Jim Denison on Which Bible Translation Should You Read?

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of BCNN1.

William Tyndale lived over 400 years ago. In his day, the church would allow only its leaders to read and interpret the Bible. It also refused to let the Scriptures be translated from Latin into the language of the people.

God gave Tyndale a deep desire to give the people a Bible they could read for themselves, but he was unable to convince the church to do this work. He therefore began the enormous task of translating the Bible into English himself.

Tyndale worked feverishly from dawn to dusk, six days a week, for 11 years. He taught himself Hebrew in order to translate the Old Testament. All during this time the church opposed his work and even placed a bounty on his head. He finally completed the New Testament in 1525. Since printing had been invented recently, this became the first English New Testament to be printed and distributed widely.

Tragically, in 1536 he was captured and executed before he could finish the Old Testament. Courageous to the end, as he stood before the gallows he prayed, “Lord, open the eyes of the King of England.”

Within three years God answered his prayer, for in 1539 King Henry VIII instructed all publishers to permit “the free and liberal use of the Bible in our native tongue.” And in 1611 the authorized version of King James I was published — the King James Version still in use today.

Here’s the irony: the King James Version is 90 percent the work of William Tyndale. The king’s scholars employed almost entirely Tyndale’s censored work of a century earlier. God used the sacrifice of this man to give us a Bible we can still read and understand today. In fact, the King James Version remains the most popular Bible translation to this day. If you’re like many people, your first copy of God’s Word came mostly from the pen of William Tyndale.

In this article, we will look at the work of modern Tyndales.

  • Where did today’s translations of the Bible come from?
  • Why are there so many?
  • Which is right for you?
  • Which commentaries and other study helps will help you most?

These are important questions for all who want to unlock God’s Word for themselves.

The story of the English Bible

The Bible was originally written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. Since most people are unfamiliar with these languages, we must rely on a Bible that has been translated into English. For this reason, a good Bible translation is your most essential tool for understanding God’s Word.

Fortunately, there are scores of such translations available today. In fact, the Bible is the most translated book in the world. Where did our English versions of the Bible come from?

Long before Tyndale published his English Bible, scholars were working to give their people a Bible they could read. The first effort of this kind was made by 72 Jewish scholars who translated the Hebrew Old Testament into Greek, the common language of their day. This translation of the Old Testament is called the Septuagint, for the “seventy” who did its work. It is sometimes abbreviated “LXX,” the Roman numeral for seventy. This version was completed by 100 BC.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Jim Denison