As I listened to a sermon the other day on Titus 2, I remembered just how unpopular that passage is with women. Just reading the verses can make some womens’ blood boil. I decided to look it up because so many Christians have done their best to explain these verses away, using cultural differences as the excuse. In fact, Bible translations like The Message change the words to make them more palatable. Just look at verses 3-5 of Titus 2 in each version–
the King James Version says–
3The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;
4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,
5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
And here is how The MESSAGE Bible translates that same passage–
Guide older women into lives of reverence so they end up as neither gossips nor drunks, but models of goodness. By looking at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. We don’t want anyone looking down on God’s Message because of their behavior.
Do you notice that they eliminated the word obedient completely? They also eliminated the purposeful action of older women teaching younger women. Instead of using the word admonish they turn it into a passive action of the younger women–they will know how by simply looking.
While similar to the KJV, The Message has eliminated an unpopular and unpolitically correct command –to be obedient to husbands — and also altered the biblically commanded relationship between older and younger women.
Let me make it clear here that I am not a “King James only” person. I have used it in this post because it is the most familiar text we have in the English language today. I use New King James for my personal study and have also studied from the ESV. I have heard that the NASB is also a reliable version, although I haven’t personally used it.
I truly believe that one of the ways that Satan is getting his foot in the door of many of our lives is through these watered down versions of the Bible we are using. Can God use a version like The Message to speak to you? Perhaps. But is it the best choice for our spiritual growth? I would say unequivocally that it is not.
Why not do your own study comparing different passages in The Message against a more reliable version if you still have doubts about what I am saying? I assure you that you will find many more examples like this if you are searching.
I know that translations like The Message are more readable and easier to understand, but they change the real message in many places. And don’t forget, if we are born again, we have the Holy Spirit to guide and instruct us as we read. We don’t need contemporary language and a culturally relevant version to help us understand.
May I suggest that you get a reliable version for your Bible Study? One that stays close to the original text and isn’t concerned with what the current culture or the modern-day church thinks?
I want you to know that this wasn’t even the topic I was planning on writing about today. But when I happened upon reading Titus 2 in these two translations of God’s Word, the differences were remarkable and disturbing. I felt compelled to bring it to your attention.
The world and even the church will tell you that it doesn’t matter which version you use as long as it is the Bible. I hope I showed you that it certainly does matter.
God bless you as you seek to grow in Him.
Revelation 22: 18-19 For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.