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Why It’s Good to Use Multiple Bible Translations — 5 Comments

  1. So appreciate this great piece by Brother Earnhardt. The Greek has "hagia" in the plural. Thus, the verse should read "holy places." Indeed, it refers to the Tabernacle in heaven as a whole. There is a wide variety of translation to this phrase, but taken in context of the whole of chapter 9 it comes out as the original sanctuary in heaven. Young's Literal Translation, the English Standard Version, and the Berean Literal Bible have "holy places."

    • William's article and the initial responses has sparked me to do some digging into the concept of tabernacle/sanctuary. And I needed to go beyond using translations alone - to also looking back into the original languages. The first thing I too noticed was the plural nature of 'hagia'. And then I kept digging.

      And this is what I have found. The words translated temple, tabernacle and sanctuary whilst referring - in part - to literal buildings that were on earth at some point, did so by way of an object lesson. These literal structures (that originated with Moses 'Tent of meeting') were meant to convey the idea of God 'reaching' down from heaven and deliberately and intentionally choosing to dwell/tabernacle/'pitch his tent' with us (see Ex 25:8 as an OT example and Jn 1:14 as a NT example). The concept represented by "Immanuel" is the fullest expression of temple/tabernacle/sanctuary with God now even dwelling inside each of us 'whosoever will' allow Him.

      The significance of what is being conveyed here is easily missed. Planet earth is the planet that Satan came down to and successfully 'stole' its God-ordained inheritance: ie, to be a lovingly created world populated by people that were to experience the joy of the abundant life that comes when the Creator and the created live in harmonious union.

      In successfully enticing Eve and Adam into 'sin'/lawlessness (which is synonymous with disconnection from that which is necessary for life), humanity instead became subject to an inheritance of eternal separation from God (as the only Source of Life) and hence, abundant life. Without intervention, planet earth and its inhabitants were doomed to "perishing"/extinction.

      But, contrary to Satan's hope and expectation, God did not leave us to our fate. To the amazement of the angels and the beings of the other worlds, God instead set up camp with the midst of us during the OT (to create the avenue for Messiah/Immanuel) and the NT (via Immanuel to secure salvation/redemption for this otherwise eternally doomed world).

      And not only that, but in the process Jesus becomes permanently linked to humanity as The Son of Man. Thus, the planet that was to have been written off becomes forever the 'jewel in the crown' of all creation!

      Hebrews is reflecting this amazing reality. I believe the references to temple/tabernacle/sanctuary in Hebrews (and Revelation) are to convey an experience that commenced with God's initial dwelling among us in the OT, expanded to Immanuel dwelling with us in the flesh in the NT, and is now being continued in heaven to its culmination of the total restoration of whosoever will back to the abundant life inheritance (in an even more abundant form than if humanity had not fallen).

      Consequently, it would appear that the references to temple/tabernacle/sanctuary are to the intimate personal presence of God (and Jesus and the Holy Spirit) with humanity throughout the entire process of the salvation/redemption of humanity - and that this has (at this point in eternity's history), taken over as the 'core-focus' of heaven's activities (hence the plural form hagia).

      I believe these metaphors were intended to convey to us the unseen (to our eyes) reality that, contrary to Satan's deliberate intention behind his seduction of earth's first people into sin and therefore separation from life, Immanuel is with us, progressively ever more intimately becoming embedded in the center of our midst to the point that God will never, ever leave or forsake us.

      God has tabernacled/sanctuaried/templed (pitched his tent) with us permanently that we might also tabernacle with Him permanently.

  2. Thank-you William. Your article brings a breath of fresh air. I was in one SS Class that had a couple of members who would promote the contrary. They would tell me that translations other than the King James Version should not be used, then turn to the new member and say the same thing. They would site: Acts 8:37. as missing in the NIV as a reason discard the NIV. My electronic NIV has a note to click on that says some manuscripts have verse 37 and the note quotes it. The Amplified Bible has verse 37 included but in brackets. I turned to the new member and said, I use several translations to get a better understanding, and compare with the King James and New King James. I will not use your article to change my friends opinion, I know I can't. But just the same it is good to have yours and EGWs knowledge on the subject.

  3. I appreciate the broad-mindedness of this article. However, I'm afraid that Bro. Earnhardt is mistaken on the details of Hebrews 9, verse 12. There is no word, in this verse, that is translated variously as "true" or "most." The Message is a paraphrase, not a translation, so it's not going be of any help in guessing at the details in the original language. The actual Greek words translate literally as "the holies," which might best be rendered as "the holy places" or "the sanctuary," not "the holy place" or "the most holy place."

    So far, I have not been able to find an English translation that renders Hebrews 9, as a whole, in what I feel is a satisfactory manner. Of course there is no conspiracy, but sometimes there is no substitute for going back to the Greek. Readily available interlinear translations and lexicons make this easy to do.

  4. Knowing the history of the KVJ makes it impossible to believe in its inerrancy. It was translated by humans, so it is not realistic to expect it to be infallible and unbiased. In fact, King James gave the translators instructions intended to ensure that the new version would conform to the ecclesiology of, and reflect the episcopal structure of, the Church of England and its belief in an ordained male clergy—these instruction being a direct result of “problems” with the Puritan sect in the Church of England. These instructions guaranteed political, cultural and religious bias in the translation.

    Nevertheless, the most important aspect of scripture is knowing the One who is its essence. John 5:39-40. It is not the jots and tittles of the text; it is understanding what God is communicating to our hearts that is of utmost importance. God does not leave this important issue to the translators. This is why Jesus tells us the Spirit will lead us into all truth. John 16:13-15. The Word of God cannot be understood without the Spirit of God.


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