Bible Translations

For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven. Ps 119:89

The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever. (Psalms 12:6-7)

Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. (Jesus Christ)  (Mark 13:31)
Our commitment to the inerrancy and infallibility of God’s Word rests on the ancient manuscripts transcribed from the original autographs first written by the holy men inspired by God to record His words to the human race. Although we acknowledge that the divine inspiration has carried over into translations from the ancient manuscripts into modern languages such as English, we do not claim any translation to be completely free from errors of detail.

We believe the Bible is a true guide and judge for all beliefs, practices, and experiences of Christians everywhere, though we strongly prefer to use translations that are from the Textus Receptus such as the KJV, NKJV especially in public worship services. We do also recognize the value in and accept the usefulness of other Bible translations as they have stayed faithful to the original text.

Many of the newer translations have attempted to provide today’s English reader with as literal a rendering of the original Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament) writings as possible. In doing so some have sacrificed the literary beauty of the King James for a clearer meaning of Scripture. The new translations bring increased clarity to God’s Word by (1) essentially providing a more accurate translation of the ancient manuscripts, and (2) by communicating God’s truth in language that is more easily understood by today’s readers, and thereby is more effective in impacting today’s culture.

We can fully appreciate the limitations of the King James Version translation committee in the years of scholarly work before 1611. They worked from 14 ancient manuscripts, whereas more than 5,000 manuscripts are available to modern-day translators. Even with this seeming handicap, the King James Version has proven a surprisingly resilient and useful rendering of the Bible. Even through its own subsequent revisions, the King James translation has shown itself to be a wonderful communicator of the truths of God.

One last consideration we must acknowledge in Bible translations is the issue of language. Modern languages such as English are “living languages” that often shift and change with new meanings given to old words. This is especially true in American culture, where English speech and the written word are especially dynamic, ever changing according to geographic regions, ethnic cultures, social classes, and time periods. That simply means we do not speak the same language/dialect as our parents spoke. Our children don’t speak the same language/dialect we do. Though we understand the words others speak, we bring to their meaning our own cultural backgrounds. The important fact is not that we speak the same words; it is that we believe and practice the same truth, living our lives according to the eternal Word of God. As messengers of the Gospel, Christians should seek always to keep the Word of God understandable by making it easily accessible (readable) to every generation. Paul said: “Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ” (Ephesians 3:4)

Today it is safe to say that other translations besides the King James Version have found a well-deserved place in many Christian Believers homes and churches. Some of these are the New King James Version (NKJV), the New American Standard Bible (NASB) and The English Standard Version (ESV). These, like the King James Version, are produced by committees of scholars. Of course, all versions have strengths and weaknesses.

We must realize the most important issue in the translation discussion is truth. The church must never be afraid to unveil barriers that bar us from the ultimate truths of God. We must realize that by further reducing barriers, whether by improved language or by heightened accuracy in translating the Scriptures, we will find ourselves more effectively connected to the revelation of truth, and ultimately closer to God.

One of the results of the publication of many translations is the effect of those various translations on corporate Bible reading by church congregations and memorization of Scripture by our children. It is no longer safe to assume that all members of the congregation have the same version so that they can experience the power of a congregation reading passages of Scripture together. So again we would prefer the  KJV and the NKJV to be used for memorization purposes. In any case, the choice of a particular version should not be allowed to denigrate other good versions. An excellent practice for personal Bible study is the comparison of different translations.

Another concern is a tendency by some to equate paraphrased Bible translations as scholarly and accurate. Such versions do have a place in comparative study. They are attempts to make meaning clearer by adding explanatory comments into the text. Paraphrases include The Contemporary English Version (CEV) and The New Living Bible (NLB) with 4th grade reading level. These versions can be helpful, but they also present the risk of personal interpretation seeming to be part of the original text. Paraphrased Bible translations should always be used along with one or more of the more literal translations for comparison.

Finally, many of the respected translations are published as study Bible editions including commentary notes on specific passages of Scripture. Although the study notes can be helpful in understanding the meaning and application of particular verses, they do not have the same divinely inspired and inerrant qualities that are part of plain Bible texts. Interpretations can enter here as they could in the paraphrased versions.

With these cautions in mind, our task is to encourage all Christians to develop the habit of consistent Bible reading and study. Since the Bible is God’s Word to us, we should take the time to listen to His voice that faithfully comes as we read with open hearts and minds.

The above statement is based upon our common understanding of scriptural teaching and yet we endeavor to remain teachable.

~ adapted from the assemblies of God


The following is a good article on Is the doctrine of preservation biblical?

And here is a good teaching from Brother Ray Wengerd on the KJV Controversy
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Committing ourselves to the apostles' teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer.