Episode 1: Why Are There So Many Bible Versions?
Created by Elliot Lui
There are hundreds of translations of the Bible. Some skeptics would ask “If the Bible is the Word of God, wouldn’t there just be one version?” Is this even a valid argument against the Bible?
The links from the video are listed here:
For each of these videos, I would also include some additional materials or writings that was not included in the video to supplement the topic of the video. Here are the supplements for this episode:
“Right” and “wrong” versions depends on usage
The conclusion I was trying to make is that there isn’t really a “right” or “wrong” version. Selecting Bible versions really depend on what purpose you are planning on using the Bible. If you doing a Bible Study, you should use a more literal translation to get the most of what you are trying to study. If you are to do your daily reading, you may want to have a version that you can actually comprehend.
A rant on paraphrased versions
What I don’t understand is that why are there paraphrased versions of the Bible. They are extremely different to what the original language intended to write, and they really lose the mood and the tone of what the passage is trying to convey.
Let me give an example. Suppose we compare Psalm 1:1 between the New King James Version and The Message. This verse is the beginning of a psalm that describes the blessings of the righteous compared to the wicked.
“Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;” (New King James Version)
“How well God must like you – you don’t hang out at Sin Saloon, you don’t slink along Dead-End Road, you don’t go to Smart-Mouth College.” (The Message)
Now, in principle, the verse in The Message can relate with the word-for-word translation, but it is very different when you are wondering what the verses says. I don’t even think that the rephrased version made more sense than the literal versions. The words that were used don’t even make sense. (Sin Saloon? Dead-End Road? Is Smart-Mouth College even a phrase?) Furthermore, the beauty from the verse is lost from this rewording. Psalms is usually good for prayer, praises, etc because of the fact that it is poetry, and the rewording ruins the flow of the psalm. I would highly recommend to AVOID using paraphrased versions because there really aren’t any good uses to them. (I cringe when I go to church services that put up a verse from the Message on the screen. That’s just me.)
Beware of incorrect translations
I’ve already said that there is no “right” or “wrong” version. However, this only fits if the publisher remains faithful in translating from the original text for what they are and not to be influence from personal beliefs and alter the translation to fit their beliefs. The translations from the video are faithful translations so there is no worry about them there. If you were to have a copy of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ translation of the Bible, the New World Translation, it may be a fairly accurate translation, but there are additions in it that were made to support their doctrines. For example, they commit a Greek 101 mistake when they translate “The Word was a God” rather than “The Word was God” in John 1. The mistake is that if the verse was to say “a god,” there would be an indefinite article in front of the word, which there wasn’t. To add to that, they tell people to read this version of the Bible along with their published pamphlets, The Watchtower. Do not use this version and find versions that are more faithful in translating the manuscripts for what they are.
Be sure to comment either here or on the video if you have any comments, questions, concerns, etc.
Until next time,
An Asian Believer, Elliot