Understanding the Different Translations of the Bible

By Faith Magbanua, June 29, 2017 03:06 AM

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Currently, there are several Bible translations available and used by the public and the church in cases wherein they need guidance or read up on a certain verse in the Bible. Some of the most notable translations used today include the King James Version, New King James version, American Standard Version, Good News Translation, etc.

But how do we differentiate each version from the other one?  As my Pastor would say, the King James Version (KJV) 1611, is the Bible translation that reflects a preserved version of the original text.  This means, it is basically the closest version taken from the original manuscript.  The manuscript was translated into the English language by King James in the year 1611. As a result, the translation was called King James Version, 1611 after the King.  

A lot of Christians today often find themselves using this version; however, teenagers and Christians who are not as proficient in deep words used in the KJV find it difficult to understand this version. As a result, there have been reiterations created to make the KJV version easier to understand. One of the light versions of this translation is called New King James Version NKJV. As the years passed by, other versions have also rose to meet the needs of different people.

Of course, using a Bible that has a more "easier" translation has its pros and cons. 

First, the pros:

  1. The good thing in using a Bible that is very easy to understand is that it will not give you a hard time understanding each passage.  The words like: 'ye', 'thou', 'selah', and other similar words often seen in the KJV version are not present in the "modern"  versions.
  2. Another good thing when using a modern version is that some Bible have pictures in it! For example, the youth Bible comes with pictures. It is also vivid, plain and very easy to understand.
  3. Reading the Bible won't be such a task anymore because you won't be needing your dictionary from time to time to learn the meaning of each deep word you stumble as you read.
  4. It will also save time in reading the Bible, because everything is made easy. All you have to do is to read it and then you're done. 
  5. Devotion time will be easier since you won't be having a hard time understanding what the Word of God is all about.

How about the cons in using a modern version?

There's a bit of a downside when you use a different translation from the KJV version.

  1. You will not feel the depth of each word if you use a version that has a lighter translation to it.  I'm not saying that the Holy Spirit will not work on you if you used a lighter translation. What I am pertaining is that, you will miss out on a lot on the emotions being conveyed in the original text.  You won't get to experience and imagine what really happened in the events in the Bible because the translation of the modern version varies.  It will not be as sharp as the original one seen in the KJV 1611 version.
  2. Some important words can or may be omitted into the modern version.  Making words easier to read is good but by doing that, you take away the important parts of a passage. 

Take for example this Bible verse from Romans 6:22-23, the Message Bible version (MSG)  

 But now that you've found you don't have to listen to sin tell you what to do, and have discovered the delight of listening to God telling you, what a surprise! A whole, healed, put-together life right now, with more and more of life on the way! Work hard for sin your whole life and your pension is death. But God's gift is real life, eternal life, delivered by Jesus, our Master.

Now, let us look at the translation from the King James Version

But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

If you take a closer look at the MSG version, you will notice that there are a lot of words that were added into the passage to make it easier to understand. However, if you read the verses from the KJV version, you will find that nothing has been omitted or added into the text.  As plain as it is, the true meaning can be seen clearly.

The word of the Lord is simple: it is perfect and it converts the soul. Whether you are a person who doesn't like to read the Old English translation from the KJV version, which is the is the first version of Scripture which is translated straight from its original manuscript, or a person who wants to read the Bible in a more enjoyable experience, either way, it's up to you which version to choose. However, always remember that the true meaning of each word will vary depending on which version you will pick. The book is only as good as the person's imagination. The more depth the word has into a passage, the more vivid it becomes when you let God run your imagination.


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