My Response to a Concerned Pastor
Regarding the 1602 Valera “Purificada” Bible
In Comparison to the RVG
By Manny Rodriguez
Missionary to Puerto Rico
September 8, 2011
A couple years ago a concerned American Pastor sent me an email seeking my opinion in regards to the 1602 Valera “Purificada” Bible (aka 1602P). The 1602P was the revision effort of an American missionary in Mexico named William Park who worked under the authority of a church in Monterrey, Mexico to try and correct the Alexandrian Critical Text corruptions in the current popular editions of the Spanish Reina-Valera Bible. This was the same goal of Dr. Humberto Gómez and his collaborators around the world in their revision efforts which resulted in the Reina-Valera Gómez Bible (aka RVG).
The Pastor basically wanted to know which of these 2 Spanish Bible revisions I felt was superior in purity and accuracy.
The following is the letter that he wrote me and then afterwards is my response:
I have a missionary on the field in Argentina and I want to make sure he has the BEST Bible for the task. He is currently using the RVG, and we’ve sent several. I do not speak Spanish, what little I got in high school has ill equipped me for this issue.
Lately he has been hearing that the 1602P may in some ways be better than the RVG.
Now I’ve heard some good and bad about both, but at this point from my reading still prefer the RVG. Is there any Scripture comparisons between these two? Or between these two and the King James?
I appreciate the information you have on your web page it has (and is) a blessing to me.
Thank you! God Bless!
(NOW HERE IS MY RESPONSE.)
August 29, 2009
Dear Pastor *****,
I have been aware of the 1602P for about 10 years now. In fact, I was aware of the 1602P project of a Baptist church in Monterrey, Mexico before I even knew of Humberto Gómez and his revision – the RVG. When I first heard of the 1602P project from a missionary friend who was a big supporter of it, I too wanted to support it. I found out that the NT was completed and that they were working hard to finish the OT. I was excited about this. I knew that something needed to be done and I felt that perhaps the 1602P was the answer. I even approached my Pastor, Bro. Karl Baker (Calvary Baptist Church, Beaufort, SC), about financially supporting this work.
But as years went by, I heard nothing more about the progress of the 1602P project and rumors began to arise that perhaps they were not continuing with the project. I contacted a veteran Hispanic missionary who was once heavily involved with the project toward the beginning of their endeavors. He informed me that he had actually not communicated with those brethren for several years though he had tried to contact them. (Since then, this individual has become a supporter and assistant in the RVG project instead.) This led me to speculate that the brethren in Monterrey had either taken a temporary break or altogether stopped working on this project. It kind of discouraged me as I had been praying for years that God would raise someone up to provide a Spanish Bible that was free of corruption and equivalent to the KJV.
Then I ran into a Pdf. Version on the Internet of the revision that Bro. Humberto Gómez had done. I was hesitant to look into the work of Bro. Gómez because I had heard nothing but negative things about him from people that at the time I trusted (but not anymore). But out of curiosity I decided to check his text out. I was amazed when I checked verse after verse and found them all to be corrected and in conformity to the KJB and the Received Texts. This encouraged me. I then immediately contacted Bro. Humberto Gómez by phone to inquire further about his work. I even drove 18 hours in one day from Beaufort, SC to Chicago, IL just to meet Bro. Gómez and discuss this matter with him face to face. I liked what I heard as Bro. Gómez demonstrated to my satisfaction that his heart was sincere in wanting to provide the Spanish-speaking world with a totally pure Spanish Bible. Right around that time, it just so happened that God was calling me to the mission field (of Puerto Rico) so the discovery of the RVG was very timely.
I purchased copies of the RVG and began to vigorously check verse after verse and compare them to the KJB while also checking them with the TR on my e-sword computer program. Now Pastor *****, please understand that I am not an expert in Spanish or the original languages or even English for that matter. I am not a linguist. I have never claimed such. I do not consider myself to be a “scholar” or “expert” nor do I aspire to build a reputation as such. All I desire to be is what God has called me to be and that is a preacher of the Gospel and as such I have tried to be diligent in making sure that what I am offering the people God has called me to minister to is the very best. I never anticipated that I would eventually become so involved with this issue and that I would have people (such as yourself) from all over the world asking for my opinion on this subject. I am humbled by this.
What I am trying to say is that my motivation for promoting the RVG is not my friendship with Bro. Gómez or any other supporter of the RVG. My only motivation for standing for the RVG is because after many sleepless nights of studying, comparing, and praying, I believe in my heart that it is the very best Spanish Bible available today. I believe it is a work of God. Therefore, I want others to know about what I believe God is doing for the Spanish-speaking world through the RVG Bible.
I believe that a revival amongst Hispanic people as a result of the RVG is on the horizon. All over the world souls are being saved, churches are being started, and saints are being edified through the usage of this Bible. I recently had the privilege to preach and present our ministry to Victory Baptist Church in Milton, FL. This is the home of Victory Baptist Press, a Bible printing ministry that prints the KJV and RVG. (They refuse to print any other Spanish Bible.) The director, Bro. Jim Fellure, gave me a tour of their new print shop. Bro. Fellure testified that the demand for the RVG from all over the world is so great that it is impossible to meet the demand of requests from missionaries and Hispanic pastors requesting box loads of Bibles. My heart was thrilled to hear of the hunger for God’s pure Word in Spanish. But I was also burdened about the limitations in meeting the demands of those who desire the RVG. In time, I am positive that these limitations will be eliminated. Pastor *****, I believe we are on the verge of seeing God do something great for the Hispanic world through this Bible!
I have been asked several times if I would change and switch to the 1602P if it is proven to be better than the RVG and my answer is ABSOLUTELY. I am a servant of the Lord and His people. Therefore I am obligated to offer the best to God’s people. I have no interest in the RVG other than a desire for a pure Bible. I have even told Bro. Gómez personally that if the 1602P, or any other revision, was proven to be better than his that I would be willing to switch. Bro. Gómez totally understands my position.
I was surprised when about a year or so ago it was announced that the entire 1602P (both OT & NT) was finally completed and released. You see, for years all they ever had available was the NT. I downloaded a Pdf. Version of the completed 1602P onto my computer and began to compare it with the RVG and the KJV. (I also now have a vinyl back copy of the 1602P.)
Now Pastor *****, please understand something before I get into what I believe concerning which revision is the best. You are not the first person who has asked for my opinion as to which of these two revisions is better. But every time I am approached with this question I am hesitant and careful because as God is my witness I do not want to become guilty of having the same ungodly attitude and bad spirit as those who are against the RVG. This is indeed a very passionate subject to me (after all, it is the Word of God that we’re dealing with here) and I admit to my shame that there have been a couple times where I have found myself falling into the trap of becoming almost as volatile as those who criticize the RVG. I have repented of those moments of weakness and have prayed for God’s strength. I must be extremely careful not to fall into this pitfall. Yet at the same time, I must also be vigilant, fervent, and bold for the truth. Blessed is the man who finds the balance.
I have no reason to believe that the church in Monterrey, Mexico that is supposedly responsible for the making of the 1602P is not a sound Bible-believing church. I have no reason to believe that their Pastor is not a Godly man who loves the Lord. Therefore, I want to be respectful towards these good people. However, there are a couple of loose cannons out there who support the 1602P that have been very nasty and ungodly in their attacks against the RVG, Bro. Gómez, and his collaborators. These loose cannons have spread lies, false rumors, and much misinformation about the RVG and Bro. Gómez. I sometimes wonder if the good brethren in Monterrey, Mexico are aware of the bad testimony that their supporters are manifesting at their expense. Even more so, I wonder how these loose cannons can live with their conscience and whether or not they truly believe in the Judgment Seat of Christ.
Nevertheless, I cannot help what the critics do, nor do I really care. I can only control my own actions. Therefore, whenever I am approached by sincere people (such as yourself) who care not about all the drama but are simply concerned with the truth, I must pray and ask the Lord to humble me and give me the grace to manifest the right spirit that honors God and His Word and that He will use me, as small and feeble as I am, to be a help to those who are simply looking for what is right. The critics will accuse me of “attacking” their Bible when I point out places in their text that are either in error or inferior in comparison to the RVG (while they fail to see their hypocrisy as they attack us). But since I am only concerned in reaching sincere inquirers rather than the critics, I ask, “judge ye what I say”.
In fact, I wouldn’t even say anything about the 1602P if there weren’t people asking me questions about it. Because the truth is that I am not intimidated by the existence of the 1602P. What’s the chaff to the wheat? If the RVG is a work of God, and I have no doubt that it is, then it will continue to grow and multiply regardless of how many other revisions become available and regardless of how much the critics rant and rave. I do not feel the need to start a campaign (as the critics have started against us) to defeat the efforts of the brethren behind the 1602P. The truth speaks for itself. I really don’t need to say anything because the truth always prevails.
But since you have asked, I will oblige. This writing is simply an attempt to answer your questions.
The following is not an exhaustive presentation. I am in talks with some Hispanic Bible-believers about possibly doing a thorough verse-by-verse analysis of the 1602P, comparing it to the KJV, RVG, and TR, to outline which Spanish Bible revision is the better option. If we do decide to take on such a task, I will be sure to post the results of that study on my website once it is completed. Many more examples can be given but for now I will limit myself to the following 10 examples that I believe demonstrate the RVG to be a superior text over the 1602P (time and space forbids me to list all the information of my personal notes that I have compiled in my comparisons of the RVG with the 1602P):
Heaven (Singular) vs. Heavens (plural)
You don’t have to look any further than the first verse in the Bible, Gen. 1:1, to see which Spanish Bible is superior. In English, the KJV is the only Bible that says, “In the beginning God created the heaven (singular) and the earth”. All the modern corrupt bibles (NIV, RSV, ASV, etc) say “heavens” (plural). This is very significant. Why did the KJV translators translate it as “heaven” singular rather than “heavens” plural as all your modern bibles have it? The reason why is probably because they understood that in the context of Gen. 1 it HAD to be “heaven” (singular) because the earth’s atmosphere was not created until after Gen. 1:1. The earth’s atmosphere, which is the 1st heaven, did not exist until God created the firmament on the 2nd day. God also called this firmament “heaven”. We refer to it as “outer space”. But outer space and the earth’s atmosphere are two separate entitities. Two separate “heavens”. (References to “heavens” plural are Gen. 2:1, 2:4, Deut. 10:14, 32:1, and over 120 other verses.) Pastor ******, I’m sure I am preaching to the choir here in that you understand that there are 3 heavens in the Word of God.
The 3rd Heaven – Eternity, where God dwells – Rev. 4, 2 Cor. 12:1-4
The 2nd heaven – Outer Space, the firmament – Gen. 1:6-8
The 1st heaven – The earth’s atmosphere – Job 35:5, Acts 1:10
My point is that this item affects doctrine. The RVG is the only Spanish Bible that reads like the KJV in Gen. 1:1 by having heaven/cielo (singular) rather than heavens/los cielos (plural). The 1602P, and every other Spanish Bible in existence, reads like the modern corrupt bibles in English (such as the NIV, ASV, RSV, etc) by rendering the word “heavens” (plural):
Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. KJV
Gen. 1:1 En el principio creó Dios el cielo (singular) y la tierra. RVG
Gen. 1:1 EN el principio creó Dios los cielos (plural) y la tierra. 1602P
The words “my master” are omitted.
Gen 24:39 And I said unto my master, Peradventure the woman will not follow me. KJV
Gen 24:39 Y yo dije a mi señor: Quizás la mujer no querrá seguirme. RVG
Gen 24:39 Y yo dije: ________: Quizás la mujer no querrá seguirme. 1602P
2 Sam. 21:19
Who killed Goliath?
Pastor ******, I’m sure you are aware that most, if not all, of your English bibles (such as the NIV, RSV, ASV, etc) outside of the KJV say in 2 Sam. 21:19 that Elhanan slew Goliath instead of David. The 1602P does the same thing as the modern corrupt English bibles in this same passage. As a King James Bible-believer, I cannot use a Bible that says that Elhanan slew Goliath. This is a blatant error:
2Sa 21:19 And there was again a battle in Gob with the Philistines, where Elhanan the son of Jaareoregim, a Bethlehemite, slew the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam. KJV
2Sa 21:19 Y hubo guerra otra vez en Gob contra los filisteos, en la cual Elhanán, hijo de Jaare-oregim de Belén, mató al hermano de Goliat geteo, el asta de cuya lanza era como un rodillo de telar. RVG
2Sa 21:19 Otra guerra hubo en Gob contra los Filisteos, en la cual Elhanan, hijo de Jaare-oregim de Beth-lehem, hirió a __________Goliath Getheo, el asta de cuya lanza era como un enjullo de telar. 1602P (the words “the brother of” are missing)
Note: Critics claim that one of the reasons they reject the RVG is because the scholarship behind it is inferior to that of the revision they support. Yet my 4 year old daughter can tell you who killed Goliath. I wonder if the scholarship of the critics is any better than my 4 year old daughter. The KJV has it right and so does the RVG. David killed Goliath. Elhanan slew the brother of Goliath. See 2 Chron. 20:5.
Sixty-one vs. Seventy-one
The 1602P disagrees with the KJV in Num. 31:39. The KJV says that the “Lord’s tribute was threescore and one”, which is 61. The 1602P says “the tribute of the Lord was seventy and one”, which is 71. The RVG renders it the same as the KJV.
Num. 31:39 And the asses were thirty thousand and five hundred; of which the LORD’S tribute was threescore and one. KJV
Num. 31:39 Y de los asnos, treinta mil quinientos; y de ellos el tributo para Jehová, sesenta y uno (sixty and one). RVG
Num. 31:39 Y de los asnos, treinta mil y quinientos: y de ellos el tribute para el SEÑOR, setenta y uno (seventy and one). 1602P
1 Sam. 17:29
“Is there not a cause?”
The RVG is the only Spanish Bible that has the phrase “Is there not a cause?” (“¿Acaso no hay una causa?” – RVG) uttered by David in 1 Sam. 17:29. The 1602P and the other Spanish Bibles have David saying “Are these not words?” (“¿no son palabras?” – 1602P). This makes no sense. I believe going with the KJV wording makes the RVG superior in this passage.
1 Sam. 17:29 And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause? KJV
1 Sam. 17:29 Y David respondió: ¿Qué he hecho yo ahora? ¿Acaso no hay una causa? RVG
1 Sam. 17:29 Y David respondió: ¿Qué he hecho yo ahora? Estas, ¿no son palabras? 1602P
“if he be a god”
In Judges 6:31 the god being referred to is Baal. Therefore it is better for the word “god” to be rendered with a small “g” since it is a reference to a false god. The KJV has it rendered as a small “g”. The 1602P has “Dios” (Spanish for God) capitalized. The RVG has “un dios” (a god).
Judges 6:31 Will ye plead for Baal? … if he be a god… KJV
Jueces 6:31 ¿Contenderéis vosotros por Baal? … Si es un dios… RVG
Jueces 6:31 ¿Tomaréis vosotros la demanda por Baal? …Si es Dios… 1602P
“when I shall receive the congregation”
This verse plainly says in the KJB “When I shall receive the congregation, I will judge uprightly” in Ps. 75:2. The 1602P says something totally different. The 1602P says “When I shall have time, I will judge uprightly.” Now I understand that when you are translating from one language to another that it is not always possible to translate things word-for-word. Ultimately, the syntax of the language determines the end result. However, in this case we have two statements that mean something totally different. There is a big difference between “when I shall receive the congregation” and “when I shall have time”. The RVG reads like the KJV in this passage. The 1602P doesn’t.
Ps. 75:2 When I shall receive the congregation I will judge uprightly. KJV
Salmos 75:2 Cuando reciba la congregación, yo juzgaré rectamente. RVG
Salmos 75:2 Cuando yo tuviere tiempo, yo juzgaré rectamente. 1602P
Are good angels consigned to hell?
In Ps. 104:4 the KJV says, “Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire.” This verse tells us that God’s angels are a flaming fire just as our God is a consuming fire (Heb. 12:29) and just as the heavenly chariots and horses that Elijah rode into heaven were “of fire” (2 Kgs. 2:11). It speaks of the nature of their being. However, the 1602P changes this verse to say something totally different. The 1602P has “al fuego flameante” which is translated “to the flaming fire”. We know that the fallen angels that rebelled against God are consigned to hell (Jude 6) but according to the context of Ps. 104 this passage is not a reference to God’s fallen angels but rather His ministering angels that do His bidding. So due to the context, I believe the RVG is superior to the 1602P by rendering this passage the same as the KJV.
Ps 104:4 Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire KJV
Salmos 104:4 el que hace a sus ángeles espíritus, sus ministros fuego flameante. RVG
Salmos 104:4 El que hace a sus ángeles espíritus, sus ministros al fuego flameante. 1602P
Was Amos a prophet or not?
In Amos 7:14, Amos is explaining that he was not always a prophet nor was he the son of a prophet. Thus, in the KJV Amos says, “I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son…” But the 1602P words it in a way that makes it sound as if Amos was not a prophet during the time that he was writing those words, which would be a false statement because Amos was indeed a prophet at the time that God moved him to pen those words. The 1602P says, “I am not a prophet…” By translating it in the present tense rather than the past tense the 1602P contradicts the KJV and renders a false statement. The RVG and the KJV is accurate in this passage. The 1602P is inaccurate.
Amo 7:14 Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit: KJV
Amo 7:14 Entonces respondió Amós, y dijo a Amasías: Yo no era profeta, ni hijo de profeta, sino que era boyero, y recogía higos silvestres. RVG
Amo 7:14 Entonces respondió Amós, y dijo a Amasías: No soy profeta, ni soy hijo de profeta, sino que soy boyero, y cogedor de cabrahigos: 1602P
The 1602P is inconsistent.
Notice that so far the examples that have been given are all from the OT. An examination of the 1602P text in the OT manifests that those responsible for this revision did not do as thorough a job as they did in the NT. To give credit where credit is due, in the NT they seem to have done a good job in regards to correcting the major critical text errors that exist in Spanish Bibles. They are to be commended for this. However, problems still exist all throughout their OT and I just gave 9 examples of such. I have many, many more examples.
I speculate (and notice I am admitting that this is purely speculation on my part) that those responsible for producing the 1602P text rushed the OT in order to finally offer a whole Bible. Perhaps when they saw the momentum of support that the RVG was gaining all over the world this motivated them to hurry up and put their completed text in circulation before the support for the RVG became too strong to overcome. Again this is just speculation. (I do know that many who once supported the 1602P project have now switched their support to the RVG.) But the reason why these thoughts run through my mind is because I find inconsistencies with the OT and the NT in the 1602P.
For example, I notice throughout the NT of the 1602P that they have translated the word “wife” as “esposa” every time which is a good thing because “esposa” is indeed the Spanish word for “wife”. The RVG does the same thing. The popular 1960 RV uses the word “mujer” instead of “esposa”. “Mujer” is Spanish for “woman”. Now this is not necessarily an error. In Hispanic culture a man may affectionately refer to his wife as “mi mujer” (my woman) and it is an acceptable term of endearment. So in my opinion we should not incriminate a Spanish Bible for using the terminology “mujer” rather than “esposa”. On the other hand, “esposa” is indeed a superior rendering.
I discussed this word with Bro. Joseph Martinez one time. Bro. Martinez is a native Cuban, a Spanish church planter in the US, a graduate of Tabernacle Baptist College in Greenville, SC, and one of the many collaborators who assisted in the RVG project. He is also a dear friend and I am happy that my home church supports him as one of our missionaries. Bro. Martinez explains that the reason why “esposa” is a better rendering for “wife” than “mujer” is because in this modern day when loose morals are quickly becoming the norm, many unmarried men also refer to the woman that they are living in fornication with (shacking up would be today’s colloquial in English) as “mi mujer” or “my woman”. So “mujer” can be a reference to either a married woman or an unmarried woman who is living in fornication. However, the term “esposa” can ONLY be in reference to a married woman. So the brethren behind the 1602P are to be commended for updating the word “mujer” to “esposa” in the NT.
But here is an interesting thing. In the OT of the 1602P, they translate the word “wife” as “mujer” every time! Now this is strange. Why do they render the word “wife” as “mujer” every time in the OT, but then they change it to “esposa” every time in the NT? Why the inconsistency? Could it be that my speculation mentioned earlier is correct in that they simply rushed the completion of their revision and in so doing they sacrificed consistency by not doing as thorough a job as they did in the NT? Whatever the case may be, the fact remains that they were not as thorough in their OT as they were in the NT.
Pastor *****, there is so much more that I can say. I apologize for the lengthiness of this letter. But I would have to write a book to document all of the reasons why I believe the RVG is a more superior Spanish Bible than the 1602P. (Perhaps I will.)
I have tried to provide my opinion on this matter with a right attitude. But even if I was to present things in a raw fashion, I could never match the wickedness of those who attack our Bible. For instance, those who support the 1602P accuse Bro. Gómez of plagiarizing their work. Recently a prominent author released a book in defense of the KJV and in it the author parrots this false accusation. I was surprised that this author that is so respected by Bible-believers worldwide would parrot a false rumor and then print it. This hurts that author’s credibility no matter how respected the individual may be. The funny thing is that if this accusation was true then how can they complain about differences between the RVG and 1602P? If Bro. Gómez truly plagiarized their work, shouldn’t these texts be extremely similar? Yet they aren’t. They are radically different. I have even confronted one via email about this accusation and challenged him to produce evidence to prove that Bro. Gómez is guilty of plagiarism. His only response was that he knew it was true because somebody he trusted told him so. In other words, these false accusers have no evidence. Just hear-say.
It is sad that Christians are willing to make such serious and libelous charges to destroy a Brother in Christ’s character. It’s as if they have no conscience and no fear of the Judgment Seat of Christ.
Nevertheless, I believe the reason why they are willing to go so far and so unethical is because they see the RVG as a threat to their cause. This is sad because this is not supposed to be a competition. It’s supposed to be about the LORD and His Word. If the RVG is not a work of God, it will fail. But if it is a work of God it will continue to grow and multiply.
I will close with this statement. I am convinced that any objective Christian who will take the time to compare the 1602P and the RVG with the KJV and TR will come to the conclusion that the RVG is superior and indeed the very best Spanish Bible available. Pastor *****, I pray that God will bless you, your church, and Bro. ***** as he labours for the Lord in Argentina.
Your servant in Christ,
Bro. Emanuel Rodríguez
Missionary to Puerto Rico
(SOME CLOSING REMARKS)
Now that you have read my response to the Pastor concerning the 1602 Valera Purificada revision I’d like to make just a few closing comments.
Since this response, I had the privilege to meet the missionary to Argentina referred to by the Pastor in his letters above. This faithful veteran missionary continues to use the RVG in his ministries as he believes through comparison and daily usage that the RVG is indeed a superior text to the 1602P. This missionary and I, as well as a few other South American missionaries, all of whom use the RVG, preached together in a Bible conference in Paraguay, South America in the year 2010. During this conference we saw over 50 Paraguayans accept Christ as Saviour through the preaching of the RVG.
I have compared the 1602P and the RVG even more since this response and I am even more convinced today than I was then that the RVG is a superior text. God knows that if I thought the Purificada was a better text I would have no problem using it instead of the RVG here in Puerto Rico as I endeavor to win souls. But as God is my witness I truly believe the RVG is the very best Spanish text available today in terms of accuracy, purity, and conformity to the Received Texts and comparability to the KJB.
There is something else I’d like to add that I failed to mention in my response to the Pastor above. Another reason why I believe the 1602P will never surpass the RVG in terms of acceptance amongst HISPANIC Bible-believers, especially those who are natives living on foreign soil, is because the full development of the Castilian language is not represented in the 1602 Purificada. Those who support the 1602P make much of the antiquity of the Castilian vernacular found in the original 1602 Valera Bible that the 1602P revisers say they endeavored to preserve in their revision. They appeal to the older style of English that is preserved in the King James Bible for their line of reasoning. But there are a couple of reasons why this line of reasoning won’t work and will not have any positive effect upon national Hispanic brethren.
First off, to compare the antiquity of the original 1602 Valera to the Elizabethan English of the KJB is comparing apples to oranges. They are not the same thing. English was a fully developed language during the time that the 1611 KJB was released. Scholars consider the English language to have reached a peak of excellence in those days. Since that time English has devolved rather than improved. On the other hand, Spanish back then was not as fully developed.
In fact what many Bible-believers don’t realize is that the type of English used in the KJB was not a type of English ever used at all by the common English-speaking man in any time period in English history.1 English-speakers were not saying “thee” and “thou” in the early 1600s. They said “you” just like we say “you” today. The type of English used in the KJB was strictly a literary style of English much like that which was used in Shakespearean plays.
The same cannot be said for the type of Castilian Spanish used in the original 1569 translation of Casiodoro de Reina nor the 1602 revision of Cipriano de Valera. They did not seek to employ a version of Spanish different from that of the common Spanish-speaker. What the KJV translators did in regards to the type of language they used was unique and greatly set it apart from the other TR-based English translations that were already in existence (such as the Geneva, the Bishops, Coverdale, Tyndale, etc) some of which were in circulation at the time.
Secondly, understanding that the type of Spanish used in the original Reina and Valera Bibles was not as far removed from that of the common Spanish-speaker as was the English of the KJB will help to explain why the vast majority of today’s common Spanish-speakers in foreign countries are not accepting the 1602P and will not accept it in the future. As mentioned earlier, the Spanish language was still not fully developed at the time Valera finished his work in 1602. This fact helps to explain why there are some peculiar usages of words in the original Valera Bible such as the use of the word “salud” (which today is exclusively used for “health”) to translate the word “salvation” rather than the universally common word “salvación”.
Speaking of which, it is interesting to note that the 1602P revisers have totally changed the use of the word “salud” for “salvation” by replacing it with the word “salvación”. I believe this is a good change and the RVG has the same change. But it is interesting that the 1602P revisers did this for 3 reasons:
1602P supporters criticize the RVG revisers for “updating” or “modernizing” words in the RVG. They claim that this is wrong. Yet in the instance of salud/salvación (and others) they also have “updated” or “modernized” the 1602 Valera text.
1602P supporters criticize the RVG revisers for having readings that sometimes matches the wording of the 1960 revision yet in this instance they are guilty of the same thing. For it was the 1960 revision committee, under the leadership of the late Eugene Nida, that introduced the idea of exclusively replacing the word “salud” for “salvation” with the use of today’s more common word “salvación”.
1602P supporters claim that the RVG and other revisions of the Reina-Valera have no right to bear the names of Reina and Valera since changes were made that was different from the word choices of those 2 men. Yet as we have already mentioned the 1602P has the word “salud”, which was the word Reina and Valera chose to translate “salvation”, changed to “salvación”. This is not the only change. There are many others in the 1602P. Another example can be found in all the places the 1602P has the word “Jehová” exclusively changed to “Senor”. (Note: The RVG retains the word choice – Jehová – of Reina and Valera in all the instances where the 1602P had it changed.) If it is wrong, as 1602P supporters assert, for the RVG to bear the names of Reina and Valera due to changes of the text they initiated, what gives the 1602P the right to retain the Spanish translators’ names considering all the drastic changes made in that text?
However, despite all the inconsistencies of 1602P supporters and promoters, they boast of their preservation of the original Castilian wording as found in the original 1602 Valera. Yet this presentation of the Spanish scriptures “won’t cut it” with the vast majority of today’s native Spanish-speaker because again with all due respect to the original 1602 Valera the form of Castilian presented in that initial text was a form of Spanish that was not fully developed in Valera’s day. Especially in regards to names and places there are a lot of words in the original 1602 Valera that did not yet have a developed Castilian designation.
For example, instead of the common Spanish name for “Bethlehem”, which is “Belen”, the original 1602 reads “Bethlehem” which is 100% identical in English (Gen. 35:19). Instead of the common Spanish name for “Joseph” which is “Jose”, the 1602 Valera says “Joseph”, totally identical to its English equivalent (Mat. 1:16). And these are just 2 of many other examples.
The 1602P fails to include the updated and common form of these undeveloped renderings of the Spanish language in regards to proper names of people and places in the Bible. In other words, in trying to preserve the old Castilian vernacular of the original 1602 Valera text, the 1602 “Purificada” revisers managed to also preserve many undeveloped renderings that in Valera’s day still lacked an official Castilian Spanish designation, especially in regards to names of people and places.
So what you have in the 1602 Valera Purificada is a Spanish Bible that has been improved in some textual and doctrinal issues but is behind linguistically. No native Hispanic person is going to accept a step backwards in language. Any exception to this would only prove the rule. The 1602P crowd adopted an “older is better” philosophy in translation (remember Westcott & Hort?) and in so doing they wound up going a little too far backwards.
Again, the 1602P supporter will cry “hypocrisy” on our part for defending the “archaic” form of English in the KJB. But again, this argument is invalid. As explained earlier, those who argue against the supposed “archaic” words of the KJB are ignorant to the fact that these so-called “archaic” words in the KJB are actually not “archaic” at all. Rather they are words that represent a strictly literary style of English that was never used as conversational speech by any English-speaker in any time period. Ironically, many (especially 1602P supporters) who rightfully defend the form of English in the KJB are just as ignorant of these facts as those who criticize the KJB for such.
This linguistic aspect is one of the reasons why the 1602P continues to fail in gaining any momentum of acceptance amongst native Spanish-speaking Bible-believing Christians on foreign soil. The RVG on the other hand continues to grow in worldwide acceptance amongst true Hispanic Bible-believers as Bible printers continually complain that they cannot keep up with the demand for the RVG Bible.
At one time the 1602P revisers seemed to have a good idea in returning to the very original form of the traditional 1602 Reina-Valera Bible but in so doing they failed to recognize the linguistic issues involved of which were taken care of in subsequent revisions. They totally disregarded that aspect, all the while claiming their work to be more “scholarly”.
Bro. Humberto Gómez was wise to go back to the 1909 Antigua edition of the Reina-Valera because in so doing he was able to retain the ancient flavor of the traditional text (hence the name “La Antigua”) while at the same time benefitting from a form of Castilian that was by 1909 much more developed. By going with such a text, Bro. Gómez could concentrate more in dealing with the issues of eliminating Alexandrian Critical Text readings whereas someone revising the actual original 1602 Valera text would have to not only concentrate on eliminating corruption but updating the undeveloped parts of the language employed, something of which the 1602P revisers totally failed to do and if they ever decide to do so it would be a massive undertaking of a work that was already done by the mid-1900s.
Hispanic nationals are proud of their language and they refuse to go backwards in time to use a form of the Castilian diction that was not fully developed. The claims of “beauty” in terms of language in the 1602P is greatly exaggerated by its supporters and only Caucasian Americans who don’t speak Castilian Spanish as a first language and don’t live in a Spanish-speaking foreign country fall for that type of promotion. The native Hispanic Bible-believer on foreign soil is not falling for the hype.
In my response to the concerned Pastor concerning the 1602P I only commented on 10 items which I felt demonstrates the superiority of the RVG. However, in my copy of the 1602 Valera Purificada I have many, many other verses highlighted with a blue marker where a reading is either questionable or just downright in textual or doctrinal error. I have yet to release this information. The fact is that the Purificada is not as thorough a revision as the RVG is despite how aggressively those who support the 1602P claim “thoroughness” for it.
I have recently found out that promoters of the 1602P are preparing to print a newer “updated” version of the 1602 Valera Purificada in the near future. This will be very interesting to see considering how harshly they have criticized Bro. Gómez for printing multiple “updated” editions of the RVG. I wonder if they will retract and cease their criticism of Bro. Gómez for printing different editions of the RVG when this will essentially be their 4th edition of the Purificada (This is counting 2 editions of their NT and the soon to be 2 editions of their complete Bible).
At any rate, this is my assessment of these 2 Spanish Bible revisions and the controversy that surrounds them. There is much more that can be said and probably needs to be said. However time and space would fail me for now. I have more articles in the works concerning the deficiencies of the 1602P text and the superiority of the RVG.
Until then I pray (and I really do pray about this issue) that this information will help those sincerely evaluating the Spanish Bible issue.
Acts 12:24 “But the word of God grew and multiplied.”
Acts 19:20 “So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.”
1 See the book Biblical English by Dr. Phil Stringer for proof of these facts.