The world of Bible translations it can seem very intimidating to a new believer. While there are a number of very good and useful English translations out there, there are also ones which you should avoid. This article is intended to identify specific English Bible translations which you should NOT use.
Cult Bible Translations
The New World Translation – This Bible “translation” is published by a cult called The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (aka Jehovah’s Witnesses). There are a number of incorrect translations in the NWT which are intended to support heresies taught by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Holy Bible, King James Version published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – While the text King James Version itself is not an issue, this specific version is published by a cult called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka the LDS Church, or the Mormon Church). Their KJV contains numerous resources in footnotes and appendices which reference their other scriptures and support heretical or cultic teaching.
The Joseph Smith Translation – The JST is not a complete Bible translation, but rather a number of verses and passages which the founder of the Mormon Church, Joseph Smith, re-wrote. The verses in the JST can be found in the footnotes and an appendix of the KJV published by the Mormon Church (above). It has also been published as a separate book.
The Recovery Version -This translation was made by a cult called The Local Church (translated and published by their publishing arm, Living Stream Ministry). The Recovery Version contains a number of footnotes which support cultic doctrines and, in some places, heresies.
Is it sinful to read these translations?
No, it is not necessarily sinful to read them, however, as a new believer you are in formative times and these cult groups thrive on tricking people who don’t know better yet. I personally have all of these translations and they are very useful for understanding cult theology, but I would never trust them any further than that.
Catholic Bible Translations
There are a number of Bible translations which have been translated by Roman Catholics. One primary reason for avoiding Roman Catholic translations is because Catholics have added books to the Bible which are not Scripture (the books they have added are called The Apocrypha). Some of the most popular Catholic translations include:
Douay-Rheims Bible (DRB)
The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
The New American Bible (NAB)
The New American Bible, Revised Edition (NABRE)*
*there are a number of study notes in the NABRE which betray a Catholic theological bias
Is it sinful to read the Apocrypha?
It is not sinful to read the Apocrypha, per se. What is sinful is to raise non-inspired writings to the status of Scripture. There is limited historical value in studying the Apocrypha, but it must be remembered that those writings were not considered scripture by the early church or by the majority of Christian leaders in the ancient world (it wasn’t until the mid 1500s when the Roman Catholic Church canonized the Apocrypha).