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I'm asking this from a born-again Christian perspective (so I guess this makes me an evangelical Protestant) and seeing how there's controversy over the KJV, NIV, ESV etc., does the type of Bible that you use really matter?

Most Bibles used by Protestants tend to be based off from the Masoretic Text but some websites indicate that the Septuagint is the earliest translation, which Jesus and Paul used during their time on Earth. So which is it? Or is it better safer than sorry to read a variety of translations and compare them?

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    Unfortunately this is one of those questions where Christians disagree. For the majority of Christians the translation doesn't matter much, within limits (although there are translations that specifically support a specific denomination's teachings), and also agree that getting a variety of translations helps you understand the original text. But some Christians insist that only one English translation is valid. And since we can't answer this definitively it will probably be closed. If you were to ask about the views of a specific denomination on this matter then it would likely stay open. – DJClayworth Aug 20 '19 at 14:05
  • Although this is an important issue, the way you've phrased is it problematic for the site because there are a variety of views on it even within Evangelical Protestantism. See we can't handle the truth and browse related bible-translation questions and then perhaps consider whether you'd like to edit your question to a form that will be on-topic within the site guidelines. – bruised reed Aug 20 '19 at 14:07
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    The first question to ask (regarding the New Testament) is 'does the Greek text matter ?'. – Nigel J Aug 20 '19 at 15:24
  • The "does it matter" question is pure opinion. All we can do here is look at the reasoning behind it so OP can make their own informed opinion. A question asking about the arguments for use of either majority/byzantine or UBS/NA Greek texts for the NT from an evangelical perspective, or for use of Masoretic vs Septuagant for OT (presumably the choice of most evangelicals) might help inform that opinion. There are likely to be similar questions asked already. – bit chaser Aug 20 '19 at 15:39
  • The "should you compare multiple Bibles" is still broad even if explicitly directed to evangelicals. Possibly a "why should you" question according to well-known authors or leaders might work. – bit chaser Aug 20 '19 at 15:46
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As also born again Christian, I can offer you some insight, although I'm not sure this will be a suitable question for this website format overall.

Does Bible translation matter? Yes and no.

Bibles tend to be weighed according to two different qualities. Each translation is a mixture of the two. They are "Word for word" and "Thought for Thought".

A pure word for word translation of the greek/hebrew would be basically unreadable, because they do not use the same grammar, and all their words do not match 100% to english words. This makes pure word for word translations pretty uncommon, and not super helpful to the average reader. The best example of this you can probably get is what they call "interlinear" bibles, where they have the greek, and also a rough english translation side by side for each line.

The second is "thought for thought". This is the idea that the translator will read the greek text, and then capture the "thought" or "meaning" and translate it into english for you. This is a great idea, but runs the risk of the translator mixing his personal interpretation into the actual text. One of the more extreme examples of this would be a "version" like "The Message". Where the author has taken the liberty of drastically expanding most verses, in a way which makes them very readable, but adds considerably to the actual text.

The key to finding a good translation, is being convinced of the "accuracy" or mostly word for word comformity, while also being presented in English that is practical for actual reading.

for example, you could just stare at the original greek all day, and avoid translations, but if you don't understand greek thats not very helpful.

I first read the entire Bible doing a "reading plan" in the 'NLT' or "New Living Translation".

This Bible translation falls more under the "Thought for Thought" category than many evangelical Christians are comfortable with. At the time, I didn't know anything about this, but I can say that I really learned a lot from reading this version of the bible.

One small downside, is you are rarely familiar with commonly quoted Bible verses, because people usually use older more familiar phrasings such as found in the KJV. While the ideas are (hopefully) the same, the phraseology will be different.

I later fell in with a crowd which rather religiously uses the NKJV "New King James Version". Its a touch up of the king james version from the 80's. Its much more readable than the KJV, but less readable than the NLT.

I benefitted greatly from studying the NKJV, which is a more "word for word" translation, after having fallen in love with the NLT. Personally, I find it more fitting for closer reading and study, while less approachable for fast reading and overview.

The key, as mentioned in the comments to check various translations. You will find that in general, There are a handful of good translations that mostly agree on everything. The differences are mainly stylistic, and not much else. (NKJV, ESV, NASB, NIV , etc).

If you download the bible app for your phone, you can compare multiple translations instantly. If ever I have a question about a certain verse, this is always my first check.

  • This answer is a great overview and probably right in line with the op's intent – Adam Heeg Aug 20 '19 at 17:26
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If one believes that God inspired, in the first instance, both the writing of the Hebrew scriptures and the writing of the Greek scriptures, and if one believes that :

all scripture is given by inspiration of God, II Timothy 3:16, KJV,

and if one is aware that there is an enemy who will, by every available means and by every available agency, seek to undermine, duplicate fallaciously, subtly alter and utterly subvert that holy, pure, unique word of God . . .

. . . then (to answer your question) of course it matters what words we imbibe into our minds and heart and souls.

It matters above all else in this life : that we might (through God's own inspired word)

know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. John 17:3, KJV.

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    This doesn't seem to explain if or why the translation matters, or to what degree. – DJClayworth Aug 20 '19 at 18:19
  • It needs to be more explicit that you need to seek the most accurate translation you can find, and presumably you need to study, compare versions, and consider translation issues to overcome the influence of that enemy. – bit chaser Aug 20 '19 at 22:08

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