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Chapter 30 - Which Bible Translation is True?

In one last attempt to hamstring the Christianís faith, Satan has gotten many to attack each other over which bible translation is best. This might seem humorous to tribal people who have no bible in their own language and as many do not read anyway, have only heard the gospel and became Christian.

While the gospel can be presented without a written bible and people can become Christian, Christian maturity and the ability to discern error are critically dependent on biblical familiarity.

Brief textual survey

The bulk of Greek manuscripts and scripture portions are called Byzantine because they were mostly collected from around the city of Constantinople (the capital of the Byzantine empire). The main Latin translation used from about 400 AD was the Vulgate compiled by Jerome.from many of these same documents. When Constantinople fell to the Muslims, many Greek scholars brought their manuscripts with them when they relocated to the west. This infusion of Greek spurred Erasmus to make a new Latin translation correcting some of the errors in Jeromeís version. Erasmus used the new printing technology to compile a Greek version that, after several revisions, came to be called the Textus Receptus (TR) or received text. This was largely used in making the King James Version (KJV) English translation in 1611.

In the late 1800s, a new Greek compilation was put together to compete with the Byzantine texts. It was based on two manuscripts (Vaticanus and Sinaticus) which were called Alexandrian manuscripts. Scholars and academics pronounced this a superior source even though there were some major differences between it and the TR (such as not including the end of Mark 16). Most newer translations today are based on the Alexandrian derived Greek.

There appear to be two main groups making exclusivity claims regarding translations. The modern group seems to claim expert knowledge in their advocacy of the Alexandrian Greek. The KJV only group seems a little reactionary in claiming the purity of that translation. The KJV people often do not even allow other TR translations. Both groups can seem smug and self-righteous.

Computer software like eSword can be useful to compare different translations when attempting to explore a particular verse. However, in general the version that is easiest to read and understand is the best one to start with. The Amplified version can be helpful in expanding on word definitions to help in understanding. The Wuest translation is helpful to get verb tenses even thought it makes the reading in English a little more difficult. One should be cautions about versions like 'The Message' which is not a proper translation at all.


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