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Darkness to Light - Vol. II, No.8

Darkness to Light
Volume II, Number XX


Presented by Darkness to Light Web site
Director: Gary F. Zeolla

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Email Exchanges on Bible Versions

By Gary F. Zeolla


At one time I regularly posted "Email Exchanges" on the Web site. And many readers have written me to tell me how much they enjoyed my discussions with other readers. However, for the past couple of years, I have not been able to post such exchanges. But I have been saving many of them. So for this issue, I am publishing several of these older email exchanges from 2002 dealing with the subject of Bible versions. For much more on this subject, see my Differences Between Bible Versions book.

The emailers' comments are printed in black and enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My responses are in red.

>Dear Gary,

I am searching for a 21st Century King James Bible. I want this version as I believe it is the closest translation to the King James Version. Do you believe that to be correct?<

You're correct that the KJV21 is very close to the KJV. Too close, in fact, in my opinion. Basically, the KJ21 updates some of the archaic language in the KJV, but not all of it. And it makes no other changes to the text. Personally, I really don't see the point.

I have a full review of the KJ21 on my site at: KJ21: Initial Impressions. I also mention the KJ21 in my Bible versions book.

>I really want this version in the 365 daily readings format and my extensive searches have not found this format available. I can easily find this format in the New International Version. What is your opinion of this version of the Bible?

I appreciate any help or advice you can give me.

Thank you,

I doubt very much you'll find a KJ21 in this format. I think there's only one edition of it available. There's ordering information at the end of the above review.

As for the NIV, I discuss it in depth in my Bible versions book.


What is the difference between the KJ II and MKJV?



The King James II is simply another name for the Modern King James Version (MKJV). Actually, it was called the KJ II first and then in a later edition changed to the MKJV. Both were translated by Jay P. Green and published by Christian Literature World.

>Subject: Thank you

Dear Gary,

First a little background... I was born and raised a Presbyterian, but was never a religious man. I never looked for God because I never felt I lost him or that I was a "sinner," although I didn't go to church or worship.

But a few months ago a woman from my past walked back into my life and with her she brought the idea of embracing God and thanking Him for all He provides. This was a main issue in her life and forced a wedge between her and I. But it also forced me to look into my soul and truly think of what it was that I believed. And it started to bring God to the forefront and started my new devotion to the Lord.

Now this is where the "thank you" to you comes in. I have many problems with organized religion, one of which is the numerous versions of the Bible. One day I came across your website and spent over 4 hours that day alone looking and reading the things there. And I would like to thank you for your insight, dedication and devotion to reviewing and teaching others. I found the things you said to be thoughtful and insightful. I feel that in today's world that people don't say thank you enough to the people that help them. So, Gary, although I do not know you personally I would like to say THANK YOU, you have helped me.

Today I went out and bought my Bible, Life Application Study Bible: NKJV.

Thank you,

Thank you very much for the kind words. May God bless you as you study His Word.

I have recently realized that Bibles are not all the same. I have always used a Bible that I got when I was very young. This was listed as the Revised Standard Version. I can find very little information about how this Bible compares to other Bibles and where and how it was translated. Can you shed any light on this or refer me to the appropriate source.


The RSV was a rather literal translation of the "Critical Text" done around 1900. It was replaced by the less literal New Revised Standard Version in 1990. Both versions are influence by liberalism, especially the latter. Most editions of the NRSV also usually contain the Apocrypha. I have a chapter about these two versions in my Bible versions book.

>Dear Gary,

I'm so thankful for the information on Bible versions you have on this site. After a year of struggle, I'm finally out of the KJV-only movement. Thanks to your site and (Gary Hudson), I'm finally free from those shackles. However, I still am weary and against the CT and the NIV/NASB and other such versions based on these manuscripts. I have always been since the time I received my first NIV in junior high. I struggled with the footnotes all the way through college until I finally switched to the NKJV.

My grandmother purchased my first NKJV when I was only 9 years old. I never really used it because my church always pushed the NIV. Then, after I married, I started attending a small GARBC (General Association of Regular Baptist Churches) church and began using the NKJV regularly. My pastor graduated from Pensacola Christian college and Grace Seminary in Indiana. He says the NKJV is the best mainstream modern version due to it's use of the TR and MT footnotes. I've been so blessed by reading it!

I read my NIV for so many years and never even felt like I was learning or growing. I always felt uncomfortable about all the omitted verses. When I fell for the KJV-only movement (long and hard through and a personal acquaintance there), it was a long, arduous journey to freedom! My husband and pastor were so frustrated with me, not to mention the frustration that I felt with God for making the KJV the only correct Bible (unknowingly).

I prayed so much and God revealed to me your website and Gary Hudson's website. Now my mind is at peace again and I'm reading through and learning so much about God through His word. I only use the NKJV [New King James Version] and that's the only one I recommend to anyone. It is terrible that there is so much confusion over Bible versions, not to mention way too many Bible versions out there! Thanks again for your wisdom and for allowing God to use you in this necessary discussion.

God bless you!

In Christ,
Cassie (I'm only 24, but am thankful to be over this issue at such a young age!)

Thank you for relating your story. And I am thankful I could be a part of it.

Subject: Your web site.

I love your articles, especially those on NKJV vs. KJV. I have been studying translations and have learned a lot from you. One thing I would like to see improved is navigation of your site. It's hard to find some things. It's like one big maze. May God bless you and I look forward for more articles by you.


Thanks for the comments. As for the navigation on my site, I've had others say that it is easy to navigate. The links at the bottom of each page should provide direction. Items can be found using the Subject Index, the Alphabetical List of Pages, or the various Search Engines.

>Dear Gary

I recently read that during National Prohibition, a scholar (I believe at Yale) was commissioned to prepare a version of the Bible omitting all references to wine or other forms of alcohol.

If you are aware of this version of the Bible, could you provide me with a bibliographic reference to it?

Thank you very much,


Sorry, but I never heard of it. It does sound rather strange though as (doing a quick search) there are 215 references to wine in the Bible. That would be a lot of references to omit.

>Hi Gary

Thanks for getting back to me. A librarian found it: The Shorter Bible, trans, by Charles Foster Kent and colleagues and published by Scribner's.


Thanks for letting me know.

>I read your book on different translations, but didn't see any comments on the Jerusalem Bible.....can you shoot me a quick message about how well it was translated


The JB is a dynamic equivalency Bible even verging on a paraphrase at times. So I would say it is not very accurate. There's also now a New Jerusalem Bible available. I haven't seen it, but I would assume it is around the same lines as the original JB.

Subject: Balanced opinion

I have read your My Bible Versions Experiences and was quite please to see that there is some moderate, informed opinions on the subject. I am very sad about all the KJV vs. Demonic Bibles vitriol. I will read some more of articles in your website….


Thank you for the kind comments. The article you refer to is actually the first chapter in my book Differences Between Bible Versions. You might find it to be of interest as well.


ALT-2 Update

When the last issue of this newsletter was published, I was still proofreading the "gallery" (hardcopy printout) for the second edition of the Analytical-Literal Translation. As I read through the text, I found many needed corrections. Most of these were very minor, mostly dealing with punctuation, and especially quotation marks. The reason for this was, when I converted the text from a verse-paragraph format to a regular paragraph formatting, this required changing all of the quotation marks, and I missed quite a few of the needed changes. But I am glad I made the change in paragraph format as it is so much easier to read with the new formatting.

As for the text itself, the only needed corrections were very minor, such as in about half a dozen places making a mistake like having "his" where it should have been "this." But overall, I am very glad I have finally gotten the text to the point where there are no important typos. But still, I wanted to correct all of these minor mistakes so the text is as accurate as it can be. But this required doing what my publisher (AuthorHouse) calls a "Re-Tech." This basically refers to re-submitting the text and having them start over with preparing it for publication. I sent the updated text in on August 3, 2004.

I was afraid having to do the Re-Tech would cause a significant delay in publication. However, I received an email dated August 20 that the new gallery had been sent. It should arrive a few days after this. When it does I want to proofread the text yet one more time just to be sure it is typo free. Hopefully, this will only take me a couple of weeks or so, and then I will send a list of any needed corrections to my publisher. It will probably be a couple of months after that when the new ALT is ready for purchase. So my best guess at this point is it will be ready around November of this year.

Doing the Re-Tech did work out for the best. It let me know exactly how many pages the text would be. I also found out that the pricing for books was such that I could add quite a few pages to the text without it increasing the cost of the book. So I did some reformatting of the text (like block-quoting extended OT quotations) that should improve the readability and look of the text. I also made some additional last-minute updates to increase the accuracy and readability of the text.

In addition, I added a new five-page appendix on "Translation Decisions and Meanings of Notations." Many Bible versions often include a section where the translators give their thoughts on their work. This new appendix gave me the opportunity to include such a section for the new ALT. In the process, I gave more detailed explanations for the notations used in the ALT than is seen in the "Abbreviations and Notations" page found at the beginning of the text.

With all of the above, I must say I am very excited about the new ALT, and I am very much looking forward to its final publication later this year. With all of the needed corrections taken care of and with the final updates to the text, I truly believe the ALT-2 will be the most literally accurate translation of the NT available. And with the new formatting and updates, it should be rather easy to read as well.


Newspaper Article

My local newspaper ran an article about me and my powerlifting in its Thursday, August 5 edition. I scanned the article and posted it on my Fitness for One and All Web site. It is located at: Weightlifter overcomes obstacles.

Differences Between Bible Versions
Why do Bible versions differ? Why does the same verse read differently in different versions?
Why do some versions contain words, phrases, and even entire verses that other versions omit?
These and many other questions are answered in this paperback and eBook by Gary F. Zeolla.

All material in this newsletter is copyrighted © 2004 by Gary F. Zeolla or as indicated otherwise.