Thanks again for the good questions. May I offer a few comments in response to your own?
For instance, a man who sinned claimed scriptural support for insistence that he was automatically restored to a relationship with God, without repenting, in Proverbs 24:16:
For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again...
I found the NET Bible, which clarified the meaning for me by showing and explaining original words in the study notes. The words translated as "fall" mean to "fall into calamity" and not to fall (spiritually) from God's favor. The same phrase is used to denote the former idea in Job 5:19.
Your usage of clearer translations is very helpful on this point. May I offer a corroborative thought?
One must assume
that the falling and rising of Proverbs 24:16
pertains to spiritual approval and salvation to prove this man's conclusion. However the text does not
specify what kind of rising and falling is in view. Once one opens his mind to accepting the ambiguity of this text and looking for clarity from other texts, the error and truth can be easily ascertained from other passages that speak clearly on the question at hand. (Forgiveness requires repentance, I John 1:9; Luke 17:3-5
.) ... FWIW, I think the context also points to providential, circumstantial, or earthly tribulations - not a process of justification (Proverbs 24:12-18
churchmouse wrote:Another church I started attending used various translations and compared them. After carefully investigating the different translations, I ordered an NASB because it is translated from the original manuscripts using the same standards as the KJV. When I began attending the congregation I'm currently a member of, a woman in the congregation was taken aback because I quoted from the NASB and she obviously expressed concern to the teachers in the church. They acted as though my mind had been corrupted and so I needed to be taught from scratch. ... the woman in the congregation claims she's confident that the KJV is the only correct translation (she doesn't even trust the original manuscripts) because she knows God made provision for us to have the correct translation. If that is so, did God not care about the generations of Anglo-Saxons before the publication and distribution of the KJV? Or the natives of other countries who were without Bibles for centuries? Why would God only approve of a translation authorized by an English monarch? Couldn't we assume by the same logic that the church of England is the one true church? If we should trust a British monarch to give us an infallible Bible translation and to consecrate for all a righteous church, then why does John exhort us to "believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1)? ... I am not condemning the KJV, but am just wondering why I'm considered a heretic for wanting to fully understand the scriptures as they were intended? When people try to restrict me from searching the scriptures, or belittle me for doing so, I feel suspicious of them. I'm led to believe those people are hiding something they're afraid I will unearth, and it's certainly looking like it's the case - judging by some of the false doctrines being promoted. In the end, we will all be judged by the same pure, unadulterated word of God.
The KJV-Only position - for lack of a better term - is very short-sighted and presumptuous. The undeniable alterations, marginal readings, and errors make it impossible to sustain that the translation is uniquely inspired or authoritative. The necessary lack of providential care for all people preceding 1611 and outside of the English speaking world is brash at best. I think your questions point well to these ends. Here are a few other articles I found on the internet, which present more organized and better documented arguments than I can offer at this time:
(Please note that I do not support everything said elsewhere on these web-sites, but I thought they did a good job of establishing the failings of the KJV-Only position.)
churchmouse wrote:Is there anything wrong with consulting several word-for-word translations to study a biblical passage? I only have a desire to delve into the truth and not to pick and choose at will.
I will echo what Steve (sledford) said earlier. We must be careful that we do not seek only for the Bible that is the easiest to read. We should seek for a translation that most accurately translates the original Greek and Hebrew into our modern vernacular. Translations that use "thought for thought" or "dynamic equivalence" philosophies are little better than commentaries, because they are merely telling us what they think
God was really telling us. This opens the door to too much prejudice, bias, and opinion to be injected. Consequently, I much prefer translations that maintain "formal equivalence" or more literal translations. Based on this second philosphy, I think there are 2 "families" of reputable translations:
Textus Receptus / Majority Text Based Translations:
Oldest Available Manuscripts Based Translations:
- King James Version, aka Authorized Version
- New King James Version
- American Standard Version
- New American Standard Bible
- Revised Standard Version Bible
Obviously, the "new" versions are written in more modern, readable English, but ignoring this difference for a moment, the primary difference is the preference for authority when there is a discrepancy in textual sources. One family prefers the majority text available around 1611, while the other defers to a few far older manuscripts found after the KJV was translated. There are very few substantial differences produced by this decision (I John 5:7-8; John 7:53-8:11; Mark 16:9-20
and maybe a few others are the most notable). I think they are well documented, understood, and largely unimportant points of disagreement, since they are not essential to any point of Christianity. In other words, they don't affect the universal teaching of Scripture, because there are other proof texts for any doctrine impacted by these verses. I don't want to diminish the significance of a single word of God, but I think these verses can be added or subtracted and not violate John 10:35
. There are other minor variations, and all of which are generally mentioned in the footnotes or margin of the more modern translations.
The NIV uses too much "dynamic equivalence" for me to trust it as my primary "working" Bible, plus I have stumbled over a few passages that have a strong, unjustified Calvinistic rendering that further deepens my distrust for it (see, Psalm 51:5
in NIV versus most other reputable translations). However, the NIV does an excellent job of clarifying the Greek on some otherwise difficult to understand passages (see, I John 3:6, 9
in NIV versus NKJV and NASB).
The ESV is newer, and although it rejects "dynamic equivalence", it still reorders the words and "simplifies" a few verses unnecessarily in my opinion. However, I do consult it regularly.
So, to summarize, I think it is beneficial to learn from the folly of KJV-Only people. No
translation is inspired. Even the better translations are guilty of injecting their prejudice on rare occasion or just choosing a more difficult wording. Therefore, although I work from the NKJV as a compromise between preserving my childhood memory verses and modern vernacular, I regularly consult the NASB, ASV, NIV, ESV, and Young's Literal Translation (YLT). Consulting these works as a whole is one of the best "commentaries" I could ever recommend. Plus, I use some Bible software to compare the underlying Greek, where necessary or helpful. My wife uses a NASB, and we regularly compare the translations during Bible study. I all together avoid the "commentary translations". I don't think I have ever found them to be more helpful than these more literal translations on any verse.
I pray this will be helpful and encouraging to you and others.