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Lesson 4

We don’t have to look beyond the first sentence of the first verse in Genesis to highlight the difficulty in developing an accurate translation from the original ancient Hebrew scrolls. This first verse has been translated by most all versions the same way as the KJV does. In his November 1, 2011 article, Hebrew Grammar, and Translation, Robert Holmstedt claims these translations come from a theological understanding rather than a linguistic one. Using accurate Hebrew grammar he describes why and how Genesis 1:1-3 should be correctly interpreted into English.

“In the beginning period that God created the heavens and earth (the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the wind of God was hovering over the surface of the waters), God said, ‘Let light be!’”

Most translation scholars have a denominational bias that reflects their personal beliefs or the beliefs of those sponsoring the translation version. The KJV translators were all leading scholars from the Church of England. Wanting this new version to be the authorized version for the Anglican Church, King James instructed that it conform to the episcopal structure through an ordained clergy and to the Church’s ecclesiology.

Believing that Genesis is the beginning of all creation most versions translate Genesis 1-3 in a conventional way that reflects their belief.

Genesis 1:1-3 King James Version
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. 3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

These two versions may not be substantively different as all the essential facts are there but the differences can prove to have wide ranging effects on how you view the creation narrative of the Bible. To obtain the best understanding of God’s words to humanity it is vital to understand exactly what his words are telling us. Would you in any way alter what God has said because of your preconceived beliefs? The sanhedrin had to choose if they would fight God. Would you corrupt God’s words to support your own beliefs?

Acts 5:38-39 Good News Translation
38 And so in this case, I tell you, do not take any action against these men. Leave them alone! If what they have planned and done is of human origin, it will disappear, 39 but if it comes from God, you cannot possibly defeat them. You could find yourselves fighting against God!”

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