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Philosophy of Ministry - Part IV - Bible Versions

A Word about Bible Versions


At this point in this paper, I would like to offer some brief thoughts about Bible translations. There are many debates among Christians about which is the best Bible version, which version we should use, etc. The choice of one’s Bible version has almost become a test of one’s orthodoxy! And while there are hundreds of versions out there, and indeed some are lousy, most of the main versions for sale in the average Christian bookstore have much merit. Every Christen should own, examine, and compare many versions—especially when that believer is hanging his theology on one particular version’s wording. Language is complex, and for the non-Greek and non-Hebrew student, often the best way of getting at the nuance of the original language is to compare how various translators rendered those words in English.

The Bible was originally written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. Many fine translations have been produced for the English language, but in reality, all translations are interpretations. Yet the closer the translation matches the original wording of the Greek text the more likely they have captured the divinely inspired message. Since no one translation has the best handling of every text of scripture, students of the Bible should own, study and compare at minimum the New American Standard, the New King James Version, and the New International Version. The King James Version is outstanding and beautiful, but often is difficult to understand. The New Living Translation is very good (and it is a translation although its predecessor, The Living Bible, was not) but for the sake of readability often its translators make interpretative leaps that usually are accurate but are not part of the original text. Recently another excellent translation has been produced, the English Standard Version—and is remarkably clear, readable, and accurate. I personally prefer to preach from the New American Standard but often flex depending upon what translation the congregation might be using, especially when reading a passage to the congregation that we will not study—I often will opt for the clearest reading, even if that means reading from another version.

Russ Brewer

Russ Brewer

Rescued from the domain of darkness, transferred to the kingdom of the Son. Undershepherd of Grace. Husband of Corinne. Father of three. Chew-toy to Zeke...

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