Archive for Saturday, February 19, 2005

Faith forum

February 19, 2005


Which translation of the Bible is the true word of God?

Particular version doesn't matter so long as it's read

The Rev. Randy Beeman, senior pastor, First Christian Church, 1000 Ky.:

The Bible was originally written in Hebrew and Greek, so we need translations. But we don't have the original manuscripts. What we have are copies.

For me, the important issue is having the original meaning of the author. When you translate the meaning, no matter what the language, you still end up with the word of God. If there is only one right translation and it is in English, what do we say to all the people who don't speak English in our world?

I think new translations from the earliest Hebrew and Greek manuscripts should continue to be developed because language changes over time. Many of today's versions are written as a paraphrase, which is a translation from an English version not from the original Hebrew and Greek. Many times the concern of a paraphrase is ease of reading not historical, biblical accuracy.

Translations vary according to the purpose of the writers. Some are fairly literal, word-for-word translations, which are faithful to form, but others are written to be faithful to the meaning. I encourage people to use translations that are created by teams of biblical scholars who try to combine form and meaning.

With so many English translations today, we should stop labeling one another as heretics if we read different translations. I believe that the ultimate will of God is for us to read the word (the Bible) given to us from God. Even if we had a translation everyone agreed upon, what good would it do to be stored on a shelf somewhere collecting dust, never to be opened?

To answer the question of which translation is best: There really isn't a good answer. Maybe we should be reading two or three translations side by side. Ultimately, reading the Bible and living it is what fulfills the will of God.

Send e-mail to the Rev. Randy Beeman at

Four modern versions have a high degree of accuracy

The Rev. Bill Hurlbutt, senior pastor, Christ Community Church, 1100 Kasold Drive:

New translations have seemed to appear with greater frequency in the past century.

Generally speaking, they have been a welcome contribution to society's comprehension of Scripture. To be certain, they have also received their share of adverse reaction in the Christian community.

The story is told of one pastor who tried to introduce a contemporary version of the Bible into his rigidly conservative congregation. One member of the church vehemently argued, "In my opinion, if the King James was good enough for the apostle Paul and Jesus, it should be good enough for us!"

Paul and Jesus obviously did not speak the Old English of the King James Version; it is merely a translation of God's inspired word, not identical in every way to the original autographs. This is in no way taking away from the value of what is taught in the King James text. However archaic the language may be, when properly interpreted and understood it is certainly God's word.

Today, evangelical churches make use of various translations. It's common for a pastor to recommend one particular version for his congregation, so everyone will have a common source for reference during preaching or Bible study.

After some research on the various versions, every believer would be wise to concentrate their study in one of these primary versions: English Standard Version, Crossway Publishers; New American Standard Bible, Lockman Foundation; New International Version, International Bible Society; or New King James Version, Thomas Nelson Publishers.

For the typical worshipper, most of the differences between translations are relatively insignificant. All the contemporary versions listed here have a high degree of literary accuracy and convey the same general message of God's word.

Send e-mail to the Rev. Bill Hurlbutt at

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