There are so many Bible translations; which one should a Christian use? Mark quotes from Isaiah and says this: " 'These people honor Me with their lips, yet their hearts are a distance away from Me. Now they are meaninglessly devoted to Me, teaching as teachings the directions of humans.' Having left God's Direction, you hold to the tradition of humans." - Mark 7:6-8 (CB).
If we use a Bible that is a paraphrase, we can't be sure that we are reading God's Word, rather than traditions of humans that have developed over the past 1800 some years. No, to make sure that we have an accurate translation of God's Word, we need a very literal translation! But how can we know which translation is the most literal and accurate? All of the following Bibles are said to be either literal or at least not paraphrases: KJV, NIV, NASB, NKJV, SEB, NCV, YLT, and CB.
For many years Christians who didn't know Greek had to depend on the opinions of "experts" to determine which New Testament translation was the most literal. But now there is a test that any Christian can give to a translation to determine how literal it is. All you need is a copy of this test, a KJV Bible, and the New Testament to be tested.
This test is called the "NEW Literal Translation Test." The only place (that I know of) where you can get a copy of this test is from the Christian Bible Society (their address is near the end of this article). The test can be obtained in one of two ways: it is in the Introduction to the Christian Bible, or a free copy of the test can be requested from them.
It takes about 3-4 hours to give a translation this 100 question test using the KJV as a guide. What the test does is check a translation against itself for consistency. If a Bible isn't consistent in these 100 ways, it can't be literal. Once a Bible gets an acceptable score on this test, then you can begin to have confidence that this Bible might be literal, and check it in some other ways of your own to determine if it is readable, understandable, and accurate (possibly with the use of a concordance).
I tested ten translations and their scores are given below; they are the King James Version (KJV), the New International Version (NIV), the New American Standard Bible (NASB), the Good News Bible/Today's English Version (TEV), the Living Bible/The Book (LB), the New King James Version/The Bible (NKJV), the New Century Version/The Word (NCV), the Simple English Bible (SEB), Young's Literal Translation of the Holy Bible (YLT), and the Christian Bible (CB).
Section 1 of the test checks ten simple Greek nouns. Each one of its ten questions gives you two places where a Greek noun exists in God's Word; and in each case the same English word could (and should) be used to translate the Greek noun in those two places. While it is true that there are some Greek words that have a greater meaning than can be expressed with only one English word, this is not the case with these ten simple Greek nouns. Using only one English word in each of these ten cases is the only proper, accurate, and literal thing to do. The results for this section are: KJV = 20%, NIV = 20%, NASB = 30%, TEV = 20%, LB = 10%, NKJV = 60%, NCV = 40%, SEB = 50%, YLT = 60%, CB = 100%.
Section 2 checks ten simple Greek verbs. Similar to the noun check, here each one of the ten questions gives you two places where a Greek verb exists in God's Word; and in each case the same English word could (and should) be used to translate the Greek verb in those two places. Even a paraphrased Bible could have gotten the nouns right, but now with the verbs we will really start separating the paraphrased translations from the literal ones. The results for this section are: KJV = 10%, NIV = 10%, NASB = 20%, TEV = 0%, LB = 0%, NKJV = 10°/o, NCV = 0%, SEB = 20%, YLT = 40%, CB = 100%.
Section 3 checks ten simple Greek words that are either adjectives or adverbs. Once again, both places in each of the ten questions could (and should) be translated with the same English word. This section of the test is so easy. If a translation can't answer these ten easy questions correctly, how can we possibly trust it? The results for this section are: KJV = 20%, NIV = 20%, NASB = 30%, TEV = 10%, LB = 10%, NKJV = 30%, NCV = 20%, SEB = 30%, YLT = 50°/o, CB = 100°/o.
Section 4 checks ten simple Greek words which occur only twice in the Greek New Testament, and each can be accurately translated with only one English word. Since each Greek word is only used twice in the whole New Testament, surely they will all get this right! The results for this section are: KJV = 10%, NIV = 30%, NASB = 30%, TEV = 10%, LB = 0%, NKJV = 30%, NCV = 20%, SEB = 20%, YLT = 30%, CB = 100%.
Section 5 does ten same book comparisons. Now we are going to check ten simple Greek words each of which are used at least twice in the same Bible book, and each could be accurately translated with only one English word. Many Bibles are translated by committees; such that one group translates one book, while another group translates another book. The previous sections put them at a disadvantage, because they required the translation to be consistent throughout the whole New Testament. But now we are going to give the "Committee Bibles" a break. The results for this section are: KJV = 10%, NIV = 20%, NASB = 40%, TEV = 20%, LB = 20%, NKJV = 30%, NCV = 30%, SEB = 50%, YLT = 50%, CB = 100%.
Section 6 checks ten ecclesiastical words. Now we are going to check ten Koine (everyday) Greek words which are sometimes replaced with religious mumbo jumbo that distorts the original meaning. The results for this section are: KJV = 0%, NIV = 10%, NASB = 20%, TEV = 20%, LB = 20%, NKJV = 10%, NCV = 20%, SEB = 40%, YLT = 80%, CB = 100%.
Section 7 checks the tense consistency of ten Greek verbs. We are now going to check ten Greek verbs in places where each in its two examples uses exactly the same Greek tense. The test lets them be nonliteral and use different verbs, and scores them wrong only if they use two different verb tenses! While it is true that in some cases a Greek verb tense can cover the meaning of what is two different tenses in English, sloppy use of verb tenses can distort the original meaning and is not literal. The results for this section are: KJV = 10%, NIV = 20%, NASB = 20%, TEV = 10%, LB = 30%, NKJV = 20%, NCV = 60%, SEB = 50%, YLT = 60%, CB = 100%.
Section 8 checks related word forms. Thankfully, God provided that the New Testament should be recorded in Koine Greek, one of the most logical of all human languages. To simplify this subject, let me say that most Koine Greek words belong to one or more word families, such that different word forms (noun, verb, adjective, and adverb) have the same root spelling and related meanings. Because of this, the KJV Bible is able to show this relationship to English readers for the Greek root ALETH by properly and literally translating the noun ALETHEIA as "truth," the related verb ALETHEUO as "be truthful," the related adjective ALETHES as "true," and the related adverb ALETHOS as "truly." Now we are going to check ten sets of Greek words where a literal translation could show the English reader this Greek relationship between the two (noun to verb, adjective to adverb, verb to adverb, etc.). The results for this section are: KJV = 10%, NIV = 10%, NASB = 20%, TEV = 0%, LB = 0%, NKJV = 10%, NCV = 0%, SEB = 20%, YLT = 30%, CB = 100%.
Section 9 checks to see if one English word is used for two unrelated Greek words. Now the test makes us do something different, as we are now looking for ten mismatches, because in each pair of places the underlying Greek words may be synonyms, but are different and unrelated. While there are times when a suitable, unique English word can't be found for each Greek word, such that the same English word must be used for two Greek words, it is still a clear sign of sloppy translating if this happens very often. To correctly answer each of these test questions, there must be English words for both indicated Greek words, but they must be different from each other, and yet since the Greek words are, at least, loose synonyms, the English words must be similar enough so that each could replace the other in its sentence with the sentence still making some sense. The results for this section are: KJV = 10%, NIV = 10%, NASB = 10%, TEV = 0%, LB = 20%, NKJV = 0%, NCV = 40%, SEB = 20%, YLT = 60%, CB = 100%.
Section 10 checks similar verses in different books. Now we are going to check ten sets of verses in Matthew, Mark, and Luke that contain sentences that are either very similar or exactly the same in the Greek. If the sentences of the paired verses are exactly the same in the Greek, they must be exactly the same in the English; but if they are slightly different, the English must also be slightly different in a similar way. The results for this section are: KJV = 10%, NIV = 30%, NASB = 20%, TEV = 10%, LB = 0%, NKJV = 10%, NCV = 0%, SEB = 10%, YLT = 40%, CB = 100%.
Well, we have now made it through all 100 questions, so we can now total up the results to see how well each Bible did on the complete test. These final results follow:
As you can see nine translations miserably failed this test; not only did they get an "F" but it should be an "F - -" since all nine failed to get more than half of the questions right, and the scores of eight of them are closer to zero than to a "D"!
It is interesting too, that the translation that got the second best score (Young's Literal Translation - 50%) was translated over a century ago in 1887!
Notice too, the Christian Bible didn't score just 92% which would still be an "A". Nor was its score just 99%. But it scored 100%! Yes, this is the Bible that you can trust! This is the only one that is literal, accurate, and in plain English!
Is it any wonder that only one Bible publisher wants you to know about this literal translation test? The other Bible publishers would rather keep you in the dark about how unliteral their translations are! You should also know that the Christian Bible was translated before its publishers became aware of this test, so it wasn't that they were able to translate it extremely well on just the areas of these 100 questions, so that it might get a 100% on the test!
The Christian Bible scored 809% better than the King James Version (KJV) and the Living Bible (LB), 900% better than the Good News Bible (TEV), 455% better than the New International Version (NIV), 376% better than the New King James Version (NKJV), 335% better than the New Century Version (NCV), 316% better than the New American Standard Bible (NASB), 223% better than the Simple English Bible (SEB), and 100% better than Young's Literal Translation (YLT).
I know of no other NT translation that took 16 years to develop, like the Christian Bible did. Now you know why it took so long! It is the only one literal enough to score 100%.
As far as I know, only one of these ten translations was done following a scientific, logical method of translating -- the Christian Bible! This is the Bible that was recommended in the September issue of The Examiner.
This 480 page New Testament in a sturdy, gold, leather-like hard cover can be purchased for $20.00 with no tax or shipping charge. Its 704 page Companion Reference Guide (which includes an exhaustive concordance) is $25.00, or you can order both together for only $39.00. To order just send your check, cash, or money order to: Christian Bible Society, P. O. Box 530, Mammoth Spring, AR 72554.
Nine of these Bibles can NOT be considered literal! Do you think they faithfully translate God's Word? Are you willing to trust them?