These Bibles Are Not the Same (Psalm 16)

Psalm 16

Song of Trust and Security in God

A Miktam of David.

Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
    I have no good apart from you.”

As for the holy ones in the land, they are the noble,
    in whom is all my delight.

Those who choose another god multiply their sorrows;
    their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
    or take their names upon my lips.

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
    you hold my lot.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    I have a goodly heritage.

I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
    in the night also my heart instructs me.
I keep the Lord always before me;
    because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices;
    my body also rests secure.
10 For you do not give me up to Sheol,
    or let your faithful one see the Pit.

11 You show me the path of life.
    In your presence there is fullness of joy;
    in your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:1-11, New Revised Standard Version)

Early in my ministry days, before the internet was everywhere, in fact, my first four years in the ministry about all I did on my computer was type things and play the occasional game. I did use an early database management program for keeping the church membership and I was able to generate some of the information I needed for reporting.

While it did make my life easier, I didn’t need it all that much. At that time I still handwrote all my sermons. To type them on the computer I had to be at home. I didn’t have a computer at the church.

When I did something and wanted to look at several at the same time, side-by-side. I had (I still have them, I just don’t use them much), two parallel Bibles which have me eight versions of the Bible in two books. Then, I would add up to six additional versions when I wanted to do serious comparisons.

Later I had a computer program that had several versions of the Bible. Later still, I was able to get on a brand new website, With 53 different English translations, I have more than I could ever really use.

When I started working on today’s psalm post, I read it and I was pretty sure I did Psalm 16 yesterday too. My first day with a new psalm I generally use The Common English Bible. So far I have written on each psalm at least two days. On the second day (today is a second day) I use New Revised Standard Version. The third day, if there is one, I use New International Version. I know there is psalm coming, probably in the fall I feel pretty sure I will work with for at least four days. Those days I am planning to use The Good News Bible.

Anyway, while reading today from from NRSV I thought, this doesn’t seem right. I went into WordPress and looked. At first I didn’t even realize the problem. I went and looked back at Psalms 15 and 17. They didn’t even come close. So, I used Bible Gateway and looked at all but one side by side. I looked and then looked at another outside what I could see on the screen. New Revised Standard, was different from Common English. I took a look at NIV. It was right with NRSV. The same for the Good News translation. I tried the Holman Standard. I thought it was published about the same time as CEB so the committee translating it worked well together. Holman Standard was with the other. The last one was King James. It looked the same as every other version except Common English.

When something happens like the differences in the translations, I first try to hear which one seems to make the most sound. If that doesn’t solve the issue I used to go to an interlinear Bible. I thought that might be the most accurate until I thought one day, that might be a literal translation but I have two and there were three places where the translations were quite different. Since I don’t read Hebrew or Greek, I really have no idea what translation does a better job.

In all the versions I looked at, verse three is different in CEB but close to the same across the board.’

Now as for the “holy ones” in the land,  the “magnificent ones” that I was so happy about;  let their suffering increase because   they hurried after a different god. I won’t participate in their blood offerings;  I won’t let their names cross my lips. Common English Bible

As for the holy ones in the land, they are the noble,  in whom is all my delight. Those who choose another god multiply their sorrows; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names upon my lips. New Revised Standard Version

I say of the holy people who are in the land, “They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.” Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more. I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods or take up their names on my lips. New International Version

How excellent are the Lord's faithful people! My greatest pleasure is to be with them. Those who rush to other gods bring many troubles on themselves. I will not take part in their sacrifices; I will not worship their gods. Good News Translation

In the CEB, the psalmist is asking God to go put a whipping on those that wandered from the faith. He has nothing nice to say. He is angry because they ran off and now wants God to take care of it

The NRSV, NIV, GNT, all say essentially the same thing. It is praise for those that stayed with their unit. As for those who “went over the hill? (Navy slang for AWOL). They are on their own.

One more thing before I shut this post down. I am trying to give you definitions, or at least those I can find. At the top of the psalm is the word Miktam. Those that address the term at all, are pretty much in agreement. They all say that it is an inscription. The first difference is, GNT says nothing. CEB just says inscription. NRSV says Hebrew meaning is uncertain. And, NIV agrees with inscription but they believe it has something to do with music.

Should you need to look at multiple translations at the same time, go check out It is a great resource for Bible study.

Have a great day in the Lord.

In search of the genuine,

copyright 2020, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved


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