The Word of God is sharper than a two-edged sword. It is filled with God’s eternal and universal truths; it lifts and sustains us in this life and promises us a glorious future. We are blessed to have several reputable English-language versions, some translating word-for-word; others, thought-for-thought. Becoming familiar with multiple translations is a helpful tool in Bible study because we see the same thought expressed differently. Reading the Word in a non-English language often adds to the richness of our devotional experience.
SOMETIMES, THE POWER of God’s Holy Word comes through with greater force when we experience it in a different English translation from the one we usually read.
For example, if a believer usually reads the Word in, say, the English Standard Version (ESV), he or she might gain greater insight reading the same passage in the New Century Version (NCV) or New International Version (NIV).
FOR ME, IT OFTEN COMES through reading the Word in Spanish, a language I have to work through.
Because of the additional care I take, I often find nuggets of God’s wisdom that I may have missed when reading the familiar words in English.
Today’s text source from Hebrews, where God exhorts us through the writer to care for the salvation of others, is a good example.
Here are today’s three text source Scriptures in Spanish:
- Hebreos 12:15 (NTV): Cuídense unos a otros, para que ninguno de ustedes deje de recibir la gracia de Dios.
- Hebreos 12:25 (NTV): Tengan cuidado de no negarse a escuchar a Aquel que habla.
- Hebreos 3:15 (RVR60): Si oyereís hoy su voz, No endurezcáis vuestros corazones.
This is how I would translate each of these verses. Most believers will recognize them:
- Care for one another, so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God.
- Take care that you do not fail to hear the One who is speaking. (Or, Make certain that you do not ignore God when He speaks.)
- If you (this is the plural form of you) hear His voice today, don’t harden your hearts. (Or, don’t harden your hearts when you hear God speak.)
OUR WESTERN WORLD is blessed with an abundance of translations of God’s Holy Word.
The writer of Hebrews emphasizes that point for us in Hebrews 4:12a.
Yes, some translations are more reliable than others, and we should be careful that we do not sacrifice the accuracy of God’s Word simply for a “new” translation.
However, guided by the Holy Spirit, we ought to feel comfortable exploring the richness of translations available so that we can maximize our experience.
- Here’s the verse in English (NKJV): “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword.”
- Here’s the same verse in Spanish (NTV): “Pues la palabra de Dios is viva y ponderosa. Es más cortante que qualquiera espada de dos filos.”
WHICHEVER VERSION(S) of God’s Word you prefer, the most important thing is that you read it every day, meditate on what you have read, and pray over it.
Then, to the best of your ability, memorize key passages, and live them out as you go about your day.
As you do so, may God bless you!
(Mientras lo haces, ¡que Dios te bendiga!)
Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we thank You for providing Your written Word to instruct us, rebuke us, correct us, and train us in all righteousness so that we, as believing and obedient men and women, will be thoroughly equipped for every good work. Lord, we give thanks that Your Word is available to us in many translations, both in English and in other languages. May we read Your Word daily, keep it in our hearts, and live out the Gospel in joyous celebration of Your victory over sin and death. We pray in Jesus’ mighty name. AMEN