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Five Examples of the NIV Changing the Gospel

Updated on August 5, 2010

Is the NIV Watering Down the Gospel?

There has been a great deal of controversy surrounding the newer versions of the Holy Bible. The New International Version, or NIV, has been put under a microscope because of its changes and omissions to the Holy Scripture. When studied closely and compared to older versions like the King James Version, the NIV simply does not stand up in terms of doctrine. Following are five ways that the NIV makes changes and omissions of a simple word or phrase that completely changes the doctrine that the Holy Bible teaches.

1. Mary's Virginity

In Matthew 1:25 of the King James Bible, the author writes this: “And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.”

One of the most essential doctrines of the Christian faith is the virginity of Mary before Jesus was born. This was important because Jesus had to be born without the natural sin of Adam. If Jesus was not the firstborn of the virgin Mary, she would not have been the pure women that the Christian faith teaches. But the NIV, by leaving out one word from that verse, removes the certainty that Mary was a virgin at the time of Christ’s birth.

Here is what Matthew 1:25 says in the NIV: “But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

By removing the word “firstborn” and simply replacing it with “a son,” the translators of the NIV imply that Mary may have had other children before Jesus was born. At the very least, the NIV does not make it a certainty that Jesus was the firstborn son of Mary. Therefore, the NIV (at the very least) casts a doubt on the doctrine that Mary was a virgin and, as a result, Christ was born without natural sin.

2. The Sinless Nature of Christ

The Christian doctrine teaches that Christ lived a sinless life. In 1 John 3:5, the Bible teaches us this: “And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.” There are other verses that tell us that Christ had no sin and this is just one of them. But the NIV would have us believe something different.

In Matthew 5:22, we are told that being angry with a brother without cause is a sin. In the King James Bible, the verse reads like this: “But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” This tells us that we must have a reason for being angry with our brother or else we are sinning.

The same verse in the NIV would have us believe something different. Here is how Matthew 5:22 in the NIV reads: “But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell.” The problem here is that the NIV takes out the phrase “without cause.” As such, it implies that being angry even with cause is a sin, which means Jesus would have sinned when he went into the temples and threw over the tables of the money changers.

Are you starting to see how changing a word here and leaving out a word there can change an entire belief system? Let’s keep going, shall we?

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3. God "Openly" Rewards Us

As Christians, we are taught that the things we do for God in secret will bring us rewards in the open. We are supposed to do things “behind the scenes” rather than taking credit for them because we should have a desire to do them for God’s glory rather than our own. There are several verses in the sixth chapter of Matthew that explain this doctrine.

Matthew 6:4 says, “That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.” In Matthew 6:6, we are told this: “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly." And in Matthew 6:18, it says this: “That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.” As you can see from these verses, giving tithes, praying and fasting are things we should do in secret so as to not glorify our own deeds. When we do these things in secret, God will give us rewards for all to see.

But the NIV takes out each instance of the word “openly” in these three passages. It might seem like just a small change, but it changes the way God rewards us for our secret deeds.

4. The Lord's Prayer

Surely the editors of the NIV wouldn’t even think about omitting words and phrases from the Lord’s Prayer, would they? In Matthew 6:13 of the NIV, the phrase “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever, Amen,” is left out. Unfortunately for the editors of the NIV, this phrase appears in more than 490 of the 500 manuscripts that the Holy Bible is based on. Why would they leave out such a pertinent phrase that appears in more than 98 percent of the transcripts that exist? One of the reasons is to blur the lines between the Almighty God and Satan. This idea goes back to the idea of the New Age Movement playing a major role in the editing of the NIV, which is a topic I will take up in another post.

Why would the NIV editors omit this phrase? The Lord’s Prayer is found in full in other books of the gospel. But when you remove it from one part, it’s easier for future versions to remove the other instance.

5. The Deity of Christ

Jesus Christ is the Son of God. That is evident throughout the Scriptures. So why does the NIV seem to whittle down those instances out that verify Christ’s deity? In Matthew 8:29, it says: “And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? Art thou come hither to torment us before the time?” That’s from the King James Version and it is talking about the demons being witness to the fact that Jesus was indeed the Son of God. Their statement couples “Jesus” with “Son of God” so there is no doubt about who they were talking about.

But in the New International Version, the editors leave “Jesus” out of the demons’ questions. Here is how the NIV recounts the situation: “What do you want with us, Son of God?" they shouted. "Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?” By removing “Jesus” from this verse, it is unclear about who the demons are talking to. Are they talking to Jesus? Or are they talking to someone else?

Of course, this verse does not nullify the deity of Jesus Christ. But it is just one instance in which the NIV editors have decided to change the Scripture in a way that makes it easier to question or even doubt the Christian doctrine.

These are just five instances within the first eight chapters of The Gospel in which verses have been changes to seemingly promote an agenda. There are dozens, if not hundreds more instances of these subtle changes that make all the difference in the world.


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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Your article is correct. NIV is removing the Deity of Christ and promoting another Gospel. Its funny how you pointed out a clear example of The Lords Prayer being changed and how HubCraft totally missed what your saying. The truth is that satan has blinded him and many others who cannot seem to understand the basic truth that you present. Pray that God opens the eyes of the people so they can see the evil tampering with the Bible.

    • truthisfreedom profile image


      8 years ago from Shell Lake, Wisconsin

      Great article, the NIV is an example of false teachings sneaking in like a serpent twisting the truth of God's word. The truth will set you free.

    • HubCrafter profile image


      8 years ago from Arizona

      Ask the reference librarian for a book about the writing of the NIV too.

      The Gospel is still intact in the NIV.

    • Chad A Hagy profile imageAUTHOR

      Chad Alexander Hagy 

      8 years ago from California

      From the research I have done and the information I have found, many of the editors and people who worked on the NIV were spiritualists and leaders in the New Age Movement, which is one of my main problems with that translation. I have found many quotes from people who have worked on the NIV in which the people stated that they were going to try and make the Bible more acceptable for all religions and the NIV was just the first major step.

      I'd love to read that book you mentioned. I'll check it out :) Thanks!

    • HubCrafter profile image


      8 years ago from Arizona

      I believe the authors and the editors of the NIV are all christians...believers in the Gospel...faithful men and women who have Christ living in their hearts.

      There is a wonderful book about the writing of the King James Bible. It recounts the history and the politics and the very surprising stories of who these men, these 70 men who wrote the King James Bible, really were.

      I'm sure a good reference librarian could help you find it. It's just full of amazing stories.

      God bless.

    • Chad A Hagy profile imageAUTHOR

      Chad Alexander Hagy 

      8 years ago from California

      I don't disagree with anything you are saying. I, too, refer to the NIV at times when the KJV's language is a bit too difficult. But I think the NIV should just be a resource rather than the only translation a person reads. I outlined 5 reasons why a person could be misled by relying only on the NIV for the Gospel message and I believe there are many more.

      Don't get me wrong - I'm not a staunch hardcore religious zealot that only believes God speaks through one type of music or one denomination or anything like that. I'm just pointing out how a couple word changes and a few phrases being excluded from vital passages of Scripture can change an entire thought, meaning or idea. I'm not "afraid" that the NIV is harmful or anything like that. But we are still supposed to be diligent and looking for things that can be deceptive. I believe changing God's word is one of the things we are warned against. Whether or not that includes the NIV and other translations, I don't know for sure. I just find the idea interesting.

    • HubCrafter profile image


      8 years ago from Arizona

      ..just wanted to introduce the idea of why new translations are produced.

      As I recall, way back when I went to college, there were darn few students who really appreciated having to learn about Shakespeare's writing. We all found it difficult to understand. Our instructor would often have to help us understand a phrase...because we'd missed the joke or not even realized he was making a pun.

      No matter how "true" to the gospel a translation might appear, if the reader does not "get it" then the message is lost.

      Putting the Bible into today's language is a demanding art. I applaud anyone bold enough to even venture a mere paraphrase of a Bible text. It's richness and beauty make it an enormously challenging job.

      As far as sowing and reaping are concerned (..."planting seeds of doubt in the minds of those who are not as knowledgeable."); my faith in God's Spirit is still strong. We need only sow the seed..He promises to bring the increase. That's His job. Mine, is to trust in Him. This is the method which God chose; to send out the Gospel through the "foolishness" of preaching and by the Word of His mouth.

      Fear and doubt are not a product of God's work. They are the evidence of man's weakness..his lack of faith..his lack of grounding in godliness.

      God's foolishness is stronger than the wisdom of men. I do not doubt it one bit.

      I came to Christ by the hearing of the Gospel at a rock concert. Neither of the authors of the rock opera, Jesus Christ Superstar was a christian. But they used some of the gospel of Matthew (I think it was).

      None of the local churches approved of the "heresy" as they called it. To them, the music was "appalling". And the costumes were "shameful".

      But God's wisdom is greater than the wisdom of any man; churchmen included. And God reached down into that darkened theatre and grabbed my heart and said....Come to Me.

      And I recognized that Jesus Christ was suffering on the cross for doing no wrong. The tears flowed down my cheeks. A friend explained how I could then and there have Jesus forgive my own sins and enter my very own heart. And that very night, I did...I asked Jesus Christ to cleanse and forgive me. And He did. And after that simple prayer, I felt such overwhelming I'd never known...and I knew I was born again.

      God is more than able to use whatever means He chooses to reach a sinful heart with His loving message.

      I believe that. And I'm very thankful it's true.

    • Chad A Hagy profile imageAUTHOR

      Chad Alexander Hagy 

      8 years ago from California

      Thank you for your comments. Everything you said makes sense. I know the KJV was based on earlier translations. I know language changes. But this article wasn't about language changing or changing the spelling of a word here and there. It was about leaving selective words out to "water down" certain ideas. Leaving a phrase out of the Lord's Prayer has nothing to do with making it easier to read and understand. I only used a few examples but there are literally hundreds more.

      Here's where I'm coming from: Those who know the Bible know what is being said. But some new versions make it easier to argue against what the Gospel is really about. Do I think someone is going to Hell for reading the NIV? No. I'm just saying it leaves too much room for speculation when discussing the message and the idea of the Gospel for people who are new to the message or for those who know the Bible inside and out for the express purpose of planting seeds of doubt in the minds of those who are not as knowledgeable.

      I do appreciate your comments, though. Thanks!

    • HubCrafter profile image


      8 years ago from Arizona

      Hi Chad:

      Translation is not a science. It is an art.

      I don't speak, write or read first century Aramaic or Greek. Neither do I speak the everyday language of Shakespear's time. That was 500 years ago and my native language, English, has changed quite a bit.

      The New Testament is an inspired document. But in order for those living today to understand it we need a translation into our own language.

      The idioms of everyday language change over time. What is common knowledge of what an idiomatic phrase means..that gets lost over time. Gradually, new idioms come into the language and by regular use we all come to know what they mean. And, with dis-use..they fade out of usage. Hmmm. What's an idiom?

      Sometimes they are just single words that carry some special"roughneck", "jarhead", "macho-man", "twinkletoes", "twinkie", "turtleneck", "barfly", "barkeep", "bullwinkle" get the idea. But what if 500 years passes? All those words..they need someone to explain them...cuz they're all destined to fall out of regular use. And...what if no one explains the difference between a roughneck and a turtleneck?

      Then there are phrases. You know..nick nack paddywhack, give the dog a bone. What's all that mean? I don't really know myself, lol.

      Personally, I love the language of the King Jame's Bible. It's beauty and poetry are incomparable. But did you know that more than 90 per cent of the King James is based (without changes) ...on an earlier translation? The Geneva Bible came first.

      The 70 or so translators of the King James Bible were divided into small groups with certain books assigned to them. Despite the large number of translators and the wide variety of books translated, in the end, much of the King James remained unchanged in relation to the earlier translation.

      Do you own a Geneva translation? It's still 500 year old English. In fact, that's what we call that period of the English language, Old English. But then, they spelled it, "Olde English". Didn't they?

      They used more letters for some words than we do today. But our modern publishers have "fixed" the olde english for us, haven't they? They have updated all the spelling in the King James to fit our "modern" spelling.

      Same thing with Shakespeare. Read the original and stumble through the OLDE spelling and the OLDE idioms and the olde english is difficult to understand. We just don't speak that way anymore.

      Thank God for translations.


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