As I explained in the header to this blog, I am reading through Proverbs each month, one chapter a day. This month in my personal reading I am going to be reading through Proverbs in the translation by James Moffatt. I will continue to quote the KJV on each post and compare it to the NASB, but I will use this month to see if the Spirit gives me any new insights from this version. The copy of Moffatt I have was printed in around 1935. I have had it a long time but have never read in it much. As I was glancing through it I noticed this quotation toward the end of his introduction:
“The translation now offered of this text is an attempt to represent the gains of recent research and at the same time to be readable.”I have mixed feelings about this. I rejoice in the “gains of recent research” if they are truly “gains” and not attempts to undermine the validity of the Word. Too much that calls itself scholarship is just an attempt to be published and often does not care about truth or accuracy. This applies to history, science and education as well as theology and Bible. Some gains are not worth the trash bin they end up in because they are not gains, they are sabotage. Be careful.
At the same time I see the value in modern translations that are based on Godly scholarship. I am sorry KJV Only people. I love you. I respect the KJV but the English language has changed and research on the internet clearly demonstrates that a lot of similar phrases does not mean much more than a lot of copying of a single source. If that single source was wrong, it doesn’t matter how many copies you make. I don’t think we need a new translation every Christmas season but there must be a balance between keeping up and being trendy.
We need to be cautious of the lure of the “readable.” Sometimes making something easy to read is just a dumbing down that dilutes the truth to make it palatable. Truth can be understood by anyone but it takes a bit of effort. “Readable” has its place in evangelism, for new Christians and for small children. Too often it is a substitute for thinking and acting.
So, I am cautious and open to consider the new. At all times I compare the new with what I know to be true. If it does not conform to the Biblical truth I reject it. Remember that warnings given by the Word itself:
(Revelation 22:18 KJV) For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
(Proverbs 30:5-6 KJV) Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.