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Accurate Bible?
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Why doesn’t somebody translate a more accurate Bible—one that’s more than one person’s interpretation of the original Hebrew and Greek texts? I want a Bible that doesn’t take away from the divinity of Christ, like parts of the New King James Version do.

Pastor Steve Answers:

Now consider this: Even if you knew Hebrew and Greek, the Bible was written before copy machines were invented. So as people created handwritten copies, some errors were bound to become part of the mix.

That’s why when archaeologists unearth very old scrolls, they compare them to what they already have. If there’s a difference between something in an old scroll and what’s in a newer one, of course the older one is considered more accurate.

The King James Version of the Bible appeared in 1611. Since then archaeologists have found many older manuscripts. So it’s likely that the 1611 King James Version isn’t as accurate as the 1982 New King James Version—simply because in the past 371 years translators have incorporated material from the older manuscripts.

Now, when one person translates the Bible from Hebrew or Greek into English (or rewords or simplifies the words from an existing English Bible), it’s called a paraphrase. Examples would be The Living Bible, The Clear Word, or The Message. Of course, there’s a danger when only one person “translates” the Bible based on their own understanding.

Most translations are written by a group of scholars from different denominations, even from different countries. This way one religious denomination doesn’t dominate or skew the translation. To find out who worked on your favorite translation, read some of the introductory pages located at the front of your Bible.

For those of you who are paranoid that these new translations are an undercover demonic work, remember that the purpose of creating a new translation is so others will come to know Jesus. And that’s an understanding issue rather than an accuracy issue.

Personally, I’ve started reading The Clear Word during my devotional time. At first things seemed a lot different from what I was accustomed to reading in the Bible. So I put question marks by all the things that seemed inaccurate to me.

But when I looked up the question marks in an “accurate” translation, it surprised me that many of the items I’d questioned had been there all the time. I just hadn’t noticed them until I read the paraphrase.

Sometimes I chuckle when people make a big case against a particular translation or paraphrase. I wonder if they realize that the same Holy Spirit who inspired the Bible writers in the first place is available to help us understand the Bible now.

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By Steve Case. Reprinted with permission from Insight Magazine Online. Copyright © 2014 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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