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Exploring Christian Denominations
by Kayla
1 minute ago
Hey everyone,

I went to church with my bf this morning (who is a Baptist) to a non-denominational church (what I grew up attending) and he used his King James Version bible while the preacher went off of the NLT (my version as well). My bf pointed out that some of the preachings were altered from his bible, which is one of his biggest turn-offs when attending a church. It really got me thinking because I never knew that some of the newer versions of the bible have missing verses and that the scripture is altered. I knew it was altered to be able to be more comprehendible, but I didn't know that it was altered to change some of the meanings. I'm already a confused individual in search of God and now I'm even more confused and more frustrated. I have been looking up comparison charts to some of the denominations in Christianity, but some of it is mumble jumble to me. My bf said that Baptists preach from the most genuine form of the bible- King James, and that these NLT/NIV bibles can be dangerous. What are your thoughts? I want to choose a denomination and go with it. And also, Christianity is a relatively new religion. It stems from Judaism; Jesus was a Jew. Why shouldn't I be looking into Judaism? And Catholicism is the original Christian church. Why not Catholicism? I want to study the original doctrines. Not something created or altered by man.

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You have brought up many legitimate questions and concerns, many of them have been looked at in detail in groups and discussions, but I am glad to see you asking and desiring answers for your concerns. 

 

There is an array of bible translations and versions. All of them serve a purpose. There are better translations than others. All translations are versions, but not all versions are translations. A "translation" means that a group of scholars has translated the Scriptures from their original Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic languages into a modern language. Some "versions" are new translations, but others are updates of previous translations, for example the New King James Version is really just a King James Version with modernized English. The original KJV was published in 1611, and the English language has changed a bit since then, hence the need for an updated version. The King James is a good translation; it used the Tyndale and the original languages as its source. 

 

The bible has not been altered, not the ones that are recognized as scholarly works. There are cults, as the Jehovah Witnesses who have made their own translations and have change the actual verses from the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts (manuscripts are simply the oldest copies we have of the bible) which are not recognized by the Christian community as legitimate translations.

 
I do not mean to be offensive with my following statements, so please do not take them as such. It is my assumption that your boyfriend is not very well informed about the differences in translations and versions because of his comments to you. The bibles we have today have not been altered (you said preaching, but I am assuming you meant to say bibles or teachings that come from the bible), what you have is bibles as the NIV that do not include some verses in the body of the text, but have chosen to place some verses that are not found in the oldest copies we have of the bible either at the bottom of the page as foot notes or in a center column. They are not omitted maliciously, their omittion serves a purpose. What we know is that the teachings are not changed  what- so- ever. The teachings Christ is getting across in those verses still comes across.

 

Again - the mass majority of bibles DO NOT ALTER THE WORD, the few that do in a few places are not view as legitimate works, but products of cults. The NIV is not among them. The NIV is a good version and translation. I do not personally use it, but it's a good one. I enjoy the ESV (English Standard Version).

 

You said that you have been looking up comparison charts to some of the denominations in Christianity, but those charts won't be a lot of help unless you know scripture so you can discern what is scriptural doctrine and what is not. Baptist for the most are sound in doctrine and so are non-denominational denominations haha 

 

The most genuine form of the bible is not the King James, the most genuine form of the bible are the bibles written in the original languages. The King James is one of my favorite translations, which used the original languages and the already existing Tyndale bible as its source. The King James is among the first English bibles and again one of my favs, it retains the poetic grammatical structure in the poetic books of the bible when some have lost that. It is a gross exaggeration to say that the NLT and NIV are dangerous. They are not.

 

Do you want to choose denominations or bible translations and versions? Those are three separate and different things. If you want to choose a bible translation, I suggest you use the New King James version which used 130 respected Bible scholars, church leaders, and lay Christians worked for seven years to create it. It retains the stylistic beauty of the original King James. The scholars used the original Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic texts, for the translation. I am sure your bf would be ok with that one and you will centently enjoy it.  

 

Denominations have to do with choosing a Baptist, Pentecostal, Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopalian, and Presbyterian Church to fellowship in.

 

Christianity as instituted by Christ, as a continuation and natural transition from Judaism, is 2000 years old, that makes it a very old institution, if you take into account that is a continuation of Judaism, which was God intended and plan for from the start, it is very, about 6000 years old.

 

We do look into Judaism, which is why we have the Old Testament? The Old Testament in your bible is all about Judaism and the New Testament is the natural transition into the Church. There are many Christians who know Judaism better than the majority of Jews, who are Jews as a national title only, but have no relation with the living God.

 

Catholicism is definitely not the original Church. They claim they are but their teachings in such claims have been debunked scripturally in every generation, hence today we have a huge amount of scriptural evidence and reasoning to dismiss their claims as the original Christian church. Jesus did not institute the Catholic Church, nor did he institute Baptist, Pentecostals etc... He did used and worked through men that started denominations, a lot of times it was the disciples of a certain godly man that started a movement after the teachings of Christ through those men.

 

Catholicism is not a church I recommend, they still hold to the hideous teachings that salvation is through faith and works. Works are not only an automatic response from being saved by grace alone, but they believe that works merit salvation. That is a hideous error. It is by grace through faith alone and that faith will produce works, but they are not meritorious unto salvation.

 

You want to study the original doctrines - study the bible. Get the New King James bible and eat it up. Let it become your best friend, it will make you wise. God creates through man.

 

Love and blessings to you

 

 

I would argue that the closest thing to the original church is the orthodox. I have heard that supposedly some of the revelations churches are orthodox in the present. At any rate, I don't think it takes the original church to live in Christ, as long as you have the bible.

I agree that Catholicism is to be avoided, as it has many suspicious and unbiblical teachings such as calling some members "father", when Jesus taught us to only call our heavenly father "father", and their prohibiting of marriage for certain members as predicted in 1 Timothy 4:3.

As for Judaism, see Isiah for proof that the new covenant is rightfully valid and that Jesus is the messiah, as it has many prophecies about the messiah.

You're asking two questions here.  The first is why are there so many English language Bible translations available today; the second is an open and wide ranging question about the many Christian denominations; their distinctive beliefs and practices.  Each requires an in-depth response and, as such, easily merits being the subject of a separate discussion in the Forum.  These are, to put it bluntly, "hot button" questions that can create a good deal of passion and controversy in the responses generated, which is why we need to be especially carefully here to frame our responses with Christian charity.

Christian Denominations

I commend you for investigating the beliefs and practices of Christian churches of various denominations as well as those that call themselves nondenominational.  I have done so myself, and continue to do so--but within reason and without losing focus.  My focus is always on reading, studying, and applying the Scriptures.  The Bible alone is the Christian's final authority in matters of faith, doctrine and practice.  So here (rather than in any one denomination) is where you'll find what you need to better know God and understand his plan for our salvation.

The good news is that many denominations and nondenominational Christian churches agree on the main and plain things of the Scripture; that is, they are in harmony on the essentials of the historic Christian faith.  For example, that Jesus Christ once walked among us, suffered and died for our sins, and was resurrected and ascended to heaven; further, that by grace, through faith, we are saved.  Where the differences come into play are on a host of secondary matters that are not essential to our salvation where the Bible is not so clear.  On these matters, Christians can hold different beliefs without necessarily dividing.  For example, such things as worship practices and preferences, the manner of baptism, the frequency of holy communion.  Although, I should hasten to add, to some, any one of these or certain other matters may be deemed "essential" to our salvation.

To use a metaphor, I should warn you that it's easy to become lost in the corn fields, or to not see the forest for the trees, if you immerse yourself too deeply in familiarizing yourself with and comparing the distinctive beliefs and practices and sometimes competing claims of the denominations.  There are so many denominations and sub-denominations, it can be mind boggling.  The end result may be that you become more confused and uncertain rather than seeing things with more focus and clarity.  And you have to be careful about pseudo-Christian cults, such as Jehovah's Witnesses, which can be appealing to those seeking certainty with their self-serving claims of being the one true church and having the most correct interpretation of Scripture.

The King James Bible and the Many Modern Translations: Curse or Blessing?

Is the availability of so many English translations of God's Word today a blessing or a curse?   I believe it's a blessing.  I believe we're fortunate that in addition to the King James Bible (KJB or KJV), which was produced by the Church of England and has served us well for 400 years, many modern English language translations of the Bible are available today.  They reflect contemporary language, which has undergone much change since the 1600s, and the subsequent discovery of ancient biblical manuscripts that were not available to the King James translators.

Why are there so many translations?  Well, they come in different flavors for a good reason.  Translation from one language to another is complicated by the fact that there may be differences  in grammar, sentence structure, punctuation and words that can't be matched exactly between the two languages.  The Bible wasn't originally written in English.  Most of the New Testament was written in Greek and most of the Old Testament in Hebrew.  That is why biblical scholars need to be thoroughly familiar with these languages in their ancient form in order to translate the text into English.

Some employ a more literal or word-for-word approach, which, while technically more accurate, may be more difficult to understand when translated into English.  Others strive for a thought-for-thought approach in which the objective is to render the text as simple and easy to understand in English as possible.  The NLT is a good example of this.  Many translations fall somewhere in the middle of these two extremes, striving to balance technical accuracy with readability.  

As for me, I often consult two or three (and sometimes even more) English translations in order to better understand the text, including nuances of meaning that are better captured by some more than others.  Usually, when I post verses to support points I'm making in Forum discussions, rather than linking to one translation, I will do so using an online parallel Bible in which you can see how they are rendered by multiple translations, including the KJV, NKJV, NASB, NIV, ESV, NLT, and many others.

Dan Wallace has written an excellent article, which I recommend to you, answering the question, "Why So Many Versions?"

Thank you David and Colby for your helpful and in-depth responses back. I think I might be skewing my boyfriend's words. I'm horrible at reiterating. During the sermon today, the pastor used a different word that was different (not just a different way of saying it, but a completely different word) than that of which was in his KJV. I forgot what the word was or what book it was, but I think he was trying to say that it's dangerous to get sucked into biblical messages that are a religious leader's interpretation of the bible when he's preaching from a bible that has been changed. I might still be misunderstanding him so tomorrow when I see him, I'll have him elaborate and then I'll respond again to this post. I like my version of the bible because I can understand it! Haha. This is definitely a challenging journey for me because I question EVERYTHING. I over-analyze EVERYTHING. I have a hard time with trust as well. Ugh.

Kayla,

        If you and/or your boyfriend think your pastor, in reading from the NLT, was using a "completely different word," from that which is presented in the KJV, you'll need to tell us specifically which verses in which book of the Scripture you're referring to (e.g., 1st Corinthians 15 or John 1:1-18) so that we can compare the text accordingly and see how they line up.  Otherwise, it's impossible to evaluate the claim and we're stumbling around in the dark.  Does that make sense to you?

        In the meantime, to illustrate how much the English language has changed from the KJV, which was translated 400 years by the Church of England, to the NLT, which is a contemporary translation, let's compare a few verses side-by-side.  You'll soon see how many words used in the early 1600s are no longer recognizable today.

Colby

Verse

King James Version (KJV

New Living Translation (NLT)

Psalm 5:6

Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the Lord will abhor the bloody and deceitful man.

You will destroy those who tell lies.  The Lord detests murderers and deceivers.

Isaiah 11:8

And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den.

The baby will play safely near the hole of a cobra.    Yes, a little child will put its hand in a nest of deadly snakes without harm.

2 Thessalonians 2:7

For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

For this lawlessness is already at work secretly, and it will remain secret until the one who is holding it back steps out of the way.

Romans 11:2

 God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel saying

No, God has not rejected his own people, whom he chose from the very beginning. Do you realize what the Scriptures say about this? Elijah the prophet complained to God about the people of Israel and said

Luke 9:44

Let these sayings sink down into your ears: for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men.

“Listen to me and remember what I say. The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of his enemies.”

Acts 12:9

And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision.

So Peter left the cell, following the angel. But all the time he thought it was a vision. He didn’t realize it was actually happening.

 

ROFL  Some of those cross references are great!

I'm not eloquent or into all the history and theology David and Colby can give, but I can tell you, I use three translations plus John Gill's commentaries.  Not that one omits anything (as David stated...they have it in the footnotes referencing what is different from KJV), and not that any is better than another.  But sometimes it is hard to ascertain a meaning without looking at it from different angels. 

But if your boyfriend doesn't like the wording used in the NLT or NIV (which are simply more modernized wording based on translations of words no longer in existence), how does he handle the KJV being a complete translation?  Unless he learns Greek and Hebrew, he's never going to get an exactly accurate translation.  Even learning those dead languages won't do it as what we know of them now was not learned by anyone living first-hand in that era.  It was also written to people of that time in a way they could understand it. 

You make an excellent point about translation, as did David, which is worth repeating and emphasizing.  The many writings that comprise the Bible were written in the ancient languages of Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament).  

 

Jesus himself spoke Aramaic, a newer form of Hebrew, when he walked among us 2,000 years ago, but the gospels were written in Greek.  Greek was then a second language in Palestine and the Mediterranean region, much like English is a second language in many parts of the world today.

 

It wasn't until 1,500 years before the entire Bible was published in English, largely through the work of William Tyndale.  Several English language translations were produced during the 16th century.  The King James or "Authorized Version," produced by the Church of England at the direction of King James, in 1611, eventually became the standard for much of the English-Speaking world for the next 400 years.

 

Since then, the English language has evolved considerably, making the King James Bible or Authorized Version difficult for many to understand.  Many words have fallen out of usage, or their meanings have changed.  Consequently, to fill a need, newer English languages versions have come on the scene, translating the ancient Greek and Hebrew texts into contemporary English.  

 

All English translations of the Bible depend on the work of other people, knowledgeable and fluent in these ancient languages, to translate ancient manuscripts into English.  Most of the modern translations have been carefully produced by inter-denominational committees of noted biblical scholars.  Some are strict word-for-word (literal) translations while others are paraphrases that attempt to convey the author's original thoughts in a less formal way.

 

Each version has its strengths and weaknesses, a function in part of where it is on the translation continuum from word-for-word to thought-for-thought.  Each has a place.  Some may be better suited for preaching from the pulpit, for individual/group Bible study, etc. than others. The best translations, in my view, are those that have been carefully scrutinized by a committee of scholars representing a range of denominations.   

For those that might be interested, AAG has a group where members (including me) can discuss their favorite Bible translations: http://www.allaboutgod.net/group/favorite-bible-translations.

Very good discussion! The group favorite bible translations has some posts from members on their favorite translations and why.  Like many I have always been fond of reading the King James mainly due to the sheer poetry although more and more I turn to "The Books of the Bible"(to avoid a long post, the wiki link for more information is:  http://www.biblica.com/thebooks/) for sheer reading as literature. For serious study and in my art I use the free downloadable eSword package and modules.  The key thing is to have a translation based on the original languages, and to remember bible textual scholarship is an ongoing project especially since the discovery of "palimpsests", a relative modern (and fascinating) event which led to the discover of many "lost" versions and Greek New Testament manuscripts. A decent introduction to this is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palimpsest.  To bring up another, more minor point about the mutltitude of versions, translations in the English languages is quite simply modern copywrite laws and how the publishing business works: publisher's found that a "new and improved" (whether it is or not) edition sells better than the old standbys. In many cases a new version is mostly just rewriting the preface, introduction, adding different maps, indexes, and using the same previous published text - the cosmetic changes are enough to qualify as a "new version" under most western copywrite laws. Find yourself a nice original language based Bible, with a font style that is not too cramped, and that you find comfortable to read. The most artistic, beautiful, expensive Bible is worthless unless it is read and the Holy Spirit is allowed to do it's thing while reading.

Several years ago, 2 or 3, David Velasquez   had a most interesting discussion going entitled along the lines of "Hermeneutics, what is it and can we eat it". It was a very active topic and got so frisky at times it got downright nasty and un-Christian with personal and attacks; not sure if any remanants remain of the extensive discussion (will search for it when the sun comes up). Biblical hermeneutics is the art/science of textual interpretation and contains a subfield called exegesis, that deals with the various methods and principles on the study and explication of scripture. I found it fascinating since my primary life interest is "art of the book before printing" which of course means "art of the Bible before printing" to a large extent. For now, you might want to take a look at wikipedia and see what's there on "Hermeneutics" and "exegesis" to take a peek behind the scenes of Bible textual scholarship.   Another thing to look at would be a discussion on "Greek New Testament" or specifically" Novum Testamentum Graece" which is an ongoing modern era (since 1516) attempt by scholars around the world attempting to arrive at a critical Koine Greek text  based on existing manuscripts to arrive at the "original" books of the NT.  Every decade or so (newest version, NA28 (full name is "Nestle-Aland, Novum Testamentum Graece, 28th revised edition" was just recently released at the end of 2012). The NA28, like previous editions, is then used as the primary source for most contemporary New Testament translations, although there is a 5-10 year time delay involved in the release of the NA and it being published as a translation  in a Bible; hence most 2000 and later bibles are based on NA27 published in 1993. They also publish a version of the Greek with an English literal word translation for those that like to muddle our way in the Greek, but not professional Koine Greek linguists and scholars. Wiki used to have a good discussion on the NTG, haven't checked it in a while and not sure if updated for NA28 yet.   Anyway, you might like to read a bit about the whole process of Biblical translation. Wikipedia is straightforward, lots of sub-links, and further advanced references if you want to see how deep the rabbit-hole goes.
  Okay, rambled enough, 3am, back to getting some more art done before sunrise; and pray for no thunderstorm so I can get some planting done tomorrow.

Hi Kalya,

Let Jesus and The Holy Spirit guide you. From what you're saying there's a lot of what I would call "Human learning curve" amongst the churches with regards to the Bible.

God Be with You (GBU)

James

Hey!  I would like to introduce you to a version that many people are unaware of.  The man who who authored it, Robert Young,  also wrote Young's Bible Concordance.  He has done a wonderful job with this translation called: "Young's Literal Translation of the Holy Bible. "I find it to be just that!  I hope it will help you out,  God Bless you!

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