Tuesdays are for science, and I happen to come across an article about race. David Chakranarayan in the latest Answers Magazine (May–June 2019) rightly points out that the song “Jesus Love the Little Children of the World” doesn’t make sense in light of the scientific fact that “All humans have brown pigment in their skin called melanin.” He says, “People with dark skin have lots of melanin, and those with light skin have little melanin. We’re all the same color, just different shade.”  Yet, this is largely how our culture identifies people under the terms race. Admittedly there are cultural differences between people based on where we live and the languages we speak, but this can be explained via Genesis 11 in the Babel incident. Nonetheless, the term “race” isn’t really a biblical term, but one that has shown up in our English bibles likely based on the influence of social evolution. it is the opinion of this writer that the word “race” should’t really be used in our Bibles except that it refer to “the human race” or in the rare occasion to the spiritually saved race. However, perhaps better terms can be used like “peoples.” Here is my study below with its findings.

 

“Race” in the Bible
A Study by Brian J. Mann

 

Introduction
In my study of racism, I sought to study the Scriptures themselves to see where the word itself “race” shows up in the text.  This study is built on the presupposition from Scripture that there is only one biological race, the human one; and that there are two spiritual races, the lost and the saved. [However’t it probably better to refer to this latter item as spiritual families; race is simply a poor term to use all around, IMO].

 

Notes
Comparisons of the ESV, NAS95, NKJV, and CSB

 

I.ESV
The ESV has 9 occurrences of the word “race”.  It uses the term in Ezra 9:2, Acts 7:19, 1 Pet 2:9 similar to that of the NAS 95. However, the most disturbing use is added to the Acts 7:19 reference is Romans 9:5 which speaks of the Jewish people.  A better translation occurs in the CSB as “ancestors” or in the NKJV as “fathers” (even better).

 

race  (9)
Ezra 9:2so that the holy race has mixed itself with the
Eccl. 9:11that under the sunthe race is not to the swift,
Nah. 2:4The chariots race madly through the streets
Acts 7:19shrewdly with our race and forced our fathers
Rom. 9:5from their race, according to the flesh,
1Cor. 9:24you not know that in a race all the runners run,
2Tim. 4:7I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
Heb. 12:1runwith endurance the race that is set before us,
1Pet. 2:9But you are a chosen race, a royalpriesthood, a

 

II.NAS95
The New American Standard Bible (1995 update) use the term “race” 11 times.  Out of these 11 times, the use of it in Ezra 9:2 is similar to the NKJV and NAS95 use in Zech 9:6. In both cases it would be better to translate as peoples.  The James 3:7 translation in the NAS95 is commendable as “human race.”  However the use of the word race in Acts 7:19 is most disturbing identifying the Jews as another race; it would be better to translate the term as “people” there (see NKJV). 1 Pet 2:9 speaks of a spiritual matter, and thus may not be of greatest concern since it is not claiming a different biological race, but a spiritual one. Another disturbing reference in the Mark 7:26 is reference to “the Syrophoenician race.”

 

race  (10)
Ezra 9:2so that the holyrace has intermingled with the
Eccl. 9:11under the sun that the race is not to the swift
Nah. 2:4The chariots race madly in the streets, They rush
Zech. 9:6And a mongrel race will dwell in Ashdod, And I
Mark 7:26was a Gentile, of the Syrophoenician race.
Acts 7:19advantage of our race and mistreated our
1Cor. 9:24not know that those who run in a race all run,
Heb. 12:1with endurance the race that is set before us,
James 3:7is tamed and has been tamed by the humanrace.
1Pet. 2:9But you are A CHOSEN race, A royalPRIESTHOOD

 

races  (1)
Job 39:24shaking and rage he races over the ground,

 

III.NKJV
The New King James Version uses the word “race” in Zech 9:6 to speak of a “mixed race.” Otherwise the NKJV does not use the word “race” in its translation except in terms of a competition of running (Psalm 19:5, Ecc 9:11; Acts 20:24; 1 Cor 9:24; 2 Tim 4:7; Heb 12:1).  Total of 7 occurrences.

 

race  (7)
Psa. 19:5And rejoices like a strong man to run its race.
Eccl. 9:11under the sun that‚ The race is not to the swift
Zech. 9:6A mixed race shall settle in Ashdod, And I will
Acts 20:24so that I may finish my race with joy, and the
1Cor. 9:24not know that those who run in a race all run,
2Tim. 4:7I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
Heb. 12:1with endurance the race that is set before us,

 

IV.CSB
The CSB uses the term “race” 21 times. Predominately the term “race” is used correctly as “human race” except in Acts 7:19 and 13:26 to speak of Abraham’s race.  The NKJV translates this simply as “the family of Abraham.”

 

Race  (1)
Jer. 46:9Race furiously, you chariots! Let the

 

race  (17)
Deut. 32:8their inheritance and divided the human race,
Psa. 12:1the loyal have disappeared from the human race.
Psa. 12:8what is worthless is exalted by the human race.
Psa. 14:2heaven on the human race to see if there is one
Psa. 21:10earth and their offspring from the human race.
Psa. 53:2heaven on the human race to see if there is one
Psa. 115:16the earth he has given to the human race.
Eccl. 9:11under the sun that the race is not to the swift,
Nah. 2:5They race to its wall; the protective shield is set
Acts 7:19deceitfully with our race and oppressed our
Acts 13:26children of Abraham’s race, and those among
1Cor. 9:24you know that the runners in a stadium all race,
2Tim. 4:7I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
Heb. 12:1run with endurance the race that lies before us,
1Pet. 2:9But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a
Rev. 9:15were released to kill a third of the human race.
Rev. 9:18A third of the human race was killed by these

 

raced  (1)
Jer. 12:5If you have raced with runners and they have

 

races  (2)
Psa. 38:10My heart races, my strength leaves me, and
Jer. 51:31Messenger races to meet messenger, and herald

 

Conclusions
I have found in my study on the word “race” in the above translations, the one that has faired the best is the NKJV, and second the CSB.  The ESV comes in third, and the NASB exhibits the most abuse in using the term to refer to a separate biological race.

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