Originals Versus Translations – Dr Gipp

Originals Versus Translations

This sermon by Dr Gipp is a discussion of the originals versus translations of the Bible. The first question you should ask when talking with a “scholar” about this topic is “Do you accept the Bible as your final authority in all matters of faith and practice”?

If he says “yes” he just threw out his education.  If he says “no” then the conversation is over.  There is no reason to continue the conversation.  It’s a waste of time to talk with someone who doesn’t accept the Bible as their final authority in all matters of faith and practice.

What Does God Think About The Originals

People will say, “We should be loyal to the originals, not to a mere translation”.  That sounds plausible when discussing originals versus translations.  

Well, here are four questions to consider.  Was Mary the mother of Jesus? Yes.  Was she the mother of God? Yes.  Was she a virigin when Jesus was born? Yes.  Was she a perpetual virgin? No.  A Roman Catholic will answer all four questions, “Yes”.  He puts more emphasis on what the church teaches about Mary than what the Bible says.  And when he does this, he ends up with an idol.

By the same logic, we shouldn’t put more emphasis on the originals than God does.  Think about this.  There was never a time when all 66 original books of the Bible were in one binding.  Yet, God didn’t preserve a single one of the original books.

There is at least one place in your Bible where you can see an original autograph come into existence.  And you can follow it through its entire existence.  

In Jer 36, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, Jeremiah dictated to Baruch what God had said.  Baruch wrote down the words.  This was the original.  

In Jer 36:19-23 Jehoiakim burned this original in the fire on the hearth.  Yet, in Jer 36:27-28, the Lord told Jeremiah to write another book.  This is just like what God did when Moses broke the original ten commandments.  Moses prepared stones for God to write another “original”.  These two instances in your Bible make the case for “double inspiration”.

Once God Has A Copy He Doesn’t Care What Happens to the Original

In Jer 45-51 we find the words God told Jeremiah to write in this book that he dictated to Baruch.  And in Jer 51:60-64 we find out what happened to this second “original”.  The second one ended up in the water.  A wicked king burned the first one and God told Jeremiah to throw the second one in the river.  

Nevertheless, to this day, we have the preserved words that were in this book.  How did we get them?  God either inspired them a third time or someone copied them before Jeremiah threw the book in the river.  Either way, you have a third copy preserved by the Lord.  And once God has a copy, he no longer cares what happens to the original.  Therefore, we should not place more emphasis on the originals than God does.

In Originals Versus Translations, Can God Inspire A Translation?

In discussing the originals versus translations, scholars will say that they don’t believe God can inspire a translation. However, let’s see what the Bible says.

In Gen 42:22-23, Joseph spoke to his brothers in Egyptian.  The Egyptian interpreter translated what Joseph said into Hebrew and spoke Hebrew to Jospeh’s brothers.  Then, Moses wrote down in Hebrew what Joseph said.  Which of these three did God inspire?  Keep in mind that there is not an extant Hebrew manuscript that has what Joseph spoke written in Egyptian.  God certainly inspired what Moses wrote in Hebrew, yet it was a translation of what Joseph wrote.

In Acts 21:40 Paul spoke in Hebrew to the people who made the tumult.  Luke recorded his words that he spoke in Acts 22:1-21.  Luke is the one who penned these words and he wrote them in Greek.  There is not an extant copy of the Book of Acts that has the first 21 verses of Acts 22 written in Hebrew.  What did God inspire, the words that Paul spoke in Hebrew or the words that Luke wrote in Greek?  God certainly insprired what Luke wrote in Greek, yet it was a translation of what Paul said.

Acts 26:13-14 God spoke to Paul in Hebrew.  In Acts 9:1-6 the apostle Paul got saved in verse 6, not in verse 5, when he called Jesus “Lord”.  Note: the NIV takes “Lord” out of verse 6, as does an ESV, or an NASV.  What was inspired, what God said in Hebrew, or what Luke wrote in Greek?  What Luke wrote in Greek was certainly inspired, yet it as a translation of what God said.

A Translation is Actually Better Than the Originals

If you think about it, a translation is either going to be superior to an original, equal to an original, or inferior to an original.  These are the only options. According to our final authority in all matters of faith and practice, we find that a translation is always superior.  Five times in three verses we find the word translation.  Here’s what we see.

In 2 Sam 3:9-10 a split kingdom is translated into a united kingdom under David.  The translation is superior.

In Col 1:13 we were translated from a kingdom of darkness into a kingdom of light in Jesus Christ.  The translation is superior.

In Heb 11:5 Enoch was translated from this sinful earth to a sinless heaven.  The translation is superior.

What do modern versions do with the word translate in these verses?  The NKJV says in 2 Sam 3 “transfer”. You don’t want your dollars that you give to the Lord to be transferred to heaven.  They are worthless here and they would surely be worthless up there.  You want them translated.

The NKJV says in Col 3 “transfer”.  Being translated into Christ’s kingdom is not like transferring membership in church.  We were changed into new creatures in Christ.  

The NIV says in Heb 11:5 “taken”.  We don’t want to be taken to heaven in these bodies.  We want our bodies to be translated.

Conclusion to Originals Versus Translations

Five Ways The Translation is Superior to the Originals

In discussing the originals versus translations, it’s important to remember these five ways a translation is superior.

  1. It’s all in one volume.  The originals were never in one binding.
  2. Book, chapter, and verse markings.  The originals were not written that way.
  3. More durable.  You couldn’t haul the originals around like you carry your Bible.
  4. It’s in English.  English is the language of the world.
  5. Multiple copies.  There never was a time when the originals were ever together in one book.  If they had been, there would only be one.