“Are You Reading the Very Words of God?”

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We live in a period of human history that is literally inundated with unprecedented societal advancement. However, while this epoch of time offers so much information for anyone who desires to know it, there’s also much that is unprofitable for the Christian and his family.

Consider just a snippet of the vast array of things that are available to us at any moment, on any given day: all kinds and varieties of food in both stores and restaurants; all modes of travel; all types of clothing; medical and dental care, that is unparalleled in human history; and last, all kinds of information [from anywhere on this globe], readily available at our finger-tips on the internet.Yes, at such a time as this, it is not surprising that believers also have access to many different Bible translations, readily available at our finger-tips, both in bookstores and through the internet. In fact, the vast majority of these new translations have appeared at some time or other in the last fifty to sixty years! These translations can be grouped into four helpful categories: (1) Essentially Literal [or Formal Correspondence] - The ESV, HCSB, NASB, ASV, NKJV, and KJV; (2) Mixed versions [a literal and dynamic equivalence hybrid] – The NIV; (3) Dynamic Equivalence – The NLT and the GNB; and (4) Paraphrase – The Message, The Living Bible, and The New Testament in Modern English [Phillips], et al. The first group is the most accurate to the original languages of the Old and New Testaments. The second is very faithful to the original in much of its translation, however, because it was overly concerned with readability, we do not see the same level of literacy to the original as the first group. The third group is primarily concerned with reading flow and sacrifices fidelity to the original text. The fourth group is basically a running body of human comment. These translators were not constrained to be literal or even dynamically equivalent. Their aim was to be understood in contemporary language, rather than through an accurate handling of the original text and grammar used in the Biblical text. So then, the primary issue before us, is which translation category can best answer the following vital question: Are you reading the very words of the living God? Dear reader, it is my opinion that only the first category can answer this vital question, and in my opinion, the ESV translation meets these standards best, coupled with readability. I leave you with the following words of wisdom, from Bible scholar Wayne Grudem, “The important question every man and woman must ask themselves when it comes to the Bible they choose is really very simple: ‘Are these the very words of God?’” Dearly, beloved, may God’s Word(s) be the central focus of what you hear read, sung, prayed, and preached tomorrow in your church’s worship service. Soli Deo Gloria!

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