an exact pattern in the Greek and Hebrew as shown throughout this article, so no reliance on the ASV was needed. The only exception to the 1960 following an exact pattern in the Greek is 1 Cor. 15:55 where it was translated sepulcro (grave, as the KJV also translated it). 1 Cor. 15:55 in the 1960 was left exactly as it was in the 1909, and follows the marginal reading of the 1569 and 1602. Also, the ASV uses the word “death” instead of sepulcro (grave) in the 1960 in 1 Cor. 15:55.

If removing some references to “hell” compared to previous translations proves anything, then consider that the KJV was a revision of the Bishops Bible. The Bishops 1568 Bible had the word “hell” or “hel” 62 times, while the KJV had it 54 times. The KJV removed 8 references to the word “hell” compared to the Bible it was a revision of. If we applied this logic to the KJV, we would have to say it was “mining away” the teachings of hell. I reject such a notion for both English and Spanish Bibles we have mentioned here.

That transliterating the Greek word hades is evil is not a recent allegation. In a conference in Haines City, Florida in September 2002, Missionary Carlos Donate who has helped Brother Gomez in his revision portrayed the 1960 revisers in the following ugly picture for having used the word hades: “…his mafia from hell changed to hades.” Moments later in the same speech entitled “Text Types,” Brother Donate added, “Black is black and white is white. There is no gray area.” As we have seen, the variation in the translation of the Greek and Hebrew words sometimes translated as “hell” is indeed a major example of a gray area in Bible translating.

To imply or state outright that the common Spanish Bible is gradually doing away with the doctrine of hell by transliterating sheol and hades would be as ridiculous as saying that the KJV translators were trying to do away with the second coming of Christ by transliterating maranatha.

When the translation of the characteristics of hell are not in dispute, and considering that the interpretation of Greek and Hebrew words underlying hell in different contexts have historically caused translators much difficulty, I believe we should not be hasty in implying evil motives on the part of Bible translators in this regard.

This article is available in Spanish here: ¿Por qué es que la palabra infierno aparece menos a menudo en la Biblia común en español al comparársele con la KJV?


1 E-Sword software was mostly used in determining the times “hell” was used in various translations. The numbers given in this article are subject to the accuracy of said software program.

Refutation of 38 objections to the common Spanish Bible from a proponent of the new Gomez Spanish Bible

By Calvin George

The following is a review of the article 38 Reasons I cannot use the 1960 Reina Valera by Tim Urling.

Within the article, the writer mentioned that he was providing “Scriptural” reasons. However, some of the things he objects to apply to the 1909, the version he used before the RVG 2004, and in some cases also apply to the 1569 and 1602 Spanish Bible. If we consistently applied the logic of the writer, before 2004 he would have had some “Scriptural” reasons for not using any Spanish Bible!

In the second paragraph the author makes the following statement:

“There has been a considerable amount of misleading, if not false information disseminated by those parties in favor of, as well as by those against this revision.”

The author states that among others, some who are against the Reina-Valera 1960 (as he is) have spread considerable misleading and false information. Why does the author not specify what this false and misleading information is, whether it be by the ones favoring it, or those against it? He stated that it was a considerable amount. If this is the case, why overlook it and not warn others about this considerable amount of false and misleading information out there? Does he not care if others continue to be misled by a considerable amount of false information that he won’t identify?

The writer considers the KJV to be the “most exact translation that has ever been produced in the history of Bible translation.” Although he is entitled to his opinion, he did not identify his statement as an opinion. Although I agree that it could be true, it is a statement that can never be proven, because it involves too much subjective opinion, not to mention that there has been Bibles translated into hundreds of languages. We cannot know exactly how accurate (or inaccurate) translations are in many other languages, especially when in some cases little has been written in English regarding many foreign Bible translations, and there is disagreement as to the criteria for what constitutes exactness.

He may not realize it, but there are several times that the author reflects a view that is similar to some of the peculiar views that Peter Ruckman teaches. About two months ago, I sent an e-mail to the author asking him what his position was on Ruckmanism. He chose not to reply (if he received my e-mail). Please understand that I am not declaring the author to be a “Ruckmanite.” But the similarities were something that stood out to me, therefore with the above disclaimer, I will provide some comparable quotes from Ruckman’s writings throughout this review.

As to the writer considering the KJV to be the “most exact translation that has ever been produced in the history of Bible translation,” compare it with Ruckman: “…the superiority of the AV text over any other text in any other language.” (Ruckman, Peter. Pastoral Epistles: The Bible Believer’s Commentary Series. Pensacola, FL: Bible Baptist Bookstore, 1989, p. 314)

The writer continues with the following statement:

“The most unbelievable (if not miraculous) part of the King James translation is that there had to be unanimous agreement between the translators as to each text, reading, passage, and translation.”

I challenge the writer to document the above from a credible source. Later in his article the author denied that the KJV translators were inspired, but I submit that they would have had to be inspired for this “most unbelievable (if not miraculous)” event to take place, in which around 50 translators supposedly had unanimous agreement as to each text, considering the Bible has around 750,000 words. Why then the thousands of marginal notes in the original 1611, some of them suggesting alternative readings?

In the following statement, the author implies that the KJV should be the final authority for a foreign translation. Notice how he omits mention of the original languages:

“I believe any foreign language Bible can and should line up as closely as linguistically possible to the King James since there is no disagreement as to its textual base or to the accuracy of its translation.”

In the following paragraph, the writer tries to make the case that in spite of his views, he is being reasonable:

“Do I believe English is superior to Spanish? No. Do I believe the King James can correct the Greek or Hebrew? No. Were the translators inspired? No. Could they have erred? Possibly.”

After trying to come across as if he was not being extreme, the author then states within the very next paragraph:

“In my opinion, it would be a foolish waste of time and resources to return to the original languages to have a Bible translation (or revision) that is faithful to the TR. This work has already been done by true experts.”

That this writer who believes it is foolish to return to the original languages would endorse the Gomez Spanish Bible speaks volumes. As I documented in “Reina-Valera-Gómez? Over 20 reasons why I cannot endorse the new Gómez Bible” Gomez went to great lengths to please those who believe the KJV should correct the Spanish, even deciding to put caridad (charity) in his translation after all, even though he is on record stating in 2005 that caridad represented “Catholic culture.”

The author then makes a statement which a number of KJV defenders would disagree with:

“The King James is the only translation in English that is 100% faithful to the TR.”

All of us who are in favor of the KJV would state that the KJV is based on the TR, but the writer went a step further and declared it to be 100% faithful to the TR. Technically speaking, that would not be correct. I will present a couple statements from KJV defenders who acknowledge this. More could be included:

“Sometimes the King James translators forsook the printed Greek text and united with the earlier English versions in following the Latin Vulgate.” Hills, Edward. The King James Version Defended, 2000 reprint, p. 221

“The KJV is not based in every single instance upon the majority reading, nor on the Textus Receptus.” Streeter, Lloyd. Seventy-Five Problems with Central Baptist Seminary’s book The Bible Version Debate, 2001, p. 145

The author starts off the following paragraph sounding reasonable again, but then he does not follow his own criteria:

“Some may argue that this belief makes the King James the benchmark. It does not. The bench mark is the Textus Receptus. Which Edition? The King James doesn’t align 100% with any edition, so we would be sure not to err in the text if we accepted the expert opinion of the King James translators.”

In the previous paragraph, the author just got done saying that it would be a foolish waste of time and resources to return to the original languages. Why then deny that he is making the KJV the benchmark? What was his criteria to ensure we wouldn’t err when choosing between readings of the TR? You guessed it—the expert opinion of the KJV translators—which in practice is made the benchmark in spite of the author’s denials.

Reread the statement in which the writer states (regarding foreign translations) that we would not err if we stuck to the KJV. What is the difference between that paragraph and what Ruckman teaches as follows?

“Any translation on the mission field can be safely judged by a King James Authorized Version, and where it refuses to stick to the text the text can be altered safely to match the King James’ reading.” (Ruckman, Peter. The Monarch of the Books, 1973, p. 29.)

“…to present to the World (not just the English speaking people) the final and fixed volume of the scriptures; and the He so guided and led the men who translated this work…”

(Ruckman, Peter. Bible Belivers’ Bulletin, Aug. 1980 p. 8)

The author probably rejects many teachings of Ruckmanism, but in the crucial matter of foreign Bible translations, they seem to hold similar views.

The author then continues with an admission that I have long believed, but I have never heard it from someone wanting the Spanish Bible revised to conform with the KJV:

“Some may argue that this issue didn’t originate with the Spanish speaking church. This is true;”

In other words, it’s an American movement. To make matters worse, many who do not even speak Spanish have been very vocal and opinionated in their condemnation of Spanish Bibles. In the shameful book (I say so because it alleged the common Spanish Bible taught evolution and cannibalism) The Elephant in the Living Room, for example, 5 of the 7 authors did not know Spanish. I grew up on the mission field in South America in the 1970’s and 1980’s, and there was no noticeable controversy as to the TR-based Spanish Bibles being used. Now Americans who have gone overboard in their views on the KJV (at least in relation to foreign languages) are trying to tell Spanish-speaking preachers that the Bibles they used all along were not the true Word of God. One missionary went as far as to declare from a pulpit that the Reina-Valera 1960 emerged from the sewers of hell (I have the recording). The Spanish speakers didn’t ask for this controversy.

What follows are a refutation of the 38 reasons the writer gave for rejecting the Reina-Valera 1960. I would like to state that he is welcome to reject the Reina-Valera 1960. I have written something in Spanish on my website recently affirming that I’m against anything resembling a “Reina-Valera 1960 only” movement. I do not consider the Reina-Valera to be infallible or inerrant. I do not believe in assigning terms to a translation that should only be reserved for the original autographs (such as inspired, perfect, inerrant, infallible). I believe we should use different (although confidence-building) terms such as reliable, and trustworthy for faithful translations.

It could be mentioned that at times the reading being objected to is present also in the Reina-Valera 1909, although the author does not mention it when that is the case.

One concern I have is that in every single passage, the writer compared the Spanish Bible with the KJV instead of the original languages, even though he stated earlier that he does not make the KJV the benchmark. Also, the writer does not seem to have made any effort to determine why the Spanish translators did what they did. It appears that he merely compared the Spanish Bible to the KJV, and if they didn’t match, he jumped to the conclusion that the Spanish reading is automatically wrong.

In my defense of the Reina-Valera, I resort to the Masoretic Text and the Textus Receptus, or sources that are considered to be Textus Receptus-based (such as reformation English Bibles like Tyndale, Bishops and Geneva). I also make mention of the Syriac Peshitta at times, because it is used frequently by KJV defenders in defense of the Authorized Version. For example, D.A. Waite, who has endorsed the Spanish Gomez Bible, lists the Peshitta under “Historical Evidences for the Received Text during the Early Church Period (100-312 A.D)” Under this category, Waite says the following about the Peshitta:

“(4) The Peshitta Syriac Version, (150 A.D., the second century.) This was based on the Received Text.” (Defending the King James Bible, 1995, pp. 45-46). Others who defend the KJV with the Peshitta could be mentioned. My point is that if the KJV can be defended with the Peshitta, so can the Spanish Bible. To not allow that would constitute a double standard.

At times I also referred to the Spanish Bible put out by the Trinitarian Bible Society in 2001, as it based on the TR. The TBS only prints the KJV in English.


1) it says man became a living “being” instead of a living “soul” in Gen 2:7

See Strong’s definition for the Hebrew word in question:





From H5314; properly a breathing creature, that is, animal or (abstractly) vitality; used very widely in a literal, accommodated or figurative sense (bodily or mental): – any, appetite, beast, body, breath, creature, X dead (-ly), desire, X [dis-] contented, X fish, ghost, + greedy, he, heart (-y), (hath, X jeopardy of) life (X in jeopardy), lust, man, me, mind, mortality, one, own, person, pleasure, (her-, him-, my-, thy-) self, them (your) -selves, + slay, soul, + tablet, they, thing, (X she) will, X would have it.

2) it contains a false and contradictory statement about who killed Goliath in II Samuel 21:19.

The brother of is in italics in the KJV, as it is not in the Hebrew and was optionally added for clarification. Are the italics in the KJV inspired? Most Spanish translations did not add what was not in the Hebrew, nor did the Geneva nor Bishops Bible. If the Spanish Bible had included the phrase the brother of, and not the KJV, would not these same brethren be saying that the Spanish Bible was in violation of Rev. 22:19?

3) it has a phrase that is the exact opposite of the King James and previous Spanish Bibles in Isaiah 9:3 where it says “..and increased the joy”

Respected commentator Albert Barnes commentary weighs in as follows regarding the Masoretic Text reading in question:

“The Masoretes here read in the margin לו lô ‘to it,’ instead of לא lo’ ‘not.’ Eleven manuscripts, two of them ancient, have this reading. This reading is followed by the Chaldee Paraphrase, the Syriac, and the Arabic. The Septuagint seems also to have so understood it. So also it is in the margin, and so the connection demands; and it is unquestionably the correct reading. It would then read, ‘thou hast increased for it (the nation) the joy.’”

The marginal reading of the Masoretic text is called keri. Edward Hills of The King James Version Defended, (p. 223) states that the KJV followed the keri reading 16 times (according to Scrivener).

I don’t declare the KJV reading in Isa. 9:3 to be an error. There are simply two different ways to translate the verse. The translator is forced to interpret.

4) in Daniel 3:25 Nebuchadnezzar declares that the form of the fourth man he saw in the fire was like “a son of the gods.”

As for Dan. 3:25, the very same Hebrew Chaldee word “ellah” underlying “God” in that verse was translated “gods” in Dan. 2:11 (plus 11 other places in Daniel) in the KJV according to Strong’s Concordance.

The Hebrew word in question which is #426 in Strong’s, is used interchangeably for the God of heaven as well as for heathen gods. Throughout the ages some have thought that the fourth man in the fire was an angel. Since the Hebrew is somewhat ambiguous in this verse, the Spanish revisers decided to leave it ambiguous so everyone could interpret for himself, instead of the revisers doing the interpretation for you in an arbitrary manner. This is probably what happened with the non-specific word “baptize” in both the Valeras and in the KJV. It could have been translated “immerse” or “dip,” but they chose a vague transliteration so everybody could interpret for himself.

In Daniel 3:25 the 1909 and 1960 translate this Hebrew word literally, while the KJV simply interprets it (although accurately). Of course when it’s the other way around, when the 1960 interprets but the KJV translates literally, the 1960 is denounced for taking too many liberties. That’s a double standard.

5) in Matthew chapter one the word “begat” is omitted 22 times in violation of Rev. 22:19.

The Reina-Valera translators could have used the Spanish word for begat more than once in a verse, but it was clearly implied, making the translation optional. The KJV translators did similar things, although to a lesser extent. Lk. 21:6 mentions stone twice in Greek, yet the KJV translators chose to translate it as stone upon another. The Reina-Valera 1960 revisors translated it more literally as piedra sobre piedra.

6) in Matthew 5:22 the words “without a cause” have been omitted making Christ a sinner when he became angry.

The common complaint against Mat. 5:22 is the lack of the phrase “without a cause” which in Greek is one single 4-letter word. I have noticed that there is precedent in at least one TR-based New Testament (Tyndale 1534) for the reading of the 1960. That the lack of one word in this verse would make Jesus a sinner as some allege because he got angry at the moneychangers seems highly absurd. The Bible states that it’s possible to be angry and not sin (Eph. 4:26).

7) in Matthew 6:1 the word “alms” has been substituted with “Justice”.

Vindication: 2001 Spanish Bible by Trinitarian Bible Society

8) “Draweth nigh to me with their mouths” has been removed from Matthew 15:8.

Vindication: Peshitta

9) “yet they found none” has been left out of Matthew 26:60.

Vindication: Peshitta

10) in Mark 1:2 “in the prophets” was changed to “in Isaiah the prophet”.

Vindication: Peshitta

Mark 1:2-3 is not an exact word-for-word quote of any Scripture anywhere. It is similar to something Malachi wrote, but not exact. Why not give the Spanish Bible the benefit of the doubt? There is another instance recorded by the apostles where a merged citation of two different Old Testament prophets is placed under the name of the more important or major prophet. Compare Matthew 27:9 where, in both the English and Spanish Bible, Matthew attributes to Jeremiah a quotation that is primarily drawn from Zechariah 11:12.

11) the words “to repentance” were omitted at the end of Mark 2:17.

Vindication: Peshitta

12) in Mark 11:10 the words “in the name of our Lord” have been left out.

Vindication: Peshitta

13) the word “the” is left out in front of the phrase where the centurion declared “Truly this man was the Son of God” in Mark 15:39.

The is not in the Greek. Sometimes the KJV translators did not italicize words that were not in the original languages, but may be viewed as necessary in English to constitute proper grammar.

14) Luke 2:22 says that when the days of “their” (Mary and Jesus) cleansing we accomplished. According to the Old Testament law Jesus did not need to be purified.

Edward F. Hills pointed out that “their purification” is the rendering of “Erasmus, Stephanus, [and the] majority of the Greek manuscripts” (KJV Defended, p. 221).

Gill’s Commentary: “…though Mary was not polluted by the conception, bearing, and bringing forth of Jesus, that holy thing born of her; yet inasmuch as she was in the account of the law clean; and though Jesus had no impurity in his nature, yet seeing he was made sin for his people, both came under this law of purification, which was for the sake of the son or daughter, as well as for the mother; though our reading, and which is according to the Complutensian edition, best agrees with the Hebrew phrase, ימי טחרה, the days of her purifying or purification, in Lev. 12:4.”

15) the words “in spirit” have been omitted in Luke 2:40.

Vindication: Spanish Valera 1862 – An accepted rendering of the verse before W&H/Nestle/UBS Greek texts

16) the word “hades” has been substituted for “hell” in Luke 16:23 and in others verses. The word “hell” appears 54 times in the King James and only 13 times in the Reina-Valera 1960.

Hades is a direct transliteration of the underlying Greek word. It has several different meanings, depending upon the context. It was translated grave in 1 Corinthians 15:55 in the KJV. Although hades is not a commonly used term, I have examined numerous Spanish dictionaries that did define it, and in every instance it included “hell” among the possible definitions. Some of the hottest sermons I ever heard on hell were preached from the 1960. Hades appears 10 times and infierno 13 times in the 1960. Those 13 times are for the Greek word ghennah and tartaroo. The KJV also transliterated some words, i.e., raca.

It’s not the word for hell (which comes from the Greek) that counts as much as its description. The Reina-Valera 1960 in Luke 16 still has torments, and flame. No matter what it’s called, nobody in their right mind wants to go to a place of torments and flame, begging for just a drop of water. See also Why the word hell appears less often in the common Spanish Bible compared to the KJV.

17) the repentant thief does not recognize Jesus as “Lord” in Luke 23:42.

Vindication: Spanish Valera 1862 – An accepted rendering of the verse before W&H/Nestle/UBS Greek texts

18) in John 6:22 the words “save that one whereinto his disciples were entered” were not included.

Vindication: Spanish Valera 1862 – An accepted rendering of the verse before W&H/Nestle/UBS Greek texts

19) the word “keep” has replaced the word “believe” in John 12:47.

Vindication: Peshitta

20) in Acts 6:8 the word “faith” has been changed to “grace”.

Vindication: 2001 Spanish Bible by Trinitarian Bible Society

21) “of the Lord” was left out when Stephen was describing the angel of the burning bush incident in Acts 7:30.

Vindication: Spanish Valera 1862 – An accepted rendering of the verse before W&H/Nestle/UBS Greek texts

22) the words “and the Lord said” were omitted in Acts 9:5

Vindication: 2001 Spanish Bible by Trinitarian Bible Society

Also context does not require it, because Señor is already there once, and it is impossible to misinterpret the verse by leaving out the second instance of Señor.

23) “Known unto God are all his works” has been completely changed to read: “Says the Lord, make known all of this” in Acts 15:18

Vindication: The 1960 combines the end of verse 17 with the beginning of 18, changing from “makes” (v. 17) and “knows” (v. 18) (the traditional reading) to “makes known” in verse 18 in the 1960. “Todas estas cosas” is translated as “todo esto” in the combined reading in verse 18.

24) in Acts 18:5 “Paul was pressed in the spirit” was changed to read “Paul was completely surrendered to the preaching of the word.”

Vindication: 2001 Spanish Bible by Trinitarian Bible Society

25) Romans 1:16 leaves out the words “of Christ” when speaking “of the gospel of Christ.”

The RV 1960 matches the historical reading of this verse in the 1569, 1602, 1858, and 1909 Valera Spanish Bibles. The 1602 has especially been regarded as being based on the Textus Receptus, and there have been those who have talked about reprinting it because of how closely it follows the Textus Receptus. The Peshitta also vindicates this reading.

26) Romans 10:9 says “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is the Lord…” instead of saying “that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus…” This is a contradiction of Matthew 7:22. Biblical salvation is not just saying “Jesus is the Lord”.

The RV 1960 reading matches Tyndale’s New Testament, which is considered to be based on the Textus Receptus.

27) the words “believed, unbelief, and not believed” were changed to “disobedient and disobedience” in Romans 11: 30 – 32.

Notice Strong’s definition for the Greek word in question:





From G545; disbelief (obstinate and rebellious): – disobedience, unbelief.

28) in I Corinthians 7:3 it substitutes the word “conjugal” instead of “benevolence”.

Notice Strong’s definition for the Greek word in question:





From the same as G2132; kindness; euphemistically conjugal duty: – benevolence, good will.

See also 1 Cor. 7:3 in The Defined King James Bible by The Bible For Today (D.A. Waite, general editor, who is very pro King James) where it defines the word in question with “required ‘kindness’ i.e. conjugal duty.”

29) in I Corinthians 7:5 it leaves out the words “to fasting” where talking about prayer and fasting.

Vindication: Spanish Valera 1862 – An accepted rendering of the verse before W&H/Nestle/UBS Greek texts

30) the words “by Jesus Christ” were not included in Ephesians 3:9.

Vindication: Peshitta

31) in I Thessalonians 4:4 the translators changed the word “vessel” to “wife”.

Notice Strong’s definition for the Greek word in question:





Of uncertain affinity; a vessel, implement, equipment or apparatus (literally or figuratively [specifically a wife as contributing to the usefulness of the husband]): – goods, sail, stuff, vessel.

32) “But unto the Son was changed to “but of the Son” in Hebrews 1:8.

Notice Strong’s definition for the Greek word in question:





A strengthened form of G4253; a preposition of direction; forward to, that is, toward (with the genitive case the side of, that is, pertaining to; with the dative case by the side of, that is, near to; usually with the accusative case the place, time, occasion, or respect, which is the destination of the relation, that is, whither or for which it is predicated): – about, according to, against, among, at, because of, before, between, ([where-]) by, for, X at thy house, in, for intent, nigh unto, of, which pertain to, that, to (the end that), + together, to ([you]) -ward, unto, with (-in). In compounds it denotes essentially the same applications, namely, motion towards, accession to, or nearness at.

33) I Peter 2:2 is changed to read “that by it you’ll grow for* salvation.” (*or to be saved, or in order to be saved). This passage also makes no mention of the “word”.

As to the accusation of some that process salvation is taught in this verse in the Reina-Valera, by the same criteria it would have to be acknowledged that the KJV teaches process salvation in 2 Tim. 3:15: “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation [para la salvación in RVG] through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

The latter part of the 1 Peter 2:2 reading in the Reina-Valera 1960 has precedent in other Textus Receptus-based Bibles, such as the Great Bible 1539 (italics) and Bishops 1568 (italics). Tyndale (1594) does not make mention of word.

34) Jude 22 has been completely changed to read: “to some that doubt, convince” instead of saying correctly “And of some have compassion, making a difference:”

As for “And of some have compassion, it is in the next verse: de otros tened misericordia. The Peshitta does not have “making a difference:”

35) “that had his name” was added in Revelation 14:1.

Great Bible 1539 has it (in italics)

36) a comma was added between “holy apostles” creating a new group “saints” in Revelation 18:20

Vindication: 2001 Spanish Bible by Trinitarian Bible Society

37) in Revelation 22:8 “the Lord God of the holy prophets…” was changed to read “the God of the spirits of the prophets…”.

Typo. It is actually Rev. 22:6

Vindication: Peshitta

38) Revelation 22:14 was changed to read “Blessed are those that wash their clothes (or robes)” instead of “Blessed are they that do his commandments”.

Manuscript support for either reading is fairly evenly divided. Using the codes scholars use to differentiate the evidence of varying manuscripts, here is the breakdown:

For Spanish reading: A, 1006, 2020, 2053, it.ar, it.c, it.dem, it.div, it.haf, vg, cop.sa, eth, Athanasius, Fulgentius, Apringius, (Primasius), Ps-Ambrose, Haymo.

For English reading: 046, 1, 94, 1611, 1854, 1859, 2042, 2065, 2073, 2138, 2432, it.gig, syr.ph, syr.h, cop.bo, Tertullian, Cyprian, Tyconius, Andrew, (Beatus), Arethas.

Source: UBS Greek NT, 2nd edition, p. 894.

When I see the reading of Rev. 22:14 criticized in the 1960, I can’t help but imagine what it would be like if the situation were reversed. If the situation was reversed, with the 1960 containing the reading of keeping the commandments to have the right to the tree of life and gain entrance into heaven, this would be the most attacked verse in the 1960! They would quote this over and over to try to demonstrate “irrefutable” proof that the 1960 taught works salvation. I’m willing to give the KJV the benefit of the doubt that it doesn’t teach works salvation, but on this verse it seems that the KJV defenders have more explaining to do (as to doctrinal implications of the reading) than 1960 defenders.

Out of respect for the heritage of the Reina-Valera and those who use it, we owe it to the Spanish Bible to be more diligent in our study before casting judgment, rather than being guided solely by first impressions upon mere simple comparisons between it and the KJV.


Reina-Valera-Gómez? Over 20 reasons why I cannot endorse the Reina-Valera “Gómez”

By Missionary Calvin George

Revised January 14, 2008

In recent weeks and months I have been asked on repeated occasions what I thought of this new Spanish Bible revision on the scene. For over a year I have studied material written by its reviser, carried on some correspondence with him, and spent some time studying the revision; therefore, I have put some time and thought into this before writing down my conclusions. Some no doubt will portray me as being against the KJV for not endorsing this translation, when the truth of the matter is I have a personal conviction for only using the KJV in English. However, I do not believe the English Bible has the authority to correct the Bible in any other language.


After at least three new Spanish Bible revisions by independent Baptists have been introduced in the last few years, all of them rejected overwhelmingly by Spanish-speaking fundamentalists, yet another one has surfaced recently. This one has been dubbed “RVG” (Reina-Valera-Gómez), which is what the reviser calls it also. The reviser is Humberto Gómez Caballero of Brownsville, Texas. He was granted an honorary doctorate by Landmark Baptist College of Haines City, Florida (founded by Pastor Mickey Carter), where he has taught as a visiting professor. His home church website makes the seemingly impossible claim that he has started over 75 churches and evangelized Mexico more than any other missionary.1 In a conference in 2005 in Toronto, Gómez himself claimed that the number of churches he was able to start could be as many as 100.2

The title page of his revision, translated to English, states the following:

The old version of Casiodoro De Reina (1569) Revised by Cipriano De Valera

(1602) (1909) 2004 Revision. Reviser: Dr. Humberto Gómez Caballero

Beneath the title the following statement can be found, also translated to English:

Each and every one of the words has been minutely revised taking as a basis the original Greek text (Textus Receptus), referred to in Spanish as Texto Recibido (Received Text) and collated with the King James Bible, and with all the “Reina Valera” versions.

In an article printed in 2004, Brother Gómez stated that the following were the guiding principles for his revision:

To accomplish this work we have put [sic] parallel 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.3

1. The reviser has provided conflicting reports on the source used as a starting point in the revision

There is some conflicting information on the part of Gómez as to exactly what Spanish translation he used as a starting point in his project. The article quoted above states that it was the Valera 1909, but a prayer letter of Humberto Gómez which I have in my possession, states that his revision will be based on the Valera 1602. Also one of his websites states the following: “King James 1611 only. We believe that the 1611 is the perfect word of God…However, we are currently working on a new translation from the Textus Receptus, the King James, and the 1602.”4 So far, my cursory examination of the RVG seems to indicate it used the 1909 as a starting point. From that point, in passages where complaints have been made primarily by those with a Ruckmanite view of the superiority of the English Bible, changes were made in addition to updating some of the outdated grammar.

2. The doubtful “great acceptance” claim

On the title page of his Bible revision, Gómez thanks his collaborators but does not name them. So far he has refused to reveal a complete list of the names of those who were his advisers. He refers to them as being “a great number” from different Spanish-speaking countries. In the introduction of the RVG, it assures readers that the RVG New Testament has achieved “great acceptance.” At the time of this writing, I only know of a few Spanish-speaking preachers or missionaries in Spanish-speaking regions who plan to use his revision. In Puerto Rico where I minister, for instance, I am not aware of any church interested in having the Spanish Bible revised. If even one of the approximately 60 Spanish-speaking fundamental churches in Puerto Rico were interested in Gómez‟ personal translation, that would only be 1.6 percent! It seems that the “great acceptance” claim is greatly exaggerated. It is possible that the “great acceptance” claim has to do with those who have requested or accepted free copies of the RVG for their own examination to satisfy their curiosity and for complimentary distribution, but still plan to use the 1909 or 1960 in teaching and preaching.

3. There has been virtually no demand for a new Spanish Bible revision from native Spanish-speaking fundamentalist leaders. I would personally calculate that 99% of the demand stems from missionaries or other English speakers who believe the English Bible is capable of correcting the Spanish.

I grew up on the mission field in a Spanish-speaking country, have preached in eight different Spanish-speaking countries, operate what some consider to be the largest and most visited Spanish website with fundamental Baptist material. I do not say this to boast but rather to emphasize that I have a good idea of what is going on in the fundamental Spanish-speaking world. As of this writing, I cannot remember even one instance in which an independent Baptist native fluent Spanish speaker told me face-to-face that he felt the Spanish Bible needed revised (the only few cases were via telephone or e-mail). In every case I have studied of native Spanish speakers wanting their Spanish Bible revised, there was an American influencing them. Even Gómez admits that an American preacher influenced him by showing him comparisons between the English and Spanish Bible.5

4. The reviser has maintained close ties with some who have been very bitter in their denunciation of the Reina-Valera

Gómez has maintained close ties with some who have been very bitter in their denunciation of the 1960. For example, in a conference in his own church in November 2007, Gómez referred to Missionary Carlos Donate as one of his “main collaborators.” Carlos Donate in a Spanish Bible conference at Landmark Baptist Church in Haines City, Florida (Pastor Mickey Carter), in 2002 declared boldly from the pulpit that the Reina-Valera 1960 came from the sewers of hell (among other blasphemous things).6 The church in Haines City also published and is still making available a book that alleges that the Reina-Valera 1960 teaches cannibalism and evolution among other unsavory things.7 A critique of said book is available here: http://en.literaturabautista.com/node/8 Material on the Spanish Bible written by Gómez continues to appear occasionally in a monthly publication of the church which sponsored the above-mentioned conference and book.

5. The sole reviser has implied that Spanish Bibles that contain the term ojalá (such as the Reina-Valera 1909 & 1960) are invoking Allah

In correspondence with me, Gómez implied that the Spanish Bibles that utilize the word ojalá are invoking Allah. His mere reasoning for insulting these Spanish Bibles and those who use them is that the origin of the Spanish word ojalá allegedly comes from the Arabic phrase “wa-sa allah” according to a dictionary.

6. The reviser claims he is very careful not to insult men or Bibles, but on repeated occasions he has done just that

Gómez is slightly more careful of what he says about the Reina-Valera compared to some other groups, and he claims “we have been very careful not to insult Men, Bibles, or Ministries.”8 His website assures readers concerning the Spanish Bible that “we are in no controversy regarding other translations.”9 But frequently he slips as in the afore mentioned example about other Spanish Bibles supposedly invoking Allah. He also characterized the 1960 as “dishonest” in a

recent conference.10 In this same conference he made mention of an unnamed individual who was defending a verse in the 1909 and 1960 that Gómez was criticizing. Gómez made fun of him by stating “I hope you have life insurance.” He has also used the term “poverty” when referring to Spanish Bibles other than his own.11 In a conference in his church in 2007 to promote his RVG translation, it was alleged by one of the speakers that previous Spanish Bibles contain Gnostic corruptions, and they “contain poison.” A critique of the conference is available here: http://en.literaturabautista.com/?p=66

In his writings, Gómez comes across as if we Spanish-speakers have been ashamed of previous Spanish Bibles and have not been able to consider them to be the Word of God in Spanish by such statements as: “One that will make us stand tall and proud, one that will allow us to say without an apology: ‘These are the Words of God in Spanish.'”12

7. The reviser’s typical attacks against readings in previous Spanish Bibles demonstrate his divisiveness and lack of scholarship.

The following is a typical attack on all Reina-Valera editions in an article by Gómez:

In my Bible and all Spanish Bibles Psalms 68:11 reads: “El Senor daba palabra, de las evangelizantes habia grande ejercito.” Would you like your KJV to read, “The Lord gave the word; great was the host of the evangelist ladies?” And the mistakes kept piling up one after another.13

In the first place, all Spanish Bibles do not read the same in this verse, but all apparently use the feminine gender, which is the issue here. He translated the 1909 reading of “evangelizing” (female tense) as “evangelist ladies” in his article to make it sound as if previous Spanish Bibles were endorsing women preachers. All the Spanish Bibles I checked on, starting with the 1553 Ferrara Old Testament, have the feminine tense. Even the Geneva Bible translated added “women” to provide the verse in a feminine tense. Respected commentators such as Albert Barnes agree that in Hebrew the key word in Ps. 68:11 is in a feminine tense: “More literally, „The women publishing it were a great host.‟ The word used is in the feminine gender.” If Gómez knew Hebrew or did not have the habit of rushing to judgment against Spanish translations other than his own, his divisive comment would not have been published. I believe these matters should call into question his qualifications to cast judgment on individual readings in the Spanish Bible and perform a revision in which he alone makes all the final decisions.

8. The reviser proudly reported a case of new converts that were refusing to buy a Spanish Bible until his revision was available

On his website, Gómez proudly gives a report of a church where brand new converts had been so conditioned to reject the Spanish Bible that they were refusing to buy one until the Reina-Valera-Gómez was available:

Some missionaries and pastors are eagerly awaiting for our Bible in paper and ink…“Two months ago we baptized 24 new converts; last Sunday we baptized 20 more. They would not buy a bible: They said, „We would rather wait until we

have our Bible.‟” (The RVG revision.)14

9. The reviser has spoken of a pure Spanish Bible only in future tense

In the previously mentioned Toronto conference Gómez stated, “We are going to have a pure Bible like you have in the King James Bible…the changes we made got it closer to the King James than any other Bible.” By speaking of a pure Bible in Spanish only in the future tense, he implies that the Spanish-speaking world has been living in darkness without a pure Bible all of this time, and he is now coming to their rescue. This kind of talk (speaking of a pure Bible in Spanish only in future terms) is highly offensive to Hispanic brethren.

10. The reviser has claimed that his revision is perfect in his opinion, yet changes have been made since that claim, and more changes are anticipated

In an article he authored, Gómez declared that in his opinion his revision was perfect.15 In spite of his perfection claim, in the same article he ironically requested feedback for any mistakes or suggested changes to his “perfect” revision. Changes have been made since his “perfection still being perfected” claim, and he has hinted of more changes to come.

11. The reviser admits to not being familiar with Greek and Hebrew

Brother Gómez readily admits that he is not knowledgeable in Greek and Hebrew. When I took him to task on this, he responded by e-mail strangely: “That‟s an argument used against us by Catholics. Only they are experts in Greek, Hebrew, Latin, etc. We Protestants are a bunch of uneducated folk.” The reviser states in an article, “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.”16 How could he go verse by verse with the Textus Receptus if he is not familiar with Greek? Also, the Textus Receptus covers only the New Testament, so how could he have gone through every verse in the Bible if he is also not familiar with Hebrew?

12. The reviser compromised by including a Spanish term that he himself had previously admitted represented “Catholic culture” in order to please followers of Peter Ruckman

In correspondence with Humberto Gómez on February 9, 2005, he mentioned to me that his revision would have amor (love) instead of caridad (charity) in 1 Corinthians 13. He further stated that even though both terms were correct, in the Hispanic world the term caridad represented “Catholic culture.” He added that someone whom I would label a Ruckmanite bitterly attacked him over this in a letter. However, in the most recent RVG edition I have in my possession, it was changed to caridad, which has been confirmed by Gómez. I think a group with a lot of influence blackmailed him by threatening not to endorse or print his translation if he didn’t remove amor and replace it with the exact word the English Bible used. What else could explain his inclusion of a term he admitted represented Catholic culture? In my opinion, his decision to change to a term in his Bible that he himself confessed was “closely related to Catholicism” in Hispanic culture was an act of betrayal against his Hispanic brethren in order to please those who lean towards a Ruckmanite philosophy regarding foreign language Bibles and are funding his project. The Greek word in question is agape, which was translated as “love” in dozens of other places in the English Bible. For Gómez to listen those who were insisting that he forgo the most common translation of this Greek word and go with the English equivalent in 1 Cor. 13, in spite of its Catholic association in Spanish, sounds like a case of pandering to Ruckmanites.

When the 1909 was revised, it continued to include the term caridad because the term may not have been as deeply ingrained in the Catholic culture as it now is. In fact, when plans were being made to revise the 1909 to produce what we now know as the Reina-Valera 1960, it was announced that the term caridad would be dropped because of the Catholic connotation associated with it:

The Spanish word caridad (even more so than the English word charity) bears the

connotation of alms and begging. It is the common term used by beggars in the

street who appeal to the religious sentiments of their potential donors by asking

for caridad in the name of the Virgin or some patron saint.17

13. There continues to be changes without warning

The copy of Humberto Gómez‟ revision I have for my perusal states that it was copyrighted in 2004, but it had changes (such as amor changed back to caridad) that were not incorporated until mid-2005. There was no warning as to what edition it was nor how many editions it had been through.

14. The Reina-Valera “Gómez” is in an experimental stage, and will continue to be in the foreseeable future

In spite of $100,000 being raised for its printing, the introduction to the RVG I have in my possession warns of more changes to come:

We will take two more years to analyze any details we may have missed; All sincere men of God who may have an opinion regarding this matter, please let us know and all suggestions will be placed in a file and after a period of two years we will form a panel in which we will make the final decisions.18

15. There is no revision panel. The reviser makes all decisions himself.

In the previous paragraph, Gómez speaks of a panel in which “we” (plural) will make final decisions, but in correspondence with me on February 24, 2005, Gómez stated that although he does use advisers, he alone makes final decisions as to his RVG revision. He used the word “we” over 45 times in describing the revision process in an article he wrote, but this is misleading if he is making all the final decisions himself. Gómez has further stated that officially, nobody is a consultant, and that those he has consulted may not necessarily consider themselves consultants!

16. You may still have to pay royalties for printing the RVG if you will not be giving them away for free

Gómez copyrighted his revision, although to his credit, he states on the copyright page that no royalties are required for those who wish to distribute it for free. It should be noted however that this arrangement could allow those behind the RVG to charge anyone who wants to print it if it is not intended for free distribution.

17. In at least one case a change was made to accommodate the Bible to a certain doctrine

For the first time in Spanish Bible history (as far as I can tell) Humberto Gómez translated a Hebrew masculine pronoun as a feminine pronoun in Spanish at Ps. 12:7. The RVG official website accuses previous Spanish Bibles of being in error in this passage. The RVG in Ps. 12:7 now reads “…Las guardarás; Las preservarás…” I know that the motive of strengthening a Bible doctrine is noble, but I disagree with the tactic of manipulating a translation in the process. I have asked Brother Gómez on more than one occasion for evidence showing that the Hebrew pronoun in question was feminine, but to date my requests for such evidence has been ignored. When such matters are noticed, the RVG will fall in disrepute no doubt, and be considered unscholarly, and be referred to in a derogatory manner as the “fundamental Baptist Spanish Bible version” outside the fundamentalist realm. In contrast, the Reina-Valera 1909 & 1960 are generally respected and held in high esteem both in and out of fundamentalist circles.

18. Misleading charts that do not take into account variations between different Textus Receptus editions are being used to promote the RVG

I consider the charts on the Dean Burgon Society website misleading because it is possible to turn the tables around and prove the exact opposite. To prove how misleading the charts are, I made my own chart adhering consistently to the Stephanus 1550 Textus Receptus edition. Instead of being selective going all over the Bible to pick certain verses, I restricted myself to omissions of only one word in only one book of the New Testament.

Reference Word omitted Reina-Valera 1960 TextusReceptus




Acts 8:12 evangelio omitted
Acts 10:36 evangelio omitted
Acts 15:35 evangelio omitted
Acts 17:18 evangelio omitted

As you can observe from the above chart, reliance on the Textus Receptus is not such a black-orwhite matter as some portray it. There are definitely some gray areas. We need to take this into account and be willing to give foreign Bibles the benefit of the doubt when they deserve it.

In Acts 8:12 and 15:35, the Spanish 1569, 1602, 1909, 1960 have had the Spanish word for “gospel.” The underlying Greek word is interesting, because it can be translated as either “preach/announce,” or “preach/announce the Gospel.” The RVG removed the word “gospel” from this verse. On a technicality, the underlying Greek word can be translated without “gospel.” However, according to Pastor Gomez‟ own criteria in his November 2007 conference (see http://en.literaturabautista.com/?p=66), if a reading was doctrinally sound to begin with, it should not be changed. It had been translated with “gospel” in 1569, 1602, 1909 and 1960. Was this another case of Pastor Gomez using the English Bible as “the standard to follow?” Other similar examples could be given.

Even deviating from the word “Gospel” and the book of Acts, I can easily come up with another chart that makes the RVG appear as if it was not based on the Textus Receptus:

Reference Problem Reina-Valera1960 TextusReceptus




Mark 15:3 “mas él norespondió nada”


John 8:6 “como si no”added addition
Romans 3:26 “es de la fe” (1909)changed to “cree” addition
Titus 2:4 “a ser prudentes”added addition
Revelation 16:5 “el Santo” omitted addition

I believe this shows that the vague criteria used on the charts promoting the RVG can be very misleading.

19. The reviser has shown little interest in the matter of variations among Textus Receptus editions

My opinion that the reviser has shown little interest in variations among Textus Receptus editions is deducted from the attitude he demonstrated in my personal correspondence with him when I approached him about it, as well as the silence regarding different TR editions in his writings. He would not state what Textus Receptus editions he was using in his revision. As can be seen in the previous charts, variations in Textus Receptus editions account for some of the apparent differences between Spanish and English Bibles.

20. The RVG is just one of many Spanish Bibles revised by fundamentalist missionaries that are creating confusion with so many choices and fights between the various groups

There is the Versión Creyentes Bíblicos, the 1602-R, the Enzinas Spanish Bible project, the former Valera 1865 revised and published in 2005, the Barry Smith project translating straight from KJV into Spanish, etc. All these groups are attacking previous Spanish Bibles as well as their competitors in order to justify their project. Although some deny it, it is my observation that every one of these groups including the RVG is motivated by the desire to correct the Spanish Bible with the English Bible. Read for yourself this statement by Gómez and conclude for yourself what his motivating factor was: “We are going to have a pure Bible like you have in the King James Bible…the changes we made got it closer to the King James than any other Bible.”19 Also: “The standard to follow needs to be the King James. I say that publicly, and I am not ashamed of it. 100 percent!” (http://en.literaturabautista.com/node/19)

While these different groups are spending so much time and energy and money producing so many different Spanish Bibles and fighting amongst each other over them, only 426 of approximately 6,000 languages have the entire Bible translated in their language. The focus is not where it should be.

21. It appears that the reviser was self-appointed to carry on the revision

Concerning this matter, a Spanish-speaking missionary stated to me in a letter: “there have been NO congresses, committees, clamors, or cries in the Spanish speaking world who wish to address this issue.” In correspondence with me, Gómez has acknowledged that his work was not under anyone‟s authority. He apparently has the blessing of his home church in Ohio, but it is an English-speaking church in America whose pastor does not even speak Spanish.

I have not heard of even one well-known leader among Spanish-speaking fundamentalists who encouraged Brother Gómez to initiate his revision. The times he has mentioned names of people encouraging him they were either Americans or others I had never heard of. If a significant number of Spanish-speaking fundamentalists would have even wanted a revision, and had a say in the matter, would they have selected only one reviser, who was not even well versed in Greek and Hebrew? Certainly not.

It has been stated that the RVG has as much right to be produced as the 1960 was. However, when plans were being made to revise the translation we now know as the Reina-Valera 1960, 95 percent of Latin-American evangelical leaders were in agreement.20 That this many were in agreement is shown by the nearly equal amount of those who adopted the new revision in the following decades. The RVG does not have much support among native Spanish-speaking fundamentalists, and many are disgusted by the false charges that have been raised against the Reina-Valera.

Could it be that no Hispanic even wanted to join Gómez to form a revision committee? Or could it be that Gómez did not want any other Hispanic on the revision committee for fear they would not want to correct the Spanish Bible with English? I believe these are valid questions.

There are many dangers associated with a one-man revision team. What if the sole reviser someday commits an immoral indiscretion, and is disqualified from the ministry? Who would want to carry a Bible revision that bore his name on the title page as the sole reviser if such a thing were to occur? I‟m not predicting that the reviser will end up losing his testimony, but if it happened it would be disastrous for those who adopted his revision.

Another danger of a one-man revision committee is that it is easier for one man to be unduly influenced by a group with an agenda, such as Ruckmanites, compared to an entire group of men, which would help ensure balance.

22. The Spanish RVG Gomez Bible has connections to Ruckmanism

Virtually all attempts to create doubt in foreign language Bibles already based overwhelmingly on the Textus Receptus can be traced back to Peter Ruckman. Starting in 1964, Ruckman wrote a number of books that went much farther than simply defending the King James Version. In his 1970 book The Christian‟s Handbook of Manuscript Evidence he went as far as to state that “where the Greek says one thing and the A.V. says another, throw out the Greek” (p. 137) and

“mistakes in the A.V. 1611 are advanced revelation!” (p. 126). He teaches that the English can correct the Greek and Hebrew, and different plans of salvation for different ages. For more information on Ruckmanism see http://literaturabautista.com/english/dangerruckmanism.htm

A Ruckmanite home church

The home church of Humberto Gomez has been Charity Baptist Church of Beavercreak (formerly Dayton), OH for over twenty years.22 It is indisputably a Ruckmanite church. Ruckman has preached in Gomez‟ home church,23 many preachers they invite preach for Ruckman,24 some classes in the Bible institute in his church use some of Ruckman’s books as textbooks,25 the founding pastor (Greg Estep) got an honourable mention in at least three of Ruckman‟s books, the present pastor graduated from a Bible institute whose website declares it was patterned after Ruckman’s school,26 there is an evangelist out of Gomez‟ church (David Spurgeon) that regularly preaches for Ruckman (including just this year).27 The tape and book catalog of Gomez‟ home church—which was mailed to an acquaintance of mine this year—listed hundreds of sermons and dozens of books by Peter Ruckman.

Other Ruckmanite influence

The influence of Ruckmanism upon Brother Gomez doesn‟t seem to end with his home church. Jim Fellure, the person who claims to have encouraged Gomez to proceed with his revision project and promised to publish his New Testament once it was done, has a Ruckmanitish view of Scripture, as revealed in the following statement:

Now if somebody that‟s got an unprejudiced view said “alright, that says she, the King James Bible says he.” You know how I know it ought to be? It‟s gonna be he. I know that. And if the King James Bible said inspired or inspiration one place and moved another place, it ought to be inspiration one place and moved another place. If the Spanish Bible has inspiration in both places it‟s wrong. You know. My standard is King James Bible. . . We‟re convinced that‟s [RVG] the best Spanish Bible available. You say do you believe it‟s perfect? No, I believe there‟s but one perfect book in the world, and that‟s an English King James Bible. [That’s Ruckmanism] That‟s the only thing. I don‟t believe [the RVG] it‟s perfect. I believe it‟s got some human error in it. But I believe it‟s the best thing going.28

As documented, the Spanish RVG Bible is a product of the influence of Ruckmanism. The acceptance of this Bible is a step towards legitimizing Ruckmanism. Ruckmanism has been dividing American Fundamentalism for over 40 years. We must not allow Ruckmanism to penetrate and divide Spanish-speaking fundamentalism!


Those who are ready to endorse the RVG “as is” should be warned that at this point it is only a test model and even more changes are likely to be made in the future, as stated in the introduction of this new revision.

I would not have had a problem with Gómez occasionally consulting the KJV and other foreign language Bibles when encountering unusually difficult Greek or Hebrew expressions. It is a common practice for translators to refer to foreign translations to check how others have translated difficult passages. According to the preface of the KJV 1611, its translators did this, and they wrote that they even consulted the Spanish Bible! However, as documented earlier, Gómez stated publicly in November of 2007 regarding his RVG that “the standard to follow needs to be the King James. I say that publicly, and I am not ashamed of it. 100 percent!” When you consider Gómez‟ lack of knowledge of Greek and Hebrew and his statement about the KJV, this leads to the logical conclusion that the KJV had more weight than the original languages in the RVG. This is a characteristic of Ruckmanism.

Every Christian and every church has the right to decide for themselves whether to adopt this new translation or not. I simply wanted to express my reasons for not endorsing it. I believe God has not failed the Spanish-speaking people, and we have had reliable translations of the Word of God in Spanish in the Reina-Valera line for hundreds of years. My fear is that Spanish Bibles which are responsible for the growth and revival we have seen will continue to be viscously maligned in attempts to justify the adoption of new Spanish Bibles now on the scene, unnecessarily dividing Spanish-speaking fundamentalists. May God help us approach this most important matter in a way that honors Christ, upholds His Word, and sets forth the truth.

1 http://www.charitybaptist.org/Missions/Mexico/Humberto%20SR/Gómez%20Humberto%20Sr.htm Accessed Nov. 21, 2005

2 “The Spanish Bible Problems” 27th Annual Meeting of the Dean Burgon Society, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. July 21, 2005. Audio recording.

3 Gómez, Humberto “The Spanish Bible Issue” http://www.charitybaptist.org/Missions/Mexico/Humberto%20SR/The%20Spanish%20Bible.htm Accessed Nov. 21, 2005

4 Gómez, Humberto “Our Doctrine” http://gomezministries.gaius.org/ourdoctrine.htm Accessed March 21, 2006

5 Gómez, Humberto “The Spanish Bible Issue” http://www.charitybaptist.org/Missions/Mexico/Humberto%20SR/The%20Spanish%20Bible.htm Accessed Nov. 21, 2005

6 “What I‟m going to say this morning, what I‟m going to emphasize, are terrible things. Because I‟m going to join the 1960 with the most corrupt putrefaction that has emerged from the sewers of hell. The most stinking miry place there is—hell, the deepest. And the 1960 is the bridge or the door that guides or attempts to guide them to that putrefaction.” “The Bridge” speech by Carlos Donate. Sep. 24, 2002, during Spanish Bible conference. Landmark Baptist Church, Haines City, FL. Audio tape.

7 Carter, Mickey (General Editor) The Elephant in the Living Room. Haines City, FL: Landmark Baptist Press, 2002, pp. 167-169.

8 Gómez, Humberto “The Spanish Bible Issue” http://www.charitybaptist.org/Missions/Mexico/Humberto%20SR/The%20Spanish%20Bible.htm Accessed Nov. 21, 2005

9 http://Gomezministries.gaius.org/ourdoctrine.htm Accessed Nov. 21, 2005

10 “The Spanish Bible Problems” 27th Annual Meeting of the Dean Burgon Society, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. July 21, 2005. Audio recording.

11 Gómez, Humberto “The Spanish Bible Issue” http://www.charitybaptist.org/Missions/Mexico/Humberto%20SR/The%20Spanish%20Bible.htm Accessed Nov. 21, 2005

12 Gómez, Humberto “The Spanish Bible Issue” http://www.charitybaptist.org/Missions/Mexico/Humberto%20SR/The%20Spanish%20Bible.htm Accessed Nov. 21, 2005

13 Gómez, Humberto “The Solution” http://www.thervg.com/solution.htm Accessed March. 21, 2006

14 Gómez, Humberto “News” http://www.thervg.com/english.htm Accessed Feb. 23, 2006

15 Gómez, Humberto “The Spanish Bible Issue” http://www.charitybaptist.org/Missions/Mexico/Humberto%20SR/The%20Spanish%20Bible.htm Accessed Nov. 21, 2005

16 Gómez, Humberto “The Spanish Bible Issue” http://www.charitybaptist.org/Missions/Mexico/Humberto%20SR/The%20Spanish%20Bible.htm Accessed Nov. 21, 2005

17 Nida, Eugene A. “Report on the Reina-Valera Spanish Revision.” The Bible Translator. October 1951, p. 171

18 This statement comes from the introductory material of a digital edition of the Reina-Valera-Gomez in a PDF file.

19 “The Spanish Bible Problems” 27th Annual Meeting of the Dean Burgon Society, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. July 21, 2005. Audio recording.

20 Estrello, Francisco E. “Latest Revision of the Reina-Valera Bible.” Bulletin of the United Bible Societies. 3rd Quarter 1955, p. 17.

21 Gómez, Humberto “The Spanish Bible Issue” http://www.charitybaptist.org/Missions/Mexico/Humberto%20SR/The%20Spanish%20Bible.htm

22 http://gomezministries.gaius.org/index.htm

23 See book and tape catalog of Charity Baptist Church

24 See book and tape catalog of Charity Baptist Church, as well as the list of preachers that have preached in the past two years available at http://www.charitybaptist.org/Picture%20Pages/Camp%20Meetin/2004/Camp%20Meeting%202004.htm

25 http://www.charitybaptist.org/CBBI/Courses.htm#Christian%20Studies

26 http://www.blueridgebibleinstitute.com/instructors.html & http://www.blueridgebibleinstitute.com/letter.html

27 http://www.kjv1611.org/February%202006%20Blowout.htm & http://www.charitybaptist.org/Our%20Church/Evangelist%20&%20Missionaries/Spurgeon/Spurgeon%20David.htm

28 Fellure, Jim. http://harvesthillbaptistchurch.com/fellowship.html


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Literatura Bautista | Earnestly contending for the faith | Jude 1:3

The Danger of Ruckmanism as Applied to Foreign Language Bibles

By Calvin George

At a time when the Bible version issue is a hot topic in fundamental churches, attention is being brought to the Bible versions used by missionaries where a foreign language is spoken. Cursory comparisons are frequently being made between the KJV and foreign language Bibles to test their fidelity.

The term “Ruckmanism” in this article is used in reference to the peculiar teachings popularized and basically originated by Peter Ruckman, who pastors a Baptist church in Pensacola, Florida. The term “Ruckmanite” is used for those who tend to agree with him on his extreme beliefs regarding the King James version (that it contains advanced revelation, that it’s given by inspiration of God, that it’s superior to Greek and Hebrew and corrects it, etc.) Some may object to calling his followers “Ruckmanites,” but ironically Ruckman has used the term himself in his writings to label those who tend to agree with him.[1]

For the sake of focusing only on the implications of Ruckmanism as it relates to foreign language Bibles, this study will ignore well-known peculiarities promoted by Peter Ruckman, such as his unbiblical belief in different plans of salvation for different dispensations, those disagreeing with him being members of the “Alexandrian Cult,” women getting male bodies at the rapture, his name-calling, etc. A good analysis of these matters is David Cloud’s What About Ruckman?[2]

I would like to state for the record that I believe the KJV is the Word of God (as well as the English Reformation Bibles that preceded it), and by conviction it is the only Bible version I use in English. I grew up in South America speaking a foreign language, so it enables me to analyze this often overlooked aspect of Ruckmanism from a foreign perspective, something likely difficult for some others to do. I trust that this special insight will be a help and a blessing to you.

The following summarizes the relatively new teachings on Bible versions popularized and essentially originated by Ruckman[3] which affect how foreign language Bibles are perceived:

  • The King James Version was given by inspiration of God.
  • The King James Version is superior to any Greek and Hebrew text, including the Greek and Hebrew texts from which the King James Version was translated.
  • The King James corrects the Greek and Hebrew, including the Textus Receptus.
  • The King James Version contains advanced revelation.
  • Absolute truth is English truth.

The following ample documentation clearly demonstrates that Peter Ruckman openly teaches the above in his literature. My personal comments are in brackets and any underlining is my personal emphasis.

Correct the Greek with the English. It is always the best policy; the one that God will bless. Feel free (with a clear conscience) in always correcting the Greek Receptus with the Holy Bible [meaning the King James]…[4]

…if their Greek or Hebrew texts are at fault, the Authorized English is quite able to straighten them out.[5]

…bloated, perverted nonsense connected with the “original Greek text.”.[6]

The expression “the Greek and Hebrew” is as inane a piece of foolishness as ever busted out of a Halloween party: there is no such thing as “the Greek and Hebrew” in which to put confidence.[7]

Where the Greek says one thing and the AV says another, throw out the Greek.[8]

…the AV was translated into more than one hundred times as many languages as any Greek Bible was ever translated, why would you put more confidence in the Greek than the English?[9]

In exceptional cases, where the majority of Greek manuscripts stand against the AV 1611, put them in file 13.[10]

Always correct “the Greek” with the English if any doubt arises.[11]

There is evidently something so rotten about the “original Greek” here that you would be a fool if you went by it; certainly you would be wherever it contradicted the English text of 1611.[12]

Use “the Greek” where it will magnify, apply, glorify, and explain the infallible English, and where it doesn’t, pass it like a beer can on the highway.[13]

If all you have is the “original Greek” you lose light. [14]

Fortunately, we have an English Bible with which to correct the “original Greek.”[15]

If you can’t get the contraption together, read 2 Peter 3:5-6 in an Authorized Version and watch the Holy Spirit throughout the English version correct “the original Hebrew” lexicon. [16]

Three things should be emphasized…1. The absolute insanity of translating any Greek text literally, word for word, in order to give a reader the words God wants him to have in another language.[17]

Ruckman’s correcting of the Greek and Hebrew with the KJV includes correcting the Textus Receptus

They will get rid of the Authorized Holy Bible with a Greek Syrian Receptus.[18]

…the apostate Fundamentalist has only one recourse left in order to get rid of the hated King James Bible: he must go along with the revived interest in the Greek Receptus from which it came and then correct it from that Receptus.[19]

Observe how accurately and beautifully the infallible English text straightens out Erasmus, Griesbach, Beza, Nestle, Aland, Metzger, Trench, Vincent, Davis, Wuest, Zodhiates, Elzevir, and Stephanus with the poise and grace of a swan as it smoothly and effectively breaks your arm with one flap of its wings. Beautiful, isn’t it? If the mood or tense isn’t right in any Greek text, the King James Bible will straighten it out in a hurry.[20]

To blazes with “the Greek text.” It is so inferior to the English text they are not worthy of standing on the same shelf. I put Nestle, Hort, Aland, Metzger, Alford, Souter, Erasmus, Stephanus, Elzevir, and the rest on a shelf below my original edition of the Authorized Version from 1613.[21]

Ruckman teaches that the King James Version contains advanced revelation

The King James Bible…often contains revelations of the truth that evidently cannot be found in any Greek text.[22]

Observe here how the Authorized, infallible, 1611 English gives “new light” on the text that is unavailable in Hebrew or Greek, from any set of manuscripts published by anyone. Routine. [23]

…the Authorized Version often gave advanced light on revelation and theology…[24]

Bad-mouthing the originals

The Scriptures (2 Tim. 3:15) are NOT the originals, and if they were you could never get saved;[25]

… verbal, plenary inspiration of Mrs. Murphy’s chowder.[26]

Maybe the Lord doesn’t want you to have the exact force of the original. Maybe he wants you to have the exact force of the English![27]

Ruckman teaches that the King James Version was given by inspiration of God

The King James Bible was “given by inspiration of God.”[28]

God-given English text.[29]

It is the culmination and final work of the Holy Spirit in the church age in a world that is English speaking.[30]

…the Authorized Text, inspired and preserved by the Holy Spirit.[31]

Ruckman believes in the superiority of the English Bible above all other languages, and teaches that absolute truth is English truth

He gave the world an English Bible in “The King’s English.”[32]

The difference, my dear brethren, is between the Authorized Version and any, and all, of the rest of them, regardless of their language.[33]

From henceforth, even the Antichrist will have to speak English (Rev. 13:1-3), because absolute time, absolute temperature, absolute location, and absolute truth are English, and that is final.[34]

…the AV English text and pointing out the supernatural “coincidences” and “accidental revelations” that accompany it.[35]

…the Monarch of the Books stands head and shoulders above any book in any language ever produced on this planet. When you step outside of its covers you are liable and subject to error…[36]

If he is of another language, he may settle for what the scholars call “a reliable translation.”[37]

Any translation on the mission field can be safely judged by a King James Authorized Version, and where it refuses to stick to the text the text can be altered safely to match the King James’ reading.[38]

The only LIVING BIBLE on earth today is the AV (1611), or translations made from it.[39]

Although the above views are becoming more prevalent in some conservative circles, they are relatively new. For a number of years, author R. L. Hymers has had a standing offer of $1,000 for anyone who can document any Baptist or Protestant writer before 1950 who held that the KJV translation was given by inspiration. No one has claimed this offer. This reminds me of a little saying I was taught in Bible college regarding new theological “discoveries”: “If it’s new, it’s probably not true; if it’s true, it’s probably not new.” Ruckman does not deny that he has come up with many new teachings, because he readily admits to it as follows:

What we have done, by the grace of God, is extract about one hundred “new teachings” from the old Book, by comparing the AV with the AV, and by side stepping Greek and Hebrew manuscripts and Greek and Hebrew scholars.[41]

That no foreign Bible is as inspired and as pure and perfect as he regards the King James Bible, is the logical outcome of Ruckman’s peculiar teachings. There are many times in his writings when he hints at non-English Bibles being error-prone. Here is an example:

I received a real nasty letter from a Puerto Rican one time. He said, “What do you mean with all this English stuff?…What about all us [Spanish-speaking] folks down in Puerto Rico here? We had a Bible before the King James came out.” I guess he thought I was an Englishman. I wrote him back and told him, “If it weren’t for England, we wouldn’t know where you’re at. Latitude and longitude are given to every airplane in the air and every ship in the sea by the equator and England.” You can’t even locate Pensacola without finding England. If you put out a distress call, and say, “I’m in trouble,” they ask, “What’s the longitude and latitude?” And you give England as the mark. How do you explain that? Absolute location is English location. Absolute time is English time. Why would you think that absolute truth wasn’t English truth?[7]

This is typical of Peter Ruckman, responding to a valid question with an insult. Sadly, many of his followers are imitating his carnal style. That he would consider English truth to be absolute truth is very revealing.

Meanwhile, many of those who parrot his extreme views on the King James are referring to foreign Bibles in an increasingly demeaning style. Sam Gipp, a graduate of Ruckman’s school who like many Ruckmanites believes there is only one perfect Bible for all languages (the English KJV), poses the following question and answer in his book:

QUESTION: If there is a perfect Bible in English, doesn’t there also have to be a perfect Bible in French, and German, and Japanese, etc? ANSWER: No. God has always given His word to one people in one language to do one job; convert the world. The supposition that there must be a perfect translation in every language is erroneous and inconsistent with God’s proven practice…[43]

Sam Gipp’s statements on how only the English Bible could be perfect, to the exclusion of other languages, is repugnant to foreigners. If he were to try to preach such a thing in a foreign country where English was not spoken, he would be run out of the country. Acts 10:34 tells us, “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that GOD IS NO RESPECTER OF PERSONS.”

John Ankenberg once asked Dr. Sam Gipp the following in his television show: “If a guy is in Russia and he really wants to get the truth of the Word of God, would he have to learn English? Dr. Gipp answered, “Yes.”[44]

Ruckmanism has given birth to a belief that since the original autographs are lost, God preserved his Word for the entire world in English (in the KJV), and therefore all foreign language Bibles have to conform to it. Ruckman himself explains it thus:

The King James’ text is the last and final statement that God has given the world and He has given it in the universal language of the 20th century … The truth is God slammed the door of revelation shut in 389 B.C. and slammed it shut again in 1611.[45]

This is a view not even shared by the KJV translators themselves. They believed translations should only be made from Greek and Hebrew and that truth should be tried by them. The following appeared in the preface to the KJV 1611 edition, which they called “The Translators to the Reader”:

…the Hebrew text of the Old Testament, the Greek of the New…These are the two golden pipes, or rather conduits, where-through the olive branches empty themselves into the gold…as the credit of the old books (he meaneth of the Old Testament) is to be tried by the Hebrew Volumes, so of the New by the Greek tongue, he meaneth by the original Greek. If truth be to be tried by these tongues, then whence should a Translation be made, but out of them? These tongues, therefore, the Scriptures, we say, in those tongues, we set before us to translate, being the tongues wherein God was pleased to speak to his Church by his Prophets and Apostles.

Those who have a Ruckmanite-type view that God preserved his Word FOR THE WHOLE WORLD in 1611 in English instead of through the Greek and Hebrew manuscripts never seem to be totally satisfied with a foreign language Bible. There is no such thing as a King James Bible in a foreign language because the KJV is in English. Some have translated the KJV into foreign languages, but the end product does not seem to satisfy many Ruckmanite critics. This is especially true in cases when a Ruckmanite critic is familiar with the language in which it was translated and can make his own comparisons back to the KJV.

To illustrate the above, when a New Testament was translated word-for-word from the KJV into Spanish by a Ruckmanite missionary by the name of Bernard McVey, Ruckman’s own periodical (Bible Believer’s Bulletin) was quick to denounce it in their August 1989 issue. The article went on to endorse the Spanish Valera 1909. In August of 2003, Ruckman’s paper flip-flopped, and endorsed the Valera 1865, which until recent times had been out of print for many decades.

The following was posted during a discussion in an e-mail list for Ruckmanites. It is provided here to allow you to look into the thinking process and flawed logic of a typical Ruckmanite when applying his views to foreign languages:

When in Mexico I tell people that the Word of God is preserved in English as the KJV 1611. The best bet would be to learn English if they want the WHOLE pure word … a translation of the KJV into Spanish would be great but would be subject to those who learned English returning to the English to clarify the Spanish…. because the Spanish KJV would only be a translation of the preserved text …

…He [referring to another Ruckmanite missionary] is NOT looking for the Preserved Word of God in Spanish. He don’t need to. It would be a waste of his time. And He is smart enough to know that.

I’ve done more research and have learned that the Ostervald [French] Bible is a fake.…I never had a single French course in my life, and only spent a few weeks of my life in a French speaking country…The French speaking world has not had a true Bible available for at least a century. This is shocking to me and should be to all Bible-believing Christians. What is most shocking is that most Christians still could care less that Bible societies have eliminated the Word of God from the entire planet with the exception of the KJV and a few languages [he doesn’t tell you which ones] spoken by only a handful of people.

Both cannot be the perfect, pure words of God if they are different AT ALL! If a foreign language Bible is different from the KJV ANYWHERE, it is not perfect nor pure. Things that are different are not the same. Plain and simple.

The last statement objecting to any differences may at first seem logical, but no consideration is given to the fact that there are some differences between manuscripts from which the KJV was derived, that there are differences with Reformation Bibles preceding the KJV, and that the NT sometimes quotes the OT differently. Other types of differences could be mentioned, including slight differences between KJV editions from 1611 until today. An attitude of faith is allowed only for those special cases, but why not for a foreign Bible?

The above views expressed on the Ruckmanite e-mail list are arrogant and severely misguided, but they are sadly becoming more common among the most extreme Ruckmanites. A public outcry against the dangers of Ruckmanism is long overdue.

The KJV translators were very well aware that differences arise between languages even when honest attempts at translation are made. The following was taken from their preface in the 1611 edition:

…we have not tied our selves to an uniformity of phrasing, or to an identity of words, as some peradventure would wish that we had done, because they observe, that some learned men some where, have been as exact as they could that way. Truly, that we might not vary from the sense of that which we had translated before, if the word signified the same thing in both places (for there be some words that be not of the same sense every where) we were especially careful, and made a conscience, according to our duty. But, that we should express the same notion in the same particular word; as for example, if we translate the Hebrew or Greek word once by Purpose, never to call it Intent; if one where journeying, never traveling; if one where Think, never Suppose; if one where Pain, never Ache; if one where Joy, never gladness, &c. Thus to mince the matter, we thought to savour more of curiosity than wisdom, and that rather it would breed scorn in the Atheist, then bring profit to the godly Reader. For is the kingdom of God become words or syllables? why should we be in bondage to them, if we may be free, use one precisely when we may use another no less fit, as commodiously?… Now to the later we answer; that we do not deny, nay, we affirm and avow, that the very meanest translation of the Bible in English, set forth by men of our profession, (for we have seen none of theirs of the whole Bible as yet) containeth the word of God, nay, is the Word of God. As the Kings Speech which he uttered in Parliament, being translated into French, Dutch, Italian and Latin, is still the Kings Speech, though it be not interpreted by every Translator with the like grace, nor peradventure so fitly for phrase, nor so expressly for sense, every where.

In the early 1970’s, there was a case in which Ruckman under pressure actually expressed a traditional orthodox view that the KJV was not given by inspiration as the originals. In a letter to Robert Sumner in 1971, Ruckman made the following statement: Now, at no time have I stated flatly that the A. V. 1611 was the “verbally inspired word of God.” Verbal inspiration has to do with 2 Tim 3:16 and deals with the original autographs, as we all know.[46] But now he sadly does not hesitate to refer to those who believe like he once expressed under pressure as “apostates.”

When asked how they know the KJV is inspired, many Ruckmanites I have dealt with will answer something like this: “Psalm 12:6-7, Psalm 119:89, 2 Timothy 3:16, just to name a few…” (Drawn from an actual e-mail reply).

Think about those reading the above verses in their own foreign language Bible, who do not know a bit of English, let alone ever heard of the KJV. Are they supposed to read those verses and reach the same conclusion the English-speaking Ruckmanite did, that it is a reference to an English Bible (of which they have likely never even heard and cannot read)? How about those English speakers reading Reformation Bibles (Geneva, Bishops, Coverdale, etc) before 1611? When they came to those verses, what were they supposed to conclude? That those verses were merely a prophecy about a future English Bible?

On an e-mail list for Ruckmanites with 125 members, I posed the following question: “Can any of you point me to a missionary of the Ruckmanite persuasion who preaches from a foreign Bible he actually believes in?” Not one of the 125 members could name one. I have never met a Ruckmanite (personally nor through e-mail) who believed there was a foreign Bible that was as perfect and as pure in that language as the KJV is regarded by Ruckmanites. In reply to my question: “So the sources that the KJV translators used for translating were not preserved?” A certain Ruckmanite replied to me by e-mail: “As a matter of fact they were not.” How absurd! This comes across as heretical to me. I always use only the KJV in English, but I am embarrassed and ashamed of the bad light in which some put the manuscript sources that the KJV translators used. If it would not have been for the miraculous preservation of these manuscripts, the KJV could not have been translated, because God did not give the KJV translators the content directly word-for-word in English. The KJV translators were translating Scripture, not writing it.

There are many who tend to agree on Ruckman’s extreme views on the KJV who object to being called Ruckmanites. They might say something to the effect that “I believed that the KJV was given by inspiration before I ever heard of Peter Ruckman.” While this may be technically true, since Ruckmanite-type teaching on the KJV cannot be documented in any period of time before Ruckman himself, it should be safe to say that it all comes back to the originator and propagator of such principles. Since Ruckman’s views are becoming more mainstream in some circles, it is possible to be exposed to it through preachers and authors influenced by him, and not necessarily through Peter Ruckman directly. Some teach his principles without mentioning his name, because they may be embarrassed about his multiple divorces or his demeaning language, or they may simply avoid naming him because of an awareness that others consider him to be very controversial.

Meanwhile, there are missionaries either on the field or on their way who are prime examples of the dangers and confusion Ruckmanism leads to when applied to foreign languages:

Jeff McArdle, a Ruckmanite missionary who is translating Ruckman’s books to Spanish, made the following unbelievable statements in a recent book:

The truth is that God owes nothing to the Spanish people, least of all a perfect Bible. The Bible is a gift from God and to think that God owes Roman Catholic Spain and Latin America anything in the way of a Bible is a foolish assumption indeed.[47]… the KJV should be the standard also for Latin Americans.[48]…The AV1611 (King James Bible) is the only absolute authority in all matters of faith and practice for any man living ANYWHERE on God’s green earth and, as such, is fully capable of correcting any Bible in any language.[49]… If you can’t understand why God rejected Spain for membership in the Protestant reformation then your defense of any Spanish Bible is an exercise in stupidity.[50]

Robert Breaker, who is a graduate of Ruckman’s Bible institute and a missionary to Honduras, gives the following insight which is increasingly typical of Ruckmanite rhetoric:

If you speak English, and have a King James Bible, you know exactly what God said! That KJB is not only the inerrant, inspired, words of the living God, it is a miracle as it is the preserved and purified words of God! (Ps. 12:6,7)…Unfortunately, during my studies of the Spanish Bible Versions I found no “perfect” Bible in the Spanish language like that of my blessed King James in English…The sad truth is: that for almost 400 years, there has been no perfect Bible in the Spanish language, as we have a perfect King James Bible in English…I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as “A perfect Bible” in the Spanish Language. (Not yet anyway)[51]… The King James Bible is God’s Word in English. It was first printed in 1611. Let’s look at that date again: 1611. What’s interesting to note is that 1+6+1+1= 9, and 9 is the number of fruit in the Bible. There are 9 fruits of the spirit in Galatians 5:22,23. So, would it be too far fetched to try to find a Spanish Bible whose date of publishing added up to 9. There is only one: the 1602, for 1+6+0+2 = 9.[52]

Yet another example of confusion on the mission field, this one involving a different language:

In the meantime, the followers of Peter Ruckman … published the first Korean KJV in the mid-90’s. Owing to their extreme position, some bizarre doctrines, and merciless attacks on many Christians and Christian denominations, the goodness of the KJV has been undermined greatly. Their translation was done in haste and contained lots of flaws… the image of the KJV was marred so severely that its recovery seemed impossible.[53]

Some Ruckmanites have tried to defend their view of God supposedly preserving his Word for the entire world only in the English language of the KJV with statements to the effect that “it is something revealed to us by the Spirit of God.” However, if it were to be God’s will that foreign Bibles submit to the English, He should be revealing this fact to foreigners, not to English-speakers who are regarded as having a conflict of interest. To how many people in the first 300 years of the KJV did God reveal through his Holy Spirit that foreign Bibles must match the KJV? Why are there no examples in writing during that time-frame? Even in our day in time, what percentage of English-speaking Christians even believe this has been revealed to them? .00001%? How many Christian foreigners who know no English claim the same thing has been revealed to them? .00000000001%? If one of the only ways to find out that foreign Bibles must submit to the English is by the revelation of the Spirit of God, He is either doing a very poor job of revealing it or there are multiplied millions of foreign Christians who are in open rebellion against God and refuse to submit to what He has supposedly revealed to them.

I lived in South America from 1974 to 1989, in Puerto Rico from 1999 to 2001, and have visited over a dozen foreign countries, and I have yet to meet a foreigner face-to-face who believed their foreign language Bible should submit to the English. Through the internet, I have vaguely heard of very few cases of foreign Christians somewhere who supposedly believed it, but they had to be taught by English-speaking Ruckmanites. They did not come up with it on their own by studying the Bible, nor by simply using their own logic. By and large, foreigners are no more willing to have their Bible corrected with the English, than English-speakers are willing to have their Bible corrected with other languages.

Although they deny it in theory, in practice Ruckmanism essentially does not allow for a foreign Bible other than English that is totally pure. Nearly all (even Peter Ruckman himself) will go as far as stating that certain foreign Bible versions are “okay” to use, but they are not willing to uphold them as being as pure as the English KJV. When pressed about this, Ruckmanites will often reply that the burden is on you to prove that a given foreign Bible is pure. If the burden of proof is relegated to a non-Ruckmanite, that demonstrates that apparently the default Ruckmanite position is that all foreign Bibles are to be regarded guilty until proven innocent. When comparisons are made, no room is allowed for “benefit of the doubt” when comparing to the standard in English; therefore, no foreign Bible passes the Ruckmanite purity test.

Many Ruckmanites are quick to state that English is the dominant language of the world; therefore, it would make sense for God to choose only English to preserve the Bible to which the rest of the world should conform. While it is true that English tends to be the international language of commerce and technology, any World Almanac will state that English is not the language spoken by the most people as their first language. It should be noted that English is not and never has been the most common language spoken in the world. There are more than twice as many native Chinese speakers as there are native English speakers. Using such logic, God should have preserved His Word in Chinese for the rest of the world to conform to. What was the dominant language for the last few hundred years before 1611? Surely not Greek nor Hebrew. Ruckmanites tend to be at a loss when approached about how the Word of God was preserved before 1611.

Ruckmanites believe that since God promised to preserve His Word, a singular document must exist somewhere in some language, or God would be a liar. They contend that this document has to be the English KJV.

Using this logic, let’s place ourselves in the shoes of some other people:

1. A person living before 1611:

“I guess God lied, because I cannot find this one document that He promised.”

2. A Chinese person in our time who cannot read English:

“I cannot find this document, so I guess God did not keep His promise.”

This logic can work for an American in this present time, but for others in different situations speaking different languages or living before 1611, it would have led them to believe God failed to keep His promise. That tells me that such an interpretation is dangerous. I’m not saying it is dangerous for an individual to believe he has the Word of God in his language, but I believe it is dangerous to believe that the Bible in his language is superior to all others in other languages, and that God failed to provide such a document that was to be the standard in all languages until the 17th century.

Some argue that God had to have preserved His Word in English for the world because of all the missionaries that have been sent out of the United States and England. The amount of missionaries being sent out has nothing to do with the language their Bible was in. How many missionaries do you know have been or are being sent out of the English-speaking countries of The Bahamas, New Zealand, Belize, Antigua, Barbados, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Dominica, Fiji, Jamaica, etc.? God has greatly blessed America, but not necessarily because of the language of their Bible.

There are those who insist on overlooking Ruckman’s serious errors with excuses such as, “He has been an outstanding champion in defense of the KJV.” I as well as many others would counter that he has likely done far more harm than good. There are many who use the KJV exclusively and unapologetically who run from the label “King James Only” because they are afraid they will be thought of as Ruckmanites. There are staunch KJV defenders who will make statements like, “If being King James only means … (then they will proceed to list extreme views for which Ruckmanites are known) then don’t consider me King James only.” His eccentric views and cultic attitude have most likely repulsed more people than he has attracted to side with the KJV.

I believe Ruckmanism comes down to this: If you are lucky enough to be an English speaker, you are allowed to have faith that your Bible is perfect. If you are a non-English speaker, you are not allowed to have the same measure of faith. You are told that maybe someday you can have more faith in your Bible if a Ruckmanite ever gets around to providing a translation as perfect and as pure as the “lucky” English-speaking have. Or you can spend the rest of your life learning English, if you can afford it. In the meantime, too bad, so sad.

In America, Fundamentalists teach that we must believe the whole Bible, not doubting any part of it. If there were parts that could not be trusted, we rightfully emphasize that nothing can be trusted. But if it would be true that foreign Bibles have all kinds of errors that are being alleged after cursory comparisons with the standard English Bible, than this same vital doctrine cannot be taught overseas until “The Great White Hope” comes to the rescue of the less fortunate. Is there not something amiss here?

If you and I can have faith in the KJV even though the NT sometimes quotes OT passages differently, and there are variations in the TR editions and in other Reformation Bibles from which it was revised, then you and I can have faith in a foreign Bible even though there are some differences with the KJV. (Keep in mind—a difference does not necessarily constitute error.) Just like you do not let differences in NT quotations of OT passages bother you, and you do not allow the differences in manuscripts that underlie the KJV to bother you, we should not allow minor differences between foreign Bibles to bother us, especially in cases when doctrine cannot possibly be affected. As a missionary, I teach foreigners to believe their Bibles—not doubt them. The non-English speaking unbeliever who hears the Ruckmanite claim that all Bibles in his language are error-prone (because it does not conform to the English KJV) will not be any closer to getting saved.

I believe it is arrogant to believe that the English Bible is superior to all other languages, and that all other language Bibles should be corrected with the English. I don’t believe American missionaries should present themselves as “The Great White Hope,” coming to the rescue of others unfortunate not to have a Bible as pure as the “lucky” Americans have. Many foreigners view American missionaries as arrogant, and this attitude that the American Bible is purer than foreign Bibles only bolsters their suspicions. I do not say this to put down missionaries, as I am an American missionary myself, as well as my parents (for the past 30 years) and two of my brothers and sisters.

As for God promising to preserve His Word, I believe he has fulfilled his promise since the beginning in a collective manner by the thousands of Greek and Hebrew manuscripts that have survived for hundreds of years (in some cases, about 1,800 years). When there is no Word of God in a particular language, it is because humans failed to make an honest translation into that language. God never fails, only mankind.

Foreign Bible believers are not trying to get English Bible believers to doubt their Bibles. Why do some King James Bible believers become textual critics when they cross the border?

If Ruckmanism cannot be applied consistently to foreign languages resulting in a belief that there are Bibles as pure and trustworthy as the KJV in other languages, then the basic tenants of Ruckmanism are flawed at its very core.

Bro. Calvin George grew up on the mission field in Argentina where his parents have been missionaries for 30 years, and has spoken Spanish since he was two years old. He has pastored Spanish ministries in Denver, Colorado; Río Grande, Puerto Rico; and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. He is author of the books The Battle for the Spanish Bible and The History of the Reina-Valera 1960 Spanish Bible. He is presently serving the Lord as a missionary in the West Indies.


[1] Ruckman, Peter. The Christian’s Handbook of Biblical Scholarship. Pensacola: Bible Baptist Bookstore, 1988, p. 29
[2] http://www.wayoflife.org/articles/ruckman.htm
[3] Starting with his first book on Bible versions The Bible Babel in 1964.
[4] Ruckman, Peter. How to Teach the ‘Original’ Greek. Pensacola: Bible Baptist Bookstore, 1992 (2000 reprint) p. 117
[5] Ruckman, Peter. The “Errors” in the King James Bible. Pensacola, Bible Baptist Bookstore, 1999, p. 298
[6] Ibid., p. 464
[7] Ibid., p. 449
[8] Ruckman, Peter. The Christian’s Handbook of Manuscript Evidence, Pensacola, Bible Baptist Bookstore, 1970, 1997 reprint, p. 151
[9] Ruckman, Peter. The Alexandrian Cult, Part Six, 1981, p. 30
[10] Ruckman, Peter. The Christian’s Handbook of Manuscript Evidence, Pensacola, Bible Baptist Bookstore, 1970, 1997 reprint, p. 130
[11] Ruckman, Peter. The Christian’s Handbook of Biblical Scholarship. Pensacola, Bible Baptist Bookstore, 1988, p. 343
[12] Ibid., p. 342
[13] Ibid., p. 343
[14] Ibid., p. 336
[15] Ibid., p. 233
[16] Ibid., p. 229
[17] Ruckman, Peter. How to Teach the ‘Original’ Greek. Pensacola: Bible Baptist Bookstore, 1992 (2000 reprint) p. 124
[18] Ruckman, Peter. The “Errors” in the King James Bible. Pensacola, Bible Baptist Bookstore, 1999, p. 411
[19] Ibid.,  p. 410
[20] Ibid.,  p. 353
[21] Ruckman, Peter. The Christian’s Handbook of Biblical Scholarship. Pensacola, Bible Baptist Bookstore, 1988, p. 338
[22] Ruckman, Peter. How to Teach the ‘Original’ Greek. Pensacola: Bible Baptist Bookstore, 1992 (2000 reprint), p. 110
[23] Ruckman, Peter. The “Errors” in the King James Bible. Pensacola, Bible Baptist Bookstore, 1999, p. 51
[24] Ruckman, Peter. The Christian’s Handbook of Biblical Scholarship. Pensacola, Bible Baptist Bookstore, 1988, p. i of preface.
[25] Ruckman, Peter. The “Errors” in the King James Bible. Pensacola, Bible Baptist Bookstore, 1999, p. 273
[26] Ibid., p. 431
[27] Ruckman, Peter. A Survey of the Authorized Version Pensacola: Bible Baptist Bookstore, 2003, p. 17
[28] Ruckman, Peter. The Christian’s Handbook of Biblical Scholarship. Pensacola: Bible Baptist Bookstore, 1988, p. 272
[29] Ruckman, Peter. The Unknown Bible, p. 92
[30] Ruckman, Peter. Differences in the King James Version Editions, Pensacola: Bible Baptist Bookstore, 1999, p. 14
[31] Ruckman, Peter. The Monarch of the Books, 1973, p. 23
[32] Ruckman, Peter. The Christian’s Handbook of Biblical Scholarship. Pensacola, Bible Baptist Bookstore, 1988, p. 171
[33] Ruckman, Peter. The Alexandrian Cult, Part Three, 1979, p. 19
[34] Ruckman, Peter. The Christian’s Handbook of Biblical Scholarship. Pensacola, Bible Baptist Bookstore, 1988, p. 122
[35] Ruckman, Peter. The “Errors” in the King James Bible. Pensacola, Bible Baptist Bookstore, 1999, p. 61
[36] Ruckman, Peter. The Monarch of the Books, 1973, p. 29
[37] Ruckman, Peter. Differences in the King James Version Editions, Pensacola: Bible Baptist Bookstore, 1999, p. 17
[38] Ruckman, Peter. The Monarch of the Books, 1973, p. 29
[39] Ibid., p. 29
[40] Hymers Jr., Robert Leslie. Ruckmanism Exposed. realconversion.com, 1998, p. 63
[41] Ruckman, Peter. The Alexandrian Cult, Part Eight, 1981, p. 28
[42] Ruckman, Peter. Why I Believe the King James Version Is the Word of God. Pensacola: Bible Baptist Bookstore, 1983, p. 4
[43] http://www.chick.com/reading/books/158/158_07.asp
[44] Waite, D.A. Foes of the King James Bible Refuted. New Jersey: The Bible for Today Press, 2003, p. 7.
[45] Ruckman, Peter. The Monarch of the Books, Pensacola, 1973, p. 9
[46] http://www.kjvonly.org/gary/ruckman_original_only_inspiration.htm (I do not agree with all the views expressed in this website, but the link is provided for the sake of documentation.)
[47] McArdle, Jeff. The Bible Believer’s Guide to Elephant Hunting. Pensacola, FL: Valera Bible Society, 2003, p. 22
[48] Ibid., p. 21
[49] Ibid., p. 18
[50] Ibid., p. 23
[51] http://www.robertbreaker.com/honduras/honduras/pages/Spanish%20Bible/introduction.htm
[52] http://www.robertbreaker.com/honduras/pages/htrybble.htm
[53] www.lifefebc.com/febc/BurnBush/bbv8n1.pdf