Bible Studies
in the Christian Library by Butch Walker
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Overview of Bible Translations for Better Understanding
  • The Holy Bible is inspired by God and originally written by inspired men moved by the Holy Spirit. No Bible translator or any particular translation was ever inspired directly by God.
  • The Bible is naturally split into two parts: The New Testament and The Old Testament.  (Testament is also another word for "will" or "covenant." The New Testament is Jesus' Last Will and Testament.)
  • The Old Testament is translated from Hebrew Texts. The New Testament is translated from Greek manuscripts.
  • The Greek was originally written in all capitals and in "scripto continuum" (continuous writing).  Because words in Greek end in only a few letters of the alphabet, anyone who knows Bible Greek (Koine or Common) can read the manuscripts with no problem. The text had little if any markings or punctuation except for lines that told a word is in abbreviated form. 
  • CHAPTERS AND VERSE NUMBERS ARE PLACED IN THE BIBLE BY MAN NOT GOD.  Because of really bad spiting of Greek sentences and phrases many people quote 'out of context' and many false teachings do arise. Then to compound an already bad situation even worst some Bibles are put in 'Verse Format'.  It is always best to study and especially to read the Bible in 'Paragraph Format' even then try to mentally ignore all verse numbers and chapter splits. Here is one example of what I just described: 
    • Many people claim that the baptism of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost was poured out on the whole church (120 people).  But lets look at Bible. In the original, Acts chapter one and two did not exist so it reads:

    • 1:26 And they gave them their lots and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles. And while the day of Pentecost was being fulfilled, they were all together in the same place. And suddenly there became a noise from heaven like from the rushing of a violent wind and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them, divided tongues, like fire, and it sat upon each one of them. 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave to them to speak-out.
    Who are the "they" in verse 2:1?  The apostles or the hundred and twenty who were spoken about before this section of  scripture dealing with the election of an apostle to fill Judas' office. 
  • Translations fall into two types of translation principles: 
    • PARAPHRASE: Many use other fancy wording like 'dynamic equivalence, free style, better than word for word, etc.' but they are all still 'Paraphrase.' Some are even further from the truth and are a 'Paraphrase' of an already existing English Bible. The 'Living Bible' was the first of these and with modern computers in the past 15 years I have seen a lot more of these pop up. In this style of translation a person reads the Greek sentence or phrase and puts it all into English format. You are then reading an opinion not the 'Word of God.' 
    • LITERAL or WORD FOR WORD  Take first Greek word translate it, go to next, translate it, and so on. Then rearrange to be English format.  Always use this type-- your soul might depend on it.
    • All Bibles have both methods to some extent. It is really hard to translate John 11:35 any other way than literally "Jesus wept." The question is which is the majority and which translation principle was the intention of the translator(s) from the beginning to use?  The Preface generally always states. I have created an "Acid Test" if you wish to find out how good your current translation is.
  • In recent times there has been so much talk about which Greek Text is best. All kinds of theories have evolved. Many who wanted to get the King James version out of the hands of the majority of the people (really just to make money) have come up with some really good ones, better than Darwinism in some cases. I have and will discuss this much further but to the first time reader all these discussions only hurts your faith so ignore them. You need to worry about your salvation in Christ Jesus and later, if so desired, you can study this in depth.
  • Another one that plagues modern religion is "the Greek word here..." This is pseudo knowledge used to impress too often. This absolutely drives me nuts! If you don't know Greek do NOT quote it!  An Elder said this once and it makes perfect sense, "If God would have wanted us to know Greek, he would have given it to us."  Speaking foreign languages (tongue speaking) was given to first century Christians so they could evangelize the world in a short period of time. If divine tongue speaking really existed today we would have no need for translations of the Bible. One would read the Greek, one would translate and one would write down word for word. (This is foolishness and there is no such thing regardless of how many Pentecostals are out there!)

I hope this helps your further reading of the Bible.

Copyright by Butch Walker 2012. May be freely distributed for non-profit uses. Content may not be changed.

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