Whether you have been studying the Bible for a long time or have just begun to learn, you are probably aware that there are many different versions to choose from. If you ever watch me in Church or at a Bible Study, you presumably see that my Bible is open with my cell phone sitting on top. The reason why: my Bible is the same King James Version (KJV) I’ve had since 13 years old. On my phone is the Bible App where I compare KJV verses to the Amplified (AMP) version. Another handy thing about the App is, even though I do own other versions, I can easily compare and share what the differences are without lugging around five Bibles.
I am feeling the need to talk about this today because of a verse that has stuck with me since Saturday. Saturday morning I attended a women’s Bible Study hosted by my mom. We did the typical thing where each person was given a verse and we took turns reading and discussing. My verse was Zephaniah 3:17.
During our discussion I found the verse and marked my place. However, while listening to the others talk, I felt the immediate need to bring up the App on my phone and look this verse up. Clearly, God trying to show me something. It was as if I knew something was missing because that knowledge was placed there by God.
Almost a whole line of text, seven words, is added to the AMP version. Not that the KJV translators were intentionally trying to leave things out, it’s that the translators for the AMP made a point to include the deeper, more detailed meaning given by the original language. English is not as deep as Greek or Hebrew. Thus, our translations are often vague or less “meaningful” (for lack of a better word). Sometimes as Christians, we may not be ready for that deeper meaning or to start learning a new ancient language, but if finding a message from God is as simple as swiping open an App on your phone to look at the AMP why not do it? I believe to further get to know God and understand His truth, we must study.
If you haven’t already highlighted and Google-searched the verse, here it is:
” The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.”
“The Lord your God is in your midst,
A Warrior who saves.
He will rejoice over you with joy;
He will be quiet in His love [making no mention of your past sins],
He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.”
See the difference? I do not believe in coincidences. God has a plan for everything! On Saturday, this was my assigned reading verse in bible study. On Sunday, our discussion in Sunday and the message in church reminded me of this verse, and now on Monday, it is a reading scripture in my Daily Devotional Journal. Something is clear here: I need to share this because someone needs to see it.
Like I said, maybe you don’t need to go out and learn a new language. You should, however, be aware of things that get changed through the process of translation. I don’t want to use the old phrase “lost in translation” because the truth is, nothing got lost! The word “gib·bōr” is used many times in the Bible, meaning “mighty” and “warrior”. Okay, so same thing or same subject at least, right? “Ya·ḥă·rîš” in the KJV translation makes it sound like God is about to take a nap: “he will rest”. But it is also translated as: keep silent, make no mention of, hold your peace.
I don’t know why the KJV translators thought it made more sense to make it sound like I exhausted God and he needs a nap, as most parents of a toddler would. (Not that I just called all humanity a toddler). But clearly, what God intended for us to know, is he will not recall our past and use it against us. He will make no mention of it! He will shout for joy about us! (Or sing a song. I’ll take what I can get.) Either way, you can begin your journey of learning to know God on a deeper level by reading your Bible and responding when He is pushing you reach for more!
Is there a verse you’ve found where the translation was extremely different between translations? Join the discussion! I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.