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1.    Inspiration – written as guided by the Holy Spirit

2.    Canonization

a.    The work must be accepted as genuine

b.    The copies made must be done with care

3.    Transmission

a.    These originals were copied and shared with others

b.    Copies of the copy were made

c.    Now there are whole “families” of copies

4.    Translation

a.    For further spread it must be in other languages

b.    It must not just be copied, but translated into another language

Why are there so many different English translations?

1.    No original manuscripts survive

2.    There are some textual variations

3.    Many important manuscripts have been found in last 200 years

4.    Meaning of some terms are uncertain or unknown

5.    Every translation includes interpretation

6.    All languages change, shift meanings over time

a.    Grass – lawn you mow? Or a drug you smoke?

b.    Cool – not hot? Or slang term for swell or awesome?

c.    Rap – to knock? Or a poem with a beat?

7.    No translation is perfect

Principles for this study

1.    Inspiration of the Word of God

2.    Every word is important – plenary inspiration

3.    Original text was written:

a.    In three languages – Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic

b.    By more than 40 men

c.    Over 2,000 to 3,000 years

Two key steps

1.    Decide WHAT to translate (which manuscript, documents)

2.    Decide HOW they are going to translate (more on this later)

Translation is complicated

1.    Not just take Greek word – write the English one

a.    Shades of meaning

b.    Idiomatic expressions

c.    Symbolic meaning

d.    Proper names

2.    Translation Requires

a.    A mastery of the source language

b.    Ability to interpret

c.    Mastery of the English language

3.    It must be concerned with 2 questions

a.    Is it accurate, reliable?

b.    Can we understand it, readability?

4.    Two Philosophies in translation

a.    Formal Equivalence – word for word, literal

b.    Dynamic Equivalence – express the idea

                                          i.    Example – measuring time, months

                                        ii.    Culture – Greek, Roman, Hebrew

c.    Every translation is somewhere on the line between extremely literal and extremely dynamic.

Primary translations to review

King James Version - KJV

1.    Known as the Authorized Version

2.    Original 1611 – we read from the 1769 revision

3.    Produced by 50 scholars –

a.    6 groups – 3 OT; 2 NT; 1 Apocrypha

b.    Used Coverdale, Geneva, Great Bible

c.    Use available Greek and Hebrew manuscripts

4.    2011 is the 400th anniversary of this translation


1.    Inconsistent in translation of some words

a.    Abolish 27 times – 18 different ways

b.    1 Corinthians 6:1, 8, 9 – same word 3 different ways (unjust, wrong, unrighteous)

c.    Spirit and Ghost for the Holy Spirit

d.    Hell and Hades

2.    Thousands of manuscripts discovered since 1611

3.    English has changed over the years

a.    Prevent

b.    Let

c.    Conversation

d.    Charity

e.    More than 1,000 words in KJV have changed meaning

4.    Some doctrinal errors

a.    Calvinism – election – Acts 2:47

b.    Easter – Acts 12:4


1.    Over a billion copies

2.    Trusted

3.    Reliable

4.    Linguistic and literary style

5.    Many helps – concordances, dictionaries

Quotes from Jackson Sun – Saturday, March 5, 2011 – “After 400 years, KJV Bible still influential”

Clyde Woods, teacher at Freed-Hardeman University – “The King James Version is not completely accurate in its translation of everything, Woods said. Some of its language is still hard for some to understand, and over time some words change meaning, he said. But from a linguistic / literary standpoint, it is unparalleled in history for its worldwide influence,” he said.

Joel Allen, teacher at Union University, “Over time, older, more accurate versions of the New Testament were discovered, and that’s where other translations form their basis, he said.”


American Standard Version – ASV / NASV

1.    A revision of the KJV was made in England (ERV) – 1870

2.    A committee was formed to do the same in America

3.    ASV came out in 1901

4.    Used many of the newer manuscripts

5.    Used the “formal equivalent” method of translation

a.    Word or word

b.    Most accurate translation into English

6.    Poetic form is used in poetical sections

7.    Updated and revised in 1971, and 1995


1.    Word for word makes some awkward sentence structure

2.    More accurate = less readability


1.    Accuracy of the translation

2.    Improved the out-dated language

3.    Capitalized pronouns in reference to Deity


New International Version – NIV

1.    Completed in 1978

2.    It was of the “dynamic equivalent” type

a.    Not word for word

b.    But interpreted meaning

c.    Communicate the thought or idea


1.    Flesh is translated “sinful nature” – Calvinism

2.    Psalm 51:5 teaches total depravity


1.    Updated some archaic terms

2.    No other value to this version


New King James Version – NKJV

1.    In 1982 Thomas Nelson publisher wanted to update the KJV

2.    Keep the beauty of the KJV, remove the archaic words and phrases

3.    119 scholars worked on this translation


1.    It follows the less reliable (textus Receptus) of the KJV

2.    Does not rely on newer texts and manuscripts

3.    More of a revision than a new translation


1.    Kept the beauty and dignity of the KJV

2.    Better job with conjunctions – thus, however, but

3.    Structured poetry in verse format


English Standard Version – ESV

1.    Produced in 2001

2.    This is a revision of the 1971 RSV

3.    They wanted a more literal translation


1.    It takes a few years to see if a work is generally accepted.

2.    I recommend a 15-25 year period –

3.    Wait and see if it will grow or disappear


1.    More literal like ASV

2.    More consistent in translating words

3.    Up to date vocabulary


Holman Christian Standard Bible – HCSB

1.    Published by Holman in 2004

2.    Worked on by about 80 scholars

3.    Overseen by the Southern Baptist Convention


1.    Optimal equivalent translation

2.    Somewhere in between the NIV (too loose) and the NASB (too strict)


1.    See comments about the ESV above

2.    Wait to see how it is accepted

3.    Overseen primarily by one denomination – danger of including their bias



1.    For the first 35 years of my preaching – I used the KJV

2.    I noticed two things

a.    I was revising the KJV – on the fly

                                          i.    Ghost was Spirit

                                        ii.    Thee and thou became you

b.    I was spending a lot of time in sermons and classes trying to explain archaic terms from the KJV

3.    After a lot of study – I chose to move to the NKJV

a.    Ease of transition from KJV

b.    Accurate – reliable

4.    I am not BINDING the any translation

a.    I suggest that you use a good accurate translation

b.    Use one that is readable

c.    Use one that has “helps” available

d.    I suggest – KJV, NKJV, NASB – these are the better choices


One other matter of importance for our world


Grade Level


Grade Level














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