Treasures New and Old
Elkmont Baptist Church
Someone with one of the newer versions of the Bible noticed that in many places the text had changes like "I" to "they" or "we." How do the changes from singular to plural affect the Word of God?
That is a good question because, on the surface it would seem an innocent change. I checked several Bible references where this had been done (Psalms and Proverbs especially) and the Hebrew is definitely singular. So why is this important? First, it removes the "personal" aspect of the Word speaking directly to us. It allows us to view a section of Scripture as applying to others, but not to ourselves, and therefore, gives us an excuse to justify why we are not listening or obeying that Scripture. The Word is described as a sharp two-edged sword. Changing the gender or singularity of the Word (or dropping verses, and all the other things being done today like "thought for thought" translations versus "word for word" translations) simply dulls that two-edged sword in our lives, and the promptings of the Holy Spirit become weaker and much easier to ignore or misinterpret. Second, it changes the original words God intended to be read. Psalms, in particular, was a cry of the heart (not hearts) and meant to be very personal. Changing God's Word can be very presumptuous and dangerous to our spiritual health.
The reason so many of today's translations are changed or are still changing (the NIV has numerous editions out - one that is gender neutral) comes from three main causes: (1) In order to gain a copyright: one MUST change at least 10% of a previous work that it is built upon. All of today's modern translations are copyrighted. (So was the King James Version in England in the name of the King, but not the works before it). (2) The disregard for an originally compiled and accepted standard, the
by men like Origin (a Gnostic), Wesscott and Hort (Deists who rejected in many of their works the deity of Christ), and others. Their agenda forces the rejection of hundreds of versus thus watering down and dulling the Scripture from its original intent. (3) The desire of men (many are well-meaning scholars) to interject their understanding (the "thought for thought" translations) in places where the original words did just fine. Reading such a work is more like reading a commentary than the Scriptures themselves. The danger is that we, the readers, may not know where the commentaries are as opposed to the word for word translated sections.
I prefer the "word for word" translation and let the Holy Spirit interpret it for me. That is one of His jobs and He wants to spend time with you daily doing so. Also by going to the original language to grasp the literal meaning of the words and to see what has been lost over the years as the meaning of words change. It is very important and helpful to get a clearer understanding - example: "your conversation" in old English really refers to your overall behavior.
May God Bless you all!