Article - God Authorizes Accurate Translations of His Word
Prior to God preserving the New Testament in the first century A.D., He empowered the apostles to preach the first gospel sermon in each person’s own language (Acts 2:8-11); thus making it evident that God authorizes accurate translations of His word (also study Matthew 1:23; 1 Corinthians 14:5, 28; Hebrews 7:2). Furthermore, when Jesus and His inspired men quoted from the Old Testament Scriptures, they primarily used the man-made Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament known as the Septuagint - yet, they would say “as it is written” (Romans 3:9-18). Thus, we can take comfort in knowing that when we use an accurate English translation of the Greek New Testament and Hebrew Old Testament (such as the King James, New King James and American Standard of 1901), we are studying the utterances of God in an acceptable manner to Him (1 Peter 4:11). Therefore, God does not require us to know the Greek and Hebrew. Since it has been established that God authorizes accurate translations of His word, we are at liberty to read and understand His word in our own vernacular. In fact, God breathed His Scriptures in such a way that the common man would be able to read and understand them (John 20:31; Romans 15:4; Ephesians 3:4; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 1 John 5:13). In the first century A.D., God’s Holy Spirit moved the holy men of God to write the New Testament in koine (“common”) Greek (not the formal, advanced classical Greek) to initially communicate His new will (it was the universal, easy-to-understand language of the day). Most of those who listened to the New Testament writers heard the word of God in their common Greek language (not the language of the Old Testament). In rightly dividing the word of truth, we are not at an advantage over others if we know the koine Greek language of the New Testament (2 Timothy 2:15); for it is not a language per se that results in us being perfectly joined together in the same mind and judgment (1 Corinthians 1:10). Instead context is the primary way for us to determine the truth of a passage together. In fact, ninety-nine percent of the time the immediate context (the sentences surrounding the thought in the text) and the remote context (the whole of the Bible) are more than sufficient to ascertain the correct meaning of a passage. In other words, there is nothing “magical” about knowing the koine Greek. You are not disadvantaged nor are missing out if you do not know New Testament Greek. Instead we need to concentrate on having our senses exercised in constant study of God’s word, take heed how we hear God’s word and then DO God’s word (Luke 8:18; Acts 17:11; Hebrews 2:1; 5:11-14; James 1:18, 21).
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