WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? I grew up with the King James Version of the Bible. In the 1970s I came into contact with other translations. At first, I was scared. Could I trust these new translations? Then, I became excited. The new translations offered fresh insights into what the Bible said.
We all like comfort. Some of us would wear the same clothes all the time, if our spouse would let us do it. Some of us would read the same Bible all the time too. It feels good in our hands. It looks good to our eyes. But, too often, it has little impact on our brain. We see the same things all the time—over and over again.
WHAT DO I DO? One of the best ways to gain a new view toward a Bible passage is to read another translation, or several translations. Some translations focus more on surface structure. They try to communicate, as literally as possible, the actual components of the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek text. Other translations focus more on meaning. They try to communicate, as freely as necessary, the actual meaning of the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek text.
As teachers, we should read both kinds of translations. If our preferred translation focuses more on surface structure (KJV, NKJV, NASB, ESV), we should consult translations that focus more on meaning (NIV, NLT, HCSB). If we prefer a more dynamic, meaning-focused, translation, we should consult more formally equivalent translations.
The end result can be life-changing. We see the Bible in new and fresh ways, and we communicate that freshness to our students.