While it is not possible at this stage, to put an accurate figure to the amount of errors in our English translations of the Bible, it does seem that verses that can cause doctrinal problems are probably less than 500 out of the 31100+ in the Bible. There are some books around that put the number of errors a lot higher than this, but for now I feel we should only concern ourselves with those Scriptures that are used to formulate doctrine. For instance, in 1 Sam 6:19 the figure could be 50,070 or 70 - depending on which Hebrew text you use for the translation - but it does not affect the point that you do not look inside the Ark unless you are authorized.
As I see it, there are four ways open to us to identify which words/verses have been altered from the original intent. I have no doubt that the original words – as penned by Moses, Matthew and many others, were fine. What we need to do is identify where changes – both innocent and sinister – have been made, or the gaps where information has been lost. When we find words or verses that have some doubt as to their accuracy, we can classify them as "soft", and leave them to one side for the purpose of formulating doctrine.
The first method is to find ALL the Bible has to say on a certain topic, and then concentrate on the majority of Scriptures that agree. Or to put it another way, we work with themes and not “proof texts”. A classic example of this are the words to use when people are baptized. The words most frequently used come from the “proof text” Mat 28:19 “ ... in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,”. People use this verse because it gives them “proof” that we are to be baptized into the Trinity. However, there are six other verses that state or indicate that we are to be baptized in Christ [with Christ's authority], and one that says we are baptized in "a name" [Christ's]. By ignoring Mat 28:19 with its Trinity bias, and taking all the bible has to say on the subject, it is easy to see that we are to be baptized in the name of Christ. In the same manner, there are over 150 verses that state or imply that God the Father created man and the universe, and about 20 that it was Christ. Therefore the the verses that state that Christ is creator and God need to be classified as "soft" (and not used to formulate doctrine).
The second method is to take note of any margin or commentary notes that cast some doubt over the verse. If translators admit they are having trouble with a verse, or the original language is capable of a number of different interpretations, then the safest course of action is to classify that verse as "soft" as well. If different translations translate a particular verse with different meanings, then again, we should see that verse as "soft", and not suitable for formulating doctrine (our belief structure). Sometimes the English is "pushed" in a certain direction. For instance, I have read where the Hebrew and Greek texts do not use their equivalent for the English word "ordain", but translators have put "ordain" into our English Bibles to help support the church structure of the sixteenth century.
The third method involves a lot more work, but can still produce a great deal of help in reconstructing the original Bible. Fragments of truth have existed down through the ages outside the Bible. It can take the form of traditions that have been handed down through the generations, or it can be truth that God helped someone to find, and then they recorded it for later generations. Some examples are churches that have for centuries taught that there is only one God, and people like Charles Spurgeon who wrote about the spirit of man being separate from the Holy Spirit, and others who can give us the correct position of Mount Sinai and the Red Sea crossing site.
The fourth method comes about because of the different methods of copying the Hebrew and Greek texts. It would seem that the way they copied the Hebrew texts (counting words and letters) was superior to the way the Greek texts were copied. Thus, where there is conflict between the Old and New Testament, we should look to the Old Testament for clarification. Obviously there are errors that have crept into the Old Testament, so this all needs to be handled with a great deal of care. Many people have been told to ignore the Old Testament and that it is not relevant to New Testament Christianity. I have found the opposite to be true - using and understanding the Old Testament is required if we are going to sort out the errors in the New Testament.
While the Churches of God [Churches that keep the Sabbath and Holy Days of Lev 23] have been basically “asleep at the wheel” these past 40 years, others have done much of the work in getting some of the Bible sorted out. To save time, and reinventing the wheel, we should look at what others have been doing and draw on their efforts. Of course we should give due recognition when we use their material. There have been many books written about the problems/errors in our English Bibles, but so far I have had the opportunity to review only a few of them. Many are mentioned in the book "One God & One Lord".
Following is a list of sources of information that I have found to be useful. But first a word of warning. Some of these sources also contain error or personal bias. Some people use crosswords to keep their brain active. For Christians it is discerning truth from error as we read other people's material. Also, we should keep away from material that goes into witchcraft or demons.
Sources on the Internet.
Present a strong case for one God.
Has many articles showing that the Hebrew calendar is not Biblical.
We should read his article on "understanding the Gospel of Luke", to better understand that not every word in the Bible is "God inspired".
Also, we need to read the article on "tekoofaw", as it is an important point for the Biblical calendar.
This site brings out the point that we need to always keep in mind. When Adam and Eve partook of the forbidden fruit, they gained the ability to have knowledge of good and evil. This site has articles that are good and helpful, but it also has articles that support the Great Deception of Satan - that Jesus was "God" before He was born. We need to ask God for His help to be able to find the pearls and reject the errors.
Both have information about the correct site of Mount Sinai (Gal 4:25), and the Red Sea crossing.
We can use this site for a different reason than it was put up. In showing how the people - who hold the concept that only the KJV of the Bible is correct - are ignoring obvious faults in its translation - they are helping us to see where the problems are. I recommend reading www.kjvonly.org/other/demystify.htm. This article suggests an error rate of about 10% for the NT.
If you haven't already got them, I recommend that you ask for the booklets "Transforming You Life" and "The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy". While this literature is free, the Christian thing to do is to send in a donation to help defray their costs.
A lot of these "contradictions" will point us to places where a bad translation has been made. For example Gen 22:1; God did not "tempt" Abraham, but He did "test" him. This site has been put up by people who think there is no God. In a back-handed way it is showing how the errors Satan has successfully planted in the Bible has spawned many bad examples of Christianity. I feel that our job is to bring to the world a "pure" form of Christianity. Christianity the way Christ lived it, not the "Christianity" that has become embellished with church traditions and men's opinions.
* "The Silence of Adam" by Larry Crabb ISBN 0-310-48530-4
I feel that this is a "must read" for all men. Adam was with Eve (Gen 3:6) when she took the forbidden fruit, and he was not deceived (1 Tim 2:14). By saying nothing, evil prevailed. As Godly men we need to learn to speak out, even if we don't have all the answers, and address the difficult issues. If we are going to "love our fellow man", then we must be willing to always communicate with him. It has been my experience that many ministers and members from the Churches of God, just ignore any difficult messages, and thus do not have the love Christ was telling us to have.
* "One God & One Lord" by Mark H. Graeser, John A. Lynn, John W. Schoenheit
This one book does more to highlight the problems of our English translations of the Bible than any other I know of. While difficult to read in places, it is worth persisting with. I suggest reading it straight through to get an overview, and then coming back and read two or three pages per day. It does have some errors (they don't keep the Sabbath or Holy Days, and some speak in "tongues"), but it still gives much to think about.
* "The NET Bible" First Edition with 60,932 Translators' Notes.
Obtainable from www.bible.org. Not a perfect translation, but one of the best. The notes help to identify where there are problem areas. One of the reasons this Bible came into existence is to give us a Bible that can be quoted many times without running into copyright problems. Some of the DVD's offered on the www.bible.org site give good background to the problems of producing an accurate English Bible.
There is also a readers edition (good for services) with just a few notes.
* "The New Living Translation"
A dynamic-equivalence translation. It too has errors, but for the most part gives a clear understanding. Better suited for Bible reading than study. If possible, get the Deluxe Text Edition as the notes are helpful. Also the Full Verse Cross Reference Edition helps to bring out themes.
* "Ruach Qadim - Aramaic Origins of the New Testament" by Andrew Gabriel Roth.
Christ and His disciples spoke Eastern Aramaic - and hence what we call the New Testament was first written in that language.
When the Greek translation was made from the Aramaic, some of the original truth was lost. The book above starts to show how and why this happened. Unfortunately the original Aramaic appears to have become corrupted in spots because of copies being made, so it is no longer a "pure" source of truth either.
* "The Encyclopedia of New Testament Textual Criticism"
by Robert B. Waltz
The main part of this book to read is the introduction. Besides telling us that there are 3000 Greek Manuscripts (all different), it gives some technical information on why it is so hard to make an accurate translation from Greek to English.