Different Bible Versions

Copyright by Lois Gibson

Allow me to start this chapter by stating that I do not have any aversion to reading various translations of the Bible when studying Scripture. Contrary to the teaching of some in the ministry, this can be helpful in acquiring a better understanding of different passages, though inevitably you must go back to the original meaning of the words. Bible versions are based on different ancient texts. Some translations are freer than others, while some are revisions of previous translations. Some are not translations at all, but are paraphrases. The main objection I would have in doing in depth studies would be the use of paraphrased text such as the Living Bible or The Message.

The United Pentecostal Church has long taken a stand against the Revised Standard Version of the Bible. In 1953 a position against this version was adopted by the General Conference of the UPCI. They perceived that some fundamental Christian doctrines were changed and misleading. It was also felt that the majority of the translators were liberal scholars who did not believe some truths in God's Word. The organization stated that "...we continue to accept the King James Version of the Bible as the most accurate translation of the Scriptures to be used in our churches and among our people." 1

Those who are not familiar with the book Women's Hair: The Long and Short of It are sure to be wondering why this section is included. What does this have to do with a study on women's hair? Mr. Segraves, the author and a member of the UPCI,  used the Revised Standard Version, as well as other versions, in an attempt to show that a woman is not to cut her hair. At one point he calls this and three others "reputable translations," 2 a statement to which I do not believe the organization would agree. Other translations to which he makes reference would also not be accepted.

One of the other translations used was Today's English Version which was not based on the same ancient text as the King James Version. According to the book Selecting A Translation of the Bible, the accuracy of this translation is rated fair and several changes are examined. The word 'virgin' was rendered 'girl' in many parts, 'blood' was translated 'death,' and when the Bible states that "and the Word was God" it is written that he was the same as God. 3

Keeping the above in mind, this was one of two translations used to support the view that 'shorn' means to cut the hair without specifying the amount. Can much credibility be given to the use of this translation to support the belief that 'shorn' meant to simply cut the hair?

In conclusion, Mr. Segraves states that it is a "beneficial exercise" 4 to compare different Bible versions. The UPCI is clearly against the use of any text other than the King James Version. Why then was there the need to use other versions in order to validate this teaching on hair? A double standard is found in this reasoning.

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Footnotes:

1 United Pentecostal Church Manual (Hazelwood: Pentecostal Publishing House, 1991), 136.

2 Daniel L. Segraves, Women's Hair: The Long and Short of It (Dupo: The Good Word, 1979), 31.

3 Lewis Foster, Selecting a Translation of the Bible (Cincinnati: Standard Publishing, 1978, 1983), 102-105.

4 Daniel L. Segraves, Women's Hair: The Long and Short of It (Dupo: The Good Word, 1979), 8.

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Hair: An Introduction     Hair in History    Regular Dictionary Definitions     Shorn and Shaven

Different Bible Versions     Modern Day Scribes & Pharisees   Labeling


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