Earlier this year, Dr. George Guthrie wrote a wonderful piece with “6 Reasons We Shouldn’t Freak Out over Word Variations in our Modern Translations.” He addresses the concern often expressed about whether we can trust the Bible in English when there are so many differences in various translations. Yes, there are differences. Yes, sometimes the differences should concern us (when they are careless or unfaithful to the original language). But most of the differences are so minor as to be of little concern.
Guthrie gives 6 reasons for his recommendation:
- They are translations, and translations have various ways to express an idea accurately.
- Modern translations generally follow one of two main methods of translating.
- Our primary English translations are consistently very good, for which we should praise God.
- Variants in the manuscripts behind our translations do not affect the message of the Bible, neither the theological truths, nor the exhortations and commands for living.
- All the variations in wording can be studied by any person willing to learn.
- Variations in wording keep us humble, seeking God for understanding, growing in our study of God’s Word.
In addition, Guthrie offers this marvelous advice:
In reality, there is no such thing as a strictly “literal” translation, since all translations involve interpretation, all translations must render Greek and Hebrew grammar in ways that are understandable in English, and all translations have places that are “functional” in nature. At many points a literal rendering of Greek and Hebrew word order, for instance, would sound like gibberish in English!
If you’d like to understand Guthrie’s reasons better, see the full article. Check it out!