[CF Devotionals] 2009-08-25 - New Testament Translations

Study on the Bible, Part 7

I am only going to touch on the issues of translations. If you are interested in the subject in general I highly recommend The King James Only Controversy : Can You Trust the Modern Translations? by James R. White published by Bethany House, 1995.

I love the King James Version. The language hasn't been surpassed. But, there are generally two problems with it. First, since it was put together, we have older and more collections of manuscripts on which to base translations. This doesn't mean there are any serious problems with the KJV, but that some contemporary translations are actually more accurate. John White speaks to this concern in a CRI perspective where he notes:

"Modern Greek texts, such as the Nestle-Aland 27th edition and the United Bible Societies 4th edition, which underlie modern English translations and are used most often in college and seminary-level Greek classes, are based not upon just a few texts, but upon all Greek manuscripts. Unlike the TR, which was derived from only one stream of the large Byzantine family of texts, the modern texts draw from the entire range of Greek texts. The modern Greek texts also provide extensive textual notes indicating what readings are to be found in which manuscripts. This is important for the person who wants to check the choices made by editors and translators, as well as for the person concerned about alleged "secrecy" on the part of modern textual scholars. Modern Greek texts are open in allowing the reader to examine all the relevant manuscript readings, leading to honesty and accountability." 1

Second, and sadly of much more concern is the lack of contemporary society to be able to read language that is above the eighth-grade level. Our concern is to communicate God's word, and generally the KJV no longer accomplishes this task.

The two translations I generally recommend are the New American Standard Version (NASV) and the New International Version (NIV). They are equally accurate, but they are different in style. The ASV is what is known as a word-for-word translation. It is therefore an excellent study Bible, but leaves something to be desired, in terms of language flow and therefore readability.

On the other hand, the New International Version is a thought-for-thought version and therfore makes it a much more readable version. This is the version I use to read from, when I'm teaching. This is the version I generally recommend as a reading Bible.

Keep in mind that most serious translations do not have any major doctrinal problems, but for us, the ones I most frequently recommend are the KJV, NKJV, NAS and the NIV. Thus far, we have had an overview on how the Old and New Testament were transmitted to us, and how each were canonized. We also touched on the issue of translations. Next time, we will look at questions of the Holy Spirit's involvement in the writing of the Bible, as well as the internal evidence for its accuracy. We will consider Christ's validation of the Old Tetament - and any other relevant information.

  1. White, James R., Is Your Modern Translation Corrupt?, Answering the Allegations of KJV Only Advocates

Comments or Questions?

[email geoff] GKragen@aol.com

Additional studies by Geoff
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