Biblical Interpretations versus Biblical Fact

There are multiple sects of Christianity, most of whom have varying ideas of what specific passages in the Bible actually mean. In the nearly two thousand years since the death of Christ, these divisions have not ceased but are, actually, on the increase. This is due, in large part, to two things. First the agendas of various aspects of organized religions demand belief structures that fall in accordance with their political agendas and Second, the advent of the printing press.

Until the invention of the Gutenberg Press, the Catholic Church was, for the most part, the arbiter of what the Bible did and didn't say. Over the years, the book has been rewritten on various occasions to reflect the geo-political desires of one moment or another. The dispute between Henry the Eighth and Rome, created a new branch of Christianity in England and with it, what has become known as the King James Bible. As with all other renditions of the New Testament, politics, money and power have been issues central to the wording of the book.

At the time the printing press was actually invented, the bulk of the populations of Europe were illiterate and dependent upon the teachings of their clergymen for any knowledge of the Bible. As the printed word and education spread, this monopoly over the people lessened. However, unless you are a scholar in Latin, Hebrew and Greek,
the original languages of the Bible, you will still be dependent upon someone else's translations for your meaning.

Today, in the age of the personal computer, a printing press is as close your keyboard. It follows that the ability to alter the work further is not only a possibility - but a fact of life. In my opinion, the two best renditions of the Bible that have had the least amount of change are the King James and the older versions of the Douay Reims, Catholic Bible. This is not to suggest that these versions haven't been tampered with as well. However, the real issues here are of degree.

So many believers in Christianity base their faith upon 'The Bible Says'. Yet, if that work is adulterated with the visions and biases of individual men - altered to fit their imaginings, it also suggests that the cornerstone of the faith is logically flawed. This could be devasting for many. Had the collection of writings called the New Testament been left alone, each person could read the words and make of them what they would. Now, they must wade through the interpretative material placed therein as well.

Below are verses from four different versions of the Bible relating to me, the prince of this world.

King James, The Revised English Bible, The New International Version, and the New World Translation. Publication dates appear at the bottom of this page.
 

John 12:31

(KJV) Now is the judgement of this world. Now shall the prince of this world be cast out (or down)

(REB) Now is the hour of judgement for this world; now shall the Prince of this world be
driven out

(NIV) Now is the time for judgement on this world; now the prince of this world will be
driven out

(TLB) The time of judgement for the world has come Ė and the time when Satan, the prince
of this world, shall be cast out

"Now shall the prince of this world be cast down (or out)."

The verse gives voice to a change of status, presumeably from higher to lower and this during the end times.
It does NOT state that the change is the result of a punishment nor does it address whether or not it is voluntary or involuntary.

Examples 2 and 3 have the word driven is a replacement for cast. Driven by whom? From where to where? Clearly there the word 'driven' as an impact substantially different from the word cast.

The worst example of alteration, and this will be born out in later verses is from (TLB). It picks, out of the air, the name of
Satan. This interpretation follows from the designations in Revelation referencing Satan's loss during the war in heaven and his eventual imprisonment. This variant assumes that the prince of this world and Satan are the same people AND REWRITES
the verse to fit the assumption.

John 14:30

(KJV) Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and
hath nothing in me

(REB) I shall not talk much longer with you, for the prince of this world approaches. He
has no rights over me

(NIV) I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has
no hold on me

(TLB) I donít have much more time to talk to you, for the evil prince of this world
approaches. He has no power over me

This verse is consistent with my comments (KJV). Due to the unique circumstances of earth and my mission,
I am not answerable to The Son, but only to Father.

'and hath nothing in me '. The verse correctly notates we are not connected in our service.

Examples 2 and 3 follow with a radical difference. In the King James it says I hath nothing in the Son.
These variants suggest an attempt at domination of the Son.
True to the spin machine of the TLB, the prince (assumed to be Satan) is evil.

The TLB brings up an important discrepancy in it's versions. The Son's mortal enemies were the Pharisees.
Yet, is there any evidenced that he attempted to slander and villify them in the fashion indicated here?
 

John 16:11

(KJV) of judgement, because the prince of this world is judged

(REB) about judgement, because the prince of this world stands condemned

(NIV) and in regard to judgement, because the prince of this world now stands condemned

(TLB) there is deliverance from judgement because the prince of this world has already
been judged

The King James accurately notes the fact of judgement. Any person who enters mortality must stand the judgement of man. Unlike the next three versions, there is no assumption of knowledge as to what that judgement was.
2 and 3 remain mostly consistent while 4 (TLB) goes its own way again expanding its point.
 

Ephesians 2:2

(KJV) Wherein in time past ye walked according to the prince of the power of the air, the
spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience

(REB) You followed the ways of this present world order, obeying the commander of the
spiritual powers of the air, the spirit now at work among Godís rebel subjects

(NIV) in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler
of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient

(TLB) You went along with the crowd and were just like all the others, full of sin, obeying
Satan, the mighty prince of the power of the air, who is at work right now in the
hearts of those who are against the Lord

The King James Version tells precisely where I am and what I'm doing, working with disobedient children.
NOT as the prince of the air, but upon the earth with you.

The NIV rewords the matter to instilling disobedience into the heart of man while the REB designates mankind
as in rebellion against God.

The TLB goes on a rant against Satan and the verse now rises to the level of a sermon.

Religions have used Satan as the boogey man hiding under our beds and in our closets waiting to pounce and grab our souls. Granted, he is no glorious figure but me thinks the devil gets far more credit than he is actually due.
Yet, we must also be aware that religion has an agenda. If you are afraid, then you need them, the churches to soothe your fear. In the doing the tithing plates are filled every Sunday and the mortgage gets paid for another month.

There is another corollary as well. Since the advent of Christianity, the binding glue that held congregations together was a common enemy. The Catholics had the Romans. The Protestants had the Catholics. Persecution is an adhesive and a binding force. Cult leaders well know this. Jim Jones and David Koresh invoked the United States Government as being the spawn of Satan while Iran identifies  the United States the great Satan.. The use of that infamous five letter word, Satan, is designed and intended to cause fear of  'the unseen evil one' whilst at the same time flaming a dependency upon those who purport to know him so well. The Spanish Inquistion can be no better example of the manical use of this name. The Catholic Church killed millions in the name of saving them from Satan.

So, how is one to know what is true? This is a difficult call for one who places blind faith in anything without  benefit of reasoned thought.  I would say, as a rule, the older the version of the Bible, the closer it will be to its origins. It would behoove the serious researcher to seek out the older copies rather than relying up the more recent spin factories. You see, the apostles didn't have a propaganda agenda. They weren't in the religion 'business'.
They were simple fellows who went forth to tell the truth the best way they could and God stood with them, step by step. Those who presume to alter their writings suffer an arrogance of the worst sort and presume themselves to be greater than the teachers designated by the Christ Himself.

There is to be a price paid for this arrogance. Revelation predicts woe upon those who presume to alter the words of that particular work. As it was written so will it be.

1380 Wycliff New Testament
1525 Tyndale's New Testament
1535 The Coverdale Bible
1539 The Great Bible
1560 The Geneva Bible
1568 The Bishop's Bible
1608 Douay Reims (Catholic)
1611 The King James Version The King James Version reigned dominant until well into
                  the twentieth century, and still remains popular. Whereas almost all English translations
                  from Tyndale to the American Standard Version tended to be literal, the twentieth
                  century saw the rise of other less literal forms of translation.
1611 The King James or Authorised Version (KJV or AV)
1881-5 The Revised Version (RV)
1901 The American Standard Version (ASV)
1946-52 The Revised Standard Version (RSV)
1961 The New World Translation (NWT)
1971 The Living Bible (paraphrased (TLB)
1971 The New American Standard Bible (NASB)
1973 The New International Version (NIB)
1982 The New King James Version (NKJV)
1989 The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
1989 The Revised English Bible (REB)