Qualifications Identifying the Best Bible Translation
If there was no original,
inerrant Bible but there were original autographs (though none yet found) from whose copies Bibles
have been composed...then based on Psalm 12:6-7: The Word of God is available for each generation,
it must be from copies, and there must be a "best" translation for our time. And, in order to
fulfill "The Great Commission" of Matthew 28:18-20, there would have to be translations to the
gentiles and all the nations of the earth. Drawing heavily from a writing by Timothy S. Morton
[his publishing site], I would suggest that the best translation would hold
up strongly to the following qualifications:
Qualification of Jesus' Pre-eminent position: In that Christianity and the need for a
Bible relate to being believers in, and followers of, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, a "best"
translation and the translators of it ought to hold strongly and prevalently to the prime
position of Jesus as deity (being the son of God), as qualifying uniquely as a blemish-free
sacrifice, as thereby qualifying as a perfect atoning sacrifice for the sin of mankind, as
having arisen from the dead, and as having ascended and returned to the right side of God the
father. The best translation should not omit any opportunity to honestly reflect such in its
Qualification of Longevity of Usage : In that longevity of usage...in the face of
competing Bible versions and roller-coaster-like societal changes...suggests an ongoing
blessing of God, a "best" translation should be in fruitful use for more than 2-3
Qualification of Bloodshed to Protect It: Over the past 5000-6000 years, the record
often shows that God honors the ongoing efforts of peoples willing to lose their lives in His
cause, this present cause being bloodshed as it relates to maintaining Scripture by Jesus
believers. [note about Textus
Qualification of World-wide Impact: The best translation should be in what becomes the
world language. At around 1600, some linguistic historians indicate that English was at its
finest and highest level of development. English is NOW the world language and the one from
which computers, the internet, and Bible distributors translate FROM into other languages.
Referring to the Bible published in 1611 AD, the English linguistic history book, The Story of
English, by McCrum, Cran, and MacNeil, page 109 says, "...[this Bible is] probably the single
most influential book ever published in the English language." Just afterward, England began
building the British Empire...always taking Christianity and this Bible translation to the four
corners of the world!
Qualification of Production Free From an Age of World Disbelief: After the 1600's, the
"Enlightenment" (German rationalism, French skepticism, English deism, etc.) swept the world
and mixed a worldwide doubt as to religious belief, the world having never since abandoned a
prevailing "Doubting Thomas" skepticism bolstered by scientific skepticism plus a widespread
attitude that cultural sophistication and education require a skeptical attitude. Yet Scripture
demands that we first "believe" in faith, and THEN we
will be shown (Hebrews 11:6); and, the unbeliever's minds are divinely shut to The Word (I Cor.
Qualification of Capability and Humility of Translators: God placing a high value on
humility and lack of puffed-up pride, translators should have a combination of personal
humility and great intellect plus high linguistic skill.
Qualification of Suffering by the Translators: God being known to honor those who
suffer for His name and/or the name of Jesus, translators should include some who have suffered
Qualification of "Believer" Status of Translators: God having declared that His Word
is closed to non-believers, the translators should be believers who believe that the materials they
are translating from are the divinely maintained inerrant Word of God.
Qualification of Translational Honesty: The translation should be careful to use
reference superscripts, italics (or alternate script), or some other means to clearly note
additions or deletions of words or verses not found in the source(s) from which the translation
Qualification of Publisher Lacking a Conflict of Interest: How much, if any, might a
particular translation be influenced by desire to maintain copyright status, church or
denominational approval, sponsor-group or publisher profit or nonprofit agendas (politically
correct; gender correct; etc.). A best translation should be as uninfluenced as possible by
such worldly issues.
Qualification of Source Honesty : The record should somewhere be clear as to the
influence, if any, of non-canonical books and documents such as the Apocrypha (the Apocrypha
are said to have actually been included as canon in the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus source
Qualification of Agreement of Subsequent Editions: If subsequent editions are changed
for reasons other than to correct typographical errors, to make spelling changes or to change
an archaic typestyle, the reasons ought to be clearly explained in a record somewhere. In
comparing Bible versions, typestyle item changes, spelling corrections, and typographical
corrections should not be counted as "text changes".
Qualification of Impact on Saved & Lost Persons: A reasonable argument can be made
that the total number of a Bible version printed and distributed, the total number of believers
who have trusted that version as their "Bible", the total number of persons to whom preachers
have exhorted their congregations from that version, and the total number of Christian converts
(from being lost) to that version by those using that version might represent evidence of God's
testimony of blessing upon that version as the best version.
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