Do you know how many versions/translations of the Bible exist?
Here are just a few of them:
AMP: The Amplified Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Lockman Foundation) 1965.
ASV: American Standard Version, (WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1994.
CEV: Contemporary English Version (New York: American Bible Society) 1995.
ERV: English Revised Version (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1885.
ESV: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Good News Publishers) 2001.
GB: Geneva Bible, 1599.
GNB: Good News Bible (NY: American Bible Society) 1992.
GW: God’s Word Translation (Baker Publishing Group) 1995.
HCSB: Holman Christian Standard Bible (Nashville: Holman) 2004.
JB: Jerusalem Bible (New York: Doubleday) 1966.
KJV: The Authorized (King James) Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769.
MSG: The Message (Copyright Eugene H. Peterson) 2002.
NAB: The New American Bible (Confraternity of Christian Doctrine) 1997.
NASB: The New American Standard Bible (Lockman Foundation) 1995.
NCV: New Century Version (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 2005.
NIV: New International Version (Colorado Springs: International Bible Society) 1984.
NIrV: New International Readers Version (International Bible Society) 1996.
NJB: The New Jerusalem Bible (New York: Doubleday) 1985.
NKJV: New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.
NLT: New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.
NRSV: New Revised Standard Version (National Council of Churches of Christ) 1989.
NWT: New World Translation (Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society) 1984.
REB: Revised English Bible (London: Oxford and Cambridge University Press) 1989.
RSV: Revised Standard Version (National Council of Churches of Christ) 1952.
TNIV: Today’s New International Version (Colorado Springs: Biblica) 2001.
TLB: The Living Bible (Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1997.
There are only 26 listed above and there are several more translations too. The one you read is most likely in this list. The scriptures have been translated and interpreted many times over. Most Christians are set on one version and don’t typically swap back and forth. Some pastors study out of the ESV and preach out of the NIV. Some pastors and local churches are set on using the KJV forever, no matter what. Some younger generations like the MSG better, or use it simply to modernize the tone and sentence structures. Some people prefer the NLT because of the nice thought-for-thought layout of the translation. And even some people (like my mom) quote scripture in both the KJV and the NIV. She will start a verse in the KJV and finish in the NIV. She’s talented.
Despite all these translations and despite which one you read daily, do you realize that you have the responsibility to translate the gospel as well?
His friend says, “Sometimes we are the only Bible people read.”
For someone today you have the opportunity to be the best version of the gospel. Not the ESV, or the NIV, or the MSG, or the KJV.
The way you communicate it with your words, your actions, and your thoughts will be subject to your specific context and mission. Theologians call this contextualization but more recently the term missional, which I’m beginning to prefer, has grown widely popular. By contextualizing the gospel and being missional you become, in some cases, “the only Bible people read.” You have the responsibility (and the ability through the power of the Spirit) to effectively and creatively communicate the gospel.
Be the best version of the Bible for someone today by answering these questions:
YOU can be the best version of the Bible today.*
*Of course, this requires that you are constantly drawing your knowledge, power, and strength from the Holy Spirit, and that you be firmly grounded in Scripture. You can pick one from the list above.
Ryan Tate is defined by joy and seeking the Kingdom of God. Husband. Father. Writer. Engineer. Living a Story-Formed Life. Visit his blog at http://compellingparade.com