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Denmark’s Fake Bible: Time to Discard It

editor - 25 May 2020

The misrepresentation of Holy Scripture by the Danish Bible Society (DBS) has been met with a crescendo of international protest demanding the withdrawal of the falsified Bible.

The March 2020 Danish Bible, for the secular Danish reader’s easy reading, has omitted or replaced the word “Israel” in all but two places of the more than 60 Greek occurrences in the New Testament and in 9% of the Hebrew Bible.

On April 26, the Bible Society of Israel (BSI) issued a gracious but unambiguous statement asking DBS to “take measures to correct” the translation.

BSI said it was “troubled” by what it found when researching the translation. Amongst the analyses it presented were:

Matt. 2:21: “and he rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel.” [speaking of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus’ return from their time in Egypt]. In the DBS translation the phrase “land of Israel” is changed to simply “home”.

Another example from the New Testament:

Luke 4:25: “many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah”. In the DBS translation “many Jewish widows in the time of Prophet Elijah.” [This is an anachronism: the word “Jewish” was not in use in Elijah’s time, and he was a prophet in the northern kingdom, not in Judah.]

In the Hebrew Bible, BSI counted the term “Israel” 2,521 times, of which in 205 cases the word was omitted/replaced, for instance.

Isa. 43:1: “But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.'” In the DBS translation “O Israel” and “O Jacob” have been removed.

Jer. 33:7: “I will restore the fortunes of Judah and the fortunes of Israel…” In the DBS translation “Judah and Israel” changed to “all my people”.

It is difficult not to see an intentional technique that eliminates the homeland of Israel and replaces it with a home for others; and that replaces the God of Israel with the god of you.

While any translation has to wrestle with the transportation of the meaning and culture of the text from one language to another, the extraordinary decision of the Danish Bible Society staff to deprive their readers of some of the key points of the Christian faith is mind-boggling.

Above all, the Danish Bible Society separates Israel from its Land. Apart from other key issues of the faith, it denies the reader the knowledge of the intrinsic connection between the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, and between Israel and its Land. It falls in the trap of which the Apostle Paul warned, “It is not you that support the root, but the root that supports you” (Romans 11: 18). Its version of the Bible robs the Christian faith of its Jewish roots. It presents a new story of the Christian faith.

For Christians and Jews, the Bible is serious. Any tampering with its words, above all with the word Israel, is unacceptable and rejected, unequivocally. The attempted murder of Israel, from time eternal until our day, is too real to let people play, whimsically, with its land, its people or its name.

If the Danish Bible Society gives the impression of not functioning clearly, could the Church not lead it through the muddle, or, at least, could the Church not rescue itself from being identified by this Danish Bible with divestment from Israel? For this, we turn to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark (ELCD) and to the Lutheran World Federation (LWF).

The Danish Lutheran Church has established the “The Council on International Relations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark.” The Council is “responsible for the contact of the ELCD to other Christian Churches… and… for the Evangelical Lutheran Church’s membership of national and international organizations”.

The Lutheran Church, neither in the form of its local Danish Church Council nor in the form of its international umbrella organization, the Lutheran World Federation, wishes to correct a gross error in a Bible translation that is meant for the use in churches, including the Lutheran churches.

While the international protest against this Bible translation grows, while the Danish Bible Society of which the Archbishop of the Danish Lutheran Church is the president, cannot be far off the Danish Lutheran Church, and while the reputation of the Danish churches that will use the Bible 2020 is at stake, together with the trust in the Christian faith by Christians and Jews in Israel and worldwide, Denmark really does need to discard its fake Bible.


This is an abridged version of an article published by Gatestone Institute on 4th May 2020. For the full article go to:

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