A Look At Some of the Criticism Against Reina Valera Gomez Bible
A LOOK AT SOME OF THE CRITICISM AGAINST THE REINA VALERA GOMEZ BIBLE
by Pastor Manny Rodriguez
The following quote is from the Translators To The Readers by the King James Bible translators:
“…namely that whosoever attempteth anything for the public (especially if it pertain to Religion, and to the opening and clearing of the word of God) the same setteth himself upon a stage to be gloated upon by every evil eye, yea, he casteth himself headlong upon pikes, to be gored by every sharp tongue. For he that medleth with men’s Religion in any part, medleth with their custom, nay, with their freehold; and though they find no content in that which they have, yet they cannot abide to hear of altering.”
I must give credit to Bro. Shane Rice, Missionary in Peru, who brought this quote to my attention through his website www.reinavaleragomez.com.
What a great truth!
No matter who you are and what you do in the ministry, once your endeavors reach the public stage, you have just set yourself up for a world of criticism. You can try to get along with folks as much as possible, but criticism will always come with the territory. It is to be expected.
This is why it is so important to be sure that we are not self-willed in what we do in the name of Jesus Christ. We must be careful to be certain that it is God that is leading us and not ourselves. For only by the strength of God will we be able to withstand the pressures of criticism. “He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall” Isa. 40:29-30
It was because David was “a man after God’s own heart” that he was able to withstand the criticism of his elder brother, Eliab, who questioned David’s motives when David manifested his desire to see the giant Goliath defeated. David could have returned the criticism upon his brother, but instead opted to stay focused on the real battle at hand when he proclaimed, “Is there not a cause?” It was because David stayed focused upon the Lord that he was able to withstand the criticism of the King when Saul complained, “Thou art but a youth”. David was led of God and not himself. The proof of it was victory over the giant despite the criticism of the brethren. Dr. Humberto Gomez is a native Mexican who has served as a Missionary in Mexico and to the Aztec Indians for over 30 years. Several years ago, he embarked upon an effort to revise the 1909 Antigua edition of the Reina Valera Spanish Bible. He was saved from this Bible and used it for the majority of his time in the ministry. But during the course of his studies in the ministry, he discovered that there were some Critical Text errors laced within his Bible. After several years of prayer, he finally decided to do something about it. Many other Missionaries and laymen who also knew about this need have also prayed and hoped that God would raise someone up to do something about it. After several years of toil and sacrifice, in 2004 the first edition of what has now become known as the Reina Valera Gomez Bible (hereafter RVG) was submitted to the presses. This new revision is essentially the 1909 Antigua edition of the Reina Valera, minus the Critical Text. It also has some of the antiquated Castilian updated. It was distributed all around the Spanish-speaking world. This Bible has been accepted by Spanish-speaking brethren in Spain, Peru, Guatemala, Chile, Argentina, Costa Rica, Paraguay, Belize, the Dominican Republic, all over Mexico, and many Spanish ministries in the US. Ministers and laymen all over the world rejoiced to finally have a Spanish Bible in their hand that was much more accurate and in accordance to the Received Texts.
But a few did not rejoice.
Some took offence to this new edition of the Reina Valera Bible. As a result, there are a few articles floating around on the Internet that criticize Dr. Gomez and the RVG. Most of the criticism has come from those who use the 1960 edition of the Reina Valera. Surprisingly, some criticism has even arisen from those who are also against the Critical Text errors in the 1960 and 1909 RV, but disagree with Bro. Gomez’s work.
In this article, we will look at some of the criticism against the RVG. I will offer my perspective. But let me preface my commentary by saying that I am not offering my perspective because I feel that I am an authority on this subject. I am offering my perspective because as a Missionary to a Spanish-speaking people, I must choose a Spanish Bible to use. This is a very important decision! Whatever decision I make, I will give account of it at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Therefore, I must seek God’s will in the matter. I must pray fervently over this issue. Not only must I pray, I must “study to shew myself approved unto God” in order to be a “workman that needeth not to be ashamed”. I must examine all of the issues involved with the Spanish Bible. And in so doing, I must seriously consider the criticism from the opposite viewpoint in order to be objective and thorough in my research.
I do not have the option of ignoring or side-stepping this issue. If you are a Fundamentalist Missionary or Minister to a Spanish-speaking people, or in the Bible printing ministry, neither do you have the luxury of side-stepping this issue.
After 8 years of prayer and study on this matter, I want to share with you the conclusions I have drawn in regards to the criticism for the Bible I have chosen. Then I challenge you, dear reader, to also prayerfully consider the validity, or the lack thereof, of the arguments given from both sides of the fence.
As we analyze the criticism against the RVG, you will find that the majority of the criticism is not so much against the RVG as much as it is against the man behind the RVG. In textbooks on Logic, these are known as ad hominem arguments. Ad hominem is Latin for “to the man”. In other words, an ad hominem argument is an attempt to discredit a man’s argument or work by discrediting the man himself. In the rules of logic, this is considered an error. Just because a man has a personal flaw does not necessarily prove his argument or work to be flawed. The same applies to Humberto Gomez and his revision. Even if Bro. Gomez has a deficiency in his personal or spiritual life, I am more concerned with the revision of the Bible he has produced. As the old saying goes, “the proof is in the pudding”. I am not interested in whether or not I can find a flaw in Bro. Gomez. Although I consider Bro. Gomez a personal friend and a great Missionary, he is a sinner like anyone else. If it was my desire to do so, it wouldn’t be hard at all to find a flaw in him just like it wouldn’t be hard to find a flaw in me or anyone else. But that’s not the issue. The exception to this would be if the Reviser was found to be in such gross immorality or wickedness that one would be forced to judge whether this man is truly led of God. And thus far, I have not perceived such in Bro. Humberto Gomez. At any rate, the main issue is the text. The word of God. That’s what I’m interested in.
Please bear in mind that the vast majority of these complaints are coming from people who were never going to give this revision a chance to begin with. They had their minds made up from the start. Nevertheless, let us examine the criticism. Even the ad-hominems.
CRITICISM #1 – Dr. Gomez did not have the authority to do a Bible revision.
I find this criticism odd. Where does one get this type of authorization? Who gives it? How do you get it? Think about it. What is the standard for this line of reasoning? We all declare that the Bible is the authority in all matters of faith and practice. But can we find this type of demand anywhere in God’s word, in any translation and edition? If not, then we must conclude that this argument is only a preference based upon opinion.
Some have insisted that Dr. Gomez should have received the approval of the Hispanic Fundamentalist leaders. But first of all, I repeat that this is only an OPINION of man and not a God-given rule. Secondly, I agree with the assessment of Dr. Edward Hills, Th.D. in Textual Criticism from Harvard. On pg. 103 of his book The King James Version Defended, Dr. Hill says:
“As we have seen, the study of the Old Testament indicates that the Old Testament Scriptures were preserved through the divinely appointed Old Testament priesthood. The Holy Spirit guided the priests to gather the separate parts of the Old Testament into one Old Testament canon and to maintain the purity of the Old Testament text. Have the New Testament Scriptures been preserved in this official manner? In the New Testament Church has there ever been a special, divinely appointed organization of priests with authority to make decisions concerning the New Testament text or the books that should belong to the New Testament canon? No! Not at all! When Christ died upon the cross, the veil of the Temple was rent in sunder, and the Old Testament priesthood was done away forever. There has never been a special order of priests in the New Testament Church. Every believer is a priest under Christ, the great High Priest. (1 Peter 2: 9, Rev. 1: 5-6).” (emphasis mine)
Dr. Hills further explains:
“Just as the divine glories of the New Testament are brighter far than the glories of the Old Testament, so the manner in which God has preserved the New Testament text is far more wonderful than the manner in which He preserved the Old Testament text. God preserved the Old Testament text by means of something physical and external, namely, the Aaronic priesthood. God has preserved the New Testament text by means of something inward and spiritual, namely, the universal priesthood of believers, through the leading, that is to say, of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of individual Christians of every walk of life.” (emphasis mine)
Dr. Hills is correct. We are God’s spiritual priesthood. Just as God appointed the Priesthood to be custodians of his word in the OT, God has entrusted the care of his word to us in the NT. If a copy of God’s word has been corrupted with the error of man, who else is God going to use to fix it? If there is truly a need, and God lays it upon a man of God’s heart to take on such a work, that is all the authorization that Christian needs to carry out God’s will. Either God called Bro. Gomez to do this work or not. Don’t worry. If this work is not of God, it will fail. But if it is a work of God, there is nothing the critics can do to stop it no matter how loud they protest.
CRITICISM #2 – Dr. Gomez did not have the proper credentials to do a Bible revision.
Ac 4:13 “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.”
Peter and John may have been “unlearned and ignorant men” in the eyes of the rulers and elders of Jerusalem, but they were men of God who were mighty in the scriptures and in the power of God. In fact, it was these “unlearned and ignorant men” that God used to collectively write 7 books in the Bible. The moral of the story is that God can use whoever he wants. God uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise. So in regards to Bro. Gomez, the main issue is whether or not God led him to do this revision.
As far as Bro. Gomez’s credentials are concerned, I find his 36 years of experience in studying God’s word over the course of the ministry itself to be much more valuable than any 3 or 4 year program that any Bible college has to offer. I took 3 years of classroom Greek as well as courses in Manuscript Evidence, and many other related subjects of the Bible in the Beaufort Bible Institute that I graduated from in 1999. But I have learned much more in my personal studies since then compared to the full-time 3 year program I completed. This is not meant to frown upon education. I am for a good education, especially for those pursuing the Ministry. But let’s not exalt education from a man-made institution above the knowledge, wisdom, and understanding that can be obtained from God only.
Now for those who demand Greek and Hebrew credentials, I challenge them to meet Dr. Gomez personally. I dare them to sit down with the man and to bring forth “their strong reasons”. (Isa. 41:21) Why speculate or take anyone’s word for it? Bro. Gomez is an open man. Meet him. And see for yourself if he is not a learned man in the most technical issues involved.
That is exactly what I did. When I first started examining the RVG, I looked for Bro. Gomez’s phone number and called him. But although I enjoyed meeting him over the phone, that wasn’t good enough. I wanted the time to sit down with him face to face to question him concerning his revision for I had my own skepticisms and concerns. Bro. Gomez gave me that opportunity by inviting me to meet him in Chicago, IL at a Dean Burgon Society meeting that he was one of the speakers in. Despite the lack of finances, I stepped out on faith and drove 18 hours in one day with my wife and 2 little daughters just to meet this man and to discuss these issues with him. That is how important this issue was and is to me.
When I finally met him, Bro. Gomez saw to it that he set aside time just to talk with me and answer my questions. We sat down across each other in the auditorium of the Ravenswood Baptist Church for 3 hours discussing the Bible. I asked him question after question. By the time it was over with, I was at least convinced that Bro. Gomez was a learned man and indeed understood the technical issues concerning the underlying Greek and Hebrew texts. I asked my Pastor, Bro. Karl Baker, if we could have him visit our church in Beaufort, SC, just so that he and the church can also meet him personally. My Pastor is not a Spanish-speaker. But my Pastor is a very learned man in regards to the underlying Greek and Hebrew texts. He has a working knowledge of Hebrew, nearly 10 years of experience in teaching Greek, and over 30 years of experience in researching and teaching Manuscript Evidence. He has trained Pastors and Missionaries all over the world in these areas. Anyone who knows Bro. Baker considers him to be well studied and a capable teacher in these matters. In fact, Bro. Baker has been offered an Honorary Doctorate on 2 different occasions as well as the headship of a Bible College, and each time he turned them down because he has a personal conviction of not wanting to exalt the titles of man above his God-given title of Pastor.
I sat at Bro. Baker’s kitchen table with him and Bro. Gomez as we both drilled Bro. Gomez with many questions. At the end of the discussion I could easily tell that my Pastor was more than satisfied with Bro. Gomez’s knowledge in the most technical issues involving the underlying Greek and Hebrew words and texts. Bro. Gomez presented his work on the Bible to our church the following Sunday. Our church, which is filled with many men who were trained in Bro. Baker’s institute with a working knowledge of the original languages, was also satisfied. My Pastor and our home church now support Dr. Gomez and the RVG. If Bro. Gomez is as ignorant as his critics try to suggest he is, than he did a fantastic job fooling my Pastor and our church. Not only that, he also did a great job fooling Dr. D.A.Waite, Dr. Rex Cobb, and the entire Dean Burgon Society.
You would be hard-pressed to find a greater expert in our day in regards to the underlying Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic words of the Bible than Dr. D.A.Waite, the Founder and President of the Dean Burgon Society. Dr. Waite has been researching and teaching the original languages since 1945. His ministry through the Dean Burgon Society has been to defend the Received Texts of the scriptures and the translations based upon them. It is also important to note that Dr. Waite has a working knowledge of the Spanish language. It is this man that has been Dr. Gomez’s primary consultant and collaborator in regards to Greek and Hebrew. If Bro. Gomez’s credentials are not good enough for you, consider Dr. Waite’s:
“He received credit in the original languages of Greek and Hebrew at the University of Michigan (1945-48, in Classical Greek) and at the Dallas Theological Seminary (1948-53, New Testament Greek) as follows: In Greek, 66 semester hours; in Hebrew, 25 semester hours; a total of 91 semester hours in combined biblical languages. In addition to these 91 semester hours, the author has received credit for 27 additional hours in other foreign languages, divided as follows: Latin, 8 semester hours; French, 8 semester hours; Spanish, 11 semester hours. The grand total of foreign languages in terms of semester hours, in addition to the many other related courses taken at schools for work on the author’s A.B., M.A., Th.M., Th.D., and Ph.D., has been 118 semester hours in foreign languages. This is only 2 semester hours short of a solid 4-year undergraduate course consisting of 120 semester hours required for graduation in most universities today. Four of the five-residency-earned degrees mentioned above (M.A., Th.M., Th.D., and Ph.D.) required research theses and dissertations which prepared him to deal satisfactorily with documentation and evidence. Also, he has official teacher certifications for the formal instruction of Greek and Language Arts in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania. And he has experience teaching subjects such as Greek, Hebrew, Bible, Speech, and English in 1 junior high school, 1 senior high school, 3 Bible Institutes, 2 colleges, 2 universities, and 1 seminary.”
Dr. Waite has aided Bro. Gomez not only by making recommendations for changes where passages in the 1909 and 1960 did not line up with the Received Texts, but by also examining the RVG text itself in these same places to make sure that they were in line with the original languages as they stand in the Received Texts. Dr. Waite has written a public endorsement of the RVG that can be found in it’s entirety on the Dean Burgon Society’s website www.deanburgonsociety.org. Here is a portion of that endorsement:
“I am pleased to recommend the Spanish Bible of Dr. Humberto Gomez. I have found him to be a kind, careful, humble, and able student who has spent hundreds of hours in carrying out his burden to get the Spanish Bible of 1909 (by which he was led to the Lord Jesus Christ as his Saviour) in line with the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek Words underlying the King James Bible. He has done this. He has spoken with me about several questions he had in certain places of his translation in an effort to be both clear and correct. He did an excellent job when he spoke at our Dean Burgon Society in 2005 concerning the need for an accurate Spanish Bible. He has sought to correct the various errors of translation in the Old Testament as well as those in the New Testament. His Spanish New Testament has followed the Greek Received or Traditional Text on which the King James Bible was based.” (emphasis mine)
Furthermore, Dr. Waite states:
“There are over 8,000 documented differences between the Received Greek Text and the Revised Critical Greek Text. Included in these 8,000 differences are at least 356 doctrinal passages where the Revised Greek Text is in doctrinal error. I have listed 158 of the more important of these 356 doctrinal passages in Chapter V of my book, DEFENDING THE KING JAMES BIBLE. I have personally looked up in Dr. Humberto Gomez’s Spanish Bible each one of those 158 passages in my book I found every one of them to be in conformity to the Received Greek Text and have been made doctrinally correct. This cannot be said of the 1960 and even the 1909 in each of these places.”
If the credentials, involvement, and endorsement of Dr. Waite were not good enough for you, consider another of Bro. Gomez’s consultants, Dr. Rex Cobb. Dr. Cobb is a former veteran Missionary to Mexico. He is now the Director of the Baptist Bible Translators Institute in Bowie, TX. His institute trains Missionaries. He instructs them in Greek Grammar, Advanced Linguistic studies, and the proper techniques to be able to translate the scriptures into obscure languages throughout the world. I had the privilege to meet this man in the same DBS meeting that I met Dr. Gomez. He informed me that there are over 3000 different languages and dialects without one verse of scripture translated. His mission is to reach as many of these 3000 languages as possible with an accurate translation of the scriptures based upon the Received Texts.
Dr. Cobb is not just a teacher, but he has practical experience in what he teaches. While serving as a Missionary in Mexico, Dr. Cobb became burdened for the Zapotecas Indians in Oaxaca. These people had no Bible. Dr. Cobb took it upon himself to translate the entire New Testament into their language. This man has firsthand experience in Bible translation and now trains other Missionaries to do the same. Dr. Gomez has had this man as one of his main consultants and collaborators. In fact, Rex Cobb fell in love with Dr. Gomez’s revision so much that he now uses the RVG for his daily morning devotions.
There are others with a working knowledge of the original languages that aided in the RVG project, some of whom I have had the privilege to personally meet and discuss these issues with. But time would fail me to mention them all. I don’t mean to be offensive. But I perceive that Dr. Gomez could probably run circles around most if not all of his critics in regards to the technical issues of the Bible. The bottom line is that anyone who wants to believe that the RVG is the product of shabby scholarship is ignorant, or misled, or so biased that they are deliberately blind.
CRITICISM #3 – Dr. Gomez did this revision to please the gringos.
The critics accuse that Bro. Gomez was pushed by the gringos to “anglicize” the Spanish Bible by forcing it to read like the King James Version. But this accusation can be easily refuted.
First of all, the objective of the RVG project has not been to conform it to all the wording of the KJV. That would be impossible anyways. Although the proper method of translating is Formal Equivalence, word for word translating, it is understood that languages are different. Some words and expressions cannot be translated exactly the same from one language to another. Bro. Gomez, being bilingual, understands this. His goal has not been to produce a KJV in Spanish. Nor has the goal been to replace the Reina Valera Bible. The goal has simply been to eradicate the Critical text errors from the 1909 Reina Valera and to bring it more in line with the Received Texts. It had nothing to do with “anglicizing” the Spanish Bible in order to please a group of gringos.
This conspiracy can be easily proven false in many, many passages in the RVG. But for sake of time I will only give 1 example that I feel should be sufficient to put to rest this whole argument.
In II Tim. 2:15, the KJV says, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God…” In the Reina Valera, it reads, “Procura con diligencia presentarte a Dios aprobado…” which is translated as “Strive with diligence to present thyself approved unto God”. Some have suggested to Dr. Gomez that he should change “procura con diligencia” to “estudia” which is the Spanish word for “study”.
At the DBS meeting in Chicago that I met Dr. Gomez in, they had a panel of speakers that represented the Dean Burgon Society. This panel was formed for the purpose of a question and answer session concerning many different topics of the Bible. On the panel was Dr. Gomez along with Dr. Rex Cobb, Dr. Steven Zeinner, Dr. H.D.Williams, a few others, and of course Dr. Waite. In the audience were many Pastors and Fundamentalist churches from all over the US represented. Several well known Fundamentalist Bible colleges and institutions were also represented. During the Q & A session, a Hispanic Pastor directed a question towards Bro. Gomez. This man publicly urged Bro. Gomez to consider changing the passage in II Tim. 2:15 to read like the KJV by replacing the words “procura con diligencia” with the word “estudia”. Dr. Gomez replied that he had already considered such a change at the suggestion of others in the past but decided to retain the reading as it already stood in the Spanish Bible. He reminded everyone that this was not a project to produce a KJV in Spanish. He explained that the words “procura con diligencia” were not in conflict with the Textus Receptus. He then further explained that in the Spanish language the reading had more impact and meaning than the change suggested and that he was not about to sacrifice the beauty of his language for the sake of English speakers who don’t quite understand the impact and expression of certain renderings in the Spanish language. In other words, Bro. Gomez did not want to make changes simply because the KJV rendered the passage a little differently. He made it clear that the integrity of the Spanish language is of utmost importance and must be considered. Dr. Gomez explained that in Spanish, this rendering carries the expression to “give it all you got” or to “put your heart into it”, a strong expression in Spanish. But Bro. Gomez promised the Hispanic Pastor that he would continue to give the suggestion further consideration.
Afterwards, Dr. Waite also supported Bro. Gomez’s answer by further elaborating that not only was the rendering in Spanish not in conflict with the Textus Receptus, but that in the 1600s the English term “study” also carried the same type of expression as the Spanish does. The key words in Spanish, as to this expression, are “con diligencia”. So in reality, if Bro. Gomez and his collaborators decided to change it to “estudia con diligencia”, rather than solely “estudia”, the strong expression in Spanish would be maintained. Either way, it is accurate and so there really isn’t any conflict between the Spanish Bible and the KJV in this passage at all. Nevertheless, this was a technical matter that Bro. Gomez would have to reach a conclusion on with the aid of his Spanish-speaking consultants.
May I emphasize that Dr. Gomez made such statements defending the Spanish language to a congregation full of gringos! Bro. Gomez did not accept a suggestion solely on the basis of the KJV. He publicly made it clear to everyone that the integrity of the Spanish language is paramount. Furthermore, the fact that Dr. Waite supported Bro. Gomez in his assessment demonstrates that even the gringos associated with Bro. Gomez were not for “anglicizing” the Spanish Bible. But don’t expect the critics to ever give Bro. Gomez any credit for the many times that he has defended and upheld the beauty of the Spanish language and the Reina Valera Bible. People with an agenda to only criticize will never be objective enough to see what is really going on.
Dr. Phil Stringer makes an excellent point in his article Why I Support The Reina Valera Gomez Bible (see www.reinavaleragomez.com). It is interesting to note that the critics complain if a change in the RVG was made that happens to match the KJV. (How can it not read the same on occasion when the underlying base is the same?) Yet they have absolutely no problem with the critical text passages in their 1960 RV that reads exactly like corrupt English bibles such as the RSV, NASV, NIV, the Good News For Modern Man, and in some cases even the New World Translation! (see Dan. 3:25, Mat. 5:22, Mat. 9:13, Mat. 16:18, Mark 1:2, Luke 2:22, Luke 23:42, Eph. 3:9, I Pet. 2:2, & Rev.22:14 for starters)
This fact should come as no surprise to anyone who knows that the revision committee of the 1960 was formed by Eugene Nida and the apostate United Bible Society. (The UBS are official members of the World Council of Churches. Go to www.oikoumene.org for a list of WCC members.) These are opponents of the Received Text and staunch proponents of the corrupt Critical Texts. Consider the words of one of the consultants of the 1960 committee, Dr. Jose Flores, who reveals:
“One principle added to the first list of the RV 1960 revision committee was that wherever the RV (1909) Version has departed from the Textus Receptus to follow a better text we did not return to the Receptus. Point 12 of the working principles states: in cases where there is a doubt over the correct translation of the original, we consulted preferentially The English Revised Version of 1885, The American Standard Version of 1901, The Revised Standard Version of 1946, and the Internaional Critical Commentary.” (El Texto Del Nuevo Testamento, 1977, pg. 323).
The 1960 revisers not only consulted these corrupt, critical text based English Bibles, but they also implemented them. This is no mystery to anyone. The critical text variants that match these corrupt English Bibles are right there in black and white in the 1960 RV for anyone to see. I just gave a small list above. I can give many, many more references.
Why do you never hear the RVG critics complain about the passages in the 1960 where the corrupt English Bibles (such as the American Standard Version) were incorporated? In fact, it is interesting to me that instead of expressing concern over such “anglicizing”, these critics will actually try to do the impossible by striving to justify and defend these critical text passages that are identical to perverted Anglo bibles! Some even have whole articles in Spanish on the Internet trying to do this very thing and accusing us of “attacking” the Spanish Bible for expressing our concern about the Critical Text being incorporated into the Reina Valera. Yet isn’t it strange that these same Preachers will magically turn into “King-James-Bible-users-only” in English whenever they walk through the doors of an American church as they seek financial support for their ministries? Isn’t it a double-standard to claim to be a KJV advocate in English but then out of the other side of your mouth vehemently defend in Spanish the very same verses that conflict doctrinally with the KJV, exist in the corrupt English bibles, and are based upon the Critical Text? As Dr. Stringer says in his article, “This tells me everything I need to know about these men and everything I need to know about the RVG.”
At any rate, the accusation that Bro. Gomez produced his revision to please gringos is a conspiracy that could never be proven simply because it is a lie. Who were the 1960 revisers trying to please when they incorporated “The English Revised Version of 1885, The American Standard Version of 1901, [and] The Revised Standard Version of 1946” into the Spanish Bible?
CRITICISM #4 – Dr. Gomez secretly smuggled in readings from the RV 1960.
Now on the other hand, there are a few critics that are actually complaining about readings in the RVG that read more like the RV 1960 than the KJV. With the critics, Dr. Gomez cannot win. If he produces a rendering that matches the KJV he is accused of anglicizing the Spanish Bible to please gringos, but if he produces a rendering that matches the 1960 RV, he is again criticized. He is condemned if he does, and condemned if he doesn’t.
I will not go into any lengths to elaborate upon the passages in the RVG that match the 1960 other than saying this. The passages in the RVG that read like the 1960 are places that are not based upon the Critical Text. Please keep in mind that the Reina Valera was originally, for the most part, a Textus Receptus based Bible. To be fair, not every change in the 1960 RV was bad. For example, the 1960 RV uses the word “salvación” for the word “salvation”. The older versions, such as the 1909 and 1865, use the word “salud”. The word “salud” is not necessarily an error. This is just a technical matter of which the word “salud” is not used for “salvation” anymore. Today the word “salud” means “health” and the word for “salvation” is “salvación”. Again, this is not a matter of correcting error, but rather it is a matter of clarifying language issues.
In fact, many Fundamentalists who use the 1960 will tell you that this is one of the biggest reasons, if not the biggest, that they choose the 1960 over the 1909. Our complaint against the modern revision committees is not in regards to the places where they clarified language issues that were in the 1909 Antigua. Our complaint is against the Critical Text variants that they deliberately inserted into our Textus Receptus based Bibles.
As a reviser, Bro. Gomez should be allowed the same liberty to make changes that help to enrich and clarify the language in the text so long as the renderings do not conflict with the underlying Greek or Hebrew Received texts.
CRITICISM #5 – Dr. Gomez should not have named the revision after himself.
There is already an excellent response to this complaint written by Dr. Phil Stringer. The article is entitled Should The Reina Valera Gomez Bible be called the Reina Valera Gomez? It can be found at www.reinavaleragomez.com and I highly recommend that you read it.
I will not elaborate much on this one either since a better response has already been provided. But I will say this much. As Dr. Stringer points out in his article, good Received Text based Bibles have always borne the name of the head translator or reviser, with few exceptions. It is a Received Text tradition. This is not a matter of egotism or arrogance. It is a matter of identity. By knowing who the translation is associated with, you can almost immediately identify what type of Bible you are dealing with. I know where Dr. Gomez stands. So when I think of a Bible that bears his name on it, I think of a Bible that is the product of the Received Text position in regards to Verbal and Plenary Inspiration, Providential Preservation, and the Formal Equivalence method of translating the scriptures. I do not think of a Bible that is the product of the Critical Text position, Concept Inspiration, Modernism, Gnosticism, Catholicism, Apostasy, Ecumenism, and the Dynamic Equivalence method of translating.
At any rate, the bottom line is that the RVG is a Spanish Bible of which bears no trace of the corrupt Critical Text. It is in conformity to the Received Texts. And consequently it is in harmony with the KJV as well as other accurate Received Text based translations. No matter what you call this edition of the Reina Valera, these facts will never change.
CRITICISM #6 – Dr. Gomez cannot be a reviser because he is not living in the right time period.
The line of reasoning here is that because it was the Philadelphian church period of Church History of which God’s people “kept his word” (Rev. 3:8) and we are living in the Laodicean church period, God cannot possibly use anyone today to revise the Spanish Bible. (It is generally agreed that the Philadelphian church period lasted from somewhere around the 1500s to the late 1800s.) If the logic here is accurate, then one must conclude that the only Bibles God can sanction must have been produced during “the Philadelphian church period.”
There are several things wrong with this perspective. First off, what exactly is the Biblical basis for this line of reasoning? Isn’t this nothing but speculation and conjecture? That’s EXACTLY what this is. It is an opinion. Nothing more. Nothing less. I am always leery of those who impose their speculations and opinions as absolute truth.
The Bible does not support the idea that God cannot use someone in the “Laodicean church period” for the work of Bible translation or revision. I agree with my Pastor, Bro. Karl Baker, who preaches that although we live in the Laodicean church period, we can be Philadelphian Christians. In other words, we don’t HAVE to be Laodicean Christians in the sense of being “lukewarm, poor, blind, and naked”spiritually. Besides, isn’t all this a spiritual application anyways? Let’s not impose speculation based on spiritual applications as rules and regulations, especially in regards to the word of God.
What about all of the people in the world today that do not have God’s words in their language? What about Dr. Rex Cobb and the Missionaries he is training at the Bible Baptists Translators Institute in Texas to translate God’s word today into the obscure languages of the world. Is this ministry futile? Will these critics write articles to try and stop these God-called missionaries since they are not living in the Philadelphian church period? You mean to say that God cannot use today’s Missionary to provide these people God’s words in their tongue? Nonsense! I’ll never believe that God ceased from providing his word for those who may want it in their language simply because we are not in the “right” time period. This is ridiculous! It is faithless and unfounded. We have no right to limit God with our opinions. God can do whatever he wants to, in any period of time. He did not cease from being God when the Philadelphian church period ended.
CRITICISM #7 – Dr. Gomez claimed his revision was perfect yet he contradicted himself by continuing to make more changes.
The critics try to make a case against Bro. Gomez by insinuating that he contradicted himself for stating that his Bible was perfect yet he later made more changes in it. But here are the exact words of Bro. Gomez himself from the article they are referring to (found at www.reinavaleragomez.com):
“In our opinion, our Bible is perfect and ready to be preached from. However, we have an open heart and mind: If a godly person has an opinion regarding the text or grammar, we will take it into serious consideration because we want the best for our people.” (emphasis mine)
Again Gomez states:
“What I am presenting to you, in my opinion, is the perfect word of God. But here it is for you to read and examine; if you can find anything in it that is not in agreement with the Textus Receptus, or if you can find anything that is not written in good and perfect Spanish, we will immediately correct it, for the good of our people and for the glory of the Lord.” (emphasis mine)
Notice 2 times, Bro. Gomez said that it was his opinion that his revision was perfect when the first edition came out in 2004, but he also said that he was open-minded enough and willing to stand corrected. I think that is about as honest as a man can be. Don’t you?
Besides, if the KJV went through a purifying process, and did between 1611 and 1769, why shouldn’t the RVG or any other Bible? But why in the world do the critics ignore Bro. Gomez’s statement that it was “his opinion” that the work was perfect but if not he was willing to make the corrections? Was it an accident or did they ignore it on purpose?
Some people will see only what they want to see when they are obsessed with formulating an argument.
CRITICISM #8 – Dr. Gomez’s work was unnecessary since God is already using the 1960 and 1909.
This is the biggest argument given by those who use the 1960. According to them, there is no need for a new revision because the Lord is using the 1960. Though I perceive that from some this is a sincere line of reasoning, they fail to realize something. Some people have been led to the Lord from Catholic bibles. But this does not justify the corruption that can be found in those Catholic bibles. Look at how corrupt we are as sinners, yet the Lord in his great mercy and power still uses us for his glory. Does the fact that God uses us justify the wrong that is in our lives?
I have said it before and I will say it again. I harbor no animosity towards those who use the 1960 or 1909 (or the 1865). I realize that for many years, the 1909 and 1960 were the only options available for the Fundamentalist minister. I have a world of respect for these faithful men of God who have toiled for many years, ministering to their people with what was available. They are worthy of double honor and should be esteemed highly in love for their work’s sake. Many of these men fell in love with the versions that they have ministered with for so long (as did Bro. Gomez with the 1909). Many have been saved through the preaching of these versions (as did Bro. Gomez with the 1909). So I understand that there is an emotional attachment to the 1909 and 1960.
I believe that some of these good men feel threatened that we will begin to treat them as enemies. But I will never seek to start or join a campaign to castigate these brethren. In fact, this article is not meant as a rebuke to them. This article is meant to give another side of the story for the sake of those who are undecided and truly investigating the Spanish Bible issue.
I have good friends who use the 1960. I refuse to count them as enemies. We must treat one another with respect and brotherly kindness while remaining firm in our convictions. We must not let contention cause us to lose focus on the Great Commission to win souls for Christ. Blessed is the man who finds the balance in these things.
Nevertheless, I truly believe with all my heart that God has now provided for us something better. Many of us have been praying for years that the RV would be revised and brought in line to the Received Texts. We see the RVG as the answer to our prayers. Many are recognizing this. And I am encouraged to know that many are switching from the 1909 & 1960 to the RVG.
There were several other items I could have dealt with in this article, but I feel the aforementioned will suffice for now. Perhaps I will consider writing a second part to this article should any new complaints surface that call for a response.
Again I want to emphasize that the vast majority of these complaints are coming from people who were never going to give this revision a chance to begin with. Some of them are OK with the Critical Texts. So trying to convince them otherwise would be a waste of time. Others claim that they are Received Text and KJV advocates, but their articles and actions speak otherwise. And no matter what Dr. Humberto Gomez does, the critics are going to find something to complain about it.
I thank God for a man like Dr. Gomez who chooses not to respond to his critics. Instead, he stays focused on the work that God has called him to do. He has behaved himself wisely, and for this reason I believe God will continue to bless his life and ministry.
Besides, sometimes criticism works in your favor. I have met several Missionaries that have testified to me personally that had it not been for some of the articles on the Internet that criticized the RVG, they would have never even known about Dr. Gomez or his work. They are now using the RVG in their ministries as they win souls, train preachers, and build churches. I know two of these individuals in particular who not only adopted the RVG, but became personally involved in the work of the final edition.
My purpose for this article is not to convince the critics, but rather to provide an answer for others who are sincere in their investigation of these matters. They deserve to hear both sides.
THIS BIBLE IS NOT FOR THE CRITICS!
This Bible is for those who have been praying for years that God would raise someone up to revise the RV, bringing it back to where it started in the days of Cipriano de Valera who worked hard at trying to purify the work of Cassiodoro de Reina. When the 1909 and 1960 revision committees inserted more Critical Text variants into the Spanish Bible, this was not a step forwards, but backwards. Something needed to be done about it!
Again, here are the facts:
1. The RVG is a Spanish Bible of which the Alexandrian Critical Text has been completely eradicated.
2. The RVG is in total conformity to the Received Texts.
3. The RVG is in harmony with the KJV and other faithful Received Text-based translations.
4. The RVG is endorsed by Fundamentalist linguistic experts such as Dr. Rex Cobb, Dr. D.A.Waite, and the Dean Burgon Society.
5. The RVG is endorsed by Spanish-speaking brethren all over the world as it is being used of God to win souls and edify saints in Spain, Peru, Guatemala, Chile, Argentina, Costa Rica, Paraguay, Belize, the Dominican Republic, all over Mexico, and many Spanish ministries in the US.
6. Support for the RVG all around the Spanish-speaking world is growing daily. Fundamentalists from all types of different backgrounds and positions are unifying in support of this Bible.
7. God is placing his stamp of approval upon the RVG. And there is nothing the critics can do to stop it.
“But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.” Acts 5:39
I predict revival like never before to break out in the Spanish-speaking world as a result of this revision.
If you hold to the Received Text and translations based upon it such as the KJV, than the Reina Valera Gomez Bible is for YOU! May God bless you with the knowledge, wisdom, and understanding needed to discern the truth of these matters. And may God also bless you with the spiritual fortitude needed to withstand criticism as we endeavor to please God and not man with our lives.
“For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” Gal. 1:10
“The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.” Pro. 29:25