Bible - Versions & Translations

How Rome Justifies Its 'Inter-Confessional' Mistranslation of Matthew 1:25

From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase

Part two of two. Read part one.

Editor's Note: Part one of this series described an example of the Vatican's control of "evangelical" or "inter-confessional" Bible translation in the 21st century: the mistranslation of Matthew 1:25 to make it compatible with three Gospel-denying Roman Catholic false teachings regarding Mary the mother of Jesus: her purported perpetual virginity, her purported perpetual sinlessess, and her ostensible role as mediatrix and co-redemptrix alongside Jesus Christ. Part two deals with the alleged justification for what is plainly a mistranslation of the text.

We again acknowledge, with thanks, the permission of The Protestant Alliance to reproduce this material, which originally appeared in their magazine, The Reformer. - Dr. Paul Elliott


...the Church of Rome, since the Second Vatican Council and the co-operation with the United Bible Societies, has been very busy in the production of Roman Catholic Bibles in English and other languages. After all, the Second Vatican Council encouraged the faithful to read the Bible, but there was a double plan: to influence the editing of biblical texts and to produce a Roman Catholic Bible which agreed with their heretical doctrines.

This Bible was to be the Jerusalem Bible to which the famous author J.R.R. Tolkien [a devout British Roman Catholic] contributed with the translation of the book of Jonah. The Jerusalem Bible was published in 1966 with Matthew 1:25 translated as: "and though he had not intercourse with her, she gave birth to a son: and he named him Jesus," which is similar to the DRB [Douay-Rheims Bible translation.

However, further manipulation was introduced in 1985 in the New Jerusalem Bible (NJB) and it translated the verse as: "he had not had intercourse with her when she gave birth to a son; and he named him Jesus."

An Argentinian priest, Fr. Alberto Rossa, a Claretian missionary in the Philippines, saw the need to produce an English Bible for the Third World countries. Consequently, in 1988, the English language Christian Community Bible was published in the Philippines. This version is widely used among Roman Catholic Charismatics and is strongly promoted in England at their annual gathering in Walsingham.

This Bible translates Matthew 1:25 as follows: "So she gave birth to a son and he had not had marital relations with her. Joseph gave him the name of Jesus." This version has been re-translated into French, Chinese and Spanish. It is favored in view of the fact that the present pontiff and the translator come from the same country.

In 2018 the Revised New Jerusalem Bible was published and whilst it keeps the same translation of Matthew [as] the NJB, it does add a very interesting footnote: "This suggests nothing about future sexual relations between Mary and Joseph. By naming the child, Joseph accepts him as his son, for only a father names a son."

We have seen the manipulation of the Scriptures by the Roman Catholic Church in their own versions of the Bible. At first sight it may seem that the fact that the Vatican is producing Bibles based on the Hebrew and Greek texts forces them to play down the arguments of Challoner. It is very difficult to try to demonstrate that the Greek word eos (until), and its Latin equivalent donec used in the Vulgate, do not "necessarily imply that the event which might have been expected did take place afterwards." Especially when the Gospels mention the siblings of Jesus in Matthew 13:55-56 and Mark 6:3, Luke 8:19, John 2:12, which, even according to secular and liberal scholars, were only written in Greek.

The United Bible Societies are heavily involved in the promotion of Inter-Confessional Bibles, namely versions of the Scriptures which have been translated by Roman Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox scholars. The Roman Catholic Church has successfully influenced versions of the Catalan, French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese Inter-confessional Bibles to translate Matthew 1:25 in line with the Jerusalem Bible and its revisions which is the top of a slippery slope which undoubtedly will lead to further revisions that imply the perpetual virginity of Mary.

But How Can They Justify the Manipulation of This Verse?

The Roman Catholic Church, unable to maintain the argument of the Aramaic version of Matthew, is aiming to change the Greek text of Matthew 1:25 using apostate Protestants. According to the Editors of the Nestle-Aland New Testament, Matthew 1:25 is missing in the Codex Alexandrinus, which is classified as a type "D" manuscript (very high degree of doubt). This verse is also missing from three ancient non-Greek versions of the New Testament. It is absent in one of the Old Latin versions pre-dating the Vulgate, and two Syriac versions: the Sinaiticus and the Curetonian manuscripts.

In 2012 a group of Roman Catholic and Protestant scholars published a book entitled: De Maria Numquam Satis: The Significance of the Catholic Doctrines on the Blessed Virgin for All People. Dr Margaret Schatkin, a Lutheran scholar and expert in the texts of the early church fathers, contributed a whole chapter in which she suggests that the Greek text of Matthew 1:25 should be corrected. According to her, the Syriac versions are a reliable translation of a lost Greek text of the New Testament dating around AD 200. She proposes, on the basis of various editorial arguments, that the Greek text of Matthew should be "emended" and translated as: "And he did not know her. And as soon as she gave birth to a son, he called his name Jesus."

The Shocking Ambition of the Roman Catholic Church

Largely due to the fact that there has not been a satisfactory revision of the Authorized Version of the Bible since 1769[1], large portions of the English-speaking professing church are now using Bibles based on the Nestle-Aland [or Critical] text. Those who are Biblical Protestants should be alarmed at what is going on, it is not excusable to sit "at ease in Zion" when the very foundation stones on which it is built are being eroded!

It should not be considered impossible that in the future a major Inter-Confessional version of the Bible for the English-speaking world will appear which supersedes the present modern versions. The scholars used in the project are to be selected, according to the Guidelines for Interconfessional Cooperation in Translating the Bible (Rev. Edition 1987). As we demonstrated in the previous article in this series, they are gradually being dominated by Jesuit priests and Jesuit-trained scholars[2], so it is obvious the direction they will take.

Neither is it inconceivable that revisions of the NKJV and ESV may be based on future revisions of the Nestle-Aland New Testament which incorporate this Papist heresy.

Rome's weakness has always been that it cannot claim biblical authority for its heresies and blasphemous claims. It is now not inconceivable that by altering the Greek manuscript on which most English Bible versions are based, they will be able to do so in a matter of decades, certainly within a century. It is the urgent duty of Bible Societies around the world that hold to the Received Text to confront this ecumenical onslaught with something other than ultra-conservative traditionalism [or] fatalistic acquiescence.


1. We respectfully disagree; we consider the New King James Bible, which TeachingTheWord uses as its standard in all of our materials, though not without flaws (as is also true of the KJV), to be fully acceptable.

2. See The Jesuits Infiltrate the 'Protestant' United Bible Societies Using a Man Who Was Almost Elected Pope on this website.



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