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Table of Contents
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Chapter One

Make An Informed Decision

 

 

The reader may be surprised to find there is very little comparison done in this book between the various Bible versions themselves.

 

The reason for that is because the translations themselves are not the real issue.

 

One version may unarguably translate a certain verse or passage more clearly than another version. The King James Bible does indeed contain some archaic words that make it somewhat difficult to understand in places. So, if that is the case, why does it really matter which Bible version we read?

 

To answer that, I will ask a few rhetorical questions. Please answer them. Why does it matter which doctor we choose…? Why does it matter what kind of food we eat…? Why does it matter who we leave our kids with…?

 

Everything we know about the God of Heaven and eternal life through his risen son, Jesus Christ—we get from the Bible.

 

The answers to questions about the most important choices of our lives are found there. Choices between life and death (both temporal and eternal) are found there. Choices between sickness and health are found there. Choices between peace and chaos, poverty and prosperity are found there. Counsel on how to make choices that will positively (or negatively) affect virtually every area of our lives and the lives of our loved ones is found in the Bible!

 

So why does there seem to be so little concern displayed for something that matters so much? As believers in Jesus Christ, our faith is found only in the Word of God, so why does there seem to be such a careless attitude towards the most important thing in our lives?

 

I know many at this point will resist the above statement by saying, “Faith in Jesus is the most important thing in our lives—even before the Bible.” There is no way I will disagree with that, but I will ask you… How is it that you know anything at all about faith in Jesus?

 

If you haven’t caught on already, I’ll answer that question for you. You know that faith in Jesus is the most important thing in your life because the Bible tells you so! 

 

With the stakes being so high and with literally hundreds of conflicting Bible versions to choose from, why would we casually listen to anyone about which version is best without thoroughly researching the subject for ourselves?

 

Could it be that we prefer to leave the hard stuff to the experts because most of us are not Bible scholars?

    

We would do well to remember that Bible scholars are not demigods nor do they possess extraordinary intelligence above and beyond the rest of us. They are mere humans who happen to have gained an education in order to be classified as experts in certain areas of study such as languages, historical information and the like, and anyone, Bible scholar or not, can make an informed decision regarding Bible versions with just a small amount of research and, most importantly, a clear understanding of what the issues really are.

 

Bible scholars are subject to the same biases, prejudices and fallibilities the rest of us are subject to. Bible scholars also have the same varying degrees of common sense, or lack thereof, the rest of us have.

 

I recently had a discussion with a seminary graduate who could not get past the fact that she could read Greek while I admitted I could not. I admitted I had to look up the individual Greek or Hebrew words in my Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of Biblical Words. Because I admitted that fact, she made no secret of the fact that she felt far superior to me in her ability to understand the Bible and any of the issues surrounding the Bible version controversy.

 

Here is some food for thought along those lines. I have an excellent understanding of and can read the English language very well. In fact, I speak English very well. It is my native language. But can I claim to know the meaning, shades of meaning and nuances of every single word in the English vocabulary without at least an occasional peek an English dictionary? Can any English speaking person claim to have such knowledge?

 

No! They cannot, and neither can seminary graduates who have learned to read the biblical languages claim to have perfect understanding of them without ongoing references to Greek and Hebrew dictionaries. Most Bible scholars have dictionaries and lexicons of all sorts on their personal library shelves—just as I do, and just as you should

 

I believe we should show any Godly Bible scholar the respect he or she is due for their years of effort and study. If they are truly Godly people, they will not allow any of us to ascribe to them more intelligence and ability to understand the Biblical languages than the average person possesses. However, The truly Godly Bible Scholar will, in all humility, be happy to share what knowledge they have obtained during the course of their above-average pursuit of educational accomplishments.

 

The Godly scholar is very aware, and unashamed to admit, that the resources available today are simply too numerous to give anyone (who can read) the excuse of ignorance when making decisions concerning the Bible or Bible versions.  

    

This writer has far to average an education to be considered an expert in anything. So, this book is written from one regular person to other regular persons and will present the basic issues behind the Bible version controversy, in the simplest, most unscholarly manner possible. So that armed with some basic facts (and a smattering of common sense) the average person can make an informed choice concerning which Bible versions are trustworthy and which are not.

  

At the time of this writing, our daughter-in-law is expecting a baby. She has a car seat to purchase. She has been researching car seats—extensively—to make certain she purchases the absolute safest one for her child.

 

What a wonderful responsible parent she is already turning out to be!

    

But aren’t choices pertaining to eternal life even more important than choices concerning our physical safety? So why isn’t every person, who claims to belong to Jesus Christ, taking the Word of God as seriously as our daughter-in-law is taking the purchase of a car seat?

    

Which brings us to the first logical question: All Bibles do not say the same the same thing, so what is the standard for choosing which Bible we should read? Is there a standard?

When we buy a ruler or a measuring tape, we trust that each foot contains 12 inches, and each yard contains 3 feet. We also trust that each inch measures exactly one inch.

 

Why are we so trusting of that fact? I’ll tell you why—because there is a standard for such things.

 

What kinds of houses and structures would be built if there were no such standards? Every part of the construction of a sound structure (from the architectural planning to completion) is completely dependent on the trustworthiness of the standards of measure that are used. Without standards, sound construction would be a complete impossibility.

    

On the other hand, let’s look at an industry that has no standard whatsoever. There is absolutely no consistent standard of measure in the women’s clothing industry. Each size in women’s clothing sizes can vary up to five to six sizes depending on the designer. The only logical conclusion we can come to on this discrepancy is, that different clothing designers have attached sizes to their clothing that will attract and compliment the consumer.

    

In the days of “I love Lucy,” a size 12 was considered perfect. I understand Marilyn Monroe, who was the standard for beauty in her day, was a size 14. But these days, it is very complimentary to a woman who has never been able to wear anything smaller than a size twelve to find that a size four or five fits her.

  

Today,  “thin” is worshipped to, sometimes fatal, extremes. Today, a size zero is probably the most complimentary size of all. And we have found size zero’s, in some lines of clothing, that were actually equal to sizes five or six in other lines!

     

Acceptability by the consumer seems to be the prevailing criteria used by clothing designers in setting their sizing scale. Size has become relative—depending on who designs and markets the clothing—and on how well the sizes sell.

    

Book Publishers and Bible translators understand these concepts as well as clothing designers and do. And to far too many of them, truth is relative—depending on their slant and target market.

 

So how dangerous is it to get our information from a marketing department concerning the reliability of any product? Our daughter-in-law certainly isn’t depending on information that comes from that source in her car seat research. She is looking for facts—not marketing hype.

    

The facts on Bible versions are available as well, but if you choose to go to the official website of any particular Bible version—if it is a website where financial profit is involved, rest assured you will be getting marketing hype—not impartial facts.

 

But don’t despair, researching the Bible version issue is not as tedious and confusing as it looks to the uninitiated. It only becomes a confusing hodgepodge when the real issue is not clearly understood. The facts presented in this work are well researched, but the reader is urged to research them as well.

    

Truth has nothing to fear from research. Truth is never confusing or harmful. Truth is only confusing if we reject it—and cannot make it fit with facts we have already accepted as true.

    

Is it outside the realm of possibility, beyond the pale so to speak, that we could be misled by very sincere, very beloved and trusted, pastors or teachers?

 

Perhaps years have been invested at seminary or Bible College and your choice of Bible versions is based on counsel received there. Are Bible Colleges and Seminaries exempt from bias and error?

    

The reader may not agree with everything in this book, but if the truth is being presented, wouldn’t accepting the truth be better than holding on to a fondly held, though misplaced and erroneous belief?

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