Bible - Versions & Translations

The Growth of Protestant Bible Translation & The Vatican's Deceitful Response

By The Protestant Alliance of Britain, edited by Dr. Paul M. Elliott
Rome could not tolerate the spread of the authentic Scriptures in the languages of the nations. It therefore devised a cunning plan to effectively undermine Bible translation worldwide.

From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase

Part two of a four-part series. Read part one.

Editor's note: The first article of this series recounted the attempts of the popes of Rome, by both overt and covert means, to stop Protestant Bible societies' translation and distribution of the Scriptures in the languages of the nations. Pope Pius IX declared that the spread of the Scriptures as recovered by the 16th century Protestant Reformers was "against the laws of the church." As people read the Scriptures directly and in their own languages, Pius IX said, Rome's "traditions, the teaching of the Fathers, and the authority of the Catholic Church are rejected."

The Vatican would not, indeed could not, tolerate these developments. Rome loves to keep people in spiritual darkness. For centuries since the Middle Ages, Rome's main means of maintaining its dark hold upon millions of people had always been to keep the Scriptures out of their hands. In the third chapter of John, Jesus condemned all those who love darkness rather than light:

And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God. (John 3:19-21)

As the Protestant Bible societies ever more widely spread the light of God's Word, translating the Scriptures into more languages every year, Rome was faced with a crisis: If the Vatican could not stop the spread of Protestant Bible translation from the authentic texts of Scripture, how could Rome undermine and destroy its effectiveness? In this second article in our series excerpted from The Reformer, published by the Protestant Alliance of Great Britain, we shall see how Rome deceitfully changed its tactics and thereby took effective control of Bible translation worldwide. - Dr. Paul M. Elliott


Pope John XXIII, alarmed not only by the increase of Communism in the Roman Catholic world, but also by the growing presence of Protestants in those countries which were traditionally considered Roman Catholic, convened the Second Vatican Council in 1963. It became necessary that the issue of the Bible and its circulation should be urgently addressed, since there was no longer a political regime which it was able to force to carry out the bidding of the Vatican and enforce its cruel and oppressive persecutions. So, the policy of the Vatican started to follow [American war correspondent] Quentin Reynolds' proverb: "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em".

Pope Paul VI, successor of John XXIII who died during the Council, promulgated on 18th November, 1965 a very important document, Dei Verbum - The Word of God.[1] A leading figure in the preparation of this document was Basil Christopher Butler, an English convert from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism, an Oxford graduate and Abbot-President of the English Benedictine Order. He has been defined by many Roman Catholic scholars as "one of the two dozen who made the Council."

Rome's False Definition of "The Word of God"

Dei Verbum sets out how the Roman Catholic Church sees Scripture and its own tradition. This document states: "Sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture form one sacred deposit of the word of God, committed to the Church. Holding fast to this deposit the entire holy people united with their shepherds remain always steadfast in the teaching of the Apostles, in the common life, in the breaking of the bread and in prayers, so that holding to, practicing and professing the heritage of the faith, it becomes on the part of the bishops and faithful a single common effort."

The Word of God, in the Roman Catholic Church, is not just the Protestant Canon of Scripture, but the 66 Books of the Bible plus the Apocrypha, and the Tradition of the Church. Roman Catholic apologists give the following definition of Tradition: "Sacred according to Rome, their tradition includes 'transmitted revelation', that part of God's revealed word which is not contained in Sacred Scripture. Referring specifically to how Christian tradition was handed on, the Second Vatican Council says: "It was done by the apostles who handed on, by the spoken word of their preaching, by the example they gave, by the institutions they established, what they themselves had received whether from the lips of Christ, from His way of life and His works, or whether they had learned it by the prompting of the Holy Spirit." (Dei Verbum).

Rome Begins Undermining "Protestant" Bible Societies, Dialogues With Cults

Following the Second Vatican Council, the Church of Rome has become actively involved with the work of Bible Societies. In 1969, Pope Paul VI, encouraged the formation of the World Catholic Federation for the Biblical Apostolate, known since 1990 as the Catholic Biblical Federation. The aim of this federation is not simply to provide translations of the Bible in various languages. From their official website we can read: "The primary task of the Catholic Biblical Federation resides in the effort to translate the biblical message into the personal and communal context of human beings' lives. It thereby promotes a way of reading Sacred Scriptures which uncovers the life-giving message of God's Word, thus countering the danger of a fundamentalist misinterpretation."

This organization also supports "inter-confessional dialogue based on the common heritage of the Judeo-Christian Scriptures, and also the dialogue between the religions based on Sacred Scripture and those scriptures considered as sacred by other religions." A quick glance through their website quickly reveals how actively they are involved in co-operating with and influencing the work of Bible translations in an "ecumenical" way as well as providing Bible study materials produced according to the dictates of Dei Verbum.

The co-operation of Liberal Protestant and Roman Catholic scholars in the field of Bible translation and related material has helped bolster the dishonest claim that the Roman Catholic Church has given us the Bible.

The acceptance of such a claim by many ignorant Evangelicals and Protestants has led to the acceptance of the Church of Rome as "another Christian denomination". The walls separating the errors of Rome from the truth of the Scriptures have been pulled down to let a dangerous Trojan horse enter many Christian circles and lead them into apostasy and compromise. It has also pigeon-holed Bible believing Christians in a fundamentalist mold, aptly shaped by Jesuit craftiness, so that the authorities will compare them with Islamic extremism, thus discrediting their image, undermining their credibility, weakening their testimony, and encouraging the potential curtailing of their liberties. Further co-operation with this ecumenical body leads inevitably to co-operation with other non-Christian religions such as Islam.

It also opens a dialogue with cults such as the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Mormons. After all the Vatican, the Watchtower and the Mormons have a common ground: The Bible plus Tradition, plus the Governing Body, meaning that the laity cannot interpret Scripture for themselves.

Rome's Lie About Tyndale

Did William Tyndale contribute to the translation of the work of the Bible in English? Yes. As a Roman Catholic priest? No. At his trial, William Tyndale was degraded from the priesthood [2] by the Roman Catholic Church for "heresy"; that heresy was translating the Bible into the English vernacular. By degrading him the religious authorities deprived him perpetually of all office, benefice, dignity and power conferred to him at his ordination. He was reduced to the state of a layman. He was no longer a priest and he could not claim to be one or be thought of as one.

His final words were: "Lord! Open the king of England's eyes." The Apostle Paul was sent to preach the Gospel by the Lord Jesus Christ, and told to "open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith" (Acts 26:18).



2. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, degradation from the priesthood is "A canonical penalty by which an ecclesiastic is entirely and perpetually deprived of all office, benefice, dignity, and power conferred on him by ordination; and by a special ceremony is reduced to the state of a layman, losing the privileges of the clerical state and being given over to the secular arm... Solemn degradation owes its origin to the military practice of thus expelling soldiers from the army; the Church adopted this institution in order to remove grievously delinquent clerics from the ecclesiastical order." -

Next: The Jesuits Infiltrate the "Protestant" United Bible Societies


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