Monday, 9 May 2011

Understanding the Bible part 2 - Which Bible?

Did you ever hear the story of the lady who refused to be parted with her beloved King James Bible when she was offered a more modern version as a gift? Clinging tightly to her well worn volume she declared "if it was good enough for the Apostle Paul then it's good enough for me?" Of course I'm sure you realise that Paul did not use a King James version, but the tale of the woman and her Bible does demonstrate the absurdity of the argument against modern translations of the Bible.

The reason that an English language translation of the Bible was created in the first place was so that ordinary people (those who were not conversant in Latin or ancient Greek) could own, read and understand God's word for themselves. However the English language has changed considerably in the last four hundred years, with many words and phrases that are in the KJV no longer in everyday use in the modern world. Therefore to insist on people using a Bible with language that ordinary people struggle to understand seems to go against the spirit of men such as Wycliffe and Tyndale, who sacrificed so much to get God's word into the hands of everyone.

Not only that, but  the translators of the old authorised version had quite limited resources in putting together the original KJV, whereas modern scholars have been able to benefit from finds such as the dead sea scrolls and other extra biblical documents to make their translations not only more readable, but also more accurate.

So my advice to you would be to get hold of a Bible that you can read and understand the language. Some good modern translations I would personally recommend would be the English Standard Version, The New Living Translation and the Holman Christian Standard Version. All are the works of non-sectarian translation groups (unlike the New World translation used by the Jehovah's witnesses or the Mormon Bible.), and are based on the original biblical texts combined with modern translation knowledge.

The most important thing is that you read God's wonderful word for yourself.

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