GS 1992 art 35

GS 1992 ARTICLE 35Bible Translations

Committee II presents: Agenda item B


Report of the Committee on Bible Translations, plus appendices. Letter from the church at Burlington East, ON.

Letter from the church at Edmonton-Immanuel, AB. Letter from the church at Guelph, ON.

Letter from the church at Burlington South, ON. Letter from the church Langley, BC.

Letter from the church at Carman, MB. Letter from the church at Chilliwack, BC. Letter from the church at Port Kells, BC. Letter from Premier Printing.


The Committee for Bible Translations concludes that although there are good things to say about the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), it is unacceptable for use in the Canadian Reformed Churches because its preoccupation with the gender issue has resulted in a translation that changes the intent of the text, hin- ders an understanding of prophecy and introduces new teachings. The Committee also reports that the RSV will go out of print within five years.

All the letters received by Synod from the churches agree with the recommenda- tion of the Committee not to accept the NRSV.

All of the churches request Synod to re-appoint the Committee on Bible Translation for the investigation of the New International Version (NIV), the New American Standard Bible (NASB), and the New King James Version (NKJV).

Some churches recommend that there be a close co-operation with the Free Reformed Churches of Australia in this matter. As well the Committee on Bible Translations has submitted to Synod, as an appendix, the decisions of Synod Bedfordale 1992 of the FRCA pertaining to Bible translations in general and the NKJV in particular.

Premier Printing informs Synod that it is able to reprint the RSV. Some churches express concern about the lack of future availability of the RSV. Some churches question whether the RSV should be reprinted for reasons of isolation.

The church at Carman, MB reminds Synod that a change in Bible translation also has implications for the use of quotations in the Confessions and the Liturgical Forms.


Having evaluated the extensive report of the Committee for Bible Translations regarding the NRSV, Synod agrees that this translation is unacceptable for use in the churches.

Although it is becoming increasingly difficult to acquire copies of the RSV transla- tion of the Bible, the situation still allows for the required investigation of other translations. Synod considers that it would be premature to recommend a different translation to the churches.

To prevent the possible isolation of the Canadian Reformed Churches with the usage of the RSV it is desirable to further investigate other translations.

Considering our experience with the committees behind the translation of the RSV and with the direction it has taken over the past years resulting in the NRSV, Synod should instruct the Committee on Bible Translations to investigate similar developments with other Bible Societies/Publishers and Translation Committees.

Seeing that there is a request from one of our sister churches dealing with Bible translations, Synod should refer this matter to its Committee for further consideration.

Synod considers studies of Bible translations by deputies in the past a valuable basis for renewed investigation to come to a recommendation for the use of a dif- ferent Bible translation. In light of these studies, as well as in consideration of the letters received from the churches, Synod should see to it that an evaluation is undertaken of the NASB, NIV and NKJV.


Synod decide:

  • to thank the Committee for the work it has done and the report it submitted. to continue the Committee with the following mandate:
  • to do a comparative study of the NASB, NIV and NKJV, making use of past stud- ies, in order to determine which one translation can be positively recommended for use by the churches, whereby the criteria are: faithfulness to the original text and linguistic character of the translation.
  • to investigate the direction of the Bible Societies/Publishers behind different translations and whether there is the possibility to suggest improvements in the translation to the Bible Societies/Publishers which can be incorporated into future editions; as well, to investigate the future availability of the translations.
  • to give due consideration to the decision of Synod Bedfordale 1992, regarding Bible translations.
  • to report to the churches and next General Synod six months prior to the next General Synod.