On Translation

My FAQ explains why I don't get into debates about translation:

Q. What's your favorite edition of the Bible? What's your favorite translation?

My favorite is the one I daydream about in my head. If I could name a perfect edition, I'd probably spend all my time writing about that one. Since I can't, I write about everything. But it's no secret I'm partial to the good stuff — high end Bibles from R. L. Allan's and Cambridge, for example. I like goatskin covers a lot.

When it comes to translations, I subscribe to St. Augustine's advice. He said the way to understand the Bible if you don't read the original languages is to compare translations. Some people lament the proliferation of translations in English these days, but I see it as a blessing. As a practical matter, I typically refer to the English Standard Version when writing and teaching. I like the fact that it's on the literal side and appreciate its location in the Authorized Version tradition. Still, no translation is perfect, so I make use of both literal and dynamic versions, everything from the NRSV to the REB, the NASB to the NLT. I've even been known to dip into The Message.

Since the purpose of the Bible Design & Binding Blog is design and binding, I don't get into translation debates here. If you're interested in discussing translation issues, there are many great places to do it where the writers are much better equipped than I am to enlighten.

Then the Mother-of-All-Off-Topic-Threads comes along, and I feel the need to explain at length. By creating this post and leaving comments open, I'm also providing a venue for anyone who feels the need to talk about translation issues. I'd appreciate it if you'd confine such discussions to the comments here.

In the FAQ, I say there are writers "much better equipped than I am to enlighten." What sort of equipping do I have in mind here? It's simple. Translation questions are not something you can proof text. The Bible doesn't include a theory of translation. It does, however, record incidents that tend to undermine certain theories. (For example, the notion that God is obligated to prevent any part of the text from being lost over time doesn't sit too well with a rather famous Old Testament instance when "lost" Scripture is rediscovered and read anew.) Instead, it behooves a writer to be (a) well versed in English and (b) well versed in the original languages before venturing too far into the water. While I can make a pretty decent claim to facility with English, my knowledge of Greek is barely enough to let me sound out the words, and Hebrew to me is just a series of squiggly lines.

I have opinions, sure. Who doesn't? But I've chosen to focus narrowly here on a neglected topic instead of piling on where angels fear to tread. "Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise," the proverb says, "and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding." 

Sadly, I'm a fan of the King James Version in an age when coming clean about that is akin to admitting a fondness for Wagner. You can't do it without the qualification, "but I'm not one of them." The modern KJV Only movement, a veritable Screwtape of an innovation, is a great example of how some friends are worse to have than enemies. They've succeeded only in stigmatizing the thing they claim to love, and it's a real tragedy to see it happening even here. With the 400th anniversary of the venerable translation on the horizon, I'm looking forward to seeing many new editions. I hope new readers will be able to rediscover that august work (complete with the translator's preface, let's pray) without the taint of hucksterism and conspiracy theories.

One thing I'm not going to do, however, is moderate non-spam comments. We'll have the discourse, warts and all. But out of consideration for the focus of this site, I ask that the sound and fury be confined to this thread alone.

36 Comments on “On Translation

  1. I am looking forward to 2011. It has been a while since I read the KJV cover to cover (actually only once). I am going to do a cover to cover of the KJV in 2011.

  2. I’m in agreement with J. Mark Bertrand and St. Augustine; the more the better. I see it like this, in the same way that I love to hear different people tell me about Christ and what they know of Him, I love to read various translations of scripture.
    At the moment I am going back and forth between the NASB and the Holman Christian Standard. (I wish that I could find a bible in the HCS with the quality of a Cambridge or Allan bible.) I enjoy reading the Psalms and Proverbs in the KJV, but prefer the modern English versions when reading the other books. And when I am studying a particular passage I can not help but read it in every version that I can find.

  3. King James Version
    If it was good enough for Paul and Silas, then its good enough for me.

  4. New Living Translation
    If it was good enough for Peter, then its good enough for me 😉

  5. I came to the Lord while reading the NIV. That was the bible that was given to me, and I have a particular affection for it. That said, I love to compare different translations and I believe that my understanding of scripture has been enhanced by that practice. I do love the KJV, and as I have heard a little from the KJV-Only movement I have come to appreciate a few of their points. But the language a bit to tedious for steady reading, so I would like to find a version that is just an update of the KJV from the same source material, but without the archaic language. Would the NKJV fit the bill for that? If not, what version would?

  6. Here’s a thought…they say the music we most like is the music we went through our teenage years listening to. So does that apply to Bible translations as well?

  7. I am a big fan of the Authorized (so-called King James) Version, a rare thing for a Christian in his 30s in this day and age. The AV has everything I want in a translation, it is on the literal side of center, uses a style of English that I find pleasant yet diginifed, has stood the test of time and provides a connection to past generations of Christians both in terms of it’s own age and it’s manuscript tradition. The AV came at a time when the English language was at it’s height and along with Shakespeare has had an impact on English that can’t be overstated. I can’t wait to see what the better publishers have in store for 2011.
    There are certain passages in Scripture that I do not believe could be said better than the way the AV translates them. It is my version of choice for almost all of my Bible use.
    Having said all of that, it is sad that I can’t praise the AV without feeling the need to add the following disclaimer:
    While a superb translation, the Authorized Version of the Bible is not perfect or inspired, it can not be used to “correct the Greek” as some fringe KJVO supporters claim, nor should it ever become an object or worship. The Authorized Version was translated by Godly, yet fallible men. As such it does contain poor choices of words and outright errors in translation in a few places, the same is true with any translation of the the Bible from the original languages to any modern language. To point out these errors does not detract from the AV, is not an attack on God’s Word and does not make one a “Bible corrector” as some would claim. To make such claims has placed the AV in an untenable position and has sadly caused many Christians to reject this venerable translation outright.

  8. @ Bill — Interesting thought, but I don’t know. During my teenage years I used a KJV and then an NKJV and I don’t use either now, nor do I think it likely I’ll be using them again.

  9. I just heard a minister say–in church, to a congregation, this past Sunday–“The word ‘servant’ appears in the King James Version 800-and-something times, but in the NIV only 700-and-something times. Therefore we know that those who use the KJV are more diligent for God, and those who use the NIV are ‘on vacation’ from serving God.”
    I am sympathetic to the textual arguments for the KJV, as well as to the “preservationist” theory that underlies much of the KJV’s support. But I personally have decided I can’t continue to work with the KJV as my primary translation because the barriers to understanding are very real (even though KJV supporters minimize them), and the kook fringe is something I don’t want to identify with.

  10. In the last year, my preference of English translations has changed a few times. I’ve went from preferring the ESV, back to the NASB (a previous preference from years past) and now to the KJV (not KJV only). I’d say the ESV is a great literal English translation if a person wants to have a similar sentence flow structure to the KJV, in much more modern English. I find it easier to follow along, when the Bible is being read aloud, from ESV to KJV (or vice versa) than other translation comparisons.

  11. I have grown up in what has been called the KJV-only movement; that said I have no problem with saying the KJV is not perfect. Over time I have come to realize many in the movement were not interested in defending the Bible but lining their pockets with money from simple people who neither have the time nor the resources to check their claims for themselves. I have no interest with boring everybody with the details of these very deceptive people. I use the KJV it is the one I grew up with, its beauty of language is unparalleled, I do not believe it is perfect I do not believe any translation can be perfect. I hope that one day we can realize that since the first english translation Of the Bible Christians have been trying to ensure that we have an accurate translation of Gods word. Instead of fighting about which is best we should strive together to insure that future generations have a readable and understandable copy of God’s Word available to them.

  12. I got sucked into the extraordinary world of translation controversy several years ago when I attended a church that, unbeknownst to me, was a KJV, ASV only church. In fact, I had been teaching from the NRSV for more than a year when I was “busted.” I was not actually “caught,” I brought it on myself in ignorance. We had a visiting preacher who began to discuss Bible translations and came to the conclusion that if you were using a Bible other than the KJV or ASV, you were merely using a commentary — not God’s word. Praise God that I was the song leader for the night and could not walk out or I would have likely made the age old mistake of displaying my contempt for the message in a walk out. Anyway, I approached our leaders about the sermon only to learn that this was a message the congregation needed. I immediately confessed to using a commentary to teach class rather than a Bible. I was told to switch to a real Bible — at which time I promptly acted like a baby, took my ball and bat, and went elsewhere.
    I then began to study everything I could get my hands on. I had never heard such terms as Textus Receptus, biblical criticism, and the like. Before long, I was reading Bruce Manning Metzger’s book on textual criticism and carrying his little red book along with my Bible (I really couldn’t understand much about his explanations on textual variants at the time, its just . . . the book was red and I felt really smart for carrying it). Long story short. I finally read a huge treatise on Bible translations by Jack P. Lewis — a brainiac with degrees from Harvard and Hebrew Union College who served on the original NIV committee. He had read, cover to cover, along with notes, variants, etc. etc. over 37 translations of the Bible and then wrote about all the choices made from text to variants to translation choices. A conservative Christian, and one whom I would have expected to blast most modern translations, had this to say in his conclusion: “It is the opinion of this reviewer that the gospel message of Jesus Christ is contained in each of these translations.” Sure, he gets into much more depth — and no one wants to read all of that here. Bottom line: the best Bible translation is the one you will use daily.
    My only comment about the KJV (other than it is a reliable and good translation for those who can understand it) is that, while I am 47 and grew up with it, and while every memory verse in my head is from the KJV, I do not have the mental acumen to read it in paragraph form without other Bibles around. Otherwise, my favorite verse may be II Cor. 6:12 which goes something like this “Ye are not straitened in us, ye are straitened in your own bowels.”
    Final analysis: I am not competent to speak about Bible translations. All of my knowledge regarding the text, the manner and method of assembling the text, and all matters of translation, comes 100% from my reading of other people — and not of my own personal knowledge. Therefore, my primary use Bible is the NRSV, followed very closely by the ESV, and NIV, sprinkled with some KJV, NASB, The Plain English Bible, and The Message. Thanks again for your comments Mark.

  13. I appreciate Mark’s blog because it does one thing and does it extremely well: to consider Bible design. Debates over translation will run and run and there are blogs specifically for that: a very good one is at http://betterbibles.com/. As a regular and long-time reader of Mark’s blog (and also as someone who regularly reviews Bible editions in the UK; I helped with this year’s Cambridge catalogue and their description of the different versions they publish), may I plead for keeping Mark’s blog entirely free of debate over translation issues. Important though they are, they can be debated elsewhere and with those who actually know what they are talking about. Getting involved in the ‘KJV’ v. ‘NIV’ v. ‘ESV’ v. ‘My Favourite Translation’ debate is not what this blog is about and will, IMO, ruin it for everyone.

  14. For the past few years I have been using the NASB. This has mainly been because my Bible teacher uses this translation and it is easier to follow along. One of the ways he approaches scriptures is when apparent oddities or weirdness about the text are supposed to catch our attention. Or phrases that are repetitive can be used to help us see patterns in the scripture. The NASB is said to be one of the most accurate word for word translations and I’ve heard people describe it as wooden. But I think sometimes with phrase for phrase translations or translations that smooth out the rough edges you can lose the that aspect of the reading. I also like how it italicizes words that are not in the original text and capitalizes pronouns for God. That being said, I just bought two different ESV bibles because I like the way they read and I like their design (thanks a lot J. Mark Bertrand).

  15. @ J. R. Houck: “…we should strive together to insure that future generations have a readable and understandable copy of God’s Word available to them.” William Tyndale was burned at the stake for believing and acting on that very same idea. It is a sad irony that the KJV-only advocates owe so much of their prefered translation to this man.
    @ Kyle Hedrick: For someone who is “not competent to speak about Bible translations.” you have done a most excellent job of it.
    @ David Dewey: I don’t think this controversy will have any affect here. The people who frequent this blog come here for something that they can’t get anywhere else; a well written review and quality pictures of the best bibles on the market. (At least I haven’t seen it anywhere.) If J. Mark Bertrand could just somehow manage to upload the smell of fresh leather and paper I would never close this window. 🙂

  16. Here’s a thought concerning translations.
    Whether a translation of the Bible is in English, Japanese, French or other wise. Who ultimately enlightens “born again” Christians to the spiritual truths of the Scriptures? The Holy Spirit does. Now one would imagine that with the Spirit of the living God, who created the heavens and the earth, who now inhabits the heart of the true believer. That He would be perfectly capable and able to speak to true believes through the NIV, KJV, NASB, ESV, NLT. You get the idea.
    “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” -1 Cor. 2:14
    “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” -John 14:26
    “Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.” -John 8:47
    Please note, all scripture quotations are from the ESV (Extra Spiritual Version) – that’s humor. 🙂 Just trying to lighten it up. I love the KJV, ESV and all of God’s Word and love it even more when He does speak to me through various translations by His Spirit. God bless you all. Love this site. Great information on Bible design & binding. Keep up the awesome work!!! Let’s not get distracted in foolish debates. Too much to do in reaching the lost and equipping the saints. Grace & peace in Jesus name!

  17. Great words, Kyle.
    A bit less seriously, I might point out that the KJV has “bowels” 37 times vs. only 5 times for the Extra Sanitary Version, thus proving the KJV has a lot more guts.
    And of course, without the King James, how would we know that Philemon made a great prune cobbler, seeing as how he “refreshed the bowels of the saints”?

  18. The Best Translation Of The Bible
    Four preachers were discussing the merits of the various translations of the Bible. One liked the King James Version because of its simple, beautiful English. Another liked the American Standard Version best because it comes closer to the original Hebrew and Greek. The third liked Moffatt’s translation best because of its up-to-date words.
    The fourth preacher was silent. When asked to express his opinion, he replied, “I liked my mother’s translation best.” The other three expressed surprise and wanted to know what he meant. “Well,” he explained, “my mother translated the Bible into her everyday life, and it was the most convincing translation I ever saw.”
    — Attributed to William Barclay

  19. On the whole issue of translation there are basically two things to consider:
    1. The textual basis of the translation.
    2. The translation philosophy.
    On the textual issue there are three “families” of textual basis (For NT at least. I admit to a bit of ignorance on the OT)
    1. The Textus Receptus (or TR) which is the base of the KJV, NKJV, and most older translations. (thought there have been some more recent translations. This was originally the work of Erasmus in the 16th century and has the distinction of being the first printed Greek NT.
    2. The Majority Text which takes readings that are in the majority of manuscripts and makes textual decisions based on frequency. This is a fairly loose description of this one. The MT does not get promoted much and is frequently left out of these discussions. It is very similar to the TR but nor exact.
    3. The Critical Text (CT) which has been developed over th ecourse of the last two hundred years or so and it’s assembly is mostly attributed to Kurt & Barbara Aland in modern times. It is the basis of most of the modern translations though some have used it more than others.
    The translation philosophy breaks down into:
    1. Formal Equivalence which seeks to render the translation as close to the original wording as possible without overly compromising good English. The NASB, KJV, ESV, NKJV, and HCSB fall into this category at various levels.
    2. Dynamic Equivalence which seeks to render the meaning of the original into clear English rather that trying to preserve the original wording. This ranges from the moderately dynamic translations like the NIV to full paraphrases like the Message (htough some argue that paraphrases are not translations at all…) The NLT, CEV, NCV, and others fall into this category.
    This is a rough description and there is much information out there regarding these points but basically this is what is usually considered when evaluating a translation. Other factors like the use of a translation committee vs. one or two people and gender usage may also be considered.
    It is unfortunate that many people turn to a specific English translation and make it the standard by which all others are measured.

  20. Someone once told me that no matter what position you hold (on any theological or biblical matter) you will have to disagree with some extremely smart people to do so. I think this is true of Bible translation as well. No matter which one(s) you pick, you are choosing against the hundreds of hours and decades of study that go into every translation.
    On a different note: I know the original languages well. I also have read several translations. Quite frankly, I have come to believe that 95% of debate about translation is as someone has said ‘spiritualizing personal taste.’ It is stunning that somewhere in even the most educated of arguments someone will always say something like ‘this translation maintains the dignity of the kjv appropriate for scripture.’ Who decides what dignity sounds like? Who decides its appropriate for scripture? On the flipside, someone else will commonly say ‘This translation makes the text clear, and is good for public reading.’ Who decides what is clear? Who decides what is good for public reading?
    My point is simply this, unless I am a linguist (and I am not), the vast majority of my argument boils down to personal preferences so deeply ingrained that they are indistinguishable from factual and logical arguments.
    Please, lets be careful to distinguish our personal taste from spiritually significant truths.

  21. It seems to me that are basically two sides to this debate, KJV only and those that love and use the King James but also use, respect and might even prefer other English translations. KJV only advocates believe that the KJV is the only version that God has “authorized” in the English language. Not true. King James authorized the KJV only because the Church of England was using the Geneva bible and he was in conflict with the church. There were maybe a dozen translations in English an other languages long before the KJV was even conceived. The pilgrims came to this country carrying the Geneva bible. My point is that the KJV is an accurate, albeit archaic, translation. I use it and love it for it’s accuracy and poetry, but I don’t believe that it is the “only” word of God in english. For that reason I also utilize many other english versions (NASB, NIV, ESV, NKJV, NLT etc.). In closing I am going to quote a good friend of mine, “We should all agree to disagree without being disagreeable”.

    1. There is no final authority on quality Bibles but R. L Allan.
    2. Since Allan is In Scotland, there is no newly released binding that can be seen,
    heard, read, felt, or handled here in the states.
    3. Since all books are material, there is no person on this earth whose opinion
    is the final and absolute authority on what is right and what is wrong,
    what constitutes the best text block, font size, paper thickness, or other design or binding issues.
    4. There WAS a binding material one time which, if THEY had not outlawed clubbing seals, WOULD
    HAVE constituted an infallible and final authority by which to judge all bindings.
    5. However, PETA did outlaw clubbing seals as Bible binding materials, and only one such copy was preserved through Bible-believing
    Christians at Antioch (Syria), where the first Bible teachers were (Acts
    13:1), and where the first missionary trip originated (Acts 13:1-52), and
    where the word “Christian” originated (Acts 11:26), and which was ultimately reviewed for all to see on the blog of J. Mark Bertrand.
    6. So God chose R L Allan to prepare and list for sale those bindings which are now the highest quality on the market. He then authorized J. Mark Bertrand to shamelessly shill for Allans.
    7. So there are two streams of Bibles. The most elegant and high quality Bibles of R. L. Allan, and everything else— and though,
    of course, there is no final, absolute authority for determining truth and
    error in questions concerning the “best” Bible; it is a matter of “preference”— J. Mark Bertrand comes darn close.
    8. The most inane comments on the Bibledesignblog were those that brought about focus on translation rather than bindings, text block, overall design, and the like.
    9. But we can “tolerate” those who post unrelated diatribes if they will
    “tolerate” US. After all, since there are NO MORE BINDINGS MADE FROM SEAL that anyone can read, teach, preach, or handle, the whole
    thing is a matter of “PREFERENCE.” You may prefer what you prefer,
    and we will prefer what we prefer. Let us live in peace, and if we cannot
    agree on anything or everything, let us all agree on one thing: ALLAN BIBLES ARE SIMPLY THE BEST.
    This is the Creed of the ALLANxandrian Cult.
    I hope this remix of the Alexandrian Creed, from the “mother-of-all-OFF-TOPIC-threads”, is as understandable for anyone reading it, as the original off-topic post was too me. By the way, if you do not get the seal binding references, see: http://www.bibledesignblog.com/2008/04/an-old-scofield.html

  23. Kyle,
    I’m glad that you mentioned the sealskin cover! I have a sealskin bound Cambridge Concord in my possession that my grandfather used to preach with for over 40 years. Suffice to say I’m mighty proud to now own this! As you can imagine after decades of use, this bible is fairly worn but you can still grab the cover, make a fist, release and it just goes back to its original shape. I’ve used several high-end bibles over the years but there is absolutely nothing like this. I am not saying this is my favorite cover material, but its resiliency is unparalleled. And thanks for a great read!

  24. I was glad to read this post. I never thought about the fact that the King James Version would be 400 years old in a little over a year. I have a faux leather copy from Zondervan. I will read that to celebrate the anniversary with that copy.

  25. @ David T: Yes, the NKJV is based on the Textus Receptus. I’ve run into KJVO people who deny this, but this is just another bit of misinformation floating around out there. I’m not a KJVO or TR guy, but I have a special place in my heart for the KJV and the NKJV. I like the fact that the NKJV gives us a modern English rendering of the TR that preserves much of the poetry and legacy of the original KJV.
    @ AJ Bergren: I’m an ESV guy, but I’m very frustrated with the state of “literal/word for word” translations these days, and that includes the ESV. It’s interesting that you note the ESV’s “similar sentence flow structure to the KJV” as a positive. That is my current point of frustration with the ESV. On the whole, the ESV is the easiest to read of the current literal translations, with perhaps the NRSV being easier to read. But then the ESV has failed to update some of the archaic syntax, often in places where the NASB and NKJV have modernized the word order. For example, there are those ubiquitous sentences that invert the verb and the negator (i.e., “he believed not” rather than “he did not believe”) in the ESV. Ironically, the outmoded word order is actually less “literal” in that, in both Hebrew and Greek, the negator *precedes* the verb, as it does in modern English, rather than following the verb, as it does in the 16’th Century English that the ESV has failed to update. Or take a look at Job 1. Why in the world are we still saying “there came unto Job a messenger and said,” when the Hebrew literally reads “a messenger came (un)to Job and said?”
    The ESV’s the best, overall, though. I wish that they would do a “second edition,” though, and get rid of the outmoded syntax. If the good people at Crossway did that, it would make me extremely happy.

  26. I cannot accept the ESV, as it makes Jesus into a liar: Jesus said in John 7:8 (ESV) “You go up to the feast. I am not going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come.” yet in verse 10 (ESV), “But after his brothers had gone up to the feast, then he also went up, not publicly but in private.”
    What a difference one word makes! John 7:8 (KJV) “Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast; for my time is not yet full come.” … notice the word “yet”.

  27. Josh: I am amazed at what you have done in your post above. You have (in your mind) created a difficulty where there is none. After you created this difficulty, you then present it as a stumbling block to your brothers and sisters, as well as slander against the ESV translation. It is slander and not mere criticism because your charge is false. “The ESV makes Jesus into a liar.” Is there a way to phrase your argument that is more insulting? So what does that say about your heart?
    So then study God’s creation. God created time. Whatever the full definition and knowledge of time is, from our perspective time is a separator. Jesus said, “my time has not yet fully come.” After his brothers went up to the feast, then Jesus went up. What happened? Time passed. The time of Jesus’ first comment “I’m not going up, my time is not yet” occurred, time passed, then he went up, implying that his time had then come. There are other ways to understand what was going on in this passage as well.
    Let me ask you: Shall I attack the KJV? Shall I insult you? Shall I deride your judgment and associations? Would that be building you up or tearing you down? What does the KJV say about that?
    There is no perfect translation. Study any one of them and you will run across an unfortunate rendering of some kind. Does your faith allow you to step over the stumbling block (by any of several different methods)? Please step over any (real or imagined) stumbling blocks rather than picking them up, beating them against your own head, then flinging them against your brethren.
    Please also understand that for some people, the archaic language of the KJV is a stumbling block to their understanding. For them, to use a modern translation of the Scriptures is to remove a hindrance to their walk with God. So then, do you oppose this? Praise God for anyone who reads the Bible in any translation. The fact that they read the Bible at all is a reason for celebration. May God’s Word, his people, and their understanding increase. Let the world come to God as God enables.
    I just ordered an Allans PSR, BTW. Thank you to Mark for his excellent work. Since (I suspect) some would rather have me sit down, I will not respond to posts like this again. I would rather avoid confrontation, as it is so easy to hurt rather than help. What is worse, the slander or the rebuke/correction? Yet people seem to hate the latter as well as the former. Forgive me, if I have offended anyone.

  28. Fred C: I am amazed at what you have done in your post above. You have conveniently ignored a major difficulty in the ESV where there is one. I find no difficulty in other major English translations, including the NIV, NKJV, NASB, NLT, RSV, and ASV, which all include the word “yet”.
    I do not present it as a stumbling block, but as a warning to my brothers and sisters in Christ. Are you saying that the saints are not called to warn all from the ways of sin and error (c.f. Eze 3:21; Eze 33:8,9; Acts 20:31; 1 Cr 4:14)?
    Why are you fearful of confrontation, when we are called to admonish one another? Is it not proper, and yes, demanded, for the saints to admonish one another if we obey not the Lord’s Holy Word (e.g., Rom 15:14; 2 Th 3:14,15; 1Th 5:12)?
    Are we, as Christians, only allowed to build each other up and shun “tearing down”? (c.f. 1 Cr 5:1-8)
    Have I insulted you or anyone on this board with my former comment, and have I derided anybody’s judgments? Did I imply or explicitly state that there was a perfect translation? Did I imply in my post that only the KJV should be used? If so, please show me my error, and I apologize dearly in advance and ask for your and everyone’s forgiveness.
    You may attack the KJV if you’d like, however, I merely used it as a representative for that particular verse which included the other translations I noted above. Why do I present this verse as a warning? I heard of a student at a “Christian” college point to this specific verse on a radio show as an example that “Jesus lied,” and it is okay to sometimes “fudge the truth” because Jesus did it. The host, a profession from the college, did not deny the charge.
    In Christ Jesus’s love, grace, and mercy,

  29. “Profession” in my previous post should be read “professor” – my apologies!

  30. Josh,
    If you have a problem with the ESV in this passage then you also have a problem with the NASB, NIV, and NLT. Observe:
    John 7:8
    ESV: You go up to the feast. I am not going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come.
    NASB: Go up to the feast yourselves; I do not go up to this feast because My time has not yet fully come.
    NIV: You go to the Feast. I am not yet going up to this Feast, because for me the right time has not yet come.
    NLT: You go on. I’m not going to this festival, because my time has not yet come.
    All these versions include the word “yet” in the second clause of the sentence but not the first. This is because the Greek texts used for translation did not include the word. You may not agree with this but it is not a specific disagreement with the ESV. Rather it is a disagreement with the underlying Greek text.
    Also the ESV does include a footnote for the variant. Regardless, Fred’s explanation is a good one.

  31. Knight:
    The readings I obtained were from blueletterbible.com for John 7:8:
    NLT: You go on. I am not yet ready to go to this festival, because my time has not yet come.
    NIV: You go to the Feast. I am not yet going up to this Feast, because for me the right time has not yet come.
    I apologize for my error re: the NASB, Knight, you are correct in that regard.

  32. My quotes came from Bible Gateway (www.biblegateway.com) I misread the NIV reading.
    However, the NLT was revised in 2004 and contains the reading I show above. Blue Letter is using the previous version.

  33. Love it, great post, isn’t it brilliant when you read something that strikes such a chord with you. I have this disease/obsession, it’s good to hear other do to.

  34. NRSV (our pew bible & a very good translation IMO) then in no particular order RSV, NIV, TNIV, ESV, NASB, REB,
    NLT, JBP, & Peterson. In a previous church we used the NIV a lot and I’ve always liked it. I also like the
    KJV too.

  35. I have two ediitons of the ESV, and in Philippians 2:7 in my ESV Study Bible it opens with “but made himself nothing,” and in the other edition “but emptied himself.”
    I again realized the value of learning to read the Greek New Testament. The Greek meanings are touched on in the ESV Study Bible notes, but are not a substitute for seeing it for yourself.
    Unless true distortions of the Bible (such as that published by “the Watchtower”) are the issue, fighting over different, yet accurate, versions is a waste of time. Look into the translation, make sure the translators have handled their responsibility well (regardless of wild-eyed conspiracy theories), and thank the Father, Son and Holy Spirit for His Word.

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