Which Bible should you trust ?
It was quite an eye-opener, when I first discovered how important it was to look deeper than an English translation of the Bible, and look at the meanings of words in the original languages. When one considers that the religious beliefs of the translators could dramatically effect the way in which they translated certain words, or passages of scripture, it is not surprising that there can be substantial differences between Bibles.
For example, one would expect a Catholic translator to translate words in a way that would reflect Catholic teaching, a Protestant translator would translate words in a way that would reflect Protestant or Evangelical teaching, and a secular scholar would translate words or passages according to his beliefs, as well.
A thorough discussion of the relative merits of the various Bible versions is far too extensive for this website, so we'll keep this as simple as possible. This discussion will focus primarily on the New Testament.
It is vital to keep in mind that with one possible exception, the book of Matthew, the New Testament was written in the Greek language. If you want the things, which you believe, to be in line with what was written by the original writers of the New Testament books, you need some way to determine the meaning of a number of important Greek words.
Even something as basic as the meaning of the term " born again " requires an understanding of the Greek word ανωθεν , which is usually translated " again ", but 90% of the time is better translated " from above ". If you study John 3:5-8, where Jesus corrects the thinking of Nicodemus concerning what is meant by the new birth, you will see that " from above " is much more in line with the rest of His teaching. One of the best ways to determine the best translation of a word, or passage, is to look at the context, other uses of the same Greek word, and other scriptures that deal with the same subject! Translators of modern English Bibles usually reject this important method.
Your local Christian bookstore should carry books like a Strong's Concordance, a Young's Concordance, and a Greek/English interlinear based upon the Textus Receptus ( The Received Text ) which will help the serious Bible student sort out truth from error.
The three main issues, between Bible versions, are manuscript selection ( often called textual criticism ), translation, and readability. Most Bible versions seem similar, but some of the modern language translations have omissions, which relate to some of the early manuscripts, upon which they are based. This usually has more to do with the beliefs of the translators, and their manuscript selections, than with translation.
There are a differences between versions, which occur from differences in translation. Examples are John 3:1-21,36, 1st Corinthians 13, and John 15. On the surface, these may not seem to be that important, but some of these differences are important, and are responsible for the differences between churches. If " believe " really means to trust or obey, if " born again " really means born from above, if " charity " really means unselfish love, etc. a person's understanding can be changed dramatically.
A discussion of Bibles would be incomplete without the mention of THE NEW WORLD TRANSLATION of the HOLY SCRIPTURES. It is not a trustworthy Bible. No serious Bible study should be done using that Bible. It is based upon the most inferior of the Greek texts, the one known as the " Wescott and Hort text ". The " translation " has actually been changed in many places to match the beliefs of a particular religion.
Few people today know what the Bible really is, or what it is about. In our day, we nearly always find it as a single book, having the Old Testament and New Testament. There are some people today, who think the Bible was written by a single author. In reality, God inspired about 40 different authors to write the 66 " books " that comprise most modern Bibles. The Bible is actually a collection of these 66 books, ranging in length from one written page, to as many as 100 pages, depending on the type size and page size. These books were written over a space of perhaps 2000 years. The way in which they relate to each other cannot be reasonably explained in any other fashion than to say that they were somehow related to the same Source,- inspired by the one true God.
It is a lack of education, lack of honesty, or just plain laziness, that brings some teachers to be simplistic, and say," GOD WROTE THE BIBLE. " Those who rightly divide the word of truth can easily determine that 2 Timothy 3:16 does not say that ," All scripture is God breathed. " That is obvious when you look at the rest of the verse, and the Bible as a whole. In the original language, the titles of the synoptic gospels simply say, " KATA " ( the Greek word for 'according to' ) followed by the Greek words for Matthew, Mark, and Luke. ( according to Matthew, according to Mark, and according to Luke etc. ) Would God lie, and say that Matthew wrote something, that He actually wrote himself? Of course not! He did not dictate to Matthew. He inspired Matthew. This " God wrote the Bible " teaching is religious extremism, and should be rejected.
The process of putting together a Bible starts with manuscript selection. With regard to the New Testament, a choice must be made as to which Greek manuscripts will be selected for use. In other words, which early Greek manuscripts are we going to use in our original language text? The basic manuscripts have been in existence for well over 1000 years, Most of the original language texts are ok, but those from Northern Africa omit a number of words, or verses, that are present in the manuscripts from the area primarily evangelized by the first apostles. That these omissions, should not have occured, can be determined by reading the writings of the early church fathers, and by comparing the verses to other scriptures.
Two early manuscripts, from the 4th century AD, have been given far more attention than they deserve. In this case, older does not mean better. One is called the codex Sinaiaticus, consisting of scrolls, which were literally pulled from a wastebasket in the Mt. Sinai monastary in the mid 1800's. It is a well kept secret that there are many " corrections " in this manuscript, and in one case, there are 7 corrections in the same verse, which is probably the reason that it was discarded before being " discovered " by a manuscript hunter, in the mid 1800's. It is abbreviated with a letter that looks like a Greek chi, or " X ".
The second old manuscript is called the codex Vaticanus, a manuscript that was " discovered " in a library in the Vatican in the 14th century. No one knows precisely where it came from, or how it got there. The wording is, in many cases, similar to that of the Sinaiaticus. It is abbreviated with a letter that looks like the Greek beta, or " B ".
If your Bible has 130 or more differences with the traditional Bibles, like the King James and the New King James ( differences which are mostly omissions ) these omissions came almost exclusively from the use of these two corrupt manuscripts. A number of modern Bibles, namely the NIV, NASB, RSV, NRSV, Living Bible, contain these omissions, and frequently say things about the omissions, which are simply untrue. Much of what is written in the introduction, or preface, portion of many of the modern Bibles, is not correct. They say things to try to get you believe that they translated from the " original " manuscripts, so that they can get you to buy one of their Bibles. Any reputable scholar will tell you that only copies of the originals exist, today. The original manuscripts have long since worn out, lost, or destroyed. This is the reason why we don't recommend most of the modern Bibles.
The subject of Bible versions can become quite controversial. This is particularly true concerning those who are part of the King James only belief system. Due to a particularly nasty e-mail which I received not too long ago, from a King James only person, I feel it necessary to include a little more information here.
There are pastors and teachers out there, who regularly make false statements about Bible versions, to gullible listeners, that are simply false, and anyone who has studied the subject knows they are false. They get away with it, because few people care enough about Biblical accuracy, to research the subject for themselves. They frequently resort to exalting the King James 1611 Version, or The New World Translation, or another Bible Version, and cutting down other Bible versions, when they simply don't know what they are talking about.
King James only advocates are fond of referring to the original 1611 edition as the " authorized " version. What they don't tell you is, by whom it was authorized, and its significance. This " authorized " version was authorized by King James I of England, a religious man who aligned himself with Calvinists and Anglicans, at the expense of the Puritans. There are some specific words that were translated in such a way as to not offend the King, rather than applying the usual standards of manuscript translation. One example is the use of " charity ", rather than " unselfish love " in 1st Corinthians 13. Many, of the Puritan sect, had to flee the England ruled by King James I, to seek religious freedom in America. The King James Bibles of today are reasonably good, but this stamp of authority by King James I, of England, is not a particular virtue.
No English translation of the Bible is perfect. That is why other resources are important, such as a Strong's Concordance, and an interlinear Greek/English Bible ( received text ) for example, if you really want the whole truth. One can find a few minor problems in all English translations. Most Bibles incorrectly translate a Greek word, which means FROM ABOVE as AGAIN, in John 3:3,7. And, in most modern English translations, verses in Ephesians 2 and Romans 8 are translated incorrectly as HAVING BEEN SAVED, instead of the correct: ARE SAVED. Having said that, it is important to have a Bible that is readable in modern English. If it isn't in a language that you understand, it isn't much good no matter how accurate it is. If you look hard enough, you can find a few mistranslations in the old KJV also. 1611 KJV cultists won't like this, but it is true.
In spite its rare defects, we recommend the New King James Bible because of its overall outstanding accuracy, and easy ( about 9th grade ) readability. Much nonsense has been published concerning the fact that Nelson Publishers chose to put a symbol on the cover of the NKJV, called the " triquetra ", an ancient symbol for the Trinity. A symbol can mean one thing to one person, and something entirely different to another. Whether the triquetra has, in the past, been used by others in an unholy manner, is irrelevant, and has nothing to do with the accuracy of the NKJV itself.
Note: You can look up topics and references in a number of different Bibles, by clicking on the Internet Bible Search link below.
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Mexico Beach Civic Center
Map of Civic Center Area
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