Lately I’ve been pondering new Bible translations. I’ve never been at all bothered by various translations. What I have said is that we’ve lost something when we all stopped carrying the same translation to church. It’s hard to do a group reading unless we put it up on the screen. However, we’ve gained so much more in readability, understanding, and modern language that it’s been worth the loss.
Yet, when I was in Texas recently doing a prophecy seminar, I was teaching an extra class and many people were simply using the Pew Bibles, which were the NLT. Just to make it easy, I pulled out one to use right along with them. I’m not someone who needs my Bible to find my way around. I can pretty much pick up any Bible and find what I’m looking for. Wouldn’t you know it, of the 8 texts I used in that class, one of them was a mis-translation in the NLT. I wasn’t too upset by it, but I did have to slow down and explain why it was mis-translated.
Now, about a month or so ago, I had a lady in my office saying people are confused while I’m preaching, because everyone is reading from a different translation. She wanted to purchase new pew Bibles so people could follow along. She made some good points and of course, she wanted us to purchase the KJV. However, my staff and I talked about it and realized that it may be nice if we all preached from the same as the Pew Bibles, or put the scriptures up on the screen. (I haven’t been putting scriptures on the screen for years, just the reference, because I found people stopped bringing their Bibles to church).
I usually preach from the TNIV and generally it’s close enough to the NIV that I’m not too worried about it. Our pew Bibles (yes we do already have them) are NIV. So, I thought, maybe I need to preach from the NIV. The long and the short of it is, you cannot buy an NIV that is identical to our pew Bibles anymore. Those have been relegated to the NIV84. The new NIV is an update from the NIV and TNIV. 60+% of the texts are identical in all three versions. The changes are mainly gender issues and readability to modern readers. For instance, instead of “mankind” in the NIV84, it has been changed to “humankind” in the 2011 NIV. Also the word “alien” has been replaced with “foreigner.”
We aren’t talking major changes. I’m not too bothered by them. But I’m wondering if I need to find an old NIV84 and preach from that – to be exact to our pew Bibles, keep using my TNIV, get the new NIV, or even go to the ESV (which I like very much).
Just pondering. No conclusions as of yet. I am also pondering putting my scriptures back on the screen and using a lot more translations like I used to do, as they will all be on the screen and no confusion….