ROBERT’S MIDWEEK MESSAGE
“I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.” Psalm 119:16 (ESV)
“I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.” Psalm 119:16 (NIV)
“I will delight in your decrees and not forget your word. Psalm 119:16 (NLT)
Loving God’s word is an eternal biblical command. It can be rather tricky since there are so many versions of it out there today. Maybe you have a few versions of the Bible laying around at home, or you download a Bible App like YouVersion and have no idea which version to select out of the vast variety – ESV, NASB, KJV, CEV, NASB, NIV, Message, NLT, just to name a few. Well, this (almost) Midweek Message will hopefully give you the frame work to choose a version or versions. So that, you can, along with the writer of Psalm 119:16 can say, “I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.”
Since William Tyndale’s English translation, in 1526, of the original Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic text of Scripture there have been over one hundred various other English translations. Why are there so many English translations? And which ones do I read and why?
Why are there are so many English translations?
- Firstly, English itself. Over time the English language has developed and changed. Take for example the 1611 King James Version, a run-of-the-mill millennial would render this version unreadable. Over the past 400 years, English has changed more than Greek has over the past 2000 years. English has changed in spelling, syntax, grammar and phraseology. The original biblical languages have not changed, but every so often a new group of men and women strive to make a more understandable English translation, as English evolves.
- Secondly, the translating method. The Bible was originally written in ancient Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic. Not many people living today can read and understand these biblical languages, therefore we need it to be translated. There are currently three main translating methods:
- Literal translating – focused more on the word for word translation of the original language, therefore it communicates best the original meaning of the text.
- Paraphrase translating – focused more on the thought for thought translation of the original language, therefore it is easy to read
- Dynamic equivalent – focused on balancing the above two in translating of the original language, therefore it is still close to the original text and it is easy to read
Which ones do I read and why?
I read the English Standard Version (ESV) as my literal translation, the New International Version (NIV) as my dynamic equivalent translation, and the New Living Translation (NLT) as my paraphrase translation.
Why do I read these versions: (1) They were translated by a team of men and women who have made the studies of the original biblical languages their career. And (2) reading all three together allows me to gain a better grasp of the original biblical languages.
If you are interested in getting a more detailed answer, please feel free to make contact. But I do hope that this simple response, if you have found yourself struggling with why there are so many English Bibles, has given you the frame work to choose a version or versions. And has aided you in grasping an understanding of why there are so many translations, thus making your confidence stronger in what we have today in our Bible’s is still, indeed, God’s word – like the Psalmist in 119:16 you, along with me, can say “I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.”
I hope that this little bit of information has aided you understand why there are so many translations and have gained confidence in what we have today in our Bible’s is still, indeed, God’s.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, give us a love for your word – help us to delight and never forget your word. Daily, by your grace, giving us a heart that desires your word, a mind that meditates on your word and a life that is in accordance to your word. Amen