Article: 2 Corinthians 11:3 - the simplicity that is in Christ by Will Kinney

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2 Corinthians 11:3 “the simplicity that is in Christ” or “your sincere and pure devotion to Christ”?

“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from THE SIMPLICITY THAT IS IN CHRIST. For if he that cometh preacheth ANOTHER JESUS, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive ANOTHER SPIRIT, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. --- For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. “ 2 Corinthians 11:3-4; 13-15.

There are two problems in the differences between the King James Bible and the modern versions such as the NIV, NASB and ESV. One is textual and the other is translational, and the doctrinal emphasis has been changed as a result.

The context of 2 Corinthians 11 is the contrast between the true Jesus Christ (and by direct implication, the true Bible) versus another, false Jesus and the deceiving work of Satan.

The apostle is telling us that there is a simplicity in the doctrine of Christ and we should not be moved from these fundamental truths that are revealed even to babes in Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures and rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures. (1 Cor. 15:3-4)

The famous Baptist commentator, John Gill, remarks on this verse: “should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ; that is, lest their judgments should be misled, their minds be vitiated with corrupt principles, and be carried away in any degree with the error of the wicked, from off the pure and simple doctrine of the Gospel, which respects the person and grace of Christ; and chiefly lies in this one plain, easy, and important truth, salvation alone by him.”

Likewise John Calvin translates the verse as it is found in our King James Bible and comments: “by the simplicity that is in Christ is meant, that which keeps us in the unadulterated and pure doctrine of the gospel, and admits of no foreign admixtures.”

And John Owen also comments:

http://books.google.com/books?id=C30...J&pg=RA1-PA445 The Works of John Owen

"Hereby he hopes to draw off men from the simplicity that is in Christ, or the plain declaration of the will of God in the gospel, unto false and foolish imaginations of his own suggestion."

Agreeing both with the underlying Greek texts and the meaning of the King James Bible are the following bible translations: Wycliffe 1395 “the simpleness that is in Christ.”, (Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535, Bishops’ Bible 1568), the Geneva Bible 1599 - “so your mindes shoulde be corrupt from the simplicitie that is in Christ.”, Wesley 1755, Webster’s 1833, Young’s, Hebrew Names Version - “corrupted from the simplicity that is in Messiah. “; Darby, World English Bible, Douay-Rheims, NKJV 1982, KJV 21st Century 1994 and the Third Millenium Bible 1998.

The Spanish Reina Valera 1602, 1909, and the 2004 Reina Valera Gomez also agree with the King James Bible saying: “Mas temo que en alguna manera, como la serpiente engañó a Eva con su astucia, así sean corrompidas vuestras mentes, DE LA SIMPLICIDAD QUE ES EN CRISTO.”

However, several modern versions based primarily on the Westcott-Hort Greek Critical Text have changed both the text and the spiritual emphasis of the verse.

NIV - “But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from YOUR SINCERE AND PURE DEVOTION TO CHRIST.”

NASB - “...your minds will be led astray from THE SIMPLICITY AND PURITY OF DEVOTION TO CHRIST.”

ESV, RSV - “your thoughts will be led astray from A SINCERE AND PURE DEVOTION TO CHRIST.”

Holman Standard - “your minds may be corrupted from A COMPLETE AND PURE DEVOTION TO CHRIST.”

First of all, these modern versions are based on a different Greek text which comes primarily from the Vaticanus manuscript. Vaticanus adds three extra words here - kai tns agnoteetos - which literally would be ‘and the purity’. There is no Greek word in any text for “devotion”. The modern versions have added it to their own English translations.

The three extra words are not found in the Majority of all Greek texts, nor in the modern Greek Bible used throughout the Greek Orthodox churches, nor are they in the Sinaiticus correction. Even Tischendorf, who himself discovered the Sinaitic manuscript, did not include the extra three words in his own published Greek text. Furthermore, Westcott and Hort, as well as today’s Nestle-Aland critical texts, continue to bracket these extra words, indicating doubt as to their authenticity. Yet they are found in versions like the NIV, NASB, RSV, NET and Holman Standard.

Let’s do a simple contrast between the two different readings here.

King James Bible - “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from THE SIMPLICITY THAT IS IN CHRIST.”

NIV - “But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from YOUR SINCERE AND PURE DEVOTION TO CHRIST.”

The theological emphasis found in the text of the King James Bible (and many others as well) takes our eyes OFF of ourselves and focuses our attention ON Christ Himself and the simplicity that is found in His saving gospel.

The variant text and consequent translation of modern versions like the NIV, NASB, RSV takes our eyes off of the simplicity found in Christ and instead turns them upon our own religious feelings. The whole context is wrenched out of place. The true words of God, as found in the King James Bible, are telling us to keep our minds on the simple truths that are found in the true Jesus Christ, and not to be led astray by “another Jesus”.

People can be very passionate and “devoted” to a false Jesus and a false religion. This happens all the time; we see it on every hand. The modern version reading would tend to turn us into spiritual belly-button watchers constantly testing the temperature of our own “devotion” and religious zeal, rather than on the objective, unchangeable and simple truth found in Christ.

Satan already has most Christians not believing that any Bible in any language is the complete, inspired and 100% true words of God, and “another spirit” is rapidly persuading the world that all religions are equally valid paths to God. Satan convinces them that what is really important is that they only be sincere and devoted to whatever it is that they might believe about their ‘God’.

The King James Bible is the only true Bible on the earth today. Don’t let the ‘scholars’ and scribes cause you to doubt it, and don’t let your minds be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ - that through the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ ALONE is there salvation from sin, death and hell, and there is absolutely no other way to have your sins forgiven and find peace with the one true God.

Accepted in the Beloved, (Eph. 1:6)

Will Kinney

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