“Hi, my name is Emma and I’m a Bible snob.” “Hi Emma.” Ok, so I’m not bad enough to need self-help meetings such as AA. But I was surprised when I realised I am a Bible snob. I hung around with people who are also Bible snobs, although they wouldn’t believe it. And funnily enough, it seems to be those who are the more fundamental Christians who are Bible snobs.
But none of us should be behaving as a Bible snob. God asks us to put aside pride when we come to him. “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.” (Romans chapter 12, verse 16).
In my snobbery, I had puffed myself up with pride, which left no room for love and harmony with his children. And I had no room for God to tell me I was wrong. “In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.” (Psalm chapter 10, verse 4).
What do I mean by Bible snob?
Bible snobs are those who believe that only certain translations of the Bible are worth studying. They believe that those who read ‘lesser’ types of Bible translations are not as good as them and aren’t as passionate and religious.
Translations that most often make the Bible snob list include:
- King James Version
- New King James Version
- New American Standard Bible
- English Standard Version
These versions are all considered word-for-word and seem to be the most popular for theologians and academics.
The ‘lesser’ Bibles as believed by Bible snobs
If there is a list of Bibles that are accepted, then there has to be a list of Bibles that are not accepted. These translations are part of the thought-for-thought and paraphrase group. Versions include:
- New International Version
- New Living Translation
- The Message
- Good News Translation
These versions are much easier to read and rely on a more cohesive and flowing reading than the word-for-word.
So, which is right?
I considered the word-for-word translations to be of a higher level and was always keen to make sure I had the higher level than those I worshiped with. Whenever I noticed a translation read different to my Bible, I would check what version they were reading from to make sure I still had ‘the best Bible’.
Having now realised that I was a Bible snob, I went searching on the internet for ‘the best Bible version’. One article I read had the perfect answer – which ever version you will read.
You see, even though I had what I considered to be the most accurate and academic of Bible versions, I hardly ever read it unless I had a Bible study. I found some of the phrasing difficult to understand and confusing. If you can’t read your Bible, then the translation is wrong for you.
Other consequences of my snobbery
I recently went to a new Bible study. The ladies there were lovely. Of course, I checked which version they were reading (NIV) and puffed up a bit more given I was reading ‘the higher version’ (NKJV).
During the study, the ladies introduced me to a side of God I had never really experienced. They brought me round to realising that God didn’t want me to be more important than them. In fact, he asks me to be lesser. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” (Philippians chapter 2, verse 3). And through that, I have softened my heart.
Recovering Bible snob
I like to think I am no longer a Bible snob. Instead of mentally condemning the versions people are reading, I give thanks to God that they are actually reading a Bible, whichever version that may be. I have repented of my pride and admitted that I needed a version more in touch with my soul. So, may I never again let my pride devalue other people.
Emma Bamford from Melbourne is returning as a Press Service International writer for Christian Today. Emma is undertaking a part time theology course and is a qualified business marketer. A self-confessed Jesus girl, Emma writes to stir the heart of her readers into becoming more passionate and loving Christians.