Many Christians struggle to understand the Bible! They struggle with heavy ‘biblese’ language. Many are still using the four-century-old King James Version (KJV), whose language was already outdated even in 1611. But even for those using the modern versions, heavy theological language is an obstacle. Even worse are the
mistranslations, which introduce contradiction, confusion, and obscurity into the meaning.
John Wycliffe (1382) and William Tyndale (1536) did a remarkable job translating the New Testament. Although the KJV translators depended heavily on Tyndale’s work, they introduced errors into their version and made it conform to high-church Anglo-Catholic views since they were all Anglicans. They did not know what kind
of Greek they were translating and did not have any grammars or lexicons (dictionaries). The chairman of the committee, Archbishop Bancroft, persecuted Puritans in the Anglican Church and Presbyterians, Baptists, and Quakers outside it. The KJV dominated Protestant churches for three centuries and was an obstacle to fresh understandable and unbiased translation. The result is that Christendom is badly divided, not just between Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestants, but even Evangelicals do not agree on major issues, such as
salvation truth, baptism, pacifism, Calvinism, and eternal security.
The New Testament was mostly written in common ‘street’ Greek, so we must translate it into common contemporary English. The problem is that Greek is quite a different kind of language from English. Translators struggle to get exactly the right meaning of all of the words, especially the rare ones. They also struggle to
understand the grammar and the syntax since it is an inflected language with a different verbal system of prefixes, infixes, suffixes, different word order, and many particles not in English. Today we have wonderful grammars, lexicons, and theological dictionaries to help us get the meaning of the original. We also have excellent commentaries based upon the Greek.
This “Resurrection Translation” is the fruit of 67 years of biblical study based upon the insights of the best scholars over the centuries, which have not always been recognized by most translators. Even before I began to study Greek 65 years ago, I became aware of the impact of mistranslation. I got great help from the Charles B.
Williams 1937 translation. Ken Taylor, later to translate the Living Bible, arranged for Moody Press to do a 1950 reprint of Williams. It was so much better that the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association distributed them in crusades. Many translation corrections and clarifications come directly from Williams, who was the first professor of Greek at SW Baptist Seminary, and a student of A. T. Robertson, the author of a 1500 page classic Greek grammar in 1934. I have also gotten great help from the grammar coauthored by Julius R. Mantey, another student of Robertson, which was our text in seminary. Mantey has been called the greatest Greek scholar of the 20thcentury, and New Testament departments in two seminaries are named after him.
This Resurrection Version, like most, is a revision, but instead of being a
revision of one version, over a dozen of the best versions have been regularly consulted while making additional enhancements and corrections from the Greek original, with a hundred other versions checked occasionally. Those listed below are most supportive of my corrections and enhancements. I am especially indebted to Charles B. Williams since his version supports about half of my corrections. Subsequently I got Kenneth Wuest’s expanded version (1961), which corrects far more errors than any other. He was a highly esteemed professor of Greek at
Moody Bible Institute for 29 years and published fifteen books on exegesis of the New Testament. His Golden Nuggets from the Greek column in Moody Monthly and radio program were highly appreciated. Wheaton College gave him an honorary doctorate.
I have also studied many recent books on textual issues, linguistics and translation. I owe a great debt to those who have gone before– the pioneer translators, lexical, grammatical, exegetical scholars, theologians, and commentators, some of whom are mentioned in the dedication page. What amazes me is how little attention
most translation committees pay to the insights of these great men (cf. Translational Discoveries, p. 447).
It is called the “Resurrection New Testament,” because at least eight significant resurrection passages had to be substantially corrected (cf. Introduction for Pastors and Scholars, p. 430). It is noteworthy that in comparing the best versions with each other and with the Greek, no one version was found to have a monopoly
on the best rendering, whether in regard to accuracy, flow, or clarity. Frequently, other places emerged where few versions were satisfying and fresh in-depth research in the Greek was done to fairly represent the meaning. It has become very clear that translation is impossible apart from understanding the meaning of the text. We cannot just translate words but must make sure we have the correct meaning of the words in the context. The appendices at the end are lexical word studies of the most outrageously mistranslated words (p. 437). We have had to resurrect the obscure and buried meanings of over a hundred passages.
The crucial importance of this translation.
There are about 130 NT translations available in English today, of which 100 are on BibleGateway.org. Another thirty are significant. I became aware of the mistranslations through personal research, my professors in seminary and colleagues in Bible college, other Bible translations,
theologies, commentaries, Bible difficulty books, Gospel harmonies, articles in journals, papers presented at conferences, study-Bible notes, and students’ questions (Brief documentation for scholars is given in the
notes).The fact that I taught in many different fields was an advantage since I became more broadly focused than those who principally teach Greek. This translation is more supportive of Christ’s deity, resurrection, return, objective/ subjective salvation, eternal security, human freedom, and clarifies pacifism, baptism, predestination and election, among other doctrinal issues.
It should be made very clear that the inspiration of the Bible is not compromised by this translation, but rather supported. The translator has held to verbal plenary inerrancy of the Bible for over sixty years. Nor is the integrity of the Greek text compromised, since we now have over 150 papyrus manuscripts from the earliest
centuries to support the over 300 ancient parchment manuscripts from the fourth to the ninth centuries.
God’s providential preservation.
I would be remiss if I didn’t give praise to God in all of this for his providential preservation up to this day. I call this translation a miracle, not only because I believe it vastly improves access to God’s truth, but also because He has intervened most significantly at least six times to preserve me from death to get this done. In 1957/58 in Pakistan, I was morbid for forty days in United Christian Hospital with Hepatitis ‘B’ after having had Hepatitis ‘A’ the previous summer. Since the European doctor thought I would die, he released me into the care of some German missionary friends, who offered to give me a better diet. I
immediately began to heal dramatically with them, which I now understand was because of the Vitamin D in the sunshine I drank in daily on their back patio. That summer I climbed Mt. Miranjani (9779 ft) with the students inour Christian student camp.
In 1991, I had a massive heart attack while driving a quarter mile from a hospital. If I had been any farther away or if the emergency room had not had the clot-buster, I would have died from heart damage.
In 1997, mid-level prostate cancer was diagnosed because my cardiologist wrote PSA on the scrip (not his responsibility). This was providential since it was caught in time for surgery to successfully eliminate the threat.
In 2001, alone in the Poconos I passed out and fell flat on my face while walking. I came to with my face bloodied and drove 50 miles to my cardiologist. After a double-bypass, he said it was probable my heart restarted when my chest hit the ground. In 2002, jogging down a deserted beach in Daytona, on seeing my pulse at only 60, I returned to the steps of the pier and passed out at the top when it dropped to 30. If I had continued jogging, I would be dead since no one could have helped me. A pacemaker gave me my health back.
In 2010, after being misdiagnosed with pneumonia three times, I almost died in the hospital until an echocardiogram confirmed my damaged heart was the problem. After my 80th birthday celebration in a cardiac care room, God sent the best pacemaker specialist in Virginia to my room just to cover for my cardiologist, who
was overseas. In five minutes he made the correct diagnosis saying I needed either a heart transplant or a biventricular pacemaker. For six years since he implanted this new technology, I have had incredible health.