Masoretic Vs the Septuagint

Hi everyone,
So digging into the Bible more, I was trying to find out if any Paleo - Hebrew Bible portions exist still by which the Septuagint was translated from. Finding that the Masoretic texts have a lot of changes from the Septuagint has been disturbing considering Jesus and the disciples quoted from the Septuagint, which tells me they were legit. So my question is, are there any English Bibles translated only based on the Septuagint? And maybe any insight on the Paleo - Hebrew question as a bonus, lol.

It’s frustrating because I want to study the truth, not partials.

Thanks fam! :blush:

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Hey @KPax,

Generally when we are looking at these copies of the ancient scripture, translation teams use many different copies they can find. If this is a topic that interests you, I’d recommend checking Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart’s book How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth for further insight and guidance. Here is a brief excerpt on different sources for translation:

The external evidence has to do with the quality and age of the manuscripts that support a given variant. For the Old Testament this often amounts to a choice among the Hebrew manuscripts preserved in the Masoretic Text (MT), primarily medieval copies (based on a very careful copying tradition), earlier Hebrew manuscripts that have been preserved, in part, in the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS; dated before the first Christian century), and manuscripts of ancient translations such as the Greek Septuagint (LXX; produced in Egypt around 250–150 BC). A well-preserved copy of Isaiah found among the Dead Sea Scrolls has demonstrated that the Masoretic tradition has carefully preserved a very ancient text; nonetheless, it often needs emendation from the Septuagint. Sometimes neither the Hebrew nor Greek yields a tolerable sense, at which times conjectures are necessary[1].

Unless we have a PHD in ancient Semitic languages and access to all those copies of copies of copies, you and I need to stand on the shoulders of giants who do the research. To that end, I’d say there is no one perfect translation. (Even the “best” occasionally requires a vote of a prayerful committee that determines how a translation is read in some parts.) Referencing Fee and Stuart again, it would be recommended to compare translations:

As we noted in the last chapter, the very fact that you are reading God’s Word in translation means that you are already involved in interpretation—and this is so whether one likes it or not. To read in translation is not a bad thing, of course; it is simply the only thing available and therefore the necessary thing. What this means further, however, is that, in a certain sense, the person who reads the Bible only in English is at the mercy of the translator( s), and translators have often had to make choices as to what in fact the original Hebrew or Greek author was really intending to express. The trouble, then, with using only one translation, be it ever so good, is that you are thereby committed to the particular exegetical choices of that translation as the Word of God. The translation you are using will, of course, be correct most of the time; but at times it also may not be[2].

When doing serious, in-depth Biblical research, you need good exegesis – systematic study of the text in its original context with its original intended meaning – and good hermeneutic – interpreting the relevance of the text for today’s contemporary church. To help, you could use different translations, along with commentaries and a Bible dictionary.

Most importantly, you need to prayerfully read the text for yourself and with the fellowship of other trusted believers. The Spirit will lead and we humbly need others in the church to strengthen one another. I’ve sat in Sunday school with the best commentator’s work in my hands, and despite the collective of PHDs in one book, I’ve been overjoyed by the clarity of the Spirit revealing God’s truth through the words of one of my faithful friends when I needed it most.

I hope this helps in some way, and I’m curious how this answer strikes you and how you might approach going deeper in the Word. Let me know if anything still stands out about translations or your search for good sources.


1. Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, 4th ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2014), 38.
2. Ibid., 36.

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Hi @andrew.bulin

Thank you for your insight, I’ll definitely look into that book! Currently what I use for Bible study is on my phone. I have YouVersion Bible, which has a good lot of Bible translations. I also use Blue Letter Bible and Septuagint. Listening to Dr. Chuck Missler got me on the road to serious Bible study and I just want to have a good approach to doing it. This is a big reason I joined this community to help guide me!

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Hi Kourtney,

Just in case you are interested but unaware, RZIM offers a 12 week class called the Core Module. There are 2 lectures within the course that may be of interest to you. One is a lecture given by Michael Ramsden called The Ontological Root of the Gospel. The other is a lecture by Amy Orr-Ewing on Why Trust The Bible. I found both lectures to be stunningly beautiful (yep), as well as informative and interesting, giving me a renewed respect and admiration for the Word and the Author.

May the Lord aid you in the excavation. :slight_smile:

Mary Beth

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In additions to the great answer and advice you have been given you will find this link very helpful as you navigate your study plan, let me emphasis that the Bible alone is sufficient to save.

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The Orthodox Study Bible uses the Septuagint and also includes commentaries based on writings of church fathers. The hard cover version is on amazon for a very reasonable price, especially considering the amount of content. By St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology. Happy studying. :slight_smile: