The Very Basics of Bible Translations

Christian history, The Bible

A few days ago I came across an image that someone shared on social media that caught my attention (see the image below this paragraph). I see posts like this one fairly often. I also regularly read and hear comments from Christians who express concerns and questions about Bible translations. Over the years, I have encountered much confusion and misinformation regarding this topic. So I thought a quick primer on Bible translations would make for an interesting blog post.


The implied assumption of this image seems to be that the NIV has omitted Bible verses for the sake of some sinister agenda. For the actual explanation, keep reading…


First, we do not have any of the original documents of any of the biblical books. But over time, people made copies of the original documents of Scripture. Many copies. And copies were made of those copies. And copies were also made of those copies (and on and on it goes). There are currently over 5,000 ancient manuscripts in existence of all or parts of the New Testament in our possession.

People are Always the Point

Gospel of Mark, Jesus, Kingdom of God, Salvation

(NOTE: This post is part of a blog series on the Gospel of Mark. I am sharing a few little tidbits from my own personal study of Mark over the last few months. Below are a few of my notes from Mark 3.)

Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand. They watched him to see whether he would cure him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man who had the withered hand, “Come forward.” Then he said to them, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. He looked around at them with anger; he was grieved at their hardness of heart and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him. (Mark 3:1-6)

Notice that there is no mention of the man asking for healing. Jesus intentionally seeks him out on this Sabbath day. By healing this man in this fashion, Jesus wants to make an emphatic statement about what God values. People are always “the point.” When we elevate agendas, rules, or tasks over people, we are out of sync with the heart of God.

A New Era Emerges

Gospel of Mark, Jesus, Kingdom of God, Salvation

(Note: A few months ago I began an in-depth study of the Gospel of Mark. For the next several blog posts, I plan to share some of my ongoing reflections on a chapter-by-chapter basis. Nothing fancy. But I hope you can gain something in each entry. For space reasons, I will only include a small portion of my actual notes & reflections. Unless otherwise noted, I will be using the New Revised Standard Version. For theo-nerds like me, my primary commentary sources are Ben Witherington and N.T. Wright).