Ellen G. White and Bible Versions
I briefly discussed the Revised Standard Version of the Bible with a Seventh-day Adventist minister who said, regarding Ellen G. White, "that's all she used." I knew that couldn't be true since she started her ministry shortly after 1844 and the New Testament Revised Version (RV) and English Revised Version (ERV) weren't published until 1881 and the Old Testament in those versions not until 1885. The Revised Standard Version Bible (RSV) New Testament was published in 1946, the Old Testament of that Bible in 1952 and the complete Roman Catholic RSV in 1966 so Sister White never saw an RSV Bible but RV versus RSV is a small distinction and could be confusing.
I was also aware that in the preface of The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan there is a text quoted from the RV. I didn't know how much Ellen White used the RV in her ministry so I did some research. On the web site of The Ellen G. White Estate, Inc. there is an article by Arthur L. White, Ellen G. White's grandson, discussing this issue. On that site, type "RV" in the search line for a link to that article. Some salient quotations would be:
"As noted earlier, Mrs. White occasionally used the Revised Version renderings, also the marginal reading of texts, in nearly all of her books published after 1885, the year of the appearance of the complete English Revised Version. In The Great Controversy, published in 1888, seven texts from the newly issued revision were employed, and she also used the marginal rendering of eight other texts. The proportion of Revised Version and marginal rendering of texts is very small when we consider that there are more than 850 scriptures quoted in The Great Controversy, or an average of a little more than one scripture text to a page, whereas there is approximately one Revised Version rendering and one marginal rendering for each one hundred pages."
So, the RV was definitely not all she used even after it was published. Arthur goes on to say later in that article referring to her son, W. C. White:
"When the first revision was published, I purchased a good copy and gave it to Mother. She referred to it occasionally, but never used it in her preaching."
Here are some quotations from an article by Gerhard Pfandl, PhD in the June 2016 issue of Ministry Magazine:
"Since the middle of the twentieth century when Bible translations began to multiply, the issue of which Bible version should Adventists use has become a bone of contention in some churches. There are those who believe that only the King James Version (KJV) should be used, while others hold that a modern translation is preferable because of the archaic language of the KJV."
Yes, which version is used should be a bone of contention in Seventh-day Adventist Churches and the ones in which it isn't would be the ones who are too timid to mention the name of Ellen G. White in church and are too timid to talk about the antichrist. As for the ones who believe that a corrupt modern translation is preferable because of archaic language, be it known that there are very few archaic words in the King James Bible that aren't easily understood without a dictionary; for the remainder, use a dictionary. Isn't it ironic that ministers and the Seventh-day Adventist Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide offer Greek and Hebrew words when you will NEVER learn enough of either language to order a taco in Greece or Israel but are apparently concerned you won't understand English words? Also, there is no "King James Version." There were several EDITIONS of the King James Bible; there were NO VERSIONS. The article goes on to say in regards to the Septuagint (LXX) discussed elsewhere on this site:
"This translation, carried out in Alexandria, was called the Septuagint (LXX), version of the 70, because that is how many translators were involved."
No, there were allegedly 72 translators involved but that is a poorly supported myth. The article goes on to say:
"Nevertheless, at the end of the nineteenth century scholars felt that a revision was necessary because (1) knowledge of the Hebrew vocabulary had increased since the beginning of the seventeenth century (about 1,500 words appear only once in the Old Testament); (2) the Greek text underlying the New Testament was the Textus Receptus (see The KJV controversy, following) that was based on late medieval manuscripts; and (3) many English words had become obsolete or archaic; others had changed in meaning."
Useful knowledge of the Hebrew and Greek vocabulary has not increased since the Protestant translators gave us the King James Bible of 1611 and in fact has deteriorated due to obfuscation (that is derived from the Latin obfuscatio in case you wanted to know) by apostate scholars (you might be shocked to learn how apostate). As mentioned above, there aren't many words in the King James Bible most would even need a dictionary to understand. Even tender young people willingly learn a new vocabulary to play Dungeons & Dragons, learn math, study physics and it's too hard to read a King James Bible? Really?
Dr. Pfandl says that replacing the name Lord Jesus Christ with Lord Jesus isn't a denial of Jesus' divinity. Yes it is. The King James Bible defines its own words. Get a Strong's Concordance and see what "Christ" means in the Protestant Bible. He says that Gail Riplinger (who has written several excellent books including Hazardous Materials: Greek and Hebrew Study Dangers) completely ignores the fact that the phrase "Lord Jesus Christ" which appears about 80 times in the KJV, also appears 63 times in the Revised Standard Version (RSV) and 60 times in the New International Version (NIV)." The point she is making is that the name Lord Jesus Christ is being replaced with a name less specific and of less honor. There are men who have legitimate titles of Lord but not of Christ. Interestingly, our Seventh-day Adventist scholars have no problem listing all their degrees, PhD, MA, etc., but they're apparently OK with our Lord Jesus Christ being without one of his titles.
Dr. Pfandl then goes on to say that this (shortening "Lord Jesus Christ" to "Lord Jesus") does not "warrant the charge that modern versions have changed God's Word." Shortening "Lord Jesus Christ" to "Lord Jesus" is a VERY small example of what the new versions have changed and the NIV is the worst I've looked at. If he had read even one of Gail Riplinger's books through, he would have known that replacing "Lord Jesus Christ" with "Lord Jesus" is a very small part of the issue. Satan could not pass off a counterfeit Bible as a real one without including some truth and as each new version is published, a little more is changed.
Brother Pfandl also employs an old but tried and usually effective ploy when he says "Two lengthy passages are not found in the earliest manuscripts. One is the closing verses of Mark (16:9-20) and the other is the story of the woman taken in adultery (John 7:53-8:11)." In the Desire of Ages you will find on pages 460 to 461 the story of the woman taken in adultery which is taken from one of the very portions of holy scripture Dr. Pfandl is casting doubt on, John 8:1-11. If you believe in the Spirit of Prophecy that should tell you that not only are the vaunted "earliest manuscripts" wrong but that Dr. Pfandl could be a blind guide.
The TWO "earliest manuscripts" referred to are on velum which is more durable than papyrus so they should last longer than the THOUSANDS of other ancient manuscripts that were used to confirm the reading of the Protestant Bible. Those "earliest manuscripts" are Codex Vaticanus that was discovered in the Pope's library and Codex Sinaiticus that was found in St. Catherine's Monastery at the base of Mt. Sinai and two or three other manuscripts. Aside from being pretty and allegedly very old, those manuscripts belong in a wastebasket as they have many obvious scribal errors and evidence of revision. Am I REALLY supposed to have confidence in a couple of manuscripts provided by that system of religion that killed thousands of Christians in the most horrendous ways for the "crime" of having the Bible in their own language? In addition, after reading the book by David W. Daniels, Is the "World's Oldest Bible" a Fake, I am convinced that Codex Sinaiticus was not written well over 1,000 years ago but rather shortly before 1844. This wouldn't be the first fake manuscript promulgated by the Roman Catholic Church.
Aside from omitting "Christ" from the title "Lord Jesus Christ" I'll list just a few of the changes in the book of Revelation. Remember that Revelation 22:19 says, "And if any man shall take away the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book." Have words been taken away or added? These examples are from the RSV published in 1952:
Changing a little word here and there is part of a long-term plan to change God's Word even more, introduce confusion and destroy confidence in God's Word. Satan has been described as the "roaring lion" that is "seeking whom he may devour." A lion uses stealth to take its prey.
- In Revelation 1:8 the Protestant Bible reads "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty." The RSV reads "'I am the Alpha and the Omega,' says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."
- In Revelation 5:14 the King James Bible says "And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshiped him that liveth forever and ever." In the RSV it says "And the four living creatures said, 'Amen!' and the elders fell down and worshiped."
- The reading of Revelation 11:17 in the Protestant Bible is, "Saying, We give thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned," The reading in the RSV is "saying We give thanks to thee, Lord God almighty, who art and who wast, that thou has taken thy great power and begun to reign."
- In the King James Bible, Revelation 19:8 says "And to her it was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints." The RSV says "it was granted her to be clothed with fine linen, bright and pure:-for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints."
- In the King James Bible, Revelation 22:14 says "Blessed are that that do his his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city." The RSV says "Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates." This is another example of the Roman Catholic work emphasis. "All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags"; there is NOTHING worth washing or saving. Our "filthy garments" will be taken away from us and we will be "clothed with change of raiment."
Here are some reasons it's irrelevant that Ellen G. White sometimes used a Bible other than the King James Bible:
- On page 245 of The Great Controversy it says, Wycliff's Bible had been translated from the Latin text, which contained many errors." So, she knew some Bibles had been corrupted. In addition, The Great Controversy on page 65 says "The Waldenses were among the first of the peoples of Europe to obtain a translation of the Holy Scriptures. Hundreds of years before the Reformation they possessed the Bible in manuscript in their native tongue. They had the truth unadulterated, and this rendered them the special objects of hatred and persecution." Since the King James Bible used as it's source the Textus Receptus which descended from the Waldenses unlike modern versions based in part on corrupt Greek texts "corrected" with corrupt Roman Catholic manuscripts, it's clear her final authority would be the King James Bible. As noted on a page with more details on this site, the New King James Version is not a King James Bible.
- She was very familiar with the King James Bible so would have recognized a problem in the new Bible. She didn't use the RV in her preaching. She used quotations from various publications that weren't from any Bible because she felt those authors had expressed something better than she would have. As the Lord's messenger she was well qualified to choose texts that said things a little differently than what was in the King James Bible without adulterating the meaning of the text. Notice that Paul, in Acts 17:28 quoted a heathen poet when he said "as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring." Paul in his quoting of that poet did not thereby endorse everything that poet wrote.
In 1 Corinthians 12:28 it says, "And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers." Teachers do not have the authority of apostles and prophets. Much was made of the fact Ellen G. White never claimed to be a prophet. She said on page 32 of Selected Messages Book One, "My Savior declared me to be His messenger" and that "my work includes much more than the word 'prophet' signifies." Referring to John the Baptist Jesus said, "But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet. This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee." Ellen White's words have more authority than any minister, scholar, elder, deacon or Sabbath School teacher. Just because she chose to include quotations from less than perfect bibles doesn't give carte blanche to anyone else to do so. It is deception and sacrilege to use quotations from bible versions that were published after her death (yes, that has been done) with her name as the author making it appear that she endorsed those versions and quotations.
- In Ellen White's day there was one "modern" version compared to what have been published following her death including some that remove references to gender, use vague words and remove the sin from homosexuality. I have seen a number of estimates of how many English Bible versions there are; it has been as low as around 300 to as much as 600. I don't know how they arrive at those figures; perhaps by counting bibles with different notes or a different concordance as different versions. I can say with confidence, however, that there are at least fifty distinct English versions on the market today. Though we can't ask her, W. C. White or Arthur White what her opinion was in view of the plethora of corrupt translations, I suspect her view on this issue would be different today.
- Ellen White, though a prophet, didn't always get the first information on issues. It was the Seventh Day Baptist, Rachel Oaks, who in early 1844 shared her perspective on the Sabbath with Adventists (see the excellent book by George Knight, Joseph Bates The Real Founder of Seventh-day Adventism page 78 and 79). Ellen White had her first vision in December, 1844 (see The Early Years by Arthur L. White page 55). Joseph Bates had discussed the importance of Sabbath keeping with her but she was skeptical of the need to keep the Sabbath holy. It wasn't before the fall of 1846 that she and James White accepted the seventh day Sabbath as God's day of rest (see The Early Years by Arthur L. White page 116). It took until 1855 before it was understood that the Sabbath began at sundown on Friday. She also was not the first Seventh-day Adventist to urge the forgoing of unclean meats. When Dr. Kellogg's book The Living Temple was published, she didn't say much at first and brethren in high places thought the book was fine. In her day, when Seventh-day Adventists and other Protestants were accustomed to what the King James Bible said and preferred to use it, it wasn't as important to make an issue of a new version.
© Martin J. Lohne 2017. Written 6/28/17. Revised 4/12/18.