When I was a child, everyone used the King James Version. The preacher quoted numerous verses in his sermons and woe to him if he skipped a word or got one wrong—there would be a line waiting to tell him about his mistake.
I think it is wonderful that we now have and use more translations than the old KJV. They shed light on the meanings of many passages and because they are easier to read, allow one to connect thoughts more readily throughout a lengthy passage.
Yet I respect the old-timer’s insistence on getting it exactly right. I fear we have lost that, and this is a grave danger. God communicated to men in words, “These words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart” (Deut 6:6). Just as no man can know the thoughts of another except through his words, men cannot know God except by the words He speaks. This is so important that Jesus himself said that, “Not one jot or tittle” would pass away until all God’s word was fulfilled (these are equivalent to the dotting of an “i” or the crossing of a “t”.)
If the words are changed, if the translators are careless or are concerned about supporting their own beliefs, we lose the WORD that God sent to save us, the words that tell us about Jesus. Our parents were right to insist on accuracy! God sent Peter to Cornelius to tell him “WORDS whereby [he] would be saved” (Acts 11:14). Peter writes that “Ye should remember the WORDS which were spoken” (2 Pet 3:2). We need to adopt the attitude of concern for exactness with every word of God that our parents and grandparents had, while embracing the benefits of having many translations.
How careful should we be?? When he rebuked the Sadducees who did not believe in a resurrection, Jesus based his argument on the tense of a verb (Mt22:31--33). He quoted Ex 3:6 where God told Moses, “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” These three had been dead and buried hundreds of years at the time of Moses yet God spoke of them in the present tense. Now that is being precise, and is the only proof Jesus ever gave that there is a resurrection.
“The pen is mightier than the sword” -- words have started wars, led to freedom, to discoveries and great deeds. But all these pale in comparison to the power of God’s word.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek, Rom 1:16.
For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart, Heb 4:12.