The Lamsa Translation is the favorite Bible of Iglesia ni Cristo cult of Manalo, Philippines.
Some consider the Lamsa Bible, which was translated from Aramaic instead of Greek, a better translation than all the rest. They say Aramaic, not Greek, is the original language of the Bible. The Lamsa Bible was translated from Syriac Aramaic which is closer to the Aramaic spoken by the people of Jesus time, than Greek. This view is not mainstream and certainly controversial among fundamentalist Christians. For example, on this page by Chick Publications the Lamsa Bible is called “perverted” and “occult”, part of a conspiracy to subvert Christianity. This reflects the view of many Christians out there. But what if the opposite is true – that the Bible was mistranslated and even changed, some by accident but some with manipulative intent. Looking into this only peripherally, I was surprised to find such huge discrepancies amongst translations.
What follows are a few side by side comparisons that make the Lamsa Bible look more accurate.
King James Bible : Jesus says: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”
Lamsa Bible: Jesus says: “My God, My God, for this I was spared!”
Comment: Jesus, having predicted that he would be beaten, would most not likely say that God has forsaken him. It makes no sense in that context.
Bible, New International Version: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”.
Lamsa: “For your conflict is not only with flesh and blood, but also with the angels, and with powers, with the rulers of this world of darkness, and with the evil spirits under the heaven”.
This, of course, completely changes the meaning of the text. The Lamsa version shows that the spiritual struggle is ALSO one with flesh and blood.
KJ: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle…”
Lamsa: “It is easier for a rope to go through the eye of a needle”
Comment: The Aramaic word for “Camel” and “Rope” are the same. This proves that whoever translated it to Greek, most likely used the wrong translation, as “rope” makes much more sense in this context.
KJ: Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?
Lamsa: Why do you look at the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?
Comment: Notice how “splinter” and “plank” are a better match.
NIV: “If any one comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters, yes even his own life, he can not be My disciple”.
Lamsa: “He who comes to Me and does not put aside his father and his mother and his brothers and his sisters and his wife and his children and even his own life can not be a disciple to me”.
Comment: Note how the regular bible asks you to hate and the Lamsa bible to “put aside”.