Explaining The Different Translations

Q. I love God’s word and have several versions I read. (KJV, NASB & NIV). My son was recently saved and I gave him an NIV version. I grew up on the KJV & have memorized many passages from it. It is beautiful but sometimes a little difficult.

My pastor only condones KJV in our little church and states that he feels that the encroachment of the newer versions is just Satan’s way of causing more division among God’s people. And that the newer versions were taken from more recently discovered and less reliable Greek translations.

I respect his view but watch carefully for any gross distortions and so far feel comfortable enough with all the versions. Please help clarify this more for me … especially the Greek translations he has spoken about. Thank you so much for your ministry.

A. There are differences in translations, and some of these are the result of using different Greek manuscripts as source documents. For example, The King James is based on a different original text than the NIV, and some scholars believe that the text used by the NIV and other recent translations was influenced by early forms of gnosticism. Other scholars contend that there are words in the KJV that were not found in any Greek manuscript dated before 1500 AD. For the most part these are debates best left to academia where such things take on greater importance.

The fact remains that all English translations contain errors, caused for the most part by translators whose interpretations of the Greek have been influenced by their own theological positions. Also some newer translations adhere to the “thought for thought” method in translating the Greek instead of the traditional “word for word”. They do this in an attempt to make the Bible more readable.

You are wise in comparing different translations in an effort to determine what the authors were trying to say, as long as you stick with accepted legitimate translations. You can also use a concordance to find the literal meaning for every word in the Bible.

Share Button