Mandela Effect

Questions ForumMandela Effect
Barb Torrey asked 3 months ago

Please discuss the Mandela Effect and the changes appearing in our KJV Bibles. Examples:  wine skins changed to bottles and lion and the lamb changed to wolf and the lamb.  My husband is showing me videos on this and it is quite disturbing.  Thank you.

1 Answers
John Ankerberg StaffJohn Ankerberg Staff Staff answered 1 month ago

Thanks for your question. I see how these reports of the Bible being changed would be very disturbing. However, after looking into the Mandela Effect concerning the King James Version, I do not find the concerns being raised to be valid. It is truly a “Mandela Effect” or false memory which some are using to generate unnecessary concern.

For instance, the claim that the KJV has changed wineskins to bottles is not an accurate statement. In the original 1611 edition, Matthew 9:17 refers to bottles: “Neither doe men put new wine into old bottels: else the bottels breake, and the wine runneth out, and the bottels perish: but they put new wine into new bottels, and both are preserved.”

You can check this out for yourself by looking at scanned images of the 1611 version at
https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Matthew-Chapter-9_Original-1611-KJV/

The reason the KJV originally translated this as “bottels” is because this was a term they used in that day to describe leather wine containers. It is only in the last few hundred years that the term “bottles” came to signify predominantly glass or plastic containers. You can follow a little of this at https://www.etymonline.com/word/bottle.

This example provides a great illustration of why new translations of the Bible are needed. Language is constantly changing. Terms which used to denote one thing can come to mean something else over time. As a result, the original meaning gets obscured when translations are not updated. This is why the NKJV and modern English translations use the word “wineskins” instead of “bottles.”

Bible translation is a surprising complex task. There is far more involved in the process of transferring meaning from one language to another than most of us realize.

Let me leave you with a few resources if you would like to learn more about the nature of translation and the history of the English Bible. I think this would help relieve you of many of your concerns and provide you with more confidence in the English translations we have today.

First, I highly recommend Dr. Daniel B. Wallace. He is one of the world’s top scholars on Greek manuscripts and syntax. He has been on our show multiple times and is a friend of the ministry. He provides an excellent survey of the history of the English Bible and all of its translations. You can listen to these four lectures for free at the link below.  He also has a helpful article on his website titled, “Fifteen Myths about Bible Translation,” which I will include a link to below as well.
https://www.biblicaltraining.org/seminar/history-english-bible/daniel-wallace
https://danielbwallace.com/2012/10/08/fifteen-myths-about-bible-translation/

Second, if you would be interested in reading a book about translation, I would highly recommend Gordon Fee and Mark Strauss’, How to Choose a Translation for All Its Worth: A Guide to Understanding and Using Bible Versions. These are two top-rate scholars who do a great job at explaining the nature of translation and the development of English translations.

Well I hope these resources can help you dig into this further. For me, the more I have studied these things the more grateful and confident I have become with our modern English translations.

JA Staff Writer