Friday, November 22, 2013

KJV Only! Right?

A couple of years ago I got into the habit of reading a different translation of the Bible each year as I have gone through my personal Bible reading.  I started out with what I was most familiar and really what I grew up on which was the New King James Version (NKJV).  Then I went to what I now deem my favorite translation, the New International Version (NIV).  Currently I am days away from completing my latest translation which is the New American Standard Bible (NASB).  My next translation will be one that I am interested in starting because of things I’ve heard and the little I’ve used it and it will be the New Living Translation (NLT).

Don’t misunderstand what I just shared with you.  This isn’t about getting attention for having read through the Bible a few times or the number of translations I’ve read.  This is about getting into a subject that is very personal to followers of Christ.  That subject is translations of the Bible.  Is there only one correct one to use?  Which is best?  Is it wrong to only use one translation?

There are some followers of Christ out there that will tell you that if you do not use a particular translation of the Bible then you aren’t using “the” Bible.  I actually heard this from a pastor not too long ago.  The translation that is usually most adamantly defended as being “the one and only Bible” is the King James Version (KJV).  Now before anyone gets upset with me, my first Bible was a KJV and I still have it on the shelf in my office, along with two other copies.  But the problem is with the narrow view that the KJV is the only version that should be used, not the version itself.  Many times those that argue so strongly for the KJV forget to mention that the Biblical texts were originally written in Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic, not in 17th Century English.  Again don’t hear me bashing the KJV or any other specific translation.  Do hear me say this; it’s not right to put down believers who do not prefer your preferred translation.

In my nearly 10 years of ministry I’ve used KJV, NKJV, NIV, NASB and NLT from the pulpit.  The first time I ever preached from the KJV was under mango trees in Honduras, just 5 months ago.  The first time I preached from the NLT was just two weeks ago.  I have primarily used the other translations throughout the years.  If you can’t tell by now I am a big proponent of using varied translations to help us get a better picture of what God is revealing to us through the text.  Like my chairman of Deacons said when I mentioned my apprehension of preaching from the NLT, he reminded me that different translations bring a different perspective. He was right.  If you enjoy the language of the KJV and don’t want to use another translation, I understand.  If you prefer a translation in modern English like the NIV, NLT, or others (such as the CEV or ESV) then by all means use them.  I encourage you to get out of your comfort zone and try a different translation and see how God will speak to you in a new way.  If you do try a different translation, don’t give up on it quickly or easily.  Variety is said to be the spice of life but the important thing is to be in the Word regardless of what translation you use!

Take a moment to leave a comment as to the translation you prefer and why.  I am interested to see what translation most of my readers prefer.  (As always, make sure your comments are encouraging and glorifying to Him.)

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1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed the Blog again, you really have good handle on treating delicately a sensitive subject. When I worked at lifeway, I would ask the customer question to see what they were looking for in a bible. Some translations ( word for word) are good for serious bible study (KJV, ASV,ESV,NKJV, NIV). Some are good (paraphrase) for helping those who want an easier translation to understand and also these translations are good for new believers. (NLT, The Message). I like bibles that have parallel translations on the same page. Parallel bibles Gives me a good perceptive when studying, The draw back is smaller print.