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Bible Translations -- Opinions & Questions

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posted on Apr, 7 2007 @ 04:47 AM
I would like some opinions on different Bible Translations. I like the NIV and use it the most, but I feel the more accurate and better translations are the HCSB and the ESV.

I own quite a few versions and use them frequently but the one I use the most is still the NIV, and that is just because of the extras in one of my newest copies:

Archaeological Study Bible-NIV
An Illustrated Walk Through Bibilical History and Culture

An Illustrated Walk Through Biblical History and Culture
The NIV Archaeological Study Bible sheds new light on the Bible. From the beginnings of Genesis to the end of Revelation, this new study Bible is filled with informative articles and full-color photographs of places and objects that will open your eyes to the historical context of the stories you read and the people you meet in Scripture. From kings and empires to weapons of war to clay pots used for carrying water, the archaeological record surrounding God's Word will help contextualize and inform your personal study.
- 4-color interior throughout
- Bottom of page study notes highlight and add further explanation to passages that speak on
archaeological or cultural facts included in the Scripture
- Articles (520) covering one of the following five categories:
- Archaeological Sites (Hazor, Ugarit, Arad, Ephesus)
- Cultural and Historical Notes (ancient seals and scarabs, perfume and anointing, the missionary journeys of Paul)
- Ancient Peoples and Lands (the Persian empire, the history of Egypt)
- The Reliability of the Bible (the question of the Psalm superscripts, the reliability of Judges, the ending of Mark)
- Ancient Texts and Artifacts (the Mesha Stone, the Prayer of Confession)
- Approximately 500 4-color photographs interspersed throughout
- Detailed book introductions that provide basic, at-a-glance information
- Detailed charts on pertinent topics
- In-text color maps that assist the reader in placing the action
- CD-Rom containing NIV text and all photographs, maps, and charts included in the Bible[i/]

This book is one great study guide. It did make me angry that it was printed in China but what isn't these days? Irregardless if you are in a bookstore, check this one out as Archeology buffs will very much like it, as do I.

One thing I want to add here, the KJV is also a very good one, but it has some issues in my mind as the texts used to translate it are not near as old as what is available now. That being said, it still has a mastery all its own, 5 years ago I was buying NKJV versions only...This is only my opinion though but it comes from much study on the subject.

If you are unfamiliar with the different versions, check this fantastic site out, I have just added the relevant pages to the question of the thread, at least in modern respects.

21st Century English Bible Versions

20th Century English Bible Versions

Two other books that are really good on the subject and that of how the Bible actually came into being and their histories are listed below and I recommend them very much.

A User's Guide to Bible Translations
Making the Most of Different Versions
by David Dewey

This one should be used as a reference on any good Bible bookshelf

The Origin of the Bible
by Frederick Fyvie Bruce; J. I. Packer; Philip Comfort

Many books have been written about the Bible, but few explain its origins. This volume provides a fascinating overview of how the Bible was first inspired, canonized, read as sacred literature, copied in ancient Hebrew and Greek manuscripts, and eventually translated into the languages of the world. No other one-volume work can match this wealth of information about the historical development of the Bible

This one was REALLY good, I guarantee you that you will better understand how and why what book are in the Bible and just how old they are!

Now I am not a large fan of the NRSV, but I do own one that is very good. It has all the books that are listed in the orthodox, catholic, evangelical church's. It also has the apocryphal books and has good notes and sections between chapters and books.

"The HarperCollins Study Bible" is the key for unlocking the ancient past and the enduring legacy of the Bible and has become the standard general reference for understanding the full meaning of this sacred text. Completely revised and updated by over sixty of today's leading biblical scholars, this edition includes the full text of the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible—the English translation that experts universally agree is the most accurate in existence. A convenient, accessible resource, it provides a library of information in one easy-to-use volume. Sponsored by the Society of Biblical Literature—the premier international organization of biblical experts—"The HarperCollins Study Bible" is the best resource for discovering the majesty of the Bible.

So ask what questions you have as I am sure many here will be able to get answers and give your opinions of the different versions out there, but please no KJV 'onliest' arguments please. I do love that version to but I do have my opinions about it.

[edit on 7-4-2007 by edsinger]

posted on Apr, 8 2007 @ 12:46 PM
I would also like to add 2 other sources that I use, both very good

New Jerusalem Bible-NJB-readers
by Henry Wansborough

Contains the complete text of the ancient canon of scripture, along with up-to-date and extensive introductions and notes. Eight pages of color maps and indexes, including biblical themes, personal names, and major footnotes.

New Jerusalem Bible

And one of the best ones with just plain outstanding notes, is even free in an electronic version..

The NET Bible
The NET Bible is a completely new translation of the Bible with 60,932 translators’ notes! It was completed by more than 25 scholars – experts in the original biblical languages – who worked directly from the best currently available Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts. Turn the pages and see the breadth of the translators’ notes, documenting their decisions and choices as they worked. The translators’ notes make the original languages far more accessible, allowing you to look over the translator’s shoulder at the very process of translation. This level of documentation is a first for a Bible translation, making transparent the textual basis and the rationale for key renderings (including major interpretive options and alternative translations). This unparalleled level of detail helps connect people to the Bible in the original languages in a way never before possible without years of study of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. It unlocks the riches of the Bible’s truth from entirely new perspectives.

NetBible Free download version

NetBible Website and information about the translation

These are 2 very good study resources, I will very soon get me a hardback version of the NetBible, just for the notes alone...

[edit on 8-4-2007 by edsinger]

posted on Apr, 8 2007 @ 12:54 PM
here is my opinion...who really cares the translations...

We cant see the forest for all the trees. What does that mean?

Well, go to your dog, throw a bone...he wont see it.
So what do you do? You point to it.
As your finger moves, the dog is clever and follows your finger all the way to the point...never looking PAST the finger to the bone.

Same with the Bible, or any text.
We scrabble around and debate semantics...and what for? Are we happy, at peace? Or do we just stroke our ego, the 'false self' that paul speaks of.

There is a truth in sacred text...Bible says the spirit will guide you, that you dont need a teacher...I say, "Amen". What is it saying to you...what do you know it to say but are afraid of it saying cause others may call you occult, etc.

Anyway...tranlation...not important...the gist of the matter is there. What is it you WANT to see?

Now thats the point

Life is to short to be taken seriously...yet we live forever, even if its as compost for the worms.



posted on Apr, 8 2007 @ 02:55 PM
well, there is also the simple matter of the lines that have been inserted into the bible over the centuries.

i'd recomend picking up "misquoting jesus" to look into that. it's a really enlightening read.

posted on Apr, 8 2007 @ 04:59 PM
Ah why should we worry about what translation? I am not too concerned about it except that I want to learn it and to be reading and studying the history of how these different translations came to be. Is one better than the other? Yes in my opinion there are better ones and there are some that are completely misleading and wrong. One example being the NWT, and there is a good thread on that one here:

Jehovah's Witness's (NWT) Flawed??

This one is especially worrisome to me as many follow it and are being taught non-scriptural lies. This is my opinion and I would like to see them do some study and search for the truth on their own. That is what I am on , its a search for the truth...

Originally posted by madnessinmysoulwell, there is also the simple matter of the lines that have been inserted into the bible over the centuries.

Here is a great example, in the modern versions some lines have been left out and we must ask why?

One of the best examples is this:

1 John 5 (from the NetBible, but the NIV and most modern versions translate it this way)

5:6 Jesus Christ is the one who came by water and blood – not by the water only, but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because25 the Spirit is the truth.
5:7 For26 there are three that testify,27
5:8 the Spirit and the water and the blood, and these three are in agreement.

The KJV 1 John 5

1 John 5:7:
[7] For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
[8] And there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

So why was this left out? I wondered until I studied the Bible and its history. Lets see what the NetBible has to say:

A second causal ὅτι (Joti) clause (after the one at the end of the preceding verse) is somewhat awkward, especially since the reasons offered in each are somewhat different. The content of the second ὅτι clause (the one in question here) goes somewhat beyond the content of the first. The first ὅτι clause, the one at the end of 5:6, stated the reason why the Spirit is the witness: because the Spirit is the truth. The second ὅτι clause, here, states that there are three witnesses, of which the Spirit is one. It is probably best, therefore, to understand this second ὅτι as indicating a somewhat looser connection than the first, not strictly causal but inferential in sense (the English translation “for” captures this inferential sense). See BDF §456.1 for a discussion of this ‘looser’ use of ὅτι.

And now a long but VERY interesting explanation

Before τὸ πνεῦμα καὶ τὸ ὕδωρ καὶ τὸ αἷμα (to pneuma kai to [udwr kai to |aima), the Textus Receptus (TR) reads ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ, ὁ πατήρ, ὁ λόγος, καὶ τὸ ἅγιον πνεῦμα, καὶ οὗτοι οἱ τρεῖς ἕν εἰσι. 5:8 καὶ τρεῖς εἰσιν οἱ μαρτυροῦντες ἐν τῇ γῇ (“in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one. 5:8 And there are three that testify on earth”). This reading, the infamous Comma Johanneum, has been known in the English-speaking world through the King James translation. However, the evidence – both external and internal – is decidedly against its authenticity. For a detailed discussion, see TCGNT 647-49. Our discussion will briefly address the external evidence. This longer reading is found only in nine late mss, four of which have the words in a marginal note. Most of these mss (221 2318 [18th century] [2473 [dated 1634]] and [with minor variations] 61 88 429 629 636 918) originate from the 16th century; the earliest ms, codex 221 (10th century) includes the reading in a marginal note, added sometime after the original composition. The oldest ms with the Comma in its text is from the 14th century (629), but the wording here departs from all the other mss in several places. The next oldest mss on behalf of the Comma, 88 (12th century) 429 (14th) 636 (15th), also have the reading only as a marginal note (v.l.). The remaining mss are from the 16th to 18th centuries. Thus, there is no sure evidence of this reading in any Greek ms until the 14th century (629), and that ms deviates from all others in its wording; the wording that matches what is found in the TR was apparently composed after Erasmus’ Greek NT was published in 1516. Indeed, the Comma appears in no Greek witness of any kind (either ms, patristic, or Greek translation of some other version) until a.d. 1215 (in a Greek translation of the Acts of the Lateran Council, a work originally written in Latin). This is all the more significant since many a Greek Father would have loved such a reading, for it so succinctly affirms the doctrine of the Trinity. The reading seems to have arisen in a 4th century Latin homily in which the text was allegorized to refer to members of the Trinity. From there, it made its way into copies of the Latin Vulgate, the text used by the Roman Catholic Church. The Trinitarian formula (known as the Comma Johanneum) made its way into the third edition of Erasmus’ Greek NT (1522) because of pressure from the Catholic Church. After his first edition appeared, there arose such a furor over the absence of the Comma that Erasmus needed to defend himself. He argued that he did not put in the Comma because he found no Greek mss that included it. Once one was produced (codex 61, written in ca. 1520), Erasmus apparently felt obliged to include the reading. He became aware of this ms sometime between May of 1520 and September of 1521. In his annotations to his third edition he does not protest the rendering now in his text, as though it were made to order; but he does defend himself from the charge of indolence, noting that he had taken care to find whatever mss he could for the production of his text. In the final analysis, Erasmus probably altered the text because of politico-theologico-economic concerns: He did not want his reputation ruined, nor his Novum Instrumentum to go unsold. Modern advocates of the TR and KJV generally argue for the inclusion of the Comma Johanneum on the basis of heretical motivation by scribes who did not include it. But these same scribes elsewhere include thoroughly orthodox readings – even in places where the TR/Byzantine mss lack them. Further, these advocates argue theologically from the position of divine preservation: Since this verse is in the TR, it must be original. (Of course, this approach is circular, presupposing as it does that the TR = the original text.) In reality, the issue is history, not heresy: How can one argue that the Comma Johanneum goes back to the original text yet does not appear until the 14th century in any Greek mss (and that form is significantly different from what is printed in the TR; the wording of the TR is not found in any Greek mss until the 16th century)? Such a stance does not do justice to the gospel: Faith must be rooted in history. Significantly, the German translation of Luther was based on Erasmus’ second edition (1519) and lacked the Comma. But the KJV translators, basing their work principally on Theodore Beza’s 10th edition of the Greek NT (1598), a work which itself was fundamentally based on Erasmus’ third and later editions (and Stephanus’ editions), popularized the Comma for the English-speaking world. Thus, the Comma Johanneum has been a battleground for English-speaking Christians more than for others.


So as you can see this only came into the written word much later than any of the older manuscripts suggest.

Even the TNIV has some good notes and I do NOT like this version but I do own a copy..
1 John 5:8
Late manuscripts of the Vulgate testify in heaven: the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one. 8And there are three that testify on earth: the (not found in any Greek manuscript before the fourteenth century)

NOTE: Footnotes are very similar to NIV, NASB, HCSB etc

6 Jesus Christ—He is the One who came by water and blood; not by water only, but by water and by blood. And the Spirit is the One who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.
7 For there are three that testify:[2] Other mss (the Lat Vg and a few late Gk mss) read testify in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are One. 8 And there are three who bear witness on earth:
8 the Spirit, the water, and the blood—and these three are in agreement.

[2]Other mss (the Lat Vg and a few late Gk mss) read testify in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are One. 8 And there are three who bear witness on earth

But now we get the the TR and the KJV, a favorite and truly great translation. We must take into account that all the old manuscripts were not available to the KJV translators.

“The KJV New Testament (and all editions since Tyndale) was compiled primarily from the Byzantine family of manuscripts (AD 500 – 1000) frequently referred to as the Textus Receptus. But many of the newer translations were produced using a composite of later discoveries of other manuscripts and fragments dating from an earlier period. Among such are The ‘Alexandrian Family’ manuscripts (AD 200 – 400) which include the three oldest The Codex Alexandrius, the Codex Vaticanus and the Codex Sinaiticus, all which were major contributors to most Bible versions after the King James version.”


posted on Jul, 16 2007 @ 04:34 PM
I just bought a hard copy of the NetBible - Just for the notes alone,

1st edition....

posted on Jul, 16 2007 @ 06:28 PM
Hey Ed. I'm no expert on translations, but since I've been a christian, I've tried to "study to shew myself approved unto God". The versions that come from the Alexandrias and Syaniticus are tampered with. Most bad translations have completely left out the last twelve verses of Mark

posted on Jul, 17 2007 @ 04:30 AM
This is a pretty interesting thread. I usualy read a NIV version mainly because I dont have any other version to read. But Im sure that the other versions have a lot in them that are worth reading (not content, but wording), I guess translation is pretty important concidering that the way something is translated can change the meaning which in the case of the bible makes a huge difference.


posted on Jul, 17 2007 @ 04:53 AM
Thanks Ed. I have taken note of two of the books you recommend and hope to be able to purchase them in the near future. Archaeological Study Bible - NIV and The Origin of the Bible.

I use the Ignatius, The Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition.

1 John 5: 7-8

"7-And the Spirit is the witness, because the Spirit is the truth. 8-There are three witnesses, the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree."

posted on Jul, 17 2007 @ 07:48 AM
Thanks all, one thing I would like to also mention is the free Bible Software out there, my favorite being e-Sword without a doubt. Some modules cost but most are free.

Bible translations are amazing when compared to each other, it helps you understand the difficulty in translating to English from another language. I have learned more about Greek than I ever did in Geometry

posted on Jul, 17 2007 @ 08:01 AM
I like the king james also available online complete with Apocrypha.

[7] For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

posted on Jul, 17 2007 @ 08:14 AM
All I can say is the Auhoritative King James Bible is the only one that one should use, if one truely wants the WORD of GOD in the english. All the new versions change things, and NOT for the good.

For instance only the AKJV says in the Creation Story, "DAY ONE", "Day Two", "Day Three" Etc., this is very important because all the others say, either "A day" or "one day". I am sure most would agree that Day One and a day are not even close to the same. I could write for 6 pages the wrongness of all the versions of the bible.

In fact they now have a sex free version, I don't mean no se but no more Father, Son, Man comments. Don't want to piss off the feminists I guess, I prefer the WORD of GOD not the word not offensive to feminists.

But everyone has their own opinions, but the faact remains the only Authorized Verison comes from the KJ Bible, besides it ic correct Numerologically(sp??).

posted on Jul, 17 2007 @ 08:43 AM
Fun thread! Everything I have heard about the Archaeological Study Bible has been very positive, and I've been thinking of picking myself up a copy, though with the internet so readily available, it hasn't been very urgent.

My own study times typically find me in the English Standard Version (ESV) and a New American Standard Bible (NASB) reference version (amazing for connecting verses throughout scripture if you don't have access to the internet or prefer to read in book format!).

When I'm online or really want to delve into a verse/word, is a wonderful free online resource for that. They have many translations and also have Greek and Hebrew translations and lexicons (I don't think has those, though I could be wrong), as well as many commentaries. I have to say, I've gotten so much more out of scripture when God's really put a verse on my heart delving into the Greek or the Hebrew than just reading it in English.

For example, John 14:6 is a very popular verse, stating, in english, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the father except through me". Yet, when I did a word study into "Life" as applies to this verse, it brought so much more meaning for me into this verse. To quote Studylight's definition of life in Greek:

1. life
1. the state of one who is possessed of vitality or is animate
2. every living soul
2. life
1. of the absolute fulness of life, both essential and ethical, which belongs to God, and through him both to the hypostatic "logos" and to Christ in whom the "logos" put on human nature
2. life real and genuine, a life active and vigorous, devoted to God, blessed, in the portion even in this world of those who put their trust in Christ, but after the resurrection to be consummated by new accessions (among them a more perfect body), and to last for ever.

There is so much more to the word than the simple English concept of "life"!

posted on Jul, 17 2007 @ 10:01 AM
Thanks for telling me about this Archeoloigal Study Bible, I will definately check it out. I collect Bibles, I have at least ne copy of most of them. I Thank You for the information on that version, sounds interesting as a study tool.

posted on Jul, 17 2007 @ 05:24 PM

Originally posted by johnb
I like the king james also available online complete with Apocrypha.

[7] For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

Well yes the KJV is great and has beautiful English that we all love to hear.

BUT - It also was translated from a text that is not nearly the oldest. The verse that you just quoted is found nowhere else in any text or codices before the 13th century. My opinion, it was added. I like the verse, but would not use it when a Jehovah Witness comes by the house.

Please see my original post at the top of this thread as it has much more detail on this particular verse.

The NIV was well done and if you look for that verse in there it will have in the notes why it was left out. I do not want to get into a KJVonlyism conversation nor argument as I love that version also. I own about 15 translations in hardback now and the ones that I consider in the KJV family are usually my favorites.

Some consider the NIV evil as well as the NKJV, but in my opinion, they are all decent versions EXCEPT the new TNIV (Its sucks dogpoop). These feminists will just not give up. When the Greek has a male meaning it should stay that way. Some of the newer versions do a decent job of this such as addressing a crowd as "brothers and sisters" when it is meant in the Greek to be that way, but some just take it WAY to far and the TNIV is one of these. BTW , I own one.

It is called gender inclusiveness and for the most part it is being taken to far.

[edit on 17-7-2007 by edsinger]

posted on Jul, 17 2007 @ 05:28 PM

Originally posted by theindependentjournal
but the faact remains the only Authorized Verison comes from the KJ Bible, besides it ic correct Numerologically(sp??).

Are you sure? the RSV was the revised standard version from which we get the ASV (American Standard Version) and the newer NRSV (ok but not one of my favorites).

The RSV was the next "Authorized" so to speak version to be used by English speakers but it was not conservative enough for the Americans so hence we had the ASV.

Either way, the RSV/ASV/ESV are all in the King James Tradition.

If someone wants there are another 2 that seem pretty good. The KJ21 which is very good and the MKJV (Modern King James Version) which is free for Esword. These are both very good versions.

posted on Jul, 17 2007 @ 05:41 PM

Originally posted by junglejakeFun thread! Everything I have heard about the Archaeological Study Bible has been very positive, and I've been thinking of picking myself up a copy, though with the internet so readily available, it hasn't been very urgent.

Buy it, it will be $30 VERY WELL SPENT. The Archaeological information alone makes it great, plus the other information on the Cannon and the histories of the Codex and scrolls and different articles are top notch. Only bad thing is its printed in China of all places. Its the one I carry to Church on Sunday Morning.

Originally posted by junglejakeMy own study times typically find me in the English Standard Version (ESV) and a New American Standard Bible (NASB) reference version

I have the Reformation Study Bible version of the ESV and it is very good. I actually have this version on CD's for car trips.

The NASB is the 'most literal' version and very difficult to read for an English user unless they have some Greek and Hebrew, it requires the highest reading level also like 12th grade and such. This is why it is used in seminaries and Bible schools so much. I like mine especially which is a study Bible version.

Most of the Bibles I buy now I want in that format. (Study Bibles)

Originally posted by junglejake
I have to say, I've gotten so much more out of scripture when God's really put a verse on my heart delving into the Greek or the Hebrew than just reading it in English.

You aren't just whistling Dixie here, that is so true. It really makes you respect the art of translation, a VERY difficult thing to do.

One version I have is what is called a paraphrase Bible. Mine is called "The Message" Its reads great, is easier to understand than most with a very reasonable reading level. It is great for helping understand verses but one must remember this in one mans translation and therefore it is biased to some extent. That is ok though because this one is the easiest for a person new to the Bible to follow.

posted on Jul, 23 2007 @ 03:46 PM
i'd like to interject in this thread with nothing more than a suggestion on reading.

Misquoting Jesus

solid reading on the bible, recomended to me by a very devout christian friend of mine

that is all, i shall take my leave

posted on Jul, 30 2007 @ 07:44 AM
I have read some of berman?s work, he is good, but that still doesn't deny nor change the fact that the New testament is the most documented book from antiquity that we have.....that's fact.

posted on Aug, 4 2007 @ 05:18 PM
I just found a bargain, for $1... Brand new the 3rd edition. I am only 20% into it but it is a great book so far. The history of the main NT texts, especially the one from ST. Catherine's Monastery...

IF you can get it, grab it.


[Mod Edit: Link format - Jak]

[edit on 6/8/07 by JAK]

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