Holy Bibles Good And Bad

With the multitude of Holy Bible translations it is hard to know which one you can trust. The following information will help you to make an informed choice.
Holy Bibles Good And Bad
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Skeptics and non-skeptics alike wonder why there is a vast number of Holy Bible translations and versions. While there is no real non-commercial need for a multitude of such works, there is an occasional need for a new translation or some type of revision.

There are two main reasons why a new translation or revision would need to be produced. Occasionally archaeological discoveries shed light on how certain words and phrases were used by the ancients. The second, and probably a biggest reason, is most languages change over the course of time. I say “most” because I am not

knowledgeable of every language, but I do know English and English has changed over the centuries and is rapidly degrading in the 21st century. 

One example of change is that before the 1800s there was no need for the term “smog,” but after the Industrial Revolution smoke and fog would mingle together and linger over heavily populated areas so the term “smog” was created. A more recent example is when I was a child and youth (the 1950s and 60s), “gay” meant happy. Today, sadly it can mean “homosexual.”

The King James Version (KJV) was completed over 400 years ago when the English language was somewhat different from what it is today. Four centuries ago English speaking people would say “peradventure” for “perhaps.” Today we say "conversation" when we are referring to people talking. Back then the word meant one's "manner of living." Also, if you are using the KJV, you will come across words that many of those in the United States consider vulgar today, but were not considered vulgar when the translation was made (see Genesis 22:3, Deuteronomy 23:2 and 2 Kings 18:27 in the KJV).

Another factor is that over the course of time the spelling of words often changes, especially in English. The AV uses “worshipped” for “worshiped,” “musick” for “music,” along with a few others. The AV also varies the spelling of some names. You will find Isaiah spelled in the New Testament (NT) as Esaias and Jeremiah is spelled Jeremy for a couple of examples.

Though there be multiple translations, versions, and paraphrases, the fact remains that the ancient texts remain the same and the truth of the Word of God is unchanged. Many an honest inquiry or a caustic challenge can be met by simply pointing to the actual wording of the ancient texts. And, one does not have to be a Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek scholar to do this because there are some reliable translations available. Also, one should not assumed “God has changed His mind” because new translations, versions, and paraphrases are produced. It is written in Psalm 119:89, “For ever, O YHVH, Your Word is settled in heaven.”

Recommended Translations And Versions

First let me say there are translations and paraphrases. An example of a paraphrase is "The Living Bible." Just about from the start of my walk in Christ I desired to know exactly what God said as He moved upon His servants to bring us the written Word of God. Personally, I want to know what the text actually says, so I exclusively use translations for my personal devotions and ministry. The following are some translations I have found to be very accurate and true to the ancient texts.

Young’s Literal Translation (YLT){1}: Robert Young, a Scottish theologian, published Young’s Literal Translation in 1862. After he passed from this life the YLT was revised in 1898. While the KJV and other works used LORD for the Tetragrammaton (God’s sacred proper Name rendered as four consonants in Hebrew), the YLT will use Jehovah. There are some minor drawbacks to this work because certain words are not spelled as they are today and terms like “thee” and “thou” are used.

The KJ3 Literal Translation Bible (KJ3){1}: Sovereign Grace Publishers published this work of Jay P. Green in 2006 and placed it online{2} (Link is provided below{2}.). Brother Green held various degrees from Toronto Baptist Seminary, Covenant Theological Seminary,  and Washington University in St. Louis. Older words (like “thou”) are replaced with modern terms, and it also uses “Jehovah” for the Tetragrammaton.

The New King James Version (NKJ){1}: The NKJ was developed by a team of 130 translators and published in 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. It updated the archaic language of the KJV and corrected some translation errors, but kept the beautiful literary style of the 1611 version. The Tetragrammaton is rendered as “LORD.”

There may be a few more good literal translations but I have not come across any as of now. I prefer to examine a translation first, then read through the whole work, comparing its content with the ancient texts as directed by the Holy Spirit. So, as you can see, that takes some time.

Others To Use Wisely, With Caution, Or Even To Avoid

Sad to say the list below (in alphabetical order) is longer than the previous, and it is not complete. These are works that I have examined, and there are many more that I have not seen. Some are fairly good translations or versions but, as mentioned above, I want to know exactly what God said. There are times I use some of the better ones listed below when they remove the archaic language and / or bring out a point in the ancient language that the article I might be writing addresses, provided that they are close to a literal translation. 

There are other works I have read portions of, but I have not thoroughly tested them and read them through, so I do not feel comfortable with making a comment about them, and so they will not be listed.

It is always good to keep in mind that just because a translation, version, paraphrase has “Holy Bible" on the front cover that does not mean it is holy. In the list below there are a few you should definitely avoid and I will try to indicate which they are. There are a number of reasons why such works exist. Sometimes certain religious groups or individuals want to support their erroneous teachings. Another reason is that some people just want to make money. Some have been produced without the slightest dependence upon the hand of God. 

The List

The Amplified Bible brings out additional possible renderings of words and phrases. Though this work amplifies words for us, we are to keep in mind that due to the context of any one verse in question, all of its amplifications of a word may not apply. And do be careful with some of its footnotes like the one located in Proverbs 6. There, the Amplified Bible erroneously identifies the "wisdom" of Proverbs 6 as the Christ. There, wisdom is referred to as a she and the female gender is never applied to Messiah. Wisdom also has

a sister in Proverbs 6, "prudence.” If wisdom equals Christ then who is prudence? In the NT, Christ is referred to as the Wisdom of God. But if we read carefully we will see the wisdom of Proverbs 6 is the created wisdom inherent in mankind. Use this work wisely.

The Contemporary English Version is not worth your while. I have read various passages in the OT and what this translation does is to destroy the beauty of Hebrew poetry by summarizing the text. I liken it to crushing a butterfly. There is a reason why God but every word into a psalm or any passage, and those words must not be taken away. Avoid the CEV.

Douay-Rheims is a Roman Catholic translation which came into being in part to counteract the Protestant versions produced in Protestant Reformation times. There are some passages in it that bolster the RC tradition that states Mary only had one child, Jesus. However, the actual text shows he did have half brothers. The Douay-Rheims is more clear in a few cases than what the old KJV is. Use this version with caution.

New American Standard (NASB): I had enjoyed this for awhile until I found a few passages untrue to the actual text. It does make some passages more clear though. Use with caution.

The New International Version (NIV): I already have an article on this titled, Why I Gave Up On The New International Version. Locate it with a search engine or find it in my apologetics index at Sapphire Streams dot com. The NT portion is not true to the ancient texts and fails the 1 Corinthians 7, 1 Corinthians 15:24, and Revelation 19:7 tests mentioned above. If I cannot trust the NT section, then why would I trust the Old Testament section? Avoid this version.

The New World Translation (NWT): As noted elsewhere, sometimes a translation is created so people can attempt to make the Bible say what they want it to say. One of the greatest examples of this is the NWT by the Watchtower Society (Jehovah's Witnesses). 

For one thing, hooked on the thought that the Name of God just has to be Jehovah (however, it is most likely Yahveh or Yahoveh), they often translate the Greek word kurios (Lord) in the NT as Jehovah. Essentially, kurios means Lord and that is it. The only time you can be sure it is denoting the divine Name is when the NT quotes or alludes to an OT passage that contains the name, YHWH. However, the Watchtower Society often renders the word kurios as Jehovah when it should be left as Lord, and drops "Jehovah" when it becomes inconvenient. In the case of an OT quote or allusion, they should have followed their desire to use "Jehovah" for Philippians 2:10-11, for part of it is derived from Isaiah 45:22-25. Of course they did not for they would then have to admit that YHVH and Jesus are the same. This holds true for Acts 2:21 where Peter quotes from Joel 2:32 (where it states that those who call upon the Name of YHVH shall be saved), and then adjures his hearers to be saved and baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ!

There is much more to show in regard to the NWT. An educated, honest evaluation of the NWT would soon bring one to the obvious conclusion that it is riddled with error and bias. The NWT is one of the worst, so avoid it.

The Revised Standard Version (RSV): I have never finished reading this one. To me it was difficult to enjoy and was like eating a dried steak! I also came across a scathing rebuke levied against it by William Evans{3} regarding its translation of 2 Timothy 3:16. It is probably best to avoid the RSV. With that, as I was lining up some translations for the photograph I took for this article I noticed the RSV just had “The Bible” for its title page. Good, because it sure would not qualify for a “Holy Bible.”

Others I have seen that I would not recommend are Today's English Version, Good News For Modern Man, the New English Bible. They are weak in holding true to the actual text.

I hope you do what I do-- desiring to know exactly what God said. If so, please consider using one of the literal versions / translations mentioned near the beginning of this article. In an upcoming article, with God's help I will show you how to test for accuracy in a translation, even if you do not know the ancient languages the Holy Bible was written in.

{1} Information was derived from Wikipedia.

{2} Read the KJ3 online at http://www.sgpbooks.com/cubecart/read-kj3-here/info_16 .html.

{3} Evans, William: The Great Doctrines of the Bible (Moody Press: Chicago; 1970), pp201-2

Unless otherwise noted all Holy Scripture is from the 1769 Authorized Version with spelling of some words updated for our time in addition to changing LORD to YHVH as it rightly should be when the text so indicates. An * next to the abbreviation for another translation or version indicates the same for the text presented.

Not responsible for any advertisements appearing with this article nor am I necessarily in agreement with any of them. The statements of this paragraph hold true not only for this article, but for everything I have placed on the Internet.

Article Written By BrotherPete

I am a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, having served over forty years as a pastor. I graduated from Northeast Bible College of Green Lane Pennsylvania and have a Bachelors Degree in Bible. I am enthused about the Word of God and how it can make a positive change in the life of anyone once it is teamed up with faith and the Holy Spirit. I am happily married. Visit www.sapphirestreams.com.

Last updated on 01-07-2016 517 2

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  • nbillett  28-12-2016
    Prayer helps us to identify what matters most and strengthens our hearts and minds to give priority to those things in our daily lives.
    reply 0

    Is the theme that you try, I congratulate you for this publication you open your eyes to many people who are bent on different concepts that may be erroneous for the translations, but God is the same forever.
    Thanks for this publication.

    reply 0
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