Terry A Little Bible Help Please

Discussion in 'Religious Discussions' started by Airdale, Oct 16, 2011.

  1. Airdale

    Airdale Active Member

    Mar 31, 2009
    N.W. Arkansas
    Terry, I have noticed you use several different versions of the Bible. Some of the versions or translations are interesting and easier to read.

    Could you please give us a brief review and opinion on the different Bibles you use in your ministry? My only Bible is the good old KJV but some of the passages you cite from ESV and TLB have grabbed my attention enough to want to update my meager library with a newer version. Any suggestion or recommendations would be appreciated.
  2. lonewolf204

    lonewolf204 Well-Known Member

    Apr 10, 2011
    I have been wondering the same thing! I have always used the KJV.

  3. carver

    carver Moderator Supporting Member

    It's all I use, or ever will use. But that's just me!
  4. tcox4freedom

    tcox4freedom Well-Known Member

    I personally have several translations. But, my go-to is usually my NIV Study Bible. (Simply because of it's readability) I have a pastorial KJV version that I've used to prepare sermons & SS lessons. I also like the NKJV, amplified, NESB and ESV.

    Recently I've discovered the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) on YouVersion.com. I've really enjoyed reading some of the "expressions" used in the passages of it.

    YouVersion is a "FREE" online "Bible" study & reading site; where you can read multiple translations of the Holy Bible. I highly recommend people taking a look at YouVersion.

    One thing I would recommend is a GOOD "Bible" dictonary and exhaustive concordance. I also like a "subject" guide for "Bible" study. I have found a subject guide is a very useful tool for pastors, layman and new christian alike.

    Last edited: Oct 16, 2011
  5. Airdale

    Airdale Active Member

    Mar 31, 2009
    N.W. Arkansas

    Thanks for the info. YouVersion is a very helpful site.
  6. tcox4freedom

    tcox4freedom Well-Known Member

    You're welcome.

    Youversion will allow you time to compare several translations. I'm sure you can find one (or more) you like. Like I said, I own at least 8-10 bibles is several different translations.

    Last edited: Oct 16, 2011
  7. ampaterry

    ampaterry *TFF Admin Staff Chaplain* Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2008
    West Tennessee
    Airdale, I do indeed use several different versions.
    There is one cardinal rule, though, in using any more modern versions:
    It must not contradict or change the meaning of the KJV.
    The King James is absolutely the closest translation to the original languages that is still reasonably readable. If versions get CLOSER to the original language, they start to get more difficult to read. For instance:
    The first words of the Bible are (transliterations from memory) Hebrew:
    Barasheet bara elohim hashamayim veha aritz.

    A DIRECT WORD FOR WORD translation of that is:
    In the beginning created gods the heaven and the earth

    The KJV shifts the words into the format we use in English:
    In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

    The Living Bible makes a subtle meaning change:
    When God began creating the heavens and the earth,

    The Message adds something that is not there:
    First this: God created the Heavens and Earth—all you see, all you don't see.

    As they get FARTHER from the original language, they may become easier to read, but there is greater chance of the meaning being shifted.
    Like denominations, I think most versions have some good points, yet none is perfect.

    If I were restricted to only ONE version other than the KJV, it would be the NCV (New Century Version). It is very readable, and I have yet to find anywhere that it departs in meaning from the KJV.

    The Amplified King James helps glean additional meanings while maintaining the closeness to the original languages.

    The New King James solves some of the language difficulties caused by the intervening 400 years since the original KJV was written.

    The Message is extremely readable, but sometimes it is a bit TOO off base from the original for my taste.

    Beyond those, I like many others as well -

    Try this site to check several different versions before you buy any:

    EDIT - NEVER MIND! Tim's site is EASIER TO USE, and has MORE VERSION!!!

    I use a few test verses.
    John 1:1 establishes that Jesus is God.
    If you find that meaning being subtly changed, avoid that version.

    John 3:16, of course, must not have the meaning altered in any way.

    As you read another version, if anything strikes you as something new - check it with the KJV and make sure it has not had the meaning shifted.

    Judy likes the CEV - Contemporary English Version, and I have no problem with it either.

    Now, having said all that -
    My readings from the pulpit are 100% KJV.
    ON OCCASION, I will follow that with another version of the same passage for clarity.
    When I use another version in my devotionals, it is because I have FIRST checked the KJV, and found another version with the SAME MEANING, but easier to read.

    I hope this helps - -
  8. CampingJosh

    CampingJosh Well-Known Member

    Sep 25, 2007
    When discussing this topic, I always like to start by explaining some of the reasons why we have so many different translations.

    Every English-language translation is based on hand-copied texts in Greek (New Testament) and Hebrew and Aramaic (Old Testament). The "paper" at that time was very poor quality, being made from papyrus, animal skins, and other materials that do not age well. This meant that each book had to be copied frequently, since the material would wear out from use. The printing press would not be invented for centuries after even the last of the the books of the Bible were written, so copying by hand was the only available method.

    This hand-copying did not occur in a single location. Instead, different monasteries across Europe, Asia, and northern Africa all constantly produced copies for their own use. Now, a little over 1900 years after the last of the New Testament books were written, we do not have any original portions of any book of the Bible. All we have are some of these copies (among scholars, these copies are called "manuscripts").

    No problem, right? Well...

    See, these manuscripts we have do not all match perfectly. Most of the differences are very minor spelling variations, switches in word order, etc. But there are a few places where whole phrases, sentences, and paragraphs are included in some manuscripts but are missing from others; and there are places where dramatically different meanings are written into different manuscripts. (It is worth noting that some manuscripts are just a single verse recorded in a letter from a historical church leader or in a lectionary--a book of daily readings, sort of like a devotional book today.)

    So what do we do when we find places that don't match? Well, it makes sense that we would do our best to determine which version is the original and which version was changed. This process is known as "textual criticism," and (despite the source :rolleyes:) this section of Wikipedia does a pretty good job of explaining it.

    Based on all of this, it is my belief that translations of the Bible that are based on a more complete, carefully analyzed collection of the manuscripts are more likely to accurately convey the messages that the Holy Spirit, through the chosen writers, intended to communicate. Continuing scholarship in this field leads to new translations (and updates to previous translations).

    In addition to better understanding of what is the original text, there are several other reasons for the numerous translations.
    • Changes in the meaning of English words over time
    • Improved understanding of the Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic words (which comes largely from finding the words used in other ancient sources and examining the meaning in those)
    • Intended reading level (some translations are intentionally inteded for 3rd grade students, 8th grade, etc.)
    • Denominational differences (YES, some people have intentionally influenced translations to support their own positions)
    • Purpose (readability vs. literalness, as Terry discussed)
    • And probably many, many more...

    So, all of that to say this:
    Based on my own personal examination of the Greek text (I know almost no Hebrew and absolutely no Aramaic), I personally use the ESV - English Standard Version and NASB - New American Standard Bible when I want a very literal translation. It's worth noting that the NASB is one that, like Terry says, is rather difficult to read more than a verse or two at a time. The ESV is more readable, but it doesn't follow the sentence structure quite as well. I choose to use the ESV more.
    When I am reading for devotional purposes, I use the NLT - New Living Translation or the NIV - New International Version.

    As for the KJV, it is an excellent translation of the Textus Receptus, the Greek manuscripts available to the translators at that time.
    My struggles with the KJV are twofold. First, the translation is so dated that it is difficult for me to understand. It is "modern" English, but it is dramatically different from any other text I read, so I am prone to misunderstanding the uses of some words. Second, its New Testament is based on a quite limited selection of Greek manuscripts, some of which have been demonstrated to be very unlikely to match what the New Testament authors originally wrote.

    I'll add that Bible Gateway is an online resource that I use frequently when checking multiple versions. I haven't taken the opportunity to properly explore the resources Terry and Tim linked, but I have bookmarked them. Thanks for sharing, guys!

    Finally, a good Bible dictionary should be on the desk of everyone who wants to understand God's Word. There are many words that just don't have a true equivalent in English, so the full meaning cannot be "translated" in a word or two.
    But I won't go into recommendations on that...
  9. My personal favorite is the "New Translation" done by James A.R. Moffatt in the early 1900's. I find it the least argumentative and done without any agenda of conforming the text to the orthodox standard.

    However, in leading Bible study groups, I use the NIV; the scholarship is superb and it is very easy to read - the "study version" has lots of notes, maps, and cross-references that are a big help.

    What's funny, though, is that when I spout off a quote or two, they're almost always in the Elizabethan English of the KJV, the version I first began reading fifty-some-odd years ago. However, that was a translation from Jerome's Latin "Vulgate" which was written with a clear agenda: "orthodoxy" was pretty new at that point, the primacy of the papacy had just been established beginning with Leo I, and there were still "heresies" to be cleaned up. Then, the KJV had a similar agenda, though by that time it was "Catholic" v. "Protestant". And, by the way, Jerome's work was on the basis not of the earliest texts, but of copies of copies of copies... I therefore regard the KJV as the least authoritative version, though, as I said, that's generally the one the quotes come from.

    What amazes me are what I regard as "the three miracles of the Bible":
    1) that it has survived all this time, pretty much intact (I regard the differences as generally unimportant); if The Church knew what it had in that book, I'm certain they'd have destroyed it centuries ago, rather than merely prohibiting the unwashed masses from actually reading it;
    2) the depth of the structure of the content is designed to match the infinite depth within us - such that it can grab a person, any person, every person, exactly where he is, and for exactly what he is, and every time he re-reads the same text, it will have "grown" to match his own growth - "the depth is within you", but the Bible matches that depth; and
    3) that the generally accepted canon was compiled as it was by the people who compiled it - to me, this is the most amazing, because those people were basically politicians attempting to cement their position within the newly constituted Roman empire.

    The Canon is not complete; there are hundreds of books that didn't make it; including a few that I think are pretty important. I think everyone should read "The Gospel of Thomas", "The Gospel of Philip", "The Secret Gospel of James", "The Gospel of Mary Magdalene", and "The Gospel of Truth". However, that's merely a bonus, because here's the real kicker in terms of the miraculous structure of the Canon: absolutely everything a person needs to know for his own salvation is contained therein.

    Amazing. Do you suppose it was done intentionally? (grin, chuckle)
  10. carver

    carver Moderator Supporting Member

  11. Airdale

    Airdale Active Member

    Mar 31, 2009
    N.W. Arkansas
    This forum and it's members never cease to amaze me.
    Thanks to TCox, Terry, Josh and User for your contributions
    and suggestions. I've got a little more comparing to do but you all have steered me to the info. I needed.

    Again thank you all!!!:thumbsup:
  12. ampaterry

    ampaterry *TFF Admin Staff Chaplain* Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2008
    West Tennessee
    Josh, I will add that my favorite aid in Bible study is a complete Concordance.
    Strongs is the old standard.
    You look up ANY word in the Bible, find the passage it is used in, and get the NUMBER of that word. You then turn to the back of the book and look up that number in either the Hebrew or Greek dictionaries which are part of Strongs. You will find the word in the original language, a transliteration of that word, then a description of all the meanings that word can have.

    A good Bible program on a computer will help a HUGE amount with this -
    I currently use Wordsearch 9, and it is fabulous.
    I can read along in the KJV, and whenever I want to investigate a word I click a button that turns ON the Strongs numbers; every word in the text now has a strongs number behind it. I click on the number behind the word in question and am instantly in the appropriate dictionary with a full definition of that original language word, how many times it is used in the Bible, and what English words have been used in the KJV Translation for it.
    It is not the cheapest program out there, as some are free, but it is not that expensive either. I have been adding books to mine for years, so have a fair amount of money tied up in it, but you can get the basic package which has several versions, strongs, a couple of dictionaries and lots of study aids for $ 35. Check it here:

    The same company is offering Bible Explorer for $15 right now, and it is also a good little program; I used it during the transition from my old computer to this one.

    I was a QuickVerse fan for many years, but they have had serious problems for the last few years. The last two up-dates I got from them had such serious glitches in them that it was virtually unusable.

    I prefer a program on my computer to the on-line programs, because then it is ALWAYS accessible to me, regardless of Internet access troubles -
    The Quickverse allows you to have it on more than one computer, too, so I have it on my notebook as well. I take it up to church on Sunday and use it quite a bit up there getting ready for service. We have no internet connection at the church - -
  13. ampaterry

    ampaterry *TFF Admin Staff Chaplain* Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2008
    West Tennessee
    ps - in the Wordsearch version of Strongs, you can also click on any word in the Hebrew or Greek dictionaries and it will pronounce it for you through your computers speakers. A GREAT aid for those of us that are not true language scholars!
  14. CampingJosh

    CampingJosh Well-Known Member

    Sep 25, 2007
    YES, a concordance is necessary to make a Bible dictionary properly usable, and Strong's is the standard for a reason.

    And I don't want to mislead anyone: I cannot read the Greek text. I can study the Greek, but it is a slow process where I have at least three books open the whole time.
  15. carver

    carver Moderator Supporting Member

    Things that are different are not the same! Things that are the same are not different!
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