Which Bible? Part I

Some say that Bibles are all the same, but some will argue; that’s what your Bible says!  It’s as if each division of Christianity has written its own Bible.  So,…how do I know which Bible I should be using?

The English versions of the Bible basically fall into three categories.  Those categories are word for word translations, thought for thought (dynamic equivalents), and paraphrases. [1]

The word for word translations are regarded by scholars as the most accurate translations of the Bible.  They are translated directly from the original languages of the Bible.  Those languages are Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.  The translations which fall into this category are the King James Version (KJV), the New King James Version (NKJV), the New American Standard Bible (NASB), the English Standard Version (ESV), and the New English Translation (NET).  The NASB95 is generally regarded as the most accurate of the word for word translations. [2]

The thought for thought translations are the result of a translator analyzing a group of words in the original language that express a certain thought.  The translator then translates that thought as carefully as possible into whatever language he is targeting.  This method is also known as Dynamic Equivalence.  A weakness of Dynamic Equivalence is that it can lead to more interpretation than translation.  It is easier to read, but it is not as accurate as the word for word version.  Examples of translations which fall into this category are the Christian Standard Bible (CSB), the New International Version (NIV), and the New Living Translation (NLT). [3]

Many will call the paraphrase category a translation, but it is more of a restatement or rewording of the original language.  Paraphrases are an attempt to make the Bible clearer. Paraphrases use a lot more words in order to make that happen which is not always a good thing.  Examples of versions which fall under this category are the New International Reader’s Version (NIRV), the Message (MSG), and the Goods News Translation (GNT). [4]

The danger with paraphrases is that they tend to be subjective and can easily present a doctrinal bent away from the true meaning of Scripture.  I have read paraphrased passages on salvation that are infused with a baptismal requirement that is not even mentioned in those particular verses in the original language.  Heretical and liberal theological doctrine can be easily woven into paraphrases.  The ease of reading paraphrases can make a liberal, heretical, or denominational slant more appealing and palatable.  For these reasons, I do not recommend the use of paraphrases.

Why is it important to be discerning about translations?  The Bible claims to be inspired of God or God breathed (II Timothy 3:16).  That means that the very words of Scripture were selected by God the Holy Spirit (II Peter 1:21).  Since God cannot lie, we should pay attention to what those very words mean and teach in the context of Scripture.

 Jesus said that one jot or one tittle of the Law (Scripture) would not fail till all be fulfilled (Matthew 5:18, Luke 16:17).  The jot and tittle refer to the smallest letter and the smallest part of a letter in the Hebrew language.  If parts of words are important, as the Lord Himself indicated, wouldn’t it be wise for Christians to accept Scripture and study it…..word for word?    

So,…which version do you use?

let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…

[1, 2, 3, 4] The Five Most Accurate Bible Translations, Copyright 2019 – 2022, www.faithfoundedonfact.com (The use of this article does not imply the endorsement of said website, any other articles posted there, and/or it’s founder and sustaining organization).

Note: There are many other translations, versions and reversions beyond those mentioned above.  The purpose of this article is to show basic differences in approaches to Scripture that yield so many different versions of the Bible.  The challenge of this article is that Christians become more discerning about which translations are the most accurate and reliable to use.

What’s the Difference?

The difference between believers and unbelievers is that believers have accepted God’s provision for their sin.  Unbelievers have not.

But as many as received him (Jesus Christ), to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.  John 1:12&13

The Mind of Christ

Does being disrespected make you angry?  Is that anger justified?  Certainly if anyone should have been accorded respect, it would be the Lord of Glory.  His anger would certainly have been justified.

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.  Philippians 2:5-8

The tiny word let implies yielding and/or submitting to the truth (thy word is truth).  Only genuine believers can do this.

Can a man by taking thought add to his stature?  Can a leopard change his spots?  Not at all! But with God, nothing is impossible.  Having the mind of Christ is a supernatural enablement which is the result of regeneration (being born again) and sanctification [letting the word of Christ dwell (take up its life) in you richly].

For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.  I Thessalonians 2:13

For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we (born again ones) have the mind of Christ. I Corinthians 2:16

So, do you need to have respect in order to be effective?  If not, why are you angry?

let the word of Christ dwell (take up its life) in you richly…