Beware of Books Claiming to be Scripture, but are Not

There are several newer “bible” versions that take liberties with God’s word. They change it and editorialize verses to make the bible look like the world. They teach heresy.

Here are two examples.

NLT James 1:1 "This letter is from James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am writing to the “twelve tribes”—Jewish believers scattered abroad. Greetings!"
GNT "From James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ: Greetings to all God's people scattered over the whole world."

Both amount to commentaries, not scripture. The first is very bad commentary. The “translators” took it on themselves to decide what God meant with the following phrase from the Greek.

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad (diaspora – Israelite residents sown in foreign countries), greeting.

The “translators” decided to add their own explanation rather than let God’s Word stand. They equated Israelites with “Jewish believers”. Most will not see a problem with that, but the terms are not equivalent.

Israelites are descendants of Jacob/Israel and are from both houses of Israel, Judah and Israel and are of all 12 tribes. We know that from history, at the time of Jame’s letter, the vast majority were living in Europe, not the Middle East. They were the “far off” people of Ephesians 2. They were not known as Jews.

The word Jew is taken from the word Judah, one of two houses of Israel and one of 12 tribes. At the time James wrote the phrase “twelve tribes who were scattered” in the dispersion he was talking about many more people than the incorrect term Jewish believers means today. Many of those who were Jewish then were not of Israel. Today those who would be of Israel are the very rare exception and usually only from conversion. The fact that they even used the phrase Jewish believers shows their lack of understanding of scripture and history.

“All God’s people” is not as bad, but still not what James wrote. In the context of scripture it is correct, but today has a meaning that is not from scripture. It is still not what James wrote.

It is always best to just read what God said and figure it out using God’s definitions and context in scripture than to add man’s ideas. Man’s ideas usually are not helpful.

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