Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Bible People Read

Some people are very concerned that people use only one Bible translation and no other translations.

Admittedly, some translations are better than others in communicating the word of God to us. Some translations follow the text very literally. Other versions are really paraphrases, that is, someone's version of what the Bible says in his/her own words.

Most translations fall somewhere in the middle, attempts to bring the meaning of the original language into the idiom of the English speakers.

What interests me today is that no matter how wonderfully exact a Bible translation is, it is of no value at all if people don't read it, understand it and apply it to their lives.

We have the original language version of the Bible available to us. (They are readily available - I even have them on my phone.) You cannot get more exact than these - the very words of God that the translations are trying to communicate. But unless you can read New Testament Greek, Biblical Hebrew and Aramaic, these will not do you any good.

If you think the KJV is the best translation around - that's fine. But if its 17th century English prevents you from reading it - or hinders your understanding of it - it doesn't do you any good.

In general I don't like paraphrases like "The Message." But I would rather have someone reading a paraphrase that they understand and applying biblical truths to his or her life than to have someone keep a very good literal translation on the top of their refrigerator all week.

People are unfortunately more eager to fight over which Bible they think is best than they are eager to deal with the truth that is in the Bible. It is not the Bible you have in your house that matters - it is the Bible that is in your heart.
(John 8:31–32) ¶ Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.
32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

1 comment:

Bobbi said...

There is a sort of scary line to it all though. I don't want to be reading just some dude's opinion of God's Word...cuz what if he's way off...and not being a scholar I get led off course by that. I understand the Bible in your heart concept...but some translations are really wacky and er, dangerous. I don't know...I guess God's truth will prevail...and He can work even through apocryphal works...hmmm...Still, it seems like you should be careful and not just read ANY old translation.