What’s Your Version?

What’s all the fuss about bible versions?

As the Prophecy for Youth ministry is all about biblical prophecy, we obviously need to study the Bible, but which bible versions do we use?.

There are many bible versions today; it can become quite confusing.

The main thing is that we want to hear what God said, preferably without any human input.

As God left us His Word in Hebrew for the Old Testament and Koine Greek for the New Testament, some human input is required for an English translation.

Did God preserve His Word?

He certainly did!

In the Masoretic copyist tradition of the Old Testament and the Textus Receptus Greek text.
Page of ancient Bible text, aged and ragged but still readable
There had to be copyists, remember, no computers then.

In modern times, unbelieving, so-called scholars attacked the Textus Receptus . (There’s less money to be made from the truth, you see.) And some less accurate Greek texts became popular.

The differences are, on the whole, small,but then, would you prefer to trust a brain surgeon with only 95% of the necessary know-how as opposed to one with 100%?

In addition, a rise in interpretive as opposed to literal translations made the problem worse.

An interpretive translation adds a bit of theological opinion and, rightly or wrongly, a bias to the text.

For instance, scholars who do not interpret prophecy as an altogether literal message, as in this PFY ministry, may choose a different English word or phrase.

These interpretive versions do conceal some of the meaning of the Lord’s prophetic Word.

Group of Israeli Defense Force members and rabbis with new Torah scroll on desk.
Israeli Defense Force’s Torah scroll – they’re still copying!

What version(s) do I recommend?

Therefore I, and a great many others, believe that it is always ideal to use a literal translation.

A literal translation is one in which the translators strove, to the best of their abilities,in God’s strength, to get as close to the original as possible.

Put these things together – the most accurate, original texts and a literal translation – and you get either the King James Version or the New King James Version. Both of these are easy to acquire.

If you attend a KJV church, congratulations. This ministry will complement what you have already been taught, though your pastor would probably prefer only KJV.

I have personally ministered successfully with both versions. They read quite well together.

But the PFY links reference NKJV because it is designed to spread the word of prophecy to young people who are not learning about prophecy.

I have studied the arguments for both bible versions and the only advantage of the NKJV is it is more accessible to newcomers.

To use KJV means you have to learn some old words that we no longer use in modern English.

This is not a great leap for the dedicated, but these days anything beyond a ten minute concentration span and a glimpse of a Smart Phone screen, is an obstacle to be overcome.Smartphone showing home page of Prophecy for Youth Website

I personally love the beautiful language of the KJV, and the NKJV will never have the history of the former, because the world is running out of time.

However, no matter how good the KJV is, it is a translation.

What gives a translation the right to claim to be the Word of God?

It is the original texts used to produce it that are divine and give the KJV its rightful claim as the Word of God.

The KJV was itself revised 4 times (5, if you include the NKJV) and was itself influenced by other fine work from even earlier translations.

The last revision of the KJV was 1769, but for some reason, no scholars attempted another revision till the late 1970s (NKJV) which has brought about the arguments of the need!

How can we best honor the Word of God?

However, we should never honor the Word of God so highly that we never use it – remember the parable of the talents.

Those who love the Lord do what He says (John 14:23) which is the opposite of honoring the Word solely for its literary merits.

The Prophecy for Youth ministry is all about taking the Word of God and running with it,

with it’s message, its warnings, its intents –

rubber hitting the road stuff!

Pastor Aaron, Prophecy for Youth,

Image Credit

Israeli Defense Forces’ Completion of the Torah Scroll.
By Israel Defense Forces (Completion of Torah Scroll, Dec 2010) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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