Crash Course on the Spanish Bible Issue among Independent Baptists Today

by Robert R. Breaker III

              As an Independent Baptist Minister and Missionary to Spanish-speaking people, I've found that even though many Independent Baptists claim to be in favor of only one Bible in English (the King James Authorized version), they use multiple versions in Spanish.  Sadly, most of those versions they use are not in agreement with the blessed KJV.   This has led to much bitter infighting within the Independent Baptist movement over the Spanish Bible Issue for decades, and this heated arguing continues still well into our day.
              When I left for the mission field on a survey trip in 1992, I did what many other Missionaries did at that time, I bought a bilingual KJV/1960 Spanish Bible, and I read through the entire New Testament in just a few short months.   What I found was that this version DID NOT read with my King James Bible, in fact it read much closer to the English RSV, and even the Spanish NIV!   I was devastated, especially when I found out other Independent Baptist Missionaries, who were KJV in English, not only used the 1960, but adamantly defended it.  I hurt me greatly that they were not taking a pure Bible in Spanish with them to the field.  I couldn't remain quiet, so I spoke up about it.  I soon found that when you do so, you immediately get "crucified" by "the brethren" who attack you bitterly and ridicule you for attacking their version of the scriptures in Spanish.  But I could not remain quiet.  I wanted a pure Spanish Bible, and I would settle for nothing less.   From the sidelines, I watched Fundamentalists battle each other over which Bible in Spanish is the right one. And I saw them all consistently WRONG on which Bible they chose, as each one defended a version that was either mixed with catholic texts, the critical texts, and/or was full of many modern Spanish words and grammar instead of the beautiful old Castilian Spanish of Spain, like the old Reina-Valera Protestant Reformation text of 1602.
As I watched the fray, I didn't realize at the time that God was putting me right slap-dab in the middle of the controversy in order to teach me some things and then use me to help Hispanics learn about the History of their own Bible, and to point them to the purest word of God in their own language.
Looking back now over the years, I see just how God has used me in a mighty way to show English and Spanish Speakers alike the truth about the Spanish Bible Controversy and expose the practice of modern day Fundamentalist Pharisees, who hypocritically hide the truth about their corrupt versions in order to deceive the masses.
Over the years, I wrote four books on the Spanish Bible Issue and I've seen them printed and distributed far and wide, with much positive feedback.  Gail Riplinger has even flattered me personally, by saying: "As far as I'm concerned, you are the foremost authority on the Spanish Bible Issue and the History of the Spanish Bible."
As flattering as that might be, I know I still have much to learn.  But I'm grateful God has given me a purpose and a reason for my ministry. So, I steadfastly continue preaching the truth about the various Spanish Bible versions, and pointing Spanish speakers to the purest word of God in their language.
For those who don't know anything about the Spanish Bible Issue, I give the following crash course...
Fundamentalists for almost half a century have adamantly defended the popular 1960 Spanish Bible, now known as the "Crown Version." But when the New Testament of that version came out in the early 1950s (its appeared as a bi-lingual edition printed with the RSV in English), no Fundamentalist would touch it with a ten foot pole! It wasn't until they printed it with the Scofield notes, that some Fundamentalists bought it. Then eventually more followed suit, and then more, until it finally became the standard Fundamentalist and Evangelical Bible for the next forty years. (How sad they bought it for the NOTES and not for the TEXT!) This is how many Fundamentalist missionaries who were KJV only in English hypocritically became RSV in Spanish, and still are to this day (defending their beloved 1960).
But not all Fundamentalists fell into apostasy.  There were a few guys like myself who actually read the 1960 with the King James and became appalled at the many differences. We then began to ask how other missionaries, who only use the KJV in English and are against the English RSV, could use a Bible in Spanish that reads so closely with the RSV in so many places? It just didn’t make sense.
Eventually a Missionary in Guatemala found a book by Jose Flores (a consultant on the 1960 revision) in which the author stated the 1960 Spanish Bible relied heavily on the English RSV and the CRITICAL TEXTS in it's revision. Myself and others began to point this out, as well as the many DOCTRINAL ERRORS in the 1960. We also showed the influence of Eugene Nida and his damnable doctrine of DYNAMIC EQUIVALENCE, (which almost all Fundamentalists are against), which teaches a man doesn't have to translate the words, rather only the idea or the message behind the words (This allows the translator to become his own "Interpreter" rather than an honest and objective translator).
But for our speaking out on the truth, we were labelled as "trouble makers" and "Bible attackers" among modern day Fundamentalists (better stated Funny-mental-ists) instead of the true Bible Believers we are who wanted a pure Bible to take to Hispanics.  (One defender of the 1960 even made a website against me!)

Not all Fundamentalists jumped on the bandwagon of the 1960. A few stuck with the old 1909, and were often ridiculed and attacked by the 1960 crowd because of it. Many claimed it was "archaic" and "out-dated" and others should just chunk it in favor of the more popular 1960. But many a dogmatic fundamentalist who knew his Bible and saw the horrendous errors of the 1960 would not waiver. They stood firm on their convictions of using the old 1909, which had become known as "La Antigua" (the Old version).
But when faced with the truth that the 1909 was done by men who not only favored the Critical Texts, but also used them in their translation, many 1909 users became upset, and perturbed.  Eventually, they saw they could deny the truth no longer, desiring a pure Bible based upon the pure texts underlying the King James Bible, and not a version mixed with the critical texts of men, (like the 1909). So they began to look elsewhere.

A movement began in Arizona in the 1990's to resurrect the old Francisco de Enzinas New Testament of 1543, the work of a learned and well-known Protestant Spaniard. It was reprinted in old Spanish (where the "s" is an "f" and the "v" is a "b," etc.) but saw very little distribution and acceptance by modern Fundamentalists. Although it was much better than the 1960 and 1909, it also had been messed with by Catholics who changed a few things after Enzinas did his work. So it too wasn't pure.

Then in 2001, Jeff McCardle and Paul Garcia tried to resurrect the American Bible Society's 1865 Spanish Bible revision. I was there when they called a group of men together to show them the version they'd found and how they tried to convince us all that it was, and I quote, "The true word of God in Spanish."
With their list of 200 verses that showed the 1865 was better than both the 1960 and 1909, and closer to the King James, some people readily accepted the 1865. I was skeptical, and did not, determining to study it out more. I did, and found Mr. H.B. Pratt who worked on the 1865 (with a man named Mora) was very biased towards the critical texts (so much so that he produced a version in 1893 based entirely on them, called "La Version Moderna"), and that he had, in fact, inserted some critical text readings into the 1865. He also changed many words with no textual basis to do so (often times changing "God" to "Lord" or vice versa for no reason!)  (NOTE:  Some who defend the 1865 wrongly say that Pratt had nothing to do with the work, as he dropped out because of the Civil War.  But a letter from Mr. Pratt himself in which he says his job of translation was the "critical accuracy" (i.e. inserting critical text readings) and where he speaks of working with Mr. Mora, proves otherwise).
With a list I had found of about 50 places in the 1865 that read either against the King James or with the critical texts, I went with Jeff McCardle to speak to Peter S. Ruckman about the issue. Jeff had already written an article in Ruckman's Bible Baptist Bulletin, in which he stated that Spanish-Speakers should defend: "...Every word of the 1865 Spanish Bible."
Faced with the truth, Jeff eventually made 50 changes in his beloved 1865, in favor of the King James and pure texts, but later decided to undo those changes, as they didn't go along with his teaching that no Bible after 1881 could be the preserved word of God. Because of his backpeddling, and not wanting to purify his version further, Jeff has since lost much credibility, and his movement and his Valera Bible Society are now suffering because of it. Emanuel Rodriguez (who is in favor of the new, modern Gomez Bible) has recently written a good article on the internet exposing Jeff McCardle and his illogical and flip-flopping doctrinal position.
The next version to come along did what McCardle did not, in that it did do an extensive revising of the original Valera 1602 with the pure texts underlying our King James Bible. It is the Valera 1602 Purified (also known as the 1602 TR in the New Testament and the 1602 Purified or 1602 Monterrey as the whole Bible). Those who worked on this version are Hispanic in origin (not American like McCardle). They are further Independent Baptist Fundamentalist Christians located in Monterrey, Mexico. As a local Church, they worked for 15 years purifying the Spanish Bible to bring it in line with the Textus Receptus and Hebrew Masoretic texts.
Following the advice of Cipriano de Valera in his preface of his 1602 version, they went directly back to the original 1602 and started from there. (Note: The 1602 original wasn't printed much, as Bible Societies rather took it and "revised" [i.e. "changed"] it in many passages to read more in favor with the Catholic texts to be able to distribute it in Catholic countries. This is why modern bibles like the 1960, 1909, 1865, the Gomez, and more retain the Catholic term "Verbo" instead of the correct, Protestant term "Palabra" in speaking of Jesus Christ.  They are "Hybrid-Bibles," part Catholic part Protestant).
Those behind the 1602 Purified did not do what the Bible Societies did.  Instead, they choose to follow the original 1602 as much as possible, as they went verse by verse with all older Spanish Protestant Bibles, as well as the King James in English, while they scrutinized every verse with the Textus Receptus and the Hebrew Masoretic Text. What they produced was the most exhaustive and scholarly work done by ANYONE on the face of the earth in giving Spanish Speakers a Bible that reads not only with the pure texts (instead of the Critical Texts), but also retains the old Castellan Spanish of Reina and Valera instead of updating to modern day Spanish.
The Valera 1602 Purified is endorsed by Gail Riplinger, as the right Spanish Bible, not only because of the much work (prayer and fasting) involved, but also because it chose to use the old PROTESTANT WORDS instead of modern CATHOLIC words. It is also the only Spanish Bible that uses “SEÑOR,” following the King James Bible (and its use of LORD in all caps) in the Old Testament, instead of “Jehová.”
After the Valera 1602 Purified came out in 2002 (exactly 400 years after the 1602 revision), it was not well received. The reason being most Fundamentalists were still in attack mode. The majority used either the 1909 or the 1960 and didn't want anything else, as that's what their "group" had used for many decades. (I call them "groupies" who only use a Bible because others in their group do, not because they want a pure Bible for the Spanish Speaking People).
Because of their "group" or "camp" mentality, they chose to attack rather than study the issue, and were quick to put down the exhaustive work of the Valera 1602 Purified. They even made the outlandish claim that Pastor Raul Reyes was a "homosexual" (Isn't it kind of funny the enemies of King James called him the same thing?) and many others such derogatory names.
Those behind the Valera 1602 Purified were vehemently attacked by apostate Fundamentalists, but they didn't let it bother them. Instead they chose to work by themselves and let their critic's words come to naught. Like Pastor Raul Reyes said, "We had to make a decision. Either take out time to write back the letters and emails of our attackers, (which would have turned out to be a full time job), or shun their childish attacks and do the work of God trusting Him to help us get a pure Bible to the Spanish Speaking people."
Thus, they decided to let their finished work speak for itself. (Which it does by reading entirely with the pure texts against the critical texts, while still staying as close to the old Valera of 1602 as possible).
When the Purified was first printed, only as the New Testament (the whole Bible came out in 2007), the 1960 attackers who obtained a copy showed their ignorance of their own language and their own Bible history by attacking the word "Palabra" instead of "Verbo." Many of them had never even seen an original 1602, and didn't even know that all Protestant versions used "Palabra" instead of the pro-catholic word "Verbo."  (Even Erasmus was against the word Verbo, claiming it came from the Vulgate reading of Verbum).
The 1960 crowd’s adamant defense of their version proved they were more interested in politics than in the purity of God's words. But the more they lamblasted the Valera 1602 Purified, the more people became curious about it and sought it out. Thus, they learned the best way to keep the Purified out of the hands of the masses was to simply not mention it anymore. And that's exactly what they did, and what others are doing now, not even mentioning it at all in favor of a newer, popular Fundamentalist version called the Gomez. (Note: Many who are now in favor of the modern Gomez Bible are those same 1960 users who attacked the 1602 Purified).

After the Valera 1602 Purified came out, some wise Fundamentalists began to realize they could not longer deny the fact that both their 1960 and 1909 Spanish Bibles had mistakes, additions, critical text readings, catholic words, and doctrinal errors. Eventually the attacks slowed down and Hispanic Fundamentalists realized the mistakes in their Bibles could no longer be denied. Thus, they chose to discuss the issue, rather than continue to debate it.
It is during this time, Mr. Humberto Gomez, a "Tex-Mex" Fundamentalist Independent Baptist missionary to his native country of Mexico, decided he'd get on the band wagon and make his own translation of the Spanish Bible, by revising the old 1909 Spanish Bible. He knew no Hebrew or Greek, but he believed God had told him to begin work on revising the Spanish Bible, so he did.
The first edition of his New Testament came out in 2004, and soon became known as the RVG '04 (or Reina-Valera Gomez 2004). Interestingly enough, however, many have claimed his first edition read a lot like the Valera 1602 Purified (which he used in his churches for a while before he came out with his own version), and that they thought he used the work the Purified in his edition, making sure to change many words for Spanish synonyms in order to make it look like his own work. Whether this is true or not, we'll probably never know, but this has been the charge that was made.
But, the facts are when Gomez' first edition of the New Testament came out, it was horrendous and full of errors and mistakes! For example, in 1 Corinthians 7, it gave permission to a man to marry his own daughter. (Yep, you read that right!) And in John chapter 2, it had Jesus at a party with people drinking hard liquor. (Yep, you read that right too!)
But instead of Gomez' work being attacked by modern Fundamentalists, he found many jump to his side and volunteer to help him with his work. (I guess they didn't read the first edition, for if they had they might have thought otherwise).
Their "help" consisted of emailing him many suggestions of things he should change. Mr. Gomez knew no Hebrew or Greek, so he eventually enlisted the help of Dr. Donald Waite, and together they tried to make their translation read more in line with the pure texts. However, Gomez was insistent upon being the "final authority" on the project, based upon his own words. (Thus, it is still called the Reina-Valera GOMEZ Bible).
The Gomez is now out in its fifth edition, and is now called the Reina-Valera Gomez 2010 Spanish Bible. Many Fundamentalists are now adopting this version, and even Chick Publications is printing it. (They are now calling their revision the Gomez 2010). 
But as I've gone through and studied that version, I found an interesting thing. Even though it claims to be a revision of the old 1909, it in many places reads with the corrupt 1960 Spanish Bible, choosing words and even sentence structure that follows that version exactly. (In other words, it appears Mr. Gomez' Bible is nothing more than a revision of the 1960.  NOTE:  Mr. Gomez recently confessed that the did use the 1960 in his work, copying it in at the very least 4000 places).  Some have hypothesized that the reason is because Mr. Gomez wanted many of those Fundamentalists who used the 1960 to come over to his side, knowing they would accept a version which read closer to their revision. Whatever the case may be, Gomez and his Bible is clearly becoming a political movement, as those who adhere to that version all seem to adore and worship Mr. Gomez more than the pure words of God. And the Gomez Bible, even though it might be closer to the King James in some places, still retains the catholic word "Verbo" instead of the protestant word "Palabra," and is full of many synonyms and modern Spanish, instead of the beautiful old Castilian. 
The Gomez today is dogmatically being labeled by its Fundamentalist proponents as "The Preserved words of God in Spanish."  But is this so?
The question needs to be asked: "Did God wait until Gomez to give the Spanish Speaking People His preserved Words?" If so, "Why?" And, "What about the 'marrying your own daughter thing?'" Was that God preserving His word?
We also must ask, "Did God want the many synonym words that Gomez chose in his version, many of which are not in the original 1602, to be His preserved words in Spanish, or did God give us His preserved words in 1602, and we should honor and keep those old words as much as possible?" (Just as those who put out the Valera 1602 Purified did.)
And finally, we should also ask, “If Fundamentalist were once wrong in using the 1960 Spanish Bible, could it be they are wrong again in turning toward this modern version which used as its basis two corrupt Bibles--the 1909 and 1960?

The Spanish Bible Controversy has been an issue of much bitter fighting, and attacks by modern Fundamentalists who battle each other over which Bible they think is best in Spanish. Usually, their reasoning that their version is best is because it’s the one their group uses or has used for years. (They are "groupies" who follow a version because that's the Bible their camp uses). But very few wish to actually do the painstaking work of comparing all the versions together with the King James and the texts underlying it, to see how it lines up, comparing it with the old Protestant Spanish Bibles as well. 
Instead of finding the pure words of God to take to the Spanish Speaking people, modern day Fundamentalists seem content to give them something they know contains catholic words, critical texts, and man’s synonymns.
As for me, my desire is to take Spanish-speaking people the pure words of God in their language, free of critical and catholic text readings. And, I believe the purest word of God in Spanish to be the Valera 1602 Purified, which is Old Castellan Spanish (not modern Spanish) and is the closest not only to the pure texts underlying the King James Bible, but is also the closest to the original 1602 and the Protestant texts of the Spanish reformation.
But as I watch modern Fundamentalists, I find they aren't as interested as they claim to be about a pure Spanish Bible. I appears they are more interested in politics. And, instead of them talking about the "texts," (GOD'S WORDS) they seem to be either attacking or praising different Bible "translators" (MEN).
Fundamentalists have been WRONG in openly embracing the 1960, the 1909 and even the 1865. Could it be they are wrong again in accepting a new version like the modern Gomez Bible? You must decide for yourself. And the only way to decide is to STUDY it all for yourself.
I've done just that, and I only use the Valera 1602 Purified Spanish Bible in preaching and teaching, and I do so only after having diligently studied the issue.  From my studies, I've come to the conclusion that the Valera 1602 Purified is the purest Spanish Bible available today. But don't take my word for it. Do what I did. Get an old 1602, all the old Spanish Protestant Bibles: the 1543 Enzinas, the 1556 Juan Perez de Pineda, the Biblia de Ferrara of 1553 and others. Then look at them verse by verse with the 1865, 1909, 1960, the Gomez, and more.
And what you'll find is that the Valera 1602 Spanish Bible is old Spanish (just like the KJV is old Elizabethan English), and reads in favor more with the texts of the Protestant Reformation, while the 1865, 1909, and 1960 all read with the Critical Texts time and again. And though the modern Gomez claims to have purified all critical text readings, you'll also find that the Gomez reads closer to the 1960 and even the Spanish NIV in its word choice than it does with the old Reina-Valera Spanish Bible!
So that’s the Spanish Bible Issue in a nutshell. Fundamentalists need to stop the "Groupism" and “Politics” which divides them, and determine to stop hiding behind ignorance.  Instead, they should get busy starting "STUDY GROUPS" to verify the FACTS.
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