ESV, NLT, NIV, KJV, The Message… Which to Choose?

Is one translation of the Bible more truthful than the other?

This is the question of the ages that has created heated arguments, rifts in friendships and even splits among church goers. Does this not go against the central message that the Bible presents?

Love God, Love others. Period.

Yes, I believe that the Bible was God-directed and is of the words of God that have been passed onto others and written as He intended. However, if we are going to argue over translations, shouldn’t all camps realize that any questions raised can be directed back at them?

For example, if I said that I would not read The Message because it is the Bible paraphrased and the King James Version is closer to the original words and is therefore more truthful, I would be continuing a common misconception. Hence, on the flip-side, I could say that the King James Version was translated by a human who could have been humanly influenced or is, in fact, not perfect and, therefore, makes any translation or its claim to be more truthful very skeptical. In fact, the Bible needed to be translated from different Greek, Roman and Aramaic sources even before it came to us in the forms we have today. Also, if someone wanted to search for the real and so-called truth, they could even go search out the Dead Sea Scrolls.

I am not harping on any translation (as I have quite a few), I am just frustrated over this claim that one version can be more truthful than another. I do believe though that some versions can be better suited for academic versions than others, but in terms of youth work and ministry, if a student understands, or can even relate more fully to The Message than to the KJV, can anyone really argue with that?

If they are reading the words of God and are then able to apply it to their lives, I see no value in an argument over translation.


One comment

  1. This is where the Holy Spirit comes in, as my hubby always tells me. Needless to say, the Holy Spirit is the ultimate teacher, so that no matter what translation of the word of God we read, He opens up the eyes of our understanding.

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