Words are amazing. Every language consists of words. It is very difficult to number the amount of words in any given language, but most scholars agree that it is in the hundreds of thousands. There are multitudes of languages in the world. Wthin each language, words are dynamic. Some change meaning over time. Other words become obscure. Then again, new words appear on the scene. In simple terms, languages are ways evolving even if it is almost unnoticeable.
The steadfast way that God communicates with us is through His written Word the Bible. Since His Word never changes, it is man’s responsibility to make sure that God’s Word stays relevant and as accurate as possible to the way we speak at any given time. We cannot afford to loose anything in translation.
- For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. (Matthew 5:18 KJV)
- I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved. (Matthew 5:18 NLT)
It is also amazing to see how the Bible, which was mainly written in Hebrew and Greek, is now published and sent around the world in so many languages. Great pains have been taken to keep the integrity of the Bible intact no matter what language it is printed in. It is always an extreme challenge when translating accurately from one language to the other.
Many languages only have one version of translation available. But when you are English speaking and a student of the Bible, you learn that there are many versions of the Bible to pick from whether they are translations or paraphrases. These are also divided by which manuscripts they come from. Choices! Choices! But these choices also lead to outspoken opinions and divisions. ‘KJV only’ followers will treat their KJV Bible with complete reverence, but they would have no problem ripping the pages out of any other version and throwing them into their wood burning stove to heat their home. Go figure!
When I study the New Testament, I personally start off with the original Greek and the KJV, because that is what I was mentored with. Not only am I comfortable with that, the KJV has proven itself pretty faithful for over 4 centuries. Then I like to go to the NKJV because it is more in line with the way we speak today while maintaining the poetic beauty and accuracy of the KJV. From all my studies, I have deducted that the New King James Version is the most accurate of all translations. Then I will venture out to the NLT and the MSG (paraphrase) because of their plain talk as long as it does not compromise the original intent of the Scripture I am using and must agree with the original Textus Receptus Greek Text. I do this simply for ease of understanding in teaching a lesson.
Many ‘KJV only’ adherents would like to hang people like me out to dry for this practice. But the whole idea behind teaching is to use every resource available in order to develop the most in-depth study in as easy to understand format as possible. Communication in clarity and truth is of utmost importance as long as integrity is not jeopardized.
I compare it to how I use tools on my job every day. I have hundreds at my disposal. I always carefully select the tools best suited to perform the duty necessary. I sometimes witness others who carry only a few general tools. They may eventually be able to get a machine running again with them, but they damage the hardware and make it more difficult for the next person to fix it.
It is the same way with the Bible. I need to use every resource available, very carefully, in order to do the job right.
For those who are ‘KJV only’, it is interesting to note that polarized disagreements have existed for hundreds of years concerning certain viewpoints such as Calvinism vs Armenianism where great scholars have been on opposite sides. Even though the KJV was the mainstay English Bible in use, scholars were still harshly divided. Besides, English is only one of thousands of languages on the earth. The original Greek and Hebrew is where the greatest accuracy lies.
I thank God for all the resources I have at my fingertips today. I can study many things like never before in history because of the Internet and Google. But there is a responsibility that goes with it. I must test all things and use Holy Spirit discernment.
I would like to remind ‘KJV only’ adherents not to sacrifice holiness because of hardness. Hardness is not holiness. I am not going to hell because I picked up a Bible other than the KJV. I simply want to communicate God’s original intent by the best means possible. What good is communication if there is not full understanding? You can speak to me all day in Ukrainian and I won’t understand a thing. Many English-speaking people today have a hard time understanding the King’s English from 1611 (KJV). The poetic beauty of the KJV is awesome, but what good is it if understanding is jeopardized. It’s hard enough to get someone to read the Bible, let alone something that takes more of an effort such as the KJV.
So likewise you, unless you utter by the tongue words easy to understand, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air. (I Corinthians 14:9 NKJV)
In conclusion, I included the hyperlink to an excellent article that explains some of the different Bible Versions we have available today in English: