Posted by: austend | Saturday, May 30, 2009

One Bible Only?–Book Recommendation

Earlier in the school quarter, I had to read a book for my Bibliology (study of the Bible) class.  When I first saw the title, I was not very thrilled: One Bible Only? Examining Exclusive Claims for the King James Bible.  I am not that interested in the KJV-only debate.  I don’t think the KJV-only people are right, but it’s not a battle that I am willing to devote myself to fight.  Thus, I was not very excited to read this book.

However, once I began reading it, I could hardly put it down.  It is not merely about the KJV-only debate.  Rather, it discusses many, many important topics related to Bibliology in general.  It does speak much about the KJV-only debate, but what it says about other topics related to the Bible is invaluable.  I highly recommend reading this book.  It will give you an appreciation for the issues surrounding the KJV-only debate, and it will also provide you with many other key concepts related to the Bible in general.

In my opinion, the book deals very fairly, yet honestly and intelligently about the issues concerning the KJV-only debate.  It’s conclusion is that there should be no reason to dogmatically support one Bible version over all others.  Which Bible version one reads should not be a test for orthodoxy.  All Bible translations have some value, so none should be made the standard version of evangelicalism.

Far more importantly, however, the book discusses in understandable yet deep ways the complex issues affecting the Bible.

  • The history of the OT and NT Texts in the original languages are discussed at length.  This part proved to be particularly fascinating to me.  I had always wondered how we got our Bible’s Text, and this answered most of the questions.  I came to realize that the issue of the Text of Scripture is not so simple as we might hope.  There is no one perfect Hebrew or Greek manuscript.  We have to study all the available manuscripts (some of which are faulty) and “create” a reliable manuscript which most nearly represents the original manuscript by comparing the variant manuscripts.
  • The matter of the preservation of Scripture is considered.  Do we have the exact words with which the original manuscript was written?  Do we have to have them in order for our Bible to be the Word of God?  How do we explain errors introduced into the manuscript copies by copyists?  Does our Bible represent the original message God gave to the writers of Scripture?  These are vital questions, and this book considers them very well.
  • The matter of Bible translations is weighed.  What is the best translation to use?  Is the KJV okay?  Is the NIV okay?  What about the NLT or the TNIV?  Which is better: dynamic equivalent (aka, functional equivalent: “thought-for-thought”) translation theory or formal equivalent  (“word-for-word”) translation theory?

All in all, this book is outstanding in its consideration of these matters.  Once you read this book, you will realize that the matters of translations and the preservation of Scripture is not as cut-and-dry as you once thought it was…  If you have any interest in these matters, this is an excellent introduction to the subject.  Please take the time to read it.  It will prove invaluable to your consideration of Bibliology-related matters.

One Bibly Only? Edited by Roy E. Beacham and Kevin T. Bauder.  Grand Rapids, Mi: Kregel, 2001. {here}

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