An article from Christian Post notes that the “New International Version of the Bible is by far the most preferred translation of the Scripture, according to a new survey of U.S. evangelical leaders.”
The 30-year-old NIV garnered more than 65 percent of the votes from directors of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE).
For many, such news of the NIV’s popularity among conservative Christians might cause a yawn. But they have not seen what many of us witnessed over the past several decades.
During my childhood in the’60s, every Bible in my home and home church was an Authorized King James Version. In fact, we didn’t know others existed.
Then in the late ’60s, the contemporary Today’s English Version showed up under the title of “Good News for Modern Man.” The gray paperback New Testament read more clearly and had clever stickmen as illustrations.
The plain language in the TEV surprised those of us who were fully convinced that God, the prophets, Jesus and Paul all spoke the King’s English. Even the more spiritual leaders of our church prayed to God with “Thees” and “Thous.”
The paraphrased Living Bible came on the scene as well in 1971. Then the NIV was published in 1978.
About that time, as a gift, I received a “Parallel Bible” with four side-by-side translations of the same passages.
Today bookstores, homes and churches are filled with a wide array of Bible translations. But such was not always the case.
I remember the times my pastor would have us read a passage in unison — knowing that only the KJV was in our hands. In most churches today, such an exercise would sound like speaking in tongues.
However, a few KJV-only advocates still hang around the remote edges of conservative Christianity. They insist that other translations are dangerous.
They particularly like to take shots at the TEV, whose chief translator Robert Bratcher once pointed out the folly of using unbiblical codewords like “inerrant” and “infallible” to describe the Bible’s authority.
One critic said: “Dr. Bratcher heads the class of the most heretical apostates to ever touch a mainstream Bible translation.” At Baptists Today , we just think of him as a longtime subscriber from Chapel Hill, N.C.
My parents and church leaders taught me great respect for the Bible including never placing another book on top of the Bible in a stack. Those Bibles were always the King James Version.
Now I have more translations of the Bible than can be quickly counted. I read several when considering a text.
While I don’t have a strong preference in translations, there are some statements that have more meaning to me in the familiar KJV of my childhood. Such is case when Jesus said (Matthew 11:28): “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Executive editor / publisher at Good Faith Media.