For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword…It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Hebrews 4:12 NLT
If God wants me to understand his love letter, why is it penned in such difficult language?
I was in middle school when The Living Bible surfaced. Until then, the King James Version reigned supreme. There were several other translations available—such as the Revised Standard Version and the American Standard Version, but rarely did I see anyone use either. My dad was a fundamentalist and had never swayed from the KJV. When The Living Bible emerged in 1971, he was immediately suspicious because it was a paraphrase, not a translation.
Ken Taylor—author of The Living Bible, had no intentions of watering down God’s Word. In fact, he initially began the paraphrase as a way of making the Bible more understandable to his children. The Living Bible became a best seller in the early 1970’s and was well received by many in Evangelical circles.
God wrote his Word to be understood. The Bible can be difficult to understand if I use a more literal translation or one that uses terms unfamiliar to my current manner of speech and understanding. Words change meanings, and not every word translates smoothly from Hebrew or Greek into English. God’s Word is also just that—God’s Word. Since his ways are higher than mine, his assistance is crucial to a correct understanding—regardless of which translation I choose. God provides this assistance through the person of the Holy Spirit.
For me, the war over which translation is better misses the point. No doubt, some are closer to the original manuscripts than others. The intention, however, of all translations is the same—provide the reader with an understandable copy of God’s Word so his life can be changed. Which translation I use isn’t nearly as important as what I allow God to do in my life through the rendering.
Are you allowing God’s Word to change your life?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, our Savior and Prince of Peace, open our eyes that we might see and understand the message You’ve recorded in Your Word.