I recently celebrated my birthday (number 25, again… ). My amazing husband and I had each just gotten bonuses from our employers, and we decided that we could spare just a little bit from our Dave Ramsey gazelle like intensity (for more on that read the total money makeover) to celebrate. I got to choose, so of course I picked the most wonderful place of all to eat… Olive Garden. Oh, Olive Garden how I love thee, with thy noodles and Alfredo sauce and garlic-y bread sticks. Could I have made all this at home? You bet your britches I could… but to have someone bring it to me, and refill my tea over and over… It was an amazing break…… I digress
We also had a gift card to the cheesecake factory leftover from Christmas, and since the Cheesecake Factory was across the street, we decided we would pick up a small cake and take it home with us…. and in a spiraling pit of one place leading to another, the Cheesecake Factory is right next to Barnes and Nobles. And I love books, with about equal intensity to the love I have for my husband, children, pets, Alfredo, cheesecake, fuzzy socks…. I digress again. Suffice it to say, I love books a lot. So, I insisted that we had to walk through “on the way back to the car”. I think that might have been a small mistake, though not completely.
I looked at beautiful journals, and I am certain wonderfully engaging fiction books, and gifts for moms, grads, and kids. And, found that I didn’t need, or really even want, a single one of them. At one point, my husband came up and said “Perhaps you could look for me, since I couldn’t find it, and see if they have a New American Standard Bible…?”
…..and that is how I ended up in the Bible aisle. There I found several New American Standard Bibles for his review, including the one he got, pictured, and then I saw it. The absolute most beautiful bible I have ever seen in my life—-
Honestly, I grew up Catholic, so as far as I knew there was one version of the bible, the Catholic version. I mean, I knew that our version was different, with it’s extra books, but I never considered “protestant” bibles, or any such thing until I reached adulthood and left the Catholic church- becoming protestant. Even then, I had read King James translations only and didn’t realize there were easier to read versions. That is until I started reading a study bible that my boss kept in the break room.
It is NIV (New International Version) and you know, I was shocked at how it being easier to read made the concepts come home so much better! I have nothing against the King James version (KJV), nothing at all, but it sure was nice to not have to translate to current language terms and focus on what I should be taking away from the passage.
When my husband and I went back to church, he initially balked at any church not using KJV. He grew up on it and didn’t know what to think about other versions. He starting reading my NIV in conjunction with his KJV, and while he liked KJV better, he started finding that any differences were, for lack of better terms “immaterial”. They were there, the degree of immateriality of the differences could be debated, but as a whole the concepts come through quite clearly in both versions.
Back to Barnes and Nobles, what I found in the Bible aisle was a bevy of biblical versions such that I never in my life would have imagined. I, mean, I google bible verses, I knew that many versions existed, but it didn’t sink in until they were all right there, in print, in front of my face, completely touchable. So many ways to learn and read the word of God- it was like, no matter your understanding, or lack of understanding, of language, there was a version for EVERYONE. It was soooo inspiring, and beautiful.
As the chart above shows, some bibles are word from word translations from something else– either another version, or what we would call “source documents”, others are what we would refer to as conceptual translations.
And that might make one wonder “what if it’s wrong?!?!?” Like, what if someone translated the Bible WRONG?!
*deer in headlights*
*mouth hanging open have to use hand to shut it* shock.
The bible could be wrong?????
Simply put, no it can’t be wrong.
You say, “But…..
No. I repeat, it can’t.
Stop arguing, no. And this is why:
The Bible is the WORD OF GOD.
And GOD protects what is His, especially His word.
Regardless of if you want to read that absolutely beauteous NLT bible, or that incredibly informational NAS, or that tried and true KJV, you are getting the word of GOD. As a student of the word of God, you are going to learn what he is calling you to do, regardless of version. Further, as a smart student of the word of God, you are going to at least google, and look at other translations, you are going to check things out from the library, talk to your pastor or study group and analyze the word- you will recognize that one word can have multiple meanings, and you will take it and review it and derive what is necessary for you to understand from the passage under review.
Each version has it’s merits, and shortcomings.
Each version is translated by humans, and WILL have mistakes in it.
However, it will not have MATERIAL mistakes that prevent one from understanding the word, will and call of the Lord.
Rest assured, God will protect His Word, and as such, your “beloved” bible, regardless of translation is safe for your “everyday” use. I, for one, know that I am super duper, over the moon excited, to dive into my new NLT bible and fall in love with the word all over again.
Which version is your favorite, and why? Let’s talk about it in the comments below!