Bible Studies/different bible versions
Hello Mr Gade:
I would like to know if, as is claimed, the bible if almost error free in it's ancient text, then why are there so many different versions of it.
There are several answers to your question. My serious study of the Bible as a student began at a time when there was only the KJV translation and the RSV translation was just being published.
What I saw was that there was a real bias by the translators of the KJV. That translation was determined to keep the covenant of the Law as the primary message for those seeking to be godly. The RSV made some real changes, mostly in the using more modern words and sentence structure, but not enough difference in separating the old covenant of Mt. Sinai from the new covenant of Mt. Zion which Jesus gave that it would offend those who wanted to put the new wine in old wine skins:
37 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins; if he does, the fresh wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled and the skins will be ruined (destroyed). 38 But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. AMP
This bias to mix Law and Gospel still exists in many people's minds; including many scholars who are translating the the new versions. And the results are the same; namely that Jesus is only a partial savior and that we who are seeking God and to be godly ourselves must somehow keep the Law to complete our salvation. In other words we have to become Jewish first and then we can be accepted and loved by God.
But God gave the Law to Israel in the wilderness with the express purpose of showing man that since the Fall of Adam we are incapable of creating any righteousness which cover our sin, and we must rely fully on God's perfect plan for our salvation (eternal life) and our sanctification (holy life on earth).
17 For if by the one man's offense (Adam) death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)18 Therefore, as through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. 19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man's obedience many will be made righteous. 20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, 21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. NKJV
17 "But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. 19 For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain." NKJV
So, the simple answer(s) are that the some of the various translations are being produced in order to use the best words to state what the original words were meant by God in His plan of salvation for all who would receive it and trust God's love for each of us.
The other great reason is that there are still many who wish to establish their own righteousness before God (and man)and thereby keep the feeling that they are at least better than most in their attempt to follow the Law and so deserve more from God than "sinners" ... according to their definition of "sin".
But the original text, in the original languages of Hebrew and Greek, have been carefully protected by God Himself. Even though the "Old Testament" shows the foolishness and weakness of the Jewish nation, their scribes made sure that no errors could be tolerated when copies were made. Those manuscripts that had any error were not to be used ..nor could they be destroyed. And this is why some of these faulty documents have been discovered recently in cave of the desert.
The New Testament scribe also understood and had a holy, but great fear as they copied the manuscripts. They knew II Tim. 3:16 that "Every and all the writings (of Scripture) have been God-breathed (God Spirited, God inspired.)" My Translation.
My favorite versions are: NKJV, RSV, NIV, and AMP. But I usually look up, through an interlinear and several concordances, the many meanings of the Hebrew or Greek verses that I am studying and compare the verses with other places in the Bible on the same topic.
I hope this helps.