Why Not the Gomez Bible?

We believe without question that the King James Bible is the perfect, preserved word of God, given by inspiration in the English language. However, in the event that I am asked why I do not use or support the Spanish “Reina-Valera” Gomez Bible, I have prepared this information to once and for all end the fable that the Gomez Bible is somehow the best Spanish Bible or, even worse, is “the word of God in Spanish.” Far too many well-meaning people have been carried away with this nonsense, and I want to put it to rest. This is not an attack on Bro. Humberto Gomez’s life, preaching, church planting, or faithfulness in over 40 years in Mexico. It is simply an answer to those who believe that his revision is the word of God.

The Gomez Bible project did not start with a Bible (they began with the RV1909, which is not the Bible), and the project did not result in a Bible. At best, the Gomez revision is comparable to the New King James Version, with which it has many striking resemblances. At worst, it’s a poorly cobbled-together melange of three different Spanish revisions, with the revisers’ opinions added without any concern for the part of translation that they themselves don’t understand, specifically the underlying languages (whose importance will become more and more apparent throughout this article). Those who carry a Gomez Bible may claim to have the “word of God in Spanish,” but they are completely, irreparably, and demonstrably wrong.

1. The name “Reina-Valera”

The first question that the non-Spanish-speaker should ask is: “Why does the Gomez Bible say ‘Reina-Valera’ on it?” That is a good question and the proper place to start. To answer that, one must understand a little of the history of the Spanish Bible.

The saga of the Reina-Valera line begins in 1569 with the publication of the first complete Spanish Bible by a man named Casiodoro de Reina. De Reina was, like Martin Luther, John Huss, William Tyndale, and John Wycliffe, a persecuted Catholic monk who defied the Roman church to produce a Spanish Bible. Working in exile due to tremendous, life-threatening persecution from the Roman Catholic church, de Reina’s work was published in 1569 in Basel, Switzerland. This Bible is known as “The Bear Bible” (“La Biblia del Oso”) for its woodcut image in the front of a bear digging honey out of a tree.

In 1602, de Reina’s successor, Cipriano de Valera, produced his revision of his teacher’s work, which is known as the “Reina-Valera” Bible. This Bible (and possibly its predecesor) were part of the vast array of materials investigated by the King James Bible’s translators between 1604 and 1611. This Bible, produced under persecution (de Valera was also a renegade Catholic clergyman, who produced the single most anti-catholic Spanish Bible in history) during the Golden Years of the Spanish Language, became the de-facto standard for the Spanish language, despite the tremendous persecution that Protestants and Bible believers faced under Spanish rule.

In 1865, a revision of the Reina-Valera of 1602 was produced under the auspices of yet another Spaniard, Ángel de Mora. Mora felt that his work was but an edition of the 1602, and as such declined to assign his name to the work. This Bible, funded, promoted, and printed by the America Bible Societies before their apostasy, was the main Bible by which missionary work was carried out throughout South America. This Bible is responsible for the “Chilean Reformation” by way of a man named Juan Canut de Bon Gil (a street-preaching converted Jesuit), and was the Bible brought to Cuba by the first recorded Baptist missionary to the island.

In 1909, the American Bible Societies met again to discuss the terms and plans for a new Spanish Bible revision. Their initial order of business was to have more of the 1865 edition printed (finished in 1911) due to a lack of Bibles. Further plans revolved around the Bible that was eventually published in 1923, known today as the “Reina-Valera 1909.” Unfortunately, due to the growth of modern erudition and humanistic textual criticism, the RV1909 was influenced by the Westcott and Hort Critical Text which the Revised Version (NT in 1881, whole Bible in 1884) was based on. There were hundreds of textual changes that line up with the modern versions against the Reina-Valera line and against the pure Bibles of the Reformation.

In 1960 the most common and popular “Reina-Valera” edition was published, which is a complete departure from the faithful Received Text of the reformation, and while there aren’t any actual verses missing, there are thousands of textual variations that come directly from the Critical Text (Nestle-Aland, UBS) and the Septuagint. The 1960 is without a doubt the worst book bearing the title “Reina-Valera”. Or, at least it was.

Fundamentally, those with designs on selling a Bible in Latin America know that the only Bible that sells is a “Reina Valera.” Even though the Gomez is not a true Reina-Valera, and even though he added insult to injury by adding his own name to it (although it does serve well as a warning), he had to call it a “Reina-Valera” or else no one would pay it any attention. The only reason anyone has been fooled by this mess is because of the words “Reina-Valera” on the cover. (It’s the same reason why the NKJV kept KJV in the name: to fool suckers into buying it.)

2. The Unnecessary Gomez Bible

When the Gomez New Testament was published in 2004, it was hailed as “The King James in Spanish” and other similar nonsense. No one who speaks more than one language fluently would imagine such a thing as a “King James Bible” in another language. I believe that God breathed His words into the English language in 1611, and that was that. When you hold a King James Bible in your hand, you are reading the very words that God Himself wants you to have in the English language. However, it would be utter folly to attempt to translate that into another language without the inspiration of the Holy Spirit involved, and precious few would dare to claim such a supernatural touch on their project.

However, this is not what the Gomez Bible project did, although that is often the assumption or claim made about the Gomez, obviously by people who 1) don’t speak Spanish and 2) weren’t involved with the project. What actually happened is that the Gomez editors took the RV1909, which is now public domain, and, in so many words, tried to “fix” it, based many times on their own opinions, and in other places based on the opinions of non-Spanish-speakers (at least one must assume so based on the unbelievable ignorance of the opinions). Some specifics will be provided presently.

Yet, the one unavoidable issue that Bro. Gomez and the revisors never addressed was that their project was completely and utterly unnecessary. Due to their ignorance of (and lack of research into) the existence of a faithful, true Reina-Valera, they assumed that God needed their help in producing what amounts to not a “Spanish King James Bible,” but (at best) a Spanish New King James Version, yet with an added sprinkling of doctrinal problems due to their own unfamiliarity with God’s word in their own language. (You may ask how a gringo can say such a thing, but the reality is that someone who approaches the scriptures in any language with the proper attitude {1 Thes. 2:13} has a decided advantage over a Bible skeptic, no matter the level of skill in that language.)

In the end, the entire Gomez Bible project was unnecessary, because God had already provided His words in Spanish in 1865. By deciding that they were the ones to “fix” the Spanish Bible instead of searching diligently to see what God had already done, they put themselves in the place of the Holy Spirit, and have, as a result, led thousands of gringos and tens of thousands of Latinos astray with a corrupt “Bible.” People may be saved through their book, but it’s not the scriptures, and never will be.

3. The Anti-KJV (and Anti-TR) Gomez Bible

Far from being a faithful Spanish rendition of the King James Bible, the Gomez project has diverged significantly from the faithful text of the Reformation, and has instead lined itself up with the Critical Text in many areas, and due to a fundamental lack of understanding of the underlying languages, has created numerous textual problems that don’t exist in the true Spanish Bible.

The most obvious and blatant error committed willfully and openly by the Gomez revisers is that they capitalized (selectively) pronouns referring to the godhead! This is a behavior that only exists in modern perversions, such as the aforementioned NKJV. In their haste to bow to modern language, orthography, and grammatical rules, they followed the same course as the NKJV, while missing key pronouns that also refer to God (Genesis 49:10 being key among them). Not even the RV1960, littered with egregious textual errors, made this serious of a blunder, in overlooking a prophecy of Jesus Christ by forgetting to capitalize His pronoun.

Matthew 1:23 in the Gomez Bible has the second person plural future tense “llamarás” (thou shalt call), which is a spurious reading found only in one manuscript that agrees with the Critical Text about 90% of the time. This reading also agrees with both the RV1909 and the RV1960, while disagreeing with both the King James (“they shall call”) and the RV1865 (“llamarán”). Of course this obvious textual error is based on modern textual criticism, and only a Critical Text “Bible” would contain such an error.

Another one of Bro. Gomez’s fanaticisms that has resulted in a doctrinal debacle of unimaginable proportions is his hatred for the biblical word “salud”. In modern usage, “salud” is generally understood as physical health, rescue, help, or deliverance, and since there are many places in the English Bible where the word “salvation” is translated as “salud” in the Spanish Bible, Bro.Gomez decided to “fix” it, as if the Holy Spirit of God is incapable of speaking Castilian. As a result of rejecting this biblical word (on which much information is available on the Valera1865 website), Bro. Gomez has introduced spurious and strange ideas in his revision. One such oddity is Paul’s desire to be “liberated” from prison (Philippians 1:19). Anyone who is a serious student of the scriptures knows that Paul never asked to be freed; he knew that his course was to stand before Caesar and give testimony of his Saviour, and to seek physical freedom from his chains would have been to disobey God’s plan for his life. “Salud” is an amazing biblical word that has a depth that Bro. Gomez and his entire entourage of Jehudis (Jeremiah 36:23) cannot grasp, so they decided to just remove it.

John 15:11 in the Gomez Bible demonstrates the lack of textual concern, biblical knowledge, and even basic understanding of the Greek language or body of manuscript evidence. Any first-year Greek student knows the word μένω, “abide, remain, live, dwell, continue, persist, wait for,” etc. (It’s a very complex word, to be sure.) However, since the RV1909 and the RV1960, the two texts with which Gomez’s revision most agree, are based on (or at minimum, heavily influenced by) the Critical Text which omits this word, the best he can come up with is the subjunctive form of the word “estar” which is the temporary, conditional form of “to be” in English. So, instead of correctly saying that “joy might remain in you”, the RVG simply says “joy should be (temporary, conditional) in you”. Of course, God’s word in Spanish (the RV1865) has it right, saying “mi gozo permanezca en vosotros” without employing the temporary form of “to be” and thus jeopardizing the eternal peace that accompanies our salvation.


Based on these and many other reasons, for which a book would need to be written in order to properly catalogue them all, I completely reject the so-called “Reina-Valera” Gomez Bible and stick with the Bible that God provided in the Philadelphian church era, along with all of the other faithful Protestant Bibles. The true Reina-Valera line of Bibles, which ended with the edition of 1865, were all translated by Spaniards, men who were physically persecuted for their faith by the Roman harlot, and their honesty and sincerity in dealing with the text outshines any translation work since 1880. I wouldn’t trade my 1865 for a Gomez any sooner than I’d trade my KJB for a NKJV. God provided His words in English in 1611, and He spoke for the final time in Spanish in 1865.