A New Battle for the Bible

Recently a wire tapping and spying scandal took place in England. Journalists of the News of the World had intercepted private telephone conversations of celebrities and used them for unethical purposes. The transgressions were such that, even in this day of tolerance, the paper, belonging to media baron Rupert Murdoch, had to close down virtually overnight. According to the South African periodical Impact“the News of the World was a respectable, if racy, family newspaper before Murdoch brought it under his ownership. As we now know, it converted into a flourishing criminal concern that took an evil pleasure in destroying people’s lives.” 1)

Rupert Murdoch and the Bible

What is interesting for Christians is that Rupert Murdoch not only owns newspapers and publishing companies, but has also “been secretly building a stable of wholly-owned pornographic channels for his BSkyB subsidiary.” 2) At the same time, he owns Zondervan, 3) one of the world’s largest evangelical publishers of Christian books and Bibles. Zondervan’s best seller has been the New International Version (NIV). This favourite pew Bible was first published in 1984, but a mere 20 years later Zondervan, in union with the International Bible Society (IBS), decided to revise it to fit the tastes of the modern world. The aim was to make it more “gender-inclusive”. Male oriented details were erased: e.g. “man” was replaced by “mortals”, “father” by “parent”, “son” by “child”, “brother” by “fellow believer”, and “he” by “they”. Female oriented details were added. “Brother” was changed to “brother and sister.” This Bible was named “Today’s New International Version” (TNIV). But it caused such controversy and outcry that it had to be withdrawn. By changing words the Bible translators had also changed the meaning . For instance:

The 1984 NIV reads (Hebr. 2:6) - “What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?”

The 2002 TNIV reads (Hebrews 2:6) - “What are mere mortals that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” (Here the possible connection with Jesus is removed and man’s mortality emphasised. Man, however, is a ‘living soul’)

The 1984 NIV reads (Hebrews 12:7) – “God is treating you as sons . For what son is not disciplined by his father ?”

The 2002 TNIV reads (Hebrews 12:7) - “God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their parents?” (Thus the special Father-son relationship between God and man is obscured).

The 1984 NIV reads (Rev. 3:20) - “I stand at the door and knock… I will come and eat with him, and he with me.”

The 2002 TNIV reads (Revelation 3:20) - “I stand at the door and knock… I will come in and eat with them, and they with me.” (Thus the personal fellowship between Jesus and the believer is lost).

Because of Christian opposition to this new Bible, Zondervan (and the IBS) withdrew Today’s New International Version, which is said to contain “over 3,600 gender related problems.” - The resistance of the Church, led by Dr James Dobson of Focus on the Family, had prevailed. Agreed guidelines for Bible translations were drawn up and signed by Zondervan and the IBS, but they were soon broken. John McTernan of Defend and Proclaim the Faith writes: “Having failed to successfully promote… (the) ‘gender inclusive’ version of the Bible from 2005 to 2009, publishing giant, Zondervan, has elected to try again. This time, however, instead of publishing an edited version of the NIV in addition to the standard 1984 edition, Zondervan has elected to simply kill the original NIV and call what’s coming out this month (March 2011) an ‘update’… The ‘updated’NIV appears to be little more than a rehash of the aforementioned 2005 gender neutral mishap known as Today’s New International Version (TNIV).” 4)

New NIV timed for the 400th Anniversary of the King James Bible

The updated NIV’s publication was timed to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible. The KJV is the most important book ever published in the English language - the most noble heritage of the English speaking nations. Its influence on lives, language, education, law, public life, literature, and music cannot be measured. It truly was, as John Calvin said, “the sceptre by which the Heavenly King rules His Church.” Until fairly recently, the whole civilised world was ruled by the same sceptre.

Though there have been many warnings not to revise this masterpiece, about 100 different versions have appeared since 1881. In 1857 the Anglican minister JC Philpot foresaw that, “instead of our good old Saxon Bible, simple and solid, with few words really obsolete, and alike majestic and beautiful, we should have a modernEnglish translation in the pert and flippant language of the day.” What could be more pert and flippant than the language of the Press, or ideed its power over the Bible? The most popular version, the NIV, is in the hands of Rupert Murdoch. It is therefore useful to look at his background: Murdoch was brought up by a Jewish mother in the Jewish faith. He is a well-connected Zionist and promotes Zionist causes, among them the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) of America. This League claims to “stop the defamation of the Jewish people… to secure justice and fair treatment to all.” It does this mainly by initiating or supporting court action. However, the court cases have dealt not so much with defamation of the Jewish people as with attacks on Christianity. For instance, recent projects of the Anti-Defamation League in the US Supreme Court have aimed at outlawing tax deductible bursaries for Christian schools; forbidding state maintenance of a huge old cross in a national park; outlawing state funding of conferences at which a speaker might endorse religion; hampering public display of the Ten Commandments; and forbidding school children to recite the Pledge of Allegiance because it contains the phrase “under God.” The progressive outlawing of Christianity (manger scenes, nativity plays, Christmas trees, greeting cards, prayer, Bible reading, the Ten Commandments etc.) in America is well known. It can be attributed in large measure to the work of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). 6)

Eliminating Sin

Newspapers, porn channels and Bibles have now, so to speak, come under one roof. It is a strange combination. But they seem to mean good business. The 2011 version of the NIV is special in that the concept of SIN is questioned. M ultiple uses of ‘sinful nature’ are replaced with ‘flesh’. - When challenged, a leading member of the translation committee said: “This is meant to leave to the reader the question of whether sin is a core human element or one of many outside forces to which we yield.” 5) - What? Are we to doubt the sinful nature of man? If there is no sin, why then do we need a Saviour? - 1 Timothy 1:15 says: “This is a faithful saying, worthy of all acceptation,that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” The first thing he called for was: “Repent ye, and believe the gospel.” (Mark 1:15)

The forgiveness of sin through the atoning death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ is a truly liberating experience! But the devil wants to keep us in bondage. He tries to persuade us that sin is one of many outside forces to which we yield. Here we see psychological or socialist concepts taking over, but psychology (or social philosophy) is no substitute for true religion.

Gerard Menuhin, the outspoken son of the famous violin virtuoso said: “In the modern world there is no power greater than that of the news media. No king of old, no Pope, no great conqueror or priest could come within a hundred miles of matching the influence of the mere handful of men who control not only the news media but all sources of entertainment as well. This power penetrates every home and moulds the ideas of every citizen, young or old, rich or poor.” 7)

Don’t let the media control our Bible, but let t he Church “stand up for Jesus” in a new and determined way. “Watch and pray,” says the Lord. Don’t let the Bible fall into the hands of its enemies. In each “update” the changes may be small, but revision by revision they get bigger until, in the end, the Bible will contain the Word of Man rather than the Word of God. It will become ever more “inclusive,” until it will be what its enemies want it to be, the religion of the socialist New World Order, which we now so adamantly claim to oppose.

Martin Luther who translated the Bible into German said: “It is a miracle how God has so long preserved His book. How great and glorious it is to have the Word of God!” - Let us then prayerfully protect our Bible. God forbids the tampering with His Word. (Deuteronomy 4:2, 12:32; Rev. 22:18). For it is His will “that we might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing (we) might have life through His Name.” (John 20:31)

May God bless you richly,

D. Scarborough.


  1. Impact, Aug-Sept 2011, The Murdoch spying scandal in Britain.
  2. News Hounds, Internet, Rupert Murdoch’s pornography profiteering, reported by Chrish, 12.2.2006
  3. Zondervan is owned by Harper Collins which Rupert Murdoch purchased in 1988.
  4. John McTernan, Defend and Proclaim the Faith, The Revised NIV, Internet.
  5. John McTernan…
  6. ADL, Separation of Church and State, Internet.
  7. Impact, op cit, page 4.

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