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The Bible Version Debate
(Which one is best?)

A "Short Series" Teaching by Pastor Dick Helms March 28, 2002


It may surprise some of you to hear that after years of study and seeking God on the issue, I personally now use a New King James Version Open Bible for my personal studies and in my preaching. Why? Well first of all I am convinced that the Texus Receptus is the most valid source text. Next, Since I have difficulty reading and understanding the Archaic King James English it is the only available choice, and the Open Bible notes are a fine assist in preaching and teaching.

Now, that said, I was saved while reading the NIV and grew to Christian maturity using an NIV Study Bible. I still think that the NIV Study Bible notes are one of the finest sets of Evangelical study notes in publication today. In fact I strongly recommend that young Christians begin their personal studies using the NIV Study Bible while anchoring it to the KJV (or NKJV) where debatable issues are involved and with very careful attention to the footnotes. Unlike many I do not believe that there is an underlying socio-political agenda at work in the newer Evangelical translations such as the NIV and NASB, at least not as it was originally published. I personally know individuals that were part of the translation team for the NIV (the family of the Sr Greek scholar on the team, Dr. Steven Paine). They are truly Godly folks who are truly seeking to bring God's word to the world in a readable and understandable venue. Did they choose the wrong source text? probably, but not out of some evil socio-political agenda. Their true goal was to present God's word as accurately as possible. In spite of what many KJV only proponents teach, the differences between the texts is quite small and in fact does NOT materially affect the message of the Gospel. ("Proof Texting" is not a valid method of Bible study, nor is it a valid method of judging a Bible version.) To say otherwise is to say that God is not able to keep (protect) His Word. Think about it.

In contrast, I do believe that the newer Ecumenical translations such as the New Revised Standard Version and the updated NIV (aka: TNIV or "Today's New International Version") do carry a distinctive socio-political agenda arising primarily from the Radical Feminist and Gay Activist agendas. Extreme caution is called for in their use even in comparative studies. Like in all things involving the Christian life, discernment in choosing a translation is appropriate. However, God can and does use them all in changing lives. To teach that only one particular translation is usable by God is to put God in a box and limit Him to our own comprehension of Him. (We then create God in our own image.) Something we must never do.

The reality in all of this debate is that God did NOT "REBREATH" Scripture in 1611 and if you really want to read the "uncorrupted" Word, you need to learn to read the Scriptures in the original Greek, Hebrew and Chaldee. While I do know folks that can do this, they are few. (and they all call the argument over English versions foolish) We need to trust others to give us a true and accurate translation and in this we must trust God to "keep His Word" and in His Holy Spirit to guide us in our choice of our personal Bible.

For the most part, we use the King James Version as our primary source here at ChristRing Ministries and Cyber-Church. Not because it is the only valid English translation, but because sadly there are some that think it is. The reality is that it is the most universally accepted English translation. Effectively, our use of the KJV eliminates the "version argument" and hopefully makes the message that much more accessible to the Body.

The most important question in this debate is not "which version do you use?" but do you READ the one you have chosen.

For those that are interested, we do have an article on our ChristRing Ministries site by a TRUE expert in this debate, Dr. James Qurollo. It is one of the best I've read to date. It is located at http://christring.org/BibleRoom/kjvstatm.html and I highly recommend it.

Purchase a New King James Version Open Bible

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This "Short Series" Teaching may be reproduced without charge and in its entirety for non-commercial and non-political purposes without prior permission from ChristRing Ministries. Copyright 2002 ChristRing Ministries, All Rights Reserved.

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