There are many accurate translations of the Bible into English.
Dozens and dozens of them.
You can even see 5 of the Most Accurate Translations of the Bible here.
But there are also a few Bible translations you should avoid.
They can easily be called the worst translations of the Bible. No doubt about it.
These “translations” are so bad, it’s not even right to call them translations.
Some of them are a strange hybrid of paraphrase and commentary all rolled into
Two of them can only be described as deliberate mistranslations.
Here are five of the worst Bible translations on planet earth
I’ll start by listing the most contorted ones and working through the less corrupt, yet still aberrant translations.
1. The Mirror Bible
“Mirror, mirror on the wall, what’s the worst Bible translation of them all?”.
Even Snow White would know that Francois Du Toit’s so-called “translation” is the worst of the worst, simple as that.
Apparently, Francois Du Toit was a part of a Christian church during the 1980s but eventually, he began drifting into a new age, self-realization universalistic religion.
Or to put it simply – this man started teaching something that didn’t involve repentance from sin.
Something along the lines of the prosperity gospel –but worse.
What Francois Du Toit did after he adopted a new age worldview was quite striking.
He went back to Christian circles and Christianity in general, but the Bible kept getting in the way of his anti-gospel message.
So he did what came all-too-naturally. He just distorted the Word of God so that it fit his new abominable theological perspective.
This is what’s wrong with this least accurate Bible “translation”:
- It’s filled with diabolical, new age, man-worship false doctrine
- The Mirror Bible is not a translation – it’s more of a paraphrase and a commentary
- It denies the need for a savior i.e. the need to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and be born again
This guy implies that we’re already born-again – there’s no need to be washed by the blood of the Lamb as we’re already gods.
Even writing this leaves a bad taste in my mouth – what a heresy The Mirror Bible is.
The Bible perfectly describes this man;
“Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” -2 Corinthians 11:15
In verse 14, Apostle Paul talks about how even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.
In the following verse 15 we see that even his minions may act as “ministers of righteousness”.
So, does Mr. du Toit fit these criteria? You bet he does!
A mirror reverses everything and in a similar fashion TMB reverses, twists and distorts the real Living Word of God.
It’s kind of a “funhouse” mirror. But without the fun.
He has injected false doctrine into the Word of God.
What’s the Mirror’s one positive point? Mr. du Toit hasn’t mistranslated the entire Bible yet.
He’s only done most of the New Testament. He didn’t even begin distorting the Old Testament yet.
That’s why the new “Black” edition is only 784 pages. You can take a look on Amazon if you want.
This baddest of the bad Bible translations has gotten plenty of great reviews from people who don’t know what they are reading.
Do you think I’m making this up?
In this video, Mike Winger takes the Mirror Translation apart, piece-by-piece:
For the Mirror Bible, this much is clear. The Handwriting is on the Wall.
2. The Passion Translation
TPT is a real abomination of a translation and anyone who’s read an accurate translation of the Bible -like the KJV- will agree.
Typically, translating the Holy Scripture requires a whole team of appropriately qualified Bible scholars who are adept in Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic and other relevant languages and dialects.
There will also be specialists in archaeology, ancient languages and other disciplines.
As you can see in the video below, most Bible translations come with teams of international scholars from many different denominations.
They do everything possible to remove any sectarian differences that could interfere with an accurate Bible translation.
This video of Zondervan’s NIV team is a great example of how many of the best translations are made.
Of course, there are some exceptional translations of the Bible that were the product of a single writer.
Here’s where you can read about some of them.
The J. B. Phillips translation (Amazon link) and the Kenneth Wuest translation (Amazon link) are notable examples of translations prepared by solo scholars (who were both well-qualified to be Bible translators).
Utilizing a word-for-word approach has always been the most reliable and accurate form of translation.
But Brian Simmons’ The Passion Translation seems to have a very different and outright fallacious approach.
This is why TPT is at best, a commentary of the Bible:
- It was translated by a single person (Brian Simmons) who is not a credible Bible scholar
- It’s 50% longer than the real Word of God due to all the extra text and new material that’s added
- The added material in certain places constitutes a false doctrine that can lead people astray and put them in spiritual danger
And if you’re still not in absolute shock, it seems that this man had ‘minimal’ training in Greek in Hebrew before he started working on this translation.
Even the Biblical scholar Andrew Shead -Head of Old Testament and Hebrew at Moore Theological College, and member of the NIV Translation committee- felt the need to write an entire article on TPT.
And what did Shead have to say?
The title of the article is “Burning Scripture with a Passion.” That tells you about all you need to know.
TPT –at best- is a cultural translation, meaning it’s not a legitimate Bible.
Let’s make it clear – I do not consider TPT an actual Bible and neither should you.
It includes a lot of extra, non-Biblical text, a different tone and a 100% misleading representation of the Living Word of God.
Add the fact that Brian Simmons doesn’t have the needed experience and training and you’re in for trouble if you consider reading The Passion Translation.
Avoid, avoid, avoid.
3. The New World Translation
The NWT was originally published in the early 1950s by the Tract Society and Watch Tower Bible.
And guess what? The organization behind this project is the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
But what’s wrong with Jehovah’s Witnesses, you might say?
Well, they deny one of the central tenets of the Christian faith -the Holy Trinity i.e. the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit as one God.
However – if that’s not enough to put you off, there are plenty more nails in the coffin of the New World Translation.
Here are the main issues of this dubious translation:
- Any notion or mention of the Holy Trinity that’s originally found in The Bible is carefully reworded and twisted
- The person and deity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is misrepresented
- 4 of the 5 men behind this “translation” had no knowledge of Greek or Hebrew, while the 5th one couldn’t pass a simple Hebrew test
Plenty of red flags already if you ask me (as if there weren’t enough already).
But there’s more.
Jehovah’s Witnesses have gone to great lengths to ensure that the NWT matches their doctrine by distorting the real meaning of certain profound verses from the Living Word of God.
In the Acts example, we see that the NWT authors bent the part that says “which He hath purchased with His own blood” (as found in the KJV and NASB), while going for the more anti-Holy Trinity-friendly “which He purchased with the blood of His own Son”.
And in Colossians 1:17, the JW representatives try to falsely portray Jesus as a created being and not the Creator of all things.
The false New World Translation reminds me of 2 Peter 3:16:
Every few years, the NWT committee issues an update, and every few years, they make it more distorted.
But here’s a sign of the times:
Even though the Jehovah’s Witnesses have been at it for over 70 years, they’ve already been outdone in the race to the bottom by the two other bad Bible translations above.
Let’s pray that these people repent and turn their hearts to our one and only Savior – Jesus Christ.
Meanwhile, the NWT should stay on your list of Bibles to avoid.
4. The Message Bible
The Message Bible was specifically released to target modern US English speakers by utilizing contemporary American slang terms.
That’s why this “translation” is also known as The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language.
Now, who is the man behind The Message?
It’s Eugene Peterson, who was the founding pastor of a Presbyterian church in Bel Air, Maryland during the 1960s.
The idea behind this supposed translation is to present easy-to-digest Scripture that’s meant to captivate both people who have and those who haven’t read the Bible.
Seriously, there are lots of things wrong with The Message but the primary offenders are:
- This is a mere commentary-novel-paraphrase hybrid of the Bible, not a legit translation
- It relies on a very lackadaisical and non-serious writing style that has nothing to do with Holy Spirit-inspired Scripture
- The author has deliberately turned entire parts of the Word of God into ridiculous colloquialisms and idioms
And after all this, the author has the audacity to claim that his “translation” is meant as a ‘first Bible’ for new believers.
Wow – you wouldn’t want it even as your second, third or fourth Bible.
It’s worth noting that Eugene Peterson’s very name is plagued by the controversy that adds another thick layer of untrustworthiness that you can read about here.
Do you think that this type of lukewarm behavior is something that God wants and approves of? Revelation 3:15-16 comes to mind.
Here’s a verse in the Bible that’s very fitting;
“They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.” Titus 1:16
My recommendation on The Message Bible?
5. The Living Bible
The Living Bible – it sounds legit, doesn’t it?
After all, it has the word ‘living’ in it, which seems like a nod to the Living Word of God.
Unfortunately, this is where the good news for TLB ends.
This supposed Bible “translation” is a mere paraphrase of the American Standard Version that was originally published in 1971 by a man called Kenneth Taylor.
Mr. Taylor didn’t even rely on the original manuscripts and his lack of understanding of Hebrew and Greek make things even worse.
All Kenneth Taylor did was to rewrite the American Standard Version Bible in his own words, while sprinkling his ideas and thoughts along the way.
Here’s what’s fundamentally wrong with the TLB:
- It was written by a single author who wasn’t a theological or Bible scholar
- It omits important pieces of Biblical text that don’t fit the author’s Arminianism
- It’s nothing more than the paraphrased/reworded version of the American Standard Version
Still, this didn’t stop The Living Bible from gaining popularity.
One of the reasons for its popularity is Billy Graham’s support for Kenneth Taylor’s Living Letters (a paraphrase of the New Testament epistles), which predated the release of The Living Bible.
Yet, it’s just hard to overlook Mr. Taylor’s complete lack of training in Hebrew.
This is quite evident from John 12:15 in The Living Bible that starts with “don’t be afraid” instead of “fear not”, which is found in word-for-word translations such as the ESV.
And “fear not” is a typical Hebrew expression that stands for “have confidence”.
This makes The Living Bible truly mind-blowing… in a bad way.
What’s Wrong with these Bible Translations
Misinterpretations of Scripture and deliberate mistranslations shouldn’t be sold as Bibles.
These false Bibles are not what the original Holy Spirit-inspired authors wrote.
Whether these mistranslations are deliberate or not, we must be on guard against these kinds of things more and more in these last days.
They’re just personal interpretations by people who intentionally or not mislead others with their destructive translations.
Men like Jeremiah and Isaiah were inspired by God himself to write what they wrote.
Let’s use them as our examples and make sure we are building up one another in our most holy faith.
After all, remember what the Scripture says in 2 Timothy 3:16 – “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”
The Word of God is perfect and we shouldn’t add or subtract from it.