The April, May, June 2017 Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide
I have for some time subscribed to the Seventh-day Adventist Adult Teachers Sabbath School Bible Study Guide. A few years ago I read a book by Benjamin G. Wilkinson, Ph.D. who was the Dean of Theology at Washington Missionary College (currently named Washington Adventist University). The forward to his book, Our Authorized Version Vindicated, was written by him in 1930. That book was very enlightening and would be worthwhile reading for anyone. It says starting on page 4 that:
"The King James Bible was translated when England was fighting her way out from Catholicism to Protestantism; wheras, the Revised Version was born after fifty years (1833-1883) of terrific Romanizing campaigns, when one convulsion after another rocked the mental defenses of England and broke down the ascendancy of the Protestant mentality in that empire. The King James Version was born of the Reformation; the Revised Versions and some modern Bibles were born of Higher Criticism and Romanizing activities, as this treatise will show."
He goes on to say in the next paragraph:
"We hear a great deal to-day about the Sunday Law of the Roman Emperor Constantine, 321 A.D. Why is it that we do not hear about the corrupt Bible which Constantine adopted and promulgated, the version which for 1800 years has been exploited by the forces of heresy and apostasy?"
Of course, since Benjamin's day, many more versions have come out just as corrupt and even more corrupt than those he was referring to. I then considered my Seventh-day Adventist Bible Study Guide and noted MANY quotations taken from other Bibles than the King James Bible; in fact quotations from the King James Bible were in the minority. I then started comparing different versions and found that things were worse than what Benjamin described.
On February 19, 2016 I wrote a letter to the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists with attention to the Sabbath School Publications Board which addressed issues with the New American Standard Bible (NASB) they had quoted frequently in the Study Guide for that quarter. In it I mentioned Zechariah 13:6 and 1 John 5:7. Those two texts and Ezekiel 28:18 are a very few of the corruptions in the New American Standard Bible (NASB), New King James Version (NKJV), New International Version (NIV), English Standard Version (ESV), New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) and other bible versions. The text corrupted in Zechariah is a Messianic prophecy and the text in 1 John is the most clear text in the King James Bible identifying the Trinity.
It has been over a year now since that letter and nothing has gotten any better. So, we come to the Adult Teachers Sabbath School Bible Study Guide (hereinafter to be abbreviated SSBSG) for April, May and June of 2017 with a principal contributor of Robert McIver who at one time (maybe still is) the head of the school of ministry and theology of Avondale College of Higher Education. He has degrees of BSc (Canterbury), TeachColDip (Christchurch Teachers College), BA (theology from Pacific Union College), BD (honours from the University of London and an MA and PhD from the renowned Andrews University. I would think that with someone with all those degrees being mainly responsible for the text of the SSBSG, the theology should be sound even if they were referring to corrupt Bibles.
On page 60 of the standard edition (that would be Lesson 7) of the aforementioned SSBSG it says:
"Peter quotes Proverbs 3:34 from the Septuagint (the Greek Old Testament), a verse that is also quoted in James 4:6."
The Septuagint, of myth and legend, was allegedly a translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek before the time of Christ. The myth goes that six elders from each of the 12 tribes of Israel got together to make a Greek translation. That would be 72 elders in total; the word Septuagint refers to the number 70 which I guess is pretty close to 72. This doesn't pass the sniff test because much of the northern tribes of Israel had been lost due to apostasy, war, etc. Also, the Levites were the ones chosen to safeguard the Scriptures and, since they felt gentiles were much below them, they would never have consented to make a special Greek translation for them. The only evidence for a Greek translation of the entire Old Testament being written before the time of Christ is the letter of Aristeas which is thought to be fraudulent. The Septuagint is referenced by scholars because, to briefly explain, it is used to justify the use of the Roman Catholic codices Vaticanus and Sinaiticus in modern translations. Robert McIver, PhD, must have been misled like many before him. If you would like more information on the Septuagint, I'd recommend the book by the late Peter S. Ruckman, Ph.D., The Mythological Septuagint. Be advised, Peter tended to express himself strongly and you should have your Bible handy to read the many Bible texts referenced in his book.
Lesson 7 was worse. On page 62 of the SSBSG it says "After the meal He washed the feet of the disciples." In my copy of The Desire of Ages by Ellen White on page 650 it says "More was meant than the washing of the feet of guests to remove the dust of travel. Christ was here was instituting a religious service. By the act of our Lord, this humiliating ceremony was made a consecrated ordinance." Then toward the bottom of the page it says "The ordinance preceding the Lord's Supper is to clear away these misunderstandings, to bring man out of his selfishness, down from his stilts of self-exaltation, to the humility of heart that will lead him to serve his brother."
So, it would appear that Dr. McIver doesn't know what Ellen White wrote or perhaps doesn't believe what she wrote. I'm also fairly sure I know where he may have been led astray. The 1973 edition of the NIV says in John 13:2 "the meal was being served" and in verse 4 "so he got up from the meal." The NIV I have on my iPhone says in John 13:2 that "the evening meal was in progress" and then down in verse 4 that "he got up from the meal." It's not just a case of inconsequential words being changed in the new Bible versions; there are a LOT of significant changes in meaning and Bible doctrine. Those changes occur in the NKJV, ESV, NASB, NRSV, NIV and all of the other new bible versions I've perused.
The reading in the King James Bible of John 13:2 is "And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son to betray him" and nothing about getting up from a meal in progress. In John 13:4 it says "He riseth from supper." You can be at a banquet or a supper as an event and never eat a bite. If you came in dirty from the yard, your wife (mine would) might ask you to take a bath before eating. It makes a whole lot more sense to have your feet washed before the meal than afterwards. You have to understand the nuances of English to understand this; you don't need Greek or Hebrew.
On May 15, 2017, I wrote another letter to the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists with attention to the Sabbath School Publications Board. Copies of the letter went to Ted Wilson, President of the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Ron Halvorsen, Jr., President of the Ohio Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, a pastor and a couple of well known Seventh-day Adventist evangelists. On 7/19/17, I received a letter from one of the evangelists I had sent a copy of the letter to and I give him credit; at least he cared enough to respond. I haven't heard a peep from any of the others.
I'm not writing anyone at the General Conference, the local conference or most of the other recipients of my former letters, any more letters about bible version issues. I've made my point and they may ignore it if they wish to.
© Martin J. Lohne 2017. Written 6/15/17. Revised 7/22/17