Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Society & CultureReligion & Spirituality · 1 decade ago

Is a perfect book (the Bible) even a logical possibility?

Books contain words, which are approximated thoughts. Thoughts, being inherently private and impossible to 100% accurately share with the world, are slightly distorted when we put them to words. The exact meaning of words may be "defined" in dictionaries, but the meanings will often vary based on regional influences, figures of speech, metaphors, stylistic nuances, etc., so that words themselves are very subjective abstractions. This is evident in the sheer number of ways in which the Bible has been translated, even in English.

Take James 4:14, for instance. It reads slightly differently in the NIV, NLT, KJB, ISV, etc.

New International Version (©1984)

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

New Living Translation (©2007)

How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog--it's here a little while, then it's gone.

English Standard Version (©2001)

yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

New American Standard Bible (©1995)

Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.

International Standard Version (©2008)

You do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

GOD'S WORD® Translation (©1995)

You don't know what will happen tomorrow. What is life? You are a mist that is seen for a moment and then disappears.

King James Bible

Whereas ye know not what [shall be] on the morrow. For what [is] your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

American King James Version

Whereas you know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away.

American Standard Version

whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. What is your life? For ye are a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

Bible in Basic English

When you are not certain what will take place tomorrow. What is your life? It is a mist, which is seen for a little time and then is gone.

Douay-Rheims Bible

Whereas you know not what shall be on the morrow.

Darby Bible Translation

ye who do not know what will be on the morrow, (for what is your life? It is even a vapour, appearing for a little while, and then disappearing,)

English Revised Version

whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. What is your life? For ye are a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

Webster's Bible Translation

Whereas ye know not what will be on the morrow: For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

Weymouth New Testament

when, all the while, you do not even know what will happen to-morrow. For what is the nature of your life? Why, it is but a mist, which appears for a short time and then is seen no more.

World English Bible

Whereas you don't know what your life will be like tomorrow. For what is your life? For you are a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away.

Young's Literal Translation

who do not know the thing of the morrow; for what is your life? for it is a vapour that is appearing for a little, and then is vanishing;

Because there are obviously different ways to translate it, it follows that there are different interpretations of what words mean; otherwise, there would be no reason to translate words at all, for they would all be absolutely perfect expressions of God's commands and thoughts.

Since there is no perfect translation, how can the book itself be perfect? Original meanings from thoughts are immediately lost as soon as you convert a thought into a sentence. And once that sentence leaves the mouth and hits the paper, it loses even more of its expression (the accents, emphases, and such). Add 1900 years or more to that, and you lose a LOT in translation. The only redeeming factor could be miracles of God that keep the word perfect; but that's obviously not the case here, since the Bible's translation keeps changing. So I guess my main question is: IS A PERFECT BOOK EVEN POSSIBLE?

Update:

I am not assuming no god; I believe in God but doubt the validity of the claim "the Bible is the inerrant word of God," considering that the Bible is a book, and that books are translations that only approximate the original meaning but cannot ever hope to perfectly express original meaning, barring a miracle.

10 Answers

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Perfect book? The bible is nothing more than a bronze age book of fairy tales written by desert nomads. Free yourself from supernatural nonsense, become an atheist.

  • 1 decade ago

    Problem you have is a transliteration, translation, and paraphrase. See what you need to know is Jesus is the word. If Jesus is the word, then He not only represents the Bible of truth, He also represents the word in the flesh, the perfection of.

    However not every translation is perfected, because of man's interference. Just like our understanding of God can be distorted by man's interpretation.

    However some translations from the original text are better then others. I suggest you try using your King James with another translation for breaking down language barrier. Yet best of all use Hebrew and Greek Dictionary. You can buy one, access free ones online that have english words as will as hebrew and greek like Strong's Greek and Hebrew dictionary. It has word code. Or you can download a free version from www.e-sword.net to your computer. However whatever you do. Take time to study the Bible and when a word jumps out at you take time to research that word for clearer understanding, from the beginning of the Bible to the end to see how it is used. The Bible is consistent. Study both historical and literature perspective. Sounds like a lot of work, it is. but even if you just read the Bible straight through you still will get the same effect, it will speak to you about truth.

  • 1 decade ago

    The closest one could perhaps get to perfection would be in mathematics.

    The Bible and Quran are so full of nonsense that it's surprising that anybody takes them seriously. See the link for "imperfect" Bible verses.

    Why should anybody believe anything from the Bible? It was written by primitive men who believed that the Earth was flat and covered by a large solid dome called the firmament.

    BTW, the Bible also says that working on the Sabbath is a capital crime punishable by stoning. So I wouldn't think of the Bible as any sort of moral authority. There are over 50 verses mandating the death penalty.

    --

  • 1 decade ago

    The Bible was not written in English, but in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. Of course there is no perfect translation between two languages. But the thing about different translations is that the message remains the same. The perfection is not in the grammar or syntax but in the message behind it and in the God behind it.

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  • Hogie
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Non Sequitur.

    There are methods one can employ that helps in the understanding of written words and even spoken words.

    But there are things and concepts given in Scripture that have no ambiguity.

    Then there is this item that you apparently overlooked:

    Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

    John 16:13

    The Bible claims to be "God-breathed" and as such, god's Spirit can help one to "interpret" the truth of that same Bible.

    .

  • 1 decade ago

    While a "perfect book" about a limited topic might exist in a given culture for some period of time, it is clear that as more is learned, the culture changes and other moving factors occur, that the book will no longer be "perfect".

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    It depends on what you mean by "perfect" of "inerrant." Like you said a single word can have a lot of meanings, and those meanings can change from generation to generation and from country to country. For example, a "fag" in the UK is a cigarette, whereas you know what it is in the US. 50 years ago being "gay" was to be happy.

    The inerrancy of the Bible usually means in it's original language, original context, and original place in history.

  • 1 decade ago

    Well I think you are assuming there is no God.. then the word would be subject to personal interpretation. The word of God is greater than ink and paper. It is through the spirit God reveals the truth that is greater than flesh and blood.

  • 1 decade ago

    Study the summary of all religions here:

    http://www.gnosisaudio.com/ingles/

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    "God" has an Old and New testament. Gf.

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