Yet another Bible question?

I looked in the King James Version. It says, "thou shalt not kill." The Revised Standard Version also uses the word "kill". The New English Bible and the New International Version use the word "murder". Some people have told me that the Bible should be taken literally word for word. If that is so, then killing and murdering are the same thing. If I drop my hammer off the roof and it hits my neighbor on the head and he dies, I've murdered him. If they don't mean the same thing, then one of the Bibles is wrong. If it is wrong here, how do I know it's right anywhere else? How do I know which Bible is right? Will a newer translation come along in a few years that will make all previous Bibles incorrect.

I know they could all be wrong, but they can't all be right. How can a person know, if knowing is possible at all?

16 Answers

  • Acorn
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favourite answer

    The bible was never meant to be taken literally. People who say they do believe it word-for-word literally are either lying or never read the bible for themselves.

    Killing intentionally is a sin. Accidental killing is not.

  • 1 decade ago

    You need to delve a little deeper into the original language the manuscripts are written in, for instance Hebrew or Greek. A Greek and/or Hebrew lexicon will help tremendously as will a concordance. You will get the original meaning of the scripture, which the writer intended. You can avoid a lot of modern-day spiritualizing (where people take any scripture and apply it to themselves or their situation willy-nilly) by doing sound Bible study. A scripture can never mean something other than what the original writer intended it to mean.

    There are many different versions of the Bible, some being word for word, conceptual, etc. I believe KJB is the most literal and best with which to study, but sometimes it helps to have a few different translations to compare.

    As far as the murder/kill question, yes there is a difference which is why there is Biblical support for a death penalty. You can do a search on google for a more complete explanation of this.

    Source(s): KJV Bible
  • 1 decade ago

    Andrewsvan answered this question pretty well. The truth is, translation is not perfect. Probably, both "kill" and "murder" are accurate translations of the Hebrew word here. So how can you determine which one is correct? By taking it in context. If there is no relevant context in that chapter, you must take it in context with that book. If there is no relevant context in that book, you must take in in context with that section of the bible, and so on.

    In this case, God clearly gives instructions *to* kill in the Mosaic Law (for example, as punishment for crimes). The Mosaic Law also specifies quite clearly the difference between an accidental slaying and murder. Thus, we can state with a great deal of certainty that, in *this* case, this word should be translated as "murder". Nevertheless, "kill" is a completely valid translation - it simply does not make *clear* the nuances gained by reading within context.

    To put it another way, "murder" is a *better* translation than "kill", but murder is a type of killing, and therefore "kill" is a valid (though more vague) translation.


  • w2
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    The Hebrew word "ratsach" underlying Exodus 20:13 does not necessarily mean "murder" in all uses of the word. Its use in Num 35:11, Num 35:27, Deu 4:42, Deu 19:4, and Jos 20:3;5 demonstrate that the word can and does mean "kill", and not always "murder". Thus, the translation of Exd 20:13 and Deu 5:17 as "Thou shalt not kill" are correct. It refers to man killing for reasons not ordained by God.

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  • 1 decade ago

    You are trying to make sense of something some one made up. If you take the KJV of the bible then yo have to go back to old english to determine what it really said 400 years ago. Then you will have to get the latin or german version it was translated from to see if it was even close to accurate. Then you have take that back another 600 years when they re-translated the bible into latin from the original greek. They you have to go back to 325 where they voted on what they wanted in the bible and see what was left out or what they liked or dis-liked. Then you have to re-translate to hebrew or aramaic and learn some languages that have not existed in that form for 3000 or 4000 years and then decide what they really meant back then. When Moses came down from the mountain with Thou shalt not kill, he immediately put 5000 men and boys to death. I don´t think he took it too seriously and may have fudged a bit when he passed it along.

  • 1 decade ago

    While I am no language expert, I do know that the literal translation of that word is murder. When reading the Bible you have to compare it to other passages to get the full meaning. For example while there is a clear command against murder there are exceptions made for self defense (EX 21:13), manslaughter (Numbers 35:11), and governmental punishment of the wicked , which could be capital punishment or military action. (Romans 13: 3, 4).

  • 1 decade ago

    The instructions in the ten commandments are meant as a way for first the children of Israel to live amongst themselves, and now as a way for Christians to live amongst themselves. So, it would have been a sin for an Israelite to take the life of another Israelite, or to bear false witness, or covet his neighbor's ***, etc. While these things are wrong to do, in general, the ten commandments were written specifically for the children of Israel.

    Therefore, when the Israelites went to war, which they did and did often, they were not killing each other, which was forbidden, but engaging in warfare God had told them to do to obtain the promised land.

    When, an Israelite accidentally killed another, the bible teaches that their were cities of refuge, were the manslayer (as in manslaughter, not murder) could go for safety.

  • I agree somewhat with primo; dropping the hammer off the roof and a person dying from it is not murder; it is an accident. The law of Moses distinguishes between intentional and accidential deaths.

  • 1 decade ago

    "Some people have told me that the Bible should be taken literally word for word."

    That is problem, not the bible translations. You need to understand how to study the Bible and how to apply the Bible to your life. you need to compare scripture with scripture, read thoroughly on a given subject, etc

    some scriptures are indeed to be followed and obeyed literally. Others are not.

    god bless

  • ?
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Thou shalt not intentionally kill or murder a person. The only exception is self defense and in war.

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