Are there any doctrinal differences between any of the main Bible translations?

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adamjthompson

Puritan Board Freshman
Start a discussion about Bible translations, especially if you have KJV-only people in the group, and it seems the discussion can get heated like which translation you choose will determine your salvation. To cut to the bottom-line, though: are there any doctrinal differences between the major Bible translations? (Let's ignore loosey-goosey "translations" such as The Message.)

Between translations such as these, are there any differences of substance (i.e. any doctrines added/subtracted/changed)? I'm not aware of any, but would love to learn if there are.
  • New International Version
  • King James Version
  • New Living Translation
  • New King James Version
  • English Standard Version
  • New American Standard Bible

The NIV and NLT are my least favorite of those, but even still I don't think there are any substantial doctrinal differences, are there?

Most criticism I see is either:
  • Assuming their translation is right. ("Your translation leaves out this word" - without considering maybe their translation added a word.)
  • Too finely focused. ("This verse in your translation doesn't clearly teach the divinity of Christ" - but other verses in the translation do!)
 

irresistible_grace

Puritan Board Junior
I think you raise an interesting question.
:popcorn:

My 6 year old told me last night that she wants to read the "real" Bible, not the ESV. I told her the ESV is just as "real" as the AV (we use the AV/KJV in corporate worship). She said, "I wasn't talking about the AV, I want to learn Hebrew & Greek." (I guess I was being a little defensive!)

Dr. Strange had a really great response to a similar question concerning translations and I wish I knew where it was so I could share it. I personally stick with the AV & ESV.
 

irresistible_grace

Puritan Board Junior
The NIV borders on paraphrase & changes important doctrines like "propitiation" to "sacrifice of atonement" ... Propitiation means so much more!
 

arapahoepark

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
When I was reading the NIV when I was younger I was astonished by the textual notes at the bottom of the page. Some phrases were completely different than were in the main text and I wondered how in the world did the translators translate it like that and not this (in the notes at the bottom); it was completely different.
That said I think the NIV is obviously more broadly evangelical and Arminian in some places. It shows when you have to 'paraphrase' or use dynamic equivalency.
 

Vladimir

Puritan Board Freshman
NIV is gender neutral. I also read that it is inconsistent with translations of the same terms (switched to NASB, never validated this). Extensive paraphrasing. Pretty up-to-date on some recent linguistic and archaeological discoveries. Overall, good translation.
 

Vladimir

Puritan Board Freshman
Are there any doctrinal differences between any of the main Bible translations?
Yeah. At the very least, the preservation of Scripture.
Could be worse. Malachi 2:16a in the only Russian Bible stranslation used by virtually every church of every denomination (1876):
For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the LORD, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the LORD of hosts.
Если ты ненавидишь ее, отпусти, говорит Господь Бог Израилев; обида покроет одежду его, говорит Господь Саваоф.

If you hate her, let her go, says the LORD, the God of Israel; offence will cover his garments, says Lord Sabaoth.
 

Bad Organist

Puritan Board Freshman
Are there any doctrinal differences between any of the main Bible translations?
Yeah. At the very least, the preservation of Scripture.

Hi,

And with the preservation of Scripture, also comes authority of Scripture.

Seems that most modern translations, deal with certain issues much like they would deal with Shakespeare or any other human author book. It seems that translators of modern versions, are rather unsure of what is in the Scriptures and what the Scriptures says. So, one sees copious notes at the bottom of many pages, spelling out their confusion by putting in ....certain manuscripts add....or omit.... or some manuscripts say this and this, etc. Or they put in alternate renderings which are not helpful in the least. In the ESV Bible you will find a note stating that the footnotes are integral to the text. Really. In other words the footnotes are not merely helps, but as important as the text, so much so, you don't see ESV editions without these footnotes. To me, this just adds confusion to what scripture says or doesn't say, and how authoritative scripture is. And what is worse, different versions have different notes. Sometimes they even conflict with other versions.

I do think that the doctrines derived from most of the standard versions is going to be close to the same. But the attitude given to the scriptures as to what is in God's Word, and how authoritative it is said to be, is going to be different between versions.

AV
 
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PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Amazon.com: Buying Choices: Accuracy of Translation: The Primary Criterion in Evaluating Bible Versions With Special Reference to the New International Version

Dr. Robert P. Martin's book is a good place to start and you can get it for very cheap.

Recent debate on gender-neutral versions of the Bible has again raised the question of how the Word of God should be translated. Robert Martin argues that the verbal nature of inspiration can only be honoured if preference is given to a formal equivalence. FROM THE BACK COVER: Contemporary bookstores are flooded with a wide variety of translations of the Bible. Some are easier to read than others; some use more colloquial language than others. Are they really any different from each other? Does it matter which one we read in private, or use in church services?


Robert P. Martin believes that scripture is God's inspired Word.How we translate it is therefore of tremendous importance, not just for biblical linguists but for every Christian. In an uncomplicated and readable way, Dr. Martin explains the principles lying behind contemporary translations, and carefully analyses the New International Version New Testament to see whether it provides a translation which is satisfactory for widespread use in the church today. His study not only presents a critique of the NIV, but also provides insights into Scripture which will help every reader to appreciate the richness of God's Word and the benefit of careful Bible study.

Translation does matter. I listened to Dr. Martin's Sunday School lessons on this topic back in the 80's and gained much benefit from them and his booklet. I highly recommend it.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
NIV is gender neutral.

No, the original NIV wasn't. That corruption came with the TNIV (2002/2005) and was continued in the NIV 2011 version. But the original 1978 version was widely accepted and used by many solid congregations.
 

DMcFadden

Puritanboard Commissioner
* Some doctrines are more difficult to see in some translations. "Propitiation" is a rather particular nuance softened (in my opinion) by the rendering "atoning sacrifice" in the NIV.
* The new Common English Bible popular in mainline seminaries (and some purportedly evangelical ones) translates "son of man" as "human one," which I think loses much of the significance of the original.
* Even though numerous evangelical scholars prefer to change the traditional "virgin shall conceive" to "a young maiden shall conceive" in Isaiah 7:14, it might be a bit of a difference in doctrinal emphasis.
* Those who use the Majority Text rather than the Critical Text will cite numerous places where they believe that doctrines are at stake.

I believe that the essence of Christian orthodoxy is clear in all legitimate translations. That does not mean that I consider them equally satisfying.
 

JohnGill

Puritan Board Senior
Start a discussion about Bible translations, especially if you have KJV-only people in the group, and it seems the discussion can get heated like which translation you choose will determine your salvation. To cut to the bottom-line, though: are there any doctrinal differences between the major Bible translations? (Let's ignore loosey-goosey "translations" such as The Message.)

Between translations such as these, are there any differences of substance (i.e. any doctrines added/subtracted/changed)? I'm not aware of any, but would love to learn if there are.
  • New International Version
  • King James Version
  • New Living Translation
  • New King James Version
  • English Standard Version
  • New American Standard Bible

The NIV and NLT are my least favorite of those, but even still I don't think there are any substantial doctrinal differences, are there?

Most criticism I see is either:
  • Assuming their translation is right. ("Your translation leaves out this word" - without considering maybe their translation added a word.)
  • Too finely focused. ("This verse in your translation doesn't clearly teach the divinity of Christ" - but other verses in the translation do!)

Yes. The underlying reason is textual basis plus translation methodology. Dr. Bart Ehrman wrote a book dealing with this issue: The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture. Though an enemy of the faith, he has put to death the rationalist plea that none of the changes from the TR to the CT affect doctrine. Dr. John Burgon also wrote about corruptions in the text and their affects upon doctrine in Causes of Corruption, Revision Revised, & The Last Twelve Verses of Mark. St. Augustine of Hippo commented on heretics removing the Pericope de Adultera from their texts and putting in other corruptions. And in John Gill's Exposition of Proverbs 8:22 he stated that the rendering of the Septuagint formed the basis for Arius' argument. A similar rendering is found in the modern translations.

Prov 8:22

Ver. 22. [The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, etc.] Not “created me”, as the Targum and the Septuagint version; which version Arius following gave birth to his pernicious doctrine; who from hence concluded Christ is a creature, and was the first creature that God made, not of the same but of a like nature with himself, in some moment or period of eternity; and by whom he made all others: the Word, or Wisdom of God is never said to be created; and if as such he was created, God must have been without his Wisdom before he was created; besides, Christ, as the Word and Wisdom of God, is the Creator of all things, and not created, (John 1:1-3); but this possession is not in right of creation, as the word is sometimes used, (Genesis 4:1; Deuteronomy 32:6); it might be more truly rendered, “the Lord begat me”, as the word is translated by the Septuagint in (Zechariah 13:5); it denotes the Lord’s having, possessing, and enjoying his word and wisdom as his own proper Son; which possession of him is expressed by his being with him and in him, and in his bosom, and as one brought forth and brought up by him; as he was “in the beginning of his way” of creation, when he went forth in his wisdom and power, and created all things; then he did possess his Son, and made use of him, for by him he made the worlds: and “in the beginning of his way” of grace, which was before his way of creation; he began with him when he first went out in acts of grace towards his people; his first thoughts, purposes, and decrees concerning their happiness, were in him; the choice of their persons was made in him; God was in him contriving the scheme of their peace, reconciliation, and salvation; the covenant of grace was made with him, and all fulness of grace was treasured up in him: the words may be rendered, “the Lord possessed me, the beginning of his way”; that is, who am the beginning, as he is; the beginning of the creation of God, the first cause, the efficient of it, both old and new; see (Colossians 1:18 Revelation 3:14). So Aben Ezra, who compares with this (Job 40:19). This shows the real and actual existence of Christ from eternity, his relation to Jehovah his Father, his nearness to him, equality with him, and distinction from him: it is added, for further illustration and confirmation’s sake,

Prov 8:22

AV: The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.
Geneva: The Lord hath possessed me in the beginning of his way: I was before his works of old.
ESV: “The Lord possessed me at the beginning of his work,the first of his acts of old.
NIV: “The Lord brought me forth as the first of his works, before his deeds of old;

The Trinitarian Bible Society has some good literature dealing with the doctrinal changes in the NIV & the new RSV called the ESV.

A few other verses that cause doctrinal issues in modern translations are Micah 5:2, Psalm 119:9, 1 Tim 3:16. For a much longer list Dr. Ehrman and Dean Burgon's books provide an extensive list.
 

mercyminister

Puritan Board Freshman
NIV is gender neutral.

No, the original NIV wasn't. That corruption came with the TNIV (2002/2005) and was continued in the NIV 2011 version. But the original 1978 version was widely accepted and used by many solid congregations.

I was very comfortable using the NIV through the 80s and 90s. I did not notice any danger signs that concerned me, but I was aware of a few minor issues that KJV-only friends would remind me of. I continued to use the NIV until I started to use the KJV for personal reading and devotions. The NIV was used mainly for worship on Sunday mornings as that was our congregation's pew Bible. I eventually put the NIV away after using the NKJV for a period of a few months. I still had no major issues with the NIV, but just wasn't using it. I started to take a few seminary courses where I had to use the KJV and NASB and then saw the deficiencies in the NIV. I just did not notice, or bother to notice, that the NIV was an inferior translation. Now, with the NIV2011, I am aghast at how far we have drifted away from accurate and faithful Bible translation. The liberal agenda has taken over full force so that feminism and homosexuality now have a foothold in mainline denominations who see these translations as "the word of (a) god" (lack of capitalization is intentional).

The point I am making here is that there are differences in the teachings of major doctrines in translations. We have to be very careful of which one we choose to use and prayerfully consider any other issues that may have infiltrated in the translation process.

James
 

thbslawson

Puritan Board Freshman
Are there any doctrinal differences between any of the main Bible translations?
Yeah. At the very least, the preservation of Scripture.
Could be worse. Malachi 2:16a in the only Russian Bible stranslation used by virtually every church of every denomination (1876):
For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the LORD, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the LORD of hosts.
Если ты ненавидишь ее, отпусти, говорит Господь Бог Израилев; обида покроет одежду его, говорит Господь Саваоф.

If you hate her, let her go, says the LORD, the God of Israel; offence will cover his garments, says Lord Sabaoth.

I remember dealing with that when we lived in Russia. It was difficult to explain to some believers that Synodalny perevod was actually translated incorrectly, and at times it even angered some people. The same thing can be encountered here in the US with a few on the fringes of the KJV-only movement.
 

JML

Puritan Board Junior
The ESV advocates covenantbreaking in 1 Cor. 7:36-38 , so there's a doctrinal difference.

That section is just a horrible translation that is even unique amongst CT versions. I would love to ask the translators what they were thinking on that one.
 
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