Debates about which Bible translation is best are nothing new, as scholars argue about accuracy while evangelists espouse the importance of simply and accessible renditions. When we see a world perishing for lack of knowledge of God, we see the imperative need for getting across the “main and the plain” as John Wimber would say. But when it comes to going deeper and getting to the heart of some important questions, we can’t help but notice the fact that different Bible translations give us a different angle on the same text.
For those who like to see the world in black and white, the very existence of different translations creates a sense of insecurity. Thus the radical Pastor Terry Jones, did not just want to burn the books of other religions, he wanted to burn every Bible except the King James version.
This is the reaction of someone who simply has not learned to appreciate that God paints in colors and in shades of grey. As a professional translator or business communications I very familiar with all the issues and challenges of translating. Should I go for the dynamic equivalent – which captures the thought or the essentially literal which is a closer reflection of the original, but which might require more effort on behalf of the reader.
The following link is an interesting article on the subject, which confirms for me my personal preference for the NKJV. I agree with the author in many of his points. But I think that he is wrong on one point: If accessible translations are acceptable for the mission field, then they are acceptable – because every nation and every language still has a mission field.
Also I don’t believe that you can always find one word which is the correct literal translation and therefore, it is inevitable that the translators make doctrinal choices even at the word level. Therefore in the modern world where we have tools that allow us to quickly compare different translations, rather than resenting them, I welcome them as a resource.
That said it is still an excellent article – well worth the read. I particularly like the discussion about the Lord of Hosts being better than God almighty.
Two weeks ago, I was ministering in a youth meeting and while preparing the Lord led me to a Matin Pepper song, with the Refrain – Holy Lord, Lord of Hosts, … and this song was the key to me coming into the presence of God during my preparation and to releasing the anointing for that meeting. We put it into the CD player on loop during the ministry time and saw deliverances, healings and prophecy flow. I can’t argue or explain or prove anything logically, but I know that being aware that he is the Lord of Hosts released something more than would have been possible through a references to him being almighty. The fact that he is the Lord of Hosts implies that other spiritual beings and ultimately you and I need to get involved in the battle and participate in the victory.