Menu Close

Questions: Bruce, Which Bible Translations Did You Use?

questions

I put out the call to readers, asking them for questions they would like me to answer. If you have a question, please leave it here or email me. All questions will be answered in the order in which they are received.

This is a follow-up question from the post Questions: Bruce, What Bible Do Evangelicals in Non-English- Speaking Countries Use?

I grew in the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church movement in the 1960s and 1970s. I attended an IFB college in the mid-1970s. I married an IFB pastor’s daughter. After leaving college in the spring of 1979, we moved to Bryan, Ohio. I became the assistant pastor of an IFB church in nearby Montpelier. I later helped my father-in-law start an IFB church in Buckeye Lake, Ohio. From there, I spent eleven years pastoring an IFB church in Mt. Perry, Ohio. It was six years into my tenure at Somerset Baptist Church before I used any other Bible but the King James Version (KJV). For thirty-two years, I believed the King James Bible was the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God. I read the KJV, studied the KJV, and preached from the KJV. Only the KJV was used in the churches I pastored. No sermon from other than the KJV was preached from the pulpits of the churches I pastored.

I believed that there were no errors, mistakes, or contradictions in the KJV. I also believed the 1611 and 1769 editions of KJV were virtually identical; that the only differences between the two were corrections of typographical errors. Then, in 1989, I stumbled upon a list of word differences between 1611 and 1769. These differences were far more than typographical error corrections. OMG, there were word changes, meaning that my belief that the 1611 KJV was inerrant was untrue. Further study led me to conclude that the KJV was not inspired, inerrant, or infallible, and neither was any other Bible translation. For the next eight or so years, I believed the KJV was faithful and reliable; that it was the preferred Bible for English-speaking people.

In the late 1990s, I preached my first sermon from a non-KJV Bible, the New American Standard Bible (NASB). In 2001, I started exclusively preaching from the English Standard Version (ESV). I was still using the ESV when I preached my last sermon in 2005. I believed the ESV was a reliable translation, but not inspired, inerrant, or infallible. God inspired the original manuscripts, but not any Bible translation.

After I left the ministry in 2008, I started reading THE MESSAGE for my daily devotionals. For the first time in my life, the Bible spoke to me in my own language — the everyday language of commoners. I still used the KJV and ESV (and other translations) in my studies, but I found THE MESSAGE a delight to read.

Today, the only Bible in our home is my KJV preaching Bible — an artifact from a life lived long ago. I also use the E-Sword software program to look up specific verses when writing posts for this blog. Every atheist should have E-Sword installed on their computers, smartphones, or tablets.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

You can contact Bruce via email, Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

14 Comments

  1. Avatar
    BJW

    I actually have a nicely bound New International Version, from around 30 years ago. Bob and I have kept our bibles although I doubt we will ever use them again.

  2. Avatar
    William

    The biggest and most expensive books to date that I have bought is a top of the line hardback with all the bells and whistles Strong’s Concordance. Whether this is a good or bad thing I dunno 😂

    • Avatar
      Matilda

      We were told earnestly by a fellow x-tian that we were wrong to have a Crudens Concordance in our home….he thought he was such a wit, he told us ‘It’s Crudens for the crude and Strong’s for the strong.’ I’d recently read the biographical details of Mr Crudens in the concordance’s introduction. II said he’d given up teaching due to mental health issues, and just now discovered from Wikipedia that he’d ‘shown symptoms of insanity.’ Not sure why we didn’t rush out and buy a Strong’s, maybe we felt demeaned by the description of us as ‘crude,’ fine upstanding church members that we were.

  3. Avatar
    Matilda

    We were ardent supporters of Wycliffe Bible Translators for decades and were thrilled when we got prayer news of those remote ethnic groups in jungle clearings, living in mud huts who now had The Word of God in their own heart languages. I’m surprised it never occurred to me till today to question which version got translated. Many, especially american WBT missionaries would be KJV-only. I don’t recall being asked to pray how to translate ‘thee or ‘thou’ into a remote language. We did pray fervently for translators to find correct theological terms for e.g. sheep, mountain or desert for groups that would never ever see those things. It was a niggling dissonance I kept hidden, that the immutable word of god could not possibly be so. I laughed in secret when a translator agonised over ‘sheep’ cos his heathen group only kept pigs and he said he’d had to translate a verse as ‘Behold the sheep-pig of god who takes away the sins of the world.’

    • Avatar
      William

      I’m surprised they wouldn’t just leave it as sheep, the English version already has a unicorn in it and no one knows what kind of animal that could be (never mind having a snake with legs that talked in Eden).

      • Avatar
        S

        A unicorn is a unicorn, what is unclear???🦄🦄🦄🦄

        But snakes with legs, that’s a nightmare. No one needs to encounter that. If o saw a snake with legs i wouldn’t stay long enough for it to start talking to me.

        Sage (leggy snake freaks me out so much I can’t sign my post correctly)

    • Avatar
      Kel

      One thing that led me to question the traditional Evangelical teachings was this: it seems that God really really wants to make it more difficult for certain people to be saved (in the Evangelical way).

      When and where you are born can more or less determine your likelihood of obtaining salvation. What use is living if you’ve already been effectively consigned to eternal damnation merely by virtue of being born? My pastor said that, “At least they’ve got a chance to live on this earth.” Well, I’d rather not be born in the first place if that’s the case. Such tone deafness.

  4. Avatar
    Obstaclechick

    How did we learn that the Bible was supposedly the inspired, inerrant, infallible, literal words of a deity? I remember it being part of our fundamentalist Christian school’s Bob Jones University catechism curriculum. Those were the words used. I don’t remember it explicitly being stated in Southern Baptist church, though it may have been. Imagine my surprise in college in the History of Christian Thought class learning how the Bible was canonized…mind blown, Satan was leading me astray through education! 😅

  5. Avatar
    clubschadenfreude

    I use biblegateway’s website all of the time when ripping apart Christian claims. I have part of a KJV at home. Ripped some parts out for some art and use it as a cutting surface when using an exacto knife. It has a big ol’ blonde jesus on the cover.

  6. Avatar
    dale m.

    There was a site I used long ago (can no longer remember) that translated from some 24 bibles from different sects. You could browse through them all on this one site. I found the KJV the best. More depth. I never heard of the E-Sword. Will check it out. Much thanks.

  7. Avatar
    dale m.

    OH !! The garden of Eden scene !! Now it’s all beginning to make sense to me.

    Biting into the APPLE and SATAN the TALKING SERPENT. And why it was Eve. It makes sense IF you don’t take it literally. Take it as a euphemism.

    The APPLE is the tree of knowledge and wisdom. SATAN is anyone who would direct any evangelical away from the biblical god by introducing new books, philosophies, ideas of how Nature really worked. They are TALKING SNAKES from their god’s point of view. EVE had to be the one who did it. The men are too honorable. In those patriarchal societies, women can’t be trusted and therefore must be subdued. Women’s power are over people. Men’s power are over things.

    And the beat goes on …..

  8. Avatar
    Autumn

    Any time I think about folks who think the KJV of the Bible is inerrant I think of two things, the religious upheavals in England and Scotland over the 100 years before the first KJV was put together, and the fact that Elizabeth I liked translating portions of the Bible from Greek into English, then into French and back into Greek. This was apparently a hobby of hers through most of her life. She wasn’t the only one, it was a scholarly exercise at the time. One wonders what small errors could have been introduced in people’s understanding of the Bible.

    I would also add the fact that James wasn’t straight (as far as we know) he had many male favorites especially as he got older. He also had a bit more fear of witchcraft than might have been common for the era or a man in his position.

    So yeah KJV as the inerrant word of g*d makes me laugh irreverently.

Want to Respond to Bruce? Fire Away!

Bruce Gerencser