Since All Bible Translations Are Imperfect How Can We Speak of an Inerrant Bible?

 I am beginning to settle down some on this issue. I am by nature a perfectionist, and sometimes struggle with the imperfect works of men, even if they are well intended. Even though I prefer the Traditional Text of the New Testament, I think the article below is very helpful. I got it from It is a great Bible Study website and has access to the Greek and Hebrew texts for study.  I highly recommend it. My mentor uses this site often (and also uses the NASB! lol). It has been very helpful to me throughout my walk with the Lord.
The article listed below was very helpful to me, and I hope that it is to you. As God speaks through imperfect men, and elements (like the burning bush!), He speaks through their feeble and imperfect works. He builds them and sanctifies them through Jesus Christ.God is merciful. God in His goodness can even use evil to achieve His ends too (Romans 9). A man cannot be so evil as to thwart the purposes of God. What man means for evil, God means for good (Genesis 50:20) The original to this is linked in the title.
Admittedly there is not translation of Scripture that is perfect. Each has its deficiencies. Those who translate the Scripture recognize this. Yet the meaning of the passages can be adequately communicated from one language to the next. For example, a simple comparison of good English translations of Scripture will show that the meanings of each passage will be shown to be the same even if the wording is different. The message of Scripture comes out crystal clear.
Translations Have More Things Right Than Wrong With respect to the major Bible translations that have been done there is much more right with them than things that are wrong with them. The things that are wrong do not affect the message. Consequently people can read these translations with confidence.
A Lesson From New Testament And The Septuagint An example of how an imperfect translation can still be the inerrant Word of God is found in the Septuagint – the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament. The New Testament quotes the Septuagint one hundred and sixty times. Thirteen of those times it calls it Scripture. These quotations are as follows.
Matthew 21:42 Jesus cites the Septuagint when speaking of His predicted rejection by the people.
Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord's doing, and it is amazing in our eyes?'" (Matthew 21:42).
This cites Psalm 117:22-23 (Psalm 118:22-23 in English translations).
Luke 4:18-19,21 The Septuagint was cited when Jesus said that He had fulfilled the Scripture at that very day.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor . . . Then he [Jesus] began to say to them, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing" (Luke 4:18-19,21).
Jesus is citing Isaiah 61:1,2.
John 13:18 The Septuagint was quoted when Jesus said the Scriptures predicted His betrayal by one who was close to Him.
I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill the scripture: ‘He who shares my bread has lifted up his heel against me' (John 13:18).
This cites Psalm 40:9 in the Septuagint (Psalm 41:9 in English translations)
Acts 8:32-33 The Ethiopian eunuch was reading the Septuagint translation about the prediction of God's suffering servant.
The eunuch was reading this passage of Scripture: "He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth. In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth" (Acts 8:32-33).
This is citing Isaiah 53:7,8.
Romans 4:3 Paul quotes the Septuagint when referring to the faith of Abraha.
For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness" (Romans 4:3).
The passage cited is Genesis 15:6.
Romans 9:17 Paul cites the Septuagint when speaking of God's reason for raising up the Pharaoh of Egypt.
For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: "I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth (Romans 9:17).
Paul is citing Exodus 9:16.
Romans 11:3,4 The Septuagint is cited when referring to Elijah's complaint that all the prophets had been slain.
"Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me." And what was God's answer to him? "I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal" (Romans 11:3,4).
Here Paul is citing 1 Kings 19:10,14,18.
Galatians 3:8 Paul quotes the Septuagint in the passage that says Gentiles would be blessed through Abraham.
And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, declared the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "All the Gentiles shall be blessed in you" (Galatians 3:8).
The passage cited is Genesis 12:3.
Galatians 4:30 The illustration that the promise of the inheritance will come through Sarah, rather than Hagar, is quoted in the Septuagint.
But what does the Scripture say? "Drive out the slave and her child; for the child of the slave will not share the inheritance with the child of the free woman" (Galatians 4:30).
Here Paul is citing Genesis 21:12.
1 Timothy 5:18 Paul quotes the Law of Moses in the Septuagint version.
For the Scripture says, "You shall not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain" (1 Timothy 5:18)
Deuteronomy 25:4 is cited here.
James 2:8 James cites the Septuagint with respect to loving one's neighbor.
You do well if you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (James 2:8).
James is citing Leviticus 19:18.
James 4:6 James quotes the Septuagint concerning God blessing the humble.
But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6).
The passage cited here is Proverbs 3:34.
Citing Scripture Each of these passages cites the Septuagint and in each passage it is clear that the Scripture is being cited.
The New Testament teaches that the Septuagint, a translation, is Scripture. Since all Scripture is divinely inspired then the Septuagint, along with other Bible translations, are divinely inspired in the sense that they convey God's truth.

The imperfections of Bible translations are used as an argument against an inerrant Bible. Since all translations are different how can anyone speak of an inerrant Bible? However the problems with translations have nothing to do with the original. It is admitted that all translations have their problems. However the message still comes through loud and clear. The real issue is the text behind the translations. Is it error free? The evidence says that it is.
In addition, the New Testament cites the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament, and calls it Scripture. Therefore it is a biblical idea to call a translation of the Bible "Scripture."


Popular posts from this blog

Coarse Jesting - Thoughts on Crude Joking and Where to Draw the Line

Total Depravity: What is it? What is it not?

Faith Comes By Hearing