Changes Due To English Evolution Affect Integrity Of The Bible

1707 words - 7 pages

Catholic leaders had control of the Holy Bible without many recorded challenges for more than one thousand years, according to several historical documents. Church authorities told church members they could neither read nor interpret the text themselves. The principles clergy taught in church were what churchgoers often believed. Eventually, a high-ranking German monk named Martin Luther challenged church officials in the 16th century and began reading and interpreting the Scriptures. As he studied the Bible, he found many faults in the Catholic Church’s teachings and believed everyone should have an opportunity to read the Bible himself or herself and determine what the Bible meant. During this Protestant Reformation period, many churches accepted the Bible as a collection of 64 individual books filled with words inspired by God himself through various writers. Christians now had the option of remaining with the Catholic Church or exploring new opinions offered by new blossoming Protestant churches.
Luther’s actions also brought into question whether or not the Bible had been accurately translated from its original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts. Several new English Bibles emerged in the first one hundred years after the Protestant Reformation until Christian authorities accepted the King James Version as the principal Bible in 1611 (Halkin 55). No one seriously challenged The King James Version for the next 300 years, but evolving changes in the English language during the past few decades have caused Biblical scholars to consider and publish new translations. Bookstores now sell dozens of different Bibles, and this has set off an ongoing debate of whether or not the new translations have maintained their integrity. Causing perhaps the biggest stir of all, some publishers have even replaced masculine pronouns with neuter-gender ones. There are some valid reasons for updating the words and sentence structure of the Bible’s text, but there are also reasons to leave the passages as close to their original meaning and syntax as possible.
Hillel Halkin, in his article Doing Justice to the Bible, writes that new translations were “driven by two motivating forces. [First, there was a] desire to apply to Bible translation the new philosophical, archaeological, and historical knowledge that modern scholarship had made available. [Second, scholars wanted] to adopt a freer approach to a Hebrew and Greek text no longer considered the revealed truth but rather, in the spirit of the 20th century, a great cultural and spiritual document composed by different authors in different periods and best approached with the flexibility that any good literary translation should have” (55). While these two proposals seem like a good idea for most manuscripts, the Bible is not just another book. Those of the Christian faith often acknowledge the Bible as a sacred book inspired directly by God. In Hebrews 4:12 of the New International Version of the...

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