Bible Versions & MSS Threads
To examine different translations and versions of the Bible
Bible Versions Used by MLT
MLT does not believe that there is a perfect Bible translation and that there is profit in studying many versions. All versions have strengths and deficiencies, from literal (e.g. KJV, NASB) to dynamic equivalent translations (e.g. NIV, Good News Bible, Living Bible). We do, however, have preferences. When it comes to the New Testament, we take the position that most, if not all, of its contents were originally written in Hebrew or Aramaic and then translated into Greek. We believe that there is value in studying both the Hebraic and Greek forms but where there is conflict tend towards the Hebraic originals in seeking authoritative translation. We accordingly prefer Hebraic over Greek-based translations for congregational worship and study. What follows is but a small review of dozens of different translations.
We recommend three basic translations:
Institute for Scripture Research Version (ISRV) - preferred for public worship.
Hebraic Roots Version (HRV) by Dr. James Trimm - probably the most accurate New Testament in existence. Uses the Aramaic Yeshua rather than the Hebrew Yah'shua..
These two may be ordered directly from http://www.isr-messianic.org/
Restoration Scriptures True Name Edition (RSTNE) by Moshe Koniuchowsky - a good study Bible with direct Hebrew usage throughout but beware of the private exegeses of the translator when it comes to prophecy and the end-times (especially in the Third Edition). Also perpetrates the 'Renewed' Covenant myth. Correctly uses the Hebrew Yah'shua (as Yahshua).
This may be ordered from: http://store.yourarmstoisrael.org/Qstore/Qstore.cgi?CMD=011&PROD=11395967266
Other Hebraic Versions
Jewish New Testament by Dr. David Stern - this is a Jewish cosmetic dynamic-equivalent version based in Greek texts, one of the earliest Messianic versions. Was the first to explain the true relation of Torah to the NT but has doctrinal and Jewish cultural biases. Originally used by MLT but no more. Uses the Aramaic Yeshua rather than the Hebrew Yah'shua.
Messianic Renewed Covenant - A useful 'extra' but contains many Jewish cultural and doctrinal biases, and also perpetrates the 'Renewed' Covenant myth (see RSTNE above). Uses the Aramaic Yeshua rather than the Hebrew Yah'shua.
Nearly all of these versions use 'God', 'Lord', 'Jehovah' and 'Jesus' instead of the correct 'Elohim' (or Êl), 'Yahweh' (or Adonai), 'Yahweh' and 'Yah'shua' (or Yeshua).
Concordant Literal New Testament by A.E. Knoch et al - A literal word-for-word version - a good study NT that clearly illuminates the universalist teaching of Yah'shua and the apostles. There is also a Concordant Version of Genesis which I don't feel is so useful.
This can be viewed online at: http://www.concordant.org/version/html.html or you can purchase the hardcover volume at http://www.concordant.org/catalog/orderblank/index.html
Amplified Version - Conveys the sense of Greek words in all their shades and nuances though has doctrinal biases.
There are many useful Protestant versions but all have doctrinal biases, especially in Romans and Ephesians. They should be used with caution and always in conjunction with a Hebraic version for doctrinal accuracy. Many like these because they flow well and are easy to read, which can be both a blessing and a trap - the HRV is not written in good English, the RSTNE is saturated with Hebrew words making it hard to 'flow' for those not acquainted with it, and the ISRV tends to use unfamiliar words that require a little getting used to as well - it is absolutely worth getting familiar with these versions, though.
Most Protestant and Catholic versionsare available in Christian bookshops. My own personal favourites are:
New King James Version (NKJV) - a more modern version of the elegant but antiquated King James Version (KJV). Many Americans in particular like the nearest equivalent, the New American Standard Bible (NASB). Has been used a great deal by MLT in the past.
New International Version (NIV) - a very popular modern version that is easy to read but has lots of doctrinal traps. Has been used a great deal by MLT in the past together with corrections in translation.
The Living Bible (LB) - a paraphrase that is very easy to read, good for children, but not safe doctrinally. If you use a version like this to read to small children (e.g. Good News Bible (GNB), Contemporary English Version (CEV), etc.) be sure you have an accurate text at hand and make such alternations as required for doctrinal accuracy.
The Jerusalem Bible (JB) - a Catholic version that uses the Divine Name Yahweh for our Heavenly Father but not Yah'shua. It is quite a readable version, contains the Apocrypha (which are worth studying) but does contain doctrinal biases.
Other Greek-based Versions
King James or Authorized Version (KJV, AV): a literary masterpiece from the 17th century but containing antiquated English and having a strong doctrinal bias. Has become the centre of the King James Version-Only Cult which maintains the ridiculous position that this 1611 edition is the only infallably accurate version of the Bible anywhere, giving precedence to an English translation above the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts. The KJV translators themselves maintained that their version was not infallible and that it was profitable to use many versions. In many respects, the earlier Geneva Bible is superior to it. This version is only occasionally used by MLT.
New English Bible (NEB) - produced for and by the Anglican Church in association with Methodists, Presbyterians and Congregationalists. A very readable version with a beautiful arrangement of the Song of Solomon but containing much doctrinal bias. Some printings usefully contain the Apocrypha.
Revised Standard Version (RSV) - popular at one time with scholars, a 'half-way house' between the KJV and NIV. Used by MLT a lot in its eary days and still having some value.
Smith & Goodspead Version (S&G) edited by J.M.Powis Smith & Edgar J. Goodspeed - not a well known translation and not really offering very much new or of value. Instead of a Translation Committee, different books were translated by different people, leading to much variation of style between books. This means some books were translated better than others. Not recommended except for 'picky' students.
J.B.Philips Version of the New Testament (JBP) - a very readable version and at one time used extensively in the British state school system but little known and not really adding much more to our knowledge.
The Greek Septuagint of the Old Testament (LXX) - this should be possessed and used by serious Bible students and linguists in understanding how Hebrew words were rendered into Greek in pre-New Testament times, and why certain Greek vocabulary was used in the NT translations of the Hebraic texts.
VERSIONS YOU SHOULD NOT USE
New Word Translation (NWT) - produced by the Jehovah's Witnesses. Twists and mutilates scripture to follow a preconceived doctrinal Arian and antinomian agenda and will lead readers astray.
Inspired Version of the Holy Scriptures (IV) by Joseph Smith, Jr. - a Mormon mutilation of the KJV containing modifications, insertions and rearrangements without any manuscript warranty but on the basis of pretended 'revelation'. Known by the mainline Mormon Church (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) as the Joseph Smith Translation (JST) and published by them only in extract form in their Pearl of Great Price and as footnotes in their own special KJV version and elsewhere. The copyright is held by a Mormon break-off formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, now renamed as the 'Community of Christ'. This version will lead you astray.
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This page was created on 7 May 2010
Updated on 7 May 2010
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