What Does the Bible Say About..? Logo

What Does the Bible Say About..Censorship of the Bible?

I saw a show on sex in the bible and it mentioned that our translation of the bible is actually a censored version. They took out or changed some of the sexual nature of it. Was the show incorrect? If you believe it was correct then I want to know why we as man feel we can and should censor the word of God.


I don't think man should censor the word of God. If it is truly God's word, who is man to change it? That would be like a law review editor changing the wording of a law passed by the legislature just to fit his own opinions. However, some translators have done just that. Perhaps the most infamous is the Reader's Digest version, which condensed the Bible to what the editors believed was the bare essentials.

In general, the best translations are those that are made by groups of men from varied backgrounds. This reduces the amount of prejudice in translation. Thus the King James Version, the American Standard Version, or the New International Version are better translations than the New World Translation (Jehovah's Witnesses), Moffatt's translation (single translator), Barclay's translation (single translator). Some versions admit they are not word for word translations, but paraphrases. These include Today's English Bible and The Living Word. Any translation, however, may be valuable in studying God's word. Best would be to use several translations and compare them.

That said, it is true that some translations have paraphrased certain things for the sake of sensitivity to the audience. For instance what is literally translated in the King James Version as "everyone who pisseth against the wall" is rendered in some versions "every male."

Most translations have not cut out anything. This can be established by comparing them to some of the earliest known copies of the Bible. Any version that claims to be a translation and has "censored" some of the sexual passages is questionable. The show you watched may have been accurate in regard to certain translations, but certainly incorrect in regard to most of them.