One Little Word Wrongly Translated

Can Make a World of Difference


everal verses of Scripture have a word or so in them that has been translated in a way that gives a wrong meaning to the passage. I want to call your attention to three or four of them in this short article, because at least some of them can lead an unwary person into believing a false doctrine. That said, let’s get started.

The first occurrence that has come to my attention is found in Genesis, where we are told “…Gen 1:2  And the earth was without form, and void; …” Our suspect word here is “was,” which if you will check your Strong’s concordance, is #H1961, and means “To exist, to be, or to become.” I found it translated “became” in six versions of Scripture that I have in my library; and in the Concordant Literal Version on E-sword, Gen. 1.1 &1.2 is rendered thus: Gen 1:1-2 Created by the Elohim were the heavens and the earth. Yet the earth became a chaos and vacant, and darkness was on the surface of the submerged chaos. Yet the spirit of the Elohim is vibrating over the surface of the water.

(The Scriptures 1998+) And the earth came to be1 formless and empty, and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of Elohim was moving on the face of the waters. (Footnote: 1Or the earth became.)

I believe in the “gap theory,” that at the beginning of time the physical universe, including earth, was created by the spoken Word of Yahweh. This was a long time ago, and was a perfect creation. But between “In the beginning,” vs. 1, and  “…and the earth was without form and void, vs 2,  something cataclysmic happened. What was it? I believe that when Satan rebelled and was cast out of heaven, he destroyed it and left it in the condition described in verse 2, “tohu and bohu.” These Hebrew words mean “a desolate ruin, a wasteland,” and I do not believe that Yahweh created it that way, based on the Scripture that says, “Yahweh is not the author of confusion” (1 Cor. 14.33). So the “creation” of Gen. 1.2 was a RE-creation, repairing the damage and populating the earth with plants, animals, fish, and man (Adam).


Another error, revealed in an article by Bro. Jacob Miller and presented at a Unity Conference in 1987, but just recently brought to my attention by Bro. Al Pagano, is found in Genesis 3.22. Here, after Adam and Kawa had sinned, Yahweh said,  Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever..” Or did He really say that? Let’s think a moment. Did Adam and Eve become like Elohim? Were they then like Yahweh? No, not at all! They already knew good, but took on their sinful nature by following Satan, and have passed it on to all of humanity ever since. So then, who did they become like? Weren’t they more like Satan and the fallen angels? Yes! So, this should read, “the man has become as one of them,” or “like one of his,” or “like him,” speaking of Satan the adversary. 


Matthew 23:2-3 has another error. The translators have Yahshua saying of the scribes and Pharisees that they sit on Moses’ seat, so whatever they say do, do it. But if you read the rest of the chapter, along with Mat. 16 and other places, you see that He roundly condemned them for teaching false doctrine, and putting their traditions above Scripture. So what did he really say? Try this:

The scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses seat, All therefore whatsoever HE (Moses) bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. He was telling them to obey the Torah taught by Moses, and do not follow those false teachers.


Revelation 20:10 – “are” should be “were cast.” Satan was thrown into the lake of fire (great abyss) at the end of the 1,000 years, whereas the beast and false prophet were cast into it at the beginning of the 1,000 years, and being human, they had long since been burned up and had become ashes. But Satan, being a fallen spirit, will be punished for all eternity. This is the fate that he has convinced Christians and others awaits those who are “bad.”  But we, being flesh, who are unrepentant at the end, and are cast into the lake of fire, will be consumed and become ashes under the feet of the righteous (Malachi 4:1-3). ~


There are other similar errors here and there in almost all versions of Scripture. We get letters asking what is the best version, or what is nearer the inspired originals. Some even request copies of the “original, inspired Scriptures.” I wish we had such, but all present-day versions are merely copies of copies of copies, etc. etc. There are no longer any originals.

But here is what I have found – there is really not much difference in the meanings between one version and another. Most of the differences are simply due to the translators choosing a different word that means very near the same thing.

The biggest single error that has done more damage than all the others combined, in my opinion, was the removal of Yahweh’s Name and putting in substitutes, such as Ha Shem (the Name), Adonai (my Lord), Elohim (a generic title for any deity or “important” person such as a judge, etc.). Then from those Jewish substitutes, they have come to us in English as “the LORD,” “GOD,” the Eternal, etc.

If you are new to this Truth, check the preface in your own Bible, most of which admit what they have done. Also check dictionaries and encyclopedias for “Yahweh,” YHWH, the Tetragrammaton, etc. Using His Name does make a difference. ~