Thoughts of a messed up Christian saved by God's grace

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Should we be one Bible version Christians? Part 1

 I had a conversation/debate a while back with a friend of mine via Facebook chat who is extremely King James only. I had been thinking about the issue for a while, and our conversation led me to think some more.

  Our conversation/debate arose from something he posted. It was a dual picture showing the 3 Hebrew children in the furnace with the 4th man. On the left, was the KJV translation which renders King Neb saying "Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God." In the second picture it had a more modern translation, which renders the last part "and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” My friend commented about that being proof we should read just the KJV.

 What started our conversation, was I messaged him and said I didn't think that was a good argument for KJV only..... Neb was a heathen king, who up until that time was most likely not familiar with the God of the Hebrews. We know who the 4th Man was, but his mind would not have gone to our God, but to a god. Either way you read it, nothing is gained or lost.. it was a heathen king noticing something miraculous.

 I was raised on the KJV, and we still use it at our church. My pastor will occasionally read from the New King James Version and has quoted from The New Living a few times, but we primarily use the KJV.

 I can still remember the first time I was in a Christian bookstore and saw a new King James Version of the Bible. I was horrified and thought it heresy. I wanted to tell the lady who was being helped by a sales clerk with the Bible not to buy it, but to get a KJV...... but I didn't. Thankfully.

  Then I went to Bible college and had a professor who was extremely pro-NIV and strongly encouraged his students to buy one, so I did...... and didn't really care for it.

  For several years I was still KJV, then I started working at a Christian bookstore in 1999 and had to learn about Bibles and Bible versions so I could sell them to people and help them find the right Bible for them or whoever they were buying one for. I bravely bought a New King James Bible and started reading it.... and discovered that I really liked it.

 The NKJV basically takes out words we don't use - thou, thy, lovest, makest...... and many more, and replaces them with words we DO use: You, your, love, make, etc. The "charity chapter" becomes the "love chapter", as it was intended to be. This wasn't a heretical translation after all, and I found it much more easy to read than the KJV...... and lightning didn't strike me for realizing that.

  Then the New Living Translation gained popularity. I stepped closer the ledge and bought a copy..... and the earth didn't open up and swallow me. God didn't leave me to speak to me ever again..... and I found it even easier to read, and found myself noticing things that I hadn't before. And I discovered something else: when I was reading familiar passages in the KJV, I tended to skim, but when reading another translation, I had to focus more on what I was reading, because it was not the version I had memorized those verses in or read a hundred times.

Several years went by, with my carrying my KJV Bible to church, but reading the NJKV and the NLT at home.

 Then I started reviewing books and had the opportunity to review Bibles, and started adding other versions: The NIV, The Common English Bible, The Message, God's Word, and more. If you look at the first picture in this blog post, those are all of my Bibles....... I think, except for one that I don't know the location of. There are 10 translations represented in that picture. Some are stronger translations than others, and one is a paraphrase.

  Am I a heathen or heretic for reading other translations than the KJV? No, I don't believe I am. I believe my devotional life and Bible reading has been enriched and opened up more by reading other translations. And with the exception of The Message, which is a paraphrase, I haven't run across any doctrinal or theological issues that are out there or wrong. (I use The Message occasionally to make a passage clearer, but would never have a paraphrase by one man be my main Bible).

  I think it is helpful to have a few versions to compare when doing Bible study and reading.

 I even have a Parallel Bible that has 4 different versions so you can easily compare while reading...... and one of them is the KJV, imagine that!

 This post is getting a little long, so I am going to continue in a second one and discuss more why I don't think people should be one version only.... especially the KJV, since that is usually the one version those people stubbornly cling to.

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