Christus Victor

Making Christ Known

We are an Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) congregation growing in the likeness of Christ by:

Worshiping, praying, and studying God’s word;
Being together with other people; and
Acting in faith through words and deeds both inside and outside our church walls.

Were there earlier versions of the Bible, and does every Bible say the same thing?

Yes, there were earlier versions of the Bible and not every Bible says the same thing.  For instance:  Many Roman Catholic and Episcopalian Bibles contain the Apocrypha. The Apocrypha is a series of "Biblical Stories" that cover the time between the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) and New Testament. Another example is that your local Jehovah's Witness has a Bible where the translation choices may skew their theology into the Christian heresy.

Yet over 50 translations of the Bible in English tell The Story of God's amazing love for all people.  Some of the 50 are in Old English (1600s), others in contemporary English, some are literal, translating word for word, others are paraphrase, translating phrase for phrase, idea for idea.

That is why in seminary (school for pastors) they train the students to read ancient Hebrew and Koine Greek so that they can consult the original texts, (I still have my Biblica Hebaica and my Greek New Testament on my shelves.) 

Perhaps the most famous translation is Martin Luther's translation into common German in 1522.  The first English translation was by John Wycliffe in 1384.  The most famous English translation is the King James Version in 1611.  Other translations of note are the Revised Standard Version (1946), the Living Bible (1971), the New International Version (1978), and the New Revised Standard Version (1998).

My favorite story about translations is this:  A Filipino class was given the assignment to write an essay on someone famous.  One essay began "My favorite person is General Douglas MacArthur who said the famous words "I'll be right back!"  Was the translation correct?  Yes … and no.  What it lacked was the majesty, the firmness, the conviction of "I shall return!" That is why translations are important.