Which Bible?

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.  The weakness of Dynamic Equivalence is that it leads to more interpretation than translation.[3]

For example, in the NIV words have been dropped out that are clearly in the original language, words have been added that are not in the original language, and changes have been made to key words in the original language.  These changes support an alternate interpretation of the original language where they occur and/or dilute the true meaning of the targeted text.[4]  These things are evidence of a mishandling of the original language and further evidence that interpretation rather than translation rules this version of the Scripture.  

The Dynamic Equivalents are easier to read, but are clearly not as reliable as the word for word versions.  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). [5]

Many 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 Good News for Modern Man, the Living Bible, the New International Reader’s Version (NIRV), the Message (MSG), and the Goods News Translation (GNT). [6]

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.  Support for 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, 5, & 6] 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).

[4] Which Translation?  By Stewart Custer, pgs 12-16.  Copyright 1973, 1974  Bob Jones University Press, Greenville, SC

Note: There are many other translations, versions, reversions and perversions of Scripture 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

And you hath he quickened (made alive), who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts (desires) of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us (made us alive) together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

For by grace (God’s help or enabling) are ye saved through faith (a firm persuasion or conviction brought about by hearing the Word of God); and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works (human activity), lest any man should boast (brag).

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

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…