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Faith OF the Son of God, and the world lies in the hands of the evil one?

I’m no nitpicker when it comes to certain things, especially Bible translations. I love the colour of the translations and the different take on things.

However, I’m becoming more and more convinced that a literal translation of the Bible is probably the most helpful kind of Bible to have as your ‘main’ Bible, and you can use the other translations just to get a different angle. The King James is actually a literal translation, and I’m finding it’s a rather good one at that!

Let’s look at two examples. Firstly, check this scripture in 1 John 5:19 in the NIV :

“We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.”

Ok, so this tells me that the world is in the control of the evil one… but this doesn’t line up with the rest of what the Bible is saying about the evil one.

See it here in the authorized King James

 “And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.”

Whoa… am I the only guy who sees a HUGE difference here? Let’s see another literal translation (the Young’s literal translation) to check it out :

“we have known that of God we are, and the whole world in the evil doth lie;”

Still, this isn’t saying that the world is under the control of the evil one!

What a terrible mistake to make! When I spotted this I was pretty disgusted with the NIV. For the first time in my life, I’m on the verge of being a purist in this area! This kind of mistake, IMO, is really inexcusable.

The NIV and most modern translations are translated dynamically and literally. ie, word for word and idea for idea. When the sentence structure won’t make sense (translating it word for word) they translate idea for idea. But, here we see two translations advocating opposed ideas. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Here’s another, check this out:

Gal 2:16 (NIV)

“know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.”

Gal 2:16 (KJV) 

“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”

Sheepers, can you spot the difference?? The faith OF Christ in the KJV and faith IN Christ in the NIV.

Actually, I have to say that the KJV reads easier here. The NIV seems somewhat confused. The sentence structure doesn’t make sense to me (too many ‘ins’)

I brought this ‘of and in’ issue to my friend Shaun Mackay, and it appears there is somewhat of a debate within Christian scholarship whether it should be rendered ‘of’ or ‘in.’ ‘In’ has won the day in most modern translations (including the New King James) but I’m still not decided on this. I think the ‘faith OF Christ’ may carry some merit when it comes to living a life of faith and miracles etc. Ie, I believe in Christ, and he fills me with his faith to perform miracles (the same faith he had when he was on the earth.) I think I may be onto something, but also I need to be careful here. But listen to what the KJV is saying here : we’re justified on the basis of Christ’s faith. Even we have believed IN Christ, to be justified by the faith OF Christ. This helps to see why ‘faith’ can’t really be classified as a ‘work.’

Am I the only one who sees a sharp difference here? Perhaps, if modern translators would AT LEAST put a footnote in their Bibles that it COULD be translated OF, we would all be in a better place to understand the gospel a little more correctly.

So? I’ve downloaded pocket E-sword for my PDA and am going to use the KJV from now on in my studies. Pocket e-sword also helps me do comparative reading without needing to get all my Bibles out. This will be incredibly interesting for me, let’s see if the KJV of theology produces more miracles, fruit and healings :) (Well, to be sure, only the Spirit can produce all that but let’s see if the KJV helps to renew my mind a little better at least!) Especially in the light of absolute, free, unconditional grace! This gospel is awesome, man.

Do some comparative studies of your own at www.biblegateway.com.

About Ryan Peter


Ryan Peter is a writer, journalist and ghostwriter from Johannesburg, South Africa. He writes fantasy, sci-fi, inspirational fiction, and on faith. Ryan is also part of the New Covenant Ministries International (NCMI) translocal team.

12 replies
  1. YouKnowWho
    YouKnowWho says:

    In some cases it might just be simple semantics, but you do have a point that a message can be misinterpreted if it was not translated directly. Interesting…

    Reply
  2. CovenantBride
    CovenantBride says:

    the faith of Jesus christ is the faith that is given to us by the Father…

    faith comes by hearing…
    by grace we are saved thru faith…

    sayin faith in Jesus Christ can mean tht we have faith which we can put in Jesus Christ or in somethin/someone else; as tho faith is ours to control, inherent in the human and not from the Father…

    theres a lotta problems wit the NIV…however, i find it really ridiculous all the poetic/flowery language of the KJV which was definitly of man and not of God; and also wit the declaration of God’s Word bein under the rule of King James…unless anyone believe Jesus said thee and thou and didst…so when i post KJV passages, i change those words to modern, (didst to did, knowest to know…etc) not tampering at all wit the verse…

    we can thank God that He inspired His Word to be written (Scripture) and no man can know it apart from the Holy Spirit which is given only by Jesus Christ; whatever flaws be in the writing, its the Holy Spirit that leads us into all truth, and He isnt bound by grammar or language…and we can thank God that, while in former times the Lord spoke to us by the prophets, now He speak to us by His Son, Jesus Christ…be bless… -g-

    Reply
  3. Natalie R
    Natalie R says:

    Personally do prefer the KJV – I can’t say it is the “correct” version I don’t believe I am qualified enough to make such a declaration – but the bible that decided it for me was the TNIV (Christmas Gift!).

    This is just one example I have extracted from the net:
    Hebrews 12:7
    NIV says “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?”
    TNIV translates “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their parents?”
    KJV : “If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?”

    KJV for me thank you very much – I am in no way offended by the male references as a female. I now to some degree understand the cultural times the bible was written in – Son’s where IMPORTANT and for me this scripture and scriptures like these just reinforce the fact that God thinks me important (of course it is my personal interpretation).

    I wish someone had told me a long time ago to learn some Greek – perhaps it would have assisted.

    I am digressing so my conclusion for now is that I will have to agree with the previous writer:

    “we can thank God that He inspired His Word to be written (Scripture) and no man can know it apart from the Holy Spirit which is given only by Jesus Christ; whatever flaws be in the writing, its the Holy Spirit that leads us into all truth, and He isnt bound by grammar or language…and we can thank God that, while in former times the Lord spoke to us by the prophets, now He speak to us by His Son, Jesus Christ…be bless…”

    I wonder what my view will be when I am blessed with children one day and have to instruct them from the Word!

    Reply
  4. Kim
    Kim says:

    Natalie, I am so glad you have chosen to use the KJV. It is the perfect Word of God in our english language. No mistakes, no mistranslations (see the next paragraph for how we can KNOW that this is true). And did you know that the KJV is the ONLY version that is NOT copyrighted?? You can quote it, print it, use it all you want to and you don’t have to pay anybody to do it!! Check it out on the internet – it is public domain! The new “versions” say that they are easier to read and understand so everyone will run out and buy one. Then when another one comes out people run out to buy it because they still don’t understand it. We want an easy way to understand God’s Word when it is as you said, the Holy Ghost (which by the way is removed from EVERY version except the KJV – nope, you cannot find “Holy Ghost” in any of them Holy Spirit is in there but not Holy Ghost) that leads us to the understanding of His Word. 1 Corinthians 2:13 “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”

    God promised to preserve His Word so we shouldn’t think that we can’t have the perfect Word of God today, that parts of it were lost somewhere down through the years. It wasn’t up to man to preserve it – it was up to God! “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” Matthew 24:35 ~ “Forever, Oh Lord, Thy word is settled in heaven.” Pslam 119:89 ~ “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” Isaiah 40:8 ~ “Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.” Psalm 119:160 There are many more passages that tell us that God’s Word will always be… forever! He even promises that it will be for all generations. And for centuries Satan has been trying to stop Him from fulfilling His promise. But each generation has always had His Word – I didn’t say it, God did!

    The new “versions” of the Bible are another of Satan’s attempts to make God a liar and make His Word cease to be. You see every WORD of the Lord is important. Proverbs 30:5 says
    “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.” I could give you many many more references that tell us that each and every WORD is important. God did not use fillers or waste words. There are hundreds and hundreds of very important words from God that the new “versions” remove. The post from covenantbride does not even warrant a comment! But as to the flowery words she speaks of, she better be careful! There is a reason they were used. Amos warned us that this day was coming in Amos 8:11 “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD” Because everyone THINKS they have God’s Word, there is really a famine because God’s true Word is being pushed aside. How long since you heard a preacher use a KJV? Think about it!

    Here is a passage that just kills me everytime I see how satan perverts it in the new “versions”… Phillipians 2:5 “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

    6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

    7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:”

    Now let’s look at v. 6 in the NIV “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped”

    I can hardly make myself type that. You mean to tell me that Jesus – God’s Son – did not consider equality with God something HE could grasp????

    If for NO OTHER reason, that passage ought to make you throw that thing in the trash but there are thousands more!

    I hope that someday when you have children you will instruct them in the Truth. You will never regret it! What is truth? Look up John 17:17 and see what Jesus said.

    III John 4

    Reply
  5. Richard Burgess
    Richard Burgess says:

    Paul is his opening up of the gospel in Romans begins by saying that it is “from faith to/for faith.” (Rom. 1:17). What does he mean by that? He means that it starts somewhere else – with Jesus, it is from the faith of Jesus to ours. Now in most of our modern bibles that would not be obvious because they always translate it as if every reference is to our faith in him, and if we do that only one understanding is allowed.

    In the King James/Authorised Version and the NET Bible (a new translation) it also speaks of the faith of Jesus:

    “We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by THE FAITH/FAITHFULNESS OF JESUS CHRIST, even we HAVE BELIEVED IN JESUS CHRIST, that we might be justified by THE FAITH/FAITHFULLNESS OF CHRIST, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. … I live by the FAITH/FAITHFULNESS of the Son of God” (Gal. 2:15 16). See also in the KJV or on the NET Bible (online): Romans 3:21, 22; Gal. 3:22; Phil. 3:9; Ephesians 3:11, 12. Reading “faith of” in each of these passages makes adifference.

    What does this mean? Humanity was meant to live by faith in God, it has failed miserably. We call it the Fall. BUT God in his love has sent Jesus in flesh just like our own to live the life that we should have lived of faith/faithfulness before God.

    Jesus lived out a life of faith in real flesh, the stuff we are made of – “the unassumed is the unredeemed.” He assumes our flesh and so redeems not only our will, but thoughts and emotions – our whole estrangement and humanity! Hallelujah!

    Our faith then is a derived faith, it comes as a result of the faith/faithfulness of Jesus, and therefore our justification is conditioned upon Christ’s faith not on ours – our faith itself does not justify us, but Christ in whom we have placed our faith. It is therefore Christ-centred rather than believer-centred.

    Reply
  6. lisa truitt
    lisa truitt says:

    My husband is a greek scholar. Have you looked at 1 John 5:19 in a greek interlinear? The words “the evil one” in an english translation are just “the evil” in greek. In the interlinear it says the whole world lieth in the the evil. I am not a greek scholar, but what I can remember from what my husband showed me is that the greek “the evil” means the evil one. It is a certain greek form in which the word one, as in the evil one can be properly supplied because that it is the way these particular words used in this particular grammatical form mean. In other words, it is talking about a person, not just evil.

    I must say that I totally disagree with the person above that said that it is primarily the Holy Spirit that shows us what the bible is really saying. The bible says to be a workman in God’s word, rightly dividing it. While the Holy Spirit is assuredly involved in that, language, which is logical and follows rules is how we communicate and how God communicated with us in His Word. If we are sloppy in our communications with one another, there is all kinds of confusion and we are not understood. Certainly, the Holy Spirit guides us and gives us insight, but He is not going to replace the work that we must do. He is not going to give us by osmosis as a regular rule the definitions of the words He is using. That requires study. He is not going to download everything straight to us, with no work on our part. He will work with us, but He will not let us be lazy, and not be diligent to rightly divide His word, and just cause all the wisdom and knowledge that comes from obeying this command to happen easily by receiving it from the Holy Spirit.

    Also, I would contend that the idea that translating this verse that the whole world is in the power, or control of the evil one, contradicts the rest of the bible, is false. When the Devil tempted Jesus, he made it clear that the kingdoms of the world were his, as they had been given to him, and he had the power to give them to whom he chose. I believe that people recoil at 1 John 5:19 because it contradicts Calvinism, which teaches that God is in control. But I believe, from my many years of indepth study of the bible, that Calvinism is wrong. Many verses clearly teach that in this age, the Devil has great power and control. The only way to believe that God is in control is to believe that He is causing the Devil to commit the evil that he commits. Unless God is doing the evil, which the bible says He cannot, as it says that He cannot sin, or cause, i.e. tempt anyone to sin, then He cannot be in control, in the way that the more extreme degrees of Calvinism teach. Otherwise God must be evil. He must be the instigator of everything He says He is not, and that He says is an abomination, and exhorts people NOT TO DO. Also telling people not to do these things would be ridiculous, as they would have no way of complying, because gosh, God is in control of it all anyway! The whole thing is very nonsensical. God is powerful, and He is on our side, and He is superior and will untimately win and return things to the order and paradise that once was, but He is certainly not in control of much of what goes on in the world at this point in time. He is powerful, and does intervene when His people pray in faith. That is why it says that greater is He who is in us, than he that is in the world.

    Reply
  7. Joel
    Joel says:

    Very briefly and to the point…I am convinced that the Church by in large does NOT see what God has ached to make known for centuries – for ages.
    This is simply…”Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
    Paul had the revelation…”I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by the faith OF the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
    (I am at work, and I apologize for any misuse of grammar or punctuation.)
    There is a HUGE difference in the faith OF the Son of God…and the faith IN the Son of God. I had faith IN the Son of God and how He gave Himself for me on the Cross to pay for my sins in His own blood. But I have the faith OF the Son of God, since I believewhat scripture says repeatedly in Paul’s letters and elsewhere…that I am dead and my life is hid with Christ in God. it is no longer me

    Reply
    • Helen
      Helen says:

      Love it! Have you heard about the Mirror Translation by Francois du Toit? Free online. He’s got the same ache in his heart to make the mystery of the ages known. Living our lives out by the faith of God vs. faith in God releases us to live in freedom and joy rather than under the law (striving, works, religion, etc.).

      Reply

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