Which Bible Translation?
|Created by Gerard de Vos|
Category: Bible related
To believers, the Bible is what a manual is to the buyer of a brand new electronic gadget. Without reading the manual the user cannot utilize his purchase properly. The difference between the Bible and a manual is this: the Bible has a spiritual enemy. Most of us would rather read a book, newspaper, or magazine than the Bible. This is because our common enemy who dislikes people reading the Bible, influences us.
The function of the Bible is thus the same as that of a manual, namely to teach, instruct and reveal. But the Bible has to do with very important issues, that are invisible to us (2 Cor 4:18). God gave the Holy Spirit to help us in understanding the Bible. (John 14:25, “But the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”) The Bible is the Word of God, and as such it is the indispensable help for believers. We have many translations today, since the originals were written in Hebrew and Greek, which most of us cannot understand. The big question therefore, especially for the new believer, is which translation to use? (Most believers do not read the Bible often, and if they do they seldom read enough. Their knowledge of the Bible is very sketchy - H Hendricks, Living by the Book, Moody Press, 1991, p 9 - 17.)
In the Bible there are doctrines that are unchangeable: Jesus Christ the Son of God came to earth as a man, born of a virgin to die on a cross for our sins. After his resurrection, he returned to heaven, and the Father sent the Holy Spirit to indwell believers. Logically the devil would try to pervert these central doctrines. But we are blessed with many translations, many of which are on computer, and many commentaries, with which to test the accuracy of a translation.
What should the answer be when a person asks which translation to use? He should first of all ask the Holy Spirit which one will suit him. Then he should read various translations and see which one he likes. Some people are very scholarly and are only satisfied with the original languages. 7s are not well versed in English, and would like a simpler translation. In every case, the leading of the Holy Spirit is important.
God protected the Bible from destruction through 2000 years. He protected it from contamination by the Apocryphal letters and other ancient manuscripts. In the same way he will help those who are really interested in getting the right translation. People sometimes go on a tangent that there is only one correct translation, but unfortunately it is not the truth. New discoveries in archaeology and other disciplines help theologians to better understand the Scriptures. So Bible translation is never really finished. Languages also change over time. We must keep in mind that Bible doctrine is seldom built on only one Bible verse. God is very clever, and cardinal truths are illuminated in various places in the Bible, including throughout the Old Testament.
Jesus reprimanded the Pharisees for loading down the people with heavy burdens (Matt 23:4). Let us not do the same to earnest seekers, but with a loving heart guide them. One’s own preferences don’t give one the right to insist that other believers also use one particular translation. People differ, and we should acknowledge it, and help them to get into the Word. As God says: ‘but when He, the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth’ ( John 16:13). The Spirit of truth has already come. Ask Him.
Related articles: Reading the Bible, God and the Old Testament