Danish Bible Translation under Fire for Omitting Dozens of References to Israel

Scott Slayton | ChristianHeadlines.com Contributor | Wednesday, April 22, 2020
Danish Bible Translation under Fire for Omitting Dozens of References to Israel

Danish Bible Translation under Fire for Omitting Dozens of References to Israel


Several groups have expressed dismay after a new Danish translation of the Bible omitted dozens references to Israel. The new translation, called Bible 2020, was published by the Danish Bible Society.

According to CBN News, Jan Frost, a “Bible enthusiast and supporter of Israel” from Denmark, pointed out that “Israel” was replaced by another word in 59 out of the 60 references in the New Testament. For example, it refers to “the land of Israel” as “the land of the Jews” and the “People of Israel” as “the Jews.” In addition, in Psalm 121 it translates “He who watches over Israel” to “He who watches over us,” the Jerusalem Post reports.

Frost insists that the translation is driven by Replacement Theology. This doctrine holds that the New Testament “supersedes the Old Testament” and that God’s covenant with Israel was replaced by God’s covenant with the church.

The Danish Bible Society defended the translation, arguing that they prepared the translation with an eye towards people who have no knowledge of Christianity and are likely to understand “Israel” as references to the modern geopolitical state. They said that, “Bible 2020 is a Bible that can be read and understood even by people who do not have a thorough knowledge of biblical language and Christianity. It is a Bible translation designed to convey meaning in plain good and unmistakable Danish - and to avoid misunderstandings that may arise because modern people read the Bible with completely different preconditions than people in, for example, the time of Jesus.”

In order to help people avoid confusion, the Danish Bible Society said that Bible 2020, “also uses rewrites and explanations to meet the reader. An example of this is the use of the word "Israel.” Modern people typically belong here to the state of Israel, while in the biblical texts it has a variety of meanings - and even different meanings in different writings that have come into existence in very different historical contexts.”

Additionally, they said that “Israel” is used three different ways in the Old Testament. First, it was the name given to Jacob after he wrestled with God and became the name of the twelve tribes who came from Jacob’s children. Also, it was the name given to the Northern Kingdom when the nation divided after the death of Solomon. Finally, Israel “as God’s special people lives in Judaism after the exile.” Therefore, they said the translators “clarify these different meanings” in the Old Testament.

Frost was not the only one who rejected the Danish Bible Society’s explanation. Imam Tawhidi, a Muslim scholar who calls himself “The Imam of Peace” said the Bible Society is driven by an agenda to “present Jews as stateless.” He also said the translation is “false and against God.”

Scott Slayton writes at “One Degree to Another.”

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