Saturday, December 18, 2004

All Under Authority? & Bible Version wording

Rom 13:1 KJV Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

I quote from the KJV here because the issue I will discuss is partly brought on by the wording of the KJV. The issue is this- that some use this verse to say that everyone should be under some form of authority. Of course Bill Gothard teaches the idea of the "umbrella of authority," meaning that by being under some authority you are under special divine protection.
Unfortunately, you can use this verse to support an idea that everyone should put themselves under someone's authority. This verse is speaking to a much more narrow focus, which is evident if you recall the context of Rom. 13, which is civil government. See the ESV here:

Rom 13:1 ESV Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.

The NIV, NASB, and NKJV also have "governing authorities". "Higher powers" is more literal, but in the context, "governing authorities" is more accurate. Not only is it more accurate, but it would have helped to stave off the types of doctrinal misuse mentioned above.
Often KJV only folks reduce the utility of the newer versions to that of being easier to read, which in many cases they are. They do this so as to promote the KJV as the only real Bible because the other Bibles are so easy to read they don't require the illumination of the Holy Spirit. To start with, if this narrowing of perspective was valid in the first place, the answer would have to be made that God gave His word in human language for the purpose of ready comprehension. If more difficult to read makes a translation more meaningful, then lets all read the original languages, Hebrew & Greek. You really have to study those.
A more useful answer that makes the whole point moot is that the KJV, if not mistranslated in parts (which I believe it is), is misleading in parts, and not for reasons of difference between the English language then and now.
Another important observation to make is that no translation in history has had the effect of extinguishing heresy. The KJV is very useful to a number of unorthodox groups such as Mormons, who have made the KJV their standard translation.

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