What are Hybrid-Spanish Bibles?


The Spanish Inquisition was established in 1480 by the King and Queen of Spain, as they sought to unify their kingdom, and get rid of both "heretics" and "Jews."  Under the Inquisition, it became illegal to translate the scriptures into the vulgar tongue without Papal consent.  But many Spaniards chose to do just that, and were brutally persecuted and executed for not only trying to translate the scriptures into Castilian Spanish for the common man to read, but even just daring to have a copy of it and reading it for themselves.

It was during this time in the 1500's that both Reina and Valera lived.  And, for their adoption of the teachings of Martin Luther, specifically the teaching of justification by faith alone, they were targeted for arrest and trail under the Inquisition.  Luckily, they escaped and fled to England where they found the freedom to do their work of translating the Spanish Bible, but not without being burned in effigy by the Roman church back in Spain.  (Note: Reina was so against the Catholic Church for forbidding the translation of the scriptures into another tongue, that he even printed the Papal Bull of the Council of Trent forbidding the reading of the scriptures into another language in the preface of his Spanish translation of 1569, as a sort of "in your face" towards them). 

Of the texts used, Reina is very clear to point out that the Latin Vulgate (the official Bible of the Catholic Church) was not a pure version of the scriptures.  In his preface, he even dogmatically said, "...We declare that we have not followed completely or in all the Old Latin [Vulgate] translation, that is in common use: for although its ancient authority is mighty, neither one or the other should excuse the many errors that it has, departing so many innumerable times from the truth of the Hebrew text; others adding; others transposing from one place to another, all of which though could well be prevented, it cannot be denied."

Here Reina tells us he did not follow the Latin Vulgate completely, because it was full of "errors."  This is interesting to note, for the Catholic Church on occasion would allow a translation into another language, but only if that translation was done by priests and only if it was done completely from the Latin Vulgate.  So old Reina really puts his neck on the line by making this statement, for if he had been caught by the Inquisitors both he and his Bible would have been burned at the stake.

What Reina produced was the first whole Spanish Bible in the Castilian tongue.  And today, we honor him for courageously toiling to get the Spanish-Speaking people the word of God in their own language, even though the Roman church was adamantly against it. 

However, Reina's version was not perfect, as he didn't have all the pure texts to work with.  This is why it was revised by Valera and then again published in 1602.  Valera tells us what he did in his preface, "[I] have taken out all that was added by the 70 interpreters [the LXX], or of the Vulgate, that is not found in the Hebrew text..."

Thus, it should be duly noted that both Reina and Valera were persecuted by Romanists and had to flee from their persecution.  Reina saw the errors in the Catholic texts, and tried not to use them, but he only did the best he could.  Valera then worked at purifying the work, in order to rid it of the errors from the Catholic texts.

Now back to the Inquisition.  It was not only practiced in Spain, but it traveled the Atlantic as well, with the Spanish Colonization of the New World.  Most people don't realize it, but the Spanish Inquisition took place in the Americas well into the 1800's in both Central and South America. (Although some claim the Inquisition ended in 1834, it didn't really end until about 1880 as it continued on in Peru until then).

Bibles received by Catholics from Protestant Missionaries in the Americas were quickly apprehended and burned by Catholic priests.  (Public Bible burnings in Guatemala and another countries were a common occurance as Protestant Missionaries entered into the area).  Because of this, many Protestant Bible Societies in the 1800's were afraid to print the original 1602 Valera revision of the 1569 Bible of Reina.  So instead, they printed Catholic Bibles and distributed those.  I guess their thinking was, "Well, it's better for the people to read something than nothing."

The Cambridge History of the Bible, verifies the Protestants printing of Catholic Bibles with the following words: "...Early Protestant versions printed for circulation in Spain and Latin America consisted of the Scio [Catholic] text.

We also read from another source:  "In 1819, the Protestant Bible Societies reproduced the Scio version without the Apocrypha, but the hundreds of thousands."

Why would Bible Societies, which claimed to be "Protestant," do such a thing?  Both Reina and Valera would have turned over in their graves, had they known, for their lives were devoted to freeing their countrymen from the abuses of Papacy, and getting the pure word of God into the hands of Spanish-speaking people, not a water-downed version of it!

Yet Protestants Bible Societies didn't only print Catholic Bibles.   They also printed Valera Bibles REVISED with the Catholic texts.  Bill Kincaid confirms this in saying: "With the end of the Inquisition...the British Foreign Bible Society began distributing Catholic Spanish Bibles adapted from the Felipe Scio.  Scio was a Roman Catholic priest whose translation was reprinted presumably with the hopes it would be allowed to circulate."

The Cambridge History of the Bible further states: "Later Protestant Bibles in Spanish have usually consisted of revised versions of Valera's text, printed in London, New York, Paris and occasionally Madrid."

Instead of printing Valera's revision of 1602 exactly the way it was, they chose to REVISE it, but not with the pure texts, but with the very Catholic texts that Valera worked at taking out of Reina's edition.  How could they do such a thing?

Their thinking must have been, "Catholics won't accept a Protestant Bible, but if we make it LOOK LIKEa Catholic Bible by changing some passages with the Catholic text, then they might just accept it and read it!" 

The "adapted" Bibles produced by these compromising Bible Societies were part Valera, part Felipe Scio.  In other words they were HYBRID-BIBLES, being part Protestant and part Catholic. 

How do we identify these "Valera-Scio Hybrid Bibles?"   It's actually rather simple.

The best way is to look at John 1:1, and see what word they used for Jesus.  ALL Protestant Bibles used the word "Palabra" (Word) in speaking of Jesus Christ.  However, Catholic Bibles use the word "Verbo" which comes from the Latin Vulgate reading of "Verbum."

All Catholic versions of the Bible in Spanish read "Verbo."  But if you will look at the modern so-called Reina-Valera Bibles being put out today by Bible Societies and used by most Independent Baptist ministers, you will find they all say "Verbo" too.  They do so because they are "hybrid-bibles."  The 1865 is a prime example of this.  Not only did it insert CATHOLIC TEXTS, but it also inserted CRITICAL TEXT readings.  The 1909 and 1960 did the same. 

The Gomez Bible, although it did a great job of riding many critical texts, also reads "Verbo" in John 1:1.  It should be noted that it did not even go back to the original 1602, rather it is only a revision based upon the 1909 and 1960.  (Thus, it too is a "hybrid Bible," as it mixed God's word with the modern hybrid versions.  Why?  Why not go back to the original 1602 and all the other old PROTESTANT versions?) 

The Spanish Bibles that read "Palabra" instead of the Catholic word "Verbo" are:

The 1569 Reina Bible

The 1602 Valera revision


The 1543 Francisco de Enzinas New Testament

The 1556 New Testament of Juan Perez de Pineda


How then can it be that Independent Baptists, who claim to be against the false teachings of the Catholic Church, use a version of the Bible in Spanish that follows more closely with the CATHOLIC word "Verbo" than the PROTESTANT REFORMATION reading of "Palabra?"  Wouldn't both Reina and Valera preach against this if they were alive in our world today?

So now you know what a "hybrid-Spanish Bible" is.  And what a sad story that "Protestant" Bible Societies cowardly printed both Catholic and Catholic-Protestant Hybrid Bibles instead of simply printing the old Valera 1602.  And how sad that many modern day Independent Baptists choose to use versions which, instead of going back to the original 1602, are Hybrid Valera-Critical Text revisions."

The only version that exists today that does go back to the original 1602 is the VALERA 1602 PURIFIED.  It is called PURIFIED because his work was not perfect, although it was close.  It too needed revision, but not with the CATHOLIC or CRITICAL TEXTS, rather with the pure texts underlying the King James Bible.




Valera (left) and Reina (right), two courageous men who apparently had different desires than Christians of today.  For they wanted to rid their Bibles of critical and catholic text readings.  But today we have many Independent Baptists which want to adamantly defend versions of the Bible in Spanish that contain both!