More on the Importance of Bible Translations

In this installment https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/20/worshiping-the-lord-jesus-christ/, we will provide further examples of some of the differences among the various English translations of the Holy Bible that may affect the beliefs and theology of those reading them. Our purpose here is not to endorse one particular version over against another, but to provide some food for thought in order to stimulate Christians to take the issue of Bible translations more seriously, and to encourage them to study this subject with greater passion. After all, what can be more important for a follower of the risen Lord of glory than the Word of God, and knowing for certain that the version you are reading is a faithful translation of God’s inspired revelation to his people that you can trust?

Some of the differences that we will present are due to translation issues, i.e. on how one decides to translate a particular Hebrew or Greek word or phrase (cf. Daniel 3:25; Micah 5:2; Mark 15:39; John 1:18; Acts 3:13, 26; 4:27, 30). Other differences arise from variant readings which exist amongst the extant manuscripts of the Holy Bible (cf. John 1:18, 6:69, 9:35; 1 Timothy 3:16).

We encourage the readers to compare how these verses are rendered in the particular version of the Holy Bible that they read, and/or in some of the other translations that they can access online for free.

A Son of the Gods?

 

“He answered and said, ‘But I see four men loose and walking in the midst of the fire, and they are unharmed. And the form of the fourth is like the Son of God!’” Daniel 3:25 Modern English Version (MEV)*

 

 

 

“He said, ‘Look! I see four men loosed and walking about in the midst of the fire without harm, and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods!’” New American Standard Bible (NASB)

 

“He said: ‘Look! I see four men walking about free in the midst of the fire, and they are unharmed, and the fourth one looks like a son of the gods.’” New World Translation (NWT)

 

Eternal or Ancient?

 

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, although you are small among the tribes of Judah, from you will come forth for Me one who will be ruler over Israel. His origins are from of old, from ancient days.” Micah 5:2

 

 

“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.” NASB

 

 

“And you, O Bethʹle·hem Ephʹra·thah, The one too little to be among the thousands of Judah, From you will come out for me the one to be ruler in Israel, Whose origin is from ancient times, from the days of long ago.” NWT

 

 

A/The Son of A G/god?

“When the centurion who stood facing Him saw that He cried out and gave up the spirit, he said, ‘Truly, this Man was the Son of God.’” Mark 15:39 MEV

 

 

“When the centurion, who was standing [a]right in front of Him, saw [b]the way He breathed His last, he said, ‘Truly this man was [c]the Son of God!’” NASB

c. Mark 15:39 Or a son of God or son of a god

 

 

“Now when the army officer who was standing by with him in view saw that he had expired under these circumstances, he said: ‘Certainly this man was God’s Son.’” NWT

 

Only Begotten or Only Son or God?

 

“No one has seen God at any time. The only Son, who is at the Father’s side, has made Him known.” John 1:18 MEV

 

 

“No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.” NASB

 

 

“No man has seen God at any time; the only-begotten god who is at the Father’s side is the one who has explained Him.” NWT

 

 

Son of the Living God?

 

“We have believed and have come to know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” John 6:69 MEV

 

 

“We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.” NASB

 

“We have believed and have come to know that you are the Holy One of God.” NWT

 

Son of God or Man?

 

“Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when He found him, He said, ‘Do you believe in the Son of God?’” John 9:35 MEV

 

 

“Jesus heard that they had put him out, and finding him, He said, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’” NASB

 

“Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and on finding him, he said: ‘Are you putting faith in the Son of man?’” NWT

 

God’s Son or Servant?

 

“The God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His Son Jesus, whom you handed over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him… God, having raised up His Son Jesus, sent Him to you first, to bless you in turning every one of you from your iniquities.” Acts 3:13, 26 MEV

“Indeed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were assembled together against Your holy Son Jesus whom You have anointed… by stretching out Your hand to heal and that signs and wonders may be performed in the name of Your holy Son Jesus.” Acts 4:27, 30 MEV

 

 

 

“The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His servant Jesus, the one whom you delivered and disowned in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him… For you first, God raised up His Servant and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.” NASB

“For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel… while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.” NASB

 

 

“The God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob, the God of our forefathers, has glorified his Servant, Jesus, whom you handed over and disowned before Pilate, even though he had decided to release him… God, after raising up his Servant, sent him to you first to bless you by turning each one of you away from your wicked deeds.” NWT

“For truly both Herod and Pontius Pilate with men of the nations and with peoples of Israel were gathered together in this city against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed… while you stretch out your hand for healing and while signs and wonders occur through the name of your holy servant Jesus.’” NWT

 

 

God in the flesh?

 

“Without question, great is the mystery of godliness: God was revealed in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached to the Gentiles, believed on in the world, taken up into glory.” 1 Timothy 3:16 MEV

 

 

“By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory.” NASB

 

“Indeed, the sacred secret of this godly devotion is admittedly great: ‘He was made manifest in flesh, was declared righteous in spirit, appeared to angels, was preached about among nations, was believed upon in the world, was received up in glory.’” NWT

 

* The MEV is a translation based exclusively on the Authorized King James Version (AV), which attempts to modernize its language. For the most part, the MEV is basically the AV in modern vernacular. In fact, there are times when it actually does a better job in bringing out the meaning of certain passages, such as in the following cases:

“and killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.” Acts 3:15 AV

“and you killed the Creator of Life, whom God has raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses.” MEV

“looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;” Titus 2:13 AV

“as we await the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,” MEV

“Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:” 2 Peter 1:1

“Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith as precious as ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.” MEV

However, there are places where it doesn’t improve upon or even follow the AV but actually diverts from it, as in the following examples:

“But thou, Beth-lehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” Micah 5:2 AV

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, although you are small among the tribes of Judah, from you will come forth for Me one who will be ruler over Israel. His origins are from of old, from ancient days.” MEV

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth… No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” John 1:14, 18 AV

“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, the glory as the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth… No one has seen God at any time. The only Son, who is at the Father’s side, has made Him known.” MEV

 

 

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