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Do you think we should use the King James version when we preach? Or does it really matter if we use something like the NIV?
That question comes very often. Here is my answer:
Personally, I like to use the King James version whenever possible. But I believe it is best to use the translation that is the accepted translation in the congregation that you are addressing. I’ve been in congregations where the New American Standard Bible is the translation. So in those times, I may use the King James version, I may use other translations in exegesis. But when I’m preaching, I read the New American Standard Bible. I refer to other translations but I use their Bible. Some people use NIVs and more are using the ESV and others use different translations.
From my perspective, it’s not something to battle over. I wouldn’t use the NIV in some congregations who think— I mean, let’s just be honest, there are some congregations who believe that the NIV is evil. Just being honest. There are some congregations who believe that other translations are problematic.
Unless you want to go and teach people why different translations are used and how they were created, unless you want to deal with that, then you should use the translation that they use. If you aren’t talking about translations, if you’re not dealing with translations, then use their translation.
If they use the King James, use the King James. I love the King James version of the Bible. I use the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) a lot because that was the preferred translation at the seminary that I attended. That was the Bible that they pushed, that they wanted you to use.
But no, I have no problems with using the NIV, but I would say that you want to be careful about the hearers of the text, to make sure that you’re not closing the ears of hearers unless it is your intention. I guess I should say it that way – unless you’re making a statement about bible translation. Unless that is the point, then I would say, use the translation that’s operative in that particular translation.
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