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Which Bible Version Will You Use This New School Year?

The Bible is the most important book in Christian school education. God's Word is the primary guide for all learning, development, and Christian growth. It provides students with the foundation for a Christian worldview.

As plans are made for the new school year, most Christian schools will adopt a certain version of the Bible to be used in their school. The version selection is very important, especially given some of the most recent revisions and the automatic updating of electronic editions that are taking place.

Over the years, various changes in versions have taken place; for example, the New King James version. Changes in any version are the result of a "balance of opinion among the current committee members, about options of interpretation which have been discussed by scholars."

I use the New King James version because I want my Bible to contain an accurate translation of the canonical Hebrew and Greek texts. I do not want a version where changes to the content are made to reflect contemporary political, ideological, social, cultural, theological agendas, or political correctness, all of which allow distortion of the translation. For example, the 2011 version of NIV was intended to be gender-neutral. Words like "he, him, his and man" were changed because translation committee members considered these to be "sexist" and not politically correct speech.

The possibility for continued distortion of the Holy Scripture is enhanced with new electronic versions. For example, the NIV and ESV contain significant changes. Included in this latest revision has been the removal of 64,575 words from these versions including Jehovah, Calvary, Holy Ghost, and omnipotent to name but a few. The NIV and ESV have 45 verses removed. For example, Matthew 17:21, 18:11, and 23:14. Also disappearing are Mark 7:16, 9:44 and 9:46 along with Luke 17:36, 23:17; furthermore, there is no John 5:4 and Acts 8:37. These revisions point to the continued attempt at altering the Bible as we know it.

Schools also need to be cautious of electronic versions of the Bible. The new electronic versions are less expensive to update than reprinting a paper copy. Besides, when logging in, either on a computer or phone, the viewer is asked to update to the newer version and is unaware of all the changes that have taken place, such as those noted above.

Although older versions of the NIV and ESV do not have as much distortion, it is very difficult for a school that is using the NIV or the ESV to ask parents to purchase an older version since most stores only carry the newest edition. It would be better to select a version that is closest to the original canonical Hebrew and Greek texts, such as the New King James Version.

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