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Which Is the Most Accurate Bible Translation to Meditate On?

Mark Virkler's picture

Question from Missy - "I am hoping you can guide me on the most accurate Bible to meditate on. I have the ESV, NIV, KJV, and Amplified. I keep getting conflicting information. I hear verses are taken out of some or changed. The internet search I did was overwhelming. Thank you for your time and help."

Perhaps my answer to Missy will be helpful to you as well. 

The translations I honor the most for being accurate

The translation I have used since 1972 is the New American Standard Updated. At that time I compared the King James (Authorized) Version (KJV), New International Version (NIV), and New American Standard Bible (NASB) to the Greek and determined that the NASB was consistently the closest to the Greek. The NIV is right on the line between a translation and a paraphrase. A paraphrase translates idea by idea and not word for word, so you are trusting the writer of the paraphrase to have gotten revelation from God concerning the full and complete illumination of God's original idea before he writes down his paraphrase of that idea and passes it on to you. That is a lot of confidence to put into any one person. It is more confidence than I want to put into any one man, or even a group of men.

The Amplified puts in a host of words which are possible meanings of a Greek or Hebrew word so you could prayerfully reflect as to which may be the most fitting for this particular verse.

At this point in Church history, we have the New King James Version (NJKV) which is also very accurate so I would consider it essentially equal to the NASB. If you want something that is 100% literal, you can use the Young's Literal Translation. It is awkward to read but it is a word-by-word translation of the original Greek and Hebrew. It is available free as part of e-Sword, and online at BibleHub.com.

I highly recommend the free downloadable resource, e-Sword

I LOVE e-Sword (https://e-sword.net/) and use it all the time. It is free, with extra resources which you can purchase as add-ons. (I believe the NASB was an add-on I purchased.) It comes with a dozen free training videos explaining how to use the tools within e-Sword. You can look up the exact Greek and Hebrew meaning of any word in the Bible, and get a listing of every verse where that Greek or Hebrew word shows up so you can see all the various ways it has been translated. By doing this you get a feel from the context of the verses and discern what the Spirit is speaking to you about the correct meaning. 

I have created a video training module on how I use e-Sword, available here. With these tools and the Holy Spirit at your side, you are not at the mercy of man to try to discover what the Bible means.

Does this mean you live out of the Bible?

No, it means l live according to the Bible! So what’s the difference? Well, if I live out of the Bible, I live out of a book that contains a set of laws and principles. If instead I live according to the Bible, then I live the way the Bible instructs me to live. The Bible tells me to live by the Spirit and walk by the Spirit (Gal. 5:25). So I don’t live out of a book; I live according to the leading of the Holy Spirit within me, which is clearly how Jesus lived (Jn. 5:19,20,30; 8:26,38), and how we are instructed to live (Gal. 5:25). In my initial Christian life, I was told the Lord was no longer speaking, so I was forced to live out of a book. However, I now believe what the book teaches, "My sheep hear My voice" (Jn. 10:27), so now I let the Spirit lead me.

Consider what the Bible says about how we come to discover truth from the Bible

  • But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come (Jn. 16:13-14).
  • The anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things (1 Jn. 2:27).
  • So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts (2 Pet. 1:19-20).

Truth is a Person and when reading HIS book (the Bible), we need HIM to reveal its message

  • In the Garden of Eden, they were not handed a book. They were offered a walk with God in the cool of the day.
  • Jesus had this to say to those who thought they were going to receive life through a book: "You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life” (Jn. 5:39-40). Jesus is saying: Come back to the Garden of Eden and have a living encounter with Me! Note Jesus didn’t say come to some expert; He said come to ME!
  • The Bible teaches that the path to truth is when the Holy Spirit opens the Scriptures to our understanding causing our hearts to burn with revelation (Lk. 24:13-35). The disciples on the Emmaus road experienced this. Paul experienced this on the road to Damascus (Acts 9).
  • A foundational requirement is: We MUST receive the love of the truth so as to be saved (2 Thess. 2:10). I must love the constant enlightening of the Spirit (Eph. 1:17,18) more than I love my pet doctrines which are yesterday’s revelations codified. I either love the security of my theological box or I love the prophetic word constantly emerging in my heart, granting me ever-increasing light, continually transforming me into His likeness.

I reject each of satan’s lies!!!

Satan has used every trick in the book to keep us from honoring the Bible and the Spirit as the means for discovering truth. His lies include:

  1. Skip walks in the garden: You don’t need to hear God’s voice; you can know. (“You” became the false god of “humanism” – it’s about my efforts. “Know” became the false god of “rationalism” - it’s about what I think).
  2. Dispensationalism: Much of the Bible is for another period, and you can’t apply or live it in this age (dispensation).
    1. Sub-set belief 1: The only verses relevant to our lives are those after the cross.
    2. Sub-set belief 2: The only verses that contain God's truth are those which line up with the loving things Jesus did.
  3. Demythologization: The supernatural stories in the Bible are fables, not real.
  4. Fear of rejection: If you embrace this truth, you will lose your job, position, salary, prestige, social position. (Think Nicodemus, for example.)
  5. Fear of inadequacy: I am too ignorant to properly discover truth. I need an expert.
  6. Pride: I have truth all boxed up, so don’t confuse me with any countering verses or insights.
  7. A false understanding of spiritual authority: I must submit to what my leader tells me to believe.

     I use a biblical epistemology (system of knowing)

I can know the truth through the illumination of the Holy Spirit,

especially as He illumines Scriptures, as Jesus did on the Emmaus Road!

Solution – A broad-based method for discovering truth:

I recommend a biblical system (epistemology) of knowing, which includes
the Spirit revealing truth through six different ways that the Bible says God speaks to us.

Click here for an article describing this approach. It is called “The Leaders' Paradigm.”

Click here for an article that illustrates the differences in doing a Bible meditation
using the KJV, NKJV, NASB and Young's Literal Translation.



Related Resources: 

How to Hear God's Voice!   
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4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice

4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice

by Mark and Patti Virkler | 305 Pages | Retail: $16.99

Have you ever wished you could just sit down and have a long talk with the Lord? Wouldn't it be wonderful to move beyond having a theology that states that God loves you to actually hearing Him whisper words of love into your heart? When you're worried or confused, wouldn't you love to see the situation from His perspective and hear how He wants you to respond?

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4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice (hard cover)

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Hear God's Voice Guaranteed Package

Hear God's Voice Guaranteed Package

9 Books | 10 CDs | 10 DVDs | Save $35+

Have you ever wished you could just sit down and have a long talk with the Lord? Wouldn't it be wonderful to move beyond having a theology that states that God loves you to actually hearing Him whisper words of love into your heart? When you're worried or confused, wouldn't you love to see the situation from His perspective and hear how He wants you to respond? When things don't seem to be going your way and your prayers aren't answered the way you had hoped, wouldn't it be great to hear Him tell you where He is in the midst of it, and what He is working out in your life? Are you ever just a little bit jealous of others who say with such confidence, "The Lord said...."?

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Prayers That Heal the Heart - Revised & Expanded 20th Anniversary Edition

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You can even take 50% off the School of the Spirit e-learning module! Sale ends February 22nd.

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Did you know that you don’t need to be continually plagued by negative thoughts, feelings, pictures or memories?

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Twelve Weeks to Spiritual Mastery - Group Coaching

A group coaching experience with Mark Virkler

Because I could not find a Spirit-anointed teacher/coach, I spent ten extremely frustrating years seeking to hear God’s voice!!! Suggestions offered did not help me, things like: “You just know that you know. It is a still small voice. He speaks from your heart.” No one could give me the answer I needed which was: Hearing God’s voice is as simple as quieting yourself down, fixing your eyes on Jesus, recognizing His voice as spontaneous, flowing thoughts and writing down His flow as it is coming. Test what you have written after the flow is done, NOT while it is occurring.

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