The following review of the Revised Standard Version appeared in Bibliotheca Sacra Volume 110 (Jan. 1953) pp. 50-66.

A Critique of the Revised Standard Version

Editor's note: This symposium is a brief expression of criticism of the Revised Standard Version edited by Dr. C. F. Lincoln and prepared by several members of the Faculty of Dallas Theological Seminary, with the advice and counsel of the entire Faculty.

General Considerations

C. P. Lincoln, A.M., Th.D.

There are two very obvious but nevertheless weighty reasons for condemning this version as an unreliable and unacceptable translation for the reverent Bible-loving Christian. First the Revision Committee, which did the actual work of translation, was composed largely of scholars who hold definitely heretical views such as cannot be countenanced by true conservative Christians and students and it is evident that the personal views of these men have been introduced into the text of this new translation. Second, the sponsoring organization and copyright owner, the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. (which absorbed the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America) has, since 1908, proved to be unbiblical in its objectives, socialistic in its aims and destructively modernistic in its doctrine. To this organization through its Division of Christian Education is committed the propaganda for the sale and distribution of the "New Bible." True Christians know too well the character of this sponsoring, propagandizing organization to approve it as a trustworthy guide in determining and safeguarding the text of Holy Scripture.

I. Liberal Theology of the Revision Committee

It is well established that the membership of the Revision Committee which produced this translation belongs to the liberal school of interpretation with very few exceptions. This is acknowledged without question even by those who favor or defend the new Version. If it were necessary, this could be established by quotations from the writings and pronouncements of most (if not all) of the Committee.

It is not claimed that each member of the Committee holds to each of the errors in the following list. This may or may not be true, but it is affirmed that on the basis of their books, magazine articles and known declarations the following is a correct, composite picture of the liberal views of the Committee. They depart from the true doctrine in:

(1) The denial of the verbal, plenary inspiration of the original Scriptures of the Old and the New Testaments.

(2) The denial of the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus.

(3) The refusal to concede the full deity of Jesus Christ.

(4) The questioning of the true Messianic character of the Old Testament prophecies and Psalms.

(5) The contradiction of the truth of the divine Trinity.

(6) The refusal to accept the fact that the religion practiced by Israel in Old Testament times is a revelation from the one true God.

(7) The acceptance of the critical hypothesis as to the origin of the Old Testament writings.

(8) The denial of the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch, the unity of Isaiah, the historicity of Job and Jonah, and the acceptance of other features of modern criticism.

(9) The questioning of the authenticity of the Gospel of John and of the Synoptics, the Pauline authorship of some of his known epistles, the conservative dates of the writing of certain of the New Testament and Old Testament books, and kindred denials common to the higher critical school.

Some have taken the position that a group of men holding such views on the above-mentioned vital issues as well as maintaining other destructive critical attitudes can nevertheless produce an unbiased English text "containing no changes in doctrine or fundamental concepts," because they have translated objectively without introducing into the work any of their personal views. All experience shows that such a theory is completely illusory and that true objectivity is never attainable under such circumstances. In fact, one who has taken a sympathetic stand toward the Revised Standard Version has said: "When a Greek word or construction has two or more possible meanings, a translator cannot avoid being an 'interpreter' when he chooses one meaning and rejects the other." Many cases of this kind appear in the Revised Standard Version, some of which are to be cited later in the article. Altogether too frequently the meaning chosen by the Committee represents the liberal view and unquestionably deviates from the correct translation, which in most cases is the one found in the American Standard Version or the King James Authorized Version.

The inescapable conclusion, then, is that in this version a group of liberal Committeemen has produced a translation which frequently and at most vital points undermines conservative Christian truth. The use of this version therefore should be limited to comparative and critical private study by discerning students only, and it should be referred to with the same reservation and precaution that one uses in consulting other liberal versions and religious works.

II. Objections to the Sponsorship of the Version

This version is unreliable and unacceptable, not only because of the doctrinal position and method of translation of those who actually produced it, but also because of the known anti-conservative views and activities of its sponsor and copyright owner, the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America.

The NCCC is conspicuously undemocratic. The Federal Council of Churches in America which the NCCC succeeded gained an unenviable reputation for arbitrariness in the eyes of conservatives during the forty years of its existence. It has practically always been dominated by the liberal element in church leadership. It is autocratic to an objectionable degree. It arrogates to itself full representation of all individual and lay members of all its affiliated denominational bodies regardless of how that membership was obtained or established and how that was subsequently maintained. Therefore sizeable minorities are practically ignored once ecclesiastico-political juggling has maneuvered a denomination into membership in the NCCC.

The above indictment is determined from the methods followed by the FCCC and the NCCC over a period of many years and the facts are well known by all who are familiar with the practices of the organizations. It is borne out anew by the way in which the NCCC has proceeded with regard to the production and publication of the Revised Standard Version:

(1) The selection of the personnel of the Revision Committee shows clearly the doctrinal bias of the Council and its decidedly modernistic position. Most of the committeemen are not true conservatives, much less are they fundamentalists.

(2) The Council has copyrighted this translation and placed the care of the text of this revision in the hands of their radical modernistic Bible committee. The exclusive publication rights of this version have been given to Thomas Nelson and Sons. The purpose to shut out any conservative suggestions as to the betterment of this translation is evident by the fact that 80 changes are reported to have been made in the New Testament English text since it was first published in 1946, but not one of the improved readings suggested in conservative reviews from 1946 to 1951 was included in the changes. It is evident that such a radical stand will always be taken against any conservative betterment of the text.

(3) To forestall any early criticism by conservatives of the translation, the Council denied advance copies of the manuscript to outsiders though the completed copy was altogether ready more than a year previous to the publication date of September 30, 1952. However, lengthy reviews were prepared and published by the translators themselves, and by their friends and associates commending in glowing terms their own work as the product of the "thirty-two foremost Biblical scholars in America."

(4) It has been declared on good authority that upwards of $500,000.00 was spent to promote the advertisement and sale of the book. This huge financial venture on the part of the copyright-holding Council and the publishers constitutes a monopolizing commercial scheme which will enrich the NCCC and enable it to carry on more energetically its socializing-gospel effort.

(5) In keeping with its claim of being the full representative of Protestantism and following its practice of disregard for minorities, the NCCC carefully prepared through its widespread local committees more than 3,000 public demonstrations in which this version was declared to be "the most important publication of 1952," "a version correcting over 5,000 errors," "the greatest Bible news in 341 years," etc. So a spectacle was presented of millions of people enthusiastically hailing a book which they had not yet seen nor read, and which mainly radical opponents of the great fundamental truths of Scripture had produced and propagandized.

The Revised Standard Old Testament

Merrill F. Unger, Th.D., Ph.D.

There are two fatal weaknesses in the Revised Standard Version of the Old Testament which inevitably make it unacceptable to evangelical Christians. The first is its attitude toward the reliability of the Hebrew or Massoretic Text of the Old Testament; the second is its method of translating that Text.

Evangelical Christians have always believed not only that the original autographic Scriptures of the Old Testament given in Hebrew and Aramaic were inerrantly inspired and recorded, but also that through divine providence these ancient Oracles were transmitted with an exceedingly high-degree of accuracy. Although the belief in the inerrancy of the original writings of Holy Scripture can never be proved to an unbelieving critic and is necessarily a matter of faith in the internal evidence and claims of the Scriptures themselves (cf. 2 Tim 3:16, 17; 2 Pet 1:20, 21), the providential preservation of Sacred Scripture with an astonishingly high degree of accuracy is a fact recognized by Biblical scholars now more clearly than ever before.

As a result of the diligent labors of the Jewish sopherim throughout the centuries, and particularly the incredible activities of the Jewish scholars called Massoretes who labored in Babylonia and Palestine during the first millennium A.D., the consonantal text of the Hebrew Scriptures has remained virtually unchanged since the destruction of the Jewish State in 70 A.D., and in the centuries preceding this event the tireless output of the ancient Scribes meticulously preserved the ancient writings.

The acceptability of the Authorized Version and American Standard Version of 1901 was largely to be attributed to their high regard for a strict adherence to the ancient Hebrew Text preserved so faithfully by the Massoretes. This high evaluation of the Hebrew Text is notably absent in the Revised Standard Version, and is manifested in such procedures as the rejection of the use of italics to indicate words in the translation not found in the original Hebrew, paraphrastic renderings, and ready emendations with or without the authority of the ancient versions when the Hebrew may or may not be unintelligible. These emendations on the basis of the ancient versions can at best be uncertain, while those without such authority, marked "Cn" (a correction) in the margin, are worthless -- though scholarly -- guesses.

Just as serious as the lowered view of the trustworthiness of the Massoretic Text is the attitude displayed by the Revised Standard Version in translating that Text. In trying to avoid the Charybdis of a theologically biased translation (whether radical or conservative), the Old Testament translation of the Revised Standard Version struck the Scylla of a doctrinally undependable translation. They have naively imagined that in Biblical translation there can be such a thing as "linguistic science" which "knows no theology" and that "those of the most contradictory view can meet on common ground devoid of polemic, agreed that Hebrew words mean such and such, and their inflection and syntactical relations imply this or that." 1

Although this approach contains an element of truth, it also at the same time conceals an extremely subtle and elusive fallacy. The Bible in a very definite sense is a Book of theology, and as such is a spiritual Book which can only be discerned in its meaning spiritually, that is, by the aid of the Holy Spirit (2 Cor 2:14). Accordingly it demands a spiritual equipment and a comprehension of spiritual truth of all who would handle it, whether the simple gospel preacher or the learned critic, whether the devotional expositor or the scientific translator. It is a presumption for the linguist, thoroughly trained in Biblical languages and science, to imagine that knowledge of words and syntax is all that is necessary if he would adequately perform his task of translation. To capture the spirit and portray the thoughts of the inspired writers, he must comprehend their meaning by enablement of the same Holy Spirit that energized them. As a competent translator he is, of course, not acting in the role of a theologian, nor is he to read his theology into his translation; but he must be aware of the theological implications involved in order to know what rendering to choose when the language itself, as it often does, permits more than one rendering. And when the language allows a choice the translator's theology, whether it be conservative or liberal, is bound to influence the choice. If the translator has no theology he is unqualified to make any choice, especially in a doctrinal passage, and to that extent is rendered incompetent no matter what his purely scientific linguistic talents and equipment may be.

Again, a translator is not acting as an expositor, but unless he can grasp the meaning of the passage to be translated his knowledge of the language alone will not be sufficient to assure an acceptable rendering. It is in fact impossible for the translator completely to divorce either theology or exposition from his task. All he can hope is rigidly to hold each in the place of service as aids in producing an accurate rendering, always remembering that these aids indeed are often as necessary to sound translation of a passage as linguistic science is.

Because of a lowered view of the reliability of the Massoretic Text of the Hebrew Bible and the fallacious assumption that an acceptable translation is possible purely on the basis of linguistic science, the translators of the Revised Standard Version represent a radical departure from the standard of doctrinal reliability set by the Authorized and American Standard Versions. In no phase of their work does this dangerous feature appear more plainly than in their rendering of pivotal passages of Messianic import scattered throughout the Old Testament.

In some instances nothing more objectionable is involved than a toning down of a Messianic reference by rejecting the sound procedure of the A.V. in capitalizing such references, clearly attested by the sense of the passage or by New Testament fulfillment and quotation, as e.g. "holy one" instead of "Holy One" (Ps 16:10), and "sun of righteousness ... with healing in its wings" instead of "Sun of righteousness ... with healing in his wings" (Mal 4:2).

In other instances a more serious error is the result of the unwise policy adopted by the translators of retaining the archaic pronoun of the second person for deity, and otherwise employing the modern usage. In Psalm 2:7, for instance, not only do they refuse to capitalize the word "Son" in an obvious Messianic reference but cast a direct slight upon the deity of Messiah by the use of the modern form of the personal pronoun of the second person singular -- "you" instead of archaic "Thou," as if deity were not being addressed: "You are my son" instead of "Thou art [implying deity] my Son" (Ps 2:7; cf. Heb 1:5).

The same dangerous procedure casts aspersion upon the deity of Messiah in what is perhaps the most important attestation of the lordship of Christ in the Old Testament, all of it contained in Psalm 110, the significance of which is attested by its remarkable prominence in the New Testament: "The Lord says to my lord: Sit at my right hand, till I make your enemies your footstool" instead of "The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool" (Ps 110:1; cf. Heb 1:13).

In other passages as e.g. Genesis 49:10, the translators have swung away from the emphatic Messianic reference contained in the Hebrew in favor of weakened paraphrases based on the ancient versions (Septuagint, Syriac, Aquila, and Symmachus). According to this evidence the original form of the Messianic "Shiloh" of the Hebrew Text, and meaning "Peaceful" or "Peace-maker" in agreement with Isaiah 9:6, was supposed to be "sheloh" -- not a proper name of Messiah at all, but she lo equivalent to asher lo, "to whose it is." Such a reading in this passage is not only weak and comparatively unmeaningful, but is without parallel in the Hebrew of the Pentateuch itself. 2

The sound procedure followed both by the Authorized Version and American Revision of 1901 is to take Shiloh as a personal name of Messiah, 3 which is not only the ready meaning of the Hebrew Text, but which stands in the most beautiful harmony with the progress of the same Messianic revelation, as recorded next in order at Numbers 23:24, 24:9, where now Jacob's proclamation of the lion-nature of Judah is applied to the nation and the figure of the sceptre from Israel -- taken verbatim from this Messianic prediction -- is rightly set off with capital letters by the Authorized Version in contrast, of course, to the Revised Standard Version: "There shall come a Star out of Jacob and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel" (Num 24:17).

Again, the important Messianic predictions recorded in Psalm 45 are obscured by the Revised Standard rendering of "you" for "Thou" as if deity were not addressed. The translation of verse 6 (Hebrew, vs. 7 ) "Your divine throne" is especially biased and offensive, inasmuch as the text reads unquestionably as rendered in the A.V. and American Standard "Thy throne, O God" -- ascribing deity to the Messiah, as attested by the New Testament (Heb 1:8) and the ancient versions. Despite the fact that Oriental monarchs and judges were styled "gods" (Ps 82:6; John 10:35), the translators here have resorted to an unpardonable device to avoid a prophecy of Messiah's deity. They make the throne divine, instead of its occupant.

Micah's famous prophecy of Christ's birth in Bethlehem (Mic 5:2) is watered down by the Revised Standard translators to such an extent that Messiah's eternal pre-existence is obscured, if not ruled out, by their depriving the words of the Hebrew Text of their deeper meaning: "...from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days." The A.V. and American Standard Versions alone obviously meet the scope of this passage: "whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting," since the "Child" was born in Bethlehem, but the "Son...given" (Isa 9:6, 7) was "from everlasting."

The translation of the Hebrew word motza'oth "goings forth," referring evidently to the divine activity, by "origin" is precarious since on the divine side Messiah was eternal and without beginning, which limitation however the word "origin" implies. On the other hand, even if the scope of the passage is arbitrarily limited to the human side of Messiah and the words "from of old, from ancient days" are made to refer merely to the antiquity of the Davidic family, a very meaningless thought is indicated, inasmuch as the house of David was not older than any of the other families of Israel and Judah, whose origin also extended back as far as patriarchal times, since the whole nation descended from the twelve sons of Jacob and through them from a common ancestor, Abraham.

With Karl Friedrich Keil of the nineteenth century we repeat a warning much-needed in this present hour, too, concerning the great Messianic passage in Micah: "We must reject in the most unqualified manner the attempts that have been made by the Rabbins in a polemical interest, and by rationalizing commentators from a dread of miracles, to deprive the words of their deeper meaning..." 4

In no passage do the translators of the Revised Standard Version of the Old Testament do more violence to the context of a Messianic prediction and prove more conclusively that linguistic science alone is often not sufficient for a valid rendering than in their translation of 'almah by "young woman" instead of "virgin" in Isaiah 7:14. This rendering shows plainly that they do not regard this passage in Isaiah as involving a prophecy of the miracle of the virgin birth of Christ. Yet when the context is examined nothing short of a tremendous miracle comprising heaven and earth is unequivocally indicated. The unbelieving Ahaz was invited to ask a sign of Jehovah, his God, "in the depth or in the height above" (Isa 7:10). No limit was placed on God's power, or on the extent and magnitude of the sign.

Ahaz's refusal to ask did not abrogate the sign. "The Lord himself" gave the stupendous sign: "Behold the virgin (ha 'almah) shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." To render 'almah by "young woman" requires no miracle whatever, and moreover could never produce "Immanuel -- God with us." This was the great Messianic sign. Failure to recognize the appended non-Messianic sign of verse 16, Isaiah's own small son Shear-Jashub whom he had in his arms (cf. v. 3 ) and who had immediate application to King Ahaz, has obscured the full meaning of the Immanuel prophecy in the minds of many.

One thing is absolutely clear from the context of Isaiah 7. The prophet Isaiah intended an extraordinary miracle when he employed the word 'almah. It was therefore the task of the translators, whether they believed in miracles or not, to register as accurately as possible the meaning and intention of the prophet and not force upon him their own ideas, or deny him an expression of them under the false assumption that 'almah may not mean a virgin.

Clearly in Genesis 24:43 (cf. v. 16 ) 'almah denotes a virgin, and in not one of its other Biblical occurrences is the thought of virginity ruled out (Exod 2:8; Prov 30:19; Ps 68:25; Song 1:3; 6:8 ; 1 Chron 15:20). But why is not the word bethulah, the word alleged by the rabbis to mean a pure virgin (Lev 21:14), used in Isaiah 7:14 instead of 'almah? The point is that in the Prophetic Books the word bethulah does not mean exclusively a virgin (cf. Joel 1:8), and in many instances the Revised Standard Version itself renders the word simply "maidens" (Ps 148:12; Lam 1:4; Zech 9:17, etc.). The rabbis for polemic reasons labored from the use of bethulah in the Pentateuch to make it the sole word for "virgin" as over against the alleged meaning of 'almah, "young woman." But by the prophetic period the word, as words often do, had evidently changed in meaning, so that 'almah became the more normal word for virgin rather than bethulah. For instance, Joel could speak of lamenting like "a bethulah over the husband of her youth" (1:8 ) and Jeremiah could picture Israel (in a state of marriage relationship with Jehovah, from whom she had gone astray) as "the virgin (bethulah) daughter of Israel" (31:4, 21 ; etc.).

The Revised Standard translators evidently were swayed by the unanimity of Jewish Commentaries in interpreting 'almah to mean "young woman," forgetting that controversy rather than scholarship colored Jewish thought on this point. The majority of the committee of the translators, in line with their usual rationalizing treatment of the great Messianic passages in general, inclined toward the same view. As a result "young woman" rather than "virgin" appears in the Text of the Revised Standard Version. But careful conservative scholars, who are not biased against the miraculous, including the deity and virgin birth of Christ, will hesitate to put their imprimatur upon a translation that is doctrinally unreliable and displays in vital passages the unsoundness of modern liberalism.

The Revised Standard New Testament

S. Lewis Johnson, Th.D.

When one approaches the New Testament serious flaws are found. These can be traced to two things: (1) the tendency to paraphrase and (2) a superficial insight into the exegesis of the Greek New Testament. The net result, in spite of certain advantages of the new version, is to curtail seriously the usefulness of it.

As an example of the tendency to paraphrase, one can turn to 1 Corinthians 2:14. This verse is a familiar one, pointing out the inability of the unsaved man to receive spiritual truth. The new version renders the ta tou pneumatos tou theou by "the gifts of the Spirit of God," which is very misleading. In chapters twelve through fourteen the Apostle Paul spends considerable time dealing with spiritual gifts. Spiritual gifts are sovereign abilities given by the Spirit of God, at least one to every believer, for the purpose of edifying the church and glorifying God. The attempt of the translators to paraphrase the ta tou pneumatos tou theou by "the gifts of the Spirit of God" would lead the innocent reader to suppose that this verse is related to the doctrine of spiritual gifts. It, however, has nothing to do with it at all. In the light of the context, if a paraphrase must be found, it would have been much better to render by "the revelations of the Spirit of God" (cf. vv. 9, 10 ). The Authorized Version's "the things of the Spirit of God" is very acceptable and should not have been changed.

The same kind of rendering is found in 2 Corinthians 7:1. In this passage the Revised Standard Version translates the word sarkos by "body," a word which really represents the Greek somatos. The distinction between the two words is often important in the New Testament. Again, one notices the tendency to slur over legitimate distinctions in the Word.

The most glaring flaw of the new version is the woeful lack of exegetical insight into the New Testament on the part of its translators. This, no doubt, is a reflection of the current trend in the majority of the seminaries to de-emphasize the exegesis of the text of the Bible in its original languages. A very good example of this is found in Romans 9:5. It is not within the purpose of this critique to enter into all the details of the exegesis of this verse. The problem from the exegetical standpoint eventually must be solved by a careful study of the context. It is admitted that there are at least four methods of punctuating the Greek text here. One method refers the statement of deity to Christ, two to God the Father, and one leaves the matter undetermined. Moulton is right, however, when he says, "It is exegesis rather than grammar which makes the reference to Christ probable." 5 Two exegetical reasons may be adduced for referring the statement to Christ. In the first place, the reference to the human nature of Christ in the kata sarka would suggest some reference to the divine nature also. If there is, it must be found in the following words. In the second place, the context of the passage suggests a lament rather than the offering of praise to God. Israel has turned from God in spite of large spiritual advantages. How much more appropriate, then, for this to be a reference to the deity of the Messiah! To have rejected one who possess deity makes Israel's rejection of Him the more lamentable. This more appropriately accounts for Paul's "great heaviness and continual sorrow" (v. 2 ). The Authorized Version's rendering is the correct one, and the revisers should not have relegated it to the footnotes. It should be noted here in fairness to the new version that it has clarified the testimony of Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1 to the deity of Christ by the correct application of the Granville Sharp rule regarding the article.

A very palpable error in the version is its failure to translate accurately the Greek word katargeo, particularly in Romans 6:6 and Hebrews 2:14. One of the first lessons that the New Testament student learns in the realm of the vocabulary of the Greek text is the correct meaning of katargeo. It means "to make idle or inactive, to render inoperative," being derived from kata, here a causative, and argos (i.e., a-ergos, "inactive or inoperative"). 6 The old man in Romans 6:6 is not "destroyed," as the new version has it (would that it were!). It has been rendered inoperative, however, through the death of Christ. The error is even clearer in Hebrews 2:14, for the new version states that Satan has been destroyed. If the translators believe that he is, it is possible that they are due for a rude awakening sometime in the future! The verse does not state that Satan has been destroyed. It merely states that he has been rendered inoperative, insofar as the believer is concerned, in the death of Christ. Peter's testimony is in thorough agreement with this (cf. 1 Pet 5:8).

Another serious flaw in the realm of the exegesis of the New Testament is the policy of the new version to refer to Christ by the familiar form of the personal pronoun, "you," and to God by the reverential form, "thou," "thy," etc. The desire of the translators is to render the pronoun in accordance with the understanding of the speaker. The policy is defensible, but the execution has been very poor. In fact, the net effect is to put in question the deity of Christ in certain passages. For example, it is clear that Peter in Matthew 16:16 was given an insight into the true nature of the Son of God, i.e., that He was and is God; for our Lord in verse seventeen replies, "Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven." It is evident that the revelation was one beyond human understanding. The only explanation that satisfies is that Peter was given a revelation of His deity. And yet the new version with its "You are the Christ" says that Peter looks upon Him simply as a man. Just what must be the significance of the "thou mighty city, Babylon!" in Revelation 18:10 is a puzzle.

Thus one comes to the conclusion that, in spite of many admirable features in the version's New Testament, it can never become a reliable guide to the doctrinal teaching of the New Testament. The New Testament of the American Standard Version of 1901 remains the most accurate translation of the New Testament for the careful and accurate seeker after truth.

Summary and Conclusion

J. Ellwood Evans, Th.D.

The preceding discussion has demonstrated that the Revised Standard Version is a translation which can never receive the approval of conservative scholars. The propagandists for the version showed their colors in seeking to obtain the acclaim and approval of the religious leaders before anyone had opportunity actually to examine the work, for they employed the technique of the band-wagon. The attempt seemed to be one of getting so many names behind the version that it would be embarrassing to oppose the majority opinion thus obtained. Just as the Pharisees sought to turn aside potential disciples of Christ by asking if any of their own number had believed on the Lord, so the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. have sought to build up overwhelming approval to make it appear that everybody of substantial reputation favors their vaunted production.

An examination of both the Old Testament and the New Testament of the Revised Standard Version by conservative scholarship reveals that the Version is far from safe or reliable for general use. The version has taken such liberties of a textual nature as to throw it open to serious question.

The Old Testament translation, as it appears in the Revised Standard Version, has taken an attitude toward the reliability of the ancient Massoretic (Hebrew) text which is in distinct contrast to that appearing in both the King James Version and the American Standard Version of 1901. The manner of translation makes it difficult for the average reader to distinguish between translation and paraphrase, as supplied words are not italicized and many variations from the original text are not noted. The version, furthermore, has shown itself to be doctrinally undependable in the way it has handled Messianic references.

Little more can be said in favor of the New Testament, as has been shown by clear examples. Serious flaws are noted in its tendency to paraphrase and in its superficial insight into exegesis. Legitimate distinctions in the New Testament have been slurred over. The accuracy necessary for translation is lacking. Any semblance of consistency in the removal of the archaic "thee" and "thou" was shown to be absent. The testimony of the New Testament to such a cardinal doctrine as the deity of Christ was weakened in vital places.

The continued use, therefore, in public and private of either the King James Version or the American Standard Version of 1901 is still recommended. There is no solid ground for assuming that the Revised Standard Version has supplanted or ever will supplant previous versions. The Scofield Reference Edition of the King James Version is especially recommended, not only for its excellent notes and other helps but because it gives the important corrections in text as found in manuscripts discovered since 1611.

Dallas, Texas

1. William A. Irwin, "Method and Procedure of the Revision" in Preface to the Revised Standard Version of the Old Testament (New York, 1952), p. 14.

2. Cf. C. F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, The Pentateuch, Vol. I (reprint, Grand Rapids, 1949), p. 394.

3. See Keil and Delitzsch, op. cit., pp. 395-98.

4. The Twelve Minor Prophets (reprint, Grand Rapids, 1949), Vol. I, p. 480.

5. James Hope Moulton, A Grammar of New Testament Greek, I, 228.

6. G. Abbott-Smith, A Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament, p. 238.