Jesus was pretty rough on the Pharisees and teachers of religious law (scribes). These were the arbiters of The Law. They defined what God meant by the laws He gave Moses in the covenant agreement. In their hands, The Law became restrictive and oppressive, and Jesus wasn’t happy about that.
In Luke 11, Jesus challenges their thinking, and in doing so, reveals truth to the people around them. We find these words near the end of His discourse, where He tells them they are withholding the keys of knowledge from the people and are preventing people from entering God’s Kingdom. Woe to them, the judgment on them would not be a pretty one.
Sadly, I see this sort of thing still happening in churches today. There are religious teachers/preachers across the world who will say that the English version of the Bible authorized by a king notorious for his persecution of Christians is the only one that is the correct, infallible, inerrant word of God. They treat it as though the “authorization” came from Christ Himself. Here’s the truth: It did not.
Many of these folks will argue that newer translations have left out verses that are right there in the authorized version. What they don’t realize is that the original manuscripts didn’t have those verses, that the authorizer approved ADDING to the scripture.
Here’s the thing: you can believe that all you want, but when you are a leader in the Church and you proclaim this as law, you are doing just what the Pharisees and scribes in Jesus’ day did. You are missing the Kingdom of Jesus’ great sacrifice of love and grace in order to keep a law that He didn’t set, and you are preventing others from knowing that Jesus.
No! I am not saying that the “authorized” Bible is sending people to hell.
I am saying that when you deny that any other translation is valid, especially those done by beginning with the original languages and translated directly from them by a plethora of learned scholars, you are forcing people to live under the same sort of oppression that the Pharisees had in place.
Sadly, the judgment on you won’t be a pretty one.
Believer, it is most important that you read the scriptures yourself and allow the Holy Spirit to interpret them for you. The best commentary on the scripture is scripture itself. Dive in. Dig deep. Ask God to reveal His message to you. If you don’t understand the language of the one you’ve been reading, find another.
On any given day, I use the New Living Translation (NLT), the Amplified Version Classic Edition (AMPC), the English Standard Version (ESV), and the Complete Jewish Bible (CJB). Each of these versions is translated from the original languages of Hebrew and Aramaic (through the Greek). While the ESV is translated word-by-word, the NLT is translated concept-by-concept. The CJB is directly from the Hebrew and Greek, while the AMPC goes deeper to use the phrases that one Hebrew word means in English.
Please, don’t let someone’s opinion of which version is “right” keep you from developing your relationship with God daily. It is through the reading of the Word that you grow and mature in your faith and how the Holy Spirit guides you to do that which is pleasing to God. It is through knowing Him that you experience the joy, hope, and life that is the Kingdom of God.
If you’re not helping people learn this truth… Jesus says woe to you. Please, ask God what you’re supposed to be doing. Trust Him more than a human. He’s ready to accept you and receive you and grow you, if you’re willing to listen to Him.
As a church leader, pastor, preacher, speaker, influencer, it is incumbent upon you to direct believers to the Word of God, not your opinion of it.
Believer, take nothing any human, including me, says about the Word of God as the end-all. As a believer, you have the Holy Spirit living in you to help you understand what the scriptures say. Read them for yourself, in any version you choose. Read a bunch of versions if you’d like. Dig deeper, because even though the preachers, pastors, and leaders will answer an extra measure for their teaching, you will answer for your choices to believe them. Let’s make the choice to believe God above all and invite others to do the same.