Bible Question:

Are any of the English Bible translations 100% accurate? I have heard that some English translations of the Bible, like King James, have been “interpreted” to fit the political climate or the desires of the ruling political parties at the time. Are any of the English translations 100% accurate when referring to the original Greek and Hebrew? I have been considering learning Greek and Hebrew myself for this reason.

Bible Answer:

The answer to your question is no, the English Bible translations are not 100% accurate.

Missing Word Meanings

Translating from one language into another language will never be 100% accurate since some words require two or more words to communicate their meaning. For example, in the Greek language there are multiple words for love. The most common verb for love in the Bible is agapao. The common word for friend is phileo and the word for love between siblings is stergo. In the English language there is only one word for love. Now how do our Bibles translate these three Greek words? They are all translated as “love.” Obviously, something is missing. Yet, to elaborate on the meaning of all the Greek words would explode the number of words and pages and consequently we would have enormous Bibles. Some words cannot ever be adequately translated into another language. Anyone who has tried to translate from one language into another has encountered this difficulty.

Missing Words

The other error that occurs in our Bibles is the result of uncertainty over a small set of words. That is, in a few places in our Bibles the exact wording has some doubt; however, the uncertainty is very small.

Missing Philosophy

Another error is a poor translation philosophy which states that a dynamic translation approach is best. That is, the translators were not committed to a word-for-word translation but a thought-for-thought translation. This poor translation philosophy requires the translator to interpret the meaning of the passage and then convey that meaning in the translation. That means the translation is already biased and is essentially a commentary. The New International Version (NIV) and the New Living Translation (NTL) are examples of this poor translation philosophy. Consequently, these Bibles are not accurate for that reason.

Conclusion:

Here is a short answer.  Our Bibles are 99.9% accurate. Different Bibles are more accurate to the original languages than others. The most accurate English Bibles are the English Standard Version, the New King James and the New American Stand Bible.

Suggested Links:

How Accurate Is The Bible?
What Bible would you recommend?
How do you decide which Bible to use?
Is The King James Bible The Best Bible?