A Realization About My Approach to Scripture

“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.”

Psalm 19:7-11 ESV

I love the Bible. Every Christian should love the Bible and have a desire to spend time in it. I have several Bibles and read several translations like the New King James, ESV, NLT, the Amplified Classic, and others. I’ve always gone back and forth between translations; my most recent decision was between the ESV and CSB. I compared the books of Romans and Ephesians but came out about even. Most of us choose a translation by what makes for an easier read instead of making the criteria the closest to the original as a translation can be in English.

I was convicted yesterday when I realized I had complained that the new Legacy Standard Bible used Yahweh too much in Psalms. I was complaining about God’s name in the text of Scripture. Because I was used to reading God and Lord God, the actual name of God annoyed me; that wasn’t a light thing to me. My familiarity and language preference outweighed something more correct than what I was used to; we all understand that all translations will have flaws in them but shouldn’t our desire be for a word-for-word translation from the original language into English. A valid argument can be made for children and new believers using translations like the NLT and NIV, but as we mature, we should desire to use a more word-for-word translation like the ESV, NASB95, KJV, and forthcoming LSB.

As I thought about my response to the name Yahweh in the LSB and the words of Dr. Tom Pennington in a lecture where he said we should value word for word accuracy. He stuck with two translations and occasionally consulted others. I realized that my focal point for picking a translation was myself and not the accuracy of the Word of God that I was reading.

Yes, people have complained about the ESV and NASB being “wooden” and that it doesn’t flow well, but the truth is the Word of God is supposed to challenge us, correct us, encourage us, and teach us. If the translation we use makes us think more and look up a few terms we don’t understand, we’ll be better for it. We don’t need to dumb down or remove theological language from the text of Scripture. We need to learn those words. We need to know the doctrine of Scripture. A Vine’s Expository Dictionary or other Bible dictionaries should be every believer’s most used tool. The best way to grow in faith is to take the Word of God seriously. The best way to take the Word of God seriously is to use good word-for-word translation, have a Vine’s Dictionary, and consult good commentaries, and study Bibles.

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