Changes to the Text: Missing Blood?

Do modern translations of the Bible remove verses that teach about the blood of Christ?

If you want to make your argument or objection sound powerful and persuasive a surefire way to get people to stop and listen is to use some choice buzzwords. One way I’ve seen the King James Only movement try to persuade is with the claim that modern translations of the Bible remove mentions of the blood of Christ. However, if we take the time to look at such allegations we will find that they are nothing more than a dishonest sleight of hand. Colossians 1:14 is our verse under suspect.

In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:14 KJV bold mine)

In this verse on the atonement, the KJV includes a mention of the blood of Christ. However, the NIV removes this portion completely.

in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:14 NIV)

Is this a conspiracy to water down the atonement by removing the blood of Christ? If so, then we should expect translators to be consistent and remove the same sections in other places as well. However, that is not what we find in other verses. In fact, the importance of the blood of Jesus is just as emphasized.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace (Ephesians 1:7 NIV)

Other verses that include mentions of the blood in the NIV are,

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:13)

God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— (Romans 3:25)

but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. (1 Peter 1:19)

And on we could go, noting important verses the KJV Only movement would probably rather have you ignore. The note about the blood in Colossians was removed because it was most likely a later addition by a scribe to match up with the creed in Ephesians 1:7. I must stress that the King James translation of the Colossians verse is by no means wrong, however, it does give us reason to conclude that modern translators are not the biased deceivers the KJV Only movement have made them out to be. Rather than destroy or “pervert” the Word of God, textual critics aim to restore the original Hebrew and Greek as reliably as possible, even if it doesn’t quite line up with personal preferences. And as I’ve already argued, the more manuscript evidence that dates to the time of Christ we find the more accurate a picture of the Bible we can paint.