Why It’s Important to Trust God’s Translations – And How You Can Do It
Is it possible to trust Bible translations? After all, there are many different translations; and some have been shown to have errors. To answer this question, it’ll be helpful to consider a couple things first.
God’s Word is Inerrant
The Bible is God-breathed and inerrant only in the original Greek, Hebrew or Aramaic languages in which it was written.
Translations are not without error. Not only do humans make mistakes as they decipher a manuscript, but some words cannot be easily translated into other languages. Take love for instance. In the Bible, the word “love” is translated from several diverse types of love – “agape” (God’s divine love), “philia” (brotherly love), “storge” (family love) and “eros” (romantic or erotic love). The English language has only one word for all these types of love. The original manuscript, however, had four words and each of those had slightly different meanings.
We Only Have Access to Copies
Unfortunately, the original writings of Scripture have been lost or destroyed; therefore, we must rely on copies and/or translations. Although a word may be misspelled or omitted now and then, the copy contains the essence of what the original author intended.
More than 5,800 New Testament Greek manuscripts have been collected from around the world. If a manuscript comes into question, a careful comparison helps translators ascertain what was truly intended by the author.
Good translations take the copies written in their original language – Hebrew, Greek or Aramaic – and create an understandable English manuscript. Just as we’ve already seen with the word “love,” some words and phrases can be difficult to translate precisely.
The difference we see between translations results from how literal the translator wanted to be. The translator could translate the manuscript word-for-word, or they could do their best to interpret idioms, words and phrases to create a translation that was easily read and understood.
Can You Trust God’s Translations?
Can you trust Bible translations? Yes. But you must realize that a perfect translation does not exist.
All translations strive to faithfully span the language gap. Most achieve their goal. Although there may be slight hiccups now and then in a translation, these small mistakes serve to keep us humble. They encourage us to search and dig further into the Word of God.
Many different individuals at various times in history across the globe have translated the Bible for lots of different reasons, yet the manuscripts all mostly say the same thing. Yes, the translations may exhibit slight differences; however, none of these variances affect any teachings that are fundamental to the Christian faith.
The prospect of finding errors is minimal and shouldn’t result in us abandoning the Scriptures entirely. Instead, we should dive into the Word of God, carefully studying every word and every sentence.
We should ask our heavenly Father to reveal to us all that His living Word has to offer. Any of the numerous translations available today can be trusted. Each fully illuminates the redemption we have access to through Jesus’ atoning death on the cross.