Which Bible Version Should I Read?

The question should really be; “which Bibles shouldn’t I read?” Well, as young and new Christian I was always being told that all Bible versions were good-to-go and useful for getting different perspectives (as if we need to be confused from the start about what the text is saying).

However my experience was different and for many years  was disturbed by the fact that I kept reading contradictions in my NIV – even more frustrating was that I could not put a finger on what the problem was – until that is – I finally got the guts to read the book everyone said was ‘too hard to read’ (but turned out not to be the case at all).

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Does it Matter Which Bible Translation I Read?

So should you worry about reading different versions of The Bible? Well, not if you are not worried about the fact that many of the Bibles translations we have now contain quite conflicting teachings (remember not so long ago there was pretty much one Bible in general use – The King James – but now we have literally 100’s, and most of these were translated into text sufficiently differently to existing Bibles in order to obtain a copyright – yep that’s right – without changing the text sufficiently they cannot sell the best selling book in the word! These new translations are then sold in the main by publishers for profit).

So why am I writing this article? I’m writing it as i have just read of a Christian brother accuse another of being a ‘false teacher’ based on the fact that he believed Christians may actually go through at least some of the Great Tribulation, and quoted Revelation 3:10 as proof the man was wrong. Fair enough I thought – I guess he’s done his homework (the accuser) and proceeded to check the verse in more than one version – The NIV Bible 90% Christians have read over the last 40 years and the King James Bible – the only one that really widely available to people many years ago. (see the verses and the 2 versions below). Surprise!

OK here’s the quoted verse of ‘proof’ that the man was in error – an example of dozens of verses in the NIV that conflict with the King James Bible version;

Revelation 3:10New International Version (NIV)

10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.

(this being proof Christians will not go through The Great Tribulation) or in the King James Bible we have;

Revelation 3:10King James Version (KJV)

10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

Now, a trial (NIV) may be a period of persecution – but a temptation (King James) is most definitely NOT persecution – as many believers having read the NIV example only have come to believe it means – it’s a temptation and nothing more or less. So which is it that is coming on the earth?.. a trial as the NIV says – which could be a dozen things including The Great Tribulation spoken of in The Bible – or a temptation as The King James Bible says – which is plainly pain and suffering caused directly by those that oppose God to His people and nothing else?

Either way – it’s now easy to see that regardless of which translation is right – 1000’s people now take the NIV’s translation and the word ‘trial‘ as proof we Christians will all miss the Great Tribulation – as the King James Bible no longer in general use and the word ‘temptation‘ not seen but may mean this verse has a totally different meaning – like perhaps; the hour of temptation when Satan tempts the whole world to follow him and we all Christian included may be forced to choose? (it came out later had a lesbian on the board or advisors to the NIV translators, and she on tape admitted had they known she would not have been allowed to advise – and miraculously many references to ‘homosexual’ activity being wrong were removed and replaced by… well I’ll let you read it and find out).

Study yourselves

I suggest we do some homework to decide for ourselves which Bible and which ‘translators’ we can trust – who and for what purpose (and I mean the real purpose) it was translated. After all – if I were the Devil, my FIRST target would be to subtly change (mixing a tiny amount of error with the truth is far more lethal than plain error – everyone can taste plain arsenic!) the thing that underpins Christianity – The Bible!  Here is a clue as to a Bible translation you can trust from the Bible itself; The Bible tells us that it’s wise to have many counsellors on any given subject or task – since they will be accountable to each other. An example of this; The King James Bible – translated by over 50 scholars – some with opposing views but ALL accountable to each other in the open having to fight out the true meanings of the text – lest they be seen as manipulative fools by their peers. Or a bad example; Eugene Paterson’s ‘Message‘ Bible – one man translating for what purpose? – a gap in the market perhaps? Who knows, I don’t and you would have to ask him, but remember The Bible tells us; “the love of money is the root of all even” (bad translations say “many” evils!).

Summary

Regardless of wether my example above is right or wrong – it does show that Bibles can say VERY different things that may have very different meanings. Therefore, we think that bearing in mind that our adversary would surely make The Bible his target, it would be very wise to study yourself to see if it is worth differentiating between Bibles – not by fishing for ones that suit your lifestyle – but for ones that tell the plain truth. Learn about Bible history, how it came to us and was very nearly kept out of the common man’s hands was it not for brave men and women that were burned alive for our sakes so we could have it and read it. I have found in my studying that one Bible seems more consistent (some say perfectly consistent) and that is The King James Bible. But you must make your own mind up and not be swayed by me – this is just to get you thinking! Ask the Holy Spirit (the still small voice that The Bible says He can teach you all things) to guide you as remember – we could be wrong!


 

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How Did God Promise To Preserve His Word?

Should We Worry About Textual and Capitalisation Errors in The Bible?

We all know that God promised to preserve his word perfectly so there would no spelling errors, punctuation or other textual errors. What?!!.. are you serious?

But seriously… of course not.  Apart from the fact that ALL bibles if you look long enough will have typos, God promised to preserve his WORD not his punctuation – most of which incidentally was not in the original text and added later to make reading and studying the Bible easier.

So what is the word? The word is the TRUTH of God – not the spelling and font or typeface used in the original text! And remember; when holy men spoke the word of God, you can’t see capitals or punctuation! But the meaning and the truth of God’s word is what we are talking about preserving – and THIS is where we MUST be on our guard. Read on.

What we Do Have To Worry About

We do have to worry about the many spurious translations where the real meaning is either twisted or in some cases the truth is obscured by omission! Many times the translation is put into production purely to change the original text enough in order to obtain a copyright to print the best selling book in the world and make some $$$!

Now THIS you do have to worry about – not capitalisation (even though the best and most accurate grammar would be preferable). We recommend you do some research here on bad Bible translations (99%) and earnest Bible translations.

We can start with The King James Bible for earnest. Most definitely not produced to make money and to some degree done for political reasons but to unify the meanings of the texts which was argued about among many great scholars. But before you say these men were far from perfect (true), remember God will use both good and bad – to procure his will. For 25 years I read the NIV which only served to prove to me how bad a translation and full of contradictions it was when I finally read the King James.

It was no wonder people said all my life; the Bible is full of contradictions – the NIV – translated by a small number of ‘scholars’ many of whom had their own agendas (one textual expert on the panel of translators was even a lesbian) served wonderfully to undermine my faith until I read the glorious KJV – perfect in every aspect – each testament witnessing to the other in perfect harmony and never contradicting itself.

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Is The Bible Historically Accurate?

Is The Bible accurate in what it says from a historical viewpoint?

open-bibleonwhiteHistorical and Archaeological Reliability Many critics have challenged the historical accuracy of the Bible and have been proven wrong. Here’s one example. Historians questioned the accuracy of the accounts surrounding Pontius Pilate’s crucifixion of Jesus. Pilate found nothing wrong with him and was reluctant to crucify an innocent man. The Jews put pressure on Pilate saying if you refuse this “you’re no friend of Caesar” (John 19:12). At which point Pilate gave in to the Jews. This did not fit historical records we had of Pilate who was a cruel and dominating man, not likely to give in to a group of Jews whom he hated. Many believed that this account was historically inaccurate because of the way in which it portrayed Pilate.


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Recording the historical events of history

Later it was discovered that Pilate had been appointed by a man named Sejanus who was plotting to overthrow Caesar. Sejanus was executed with many of his appointees (Delashmutt, Sejanus, p. 55, 56). This demonstrated that Pilate was in no position to get in trouble with Rome. The Jews had him in a corner. If word returned to Rome that Jerusalem was in rebellion, Pilate would be the first to go. The gospel account was confirmed as accurate.

Many parts of the Bible have been challenged with the same result. Later archeology confirms the reliability of the biblical records down to the smallest detail. A respected Jewish archaeologist has claimed that,

“It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a biblical reference.” (Shelly, p. 103). This is a strong statement for any archaeologist because if it were not true, he would quickly be condemned in his own field.

The conclusion that one draws from this material is that the Bible is a reliable historical document. Its accuracy has been proven numerous times. Its historical inaccuracy has never been demonstrated. So that when we approach the Bible, we do so with confidence that it records what actually happened. In which case we need to come to terms with the Bible’s claims. We can’t dismiss it out of hand because we were not there.

How do we know anything historically?

There is no “scientific” proof that Lincoln was the president. We cannot recreate him, bring him back to life or reproduce the experiment. We cannot calculate an equation that tells us that he was. But we can assert with a high degree of probability that Lincoln was indeed president and was assassinated in 1865. We do this by appealing to historical evidence. Many people saw Lincoln. We have some of his writings and even his picture, not to mention his face on our pennies. But none of this “proves”, scientifically that Lincoln ever lived or was the president.

The kind of evidence used in historical research is the same used in a court of law. In a courtroom case certain kinds of evidences are appealed to in order to determine what exactly happened, eyewitnesses are questioned, motives are examined, and physical evidence is scrutinized such as fingerprints or journal writings.

The evidence we have for Christ’s life, death, and resurrection is not as great as that for Lincoln, nor as recent But it is better than we have that Plato ever lived, or Homer, or many historical figures that we take for granted.

 

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Was The Bible is Accurately Translated & Transcribed?

The Accuracy of the Biblical Records

open-bibleonwhiteThe question often arises when discussing the biblical records, “How can a document that has been copied over and over possibly be reliable? Everyone knows there are tons of errors in it.” While it is true that the documents have been copied many times, we often have misconceptions about how they were transmitted. All ancient documents were copied by hand before the advent of the printing press in the 16th century.

Does The Bible contain copyist errors of the scribes?

Great care was exercised in reproducing these manuscripts. We often assume that one copy was made and then another from that and another from that and so on, each replacing the copy it was reproduced from. This is not how manuscripts copying worked. Copyists were usually working from one or two very old documents. They would make many copies of their source copy, all the while preserving their source and comparing the copies they have made.

Josephus tells how the Jews copied the Old Testament:

“We have given practical proof of our reverence for our own Scriptures. For although such long ages have now passed, no one has ventured either to add, or to remove, or to alter a syllable; and it is an instinct with every Jew, from the day of his birth, to regard them as the decrees of God, to abide by them, and, if need be, cheerfully to die for them” (Against Apion, Book I, sec., 8, p. 158).

Josephus made no exaggeration. The Jewish copyists knew exactly how many letters were in every line of every book and how many times each word occurred in each book. This enabled them to check for errors (Shelly, Prepare to Answer, p. 133). The Jews believed that adding any mistake to the Scriptures would be punishable by Hell – unlike the modern secretary who has many letters to type and must work hard to keep his job, and consequently feels that mistakes are inevitable. Great care is exercised with scriptures when someone holds a conviction such as this. But even with the great amount of care exercised in copying, errors have crept into the manuscripts. No one questions that spelling errors, misplaced letters, and word omissions have occurred. What is not true is that these errors have gradually built up over time so that our copies look nothing like the originals. This view was commonly held until recently.

In 1947 the accuracy of these documents was confirmed by the Dead Sea Scrolls. These scrolls were found in caves in the desert near the Dead Sea by a shepherd boy. Before the discovery of these scrolls, the earliest Old Testament manuscripts we had were from about 980 A.D. The manuscripts discovered in the caves dated from 250 B.C. to shortly after the time of Christ. In careful comparison of the manuscripts it was confirmed that the copies we had were almost precisely the same as those which date over 1000 years earlier.

No other historical literature has been so carefully preserved and historically confirmed.

When we come to the New Testament we see a similar phenomenon. There are over 5,000 Greek New Testament manuscripts in existence. This is by far more than any other historical documents, which usually have maybe a dozen copies from very late dates. The New Testament manuscripts are many and old and they are spread over a wide geographical area. What this enables the New Testament historian to do is collect manuscripts from Jerusalem and Egypt and Syria and other places and compare them for variations. And variations do exist, but as with the Old Testament they are relatively few and rarely important to the meaning of the text. What these manuscripts demonstrate is that different families of texts existed very early that were copied from the original or good copies of the original. This allows us to trace the manuscripts back to the source as one would follow the branches of a tree to get to the trunk. Aside from the manuscripts themselves, “virtually the entire New Testament could be reproduced from citations contained in the works of the early church fathers. There are some thirty-two thousand citations in the writings of the Fathers prior to the Council of Nicea (325)” (Moreland, Scaling the Secular City, p. 136).

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Christianity Introduction | The resurrection of Jesus Christ | The Bible as history | Christianity and miracles | about Jesus Christ

Translation of the Bible discussion. Copyright christianadvice.net 2001