ADDoration Ministries
Friday, July 30, 2021
God is SO GOOD; although I have ADD.

Bible translations


Perhaps you wonder, "Which Bible translation to read?" It helps any believer to choose a version of the Bible that speaks to him/her most effectively.

For roughly 350 years, the King James Version was looked upon as the standard for English speaking Bibles. I was born in the 1930's, and I remember when people seemed to believe that God only speaks King James language, with "thou," "thine," "art", and verbs ending with "eth." As long ago as the later nineteenth century, some clergymen were concerned that the King James language was becoming increasingly obsolete.

A classic example of King James obsolete language is John 14 opening with, "In my Father's house are many mansions." Today, the word "mansion" means a gigantic opulent house that only the very wealthy can afford. With most of the modern translations, John 14 opens with, "In my Father's house are many rooms." At the time of King James, a mansion was a room or dwelling place. A Presbyterian parsonage is called a manse.

A pastor who is old enough to have grow up with the King James Version once shared this memory of the Christmas Story. When the angels appeared to the shepherds, the King James Versions says, "They were sore afraid." As a child, this fellow wondered, "Were they so afraid that they were sore?" The newer translations of the Bible say something like, "They were filled with fear."

During the twentieth century, there has been a slew of modern translations written. During the mid twentieth century, Revised Standard Version evolved into being the standard. The 1990s saw the New Revised Standard Version supersede the Revised Standard Version. The New International Version is also popular. Roman Catholics have their modern translations in the New American Bible and The Jerusalem Bible. Also written have been some ordinary street language paraphrases, such as Good News For Modern Man, New Century, and The Living Bible. In my opinion, New Revised Standard Version is modern enough that I have less need for such as the Good News For Modern Man.

The ultimate that I have seen is a street vernacular paraphrase called The Message, authored by Eugene Peterson. Peterson gets wild in places, using such slang as "ripped off." However Peterson does reveal insight that most versions hide.

For instance, the Sermon On The Mount scripture saying, "Not everybody saying Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven" -- Peterson's The Message paraphrases it as, "Knowing the correct password -- saying 'Master, Master' for instance -- isn't going to get you anywhere with me."

As for Sermon On The Mount advising against praying where you would be seen on street corners, Peterson's The Message gets wild with, "And when you come before God, don't turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat?"

Another example of Peterson's The Message is in James about faith versus works, "Isn't it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?" Also, "Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove."

In my opinion, if Peterson's Message helps you understand scriptures, then by all means read The Message. To me, Peterson's wild wording isn't a sacrilege -- not if it helps you understand it.

I recommend having more than one translation. In this way, you can compare the translations for a particular scripture. Then let the Lord guide you in interpreting what it really says. A pastor friend comments that there is no such thing as having too many Bibles.

Personally I prefer the New Revised Standard Version; however I sometimes read Peterson's The Message, New International Version, and King James Version. Because I am not Catholic, I have no experience with the New American Bible nor The Jerusalem Bible.

As for you, let the Lord guide you to which version or versions speak to you most effectively.

<*(((>< your ADD brother in the Risen Christ,
Lester Hemphill
Founder of ADDoration Ministries