Many Christians seem confused by the availability of so many different translations of the Bible. Older Christians did not face so many choices. They had to learn the language of the King James, and if they could do it, why can’t others? God has indeed marvelously blessed the King James translation over the centuries. But language changes; it does not remain static; and new translations are needed.

CHRISTIANITY TODAY recommends that no version should be the “standard,” neither the King James nor any other translation. You can memorize Scripture from a variety of translations. It’s more important to understand a verse than to know how it is worded in a certain version. Preachers, aware of the variety of translations used by their audiences, can use them together in sermons to expound Scripture. A Bible study group may wish everyone to have a common translation, but why not rotate which translation you use? You can get more out of the Bible when you read different translations of the same passage. (You can also get the same benefit by studying Scripture in a foreign language.)

We must never forget that the principal purpose of words is communication. Jesus Christ who is the incarnate Word of God looked and acted like a man of his time. In the same way, the written Word of God was inspired in the everyday languages of the people who first received it.

Since the Greek of the New Testament differed from the older Greek of the classical Athenian writers, scholars long thought it a special “Holy Ghost” dialect. With the discoveries of ancient documents, we now realize that New Testament Greek differs from the classical because it was the common, somewhat simplified, dialect spread by the conquering Alexander the Great.

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