If the Bible is supposed to be read as a literal interpretation of God, then why does the Bible have so many translations?
Let’s face it. Searching for the “perfect” bible is a daunting task. If you were to walk into any book store today, whether it’s Barnes and Noble or Mardel, you are going to find a lot of different versions of the Bible.
You will find variances from KJV, NIV, NLT, CSB, to The Message Bible and literally any other interpretation you can find. If the Bible is supposed to be taken as a literal account for Creation, God, Faith, Religion, etc, then why the heck do we have so many different options?!
Why Does the Bible Have So Many Translations?
I mean, do you choose to buy a word-for-word Bible or do you choose a thought-for-thought Bible? Or, if you’re feeling flashy, do you buy a huge devotional Bible? What about the classic Bible without any of the added commentary? Just wait until you see the Interlinear Bible. That will make your head spin. But, what do these terms even mean?
Well, for starters, I think we need to understand that regardless of Scripture, we all perceive the Bible differently. Sure, we’re taught to love our neighbor, but the specific wording on this varies. I recently was reading out of my NLT Bible I bought in College as Cody and I were reading through the New Testament. One of the scriptures talked about loving your “brothers”; however, my version said Christian brothers. Instantly, Cody and I decided to get our our Strong’s Concordance app to really depict what this Scripture was saying. After realizing that it was actually saying love all and not just those who are Christian, this really stirred in my heart.
We Interpret the Bible As We Interpret Who God Is To Us
I think the reason we have so many Bible translations is because God is vast and beautiful and so is His creation. If we are all free thinkers and have our own, intimate relationship with God, of course we aren’t always going to agree.
Those who see God as a loving Creator who desires His people to know Him disregard the unfortunate events of the Old Testament. Why? Well, if believe that was the best way God could get our attention for our sins, then punishment was needed. If you believe God is a selfish Creator who doesn’t actually love His people, then you would use the same scripture to prove why we “shouldn’t” follow Him.
If you ask me the question, “why does the Bible have so many translations”, then I would tell you it’s because we have different views of who God is to us.
The God-inspired scripture is obviously there but what about the meaning? The scriptures don’t explicitly tell us how to perceive them because God gives us the freedom to think for ourselves.
Reading Different Translations is a Great Starting Place for Discovering Who God Is To You
The truth is, I don’t believe there is a perfect translation of the Bible. Each translation of the Bible is a different perspective of what God teaches. Sure, God tells us to love each other. But what that looks like is completely up to the person reading it.
The best thing to remember is that if different translations of the Bible contradict one another, that’s the perfect place to start. There isn’t a perfect translation of the Bible. Each translation of the Bible, especially the thought-for-thought versions, have been crafted by each person who wrote it.
The only way I would recommend a specific translation is by understanding the intent of understanding who God is. Do you want to think for yourself? Well, yeah, I would recommend a more word-for-word translation. Do you want to read the Bible from someone else’s perspective? Then yes, I would recommend one of the thought-for-thought translations.
Regardless of which Bible translation we choose, it’s a great place to start.
This week, Cody and I are talking about the different Bible translations and what they mean. Specifically, I share my current journey on reading the Bible without any of my preconceived notions I’ve learned from Church and any other authority figures in my life. If you want to listen to our conversation about the tower of Babel/Babylon and what happens when we really seek Christ for ourselves, you can listen here.