Because I wrote about how the Bible was carefully copied in my previous post, I also need to explain about the unreliability of certain versions. It would be wonderful if all Bibles were safe and edifying for believers but it isn’t always the case.
“Didn’t people decide which Bible books were to be included in it?” I sometimes hear people ask. Dan Brown and his Da Vinci Code book have shed doubts on the integrity of the scriptures but he’s wrong. When the apostles were penning holy scripture, there was no central ecclesiastical authority. Consequently, copies were copied and passed along all over Europe and neighbouring areas. Only in the fourth century A.D. did bishops meet and that was to counter heresies cropping up a century earlier.
Furthermore, the bishops made sure that the books of the Bible didn’t contradict each other as the Gnostic gospels did. Since so many good copies circulated from church to church, the fake ones were easily spotted and rejected. Consequently, what we have today is what the apostles wrote.
As for bad or deliberately twisted Bible translations, two notable versions must be avoided. The New World Standard is a doctored version used by the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Passages regarding the Trinity were edited so that Christ became a created being rather than eternally part of the Godhead.
The second bastardized Bible is the so-called Inspired Bible. It was written by Joseph Smith. He plagiarized the King James Version and added his own erroneous explanations of what the verses meant.
So which ones are good translations? The English Standard Version is a word-for-word translation. It’s great for accuracy. On the other hand, the New International Version is more an idea-for-idea version. Since idioms and words don’t translate perfectly into another language, the “idea” version is better for getting those concepts across. Even so, both styles of translation are valid.
Paraphrased Bibles, like Eugene Peterson’s The Message, aren’t as accurate since they aren’t a direct translation. Even so, they are better than the Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness Bibles.
I’m grateful to proper biblical scholars, some of whom I’ve mentioned in my How I Was Razed memoir. God led me to their radio programs so I could be disabused of the lies I learned in a cult.
In my next book, I hope to touch on many questions which I’ve raised here. One of those questions is why there are so many denominations. I’ll tackle that in my next blog post.