Excerpt taken from "Why They Changed the Bible", page 90-92.
To Rome with Love
Nida was very sparse with dates in his autobiography, Fascinated by Languages. But piecing together documentation from other books and articles, at least we can know the latest possible dates for Nida's sudden change toward the Roman Catholic system.
No later than 1953, Nida met a Catholic priest during a visit to Hong Kong. They quickly struck up a friendship. About 1954... well, I'll let Eugene Nida tell you himself.84
"A phone call from a Roman Catholic Priest
"On one visit to Hong Kong I had a telephone call from a local Roman Catholic priest that I had met a year or so before. He and his colleagues were anxious to talk about the possibility of cooperation in translating the Bible into Chinese because the existing text, called the Union Version and influenced heavily in exegesis and style by the English Revised Version, was not adequate for either Protestants or Roman Catholics. He then proposed that we meet for a week the next time I was in Hong Kong in order to explore possibilities of cooperation."
Nida had decided at least ten years earlier he didn't like the English Revised Version (ERV) of Westcott and Hort, whose American counterpart was the American Standard Version (ASV), because, in his opinion "in many ways it was more literal and old-fashioned tha[n] even the King James Version of 1611."85 And you know he definitely did not like the King James.
Now note how these Catholics' background just happened to match up with Nida's:
"The week I spent with these Roman Catholic friends was unusually challenging and inspirational, because we very soon found a wide area of mutual concern, and we shared many views about the Scriptures. I was particularly thankful that I had studied patristics [the so-called "Church Fathers"] and was acquainted with the first four hundred years of Christianity."
These Catholics had clearly done their homework on Nida's background and expertise. They continued to impress him. Nida wrote:
"I had already noted that the libraries of Roman Catholic priests and professors often contained more commentaries written by Protestants than by Roman Catholics, and their scholars were generally better informed about Protestant beliefs than are Protestant scholars informed about beliefs held by Roman Catholic theologians."
I think that they were "better informed," so they could keep tabs on Protestants in their effort to turn them one by one to Catholicism. Nida continued:
"At the end of the week, however, we all realized that the time was not ripe for extensive collaboration. For one thing, Protestants and Roman Catholics did not agree on a basic Greek or Hebrew text...."
If you blink twice, you'll miss it. Nida just said two very important things.
First, in one week, these Catholics got Nida to agree on their basic goal: "extensive collaboration" on one world-wide Greek text and Hebrew text. As you will see in Chapter 15, for years Bible societies had printed Roman Catholic Bibles, but no one had gotten Protestants to fully abandon their Bible for a Catholic one. What could better set that up than to get Protestants to use Greek and Hebrew texts approved by Rome? Then all you'd have to do is get people to translate the Greek and Hebrew the way Rome wants, and poof! You are well on the way to one world Bible.
84) See documentation at the bottom of Nida's narration.
85) Fascinated by Languages (2003), p. 3.