The Holy Bible: a Purified Translation. The New Testament. Glenside, PA: The Lorine L. Reynolds Foundation, 2000
I received this New Testament free in the mail several years ago – wondered what it was, kind of glanced at it and then stuck it away on a shelf. It probably was sent out to pastors or churches on a list the Foundation had (though I’m not sure why they would have had my name).[i] Out of curiosity I have recently pulled it out and started looking at it. It is particularly the work of Stephen Mills Reynolds and Charles Butler, and possibly others. (Reynolds served on the New International Version translation committee, but I’m not sure of his role.) This “Purified” translation, which might be looked at as more of an interpretation and commentary, is peculiarly focused on promoting teetotalism. The reviewer at International Society of Bible Collectors writes, “Dr. Reynolds goes to extraordinary lengths to support his convictions regarding the use of alcohol.” Here’s an excerpt from John 2.
John 2:3 And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.”19
John 2:9 When the master of the feast tasted the water that had become grape juice,…25
John 2:10 And he said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good beverage,…26
19. Oinos, the Greek word for wine, is neutral as to alcoholic content. Here the context indicates it was alcoholic…
25. Oinos (Gr.) here is grape juice. Jesus surely obeyed Proverbs 23:31 and did not create alcoholic wine.
26. The master of the feast uses oinos in its neutral sense, speaking of the good quality of the beverage. Whether it was alcoholic or nonalcoholic is not in view.
In the three verses above, oinos is translated “wine,” “grape juice” and “beverage,” according to Reynolds’s ideas concerning alcohol consumption. In footnote 19 Reynolds also explains the wedding situation with Mary the mother of Jesus serving as the caterer of the wedding – that after Joseph died Mary may have started a catering business to support her family, and that she may have felt obligated to furnish alcoholic wine as part of her obligation to her customers.[ii]
Andrew Wakefield of Campbell University Divinity School “said the Greek word translated as ‘wine’ in John 2 usually means fermented wine.” While disagreeing with inserting one’s viewpoint of alcohol into the translation of related words, Wakefield said that the initial translation of the Gospel of John is “otherwise is not a bad translation.”[iii]
This translation also has an interesting peculiarity of abandoning “the archaic ‘thou’, etc.” while distinguishing between second person singular and plural with a mark. “A (`) in this translation indicates the second person singular. The plural remains unmarked.”[iv]
[ii] A Purified Translation, The New Testament; pages 197-199
[iii] Baptist Press, cited above.
[iv] A Purified Translation, The New Testament; page 3, footnote 9