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Of Kings and Queens
In Defense of the Faith
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Wendy Wippel

Special-interest Bibles are hot sellers: Bible for new moms and homeschool moms, sports lovers and cops, pre-teen girls (sequined) and boys (camo), even "Saddlebag Bibles" for bikers (often just a themed cover and related commentary). Now, a Bible made just for gays: The Queen James Bible.  And its ''specialties'' go way deeper than the cover. 

The forces behind the Queen James Bible describe their Bible as a "special translation, edited to prevent homophobic misinterpretation of God's Word".

"Homophobic misinterpretations" meaning, apparently, all those pesky verses that, understood as written, seem to say that gay sex is a sin.

According to the forces behind the Queen James Bible (QJV), those "homophobic misinterpretations" lurk largely in eight specific verses, which the church has traditionally understood to be admonitions against homosexuality. So they took it upon themselves to correct those misinterpretations by (in their own words), "editing those eight verses in a way that makes homophobic interpretations impossible."

Translation: They sought to correct the "homophobic interpretations" by re-writing the verses so that they could not in any way be construed to mean that homosexual behavior was a sin. 

The specific edition edited, BTW, was the King James Bible, and they graciously enumerate their reasons for that: 1) the King James is well known, 2) it is the basis for many other translations, and 3) it the most traditional and most ceremonial version.

Plus a couple other reasons. First, because there is an "obvious gay link to King James", who, according to the QJV clan, was homosexual, and second, because it is the KJV and the versions based on its adaptations that have been  "erroneously" used to support the anti- LGBT agenda of the church. 

And, since the words of these eight passages could be interpreted so many different ways, the QJV clan lament over the "interpretive ambiguity" of the Scriptures, that anti- LGBT bigotry which infects the traditional church has caused those verses to be twisted until they say something God never intended them to mean.

Specifically, verses like Genesis 19:5: And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, “Where are the men which came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may know them.” (KJV)

This verse, they explain isn't about sex, it's about machismo-driven dominance, and since “rapes such as this one are common between men in prison; they aren’t sexual acts, they are power-dominating acts. This has nothing to do with homosexuality."

Their revised version? "And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may rape and humiliate them.” (QJV)

I'll move on.

Next are two verses in Leviticus: “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is an abomination.” (KJV) Leviticus 18:22 and; “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” (KJV) Leviticus 20:13

The argument here can be summarized this way:

  • Leviticus is an outdated moral code.
  • The word abomination would just be a scandal now.
  • Other things labeled abominations in Leviticus don't specify the death penalty.
  • So, obviously this must be a translation issue.
  • Later in Leviticus God talks about idolatry, this passage really speaks against idolatry, not homosexual sin (which does happen to appear in idolatry here and there as well).

Leviticus 18 and 20, obviously, are both part of the giving of the Law, in which everything designated unclean is enumerated, and 18 ends with God's plea for His people not to practice any of the things labeled an abomination.  All of these things are forbidden, not just idolatry.

But I'll move on. Admonitions against lying with a member of the same sex, in the QJV, read like this:

"Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind in the temple of Molech: it is an abomination." Leviticus 18:22 and  "If a man also lie with mankind in the temple of Molech, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them." 20:13

Then there's Romans.

"For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against their nature:" (KJV) "And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet." Romans 1:26-27 (KJV)

QJV's explanation?

  • Paul's language in Romans is obtuse and could mean anything.
  • This verse is "the most incredibly stretched to support homophobic agendas".
  • "We can’t be exactly sure what Paul meant by the natural use of a woman, but we can be pretty sure he wasn’t talking about lesbian sex". (Don't ask me.)
  • What it is really talking about is (wait for it…) pagan idolatry (according to their reasoning the use or abuse or women in idolatrous pagan ceremonies).
  • Most scholars agree with them.

In the QJV, Romans 1:26-27 reads; "Their women did change their natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, left of the natural use of the woman, burned in ritual lust, one toward another;" (QJV) "Men with men working that which is pagan and unseemly. For this cause God gave the idolators up unto vile affections, receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet."

The editors admit that removing homophobic misinterpretation from this passage in Romans required a substantial amount of editing. But, they say, it produced a passage that is “powerfully free of interpretive ambiguity; it has been made very clear, yet retains all of the content of the original."

I think it's completely incomprehensible. But I'll move on. The next verse? 1 Corinthians 6:9-10:

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, (KJV) Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God." (KJV)

Their arguments:

  • Effeminate is a word that is usually translated soft, and it could mean anything. Their guess? Morally weak.
  • Abusers of themselves with mankind?  Their guess: Men who engaged in idolatry involving sex with young male prostitutes in pagan temples. (Who knew?)

But here's a fun fact: the word translated in KJV as "abusing themselves with mankind" is the Greek word arsenkoites, a word made from combining the Greek word arsenio and the Greek word koites. Arsenio means male or man, and koites…well, I think we probably all recognize the English word that came from koites…so arsenkoites means "man sex".

Nevertheless, 1 Corinthians 6:910, in QJV goes like this:

"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor morally weak, nor promiscuous, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God."

Using the same reasoning, 1 Timothy 1:10: "For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;" (KJV)

This is changed to: For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; (QJV)

And last but not least, Jude 1:7:

"Even as Sodom and Gomorrah. , and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire." (KJV)

Their argument? Because strange flesh in Sodom (re: passage about Lot in Genesis discussed before) meant male angels, this verse doesn't count.

And Jude 1:7 now reads:

" Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after nonhuman flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire."

Obviously there are a lot of things that could be said about the QJV, not the least of which are the numerous injunctions by the Lord that it's not a good idea to mess with Holy Scripture, specifically:

"The entirety of Your word is truth.” (Psalms 119:160)

“You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take anything from it." (Dueteronomy 4:2)

"Add thou not unto His words, lest He reprove thee, and thou be found a liar." (Proverbs 30:6)

Here's the bigger problem. The QJV clan said,"We wanted to make a book filled with the word of God that nobody could use to incorrectly condemn God’s LGBT children, and we succeeded.”

It's “incorrectly condemn” that's the sticking point. God said that,

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (I John 1:9)

Not if we deny them.  And it's only those who confess their sins, who look to the King of Kings to forgive, that become His children:

"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name."

His name being Yeshua. In Hebrew, salvation.

As it turns out, the Queen James Bible wasn't an original idea. It was actually beat out by "The Inclusive Bible", written by "Priests for Equality".

And isn't that, really, the point?  

Old obtuse Paul said it pretty clearly; "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."  We're all already equal: we sin. And only by facing up to our own brand(s) of sin and asking forgiveness can anything change. 

The QJV's editors call their Bible "fabulous". 

I'm just not sure God will agree.

About Wendy Wippel

Last week: Redemption, by the Book



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