The issue of the Bible versions is the most critical issue of our time. In fact, it may be that it is the most critical issue of every time that has had written Scripture. There are a number of reasons I could cite for this. However, the most basic and fundamental reason comes from Scripture itself. In John, chapter 5, the Lord Jesus Christ tells those around quite plainly that what they sought for in Scripture, was not what Scripture was about. Rather, the whole focus of Scripture was Him, and His work of redemption for all men everywhere, at all times.
Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. (John 5:39-40)
The Lord Jesus Christ further expounds on this in John, chapter 12, and explains that the Scriptures are of extreme importance to all men everywhere as they are the standard by which men will be judged.
And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. (John 12:47-48)
By understanding that the above cited statements go together, we should then understand that everything in Scripture (Old and New Testament) are either the words of the Lord Himself, or His pronouncements about man, lost and saved. Furthermore, we should understand that every one of us will be judged by the standard of the Scriptures. This makes the words of the Scripture of extreme importance to each and every man, woman and child on the earth.
After all, what if a road you travel everyday has the speed limit lowered without your knowledge and you continue driving like you always did. One day you are stopped by a policeman and given a ticket. When you go to court to fight the ticket and say you were improperly cited as you were not exceeding the speed limit — that it has always been 55 miles per hour. Suddenly you are shocked to find that the judge reads the law and it states that the speed limit for that section of highway is not 55 miles per hour, but it is 45 miles per hour. He therefore finds you guilty of exceeding the speed limit. When you protest, he tells you that ignorance of the law is no excuse. The change was made public in the paper and was passed in open session of the governing body — You should have known what the speed limit was.
This is much the same as the alteration, or corruption of Scripture that has occurred since the Scripture was given to man by the LORD God. We must remember that the enemy of God, which is Satan, or the Devil, seeks the destruction of God and wants to rule all of God’s creation. We are part of God’s creation, and are given the ability to choose what we will believe and who we will obey. We are also made in the image of God. However, as the Scripture states, we are judged by our choices as well. The Devil cannot alter the standard the LORD God has given by which we are judged, as that standard is forever settled in Heaven. But he can alter the copies of it on earth. In so doing, he can alter what men read and understand as the standard by which man is justified in the sight of God. In this manner Satan can deceive men into believing that justification before God is one way, when in fact it is entirely different. In addition, Satan can deceive men into believing that he is God, so that men worship Satan as God.
So it is that the issue of which Bible one reads and studies is of extreme importance. After all, one is only allowed the opportunity to repent and believe the Gospel during their life on earth. Once we die and pass into eternity there is no more opportunity to be justified in the sight of God, as it is written:
And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. (Hebrews 9:27-28)
Paul W. Davis