We live in happy times when we have the Word of God available to us in so many excellent modern translations. But this diversity also complicates how we think of the Word of God. It is much more simple (though fantastically wrong on many levels) to divinize one translation and proclaim that translation as “the Bible” while simultaneously eyeing every other translation with suspicion and/or hostility. And while you are probably thinking of those who hold the undefensible King James Only position, and rightfully so, I have noticed that other translations are sometimes quietly granted the “only” position by well-meaning individuals who refuse to recognize the high qualities of other translations. I believe this simply reflects the idolatrous pride in our sinful hearts that always wants “our” translation to be the best one…and on the highway of human pride this can transition from “best” into “exclusive” absurdly fast. This is most visible in the small group discussions where unless someone’s favorite translation is read and seen to be superior the study is not over.
What we need is a little dose of humility and perspective. It is with this hope that I am eager to read Which Bible Translation Should I Use? A Comparison of 4 Major Recent Versions: ESV, NIV, HCSB, NLT edited by Andreas J. Köstenberger and David A. Croteau. You can find out more about this excellent book over at Andy Naselli’s blog!
We must not be a people of a translation, but a people of God’s Word. Jeremiah 15:16.