I’ve written more than a few times on how our English translations of the Bible have been corrupted over time, with words left out, or added, and certain words or phrases mistranslated or changed to obscure the actual meaning of the text. Not to mention all the wrong ways we read the book of Romans or Hebrews and totally miss the point that’s right in front of us.
But, once more, I have come across an example of how our English translation of the Bible is outright lying to us. This time, it’s about how the Masoretic Text of the Old Testament – which came several hundred years after the Septuagint text used by Jesus and Paul and the other Apostles – translates Jeremiah 17:9.
Now, the text in question is one that has been weaponized for centuries to create a toxic environment that maintains what I call “Worm Theology” – a doctrine largely created by John Calvin’s T.U.L.I.P. theology which begins by asserting that everyone is “Totally Depraved” and therefore undeserving of God’s love and essentially a wretch and a worm that God is too Holy to be in the presence of.
Here’s the text in question as it reads in most English translations, taken from the Masoretic Text:
“The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?”
Now, most of us who have grown up in the Church know this one by heart. We’ve all been told over and over again how we cannot trust our own mind and how our own thoughts are not to be trusted because – as this verse seems to stress – the human heart is “deceitful above all…and beyond cure…”.
But, is that REALLY what the text says? Or, was this verse altered in some way between the time of Jesus and this much-later translation?
Well, if we turn to the Septuagint for this same verse we find a much different message:
“The heart is deep beyond all things and it is the man. Even so, who can know him?”
Wow. That is a very different perspective, isn’t it? Imagine if this was the text that you and I grew up reading and hearing preached from the pulpit every Sunday? Maybe it wouldn’t have been so easy to convince us that we were evil at heart and we shouldn’t even trust our own thoughts?
As I’ve pointed out before, this isn’t the only radical change that was made between the older Septuagint text quoted by Jesus and the authors of the New Testament and the Masoretic text.
The Masoretic text in our Bibles reads:
“Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.” [Isaiah 53:10]
But, the Septuagint says:
“The Lord is willing to cleanse him of the injury. If you make a sin offering, our soul will see long-lived offspring, and the Lord is willing to remove him from the difficulty of his soul.” [Isaiah 53:10]
We also see changes made here:
MASORETIC: “Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.” [Isaiah 53:4]
SEPTUAGINT: “This one carries our sins and suffers pain for us, and we regarded him as one who is in difficulty, misfortune, and affliction.“ [Isaiah 53:4]
“The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name.” [Exodus 15:3]
“The Lord who shatters wars, the Lord is his name.” [Exodus 15:3]
Now, I don’t know about you, but when I come across these types of examples where our English texts are changed, edited or otherwise corrupted in order to justify doctrines that keep us bound up in guilt, fear and shame, it kinda makes me angry.
Hopefully, the more we know about how our English Bibles lie to us, and the more we seek out the truth about those problematic texts that are weaponized to create toxic theologies designed to manipulate and control us, we can find our way to freedom and escape.
At least, that’s my sincere hope.
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Keith Giles and his wife, Wendy, work with Peace Catalyst International to help build relationships between Christians and Muslims in El Paso, TX. Keith was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church over a decade ago to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community. Today he is the author of the best-selling “Jesus Un” series of books, including “Jesus Unforsaken: Substituting Divine Wrath With Unrelenting Love” which is available now on Amazon.