of Jesus
I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise
and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will

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:

[14] The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all this, and they scoffed at him.
[15] 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 because 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 probably 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. 

I 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 question, you 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, & c!  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 or Strong's is also essential.  I use Young's, and prefer it, but most use 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.

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