Thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.
-Psalm 138:2, KJV

A translation can't be as good as the originals, can it?

The following is from Sam Gipp's The Answer Book.

QUESTION: The King James Bible is a mere translation from Greek & Hebrew to English. A translation can't be as good as the originals, can it?

ANSWER: A translation cannot only be "as good" as the originals, but better.

EXPLANATION: There are three "translations" spoken of in the Bible. In all three cases, the translation referred to is better than the original. Since we accept the Bible as our final authority in all matters of faith and practice, ITS "practice" will have more authority than any "mere human" opinion.

1. The first translation mentioned in scripture is found in II Samuel 3:7-10:

7 "And Saul had a concubine, whose name was Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah: and Ish-bosheth said to Abner, Wherefore hast thou gone in unto my father's concubine?

8 Then was Abner very wroth for the words of Ish-bosheth, and said, Am I a dog's head, which against Judah do shew kindness this day unto the house of Saul thy father, to his brethren, and to his friends, and have not delivered thee into the hand of David, that thou chargest me to day with a fault concerning this woman?

9 So do God to Abner, and more also, except, as the LORD hath sworn to David, even so I do to him;

10 To translate the kingdom from the house of Saul, and to set up the throne of David over Israel and over Judah, from Dan even to Beersheba."

After the death of King Saul in I Samuel 31, Abner, who had been the captain of Saul's army, installed Ish-bosheth as King instead of David (II Samuel 12:8,9).

Later Ish-bosheth and Abner had a falling out. Abner, in anger, announces to Ish-bosheth that he is going to "translate" the Kingdom of Israel from Ish-bosheth to David.

It is obvious by Abner's statement of II Samuel 3:9 that the LORD wanted David to be king over all twelve tribes of Israel. Therefore the "translation" of the kingdom of Israel to David was BETTER than the "original" state which had a split kingdom with David rightly ruling over one portion and Ish-bosheth wrongly ruling over the other section. (Remember the law of first mentions.)

2. The second translation spoken of in scripture is found in Colossians 1:13.

"Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son."

Here the "translation" spoken of is the conversion of a lost sinner to a new life in Jesus Christ. No one in their right mind could even pretend that this translation is not a massive improvement over the "original" condition.

3. The third translation found in the Bible is located in Hebrews 11:5.

"By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God."

The word "translate" only appears five times in scripture--once in II Samuel, once in Colossians and the remaining three times here in Hebrews 11:5.

A Christian with even a shallow knowledge of the Bible is familiar with the story of Enoch from Genesis 5. Enoch walked with God and is known to have pleased God. He was a prophet (Judge 14) and a man of faith. God saw fit to physically take Enoch to heaven so that he would not have to experience death. This individual action is a miniature version of what Christians call "The Rapture," mentioned in I Corinthians 15, I Thessalonians 4, Titus 2 and various other places in the Bible. Since the word "Rapture" appears nowhere in scripture a more proper name for this future occurrence might be "The Blessed Hope" (Titus) or "The Catching Up" (I Thessalonians) or "Our Translation" (Hebrews).

It is obvious that Enoch's translation was an improvement over his "original" condition.

Thus we see that every translation mentioned in our final authority in all matters is an improvement over the original.

If you are a simple Bible believer you will have no trouble accepting this. If you worship education or just hate to be wrong you will reject this Bible fact as easily as you have rejected every Bible fact that you couldn't agree with.

It should be noted here that the perplexed translators of both the New American Standard Version and the New International Version, when faced with this glaring contradiction of their own personal prejudice, could not bring themselves to allow the word "translation" in any of the above mentioned passages.

Which will you follow, the Bible or men?

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