Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (James 5:16)

John Ankerberg’s lack of spiritual discernment, integrity, and comprehension skills is astounding, and nowhere is it highlighted more than it is in his treatment of this verse. He, and his co-writer, defend the corruption of the NIV and other modern versions, which have sins in this verse instead of faults.

NIV: “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”

A good number of years ago I witnessed the folly of the modern versions being displayed at Harvard Divinity School where only modern versions are used, and the KJV is hated with a passion. One of the male students living in my dormitory became a feminist sycophant and took predominantly feminist theology courses in order to cozy up with them. He was liked by the feminist lesbians and practicing witches in the dormitory and could be seen with them constantly. He attended a Harvard Divinity service and made the very serious mistake of following a modern perversion of the Bible and confessing his sins in the service. In his case this meant that he alerted a roomful of lesbians, witches, radical feminists, and other forms of apostate, pretend Christians that he had been physically abusive to his ex-wife. Did they forgive him? Of course not. He immediately became a pariah and was declared the enemy of his lesbian and witchcraft practicing dormitory friends, who were present at the service. It was a very short time later that he was accused of an unspecified offense against the same feminists who were his friends up until his confession. Soon a real life version of Arthur Miller’s Crucible was taking place before the eyes of the whole school. The whole dormitory was gathered together and these women cried and wailed about his offense, but refused to name it. A student who lived next to the ringleader heard one of her cohorts tell her “Good job!” after returning to her room. Lesbian professors and other feminist faculty members soon joined in the feeding frenzy. Soon this feminist sycophant was being threatened with expulsion without his offense being named. Due to my own questioning of this fiasco, I was myself the object of behind the back attacks, and even a failed attempt to keep me out of a Ph.D. program (they directed their slander against me in the wrong department). All of this was due to a gentleman’s use of a perverted bible that misled him into thinking that he should confess his sins before men and women, instead of before Christ.

It is well known that the best way to control others is by knowing their secrets. This is a famous method used by secret societies like the Skull and Bones and similar secret societies. In the case of a church, no matter how sincere a congregation may appear to be, they are going to judge you by what is in your past, or it will at least alter their view of you. I don’t suspect that it would mean much to confess to having shoplifted when one was a child, but if ones sin should be having committed armed robbery when one was a impetuous and misguided youth, confessing it might lose that person the trust of his fellows for life. If one is branded a sex-offender by a corrupt system for having sex with a willing 16-year old girl friend when was 18, some of the members of that person’s church may not be forgiving and could even come to use that information against that person. Similarly if one has taken part in homosexuality in one’s youth, but has repented of that sin, it is not imperative that he tell his whole church about it and face the change in the way he is viewed by the members of the church forever. Will the men in the church want that man to join them on a men’s camping trip where a cabin or tent is shared? Some men might have no problem with it, but others might, whether they express it out loud or not. Some former homosexuals may courageously choose to tell the church about their past, and even make a ministry out of it, but those who prefer to keep their former and forgiven sins private, should not be expected to do so by anyone unless that information has direct bearing on those directly involved with that person. Otherwise, these are matters that are between an individual and God. Taking confession beyond this is not only a Catholic perversion of Scripture, as Dr. Riplinger has accurately pointed out, but it takes it a step farther. At least a confession of sin before a priest is to be kept private and not shared with the whole world. Confession before a whole church, which today may mean thousands of people, not counting visitors who are not brethren, cannot possibly remain within the church.

Confessing one’s faults is another issue. When a church member insults or misjudges a brother, he should confess his fault. When one loses his temper, forgets a promise, or similar faults, confession of his fault is incumbent upon him. I myself apologized before a church for insulting most of the members of that church for their poor behavior in a certain matter involving another church member. I felt that confessing this loss of temper as a fault of mine was appropriate when I returned to that church. If anyone failed to forgive me, he must take it up with God (Mark 11:26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.) There is nothing in that experience that should harm me in any way, and it should have benefited me. The fact that many of those people in the church may not have been saved, only visitors to that church, or people who went their separate ways later, does not matter; the information that I gave them could not lead to my future harm. On the other hand, sharing ones deep and darkest secrets with a group that may be only short term, casual, or even future hostile acquaintances is not only unscriptural, but downright foolish, as the Harvard Divinity School student found out the hard way.

I will share a personal sin of my own past, but this is not a confession, only an illustration. When I was a teenager, I sold cotton candy during Mardi Gras. I charged whatever I thought that I could get, which varied from person to person. This is a legitimate business practice and I do not have any reason to feel guilty about that. What I did do that I feel guilty about is that I got carried away for a moment and purposefully gave a young woman less change than she had coming. It was only a couple of dollars, but I felt guilty about it soon afterward. After that unfortunate moment I never repeated the sin. In fact, there were many times that I literally chased people down who rushed off after giving me 21 dollars when they thought they had given me 2 dollars, or similar errors, and no one ever left without the proper change. Nevertheless, I still have the face of that young and attractive black woman in her early twenties perfectly imprinted in my memory (I could almost paint her portrait), and I still feel guilty about it after more than 30 years. There is no way that I could ever repay her for the few dollars that I robbed her of or apologize to her, but it is one of many sins that have been washed clean by the blood of my Lord and Saviour. This is a sin that was between me and God. It is none of the business of any church that I attend, and there is no reason for me to have to share it with anyone else because shortchanging brethren, or anyone else, is not a fault that I possess, and it is as alien to who I am today as bedwetting and training wheels on my bicycle. Again, I am only mentioning this here as an illustration, not a confession. My confession was before God in private many years ago.

While Ankerberg and his co-writer, Weldon, are addressing the issue of confessing “sins” before one another, they might think about confessing the sin of bearing false witness against their neighbor. On page 18 of their book they misquote Gail Riplinger and claim that she “claims, “All Greek texts have the word for faults here-not sins”” on page 145 of New Age Bible Versions. This could be more of the incompetence that is typical of Ankerberg and Weldon, but it is much more likely that it is outright deceit, which appears to be just as typical of both, but of Ankerberg in particular. One unusually incompetent writer might make such an extreme error through stupidity alone, but two authors? This is clearly an act of deceit. What Riplinger actually wrote is that “(Almost all Greek texts have the word for faults here,-not sins.)” [Riplinger, p. 146] This devious misquotation of Riplinger is important for Ankerberg and Weldon to mislead their readers. If they had stated what she really said, they would not be able to expand upon their misquoting of her. They went on by stating that “[s]he then points out that the new versions read, “Confess your sins” and argues or implies that the new versions non only mistranslates the word paraptoma but also support the Catholic sacrament of penance. But she is wrong.” This is another lie. If Riplinger had said that all texts have paraptwma here she would not only have been in error, since Westcott and Hort’s text has amartia, but she would have missed the true problem with the mistranslation. However, nowhere does Riplinger suggest that this was a mistranslation of paraptwma, although it would be if it had been a translation of the Majority Text. It was a translation of the faulty Westcott Hort text that perverts the text by substituting the word amartia for paraptwma.

The Westcott Hort pseudo-text ahs: “exomologeisye oun allhloiv tav amartiav kai proseucesye uper allhlwn opwv iayhte polu iscuei dehsiv dikaiou energoumenh”

Compare this with the TR’s: “exomologeisye allhloiv ta paraptwmata kai eucesye upper allhlwn opwv iayhte polu iscuei dehsiv dikaiou energoumenh”

Throughout Ankerberg’s shallow and deceptive book he accuses Riplinger of misquoting others, and then he comes up with a misquote of this magnitude, and breaks one of the Ten Commandments while doing so. I’d say that he needs to remove the beam from his eye.

The true significance of Riplinger’s statement, although she does not actually state it explicitly, is that that the modern versions derive their mistranslation from the Westcott Hort texts, in other words they’ve come straight out of the Vatican and a Catholic monastery in Egypt. Ankerberg and his cohort blather and bluster utter nonsense about this verse, as interpreted by the modern versions, claiming that it does not support Catholic doctrine while it comes from an error-ridden text straight out of the Vatican and a garbage can in St. Catherine’s Monastery! Both texts B and Aleph, were dug up by the same Catholic mystic and promoted by Westcott and Hort, who both promoted and praised Catholic doctrine! Ankerberg and Weldon are not only shameless deceivers, but very mixed-up thinkers. Not only does Westcott-Hort have amartia, but so do the Nestle-Aland pseudo-texts, and the interlinear editions published by Zondervan (NIV), Tyndale (NRSV), and Christianity Today (NIV with KJV). Likewise I found amartia in my British Foreign Bible Society Greek text, I found no modern version that did not follow this false text, including the so called New King James Version, which used a footnote to cast doubt on the real King James Bible. Implying that Riplinger was implying that the modern versions mistranslated paraptwma is deceit, pure and simple.

I have long suspected Ankerberg of being some kind of plant, perhaps a Jesuit, so it is not the least bit surprising that he would try to promote this perversion of Scripture. His blustering response to Riplinger’s observation displays his dishonesty on another level as well. On page 18 of The Facts on the King James Only Debate he makes the inaccurate statement that “the Greek word is correctly translated as sins as any dictionary will prove.” Then he footnotes this with a biased wordlist book based on modern version translations and not philology or scholarship, which is a wordlist of the modern version only advocate Zodiates, and not a true dictionary at all. It is safe to assume that this is the only one that Ankerberg checked. Very few Greek dictionaries or English-Greek dictionaries list sin as a meaning of paraptwma.

Liddell-Scott Lexicon, the most respected and comprehensive of Greek-English lexicons offers a lengthy entry for paraptwma, but sin is not found anywhere in it. I also checked the supplement to the lexicon, and it did not appear there either.

Paraptwma is not listed among the definitions for sin in Leksikon Aggloellinkikon of Ioannou Pervanoglou, a Greek-English dictionary for sin. Likewise it not listed in Younge’s English-Greek Dictionary’s definitions.

Wigram’s Analytical Analytical Greek Lexicon of the New Testament, which was published in 1852 defines paraptowma with the following definitions: “a stumbling aside, a false step, in N.T. a trespass, fault, offence, transgression, a fall, defalcation in faith,” and the verb that it is derived from, parapiptw is defined as follows: “to fall by the side of; to fall off or away from make defection from.” Sin is not included. I checked several Greek-Greek dictionaries and only one included paraptwma among its definitions for amartia.

I checked many Greek-Greek dictionaries and all but one failed to list sin as a meaning of paraptwma. For instance Leksikon tes Ellenekes glosses epitomon has parpatema, proskrousis, lathos, traisma, and plane.

The Septuagint translated, xaT’ah, the most common Hebrew word that is translated as “sin” with three different words: amartia, amartwlos, and anomia. The related xaT’at is translated by 16 different words, none of which are paraptwma. This is particularly interesting because the base meaning of the Hebrew word is to miss the mark or target, which is similar to the base meaning of paraptwma, but still is not used to translate it. The LXX’s translation of ‘asham includes several different words, amartia being most common, but likewise does not include paraptwma. Accordingly, sin does not show up in Redpath’s Concordance for meaning for paraptwma.

The Oxford Greek-English and English-Greek Dictionary does not list sin as a definition of paraptwma, but only breach or infringement. For its defintion for sin it only has amartia. Lexikon archaias Hellçnikçs glôssçs kai kathareuousçs does have amartema as a definition. This was the only Greek-Greek dictionary that I found that did. The only other Greek dictionaries I found that list sin as being a possible meaning of paraptwma are Thayer’s and Bauer’s, in which it is made clear that it is a derived, contextual meaning.

My argument is not that paraptwoma can never mean sin; it can in context. My argument is that Ankerberg is full of hot air when he makes uninformed and false statements such as “as any dictionary will prove” that paraptwma means sin. I question whether or not Ankerberg could even find a word in a Greek dictionary.

These are the examples where the KJV translates paraptwma as sin. These are all examples where Christ has forgiven sins, which in these cases are more severe trespasses. These are not mere faults between brethren, and unlike John Ankerberg, the Maury Povitch or Jerry Springer of Christian television, the scholarly KJV translators had the discernment to tell the difference.

Eph 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of his grace;

Eph 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Eph 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

Col 2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

Further discussion of the issue of how to translate paraptwma is unnecessary here, because the text that the modern versions used did not have paraptwma, but amartia. Ankerberg and his cohort have used deceit to slander Riplinger and completely misrepresent her words, and they did so to intentionally lead their readers astray by promoting a false doctrine of the Catholic Church.

“But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” [2 Titus 3:13]

Ankerberg, John and John Weldon. The Facts on the King James Bible Debate: How Reliable are Today’s Bible Versions. The Anker Series. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest house Publishers, 1996.

John Hinton, Ph.D.
Bible Restoration Ministry
A ministry seeking the translating and reprinting of KJV equivalent
Bibles in all the languages of the world.