How do you justify using the New International Version (NIV) Bible for your updated sermons of one of the greatest preachers that ever lived: J. C. Ryle? 

I agree that J. C. Ryle is one of the greatest preachers that ever lived.  It is for this reason that I have included so much of his work on my two websites.  What drew me to Ryle was his very practical approach to Christianity, especially displayed in his work "Practical Religion".  Now the question, why was the NIV used instead of staying with the original Bible text he used in the 1800's--the King James Version (KJV)?

I became a Christian late in life (34 years of age).  I grew up in the Catholic Church and thus never read the Bible.  A friend shared the true Gospel of faith and faith alone, and I was confused as to how such a simple message could save anyone, when 34 years of bowing, and masses, and novenas, and rosaries, etc., could not bring a new life.  So I decided to find out myself.  A TWA airline stewardess (a year prior) gave me a paperback copy of the New Testament--it was the "Good News" translation/edition.  For 30 days I read it from front to back, and then got down on my knees and repented, believed, and submitted to Christ.  My life took a dramatic turn, for within one week I stopped all drinking and swearing, and then the weaning process began, and within a year I entered Seminary, and four years later I received my Master of Divinity in Bible Exposition.
Shortly after I was saved (1978) someone, who had praised God for saving me, told me that the "Good News" Bible was no good, and that I needed the one and only true Bible--the KJV.  I was a little confused, for that little Good News Bible told me of the Savior and led me to Him.  But I threw away the "bad" Bible and bought a leather bound KJV Bible.  Immediately I noticed that I couldn't understand my Lord's Word as well.  It was awkward, and confusing, for the language was over 350 years old.  My friend, who had grown up on the KJV Bible understood it perfectly, in fact he was fluent in King James and even prayed in that language.
I then prayed and asked the Holy Spirit what I should do, and He led me to put away the KJV and to purchase a newer translation, the NIV Bible.  I felt the Word come alive again.  The NIV has been a faithful translation of God's Word to me for now 21 years. 
While at seminary I obviously had classes on the origin of the Scriptures, and discovered through some further research that the KJV was a great Bible in 1611.  It was a God-send in that it provided God's Word in the "language of the people"--the everyday language, and not the English of 1000 A.D.  The translators took the best available manuscripts and translated them into "what they thought was the best interpretation." 
In time, the past 380 years, we have experienced a dramatic change in the English language, and have also discovered more about the original languages of the Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic (which the Bible was originally written in).  In addition, we have the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which has provided even better and older manuscripts. 
To say that we must stay with an Old English Bible, when all other of our correspondence of the day is in the "language of the people," I believe, would do a disservice to the message of the Bible.  We need to communicate God's Word in the clearest possible manner.  I believe all Bibles are God's Holy Word, even the Living Bible.  The Japanese Bible is God's Word, and so is the Russian Bible--are they perfect? No, and the only perfect Bible was those original manuscripts which are not available, but God has preserved the translation of His truths over the many decades, so we can trust our Bibles.
I used the NIV to help the reader better understand God's Word, and the messages of Ryle.
Question (continued)

I do not believe that J.C. Ryle would have accepted the NIV as a replacement for the Authorized Version (KJV). 

Answer (continued)

Why not?  J. C. Ryle loved the truth, and if a translation was available that made it easier for the people to understand the truth, then I believe that he would most happily have endorsed it.  I have heard the KJV used from the pulpit many times, and this is a common statement by the preacher, "A better translation of that passage would be...." or, that word used in the KJV, would be better translated as ........"  This is good, and what a preacher should do, if he is honest in his preaching.  The preacher is simply acknowledging that there is a better understanding of the languages today.
Question (continued)

The addition of words for the sake of readability instead of accuracy does not make for a valid translation.  Instead of coming closer to the original we see a greater gulf being created. 

Answer (continued)

All Bible translations add words to clarify a meaning, that is one of the purposes of the translation.  How would you like to read the Bible, that was a word for word translation from the Greek, with no added words to convey the meaning to our language--you would be confused.  In fact, the original Greek  language that the Bible was written in had no punctuation--it all ran together.  There were no chapter divisions.
Question (continued)

The very fact that the creators of the NIV want to now create a "gender acceptable" Bible makes it more evident that we are drifting closer and closer to total denial of God's inspired truth.

Answer (continued)

If you commit sins as a pastor, say you fall into a season of sin, does that negate all the good you have done for years.  Does that mean that you have taught error all these years?  No, it just means that you have yielded to sin.  I don't have a history of the lives of the KJV translators and what they did in their later years, so I wouldn't use the argument that the Bible translators later decided to do something that was not acceptable.
Question (continued)

Do not quote or rewrite others if you cannot allow them the privilege to repeat what they said in the first place.  J. C. Ryle went to his grave defending the truth. Let his writings stand for themselves, for we have no liberty to change what these great men of faith have said!

Answer (continued)

We sure do have that liberty.  And if you believe that I have changed any of God's truth, by my updates then show me, but please stick to doctrines.  The whole purpose of this ministry is to spread the truth of God's Word to this generation, to be a catalyst to the mainly "sleeping church."  And if I have to update Ryle's language to do it, then it is valid.  I believe that Ryle, up in heaven, if he knew what I have been doing these past 13 years would be very pleased, because His Lord is still being glorified by his original sermons, albeit updated, to reach more people with the message.
What would you say if a Russian missionary wanted to translate Ryle's Practical Religion into Russian?  Could they do that?  Would his words be altered?  Should they use the King James? 
I also believe that no preacher is perfect, and all have errored at some points of their teaching, and if I was them in heaven, and no longer had the prejudices and the imperfect understanding, then I would want very badly that someone would correct my errors in the writings that I had left--do not propagate the error.  Ryle was an Anglican Bishop, and "most likely" performed Infant Baptisms, but I bet he wouldn't do that now that he knows the truth.
At any rate, I would never attack any Bible, for they are all God's Holy Word, imperfect as they all are.  Let's quit fighting over these things and spend our energies and time preaching the truth of the Word in whatever translation the Lord has placed into our hands.  I have always believed that the Bible translation was not that important, what is important is that we daily read whatever translation we do have, and do what it says.

Added to Bible Bulletin Board's "Tony Capoccia's Questions and Answers" by:

Tony Capoccia
Bible Bulletin Board
Box 314
Columbus, New Jersey, USA, 08022
Websites: and
Online since 1986