SOUND WORDS OF GOD
Hold fast the form of sound words,
which thou hast heard of me,
in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 1:13
With all the smokescreens the Bible critics throwing up to justify Bible revisions and producing newest and latest English versions, the defining issue is the soundness of the word of God in a translation. It is understandable that it is impossible to translate word for word without adding additional words to make the complete sentence make sense as well as translating the same word the same way consistently all the time is not always the case as it will distort the context of the verse and the passage. However, it must be remembered that we are not dealing with any book written by fallen men. We are dealing with divine words came down from above in written form through the instruments of chosen men, albeit men shapen in iniquity and conceived in sin. Notwithstanding, the God who gave languages to men and guided them in the writings of the Scriptures, will He not also preserve and superintend over the translation of His pure and inspired words in any languages that are prevalent during that time in history to fulfill His divine will for His creatures in the universe?
If the answer is negative, then we are presented with a God who will take a back seat in the events of the world and let fallen men work out something that is good and right according to their own eyes. How trustworthy is the promises of God in the Scriptures then? How secure is our salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ? How can we tell which portion of the Bible is true and which is not? What are the standards by which men will eventually be judged? Is there truly a thrice Holy God who is really interested in the affairs of fallen men in this sinful world? There will always be more questions than answers if this is the case.
On the other hand, if God does oversee the process of translation as well as undertake for the translators to ensure that His inspired words are also given by inspiration in that particular language so that eventually the Bible readers will be able to access the truths in the Bible without having to refer back to Hebrew and Greek to get its original meanings, is this what the Bible critics called “Double Inspiration”? If there is a constant need to refer back to the original languages, why is there a need to translate the words of the living God into any other languages in the first place? Then the Koran of the Muslims would appear to be more infallible than the Bible for the Christians! The very reason why the Bible is translated into other languages is to remove the monopoly of spiritual truths by a select class of priesthood and open wide the door of access for the common men to know God in a sure, perfect and personal way!
If God does indeed supernaturally give His inspired words in a translation through the hands of the Bible translators for that particular language, does it not also apply to the translators of the modern English Bibles? Can these Bible “scholars” in our day and age claim that they are been led and guided by the Holy Spirit of God to revise, update and to enhance the English Authorized Version because the common men is no longer able to understand the English Bible written in archaic terminologies and they are actually doing the common men a big favor by giving them an English Bible so that they can certainly know God in a better and more personal way? In order to determine whether the modern Bible translators are actually doing what they are claming to do, we shall begin to examine some words in the Authorized King James Bible, and see if the changes are indeed necessary and justified. The first word we embark on is the word “sound” which is a very simple word and we will find out how this word is used in connection with other words that is still commonly used in our day.
In Psalm 89:15, the Psalmist says, Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance. Are there any archaic words here? Let us consider the suggestion offers by the NIV, Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O LORD. Here we are told something that is radically different from the Authorized Version. Is it because the verse here has been wrongly translated for the past hundreds of years and the brilliant “scholars” are finally giving the English-speaking world the true words of the living God? Apparently, the translators of the NASB think otherwise and the words in the Authorized Version are allowed to stand. Can these “scholars” be honest by telling us that they simply do not believe that the words in the Authorized Version are given by inspiration and that is the very reason why they are changing them?
The Psalmist says in Psalm 119:80, Let my heart be sound in thy statutes; that I be not ashamed. Does anyone really think this verse is full of archaic terms and we need to call in the modern “scholars” to our rescue? Let us see what the NIV say in this verse; May my heart be blameless towards your decrees, that I may not be put to shame. The NASB also says something that is close to the NIV; May my heart be blameless in Thy statutes, That I may not be ashamed. Are they saying the same thing as the Authorized Version? What is wrong with a sound heart? Is a heart that is blameless the same as that of a heart that is sound in the statues of the Lord? The translators fail to understand that the heart cannot be blameless unless it is sound!
Concerning wisdom, king Solomon has quite a few things to say. In Proverb 2:7, we are told, He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. Is there anyone out there who has a problem with sound wisdom? Definitely there is wisdom in the world that is unsound. Let us consider the NIV again, He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless. What has victory got to do with sound wisdom? They do not hope to achieve victory without sound wisdom and it is not an exaggeration to say that this is actually common sense. Is it because these “scholars” here lack sound wisdom? Or is it because they hate sound wisdom from the Authorized King James Bible that exposes their lack of soundness in wisdom?
In Proverbs 3:21, we are also admonished, My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion. We are told that sound wisdom can be kept and we will see whether the “scholars” are trying to take it away from the Bible believers. The NIV says, My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight. Indeed sound wisdom has been taken away to be replaced with sound judgment. These people must be kidding! They expect to keep sound judgment without sound wisdom! Like the people in the world say, “Fat hope, slim chance!” They can continue to live on in their own dream worlds till kingdom come. What is wrong with these translators? Surely sound wisdom is absent from these people.
Again in Proverbs 8:14, we have another mention of sound wisdom, Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength. Do you expect the “scholars” to change sound wisdom into something else? You do not need to have a very high IQ to make an educated guess. Let us see what the NIV says, Counsel and sound judgment are mine; I have understanding and power. So you see, to say that they lack sound wisdom is an understatement. They have been making wrong judgment all the time because they lack sound wisdom. Actually, these are dangerous people to be in authority as they have judgment without wisdom. At least they have been very consistent in this aspect of their defect and as we continue, we shall examine other areas of their deficiency.
Solomon says, A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones (Proverbs 14:30). Is there anyone out there complaining that he does not understand what is a sound heart? Are there any difficult words in this verse? Anyway, let us call in the “experts” and give us a second opinion on the state of the heart. The NIV says, A heart at peace has great understanding, but envy rots the bones. This time, the translators of the NASB also wish to offer their expert opinion and so let us hear them out, A tranquil heart is life to the body, But passion is rottenness to the bones. Can a heart be at peace if it is not sound? Of course a sound heart is at peace but it is not restricted to having peace alone! There are many aspects that a sound heart can produce such as joy, faith, love and temperance and so on. Why is it that the translators of the NIV are always one step behind the Authorized Version? Perhaps it is due to the lack of sound wisdom and we should indeed pity them. Coming to the NASB, is sound heart easier to understand or tranquil heart? Why choose a word with two syllables when a simple word “sound” is sufficient to make the verse as clear as daylight? This is one of those occasions of showmanship that betrays the motive and intention of these brilliant “scholars” trying to help the common men with a Bible that is easy to read and understand. What about passion? Is it the same as envy? Can they prove that envy is the wrong word being used for the past hundreds of years?
One of the most common precious promises in the Holy Bible which the child of God very often holds dear is 2 Timothy 1:7, For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. For a moment, let us consult the “scholars” and see if they think this promise is literally true. The NIV says, For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline, while the NASB says, For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. Now the question is this, did God give the child of God a sound mind or did He just give the child of God discipline or self-discipline? What is discipline or self-discipline? How can we achieve discipline? Is it not from having a sound mind? Can a person have discipline or self-discipline without a sound mind? The person who was vex with devils was not having a sound mind but once he was delivered, he was found to be in the right mind (Mark 5:5).
So the context of this verse is on the spirit of fear. As such, the gift of a sound mind is a promise that is given to overcome this spirit of fear. Discipline and self-discipline are going off a tangent as far as conquering the spirit of fear is concerned. We do not overcome the spirit of fear by discipline or self-discipline. How do we exercise discipline or self-discipline in order to conquer the spirit of fear? Does it make sense at all? But then we must pardon these “scholars” as they lack sound wisdom from the very beginning and this has resulted them in making unsound judgment. To make up for the this spiritual defect, they have to display their scholarship by using a more difficult word “timidity” instead of the simple word “fear” where everyone can easily understand. But we are really not impressed with this four syllables word because why should we trade spiritual truths with sophistication in vocabulary?
The apostle Paul warned Timothy to, Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 1:13). Why is there such a warning if there is no danger in loosing sound words? Of course the enemies of the cross have been active from of old to steal, corrupt and pervert the words of the living God. Very early in Genesis 3, Eve failed to hold fast the form of sound words, and thus began the process of adding words to what God did not say. Therefore, it is imperative that we consider very carefully what the “experts” think and believe about this warning in the Holy Bible. Let us check with the scholars from the NIV and the NASB respectively; What you have heard of me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus, and, Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.
So there we have it. Holding fast the form of sound words must be very difficult to understand for the common men. So we must dismantle the form of sound words and simply keep the pattern of sound teachings according to the translators of the NIV. How do we define what is the pattern and what is sound teaching? As far as they are showing us, any words in the Authorized Version can be and must be changed in order to achieve keeping this pattern of sound teaching. This sound teaching has resulted in over hundreds of newest and latest English versions and it is indeed a wonderful pattern to follow but as to whether this teaching is sound, it is best left to the “scholars” to decide for the common men as they can certainly make sound judgment even in the absence of sound wisdom. We are however, not very sure whether this is the work of those who have a sound mind! Perhaps self-discipline is a very strong motivating factor in ensuring the removal of sound words from the Authorized Version.
On the other hand, the translators of the NASB suggested that it is better to retain the standard of sound words instead of the form of sound words whose form is already fixed. A standard must emerge and there we have the American Standard Version, the New American Standard Bible, the Revised Standard Version and many other standards of versions and we are getting more and more differing standards of English versions and there is still no end in sight. Is this the way to retain the standard of sound words or is it actually creating more differing standards of unsound words? As a result, there are no more sound words left for the child of God. Do you see what these Bible critics who claim to champion the cause for the common men are doing? There are so many simple and easy words that have been replaced by the “experts” in their fields and the result is appalling.
So the apostle Paul’s warning is very real. We can sense the urgency of his appeal and we are told to hold fast and not just to keep or retain the form of sound words as suggested by the pseudo scholars. The form of sound words is fast slipping from the hands of the child of God with the proliferation of all kinds of English versions of unsound words. The main objective of the enemies of the cross is to steal the form of sound words from the child of God. That is why the child of God must do his utmost to hold fast the form of sound words. No carelessness is allowed in this great endeavor otherwise like the Psalmist said, “If the foundation be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” It would be tragic beyond measure and this is no doubt an understatement!
This article is taken from a chapter in the book “Hold Fast The Form Of Sound Words” which may be downloaded via: