Family use same translation during family worship?

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U

Username3000

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Brethren,

My wife and I prefer different translations of the Bible - KJV for me and ESV for her. Since I trust the ESV I do not count this as a problem, except in practical matters. When we do our family worship, the differening translations cause a bit of a bump since following along with someone reading from a different translation can be somewhat distracting.

I would have her switch, but she is not an avid reader and is intimidated by the language of the KJV. So the question I face is whether to have her switch and go through the language barrier for the sake of being on the same page, as it were. Advice please?
 

Andres

Puritan Board Doctor
Use this as an opportunity to help teach her to become more familiar with the KJV. I cant think of a better way for her to learn than during family worship readings!
 

BGF

Puritan Board Sophomore
Why can't you use both? if the structure of your family worship allows for it, use both translations to your advantage. She can become more familiar with the KJV while retaining the readability readability of the ESV. I've found that using multiple translations helps to sometimes clarify meaning.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Doctor
Be a servant leader to your wife. Unless you have strong convictions about the superiority of your preferred translation, switch to the one she finds most helpful as a way for serving her in love. Give up your preference for the sake of her spiritual growth.
 
U

Username3000

Guest
Three men, three different answers. Thats good. I need to pray and think about this more.
 

Fogetaboutit

Puritan Board Freshman
You could also study the subject in more details, (textual tradition, translation philosophy etc) in order to get a conviction on the subject and then follow that conviction. The same way you might approach the subject of which creeds or confessions you should use.
 

Bill The Baptist

Puritan Board Graduate
You could also study the subject in more details, (textual tradition, translation philosophy etc) in order to get a conviction on the subject and then follow that conviction. The same way you might approach the subject of which creeds or confessions you should use.

:ditto: I think you should spend some time studying and decide which version you think is better based on textual considerations and then act accordingly.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Hello Elijah,

The KJV and the ESV have different underlying Greek texts, and while they’re approximately 80-85% identical, that 15 or 20% difference is significant, although the word of God has been preserved sufficiently so that men and women may be saved regardless of which version is used, as well the churches sustained and nourished.

I quote from the Introduction to The New Testament in the Original Greek according to the Byzantine/Majority Textform, by Maurice Robinson and William Pierpont,

For over four-fifths of the New Testament, the Greek text is considered 100% certain, regardless of which texttype might be favored by any critic. This undisputed bulk of the text reflects a common pre-existing archetype (the autograph), which has universal critical acceptance. In the remaining one-fifth of the Greek New Testament, the Byzantine/Majority Textform represents the pattern of readings found in the Greek manuscripts predominating during the 1000-year Byzantine era.​

Nonetheless, the discrepancies are noteworthy, and do affect the doctrines of divine inspiration and providential preservation.

In the ESV you will find as early as Matthew 1 glaring errors, such as in 1:7, 10 Asaph and Amos replacing the genuine Asa and Amon in Christ’s royal genealogy (the Critical Text editors said Matthew used the wrong genealogical lists and simply made a mistake!—so much for divine inspiration with them!). There are multiple other errors/variants as well. The Trinitarian Bible Society discusses the situation in an article.

That said, it need not be a cause for family disruption. My own wife prefers to use the NIV (1984), but is well aware of my views, and also uses the KJV/NKJV to compare texts. In some places the modern versions are clear, simple, and excellent, though the KJV is the standard of accuracy. My wife and I do not conflict over these things, and our family quiet times are a blessing. I will say on occasion, “that is not the right reading”, and she hears me.

I don’t say these things to start another textual war here, but simply to speak of what the textual situation is. You may see in my textual posts how I like to deal with these things.
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Elders have posted here in this thread. Weigh their opinions greater but since you asked...another man, another answer! ;)

Is there a way to persevere in your "distraction" until greater conviction comes to either one of you. Conviction is important but who knows when it will come. When I gave up the ESV for the NASB my wife just followed suit after a few weeks. We were out shopping and she said, "let's go by the bookstore so I can get a Bible like yours."
 

Jake

Puritan Board Senior
We spent some time talking about and studying textual traditions. I had spent more time, but we listened to some sermons and discussed some of the important issues. She saw the importance of using the same manuscript tradition afterward. When we started family worship (i.e., when we got married), I only had two copies of the KJV and one copy of the NKJV. She had neither. We both preferred to use physical editions and she liked having the same copy, so we ended up practically going for the KJV most of the time, and once I explained a handful of language differences, she grew accoustumed. She does like following along with a version that has footnotes for difficult language, but the transition has worked well. Now we both use KJV and she has asked me to buy her a copy.

(We're waiting for a particular copy to be back in stock in the TBS bookstore)
 

jambo

Puritan Board Senior
I would see no problem in using different versions at all. Your wife should always use her preferred version. It's what she knows and what she is comfortable with.
 
U

Username3000

Guest
There are some very good suggestions here, and definitely varied. Thank you again for all of the responses.

Jack, yours stands out the most to me. I want to glorify God with this decision, and I want to be Christ-like as it pertains to my marriage relationship. Currently I am trying to decide how difficult the switch would actually be for her; I know she has it in her to do it, but is it effort that could be better spent elsewhere? Is it effort that is needless? The answer to that comes down to translation convictions I would think, which I do not have at this point. But then again, I think there is much to be said about an entire family being accustomed to speaking about the faith in the same way, as our Bibles certainly colour our vocabularies. Perhaps I am wrong on that one.

The one thing I am convinced of is that translation unity within our family would be beneficial. Jack, you say unite with the ESV. Others say unite with the KJV.
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
Have you considered the effect this could have upon her personal reading and devotional time? You don't want to impede that, and switching to another copy of the Scriptures just might raise a barrier. I dearly love my copy of the NASB, my husband uses whatever he has open in his Bible software, and my kids use NIV. (In our homeschooling I sometimes use a KJV for its literary importance.) All this being said, my husband always takes the lead during family worship if he's home, so I generally just listen, or if I'm following along, I'm the one who has to make the mental changes.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Doctor
Jack, you say unite with the ESV. Others say unite with the KJV.

There are some folks here who will always advocate for the KJV because they believe the Greek text it was translated from is superior, or because they see the KJV as an "Authorized Version" the English-speaking church ought to unite around. If they're right, the best way to lead your wife in the faith will be to steer her toward that translation.

But those of us who don't hold such convictions might be more concerned that you humbly give up your own preferences for the sake of your wife, putting her comfort and spiritual growth ahead of your personal interests. That isn't so much a vote for the ESV as it is a suggestion that you commit to putting your wife's needs first—an excellent practice for a Christian husband.
 

Andrew1142

Puritan Board Freshman
Others on this thread clearly have more knowledge than I do, but I thought I'd throw in my two cents.

The fact that the ESV and KJV use two different textual traditions makes me think that it would be great to use both. It would make reading along more difficult, but I think this could be alleviated by listening to whoever is speaking aloud rather than following along. Or by using an interlinear (hard copies of ESV/KJV may not exist, I don't know, but digital copies give you more freedom in this regard).

The reason I say this is because I tend to think that people using different translations can actually be better than everyone using the same. That is kind of a personal taste issue, though, and it's not a one-size-fits-all.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
Husband and wife, as well as brothers and sisters in the church, should always be growing in the unity of the faith. But, a common translation might NOT be the most important matter at this particular time. Whether this is a hill upon which you need to die, only you can know. But, one wonders if a husband and wife cannot be united in such a small matter, how are they going to be united in larger matters.
 
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U

Username3000

Guest
Just an update on this situation: We are in the middle of moving/buying our first home (and dog) and therefore I have not been able to study the text issue yet. As of now we are keeping both translations in our family worship. When I read, she listens, and I then use the differing translations as an opportunity to get her more involved as I frequently ask her how a verse or word is rendered in the ESV.

I am looking forward to reading about manuscripts in the near future. Thank you brothers for all of your comments and suggestions.
 

chuckd

Puritan Board Sophomore
Husband and wife, as well as brothers and sisters in the church, should always be growing in the unity of the faith. But, a common translation might be the most important matter at this particular time. Whether this is a hill upon which you need to die, only you can know. But, one wonders if a husband and wife cannot be united in such a small matter, how are they going to be united in larger matters.

Is it a small or big matter? :D And my wife and I tend to be quite different on small, trivial matters while we tend to agree (or work diligently to agree) on larger matters.

(definitely lurking this thread as the OP is our exact situation)
 
U

Username3000

Guest
Husband and wife, as well as brothers and sisters in the church, should always be growing in the unity of the faith. But, a common translation might be the most important matter at this particular time. Whether this is a hill upon which you need to die, only you can know. But, one wonders if a husband and wife cannot be united in such a small matter, how are they going to be united in larger matters.

Is it a small or big matter? :D And my wife and I tend to be quite different on small, trivial matters while we tend to agree (or work diligently to agree) on larger matters.

(definitely lurking this thread as the OP is our exact situation)

Chuck,

What has your experience been in this matter?
 

Verkehrsteilnehmer

Puritan Board Freshman
We never had this question. Why? Because our children began family worship before they could read or even understand the Bible reading. If you like, read from translation A on Monday, B on Tues., C on Wed., etc., why do you have to choose some official translation? And what is the point if you only have one Bible open? Yes, sometimes having the text before your eyes helps, but it goes both ways, it can be a distraction, especially with the person reading does not give enough time for every to get to the right page. Ministers, of all people, in corporate worship, are quick to start the reading while you still hear half the congregation thumbing through their Bibles.

But, I think, if you want everyone to follow along, it is better to be reading from the same translation, otherwise you lose the cadence in the reading. The goal should be to have everyone be directed by the Holy Spirit, as the reader carefully works through the text as if he is speaking himself and not being a distraction from the reading.

In any case, Bible reading, no matter how you do it, is much better than not reading it, but think about how you read it. When Luther translated the Bible, he thought about how each phrase would be heard and read---will the Holy Spirit be doing His work as you read tonight? Pray that the hearers would hear God in their hearts --- and not you.

Dave
PHX
OPC
 

chuckd

Puritan Board Sophomore
Chuck,

What has your experience been in this matter?

We read from the KJV. My wife's complaints are (she's an English major)
-it is bad writing (unnecessary word construction)
-that the Bible is difficult in itself to understand, much less from 17th century English
-there is no need for the thou/thee's. Nobody talks like that.

I say -any translation attempting to stay true to the original language (especially 4000 year old one) is going to sound odd
-we need someone to explain the Bible to us anyway, that's why we have ministers (and notes in the study Bible we have)
-reading the KJV is how they used to teach English to children
-you wouldn't "update" Shakespeare
-and nobody spoke like that back then. The thee's and thou's are there to communicate singular and plural pronouns in writing/plays only.

I think she's coming around, but if there's much more resistance I think we'll switch to the ESV. I think the teaching English to children using it resonated with her. We just had our first child - 9 months.
 

nick

Puritan Board Freshman
My advice: Use the same translation as a family. This would be what you all read from, memorize from, etc. I would use the translation your church uses. If the translation is good enough for your elders, it is good enough for your family. The unity found in doing this is a great benefit.

That said, we use the KJV as that is what our church uses, but my wife and I use the ESV as well in personal study (though that is getting less and less).

As others have mentioned the conviction aspect, consider reading "The King James Version Defended" by E. Hills. I'm in the middle of it right now, and it is pretty eye-opening how we got to where we are with all these translations.

Free online too! http://febc.edu.sg/assets/pdfs/VPP/TheKingJamesVersionDefended.pdf
 

Logan

Puritan Board Senior
As a note, Hills' views were somewhat unique. For example, he believed that some textual variants were lost in the Greek, yet preserved in the Latin Vulgate, providentially being back-translated by Erasmus into his Greek text (basis for the TR). No reformer/Puritan I know of would have agreed with this.

The (simplified) thrust of his argument seems to be that the TR "family" (there is no one "TR") is providentially preserved, specifically the variants found in the KJV. And no matter what the textual variant, that is the true providentially preserved variant. We know this because it has been in use by the church for the last several hundred years.

Also as a note, I don't know that the TR position is in the majority on this board. It might seem that way because the ones who aren't convicted of that position typically stay out of the discussion. I enjoy the KJV quite a bit, am currently using the 1599 Geneva Bible in family worship (I wanted to expose our children to older language and yet it's remarkably "earthy" and "rugged"), and read from the ESV regularly!
 

Fogetaboutit

Puritan Board Freshman
As a note, Hills' views were somewhat unique. For example, he believed that some textual variants were lost in the Greek, yet preserved in the Latin Vulgate, providentially being back-translated by Erasmus into his Greek text (basis for the TR). No reformer/Puritan I know of would have agreed with this.

Hills' view is not that unique, I think you over simplify this issue, and apparently Stephanus and Beza didn't have any issue with it. This article below explains the issue in some details.

“Book of life†or “Tree of life†in Revelation 22:19? - King James Version Today
 

Logan

Puritan Board Senior
I don't want to get into a side-tracked discussion here but wanted to urge caution when referencing a website that claims to show "the KJV is demonstrably inerrant".
 

Fogetaboutit

Puritan Board Freshman
I don't want to get into a side-tracked discussion here but wanted to urge caution when referencing a website that claims to show "the KJV is demonstrably inerrant".

Is the article in error, it was addressing your comment, did you read it? If the author of the site believe he can demonstrate such, it's up to him, you don't have to believe it, but unless the article violates the confessions accepted on this board, I don't see the problem.

I didn't want to detract the tread, I was only addressing your comment, which in my opinion was biased and oversimplified.
 
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Logan

Puritan Board Senior
I was not referring to a specific instance (such as Rev 22:19) but rather to this statement made by Hills (pg 156 in the document linked by Nick):

EF Hills said:
Are the readings which Erasmus thus introduced into the Textus Receptus necessarily erroneous'? By no means ought we to infer this. For it is inconceivable that the divine providence which had preserved the New Testament text during the long ages of the manuscript period should blunder when at last this text was committed to the printing press. According to the analogy of faith, then, we conclude that the Textus Receptus was a further step in God's providential preservation of the New Testament text and that these few Latin Vulgate readings which were incorporated into the Textus Receptus were genuine readings which had been preserved in the usage of the Latin-speaking Church. Erasmus, we may well believe, was guided providentially by the common faith to include these readings in his printed Greek New Testament text. In the Textus Receptus God corrected the few mistakes of any consequence which yet remained in the Traditional New Testament text of the majority of the Greek manuscripts.

I know of no reformer/puritan who advocated this (Stephanus and Beza included). If I have misrepresented Hills' views in any way, I am happily corrected.

EF Hills said:
For example, how do we know that the Textus Receptus is the true New Testament text? We know this through the logic of faith. Because the Gospel is true, the Bible which contains this Gospel was infallibly inspired by the Holy Spirit. And because the Bible was infallibly inspired it has been preserved by God's special providence. Moreover, this providential preservation was not done privately in secret holes and caves but publicly in the usage of God's Church. Hence the true New Testament text is found in the majority of the New Testament manuscripts. And this providential preservation did not cease with the invention of printing. Hence the formation of the Textus Receptus was God-guided.

And how do we know that the King James Version is a faithful translation of the true New Testament text? We know this also through the logic of faith. Since the formation of the Textus Receptus was God-guided the translation of it was God-guided also. For as the Textus Receptus was being formed, it was also being translated. The two processes were simultaneous. Hence the early Protestant versions, such as Luther's, Tyndale's, the Geneva, and the King James, were actually varieties of the Textus Receptus. And this was necessarily so according to the principles of God's preserving providence. For the Textus Receptus had to be translated in order that the universal priesthood of believers, the rank and file, might give it their God-guided approval.
 

Fogetaboutit

Puritan Board Freshman
I know of no reformer/puritan who advocated this (Stephanus and Beza included). If I have misrepresented Hills' views in any way, I am happily corrected.

All I was pointing out is that I never heard of Puritans or Reformers complaining about the readings used in TR even if the readings had lower support from Greek copies, since the CT (and Hills' Book for that matter) were created after the Reformation/Puritan era, this is all speculation, how could anybody know what the Reformers and Puritans would have thought of Hills' view since they were never faced with the issues he was addressing?
 
U

Username3000

Guest
I'm going to leave the text discussion alone until I have the opportunity to research it myself.

I see some strength in most advice given here. Im going to try to talk to one of my elders tonight.
 
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