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Bible Translations Answered
By Malcolm B Heap, Midnight Ministries
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Q. Is there a perfect translation of the Bible?
A. No. All translations have some errors in them, because they have been translated by men who did not understand fully the entire plan of God. Where they had misconceptions and biases, they rendered in English – or other languages – what they thought the original language was conveying.
Q. What translation of the Bible is best to use?
A. That depends on what your objective is. If you want an easy to read modern translation, but are not concerned about technical accuracy, then the New International Version (NIV) is helpful, as are some other modern versions.
If you want technical accuracy (for the purposes of doctrinal correctness) without easy to read English, then the Concordant Literal translation or other literal translations are worth referring to.
The New King James Version is quite good on most texts, and is more readable than literal translations.
It is advisable to refer to several versions if you are trying to understand difficult texts.
Q. What about the Old King James Version? I have heard some say that it is the original and pure version.
A. That is a misconception. One lady reputedly said. "Well if the King James Bible was good enough for the apostles, it’s good enough for me!" Humorously, it illustrates some of the widespread ignorance about how we obtained ‘our’ Bible.
The first apostles did not speak English. English was not even a language at that time. The King James (‘Authorised’) Version was commissioned by King James 1 of England. It was completed in 1611. It was not even a translation of the Hebrew (OT) and Greek (NT), but a 4th generation revision of earlier translations (Tyndale 1532, Matthews’ 1537, and Geneva Bible 1560). (Sunday Versus Sabbath pp 43,44.)
While the King James Version certainly has many merits, there are some glaring errors and even fraudulent insertions. For example, in John’s first letter, the King James Version contains the underlined insertions:
For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
And there are three that bear witness in earth; the Spirit, the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one (1 John 5:7,8, KJV).
The underlined words constitute a massive addition to what is in the Greek text! The translators felt justified in adding what they did, presumably to try to consolidate the Trinity theory about God. There is a dire warning against those who deliberately add to the Word of God (Rev 22:18; Deut 4:2). There are also other ‘lesser’ errors in the King James text. It is not flawless.
Furthermore, one chief drawback of this version in our modern age is the antiquated 17th century language. Those who think that it is more spiritual to speak in old fashioned language ‘need their brains testing’. What we all need is a better comprehension of what God is trying to convey, and modern English should surely convey that better than a language that is now outmoded.
Q. What about denominational translations?
A. Some denominations or churches have their own versions such as Jehovah’s Witnesses and Assemblies of Yahweh, just to mention two of many. The problem with these versions is that there is a hidden, dishonest agenda behind them. They want to promote their slant of doctrine. Rather than read out of the Bible (exegesis) what God is trying to convey, they subtly read into the Bible (eisegesis) their own interpretation or emphasis. Thus, they are adding to the Word of God or taking away from it, through subtle indoctrination.
In the case of the Assemblies of Yahweh, this is not subtle. They teach that it is imperative to use the Hebrew names for God, such as Yah, Yahweh, Yahshua etc., and that to use another descriptive such as ‘God’, ‘Lord’, or ‘Jesus’, is to defile the purity of the name of God. They have removed all such words that they consider improper and have replaced them with the Hebrew words. What lies behind this cultic approach is more sinister than meets the eye, and is further explained in the title below.
Further Reading: Understanding The Mind of God: A Message To Those Who Use The ‘Sacred Names’ (MG5)
Q. What about the Good News Bible?
0A. The Good News bible is a paraphrase, not a proper translation from ‘original’ texts. That is to say it does not try to attain technical accuracy in translation, but sacrifices that for the sake of readability. While it may be useful to read if you want to obtain a quick overview of story flow (because some of the Old Testament story accounts are verbose), it should not be relied upon for precise representation of what the Hebrew or Greek is specifically conveying.
Q. Isn’t the Bible inspired?
A. Yes, it is. God inspired the various writers to write what has been preserved for us today in the Bible. But the translators were not all inspired in their work. God’s guidance is dependent upon your degree of submission to Him and ability to listen to His Spirit. In this age, ruled by Satan (2 Cor 4:4), the rendition of God’s words to man have come under constant attack and contamination.
While God has ensured that enough of His truth has been preserved for you to know the way to salvation in Christ, some specifics of doctrinal accuracy have been perverted and clouded through satanic interference in rendition.
The Bible contains concepts inspired by God, conveyed via His Spirit through men. God is infallible; men are not. So, we still await the perfect rendition of God’s word to mankind.
More about how God inspired the Bible is explained in: Is Midnight Ministries’ Literature Inspired By God?
An Introduction To The Spiritual Gifts (ISG)
Listening To God (Lis)
Is MM Literature Inspired By God? (Ins)
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