Cause For Anger

Q. I am curious about differences between the KJV and the NIV bibles when Jesus talks about murder and being angry at your brother. In Matthew 5:21-22 Jesus tells the people,

You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, “do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment. But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.”

I understand that Jesus is trying to convey that being angry is just as wrong and just as much a sin as if you actually killed the person. But in the KJV verse 22 says “But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause …”

Why does it say without a cause and why was this omitted from the NIV and ASV. I know that the KJV is one of the oldest versions and therefore is one of the closest to the correct translation along with the ASV. Does that mean that as long as you have a just cause such as finding out your spouse cheated on you…then you are allowed to be angry and not be considered sinning? And if not then what is the meaning behind it in the KJV? Thanks for you time and God bless.

A. Every translation claims to be the most accurate but sometimes translators disagree. The NIV offers the phrase “without cause” as an alternate rendering in its foot note for verse 22. Normally this means that the NIV translators felt that the earliest and most reliable Greek manuscripts didn’t include it. Many think that the NASB is the most literal translation from the Greek, and it doesn’t include the phrase without a cause in its version of verse 22 either.

I believe that interpreting the Lord’s admonition concerning anger without the phrase is a safer thing for us, first because man has an incredible ability to justify his own behavior, and second because it’s more in line with the Lord’s other teachings.

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