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  George Ricker Berry Interlinear: Corrupt Foundation

I had never heard of the Interlinear KJV Parallel Greek-English New Testament by George Ricker Berry until I read an internet article written by Barbara Aho that used the George Ricker Berry Interlinear to "prove" the King James 1611 Bible is incorrectly translated regarding the mark of the beast being "in" the hand or "in" the forehead. Mrs. Aho seeks to convince her readers that the Greek word, "epi," (which the King James translators usually translated as "in" in the mark of the beast verses) should have been translated "on" because the George Ricker Berry Greek to English Interlinear, the Strong's Concordance, (1) and another work says so. In fact, Mrs. Aho stated:

The King James Version, although far superior to modern versions, does not always follow the Textus Receptus, the Received Greek Text of the New Testament. (2)

By this, she means the King James Version does not always match the English definitions provided in the George Ricker Berry English Interlinear. Indeed it does not, and for very good reasons.

Due to the fact that most modern bible versions and some prominent false teachers of bible prophecy also teach the mark of the beast will be "on" the hand or "on" forehead, I knew it was time to investigate the George Ricker Berry Greek to English Interlinear. I have since learned that this interlinear has been used for decades in KJV Bible colleges and seminaries and is currently being endorsed by ministries dedicated to defending the King James 1611 Bible.

The English definitions in the George Ricker Berry Interlinear are the work of one man, Thomas Newberry. Newberry, a Plymouth Brethren leader who chose to mark his Newberry Reference Bible (originally published in 1893) with New Age jargon, selected the English words for the literal translation of the Stephens 1550 Greek text (Received Text) which was published in the United States in 1897 under the name, The George Ricker Berry Greek to English Interlinear.

In view of the fact that Thomas Newberry's choice of words for the George Ricker Berry English Interlinear matches many of the words chosen by the New King James Version editorsalmost 100 years laterI am not surprised the New King James [transitional] Version has been so widely received among former King James 1611 Bible readers. 

The George Ricker Berry Greek to English Interlinear is featured on Amazon.com under the title, Greek to English Interlinear New Testament-KJV. Is the George Ricker Berry English Interlinear as authoritative or even more authoritative than the King James 1611 New Testament? Should the discerning Christian use the George Ricker Berry Interlinear New Testament--KJV to verify the accuracy of the King James 1611 New Testament? I believe that after you have learned more about the background of the man who authored the English definitions and examined the charts you will agree the answer is "No."

Thomas Newberry's word-for-word literal translation from the Greek sometimes presents Bible passages in a substantially different way than the King James 1611. [See chart] The 1611 King James Bible was translated from the Received Text into entire phrases and complete sentences for English readers. Literal translations translate each word independently which can often skew the meaning:

Literal translation refers to the result of translating text from one language to another; translating each word independently as opposed to translating the entire phrase. Literal translations also ignore idioms.

For example, a literal translation of the German word "Kindergarten" would be, "garden of children", but in English it refers to the year of school between pre-school and first grade. (3)

A respected Baptist pastor who is learned in Greek and regards the KJV as the word of God kindly shared his views regarding the George Ricker Berry Greek to English Interlinear. He told me that he used this interlinear as an aid to help him learn Greek (years ago the George Ricker Berry was the only interlinear available that was translated from the Received Text) but he warned that readers without a solid Greek background are better off if they stay away from this interlinear. This makes sense when one considers the nature of literal translations:

The problem with this form of translation is that it assumes a moderate degree of familiarity with the subject matter on the part of the reader. (4)

The pastor explained that an understanding of Greek is necessary so that one is not misled due to the way certain Greek words are translated in the George Ricker Berry English Interlinear. For example, the Greek word that is translated by Newberry as "ages to ages" means one thing to a person familiar with Greek and something entirely different to the English reader with no background in the Greek language. To the English reader with no Greek knowledge (such as myself), the phrase "ages of the ages" means to continue for an indefinite period of time. To a Greek student the Greek word that was literally rendered "ages of the ages" means eternal or everlasting. Someone with no Greek background would not be aware of this and could easily be stumbled and even go on to deceive others because the phrase, "ages of the ages" is used in place of the word "everlasting" in the George Ricker Berry Greek to English Interlinear.

Indeed, a Universalist who believes that "as Bible translations become purer, we find that references to Hell vanish from the pages of the Bible" (5) cited the Newberry Reference Bible in an attempt to "prove" the heresy that eternal punishment is not eternal. First the Universalist cited a marginal note, "the ages of the ages" in the Newberry Reference Bible 1893:

1. And these shall_go_away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
2. And the devil that deceived them was_cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false_prophet are, and shall_be_tormented day and night forever and ever.

margin: the ages of the ages.

Next he used Newberry's marginal note to override the plain teaching about hell in the King James 1611:

The Newberry is a KJV. The marginal notes open many doors to see what is behind the English text. A step out of "hell" forever. Hints are dropped that the Greek words which KJV translated "eternal", "forever," etc. really deal with ages, not eternity. The margins also reveal the original Greek and Hebrew words translated "hell." A diligent person could see that "eternal punishment" was a false translation from this KJV Reference Bible. The more we are told, the clearer it becomes that Jesus will save all mankind and do it Scripturally! (6)

In view of the fact that people are being led astray due to Thomas Newberry's marginal notes, I do not share the pastor's belief that the English definitions in the George Ricker Berry English Interlinear are fairly harmless as long as the reader understands Greek. I continue to have grave suspicions regarding the George Ricker Berry English Interlinear because the author, Thomas Newberry, was against the Textus Receptus!

My other concerns regarding Newberry's Interlinear include:

  • It contains words and phrases that (like the modern versions) promote New Age doctrine and demote the Lord Jesus Christ. (For example, Newberry, in keeping with his not-so-hidden modern version agenda, changed the word, "her" to "their" thus making Jesus in need of purification as well as his mother.)
  • It shares New Age phrases and wording in common with modern bible versions, including the corrupt NKJV. See proof of this statement in the chart, The George Ricker Berry and the Darby Translation Compared. This chart reveals that Thomas Newberry's work often matches another Plymouth Brethren translation, the Darby Translation.
  • The author, Thomas Newberry, used the New Age title, "the Coming One" in reference to Jehovah and I AM. He also paved the way for the Sacred Name Movement by stating that "YAH" (which is a pagan Hebrew mystery name) is a name of God: "The Title JAH or YAH is at once one of the sublimest yet simplest of the Divine names." (7)

These are clearly modern version markings upon Newberry's work. [Note: Like the NKJV translators, Thomas Newberry replaced the words, "he that should come," with the name of the New Age World Teacher--the Coming One]

Thomas Newberry did not truly hold to the Received Text or the KJV as the word of God in English. (Indeed, Thomas Newberry exalted the Revised Version and its underlying Greek texts above the the Authorized Version.) This fact is further evidenced by Newberry's complete collation of six critical Greek texts (8) written by modernists which are placed in the lower margin of every page of his George Ricker Berry Greek to English Interlinear.

At this point you might not be surprised to learn that Thomas Newberry owned and studied his own copy of the corrupt Codex Sinaiticus manuscript. Dr. David O. Fuller cited Dean John W. Burgon as referring to this Alexandrian manuscript as "very nearly the foulest in existence." (9)  Newberry poured over his copy of the Codex Sinaiticus for 25 years and used the knowledge gained from his study to write the notes for his Newberry Study Bible!

Evidence of his minute attention to the sacred text lies before me as I write, in a beautiful copy of Tischendorf's transcription of the New Testament according to the Codex Sinaiticus, presented to him by friends in London in 1863, which is annotated throughout in his neat handwriting. It was after twenty-five years devoted to such study that he conceived the plan of putting its fruits at the disposal of his fellow-Christians in The Newberry Study Bible." (10)

Why are Christians who regard the King James 1611 Bible as the word of God comparing the real English Bible with an English Interlinear written by a man who studied "very nearly the foulest" Minority Text manuscript in existence for 25 years and who used the fruits of his study to write marginal notes and alternate English definitions for his Newberry Study Bible? It is unrealistic to assume that Thomas Newberry's 25-year study of the Codex Sinaiticus had no effect upon the way he conducted his "literal," word-for-word translation of the Stephanus 1550 Greek New Testament into English.

It is worthy to note that the publisher of the George Ricker Berry Greek to English Interlinear does not disclose the true author of the English Interlinear anywhere within its pages. The reader is led to believe that George Ricker Berry wrote the English Interlinear when in fact G. R. Berry wrote only the Greek-English New Testament Lexicon and the New Testament Synonyms found at the back of the Greek to English Interlinear that bears his name.

The George Ricker Berry Greek to English Interlinear or any interlinear (or any Reference Bible) should not be used by anyone to cast doubt on or to "verify" the King James Bible.

Related articles: The George Ricker Berry English Interlinear is Corrupt also see: John Nelson Darby's Version: Based on Corrupt Texts and John Darby Version: Doctrinal Changes to the Bible

CHARTS: The George Ricker Berry English Interlinear and the KJV Compared and The George Ricker Berry English Interlinear, the Darby Translation and the KJV Compared

Notes:

(1) James Strong, author of the Strong's Concordance was not committed to the Received Text or the KJV as being the word of God in English. He was on the Old Testament Committee for the 1901 American Standard Version. http://www.bible-researcher.com/ervhistory.html
(2) Designer Marks of the Beast http://www.watch.pair.com/stuph.html (We do not recommend much of the content of this website.)
(3) http://www.answers.com/topic/literal-translation
(4) http://www.answers.com/topic/the-bible-version-debate
(5) http://www.what-the-hell-is-hell.com/HellPhotos/index.htm (false doctrine)
(6) http://www.tentmaker.org/books/GatesOfHell.html (false doctrine)
(7) The Newberry Reference Bible, Portable Edition, originally published in 1893 by Hodder and Stoughton, pages xx and xxi
(8) Newberry gives in the lower margin of each page a complete collation of six critical editions: Griesbach, Lachmann, Tischendork, Tragelles, Alford, and Woodsworth.
(9) Corrupt Text: The Alexandrian Text http://www.purewords.org/kjb1611/html/corrupt.htm
(10) Thomas Newberry Bibles http://www.newblehome.co.uk/newberry/bible.html

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