| Ellen G. White Estate

Are the modern Bible translations dangerous?

I know of no statement from Mrs. White warning against new versions of the Bible that would be produced to spread falsehoods. We have a document regarding Mrs. White’s own use of different versions of Scripture. It reveals something of her attitude toward a variety of Bible translations:

In her writings Ellen White made use of the various English translations of the Holy Scriptures that were available in her day. She does not, however, comment directly on the relative merits of these versions, but it is clear from her practice that she recognized the desirability of making use of the best in all versions of the Bible. What she has written lays a broad foundation for an open-minded approach to the many renderings of the Sacred Text. . . .

On Mrs. White’s attitude toward the English revision of the 1880s, her son, W. C. White, reports:

“Before the revised version was published, there leaked out from the committee statements regarding changes which they intended to make. Some of these I brought to Mother’s attention, and she gave me very surprising information regarding these Scriptures. This led me to believe that the revision, when it came to hand, would be a matter of great service to us.”—W. C. White, DF 579 (1931); Ministry, April, 1947, p. 17.

It is significant that almost immediately after the appearance of the English Revised Version, Mrs. White made use of it in her books, as she did also of the American Standard Revision when it became available in 1901. . . .

As to Mrs. White’s attitude toward the revisions of 1885 and 1901, and as to her own use of these in preaching and writing, her son, W. C. White, who was closely associated with her in her public ministry and in the preparation and publication of her books, wrote in 1931:

“I do not know of anything in the E. G. White writings, nor can I remember of anything in Sister White’s conversations, that would intimate that she felt that there was any evil in the use of the Revised Version. . . .

“As manuscripts were prepared for her new books and for revised editions of books already in print, Sister White’s attention was called from time to time by myself and Sister Marian Davis, to the fact that she was using texts which were much more clearly translated in the Revised Version. Sister White studied each one carefully, and in some cases she instructed us to use the Revised Version. In other cases she instructed us to adhere to the Authorized Version [King James Version].

“When Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, was printed and it seemed desirable to make some lengthy quotations from the Psalms, it was pointed out to Sister White that the Revised Version of these Psalms was preferable, and that by using the form of blank verse the passages were more readable. Sister White gave the matter deliberate consideration, and instructed us to use the Revised Version” (Arthur L. White, “The E. G. White Counsel on Versions of the Bible”).

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