She openeth her mouth with wisdom; And the law of kindness is on her tongue. There seems to be a debate within the church as to the use of “modern” translations of the Holy Bible. I am of the opinion that there are two extremes in this debate. The one extreme takes the position that only the King James Version, and sometimes the King James Version of 1612 or 1611 is the only right translation. I use the King James Version, but that position is hogwash on oil (meaning it’s a slick untruth). The other extreme is worse, it says that no matter what the version, it’s a legitimate translation.
It’s obvious to most Christians that books like the Herb Bible, The Gun Owners Bible and especially the satanic bible are not Holy Scripture. But there are lots of translations of the “Holy Scripture” out there. Below I quote the same verse from many of them.
Often it is stated “The words are different but the meaning is the same”. Is it? Not always. A general rule that I think is good to follow is to ask: Is it a word for word translation or a thought by thought translation? If it is a word for word translation, such as the American Standard Version, the King James, etc. it is more likely to be as close to the original languages as possible than are thought by thought translations.
Let’s take for example Prov. 31:26, this is a scripture that I saw on Mother’s Day.
The American Standard Version (ASV) says ” She openeth her mouth with wisdom; And the law of kindness is on her tongue .”
The King James Version (KJV) says “She openeth her mouth with wisdom and the law of kindness is in her tongue”
The New International (NIV) says “She speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction is on her tongue”
The Bible in Basic English (BBE) says “Her mouth is open to give out wisdom and the law of mercy is on her tongue”
The Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) says “When she open she speaks wisely, on her tongue is loving instruction.”
The Douay-Rheims Bible (RHE) says “She hath opened her mouth to wisdom, and the law of clemency is on her tongue.”
The Holman Christian Standard Bible (CSB) says “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and loving instruction is on her tongue.”
The New Century Version (NCV) says “She speaks wise words and teaches others to be kind”
The New Living Translation (NLT) says “When she speaks, her words are wise, and kindness is the rule when she gives instructions. “
My source for all but one of the above translations (it’s there too but I used my own Bible for the KJV translation) is” http://www.biblestudytools.com/proverbs/31-26-compare.html
Most the above translations are the same in the first part of the verse, technically, I could note some differences even there.
What I want to point out in these verses is that “loving instruction” (HCSB or CSB) does not have the same meaning as the “law of kindness” (KJV), Law and instruction have two different meanings. Loving and kindness also have two different meanings. And this is only one verse. Now as I read through these versions I noticed that this is about the only difference with most of them and a pleasant surprise was how close the NLT is to the KJV. Right now I still regard the NLT more as a commentary than as scripture. The NLT is not a word for word “translation”, but in this case it seems to be closer to the truth than many others. Law and rule do mean the same thing. So I can accept that “Kindness is the rule” and the “law of kindness” mean the same thing.
That, however, may blow a hole in my view that word for word translations are more accurate. Maybe later I’ll get into the psalms or other places where one translation (the NLT) uses “again and again” in place of words like “for four, yet for five”
Conclusion: Translation does matter, we can’t rule out everything, but we can’t just blindly accept everything either.