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How To Choose a Bible Translation

Every scripture inspired of God (is) also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness. That the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work.2 Timothy 3:16, 17 (ASV)

Which translation of the Bible is best for the devoted Christian? How faithful is it to the Word of God in the original Hebrew/Aramaic or Greek? How much should the Christian entrust his spiritual life to that translation?

The follower of the Lord must be wary of simply searching to find a translation that supports the viewpoint he or she likes, else they will be among them that “Will not endure the sound doctrine; but having itching ears, will heap to themselves teachers after their own lusts” (see 2 Tim. 4:3).

We must first admit the possibility that early and top-quality manuscripts read differently and also that there may be a mistranslation (variously because it is difficult to translate, or the translator’s bias overcomes him, or occasionally because the translator simply cannot understand the text). No matter how skilled and conscientious are the translators, as well as the readers, they still are imperfect.

To determine the original New Testament Greek text, usually one may use either Nestle-Aland or Westcott and Hort, or good translations made from them. Nevertheless a few texts should be further questioned, such as 1 Corinthians 15:51; Revelation 5:9, and 20:5.

A reliable mark of a translator’s integrity is most often found in passages which are hard to reconcile with his own theology or doctrine. Most of these may be grouped under: (1) the nature of God and Christ; (2) the nature of man [e.g., the soul]; (3) the nature of atonement; and (4) prophecy. A second mark is found in making the English translation preserve no more–and no less–the ambiguity than is found in the original Greek or Hebrew. The selection of a corrupted text (e.g., Textus Receptus or Majority Text) might reflect badly on a New Testament translator’s judgment or integrity.    Read more here

6 comments to How To Choose a Bible Translation

  • doug

    Ken, who are we to decide witch translation is right, unless we want it to be our way, Jas.5:9 Do not murmur against one another,brothers that you not be condemned ,Behold the judge stands before the door.(Who can say with 100% proof that we, or you and I know the truth and nothing but the holy truth,) I pray That Jehovah will open our eye’s,for we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God. God bless.

  • Peter K. (admin)

    I just got the following interesting information from Jim Parkinson. “The Modern King James Version is Jay Green’s. I would assume it is the marginal text of his diaglott. His marginal texts were somewhat below average for accuracy in both O.T. and N.T. (including theological biases), and virtually zero for use of the ancient Greek manuscripts. His O.T. diaglott is useful, as Kohlenberger’s is the only other complete O.T. diaglott. Green’s preface sounds to me like someone who feels at least somewhat insecure and therefore dogmatic. His copyright dates for the O.T. are 1976-1979; the N.T. might have been as early as 1963.”

  • miriam

    thankyou for this article. I havemany translations at home like NWT,KJV,NKJV,NIV however though no longer part of rthe jehovah’s witnesses I still have the bible because God still shows me good things .Glad to know it is more accurate then the nkjv,lol.

    • Jacqueline

      Hi Miriam and welcome. My daughter in law who is still a witness asked me for my eight translation bible. Since I had three I gave it to her. She was thrilled also to look at 8 side by side and the new world translation with just 2 books. It helps you to get the full flavor. Thank you so much for commenting and enjoy.
      Could you please tell us your experience and what it was that caused you to awaken.
      Personnally I think the org has been infiltrated to cause it’s collapse like the KGB did in Russia during the cold war. They instituted a governingbody because they were seizing the mags sent from the United States branch. The US thouhgt they were getting thru but the runners were KGB. The Russian brothers had KGB on their GB but many rejected such a notion because it was not in the bible.
      So what is your experience, please?

    • doug

      miriam, I agree with you.

  • Dupin

    It was a nice article.

    I find it interesting that newer translations of the bible do better than the old ones with the OT, yet worse with the NT. I guess that’s because the NT is so critical to Christian doctrine and they find it so much more difficult to shed their bias. I’ve always felt it was better to learn the languages if one was able. But if not consult a variety of translations in one’s quest for insight. My e-sword is usually set to the AV as it’s default.

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