I’ve seen raging debates all across the internet and even in my facebook newsfeed about which version of the Bible is the correct one. Which translation meets the criteria for being categorized as divinely inspired and which ones don’t. These debates are usually surrounding the Authorized King James Bible of 1611.
Proponents of the King James Bible of 1611 usually hold that it is the only divinely inspired translation. Though there are multiple translations into the English language that have come after, most of which claim to be closer to the original Greek. Just one tiny problem. We don’t have the original manuscripts. In order to maintain divine inspiration we’re told it doesn’t matter that we don’t have the originals. There were many copies, all close enough in edit, that we can know what the originals said. Any discrepancies are likely copyist error.
But did you know that the original King James Bible of 1611 was full of marginal notes? Marginal notes that indicated there could be several meanings of a word translated into English from Greek? Somewhere along the way someone decided that those marginal notes were unnecessary. They picked the most likely meaning and went with it. Because much prayer and thoughtfulness went into the original KJV of 1611 that the translators didn’t want to mislead, they thought it prudent to include those side notes. Huh. How about that. They didn’t think they were the purveyors of all truth and wisdom.
And what about these other translations? There’s the NIV, NLT, ESV, NAS, GWT, KJV, AKJV, ASV, BBE, DBY, DRB, WEB, and the YTL. I’m sure I’ve missed a few. That’s eleven, count ’em, eleven translations. Apparently there’s a lot in a word. Apparently we don’t know what the words are. Because, if we did, we wouldn’t need eleven plus translations to convey them. Then there are individuals who have Bibles. There’s the Scofield Study Bible, The MacArthur Study Bible, and The Ryrie Study Bible. That’s just to name a few. Because apparently these folks have it all figured out.
You and I are supposed to be convinced that God somehow preserved his word over thousands of years? Which one? Proponents of various translations think theirs is the best, just like their particular brand of Christianity. The original Hebrew was translated into Greek and Aramaic. Not a chance something went wrong there. ::sarcasm:: Then all of this was translated into Latin. Nope, no way there could be an error. ::more sarcasm:: Then this was all translated into English and various other languages. I don’t see how anything could possibly go awry. ::dripping sarcasm:: None of this even accounts for the fact that, as far as the English language goes, there are nuances to the original terms that we can’t possibly even express. Still, I can’t get away from that tiny little problem of not even having the originals.
And what of copyist errors? And what of forgeries and interpolations? We’re told to believe that minor copyist errors don’t change the original meaning of the text. Don’t we all know that even changing one little letter in one single word in a sentence can change the entire meaning? Here’s an old joke that’s been around for ages:
A man sends a letter back to his wife while he’s on a business trip in a tropical locale saying, “The weather’s nice and I’m having a great time. Wish you were her.”
What’s in a word? You tell me.