First the NAS, then the KJV, then the ___??

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Brian Withnell

Puritan Board Junior
I've only used two main Bible versions for reading and study since I was saved. I started out using the NAS, and enjoyed reading it for the first few years. Then I read some books about the KJV and the perversion of modern translations, so I started reading the KJV. The KJV has been the main version I've used over the years.

Yesterday, as I was reading the Bible, I started thinking about maybe checking out another version. I have no problem reading the KJV, I enjoy reading it, but I started thinking it wouldn't hurt to read the scriptures in language closer to the way we speak now. Quite often I come across old English words that aren't part of my normal vocabulary, I look in the margin to find out their meaning, and it seems more often than not the word in the margin is what's used in more modern translations.

Which modern translation are at the top of the list as far as faithfulness in translation and ease of reading? Which modern translations use the same Greek text as the KJV?

What I think is very illuminating on the subject is that if you look at what sections of the WCF were changed because of newly found manuscripts, you will find ... none.

No matter what modern translation (or the KJV) you use, it should be received as the word of God. Even if you are TR only, it makes little sense to use KJV, as it is no longer the common tongue that we speak today. Staying with the KJV is very similar to the RC staying with the Latin Vulgate (Vulgate is the Latin from which we get "vulgar" ... common). The RC translated the Greek/Hebrew into Latin because it was the common tongue, and then tradition crept in and the Latin became the Bible to them. The whole purpose of the Vulgate was to have the scriptures in the common tongue. Now we are seeing people using a Bible that is no more the common tongue than Greek was to the early RC church, and yet insisting it is the only inspired Bible. While I don't take it to be many out there (and I don't believe anyone here would) there are those that hold the KJV above the Greek/Hebrew text. Full circle on the Latin.

So what translation should you use? Any of them that are a translation would be acceptable. When you think of the differences, they are minor. If you get into a tight spot, and are truly perplexed, you don't use English as the final authority in any case ... get a Greek or Hebrew scholar to explain the passage and go through it word-by-word, thought-by-thought with you. Compare what they translate with others that do the same (hmmm...multiple translations of the Bible anyone) and expect them to agree with very minor differences. And of course look at the whole of scripture to understand the part that is less clear.

While there are those that will be dogmatic about it, remember what I first stated ... what in all the WCF or the WLC, or WSC was changed because of changes in the text? Nothing. There may be differences between translated passages, but the translations (ones without an ax to grind) are generally all good enough to study. NASB, NIV, KJV, NKJV, ESV, ASV, CEV ... you name it, it probably is reasonable. Sure, some are better, and some you would need to be careful about (the new politically correct NIV I'd rather not, but I'd take it over no Bible any day).
 

DMcFadden

Puritanboard Commissioner
If you want an example of what these textual variants are all about, here are the most significant translatable variants in Romans.

CT = the "critical text" behind most modern translations
MT = the Byzantine "majority text"
TR = "Textus Receptus" behind the Luther Bible, Geneva Bible, KJV, NKJV

Romans

1:16 MT/ TR: of Christ - CT: omits

8:1 MT/ TR: [who] do not walk about according to flesh, but according to [the] Spirit. - CT: omits

8:26 MT/ TR: on our behalf - CT: omits

9:11 MT/ TR: not of works, but of the One calling), - CT: moves to beginning of verse 12

9:28 MT/ TR: in righteousness, because [the] matter having been ended abruptly - CT: omits

10:15 MT/ TR: of the ones proclaiming the Gospel of peace - CT: omits

11:6 MT/ TR: but if by works, it is no longer grace, otherwise work is no longer work. - CT: omits

12:2 MT: [you* are] to stop conforming yourselves to this age, but [are] to continue being transformed - TR/ CT: stop conforming yourselves to this age, but continue being transformed

14:6 MT/ TR: and the one not honoring the day, to [the] Lord he does not honor [it]. - CT: omits

14:21 MT/ TR: or is made to fall, or becomes weak - CT: omits

14:24-26 MT: includes in this location - TR/ CT: includes as 16:25-27

16:24 MT/ TR: includes verse - CT: omits verse

I agree with Brian; pretty much any translation is the "Word of God" to me (even the dynamic equivalent versions). However, during the last few years I have taken the time to reconsider the arguments for and against the critical text. Hence, my openness to the NKJV and KJV in addition to my ESV.

Given a choice, I prefer a literal or essentially literal translation (cf. the arguments by Al Mohler, Wayne Grudem, and others). That leaves me with the following options:

Traditional (Reformation) Text (TR/MT)

* KJV
* NKJV

Critical (Eclectic) Text

* ESV
* NAS
* HCSB

Frankly, I have a bit of a head scratching experience seeing how many Reformed folks have flocked to the ESV. If the goal is a strictly literal word-for-word rendering, why not stay with the NAS? If the goal is an idiomatic essentially literal translation, why not opt for the VERY readable HCSB? Perhaps the Southern Baptist provenance has tainted the HCSB among the Reformed communities??? As it is, going against the flow is just too difficult. The HCSB is not likely to replace the ESV among Reformed Christians any time soon, so the ESV is my default critical text translation.

As for the KJV vs. NKJV debate, the NKJV is just an improvement in so many ways (replacing archaic words and correcting a few obvious translational errors). In the Reformation Study Bible (NKJV) edition, it is the main Bible I preach and teach from at this time. However, even with a somewhat dated language, it is difficult to beat the majesty of the KJV.
 
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Grymir

Puritan Board Graduate
KJV as Backup? I'm watching Men in Black II right now. Gives it a whole new meaning. Armed with the word of God, The KJV is my favorite weapon!
 

DMcFadden

Puritanboard Commissioner
KJV as Backup? I'm watching Men in Black II right now. Gives it a whole new meaning. Armed with the word of God, The KJV is my favorite weapon!
Timothy,

Thou rank motley-minded devil-incarnate! Thou traitorous shag-haired pignut! Thou wayward toad-spotted filthy rogue! Thou mewling earth-vexing hypocrite! Thou spongey urchin-snouted whey-face! Thou dissembling spur-galled maggot-pie! Thou mammering clapper-clawed gudgeon!

Sorry, brother. Frankly, I'm not smart enough to understand that stuff. KJV is just a little too "over my head." Remember, I'm the product of the California school system . . . for sure!

Cheer up, Timothy. I'm sure that R.L. Allan will be coming out with a Oxford Brevier Clarendon Ref Highland Goatskin-Chocolate setting for the Soul Surfer Bible (NIV), Spirit Filled Life Bible, or Message ReMix any day now.
 

rbcbob

Puritan Board Graduate
I've only used two main Bible versions for reading and study since I was saved. I started out using the NAS, and enjoyed reading it for the first few years. Then I read some books about the KJV and the perversion of modern translations, so I started reading the KJV. The KJV has been the main version I've used over the years.

Yesterday, as I was reading the Bible, I started thinking about maybe checking out another version. I have no problem reading the KJV, I enjoy reading it, but I started thinking it wouldn't hurt to read the scriptures in language closer to the way we speak now. Quite often I come across old English words that aren't part of my normal vocabulary, I look in the margin to find out their meaning, and it seems more often than not the word in the margin is what's used in more modern translations.

Which modern translation are at the top of the list as far as faithfulness in translation and ease of reading? Which modern translations use the same Greek text as the KJV?

I have used the New King James Bible for over twenty years now and like it very much. It is the only MAJOR translation that uses the same Greek Text as the KJV.

I am very much persuaded that the Byzantine Text Tradition from which the Greek Manuscripts underlying both the KJV and the NKJB were taken is of a purer transmission line that the Ecclectic text underlying the ASV, NAS, ESV, etc. There is a great debate over this issue and I am fairly familiar with both sides.

For those persuaded to follow the Ecclectic Text I recommend the NAS finding it to give a better English rendering than the highly touted (hyped) and marketed ESV.
 

Jake

Puritan Board Senior
If you're willing to go with a critical text version, the ESV and NASBU are great.

If you want a majority text translation, World English Bible and the English Majority Text Version are good, but you won't be able to get a good print edition.

There are two main classes of New Testament manuscripts. The critical texts are generally made from the oldest manuscripts. Majority texts are generally made from the most numerous manuscripts. King James is based off of the Textus Receptus which is very similar to the Majority Text, but includes even things that the Majority Text doesn't contain. There are virtually no new translations based off of Textus Receptus, which was a Greek manuscript complied by Erasmus. Many older translations like King James, Geneva Bible, and Young's Literal Translation are, and some have updated versions. Most modern translations are based off of the Critical Text. Here is a comparison of the two that is pretty good. However, realistically, no doctrinal differences exist between the two. Most "omissions" from the Majority Text not found in the Critical Text are found elsewhere in the Bible.

So, if you don't mind using a Critical Text, which is probably what most Christians use (except the KJV users), here are two good choices:

1) The English Standard Version is an essentially literal translation. It tries to translate as literally as possible, but at the sacrifice of word order and sometimes phrases are replaced and footnoted when particullarly bizarre in English. For example, compare the first part of I Peter 1:13 in the ESV and KJV:

ESV- Therefore, preparing your mind for action, (footnote Greek, girding up the loins of your mind)
KJV- Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind,

This way, you can see the original text, but read what it probably means and makes more sense to you. I personally do not say this phrase in my English, and when our Vice President tried to, he was ridiculed!

It's important to remember that the ESV (and the RSV that it is a revision of) departs from the Hebrew text of the Old Testament somewhat often compared to other translations and looks at the Greek, Syric, and other translations to help translate.

2) The NASB is similar in idea to the ESV. It is a higher reading level--probably high school and the ESV is middle school. The NASB is more literal in some places than the ESV and less literal and other places. The NASB has been made easier to read with the Updated version released in 1995. I personally like the ESV better, but the NASB has the strength (or weakness, depending on your perspective) of captilizing pronouns when they refer to God, whereas the ESV does not. Try both to see which you like better.

If you want a revision to the KJV, there are many of these. NKJV is the most common and it is a good translation from what I have read of it. There are also others like the American KJV (AKJV).

These revisions generally are where the KJV text has been taken and revised to be more modern. Some are very minor changes like spelling, such as the AKJV, and others are very different like the NKJV. If you want to stay with the KJV style and source text but just want a little more modern, you could go with one of these. NKJV has high acclaim generally.

If you want a more dynamic translation, NET is a good choice.
I usually like to make informed decisions. It would appear that may not be possible in this case for quite some time. Critical text :confused:, majority text :confused:, KJV revision :confused:, dynamic translation :confused:
[/QUOTE]

Dynamic equivalent translations are where translators are focused on getting the intended meaning of the Greek into English without translating each word for word. They vary in how much they depart from being literal. Translations like the NET and the common NIV are pretty close to the original text still, whereas others depart from it much more, such as the New Century Version and New Living Translation. I recommend the NET out of these because it is still pretty close to the original, and there is a version with translator notes explaining why everything is translated as it is, where it departs from literal Greek.

But, here's a comparison of a verse I chose at random in a very literal translation (main aim is word for word accuracy, probably only would want to use this in study), a formal equivalence translation (KJV, ESV, NASB), and two dynamic translations... one less dynamic and one more dynamic. I'll through a paraphrase on there for good measure, which is where the translator basically puts the text in his own words. This can introduce theological bias and many other problems so avoid it if possible!) Romans 11:36:

Literal: because of Him, and through Him, and to Him are the all things; to Him is the glory -- to the ages. Amen. (YLT... notice forever is substituted for what may be a more literal translation of this)

Formal: For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (ESV)

Less dyanmic: For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen. (NIV... not much different in this case)

More dynamic: For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen. (NLT... tries to keep the meaning without worrying about being exactly accurate).

Paraphrase: Everything comes from him; Everything happens through him; Everything ends up in him. Always glory! Always praise! Yes. Yes. Yes. Place Your Life Before God. (MSG)

Maybe I should just stick with the good old KJV for the time being :lol:

KJV isn't a bad translation, but I'd check out ESV. :)
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
I've only used two main Bible versions for reading and study since I was saved. I started out using the NAS, and enjoyed reading it for the first few years. Then I read some books about the KJV and the perversion of modern translations, so I started reading the KJV. The KJV has been the main version I've used over the years.

Yesterday, as I was reading the Bible, I started thinking about maybe checking out another version. I have no problem reading the KJV, I enjoy reading it, but I started thinking it wouldn't hurt to read the scriptures in language closer to the way we speak now. Quite often I come across old English words that aren't part of my normal vocabulary, I look in the margin to find out their meaning, and it seems more often than not the word in the margin is what's used in more modern translations.

Which modern translation are at the top of the list as far as faithfulness in translation and ease of reading? Which modern translations use the same Greek text as the KJV?

Which version does your pastor use?
 

Dovecat

Puritan Board Freshman
Isn't it wonderful to see such lively discussion about the Word of God? I have and read all of these translations. Our church uses the ESV as a pew bible. My first bible as a child was KJV. My conversion came at a time when the NIV was my main study bible. I guess my point here is that no matter which translation you prefer (ESV, KJV, NAS, NIV, etc.) the key is to READ it, STUDY it, and APPLY it daily!
 

Jake

Puritan Board Senior
Isn't it wonderful to see such lively discussion about the Word of God? I have and read all of these translations. Our church uses the ESV as a pew bible. My first bible as a child was KJV. My conversion came at a time when the NIV was my main study bible. I guess my point here is that no matter which translation you prefer (ESV, KJV, NAS, NIV, etc.) the key is to READ it, STUDY it, and APPLY it daily!

I definitely agree with this mostly, however it is important to not get a version of God's Word which is a distortion! No translation can be perfect, but there are many translations that incorporate false doctrine. The Living Bible, for instance:

"For from the very beginning God decided that those who came to him--and all along he knew who would--should become like his Son, so that his Son would be the First, with many brothers." -Romans 8:29 (TLB)

The Living Bible is a common evangelical translation with problems. The Voice from the emergent church, the New World Translation from Jehovah's Witnesses, etc. all tend to incorporate false doctrine.

Thankfully, most modern translations available are still doctrinally sound!
 

Irish Presbyterian

Puritan Board Freshman
Thanks. I appreciate your responses.

You know what's the hardest part about choosing another version? Reading about why other versions are inferior, or not as good (or perversions). I know its par for the course, but...

I would recommend you read James White's book, 'The King James Only Controversy' to see a very good and strongly conservative response to a lot of the 'perversion' nonsense. Sorry if this has been suggested already.
 

student ad x

Puritan Board Freshman
Hello all,
I'll just say I use the NAU, ESV & NKJV and leave it at that
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I am looking forward to getting this
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