This article on Bible Translations to avoid is written for Christians who are curious to learn about the different bible translations and the particular ones to shun. Stay tuned and learn!
Before I talk about bible translations and the ones to avoid, let’s have an overview of what the bible is to the people of God.
The Bible is known as the written word of God and the ultimate set of guiding principles governing all areas of life for the people of God. Through these writings, God communicates his will, his laws, his nature, and his saving purpose to humanity. There are bible quiz and trivial bible questions and answers that you can learn online, to test your knowledge of the Bible more.
The Bible itself claims to be the inspired Word of God according to the book of 2 Timothy 3:16 ” KJV: All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:”
The Bible is made up of different translations which are generally accepted by different religions. Translation is the process of reworking a text from one language into another to maintain the original message and communication. It has been translated into many languages from the biblical languages of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.
As of 2022, the entire Bible has been translated into 724 languages, the New Testament has been translated into an additional 1,617 languages, and smaller portions of the Bible have been translated into 1,248 other languages according to Wycliffe Global Alliance. At least some portions of the Bible have been translated into 3,589 languages.
Out of these Bible translations, Christians are not expected to accept them all as the true written word of God, but rather are to be extremely careful with the translations that we use and believe. This is why this article has been written, to enlighten us on the bible translations we should avoid as Christians.
Now that we have gotten an overview of the Bible and some important facts about it, let’s go ahead and talk about the Bible Translations to Avoid.
Bible Translations to Avoid
There are hundreds of bible translations in the world, but for emphasis, I will be listing and writing in detail, about the Bible Translations to avoid. Stay tuned and learn! They are as follows;
- The Message Bible (MSG)
- The Passion Translation (TPT)
- The Living Bible (TLB)
- Good News Translation (GNT)
- Contemporary English Version (CEV)
- The Clear Word Bible Translation
- New World Translation (NWT)
- The Mirror Bible
1. The Message Bible (MSG)
This translation is a paraphrase by Eugene Peterson, who was the founding pastor of a Presbyterian church in Bel Air, Maryland during the 1960s. Paraphrases are Bible versions written to be easier to read and understand. They are the least accurate among the translations of the Bible.
The idea behind this supposed translation is to present easy-to-digest Scripture that’s meant to captivate both people who have and those who haven’t read the Bible. It is specifically targeted toward U.S. English speakers with its use of American contemporary slang.
There are a lot of things that are wrong with the Message Bible, they are as follows;
- It is a mere commentary-novel-paraphrase hybrid of the Bible, not a legit translation
- It relies on a very lackadaisical and non-serious writing style that has nothing to do with Holy Spirit-inspired Scripture
- The author has deliberately turned entire parts of the Word of God into ridiculous colloquialisms and idioms
It is worthy of note that the author’s name is plagued with controversy that adds another thick layer of untrustworthiness that you can read about here.
You should stay away from the Message Bible if you do not want to be misled.
2. The Passion Translation (TPT)
This is another paraphrased translation like The Message. it is the next bible translation to avoid on our list. The Passion is the work of the sole translator, Brian Simmons, whose work has been heavily critiqued by the scholarly world.
This is why TPT is at best, a commentary of the Bible:
- It was translated by a single person (Brian Simmons) who is not a credible Bible scholar
- It’s 50% longer than the real Word of God due to all the extra text and new material that’s added
- The added material in certain places constitutes a false doctrine that can lead people astray and put them in spiritual danger.
Dr. Simmons interpreted the Bible in his own words instead of translating the Bible. According to him, TPT was developed from original Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic texts.
Currently, TPT has only New Testament, along with Psalms, Proverbs, and Song of songs. Blanco also published The Passion Translation of Genesis, Isaiah, and Harmony of Gospels separately.
3. The Living Bible (TLB)
The Living Bible is a paraphrase of the Bible translated by Kenneth N. Taylor, the founder of Tyndale House Publishers. It is the next bible translation to avoid on our list.
Kenneth N. Taylor was motivated to create this paraphrase by his children. Taylor’s children had difficulties understanding the old language of the KJV.
However, Taylor misinterpreted a lot of verses in the Bible and also added his own words. Original Bible texts were not consulted and TLB was based on the American Standard Version.
The Living Bible was originally published in 1971. In the late 1980s, Taylor and his colleagues at Tyndale House Publishers invited a team of 90 Greek and Hebrew Scholars to revise The Living Bible.
However, Taylor does not follow the typical biblical translation process of using the original language manuscripts to create his translation. He instead uses the 1901 American Standard Version as his foundation.
Here’s what’s fundamentally wrong with the TLB:
- It was written by a single author who wasn’t a theological or Bible scholar
- It omits important pieces of Biblical text that don’t fit the author’s Arminianism
- It’s nothing more than the paraphrased/reworded version of the American Standard Version
4. Good News Translation (GNT)
Also known as the Good News Bible (GNB), the GNT was created by the American Bible Society as a translation that would be simple enough for anyone to easily pick up and understand, including individuals learning the English language and children.
The simplicity of the English used in this translation has made it a popular choice for evangelists; it was even used at the Billy Graham crusades.
However, despite this attractive feature, it is not a translation that should be used for the seriousness of Bible study, as the simplistic use of English in the Good News Translation has come at a price.
Many dangerous theological errors are found throughout the GNT, including distortions of the divinity of Christ, removing references to Jesus’ blood, misrepresentations of Jesus’ virgin birth, removing references to hell, salvation being distorted, etc.
5. Contemporary English Version (CEV)
This translation is another work by the American Bible Society, commonly referred to as the Bible for Today’s Family. The CEV uses an even more simplified version of English than the GNT.
Again, the attempt to make a translation that is simple for anyone comes at the cost of containing misleading text, such as claiming the Holy Spirit replaces Jesus (John 14:26) and gender-neutralizing Paul’s instructions for a pastor (1 Timothy 3:1-5)
6. The Clear Word Bible Translation
The Clear Word is another Bible translation you should avoid. It was originally published in March 1994 as the Clear Word Bible.
The Clear Word was single-handedly translated by Jack Blanco, former Dean of the School of Religion at Southern Adventist University.
Blanco originally wrote TCW as a devotional exercise for himself. He was later encouraged by his friends and family to publish it.
The following are fundamentally wrong with TWC;
- Unlike other paraphrases, TCW is written in a verse-by-verse format instead of paragraphs
- Misinterpretation of some words, “Lord’s day” was replaced with “Sabbath”
- Added Seventh-day Adventist Church doctrines
- Missing verses
7. New World Translation (NWT)
New World Translation is a translation of the Bible published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (WBTS). This Bible translation is used and distributed by Jehovah’s witnesses.
Below are the facts that are wrong about NWT;
- A lot of verses are missing in this Bible translation and new verses were also added.
- Has different wording, NWT translated Greek words for Lord (Kurios) and God (Theos) as “Jehovah”
- Does not identify Jesus as a holy deity and part of the Trinity.
- Inconsistent translation technique
- Refer to the ‘New Testament as the Christian Greek Scripture, and the ‘Old Testament as the Hebrew Scripture
8. The Mirror Bible
The Mirror Bible is a new paraphrase by South African Bible teacher Francois du Toit. Mirror Word is the teaching ministry of Francois du Toit.
This is what’s wrong with this least accurate Bible “translation”:
- It’s filled with diabolical, new age, man-worship false doctrine
- The Mirror Bible is not a translation – it’s more of a paraphrase and a commentary
- It denies the need for a savior i.e. the need to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and be born again.
The man implies that we’re already born-again – there’s no need to be washed by the blood of the Lamb as we’re already gods
A mirror reverses everything and in a similar fashion TMB reverses, twists, and distorts the real Living Word of God.
The mirror bible is also known as the anti mirror bible. To know more about this, click on this link.
Just as we have seen, these Bible translations should be avoided, so as not to be confused and have doubts about what you believe in.
Whether these mistranslations are deliberate or not, we must be on guard against these kinds of things, especially in these last days.
They are just personal interpretations by people who intentionally or not mislead others with their destructive translations.
Let’s use them as our examples and make sure we are building up one another in our most holy faith.
Let’s also remember what the Scripture says in 2 Timothy 3:16 – “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”
The Word of God is perfect and we should not add or subtract from it.
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