I am going to attempt a new series on the blog discussing modern English translations of the Bible. Before I start, let me explain what sparked this little project.
In the last year I have been approached 3 separate times with questions regarding modern English translations. The first time, a year or so ago, a student in our youth group forwarded a post to me warning against the New International Version (NIV) (I included a picture of the post she forwarded). Over the last two weeks, while leading a Bible study at the boy’s center, I have been approached by a handful of people complaining about the use of translations other than the King James Version (KJV). One employee even told the kids that they would be better off throwing their modern translations away than reading them because they are a perversion of the only “authorized” English Bible. The third, unrelated incident, involved a member of my church asking questions about the reliability of our Bibles after being challenged by a group of Mormon missionaries who came to his home.
Given these three incidents, I feel that it is important to address why I believe that Christians can and should trust the reliability of most modern translations. I hope to craft a message to deliver at church on a Sunday night, however, sermons do not lend themselves well to citing sources and providing loads of historical data. I hope to use this blog as a sort of endnotes and logical connections that will lead to a more concise and helpful case for the use of modern English translations of the Bible. Hopefully, as a fringe benefit to the study I will be able to provide some helpful advice for choosing a Bible translation for you or your children.
Among my goal for this exercise is to capture the spirit of Galatians 5:1
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
Of course, Paul wasn’t referring to modern English Bible translations when he penned this verse. Instead he was referring to the belief that we must keep the OT law, particularly by being circumcised, in order to be right with God. Yet, though the topic is different, I am confident that Paul’s reply would be the same. Christ’s death has made us free and no particular translation stands as a standard of true or false faith. Of course different translations have different strengths and weaknesses and it only helps us to understand their differences. However, we must be careful not to create a yoke of slavery in an area where God himself has given us freedom.