Vital Differences in Bible Translations

And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. - Genesis 22:8 KJV

What a beautiful verse and a magnificent display of faith.  On his way to sacrifice his own Son according to God's command, Abraham is not deterred by Isaac's question, "Father, where is the lamb for the sacrifice?"  While I'm certain Abraham had no idea what God was going to do, He was certain that God was going to do something.  God had made Him a promise, and Abraham knew that God was true to His Word.

The thing about this verse is that it loses much of it meaning when translated in various versions of the Bible.  Now, please understand, I'm not saying that if you don't use the KJV, you're unsaved and on your way to hell.  I don't believe that.  I do believe, however, that certain translations of the Bible are more accurate than others and that you owe it to yourself to study it out and determine which translation is best for you.

That being said, let me give you a few examples of the different ways this verse has been translated and how those various translations change the very meaning of the verse.  For this purpose, we will focus on the phrase, "God will provide himself a lamb."  And God did provide himself a lamb on the cross of Calvary.  He took our place so that our sins could be paid for and we could be granted entrance to Heaven.  God provided Himself as the lamb.  Now, let's look at some other translations.

Many versions, like the AMP, the ERV, the GNT and the HCSB, use a variation of "God Himself will provide a lamb."  That has a completely different meaning than what we saw previously.  It simply means that God will personally provide a lamb, not that God will provide a lamb in the form of His person.  Do you see the difference?

Other versions, like the CEB, the TLB and the MSG, comment "God will see to it."  Well, that could mean just about anything.  And while I'm certain Abraham didn't know what God was doing, I'm equally certain that God did, and He was the author of this passage.  Yes, God would see to it, but it's imperative that He explain how, for salvation is pictured in this very story.

And several other versions, such as the ESV, the MEV and the NASB, use the phrase, "God will provide for himself a lamb."  Again, this is a very different statement.  The first is saying that God will be the sacrifice.  The second simply states that God will provide a sacrifice.  One indicates the depth of the Father's love for us while the other indicates only His provision.

Again, I am not criticizing any particular Bible or anyone's use of another version of the Bible.  What version you use is between you and the Lord.  I am, however, warning you that not all versions are created equal, and the differences go far beyond this single phrase.  That said, I urge you to study it out for yourself.  Find the differences between the various versions, and ask yourself, "How does this difference affect the passage?"  Not only will you gain a better understanding of the Word, but you may also discover truths that had been hidden within a faulty translation.

As you've seen from the example in this post, a single word, or even the placement of that word, can greatly impact the message and meaning of the verse.  Study carefully.  I assure you, you won't be sorry.

 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. - II Timothy 2:15