Bible Versions

If you have read any of my post or articles you may know that I do a lot of complaining about the English translations that we have available. I am aware that there is no perfect English translation, but here is a short explanation.

The King James Version is the oldest version that has common availability and is in regular use. While the translators did not have access to all of the manuscripts that we have today they did have a  knowledge of the Greek and access to good manuscripts. Even with this they still made some decisions that leave many wondering. Those in the churches of Christ are well aware of the translators creation of a new English word baptism. They took the Greek baptizo and rather than translating the word into the English immersion they just left people guessing. Those who pour or sprinkle water on a person then did not have to explain why they called it baptism.

When I was in my early teens I remember reading several novels that had French phrases, sometimes at key points in the story. At that time there was no easy way to look up those phrases. So most of the time I read on having no clue as to the meaning of what I just read. Sort of reminds one of the way “tongues” are practiced today among some churches, no benefit to the observer. The King James Version (KJV) did the same with the inclusion of a few Latin words. The one in particular that is most misunderstood today is the word Gentile. Jerome used that word correctly in his Latin translation of the scriptures, but today most have been incorrectly taught that it means non-Jew, or as anyone who is not a Jew. Jerome’s use was approximately, “others of the same kinship”. The word race as we understand it would not be entirely correct, but closer than the way Gentile is used today. The Greeks understood the word race a little bit more like we use the word nation today, but the definition required that those nations were always made up of those of the same general kin. That is consistent with how we used to use the word.

It has been pointed out in several instances in the KJV that words that are verbs or adjectives have been translated as nouns for example. In other places the meaning of a word is distorted and misunderstood because the English translations have used another word in some locations that make one think the words are equivalent. This is shown in my argument concerning the words divorce and put away. If they truly mean the same thing then Christ divorced a few crowds of people when he separated himself from them or “sent them away”.

Another popular translation, the New International Version (NIV) has continued many of the problems of the KJV and while correcting a few words has added some errors of it’s own. Both translations are guilty of adding words and phrases that are not found or even implied in the Greek manuscripts.

Through some study I am aware that not everyone who was involved in the translation of scripture necessarily had the best interest in it’s accurate translation. For example, near the beginning of the last millennium in England there were men who pretended that they were Protestants. They did this to gain access to colleges in order to train men to doubt what they believed. Today many religious colleges invite in men who are considered authorities in some biblical area, but who use the opportunity to mislead with half truths. Many false church doctrines have been promoted through improperly translated scriptures and footnotes. This sounds a bit too cloak and dagger for many, but just keep in mind what Paul warned in Galatians 2:4 and Jude 1:4.

Everyone must do their own research, but this is why I insist on checking the Greek or Hebrew meanings of words and try to learn something of the times when the writings occurred. I also keep in mind that the people living in a land today were not necessarily the same people who lived there in the times of the scriptures.



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