Monday, November 18, 2013

Which Bible Translation Should I Read?

Translation Matters?
Have you ever cared about what Bible translation you read? When I first became a Christian I never even knew there were over two hundred Bible translations. My first Bible was what I later learned is called a "paraphrase," called the Good News version. Easy to understand and it even had simple illustrations. It was a gift from my dear Grandma when I turned thirteen. At the time, I was foolishly 
Grade 12 Graduation and my dear Grandma - 1984
  disappointed that I got a Bible for my birthday.  At thirteen, narcissistic was me! Uninterested in the meaning of life that year, busy trying to be cool, a tad narcissistic, busy smoking in the school yard, wearing my first pair of "La Cullotier" jeans, over plucking my eye brows, and using my trusty, handy dandy tape recorder, to record the 580 CKPR  top ten countdown, oh yes, and writing, "Anita loves Allan" on every surface I could find.
Ashamedly, I ignored the precious gift of life Grandma had given me, God's Word, Sure Hope and New Life.  She went Home during my darkest years, not knowing that her prayers for me were answered. Thank You Lord for Grandma. It wasn't until I was about twenty when I committed my life to Jesus Christ.
Not sure what happened to that first Bible, but it sure meant a lot. God knows us best and His timing is perfect.
King James?
About fifteen years ago a friend taught me that some Bibles are literal word for word translations based on the original languages, Hebrew and Greek. And then there are Bibles called paraphrases. They are simple to read and easy to understand, but can't be considered complete translations. Based on what I know now, I would suggest reading other translations along with a paraphrase if you want. Bottom line, ask God what to do. Don't avoid reading them if that is all you have. As you can see below, I have agonized a lot about which Bible translation is "approved" by God, only to end up not reading the Bible at times. Not because I don't believe it is the Word of God, but because I was so worried I might be sinning by reading the wrong Bible.
As for the King James translation, I avoided that one all together. As far as I knew, it was in Shakespearean, old english language and that meant I would never be able to understand it. So I pretty much settled into the NIV or New International Version. About fifteen years ago I fell in love with the New Living Translation. When I read it, it was just like how conversations went. It flowed and it went into my brain super easy! I didn't question it at all.
However, Over the last ten years, I seem to keep being lead to learning about the King James Bible Translation. Hearing valid arguments for why the NIV and some others are mistranslated or missing Truths of God, I have to say it has caused great confusion.
Which One Do I Read?
Each and every time these encounters have happened, I feel conviction to read the KJV and then, because I don't understand half of the words or the way the language flows, discouragement sets in. Again, unable to understand the translation that many say is thee True and only Word of God that is in english.
Then I would go back to the NLT and then parallel (multi translation Bibles). But, these battles keep coming back.
Just when I would have it settled another teaching would be presented about the merits of the KJV.
The arguments are so convincing. Wanting desperately to please God and not be mislead, I try it again. I have serious issues with the KJV supporters who actually say that they are reading the ONLY true Word of God.
However, I have prayed and done the research and am here to testify that it behooves us to check out the comparisons and consider reading the King James Version. I use an old english dictionary and pray for help. My husband has been lead down the same path and also has seen for himself that there is more "meat" to the language that some of the other translations.
Now do we subscribe to King James only views? No, we can't because there are too many questions. However, we are reading this classic translation as much as possible. And I myself, am reading it along with other translations. And just when I think, what does it matter, again, I see things that seem more substantial than the modern translations.
What Should We Read?
Why the Bible of course! As for which translation, I am not an expert and as always, can only talk about my experience. So below I have provided a couple of the videos that I have watched that are pretty convincing, along with some great Bible study resources.
Because I have had such struggles concerned about which is right, don't think I am saying we all should go through such anxiousness. We can trust God and that is what matters most. He won't let us be deceived if we cling to Him. He makes Himself known even when we don't have a Bible.

Cling to His Word and if you feel at peace with the translation you have, keep reading. Pray for discernment and wisdom and the Holy Spirit will teach us.
Be reminded that ...
[2Ti 3:16-17 KJV] 16 All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
[Hbr 4:12 KJV] 12 For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
[Hebrews 13:8 KJV] 8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

Useful Bible Study Links:
Interlinear Bible (a study resource that has the original languages of the Bible with the King James Translation)
Which Bible, You Be The Judge by Pastor Mike Hoggard
A Lamp In The Dark (A Video documentary about the true history of the Bible)