As a new believer, I am sure you have been told that getting into the Word is the most important part of your spiritual growth. My plan was to get you started with a bible study in the book of John, which is a great book for new believers to start with. But if you genuinely believe, as you should, that the Bible is the true and precise Word of God, written by God through men of faith; you must understand the difference between the translations first. 2Tim 3:16 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: “
I personally read and study the King James Bible, but I am not a KJV onlyist. I also use the NASB (New American Standard Bible), along with Strongs’ concordance. I also use a computer study guide called” E-Sword” (Search it in playstore, or esword.com to download for your phone or computer) This app helps me along with Strongs’ concordance with translation in the original Greek and Hebrew. When in doubt always rely on the original transcripts’ language for full understanding. I am not telling you that you need to become fluent in old languages, but always rely on text that is translated from the original languages. How can you be sure?
Short answer is use the KJV as your primary source. I can hear it now, “but it is so hard to understand” “It was written in a language that is no longer spoken today”. Neither is really true but let me explain my position as your growth will depend on having a proper translation and study habits.
First the major translation from the 2nd and 3rd centuries came from 2 major sources: Antioch(Byzantine) and Alexandria. The Antioch text by far has more original sources with over 5200 known. It also contains the original New Testament manuscripts from 30-90 A.D.. along with the Syrian and Old Latin Texts from as early as 100 A.D. Many of the early Bibles were a direct and more literal translation of all these texts. The leaders of Antioch also felt that translators should be persons of faith, not laymen or simply translators.
The Alexandrean text has only 45 known manuscripts. There are also several papyrus manuscripts. This translation was dependent on many philosophers of the time, believing that religion was very near philosophy and should be translated as so. The text is less a literal translation with a more philosophical approach of what the authors felt or meant in the translation.
The KJV came from the Antiochan text, which is a more literal translation versus most modern day translations, like the NSV and NIV, taken from the Alexandrean text. Even the New KJV from 1982 was a translation of a translation taking the KJV and updating in more modern language using the Alexandrean text.
I like the more literal translation of the KJV in the Elizabethan/Shakespearean English. After studying it for many years I find it easier to read-almost like reading a Shakespearean Play. Of course, the most important is that you do read and study! I will go through some studies with you and help you gain some good study habits. This will be the next post starting with John 1 and without a doubt I will be studying from the KJV.