Ever been in a Christian bookstore and taken a look at the section where they sell Bibles? What’s the deal with all those translations? How are you supposed to know whether the KJV is better than the NIV, or the NASB would suit you better than the HCSB, or the newness of the New King James Version is more appealing than the newness of New Revised Standard Version, or…?
I think you get my point.
It can be a little unsettling, especially when it comes to maintaining a reverence for Holy Scripture, to see so many different “versions” of it. Compound that with stuff you may have heard your Bible study teacher, fellow church member, pastor, or grandparent say about how you should never read a certain version because it’s corrupted” or “untrustworthy,” and the process of selecting the right Bible translation for you can be incredibly intimidating.
So, let’s take a step back and consider the purpose of Bible translations in general. And, let’s also take a look at one of the major aspects that plays into whether a certain version is considered “trustworthy” or not: the specific ancient source, or sources, used by the translators.
On the first of a two-episode suite on Bible Translations, I sat down with two guys who happen to know a lot about the history and process of Bible translations: Allen Taliaferro, DBC’s Outreach Pastor, and Sebastian Suma, long-time member of DBC and teacher of the Truth in Love Bible Study class. Both of these seminary-educated, smarty-pants guys bring with them some very interesting facts about the significance of Bible translation through the years, from the Septuagint to the Vulgate to a little known English translation known as the King James Version.
On this first foray into the topic, we focused mainly on the history and the reliability of sources when it comes to the work of translation. In a future episode, we will talk more about the actual, step-by-step process that Bible translators go through to produce the kind of version they feel will most benefit believers and seekers alike.
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