I recently received my life verse in an email devotional and it was quoted in The Message version. It struck my attention. Though The Message is personally my least favorite because it is God's Word in story form and it is not the best version to study and meditate because of it's very liberal paraphrasing. Yes, it is good for the unbeliever and maybe the new believer to just start being familiar with God's Word. However, it is not a literal translation of God's originally inspired Word.
A very good friend of mine is a Christian bookstore owner. She has shared with me the technical differences of the versions along with my own research from my close friend, biblegateway.com. I found it pertinent to share this for anyone who may be wondering the differences or may be searching for a new Bible. I believe it to be very important that we carefully choose our Bible as clearly some are not intended for deep study and understanding of God's Word. Some version are merely shortened and changed by man rather than God's directly-inspired Word.
Kings James Version (KJV) - is the most literal preservation of God's Word in English
New Kings James Version (NKJV) - literal modern translation
New American Standard Bible (NASB) - literal translation word by word with more modern/updated language
English Standard Version (ESV) - literal translation word by word (newest translation but very similar to NASB)
New International Version (NIV) - paraphrased translation "thought for thought" (or paragraph by paragraph)
New Living Translations (NLT) - paraphrased translation (intended to convey the meaning of the original but not literal)
The Message (MSG) - paraphrased in story form (recaptures original Word in today's "slang" language) this is NOT intended as a study Bible but a "reading" Bible.
So, with all that said, I just wanted to share with you an example of the differences between versions. This probably is NOT the best choice of verses to dissect. With my research I have seen very VAST differences in the versions and there are many words removed from the paraphrased versions such as MSG, NLT, and even some in my beloved NIV. The prompting of this posting has become two-fold: to share some understanding of some of the Bible versions and to explore this beautiful verse of trust. In addition to sharing the difference in some versions available, I wanted to share this life verse of mine from the version of the Bible I least like, The Message. Though the MSG is much too slang for me and removes the beauty of God's original Word, I found this interesting. his verse in MSG shows some depth that drew my attention on which to ponder. I also found myself smiling or rather smirking at couple of these lines because in the slang it portrays exactly what humans have come to do in today's age: figuring out everything on our own and assuming we know it all.
"Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he's the one who will keep you on track. Don't assume that you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil!" Proverbs 3:5-7 MSG
Since NIV is my long known version, I'll share a quick dissection of NIV verses MSG because the slang of the MSG caused me to turn up my eyes in realization.
From the bottom of your heart VS with all your heart:
Trust God from the bottom of your heart. We usually see the bottom of our heart as the part hardest to find...the part from which we only place the dearest of things. To trust from the bottom of our heart means to reach all the way down, touching every part of our heart, to the very bottom and release our trust from there. Wow. With all of your heart also shows the depth at which we trust. We trust with ALL of our heart, every piece, and therefore we hold nothing back from the Lord.
Don't try to figure out everything on your own VS lean not on your own understanding:
I kind of smiled at the MSG version of this. Isn't that exactly what we do? We try to figure everything out on our own. "Why this? Why that? What if this? Well, this could be that?" Again it is a more slang way to say we shouldn't lean on our own understanding. To me the MSG takes it a step further that not only should we not lean on our own understanding but we also should not take it to the next level of trying to figure it out. I do like how the MSG emphasizes that we should not stop at just not leaning on our understanding but we should NOT try to figure everything out. That spoke volumes to me and shows our humanness. I smirked because I saw my Lord saying this to His very inquisitive child and I mean inquisitive. (Mostly in an innocent, curious way.)
Listen for God's voice VS acknowledge Him in all things:
Again a slight difference in interpretation. I believe we can acknowledge God in all things, which we most definitely should. We should acknowledge Him in all His creation. We should acknowledge Him in all aspects of our lives, the good and bad. We should acknowledge His direction in our lives. However, listening for God's voice to me is much different. It is a great thing to do though seems far from an exact interpretation. But this opened the meaning of this verse for me. We can acknowledge God in all aspects of our lives but are we really listening for His voice in life situations? Are we being still and quiet enough to hear His voice? To acknowledge God in all this is great and a command of God but to intently listen for His voice and to heed His direction, that's something more. It's an obligation for us to listen for God's voice and oh what an honor it is to hear it and follow through with obeying. Again, wow.
He's the one who'll keep you on track VS He will make your paths straight:
He is THE ONE who will keep us on track. Wow. Again, you can see the translation is not literal but it does point directly to God. It shows emphasis that He will not only make our paths straight but He will keep us on track, more importantly HIS track. Of course, God can make any of our crooked paths straight but the idea that He will keep us on His track is wonderful because isn't that where we all want to be? Not only to have a straight path but to also be on the right track...His track.
Don't assume you know it all VS do not be wise in your own eyes:
Verse 7 is not one written on my heart; however, I found it "funny" for lack of better word. I can see God looking down at us when we are trying to "do" things on our own and Him saying "don't assume you know it all"--that is don't assume we know how to fix everything, how to work out our plans, how to "help" God, how to resolve our situations. Yes, the MSG version makes it more exact in understanding it in our language but NIV has more elegance. God speaks so much about wisdom and being wise. He gave us a WHOLE book on wisdom. It's called Proverbs.
Run to God VS fear the Lord:
I believe there is vast difference in running to God and fearing God. This verse could be one to show reason for caution in using MSG or NLT for in-depth study and true understanding of what God directly inspired. Yes, we most definitely need to run to the Lord in all aspects of our lives, everything! But, fear Him is also something we must do. To fear the Lord is much different than to run to the Lord. [Webster's defines fear as: to have a reverential (high honor/respect) awe of.]
Here are six versions. Examine for yourself.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart NIV
Trust in the LORD with all your heart NASB
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, NKJV
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, ESV
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; NLT
Trust God from the bottom of your heart; MSG
and lean not on your own understanding; NIV
And do not lean on your own understanding. NASB
And lean not on your own understanding; NKJV
and do not lean on your own understanding. ESV
do not depend on your own understanding. NLT
don't try to figure out everything on your own. MSG
in all your ways acknowledge him, NIV
In all your ways acknowledge Him, NASB
In all your ways acknowledge Him, NKJV
In all your ways acknowledge him, ESV
Seek his will in all you do, NLT
Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; MSG
and he will make your paths straight. NIV
And He will make your paths straight. NASB
And He shall direct your paths. NKJV
and he will make straight your paths. ESV
and he will show you which path to take. NLT
he's the one who will keep you on track. MSG
Do not be wise in your own eyes; NIV
Do not be wise in your own eyes; NASB
Do not be wise in your own eyes; NKJV
Be not wise in your own eyes; ESV
Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. NLT
Don't assume that you know it all. MSG
fear the LORD and shun evil. NIV
Fear the LORD and turn away from evil. NASB
Fear the LORD and depart from evil. NKJV
fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. ESV
Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil. NLT
Run to God! Run from evil! MSG
So, I end this two-fold also.
First, do you trust in the Lord from the bottom of your heart? Do you adventure to the most vulnerable and protected part of your heart and trust the Lord with that? Do you pull your trust for our Father from the bottom of your heart? Do you trust God with ALL of your heart, all of your being? Do you acknowledge Him in ALL your ways? Do you listen intently for His voice? Sometimes that means shutting our own voice to hear His. Do you assume you know it all? (HA! That still makes me laugh...just doesn't seem like verbage that is in His Word.)
Second, do you want a Bible that has been shortened by men or the complete one that is inspired by God? Have you considered the difference in the versions available? Have you examined your purpose in reading God's Word? Is it for deep understanding, study, and meditation or is it for pleasurable and simple reading? Consider your reason for reading to determine the version you should read. There is nothing wrong with having more than one version to use for the different purposes. I have two versions: NIV and NASB and may be purchasing the new ESV Study Bible upon release in October.
Regardless of the version, be well versed in God's Word.
Writing His Verses on My Heart,