Time to get a new Bible!

9 Oct

Over the next couple of weeks we will be moving to a new Bible translation for our public reading in church – the Holman Christian Standard Bible.

Our faith stands or falls on the trustworthiness of the Bible. The Bible is the inspired word of God and accordingly, it is our final authority in all matters of faith and conduct. The Bible is the centre because God speaks through his word.

We have to remember though that the original versions of the Bible weren’t in English. What we have are translations from the original languages of Greek and Hebrew. There are literally hundreds of English translations. Some of them are really concerned to be word for word accurate. Others are more concerned to be readable in modern English. As a result they sometimes paraphrase things to make it readable. However, often that means they have to make a decision about what something means rather than just using the words that the original uses.

As a result every translation is a bit of a balancing act between readability to an average modern day person on the one hand and literal word for word accuracy on the other. Now we have to remember not to be too picky on these things. Most languages in the world have one translation of the Bible into their language – some still have none. So the first thing I want to say is – read the version you have and be thankful for how blessed you are to have God’s word!

However, having said that for serious study in our quiet times, Bible studies and church we want the translation that is most accurate while still readable for our level of reading. In the past we’ve used the NIV translation. It has some weaknesses but on the whole it has struck a good balance on those issues. However, the people who publish it have done a substantial retranslation and they are no longer printing the version we’ve been using for 30 years.

Accordingly, as our pew Bibles are getting old and tatty at some of our sites, as we go to replace them we won’t be able to. Also we want consistency whereby the same translation is read week to week and across our different congregations. So now is a good time for us to make a move and transition.

As a result we are moving to The Holman Christian Standard Bible. This is probably the version that best strikes that balance between being readable and being word for word accurate. This is the Bible that will be available to people at services and read for church readings. Over the next couple of months we will be replacing the pew Bibles.

Of course you will want to purchase a copy for your own reading and for use in Bible Study. Every Christian who is serious about understanding God’s word should have a couple of different Bible Translations anyway! Now if you want to bring your ESV or NIV to church or Bible Study there’s no problem there but for uniformity sake this is the translation we’re encouraging and that will be used in church.

If you have any questions please ask your congregational minister.

Phil Colgan

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