Home ] Up ] The Controversy ] Online Books ] Study the Word! ] GOD's Health Laws ] Religious Liberty ] Links ]


Chapter 35

The New Jerusalem Bible


The original Jerusalem Bible was published in 1966. It was produced by Roman Catholic scholarship. Yet within three years the Anglican Church authorized its use for services within the Church of England. This was

the first Roman Catholic translation to be approved for Anglican use since the Reformation. The New Jerusalem Bible, Article No. 73 of the Trinitarian Bible Society, 3

The significant characteristic of this original Jerusalem Bible was that it was freely sprinkled with notes, many of which supported Roman Catholic doctrine. The revision known as The New Jerusalem Bible, published in 1985, reduced the number of Roman Catholic notes but did not, by any means, meet the perception of one reviewer who claimed to have found

the elimination of any pro-Catholic bias. The Times, London, October 4, 1985, quoted in ibid.

The new translation further introduced notes conforming to the concepts of higher critics. Let us examine a number of these as reported by the Trinitarian Bible Society.

Matthew 8:28: Where Matthew refers to two demon-possessed persons, and only one is referred to in Mark and Luke, the NJB comments that "the doubling of persons appears to be characteristic of Matthew’s style," with the implication that Matthew’s additional narrative detail is simply a result of literary invention.

Matthew 14:13ff: Concerning Matthew’s separate record of the Feeding of the Five Thousand and the Feeding of the Four Thousand, the NJB remarks that "this duplication, certainly very ancient, presents the same incident according to two different traditions." A similar note appears at Luke 9:10. The suggestion here is that the gospel account of two separate miracles is unhistorical, and that Christ never actually spoke the words which are attributed to Him at Matthew 16:9-10, referring to these miracles as separate events.

Matthew 17:27: The NJB comments that "this miraculous find of a precious object in a fish’s mouth, which is not essential to the episode, has several parallels in Jewish and Greek folklore," implying that this event did not actually take place, but was derived from popular legend.

Matthew 19:9: Regarding Jesus’ teaching on divorce, the NJB suggests that probably "one of the last editors of Matthew" added the exceptive clause (on fornication) in response to a rabbinic problem, so that "in this case we would have here an ecclesiastical decision of temporary and local application." The implication here is that Matthew’s account interweaves the teaching of the early church with the teaching of Jesus, attributing to Jesus some words which He did not speak.

Matthew 26:68: The NJB comments that "Matthew’s editing is awkward," inviting the conclusion that Matthew’s presentation of his account was imperfect.

Mark 2:27: Regarding Jesus’ teaching that the sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath, the NJB states that "this verse, lacking in Matthew and Luke, must have been added by Mark when the new spirit of Christianity had already reduced the importance of the sabbath obligation," with the implication that Jesus did not actually say the words which Mark attributes to Him.

Luke 1:46: On the Magnificat, the NJB notes that "Luke must have found this canticle in the circles of the ‘poor,’ where it was perhaps attributed to the Daughters of Zion. He found it suitable to bring into his prose narrative and put on the lips of Mary," thus suggesting that Mary did not use the words which Luke records her as saying.

Luke 1:67: On the Benedictus, the NJB similarly notes that "like the Magnificat, this canticle is a poem which Luke has drawn from elsewhere to put on Zechariah’s lips," suggesting that Zechariah did not actually use those words.

Luke 2:29: On the Nunc Dimittis, the NJB this time notes that "unlike the Magnificat and Benedictus this canticle seems to have been written by Luke himself, using especially texts from Isaiah," implying that Luke’s account of Simeon’s words was simply fictitious.

Luke 9:32: On the account of the Transfiguration, the NJB suggests that the "irresistible sleep of the disciples, occurring only in Luke, recalls that of Gethsemane, which is more natural and from which it could be derived," meaning that this part of Luke’s account of the Transfiguration is unhistorical.

Luke 22:63: Concerning the details of the men who mocked Jesus, the NJB declares that "on all these points Luke’s account may well be more historical than those of Matthew and Mark."

Acts 1:19: The NJB comments that in this account the manner of Judas’ death "mirrors the death of many a criminal in folk legends," implying that the recorded details in Acts were not literally true. Ibid., 5-6

It must be understood that Rome is well served by casting doubt upon Scripture, for it reinforces its claim that the source of faith is "the one true church."

That The New Jerusalem Bible failed to rid itself of all Roman Catholic bias can be readily detected. In its note on Matthew 16:19 The New Jerusalem Bible states:

Peter has the keys. It is his function, therefore, to open or close to all who would come to the kingdom of Heaven through the Christian community. . . . Of the household of God Peter is the controller. . . . In that capacity he is to exercise the disciplinary power of admitting or excluding those he thinks fit; he will also, in his administration of the community, make necessary doctrinal and juridical decisions. The verdicts he delivers and the pronouncements he makes will be ratified by God in heaven. Catholic exegetes maintain that these enduring promises hold good, not only for Peter himself but also for Peter’s successors. This inference, not explicitly drawn in the text, is considered legitimate. Ibid., 7

Roman Catholic Mariology is freely supported in the Bible notes. For example, The New Jerusalem Bible, in commenting upon John 19:26-27, claims that Christ’s dying words concerning His mother were

a declaration that Mary, the new Eve, is the spiritual mother of all the faithful.

This assertion is also supported in the note concerning John 2:4. This note claims that Mary is

the new Eve, "mother of the living."

This edition further claims that Mary plays an important role in salvation. In the note related to Luke 2:34, it is stated that

As the true Daughter of Zion, Mary will hear the sorrowful destiny of her race. With her Son she will be at the centre of this contradiction, where secret thoughts will be laid bare, for or against Jesus.

Mary’s perpetual virginity is asserted, contrary to biblical evidence. In the note on Matthew 1:25, The New Jerusalem Bible admits that Mary’s perpetual virginity is not proved by the verse, but nevertheless asserts that this false doctrine is "assured by the remainder of the Gospel and by the tradition of the Church."

The text in question states:

And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS. Matthew 1:25, NJB

The very words indicate that Mary’s virginity was not maintained after the birth of Jesus. The New Jerusalem Bible mistranslates this text to overcome this objection by ignoring all reference to Jesus as her firstborn.

He had not had intercourse with her when she gave birth. Matthew 1:25, NJB

Where Scripture refers to Jesus’ brothers and sisters (Matthew 12:46-47, 13:55-56; Mark 3:31-32, 6:3; Luke 8:19-20; John 12:12, 7:3; Acts 1:14; Galatians 1:19), The New Jerusalem Bible in some notes dismisses the relationship as merely that of cousins.

The notes also uphold the blasphemy of the Mass commenting upon Genesis 14:18 where Melchizedek offered bread and wine, the relevant note claims this act to be

an image of the Eucharist and even a foreshadowing of the Eucharistic sacrifice.

In a note on Matthew 19:12 which states, in the KJV,

For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.,

the editors of The New Jerusalem Bible conclude, without justification, that

Christ invites to perpetual continence as an expression of total consecration to the kingdom of God.

Such a viewpoint upholds the false doctrine of priestly celibacy.

In December 1985, Russell and his wife, Enid, observed a papal audience in the Vatican. At the conclusion, Pope John Paul II bestowed "absolution" for all sins upon all present and even the relatives of those present. Such sacrilege is staggering. Yet this dogma of priestly absolution is implied in the note on Matthew 18:18 which states:

One of the powers [to forgive sins] conferred on Peter is here conferred also on the community.

While this is a modification of the note in the original Jerusalem Bible, which commented

One of the powers conferred on Peter is here conferred on the Church’s ministers, to whom this discourse is primarily addressed.,

it still removes from Christ the sole right to absolve our sins and in practice permits priests to usurp Christ’s power.

The sacrament of extreme unction, the sacrament by which dying people are promised by the Roman Catholic Church final remission of sins, is upheld in the note in respect of James 5:14 which states that in the verse

the Church has seen the earliest form of the sacrament of Anointing the Sick.1

The damnable doctrine of purgatory which has terrified many devoted Roman Catholics and enriched their church, as desperate relatives have sacrificed to have loved ones relieved of the supposed punishment of purgatory through Masses and offerings, also is upheld in a note, in this case related to 1 Corinthians 3:15. This note concedes that

Purgatory is not directly envisaged here, but this text is one of those on the basis of which the Church has made this explicit doctrine.

The Apocrypha is included in this Roman Catholic Bible, and the note on 2 Maccabees 12:44-45 claims that

the text expresses the conviction that prayer and expiatory sacrifice are efficacious for the remission of sins for the dead.

Yet another false doctrine, that of original sin and its removal by christening, is upheld. In a note on 1 Peter 3:21, it is asserted that

the baptism by which a person is reborn can have no limits to its efficacy.

The note related to Romans 6:12 records that

baptism has destroyed human sin.

It has been pointed out that The New Jerusalem Bible contains some significant doctrinal errors.

Some errors of translation in the NJB have a definite doctrinal significance. One example is found in the treatment of the subject of temptation. In the Lord’s Prayer, "lead us not into temptation" becomes "do not put us to the test" (Matthew 6:13). At Mark 14:39, "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation" becomes "Stay awake and pray not to be put to the test." Similarly at James 1:13, in the NJB, we are told that God "does not put anybody to the test." Yet at Genesis 22:1 we are told in the NJB that "God put Abraham to the test," and at James 1:2 that "the testing of your faith produces perseverance." The Scriptures teach that, while God does not tempt people, He does indeed test their faith, and faith is thereby strengthened. This series of mistranslations is likely to lead people to misunderstand this important truth, and those who use the NJB form of the Lord’s Prayer will find themselves praying for something which is contrary to God’s purpose. The Trinitarian Bible Society, Article No. 73, The New Jerusalem Bible, 4

Of course, it does not require emphasis to record that this Bible relies upon the corrupted Greek manuscripts. Thus it is an unsafe Bible made even more dangerous by the liberal use of the notes designed to bias the student of God’s Word against truth.



Back ] Up ] Next ]