Today I had the opportunity to be engaged in a very good conversation about which version of the Bible a Christian should study. If you ask around you will quickly find out that there are as many opinions on this subject as there are versions from which to choose.
So which one is the right one?
Before I answer that question, let me jump way out on a theological limb and poise another more seminal question. Upon what does God’s anointing rest? Is the anointing upon the letters printed on the page? Does the anointing only start when those letters form words? Do those words have to be in the form of sentences or perhaps verses?
Let’s pick a word. Perhaps “power” is a good one to use. In Acts chapter 1 verse 8 we read…
“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. ” (KJV 1900)
Is the word “power” anointed? If I say, “I need to pay my power bill.” Is the word still anointed? You might think that I’m being ridiculous but when does a word become “God’s” word.
The answer is: When God says it!
The anointing lies in the speaker and the context. Take God’s word out of context and it looses it’s anointing because it’s no longer His word but someone else’s. Said more simply, when the story is retold is it told accurately? Is it possible to retell a story using different words and be accurate? I believe that it is, therefore I have no difficulty with versions of the Bible that stay accurate to the original manuscripts and yet use more modern, easier to understand English than the King James version of the Bible.
For those who would argue that the King James is more accurate in its interpretation I would like to offer this….
“ἀλλὰ λήμψεσθε δύναμιν ἐπελθόντος τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος ἐφʼ ὑμᾶς, καὶ ἔσεσθέ μου μάρτυρες ἔν τε Ἰερουσαλὴμ καὶ ἐν πάσῃ τῇ Ἰουδαίᾳ καὶ Σαμαρείᾳ καὶ ἕως ἐσχάτου τῆς γῆς. ”
What, you mean you can’t read New Testament Greek? Here let me translate that verse for you.
“What you’ll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.”
That’s Acts 1:8 from The Message a transliteration. Now which would be better, not understanding at all or getting the story accurate. The words are not exactly from the original manuscript but the story IS accurate.
If we mandate the King James there are those to whom it is as foreign as the Greek was to you. I can’t believe that this would be pleasing to God.
However, as a guide to accurate translations, consider the chart below in your decision making process. I use the ESV most often, as it is a very accurate translation of the original manuscripts (even more word for word than the King James) and yet easier for people to understand today.