Since its beginning in the early 20th century, the Bible has been central to what the Assemblies of God denomination believes and teaches. Pastors preach the Bible, small groups study it together, and individuals read it on their own. There are many Bible translations available today, so which one does the Assemblies of God use?
The Assemblies of God doesn’t prescribe a certain Bible translation for its members. English translations commonly used in Assemblies of God churches include the NIV, NASB, NLT, ESV, KJV, and the NKJV. Factors that lead readers to use a certain translation include precision and reading level.
What is the difference between the NIV, NASB, NLT, ESV, KJV, and the NKJV? How accurate and readable are they? What does the Assemblies of God believe about the Bible? Keep reading to learn more.
Bible translations used in Assemblies of God churches
It’s not unusual for the pastor of one Assemblies of God church to preach from the NIV while the pastor of another church in the denomination used the ESV. It’s also not unusual for a person sitting in a pew or attending a small group to use the NASB while the person next to them is using the KJV.
Many people, including pastors, read multiple translations. They do this for different reasons. Some find reading multiple translations helps them understand the Bible better. Others prefer to read one translation for their devotions at home, but take a different translation to church because its the one their pastor uses, which helps them follow the sermon better.
The comparison chart below will help readers identify the translation that is right for them. (See examples verses in the next section).
|NIV||The full text of the New International Version (NIV) appeared in 1978. Over 40 years later, the NIV maintains a wide readership, especially among conservative evangelicals.||Thought-for-thought; the meaning of each thought, not necessarily each word, is the aim of translators||7th grade|
|NASB||The New American Standard Bible (NASB) Update appeared in 1995 with the purpose of improving the translation’s clarity and updating outdated English styles (e.g. removing words like “thou”). Since it’s first appearance in 1971, the NASB has been a favorite among people who prefer a word-for-word translation.||word-for-word (“strictly literal”); also known as “formal equivalence”||11th grade|
|ESV||Published in 2001, the English Standard Version (ESV) reworks the Revised Standard Version (RSV), which first appeared in 1971. Conservative evangelical scholars produced the ESV, so it’s not a surprise that it has been growing in popularity among conservative evangelical readers in the last two decades.||word-for-word (“essentially literal”)||8th grade|
|KJV||The King James Version first appeared in 1611, then underwent several revisions in the following centuries. The KJV is the most popular English translation in Protestant history.||word-for-word (“essentially literal”)||12th grade|
|NKJV||The entire New King James Version first appeared in 1982. It’s creators declared it to be an update on the KJV. Scholars from different denominations like Baptist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist, and Assemblies of God made up the translation team.||word-for-word (“essentially literal”)||9th grade|
|NLT||The New Living Translation (NLT) is an update of the Living Translation (LT). The LT didn’t translate from biblical manuscripts in their original languages of Hebrew and Greek, it only re-worded the American Standard Bible (ASB) of 1901. 90 conservative scholars worked on the NLT, which was published it in 1996.||dynamic equivalence; often employs paraphrasing to maximize clarity||6th grade|
Understanding the balance between precision and readability: due to the nature of translating a written text from one language into another, a single translation can’t maximize precision and readability simultaneously. The more precise a translation is (e.g. NASB), the less readable it will be. The more readable a translation is (e.g. NLT), the less precise is will be. Yet all trustworthy translations (e.g. NASB, NLT) are considered accurate.
What does the Assemblies of God believe about the Bible?
The doctrinal statement of the Assemblies of God denomination, which articulates its beliefs on a variety of topics, is called The 16 Fundamental Truths.  The first truth explained is called “The Scriptures Inspired.” The statement reads, “The Scriptures, both the Old and New Testaments, are verbally inspired of God and are the revelation of God to man, the infallible, authoritative rule of faith and conduct.”
Does the Assemblies of God denomination believe in inerrancy? Yes. The statement reads,
We understand infallibility to mean that the Scriptures are true and reliable in what they intend to assert. Inerrancy is a near synonym to infallibility and has been used more recently to further attest that Scripture as recorded in the original manuscripts, the autographs, is without error. Being without error and completely truthful, the Scriptures are absolutely trustworthy (2 Samuel 7:28; Psalm 119:160; John 17:17; Colossians 1:5). Infallibility and inerrancy likewise apply to all of the Scriptures. 
The foundation of their statement on Scripture comes from three New Testament passages, which can be seen below in different translations. An in-depth study of this doctrine reveals there are many other passages from the Old and New Testament that are used to support the doctrine.
|2 Timothy 3:15-17|
|NIV: “and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God a may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”|
|NASB: “and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and beneficial for teaching, for [j]rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man or woman of God may be [k]fully capable, equipped for every good work.”|
|ESV: “and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of Godb may be complete, equipped for every good work.”|
|KJV: “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”|
|NKJV: “and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”|
|NLT: “You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.”|
|1 Thessalonians 2:13|
|NIV: “And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.”|
|NASB: “For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.”|
|ESV: “And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.”|
|KJV: “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.”|
|NKJV: “For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.”|
|NLT: “Therefore, we never stop thanking God that when you received his message from us, you didn’t think of our words as mere human ideas. You accepted what we said as the very word of God—which, of course, it is. And this word continues to work in you who believe.”|
|2 Peter 1:21|
|NIV: “For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”|
|NASB: “for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”|
|ESV: “For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”|
|KJV: “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”|
|NKJV: “for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”|
|NLT: “or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God.”|
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