thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden
things from the wise
understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy
YOUR QUESTION (No. 39)
Which Version of the Bible?
I have often wondered which Bible version to use (i.e., RSV, NIV, NKJ, NASB, etc.). Which do you use?
I use the RSV and have done so since 1952 when it was first
published. I took to it for several reasons, of which these are most
important; 1) It modernizes the antique English of the King James
Version; 2) It makes an honest attempt to correct some of the KJV
errors. For example, Isaiah 7:14, where the Hebrew, alma,
means young woman. KJV reads virgin. Also, in Luke
17:21, the KJV reads within you, which is an incorrect
rendering. The RSV correctly reads, in
the midst of you. This one error of the KJV has done much to cause
people to botch their quest of the kingdom, as it is utterly misleading.
In the case of Luke 17:21, the Greek allows for either reading and the
context dictates which one to choose. Jesus is addressing the
Pharisees and with this in mind, we should ask if the Pharisees really
had the kingdom of God within them. His harsh judgment against
them in general would seem to dictate against his telling them that the
kingdom was within them. If it was within them, would it not mean
that it must be in their hearts? Now back up in Luke until you
find his prior statement concerning them:
Luke.16  The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all this, and they
scoffed at him.  But he said to them, "You are those who justify
yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts; for what is exalted among men
is an abomination in the sight of God.
From this there is only one
reasonable conclusion: if Jesus told the Pharisees that the Kingdom of
God was within them, then the kingdom of God is an abomination to
God. This seems to me an absurd conclusion, so I confidently
conclude that Jesus told them that the kingdom was in their midst, not that it was within them.
But the RSV is not perfect, and there may be better ones
available today. I have
used the RSV for so long and am familiar with it and have found it
generally reliable so as to have no motivation to switch. The New
Revised Standard Version (NRSV), may be superior. I just do not
know. Since I
haven't felt a need to switch to others, I have not become well
acquainted with any of them and therefore cannot evaluate them --
except for those recent "free translations" that are more
interpretation than translation. I avoid them like the plague
the views of the translators dominate.
I recommend a version that is as literal
(word for word) as possible, such as the RSV. That eliminates the free
translations and protects us from many false interpretations. I also
look at a few specific verses in the teaching of our Lord. If Luke
17:21 reads within you or words to that effect, I know
that the translator does not know Jesus and his gospel, and will
probably botch many other utterances as well.
You can check out several (17) versions here at www.bible.gospelcom.net,
and see how
they compare. On Luke 17:21 alone, I eliminate 10 of the 17
translations -- NIV, AMP, KJV, NLV, NKJV, KJ21, ASV, WE, YLT, &
WYC! This is an Evangelical Christian web site, and for some
reason they do not include either the RSV or the NRSV. That's
because of Isaiah 7:14 because the NSRV reads "young woman" as does the
RSV! If you will check our their 17 versions for Isaiah 7:14, you
will find that every one of them finds a way to make the young woman a
virgin. You will find this site and the versions it includes to
be very instructive by checking them all out at Isaiah 7:14. You
will find some interesting and creative versions as each one attempts
to have this verse read "virgin" in one way or another. This
suggests very strongly that the translators behind all of the 17
translations had doctrine rather than linguistics as their bottom
line. This is pure intellectual dishonesty.
use this site, put up by the University of Michigan as my source of RSV texts. It is very
useful, and it is from it that I copy and paste most of my references.
It is also to be desired because it is a secular site, much less likely
to be pushing any particular theological point of view.
But I strongly recommend that you procure two additional volumes for study of the
New Testament. These are Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New
Testament, and the Interlinear Greek-English New Testament. The
one I use is published by Zondervan. You can find these
books or equivalent ones on Amazon.com. Where there is a
can refer to the interlinear version to determine the Greek word, then
look up the word in Thayer. You may need to take a little time to
study and learn the Greek alphabet, but it's as easy as a, b, &
The OT Hebrew is much more difficult, but you may want to get similar
references for it also. An analytical concordance such as Young's
Strong's is also essential. I use Young's, and prefer it, but
Strong's because of its numbering of every NT word, which makes for
ready reference, especially for those who can't read the Greek or
Hebrew alphabets. The numbers are useful, but distracting.
Thayer's Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament references the
Strong Numbers in the margins.