God Has Spoken
Dr. Doug Posey
In our pluralistic world, many simply assume there is a variety of valid “bibles.” They believe every religion has its bible and one is as legitimate as the other. In the name of tolerance, they say, we should have equal respect for the “scriptures” of all faiths. Some even go so far as to suppose that God is behind all of them; that He simply spoke to different people groups in different ways. There’s a theological term for such thinking: hogwash!
God does not contradict Himself. One proof is the Bible, the real Bible, the only Bible. He used 40+ writers on 3 different continents over a period of about 1,400 years to prove no single human came up with this most amazing of books. No supposed prophet single-handedly interpreted God’s plan for mankind. With the Bible, no sole individual put forth his personal take on God and labeled it “thus saith the Lord.” No power-hungry neurotic (or worse) decided he had finally discovered God’s true will for mankind and then penned our Holy Scriptures.
No, instead, God used many people, over a long period of time, from all walks of life and arranged for them to all agree on the most controversial topics, resulting in our Bible, without contradiction. No other religion can claim that kind of validation for its book. Oh, they may have a book, but it’s no Bible, not even close.
By contrast, virtually every other major religion and popular cult today relies on the imaginings of some single individual for their foundational faith and doctrine (Islam, Mormonism, Scientology, to name a few). We know that the resulting books can’t be true, or just as valid as the Bible, because they disagree with the Bible. So, somebody is right and somebody is wrong. They can’t all be right. Shouldn’t that clue in the “cum-by-yah” pluralists that God did not inspire all of these writings? Do they see Him as some capricious deity playing games with mankind, ordaining one truth one day and another the next?
There is only one Bible; there is only one book through which God has revealed His will to mankind. The single written revelation of God is our own Holy Bible. Though it consists of 66 books combined between two covers, it is the only book that rises to the level of qualifying as the bona fide Word of God. All others are mere pretenders.
But, which translation of our Bible is best? Why do we use the New American Standard, 1995 version (NASB95) at Living Oaks? Many of you have asked me that question, so I’ll take a shot at an answer:
I selected the NASB because of its accurate, literal translation, combined with great readability, while being the #1 closest English translation to the original, word-for-word Greek and Hebrew texts. Some translations, like the NIV, use something called dynamic equivalence, which produces a translation that is more thought-for-thought than word-for-word. I think of it as a glorified paraphrase (like The Living Bible, The Message, etc.).
Dynamic equivalence may be slightly more readable in some cases, but leaves more to the interpretation of the translator, thus risking a departure from the intent of the original writer and the Author (God). But generally, all modern English translations are good for personal reading and devotion. For public teaching and preaching, the NASB provides the level of accuracy I like while “rightly dividing the word of truth” (as the New King James Version says), or as the NASB more understandably puts it, “accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
We used the New King James Version (NKJV) for the first several years at LOC. It too is very close to the original text and I liked the devotional style and the trusted King James name. But, I found some of the English phrases (e.g., “rightly dividing”) sort of awkward and needing further translation (means, “accurately handling”) while I was teaching.
The fact that we have so many variations reminds us that the Word of God is living (Hebrews 4:12), although the original biblical languages (Koine Greek, ancient Hebrew and Aramaic) are dead languages. That’s actually a good thing. This means that the meanings of the words are fixed, they will never change (thus refuting false assertions that the Bible has “changed” so much over the years).
By contrast, English is a living language; words which once meant one thing can come to mean something else over time. Some take the opposite meaning (e.g., “let” used to mean hinder, as it is used in tennis; today it means allow). So, as English words change, we can update the English Bibles to speak ever more clearly to us, in our own living language, what the original text was meant to say.
So, put more Bible, the real Bible, the only Bible, in your diet, regardless of what flavor you choose!
“I shall not forget Your word.”
—PSALM 119:16 NASB