I had someone ask me the following question on Facebook, and thought it might be of interest to a wider audience:
In your opinion as a Theologist, what is considered the most pure Bible. I want to read the Bible in it’s purest form that hasn’t been edited to benefit anyone. Any suggestions?
After asking what a “theologist” is, the following is the rest of my reply:
There is no translation without interpretation, and so the best thing that you can do when reading in English is to compare Bibles from different traditions – if you read the New International Version which is Evangelical, then also read the New Revised Standard Version, a mainstream one preferred by scholars, and maybe the Jewish Publication Society translation for the Old Testament.
Most major translations will give you the gist accurately for the most part, but even slight nuances of wording can reflect the translators’ assumptions about the Bible and its meaning.
In my classes I use the New Revised Standard Version as the standard one, but if you want to read the Bible in its purest form, then you need to learn Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. Barring that, read multiple translations and consult commentaries. And even if you learn the languages, keep in mind that the form of the Bible’s contents and the list of contents itself has been edited to benefit those who decided on a particular canon. And so I suppose the short answer to your question would be that the Bible itself has been edited by human beings, and so what you are asking for is something other than the Bible.
What do you think of this answer? How would you have answered the question?