The Volume 20 number two edition of the IBC Perspectives included a compilation by Randol Easton of six Oneness ministers who were interviewed on the issue of modern translations. The IBC Perspectives “magazine is published monthly (12 issues per year) by Indiana Bible College, Indianapolis, Indiana, Rev. Paul Mooney, President.”
Perspectives is always full of useful information and data. The issues covered are typically significant in Oneness Pentecostalism. I wanted to post this particular data and my comments here.
Of the six ministers interviewed only one stated they use a version other than the KJV in the pulpit (NKJV). The other five stated that they used it “almost exclusively” or a “majority of the time” while reading the Scriptures from the pulpit.
All six interviewed however did admit that they consulted modern translations at some point in their study or devotional reading. Other translations cited by the ministers include the NKJV, NIV, the Message, Darby Bible, the Amplified, the NASB, or the HCSB. Besides the KJV the NKJV was most used.
Interestingly, those who “exclusively” or “primarily” used the KJV for reading purposes also admitted they used The Message translation often in study. The Message translation by Eugene Peterson is a very free translation and in no way literal. It does serve as a virtual commentary however on literal and often archaic passages of the KJV.
One minister stated that he will recommend the NIV or the HCSB to new converts who are struggling with the KJV. Overall, all six ministers appeared positive about new translations while rightly avoiding confusion by using various translations form the pulpit.
Using Modern Translations:
At some point a pastor or teacher may consider using a modern translation. J.R. Ensey, former president of Texas Bible College, recommends the ESV from his online bookstore and also uses the NIV to cite Scriptures from his blog. I would recommend either version for study but would encourage a literal translation, such as the ESV or NKJV, for use in congregational readings.
Versions such as the NIV or New Living Translation are not literal translations. A literal translation seeks to offer the words of the original language word or word in the English language.
David Norris, professor at Urshan Graduate School of Theology, concerning using various translations, has rightly noted “Change is inevitable; nonetheless, change is almost always painful. For many, any move away from the KJV strikes at the very core of their religious identity.” Norris has also noted “If and when individual congregations decide to “officially” utilize other versions along with the KJV” there are at least three things to keep in mind.
1. “Bible studies on how the Bible came to us should first be offered.” He also suggests that “In such a study, saints need to hear humility in the voice of the teacher, not pride.”
2. “The teacher needs to leave room for people in the congregation to disagree with the perspective being taught.”
3. “Along with this, another thing that can go a long way in a congregation being open to change is when the preacher offers occasional statements as to why a particular passage from another version is a good reading.”
He also suggests that new churches have the opportunity to select a modern version with less problems. Older churches however will have to be handled differently with wisdom and care since some “have a lifetime of hearing and reading the KJV”. I believe the KJV is a good translation. In it we can find Gospel truth as in most other translations.
IBC Perspectives magazine, Vol. 20 No. 2 pg. 5
Norris, David K. “First of All—Do No Harm”. Symposium paper response presented at 2009 UGST Symposium.