Before we scrutinize the various versions, let us clarify our own belief regarding the Books of God. When we say that we believe in the Tablets, the Psalms, the Gospel and the Quran, what do we really mean? We already know that the Holy Quran is the infallible Word of God, revealed to Prophet Muhammad word for word, through the agency of the Archangel Gabriel, and perfectly preserved and protected from human tampering for the past fourteen hundred years! See The Quran – The Miracle of Miracles Even hostile critics of Islam have grudgingly vouched for the purity of the Holy Quran:
“There is probably in the world no other book which has remained twelve centuries (now fourteen) with so pure a text.” (Sir William Muir).
The Old and New Testaments we Muslims believe in is not the “Old and New Testaments” of the Jews and the Christians, though the words one Arabic, the other Hebrew are the same. We believe that whatever the Holy Prophet Moses preached to his people, was the revelation from God Almighty, but that Moses was not the author of those “books” attributed to him by the Jews and the Christians.
Likewise, we believe that the Psalms was the revelation of God granted to David, but that the present Psalms associated with his name are not that revelation. The Christians themselves do not insist that David is the sole author of “his” Psalms. (Later on you’ll read how Christian “Brains Trust” confess “Author; Principally David, though there are other writers.”)
What about the ‘Gospel’? or ‘good news’ which Jesus Christ preached during his short ministry. The “Gospel” writers often mention that Jesus going about and preaching the Gospel “And Jesus went … preaching the gospel … and healing every disease among the people.” (Matthew 9:35)
“but whosoever shall lose his fife for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.” (Mark 8:35)
“preached the gospel” (Luke 20:1)
The “gospel” is a frequently used word, but what Gospel did Jesus preach? Of the 27 books of the New Testament, only a small fraction can be accepted as the words of Jesus. The Christians boast about the Gospels according to St. Matthew, according to St. Mark, according to St. Luke and according to St. John, but there is not a single Gospel “according” to (St.) Jesus himself! We sincerely believe that everything Christ preached was from God. That was the Injeel, the good news and the guidance of God for the Children of Israel. In his life-time Jesus never wrote a single word, nor did he instruct anyone to do so. What passes off as the “Gospels” today are the works of anonymous hands!
The question before us is:
“Do you accept that the Bible is God’s Word?” The question is really in the form of a challenge. The questioner is not simply seeking enlightenment. The question is posed in the spirit of a debate. We have every right to demand in a similar vein “Which Bible are you talking about?”, we may ask.
“Why, there is only one Bible!”.
The Catholic bible
Holding the “Douay” Roman Catholic Version of the Bible aloft in my hand, I ask, “Do you accept this Bible as the Word of God?” For reasons best known to themselves, the Catholic Truth Society have published their Version of the Bible in a very short, sturnpy form. This Version is a very odd proportion of the numerous Versions in the market today.
The Christian questioner is taken aback. “What Bible is that?” he asks. “Why, I thought you said that there was only one Bible!” I remind him. “Yes,” he murmurs hesitantly, “but what Version is that?” “Why, would that make any difference?” I enquire. Of course it does, and the professional preacher knows that it does. He is only bluffing with his “one Bible” claim.
The Roman Catholic Bible was published at Rheims in 1582, from Jerome’s Latin Vulgate and reproduced at Douay in 1609. As such the RCV (Roman Catholic Version) is the oldest Version that one can still buy today. Despite its antiquity, the whole of the Protestant world, including the “cults” (This Disparaging Title Is Given By The Orthodox To Jehovah’s Witnesses, The Seventh Day Adventists And A Thousand Other Sects And Denominations With Whom They Do Not See Eye To Eye.) condemn the RCV because it contains seven extra “books” which they contemptuously refer to as the “apocrypha” i.e. of doubtful authority. Notwithstanding the dire warning contained in the Apocalypse, which is the last book in the RCV (renamed as “Revelation” by the Protestants), it is “revealed”:
“If any man shall add to these things (or delete) God shall add unto him the plagues written in this Book.” (Revelation 22:18-19)
But who cares! They do not really believe! The Protestants have bravely expunged seven whole books from their Book of God! The outcasts are:
The Book of Judith The Book of Tobias The Book of Baruch The Buck of Esther, etc.
The Protestant bible
Sir Winston Churchill has some pertinent things to say about the Authorised Version (AV) of the Protestant Bible, which is also widely known as the “King James Version (KJV)”.
“The authorised version of the bible was published in 1611 by the will and command of his majesty king James the 1st whose name it bears till today.”
The Roman Catholics, believing as they do that the Protestants have mutilated the Book of God, are yet aiding and abetting the Protestant “crime” by forcing their native converts to purchase the Authorised Version (AV) of the Bible, which is the only Bible available in some 1500 languages of the lesser developed nations of the world. The Roman Catholics milk their cows, but the feeding is left to the Protestants! The overwhelming majority of Christians both Catholics and Protestant use the Authorised (AV) or the King James Version (KJV) as it is alternatively called.
First published, as Sir Winston says, in 1611, and then revised in 1881 (RV), and now re-revised and brought up to date as the Revised Standard Version (RSV) 1952, and now again re-revised in 1971 (still RSV for short). Let us see what opinion Christendom has of this most revised Bible, the RSV:
1. “The finest version which has been produced in the present century.” (Church Of England Newspaper).
2. “A completely fresh translation by scholars of the highest eminence.” (Times Literary Supplement).
3. “The well-loved characteristics of the authorised version combined with a new accuracy of translation.” (Life And Work).
4. “The most accurate and close rendering of the original” (The Times).
The publishers (Collins) themselves, in their notes on the Bible at the end of their production, say on page 10:
“This bible (RSV), is the product of thirty-two scholars, assisted by an advisory committee representing fifty co-operating denominations.” Why all this boasting? To make the gullible public buy their product? All these testimonies convince the purchaser that he is backing the right horse, with the purchaser little suspecting that he is being taken for a ride.
The world’s best seller
But what about the Authorised Version of the Bible (AV), the “World’s Best Seller?” These Revisers, all good salesmen, have some very pretty things to say about it. However, their page iii, paragraph six of the preface of the RSV reads:
“The king James version (alternative description of av) has with good reason been termed ‘the noblest monument of English prose.’ its revisers in 1881 expressed admiration for ‘its simplicity, its dignity, its power, its happy turns of expression … the music of its cadences, and the felicities of its rhythm.’ it entered, as no other book has, into the making of the personal character and the public institutions of the English-speaking peoples. we owe to it an incalculable debt.”
Can you, dear reader, imagine a more magnificent tribute being paid to the “Book of Books” than the above? I, for one, cannot. Let the believing Christian, now steel himself for the un-kindest blow of all from his own beloved Lawyers of Religion; for in the very same breath they say:
“Yet the king James version has grave defects.” and, “that these defects are so many and so serious as to call for revision …” This is straight from the horse’s mouth, i.e. the orthodox Christian scholars of “the highest eminence.” Another galaxy of Doctors of Divinity are now required to produce an encyclopedia explaining the cause of those grave and serious defects in their Holy Writ and their reasons for eliminating them.