There's a "new" translation on the market today called the "Purified Version". The translator of this version sat down and, based on preconceived prejudices, developed their "own brand" of scripture. Someone handed me a copy of this foolish document, and here was my critique.
I enjoyed this Purified Bible for the Bible study it afforded. Other than the ascetic enjoyment of the following study, I found the "translation" to be full of holes. I thought I'd share my notes with you.
I, myself, dislike the "Purified Translation" of the Bible. It ignores the first law of Scriptural interpretation and exposition: Never allow your prejudices to dictate what God's Word teaches, lest you introduce false doctrine. The translation was developed by interpreters who hold a strong prejudice against consumption of alcoholic beverages, and allowed their dislike to influence their translational efforts.
God's Word is an interlocked Book, written by one Author. It is THEOPNEUSTOS, "God Breathed", (what KJV translated "inspiration of God" in 2 Timothy 3.16). When we introduce one false doctrine, the whole structure is threatened. The Scripture is God breathed, not man breathed.
The "Purified Translation" takes excessive liberties with John 2.1-11, Jesus' first miracle of turning water into wine. By turns, at one instance the translators make OINOS to be grape juice, and in another instance alcoholic wine. The purpose of the miracle was not to show that Jesus was either for or against wine, but that He was indeed the Messiah. To reduce the conversion of water into wine to water into grape juice is to make the miracle itself suspect. Any fool could have crushed grapes, strained them in a few minutes, and produced grape juice. What amazed the master of the feast (the caterer, not Mary) was that such a fine wine was brought out in just a few moments.
We see by the exercise of a small miracle that Jesus was and is truly Creator God. Imagine the involved process of creating wine: The tree must bear the fruit, the fruit is then harvested while at it's most ripe state. The fruit is crushed, the juice extracted, and then what remains is the lengthy period of fermentation. This whole process was compressed into just a few seconds of time when Jesus exercised His miraculous powers via the Holy Spirit. By His actions He showed His disciples that He was more than just a great teacher, more than just a holy Man, but that He was and is Creator of all!
To say that this was mere grape juice or "new wine" is foolish, and robs Jesus of the full magnitude of the miracle.
The translation also makes no sense. In the "PV" John 2.10 reads: "...every man at the beginning sets out the good beverage, and when the guests have become drunk, then that which is inferior, but you have kept the good grape juice until now". Besides being a monumental mistranslation, this verse makes no sense as translated. "Drunk" is the Greek METHUO (used also in Mat 24.29; Acts 2.15; 1 Cor 11.21; 1 Thes 5.7; Reve 17.2, 6) which does not mean "to drink, as in drinking a beverage", but means "to become drunken, intoxicated". The master of the feast, as well as the guests, would have expected the same type of beverage served later in the feast, though of an inferior type. They had been, by the master's admission, been METHUO, or intoxicated, thus they were previously drinking alcohol. The master would not praise the hostess for bringing out grape juice of a high grade when they had been drinking alcohol up to this point. This is contrary to common sense and human behavior. But if a high grade alcoholic wine was brought out later in the feast, contrary to the normal practice of bringing out poor wine later after the palates of the guests were dulled with better wine, this in itself would be praiseworthy.
The translation makes no sense in other ways. OINOS is always translated "wine", a word the Jews used for the alcoholic beverage of their day. In Jewish custom the Bridegroom's parents were to supply the wine for the wedding feast, an event that could last up to several days. If they failed to do so, the bride's parents could bring a lawsuit against them (MORRIS, GOSPEL OF JOHN, PG 179). It was a serious blunder to run out of wine, not out of grape juice, which was readily available to anyone who could pick a vine and stomp a grape. To render OINOS as "grape juice" on the premise that Jesus would not violate Proverbs 23.31 (an injunction against drunkenness, not drinking wine) is to twist Scripture. OINOS was used repeatedly in the Septuagint, the Greek Translation of the Old Testament of Jesus' day, to refer to alcoholic wine, not grape juice. When Noah became intoxicated (Genesis 9.20-24), OINOS is used in verse 21. In fact, the same word, OINOS, is used in Proverbs 23.31, the same verse these translators use to support translating OINOS as "grape juice". Based on their presupposition, Proverbs 23.31 should be translated, according to the use of OINOS in the Septuagint, as "look not upon the grape juice when it is red in the cup". Such an injunction would mean that Jesus did, in fact, disobey God by creating grape juice. Such are the fallacies brought into Scripture when we begin to twist it to support our own prejudices.
The fact that Jesus made wine does not imply that He was either for or against imbibing. Stiff necked non-drinkers will allege that Jesus only made "grape juice", but such a conclusion has the negative effect of diminishing the power of the miracle. If it was only grape juice then anyone could have pulled grapes off the vine (which are abundant in Israel. Gethsemane literally translated means "the wine press"), stomped and strained them, and supplied juice for all to drink in a matter of minutes.
Though I do not socially drink, nor do I feel it wise for any Christian to do so, drinking alcohol is not specifically forbidden in Scripture: drunkenness or over drinking is (See Hab 2.15; Lu 21.34; Ro 13.13; Gal 5.21; Eph 5.18). To those who would be overly self-righteous on this point let me remind you that until recently it was not possible in our own society to buy liquid medication that wasn't "spiked" with alcohol. You should also know that wine was normally diluted in the ancient world before drinking it. The ratio of dilution was anywhere from 20 parts water to one part wine, to a 1:1 mix (See "Robert H. Stein, Wine Drinking in New Testament Times", Christianity Today article, June 20, 1975, page 19). The apocryphal book (though not Scripture, certainly the writing shows the signs of those times) of 2 Maccabees 15.38-39 reads: "And if I have written well and to the point in my story, this is what I desired: but if meanly and indifferently, this is all I could attain unto. For as it is distasteful to drink wine alone and in like manner to drink water alone, while the mingling of wine with water at once giveth full pleasantness to the flavor; so also the fashioning of the language delighteth the ears of them that read the story."
When we view the Scripture from the standpoint that Jesus created OINOS, alcoholic wine, the power of the miracle truly shows Him to be Messiah. Alford's Greek New Testament comments that these were mere water vessels that would be used for washing and potable water. There would be no trace of wine in them (KATA IOANNHN, II, pg 706). Alford notes that these vessels perhaps would hold 126 gallons total. It was of a sufficient quantity that unbelievers could not explain the incident away, though if we consider the created item to be grape juice it can easily be explained away. Alford, a standard reference work used by scholars and translators for over five generations, states (pg 706, col II):
"He pours out His bounty for all, and He vouchsafes His Grace to each for guidance; and to endeavor to evade the work which He has appointed for each man - by refusing the bounty, to save the trouble of seeking the Grace, is an attempt that must ever end in degradation of the individual motives, and in social demoralization, - whatever present apparent effects may follow its first promulgation. One visible sign of this degradation , in its intellectual form, is the miserable attempt made by some of the advocates of this movement, to shew that the wine here and in other places of Scripture is unfermented wine, not possessing the power of intoxication. The filling of water and drawing out of wine is all that is related. The process of it is wholly out of region of our imagination. In order for wine to be produced, we have the growth and ripening of the grape; the crushing of it in proper vessels; the fermentation - but here all these are in a moment brought about in their results, by the same Power which made the laws of nature, and created and unfolded the capacities of man."
To make this OINOS grape juice diminishes the miracle, but if alcoholic wine, it is a great miracle indeed. The fact that Jesus made wine in no way diminishes His deity, nor does it assume that He sanctions drinking or drunkenness. He manipulated creation in order to make wine, showing that He, as Messiah and God, controlled the universe. To make more of it than it is, especially for translators, is foolish.
One last thought: OINOS that was yet unfermented was called "new wine", or NEOS OINOS. This usage is found in Mat 9.17; Mark 2.22; Luke 5.37-38. NEOS OINOS was put in new bottles, not old bottles, for as the wine fermented it would increase the pressure inside the bottle till the bottle shattered. Had Jesus produced, in effect, NEOS OINOS, then the Author of Scripture would have used this phrase as He used it elsewhere. That He used OINOS without the adjective NEOS proves the OINOS was, indeed, alcoholic in content.
Second, the translation belabors and destroys the wonderful opening of John 1. God used EN ARCHE, "In the beginning", to allow his readers to compare the start of the epistle to the "In the beginning" of Genesis 1.1. The first three words of the epistle presuppose that HO LOGOS, the Word, is indeed God for He was "In the beginning" of creation. "During the origin", which is the PV translation, is not supported by the Greek text. The preposition EN is indefinite, not durative of action (Alford's, KATA IOANNHN, pg 680, col II). Durative or constant action are not implied for such an implication is unnecessary. The words, to quote Alford "at least imply the eternal pre-existence of the Divine Word ... of a state existing ... and therefore without beginning itself". Jesus was, is, and has always been God, even outside of time prior to the creation. "During the origen" degrades the impact of the proper translation found in the KJV, NIV, and NAS. This in itself makes me suspect the entire translation, and regard it in a the same category as the "Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Scriptures" of the Jehovah's Witnesses.
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