What do you think about the "God's Word" Translation?


God's Word is a "dynamic equivalent" translation, which simply means it favors readability over strictly following the original text. It is on the order of the New Living Translation. It is less strict than the New International Version, but not quite to the level of a paraphrase. I would not recommend it for serious study.

One of its goals was to avoid words which are viewed as theological, thus "justified" and "saved" are avoided and instead are replaced with phrases like "accepted by God." The flaw is that replacement phrase is vague and does not reflect what the text actually stated.

"We know that whatever is in Moses' Teachings applies to everyone under their influence, and no one can say a thing. The whole world is brought under the judgment of God. Not one person can have God's approval by following Moses' Teachings. Moses' Teachings show what sin is. Now, the way to receive God's approval has been made plain in a way other than Moses' Teachings. Moses' Teachings and the Prophets tell us this. Everyone who believes has God's approval through faith in Jesus Christ. There is no difference between people. Because all people have sinned, they have fallen short of God's glory. They receive God's approval freely by an act of his kindness through the price Christ Jesus paid to set us free from sin. God showed that Christ is the throne of mercy where God's approval is given through faith in Christ's blood. In his patience God waited to deal with sins committed in the past. He waited so that he could display his approval at the present time. This shows that he is a God of justice, a God who approves of people who believe in Jesus" (Romans 3:19-26 GWT).

"Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus" (Romans 3:19-26 NKJV).

Notice that God's righteousness in saving mankind from their sins is lost in the God's Word translation. Also terms not in the original text are added. Moses is mentioned a lot, but his name doesn't appear in the Greek text. The God's Word translation says "faith in Christ's blood". This narrows faith in all aspects of Jesus Christ to only faith in Christ's sacrifice.

This translation also follows the current trend to avoid using the single masculine form for a generic individual, choosing instead to pluralize references since in English the third person plural carries no gender. This changes texts which have individual application to group application. God's Word does this less than some translations, but it still is guilty of modifying terms.

"However, I want you to realize that Christ has authority over every man, a husband has authority over his wife, and God has authority over Christ" (I Corinthians 11:3 GWT).

"But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God" (I Corinthians 11:3 NASB).

Here is an example of trying to be politically correct. The Greek words for wife and woman, and man and husband are the same. In this one verse the God's Word translators make the headship of only married women to be their husbands, yet in this entire chapter every other instance the same Greek words are translated as man and woman. According to the God's Word translators there is no one over single women.

God's Word tries to reduce the length of sentences, but this sometimes gets them into trouble:

"He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter answered and said, "The Christ of God." And He strictly warned and commanded them to tell this to no one, saying, "The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day"" (Luke 9:20-22 NKJV).

"He asked them, "But who do you say I am?" Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, whom God has sent." He ordered them not to tell this to anyone. Jesus said that the Son of Man would have to suffer a lot. He would be rejected by the leaders, the chief priests, and the scribes. He would be killed, but on the third day he would come back to life" (Luke 9:20-22 GWT).

Notice verse 21. In the Greek it is both a warning not to tell anyone that Jesus was the Messiah and an introduction to verse 22 which explains why Jesus gave this order. That connection is lost in the God's Word translation.

Also notice how the informal terms water down the force of the words. "Ordered" is just not the same as "strictly warned and commanded." Nor is "suffer a lot" as strong as "suffer many things."

Another example of watering down the translation to the point that the meaning is lost appears in Romans 7:

"What should we say, then? Are Moses' laws sinful? That's unthinkable! In fact, I wouldn't have recognized sin if those laws hadn't shown it to me. For example, I wouldn't have known that some desires are sinful if Moses' Teachings hadn't said, "Never have wrong desires." But sin took the opportunity provided by this commandment and made me have all kinds of wrong desires. Clearly, without laws sin is dead" (Romans 7:7-8 GWT).

"What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, "You shall not covet." But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead" (Romans 7:7-8 NASB).

I'm sorry but "wrong desires" is not even close to a good translation of "covet."

You can find errors in the translation as the God's Word translators sought to remove ambiguity from the text.

"Peter answered them, "All of you must turn to God and change the way you think and act, and each of you must be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins will be forgiven. Then you will receive the Holy Spirit as a gift" (Acts 2:38 GWT).

"Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit"" (Acts 2:38 NKJV).

The translators in Acts 2:38 incorrectly conclude the the Holy Spirit himself is the gift given; instead of realizing that the text could (and does) mean that the Holy Spirit would be presenting a gift (see Ephesians 1:13-14).

"Brothers and sisters, I couldn't talk to you as spiritual people but as people still influenced by your corrupt nature. You were infants in your faith in Christ" (I Corinthians 3:1 GWT).

"And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ" (I Corinthians 3:1 NASB).

Notice that Paul didn't say anything about a "corrupt nature," this is what the God's Word translators assumed he meant. They completely miss the contrast between being spiritual versus being of this world (men of flesh). They also added "faith in Christ" as if the readers needed an explanation as to why Paul was calling them infants. Yet, this narrows what Paul meant. It wasn't that just their faith was childish. Also notice the expansion from "brethren" to "brothers and sisters" to be politically correct.

One thing when looking at a translation is to note who was involved in the translation. Often when few people are involved or only people of a particular belief are involved you are likely to find biases in the translation. Such is the case with God's Word, all members of the translation team were members of the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church [].