This article will attempt to explore some of the key details which today’s Messianic people need to be aware of when they encounter various English Bible versions. We will be reviewing some of the contemporary Jewish and Christian versions which are used in sectors of the Messianic movement. Also important will be a review of some Messianic Bible versions, particularly of the Apostolic Scriptures, which tend to be encountered.
Each one of us as a man or woman of faith, continually treading on a spiritual journey, has a certain series of expectations when we read the Holy Scriptures. All of us affirm the great power of the Word of God to change lives, the need for each of us to be diligent students of the Word, and the requirement for us to be informed from the Word as it involves the interactions with God and humanity—and especially what the Bible teaches us about God’s character. We can identify with how Paul directed Timothy “Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to encouragement, and to teaching” (1 Timothy 4:13, TLV). But aside from spiritual people all agreeing that the Holy Scriptures are to be the place where we turn for some decisive answers to life’s questions—how do we study the Bible? As we are considering some of the issues present in Messianic theology, it needs to be fairly noted that some of the controversies that we are facing today, come as a result of inadequate, and perhaps even inappropriate, ways of reading and interpreting Scripture.
When many people read the Bible, one of the biggest mistakes that can be made is reading it as though it were written directly to a person living in the Twenty-First Century. Whether we consciously realize it or not, the events of the Bible not only took place in another century, another part of the world, and in another culture—but in different centuries, different parts of the world, and different cultures.