What Bible Translation Does The Village Recommend?

Topics: The Bible | The Village Church

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SUMMARY: The Village Church recommends two translations which fall within the word-for-word method, the New American Standard Version (NASV or NASB) and the English Standard Version (ESV). The reason for our preference for this approach is that the historical doctrine of scriptural inspiration applies to the original texts in the biblical languages themselves (what are called “autographs”) and we therefore want to be as near to the original language as possible.

The Village Church believes that the scriptures are the authoritative, inspired and inerrant word of God to mankind as revealed in 2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:21, et al. They are altogether lovely, true, precious and unfailing. The word points to Christ, Who is truth itself, the living Word, and is therefore to be diligently embraced, read, and studied. The Village is passionate in teaching and preaching the Bible in all of its fullness for the transformation of lives to the glory of God.

There are literally dozens of English translations of the Bible in print today. These versions are based upon the underlying philosophies and guiding principles of the translators of the work. On one end of the translation spectrum are the versions which adopt a “word-for-word” approach while the other end contains those which follow a “thought-for-thought”. For an example of where some common versions fit on this spectrum, please see the graphic in the pdf.

The word-for-word process attempts to render a literal reading of the original languages (Hebrew, Greek or Aramaic), relying on interpretation only when the text demands clarification. The philosophy which drives this approach is that interpretation is the cooperative work of the preacher/teacher and the believer and not necessarily that of the translator. On the other hand, the thoughtfor-thought process follows a highly interpretive translation procedure, driven by a philosophy of textual simplicity. With this tendency comes a decreased accuracy and faithfulness to the original text and a subsequent loss of many of the rich nuances therein. While the thought-for-thought method retains a high degree of readability, it also carries with it an inherent reliance upon the translator to interpret scripture for the reader.

The Village Church recommends two translations which fall within the word-for-word method, the New American Standard Version (NASV or NASB) and the English Standard Version (ESV). The reason for our preference for this approach is that the historical doctrine of scriptural inspiration applies to the original texts in the biblical languages themselves (what are called “autographs”) and we therefore want to be as near to the original language as possible. We believe that any serious effort in studying the Bible should begin not with interpretation of the text (“What did the author mean?”), but rather with observation (“What did the author write?”) and that the paraphrastic, thought-for-thought approach takes this step away from the student of scripture and puts it almost entirely into the hands of the translator.

Historically, The Village has used the NASB in worship services, but in late 2006 we began preaching primarily from the ESV. This transition was due to difficulties which were experienced in regards to sentence construction in the NASB being at times linguistically difficult. While the NASB served well for serious study, contextual flow was slightly altered, thus rendering it less ideal for the purpose of public reading and preaching. We began to see a tendency towards spending a large time in explaining grammar and syntax in the sermon and subsequently less time in expositing the general message and consequent application of the scripture. Given that the ESV retains the precision and accuracy of the “word-for-word” approach while allowing for a greater degree of clarity of expression, it became the primary teaching/ preaching text for The Village.

© 2007 The Village Church. All rights reserved.

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