And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever.
Exodus 12:17 (KJV)
The feast of – I’ve been married for over a decade now and just the other day I caught myself finishing my wife’s sentence for her. Of course I didn’t interject the word she was looking for even though I thought it was close enough. But because I wasn’t quite right on, she continued to ponder on that word until she finally got it and then repeated her sentence to me. How funny is that?
Well somewhere along the lines our translators thought they’d do this with God’s sentences. They began to interject their words to help God finish His sentences in Scripture. Surely this is acceptable because nothing translates perfectly word for word, right? We expect the translators to fill in the words when they’re missing to help bring some sense to the text.
But what happens when these additional words start to interfere with God’s handiwork? This is what’s happening in Exodus 12:17, the translators added the words “the feast of” to the text. We’ll discuss more of this in part 2 of this post. Luckily the King James Version italicizes most occurrences of added words so that we, the reader, can catch them. Other Bibles don’t even do that. Instead they fill in the holes with words and don’t even inform the reader about the slight of hand trick.
This is where it requires study to dig deep into the truth that God is communicating with us. Not all translations are created equal, and none of them are up to par. Soon we realize that not only words are being added to the text, but paradigms are finding their way into Scripture to skew it to fit a specific doctrine or belief. The unsuspecting reader never knows what hits them – and it happens all over Scripture.
This happens all the time. People formulate doctrines based on added words that were never found in the original texts. There are also versions that completely remove verses to help imply certain views of Christianity. Just take a look at the New International Version (NIV) which deletes about 16 different verses and removes large chunks of verses in several places. Go ahead try to look up Acts 8:37 in the NIV… surprise, it’s not there.
So before we jump into part 2 of this post, I wanted to discuss the importance of knowing what was actually written as opposed to what was translated. Translation is NOT easy, and those who translate are committing themselves to difficult tasks, and I commend them for it! But translations get messy and we need to be willing to sort through the mess to find the purity in God’s word. Otherwise we’re left finishing God’s sentences with words he didn’t want to use. This just frustrates Him even more.