If the Bible is inerrant, why are there multiple versions?

There is a certain group of Christians that believe in “biblical inerrancy” or the idea that the Bible is 100% perfect. Mormons believe the Bible is true “inasmuch as it is translated correctly.” That is, Mormons believe the Bible was perfect as it was written by the pens of the original authors, but that through the years and various translations that people made mistakes in translating and that some changes were made intentionally. If you speak more than one language, then you know translations are never 100% accurate, because a word in one language does not always match up perfectly with a word in another language. Often you have to choose the word that is closest.

Biblical inerrancy is, of course, not agreed upon in the mainstream Christian world either. But for those of you who do believe in biblical inerrancy, how do you explain the many versions of the Bible that are available? If one version is perfect, what reason is there to be more than one version? And if two versions use different words for the same passages, can they both be 100% correct?

Comments

  1. There are multiple translations into the American language because of the way we use words. We use one word to have multiple meanings whereas foreign languages, like Greek and Hebrew, do not.

    Take, for example, the following passage from John 21:15-17.

    So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You " He said to him, "Tend My lambs."

    He said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Shepherd My sheep."

    He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You" Jesus said to him, "Tend My sheep.

    Seems simple that Jesus and Paul are talking about love. But what type of love? That's where we look to the writing of the original language to understand the full meaning.

    Jesus asks the first two times, "Do you love me," using the verb agapao (to love unselfishly and sacrificially). Peter responds, "I love you," using phileo(to have brotherly affection or love). The third time, however, Jesus himself uses phileo in his question, as does Peter in his response.

    Two different American English translations can both be correct. We may have the NIV, KJV, NKJV, NASB, etc. Which one is better? That would depend on the individual and their level of understanding. I prefer to use the most accurate word for word translations like the New American Standard (translated from original languages). Others prefer to use the more poetic versions like the King James (which is a British English translation). If we all took the time to read, write, and speak the languages of Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic then there would be no discussion. We all would understand the writings in its original languages.

    • So what you're saying is that the people who read the Bible in Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic don't get into any arguments about how to interpret the meaning of specific scriptures? So why was there a Council of Nicea? Why did Martin Luther tack up his questions on the church door? Why are there so many Christian denominations, if it's as simple as going back to the Greek/Hebrew/Aramaic to get the straight story on what the Bible is saying?

  2. Fact: Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Do not add to His words or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar.

    Fact: Our fathers had the tabernacle of testimony in the wilderness, just as He who spoke to Moses directed him to make it according to the pattern which he had seen.

    Fact: The tabernacle and its furnishings are a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. (The lamp has 66 parts; the Bible has 66 parts)

    Fact: The word of the Lord is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. From His precepts we get understanding. For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light; and reproofs for discipline are the way of life.

    Fact: For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

    Fact: There are many  churches, denominations, and organizations because people choose not to endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they have accumulated for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and turned away their ears from the truth and turned aside to myths.

    Fact: There are certain men that teach strange doctrines, who pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith.

    Fact: Men turn away in continual apostasy. They hold fast to deceit, They refuse to return. The Lord God has listened and heard, men have spoken what is not right; the deceitful man has not repented of his wickedness.

    Fact: Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God. If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, "Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!" (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)–in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.

    Fact: The untaught and unstable distort the Scriptures, to their own destruction. Therefore, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

    Fact: Realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; We are to avoid such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Just as and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith. But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, just as Jannes's and Jambres's folly was also. Now we should follow Paul’s teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to him at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions he endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued him! Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

    Fact: Men continue in the things they have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom they have learned them.

    Fact: From childhood men like Timothy, who was taught by Paul, have known the sacred writings which are able to give us the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

    Fact: The council of Nicea was under the direction of the pagan ruler Constantine and not the Lord God.

    Fact: Martin Luther intended to reform the organization he was a member of, which was a result of Constantine’s set-up, rather than return to the pure word of God.

    Fact: Every plan or action of men will be overthrown; what is of God will not be overthrown; be careful or else you may even be found fighting against God.

    Fact: If we continue in the word of Christ Jesus, then we are truly students of His; and we will know the truth, and the truth will make us free. If Jesus makes us free, we will be free indeed. It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore stand firm and do not be subject to a yoke of slavery. For we are called to freedom; only do not turn this freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. Therefore, speak and act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty.

  3. The bible says the earth was created before the sun. Fact: the sun formed long before the earth. Therefore, the bible isn't inerrant. I rest my case.

  4. Where is this fact, Jay? Did it come from a theory called evolution? You know why it's called a theory? It's a theory because it has never been proven.

    According to the Bible:

    The earth was created on the first day.

    The sun, the moon, and stars were created on the fourth day.

    Perhaps you are confused when it says, "Let there be light." Perhaps you think that you need the sun to have light. Fact: a fire gives light, but it's not the sun.

    This, of course, is a matter of faith. Since there was no human to record the events as it happened there can be no scientific fact to prove it.

  5. There is no such thing as an inerrant book. If the doctrine of a religion specifies that no man is perfect, and thus there is a need for atonement, then no man can write a perfect book, period. Either man writes the book and it is imperfect, or God writes it himself and it is perfect. Joseph Smith was a man. Figures in the Bible and Book of Mormon are men (and many decry their imperfection and apologize for it). The people who have handled, compiled and translated these books over vast periods of time and (at least in the case of the Bible) multiple iterations, and multiple translations that abandon original context, were men. They are not inerrant or perfect books. Further, even if there were a perfect book, there can be no perfect understanding of such for the same reason. This debate seems fool hearty to me.

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