The Revised English Version
In 1989 the Oxford and Cambridge presses published
The Revised English Bible (REB), a revision of The New English Bible
which was first published in 1970.
The publication of this Bible had a number of
significant implications. That a revision was deemed necessary a mere
nineteen years after the publication of The New English Bible is in
itself surprising. One matter is certain: in that period there had been
no significant shift in the English language, necessitating a revision
to discard archaic words. Indeed, it is difficult to dispel the
suspicion that the plethora of Bible translations published in recent
years is motivated more by commercial considerations than by a desire to
bring the precious Word of God to menís hearts. How different is the
modern attitude toward Godís Word from that of the dedicated Christians
who translated the King James Version! We repeat their motives:
But among all our joys, there was no one that more
filled our hearts, than the blessed continuance of the preaching of
Godís sacred word among us; which is that inestimable treasure which
excelleth all the riches of the earth; because the fruit thereof
extendeth itself, not only to the time spent in this transitory world,
but directeth and disposeth men unto that eternal happiness which is
above in heaven.
As with a number of new translations, the scholars
employed in preparing The Revised English Bible included Roman
Catholics. Their faith in Godís Word is seriously compromised by their
conviction that church tradition and papal pronouncements supersede the
precepts of Scripture. We can scarcely anticipate a Spirit-filled
translation from such deluded men.
Furthermore, The Revised English Bible, the
translation of which was directed by Professor W.E. McHardy, professor
emeritus of Hebrew at Oxford University, has had the "benefit" of
secular input, for
McHardy called on poets, novelists, even typists to
provide advice on readability. Time, October 9, 1989
Such contributors, even when confined to the
expression of opinion on readability, could scarcely be expected to add
to the accuracy or sacredness of the task.
Like The New English Bible, The Revised
English Bible is based upon the corrupted New Testament Greek
manuscripts, thus giving the translation a major handicap from its very
As with a number of other modern translations, The
Revised English Bible contains numbers of passages where the
"translation" completely ignores the original to serve the biases of the
translators. This procedure is most dangerous, for it gives license to
contradict Godís precious Word. It can be seen in the foolish effort to
remove "sexist" words from the new translation. Two illustrations are
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay
down his life for his friends. John 15:13, KJV
. . . that someone should lay down his life for his
friends. John 15:13, REB
Even in the corrupted manuscripts the Greek word used
in this verse is man, not someone. But it is typical of
the absurdity of such removal of sexist" words that the translators
still felt compelled to use the masculine gender pronoun his,
twice in this clause, effectively negating the aim of the mistranslation
of the masculine gender noun.
We cite a second example of this sort of absurdity
from the Old Testament.
What is man, that thou art mindful of him? Psalm
Here the Hebrew noun is man, as correctly
translated above. The Revised English Version translators chose to
ignore the true Hebrew word and to substitute two of their own devising,
but once more they were unable to eliminate the masculine gender
What is frail mortal, that thou should be mindful
of him? Psalm 8:4, REB
While such freedom of translation may seem
inconsequential at first sight, the astute student of Godís Word will
perceive that it usurps a liberty which will not be confined to the
elimination of "sexist" nouns at the whim of the translator, but will
also permit freedom to make even more serious alterations to Godís Holy
Word when the original does not accord with the translatorís biases.
Nevertheless not all is defective in this new
translation. Few users of The New English Bible recognize that
when The New English Bible was compiled, it was
fashionable among some scholars to depart from the preserved texts of
the Old Testament in favor of readings based on nonbiblical writings.
Time, October 9, 1989
Fortunately, The Revised English Bible has reversed
this faulty trend, for
since then [since the 1950s and 1960s], newly
discovered manuscripts have given increased confidence in the
traditional Masoretic Hebrew text. Ibid.
It is this Masoretic Hebrew Text which was used by
the translators of the King James Version almost 400 years ago. Today
many scholars make false claims that influence translators. They cast
doubt on the reliability of the pure manuscripts. These claims from the
pens of renowned "authorities" have proved convincing to many laymen.
But what we see illustrated in respect to the Masoretic Text of the Old
Testament is, we believe, equally true of the Textus Receptus
Greek of the New Testament.
In the 1950s many "experts" pontificated, and their
views were accepted to such a degree that the translators of The New
English Bible at times preferred to rely upon nonbiblical writings as
being more authoritative than the Masoretic Text. With the passage of
time, discovery of further evidence has disclosed the fallacy of the
conclusion of the "experts" a mere twenty years ago. The readers of
Godís Word will demonstrate proper prudence by ignoring the fanciful
claims of the large majority of present-day Bible scholars, for they
have proved to be unsafe guides in the past.