Letters to the Editor: An updated Bible with 20,000 revisions isn’t a good look for believers

A person reads the Bible in a church.
A minister reads the Bible at a Baptist church in Hong Kong in June 2020.
(Laurel Chor / For The Times)

To the editor: While Hal Taussig has great pride in the 20,000 revisions made to the Bible, he makes my argument for me. (“A new edition of the Bible, with 20,000 revisions, should spark 20,000 thoughtful conversations,” Opinion, Dec. 24)

Why should the Bible be taken literally as the word of God when humans (or more accurately men) have revised this book to say what they want for millenniums?

It’s a nice book of stories, nothing more.

Kathleen Walker, Los Osos



To the editor: The notion of “20,000 revisions, each bringing new light to the Bible” troubles me. I deal with many anti-Christians who want to dismiss the Bible because, they say, it’s been changed so many times that it’s unreliable.

There is also the matter that so many of these changes merely reflect political correctness. I question the reshaping of the biblical narrative in the image of our own times.

As a seminarian studying the New Testament in Greek, I was jolted every time the familiar English texts deviated from the source. I anticipate many seminarians being in shock to find that the text does not say “brothers and sisters,” but instead merely “brothers.”

Timothy Wright, Baltimore


To the editor: Taussig justifies all the revisions of the Bible by stating that “each iteration of the Bible addresses some cultural need.”

That misses the purpose of the Bible, which is to serve as a source of spirituality. The updated New Revised Standard Version fails miserably in capturing the spiritual essence of the Bible and thus deprives its readers of the thing they need most from Scripture.


The most spiritual English translation is the original King James version of the Bible. Every subsequent translation has failed to capture the spirituality of Scripture that was beautifully conveyed by the leading English scholars of the 17th century.

While it is true that 17th century English can be difficult to read in the 21st century, subsequent translations very often fail to capture the spiritual essence of the Hebrew and Greek texts — and the updated New Revised Standard Version is no exception.

Jack Allen, Pacific Palisades


To the editor: I was looking for the part where God first asks Mary if she’s OK with carrying his child. Wouldn’t that have been a kind and thoughtful revision, reinforcing basic rules of decency and morality?

Arthur D. Wahl, Port Huenme