Do Adventists Have Their Own Bible?

Adventists have some unique beliefs—you might be able to name some of them right now. The seventh-day Sabbath. Death as a sleep. Hell as nonexistence.

Where do they get these teachings from? Do they use their own version of the Bible?

No, Adventists don’t have their own Bible. We use the same Bible translations that other Christian and Protestant denominations use.

But we understand your confusion, so let’s unpack the answer here. We’ll cover:

Why Adventists don’t have their own Bible

A hand turning the pages of the BibleAs Adventists, we don’t have our own Bible translation because we believe that the canon of the Bible as it exists today—both the Old Testament and the New Testament—is the reliable and unchanging Word of God. It was cherished, protected, and passed down to us through the ages, and we value it as the foundation of all our doctrines and teachings. Through it, God communicates with us by the Holy Spirit and points us to Jesus Christ.

We highlight this in our fundamental belief #1.

Here’s how the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists puts it in an official statement:

“The Holy Scriptures stand as the infallible revelation of God’s will, the norm for Christian values and life, the measure of all things within human experience, and the sole reliable guide to salvation in Christ.”

During the Reformation, Protestants called this philosophy sola scriptura—the Bible and the Bible alone. It means that the Bible is our ultimate authority and guide.

If Adventists do indeed uphold the Bible in this way, then we need to address some of the misconceptions that have cropped up about this.

Why do people think Adventists have their own Bible?

Even though Adventists don’t have their own Bible, people may think that for a few reasons:

  • Our unique doctrines and beliefs
  • Our use of Ellen G. White’s writings
  • The Clear Word paraphrase

Our unique doctrines and beliefs

Adventists have many similar beliefs to other Christians—salvation by faith in Jesus; the Second Coming; heaven; and more. But some of our beliefs are unique, such as the seventh day as the Sabbath; death as a sleep; and the heavenly sanctuary. These beliefs involve a different interpretation of certain Scriptures than you might have heard before.

But these Adventist beliefs come from the same Bibles most Christians are already familiar with, such as the King James Version, English Standard Version, or the New International Version.

Our use of Ellen G. White’s writings

A man reading a red bookAdventists accept the writings and teachings of Ellen G. White as a product of the biblical gift of prophecy (Romans 12:6; 1 Corinthians 12:28). As a result, people wonder if we treat her writings as Scripture.

We don’t. The Bible instructs us to “test everything [and] hold fast what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21, NKJV). This means checking whether what we’re reading or learning aligns with the Bible. In this way, we test Ellen White’s writings—just like we would any other books or materials.

The Clear Word paraphrase

In 1994, Jack Blanco—a theology professor at Southern Adventist University—published a paraphrase of the Bible called The Clear Word, basing it on thoughts he wrote during his own personal Bible study. This book’s fast-growing popularity caused it to be misrepresented as a Bible, leading people to think that it was an Adventist translation, similar to the Book of Mormon or the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ New World Translation.

But a quick look at the book’s preface of the 2004 edition says otherwise:

“The Clear Word is not a translation, but a devotional paraphrase of Scripture expanded for clarity…. It should not be considered a study Bible. Excellent translations of the Scriptures are available for such purposes.”

It is a devotional tool with an Adventist interpretation of Bible texts—but it was never meant to be used as the primary source for Bible study or worship services. Jack Blanco himself never wanted people to take it as such.

And the Seventh-day Adventist Church has never claimed it is a Bible, as stated by Dr. Jud Lake, an Adventist theologian who wrote a paper about The Clear Word.

What are different Bible translations, and what do Adventists use?

All Bible translations that exist today can fit into three different categories: literal, dynamic equivalents, and paraphrases. The official Adventist Church doesn’t have a preferred translation, and its members use and own a variety. Let’s learn more about them.

Literal translations

A NKJV Bible, which is a more literal Bible translationLiteral translations of the Bible aim to translate the Hebrew and Greek texts as directly as possible. For this reason, they are sometimes called word-for-word translations.

Examples of literal translations are:

  • The King James Version (KJV)
  • The New King James Version (NKJV)
  • Young’s Literal Translation (YLT)

Many people, Adventists included, prefer literal translations for in-depth Bible study because they tend to be closest to the original text.

Dynamic equivalents

Dynamic equivalents, also known as thought-for-thought or meaning-to-meaning translations, are all about conveying the message of the text, rather than the exact words. The translators consider the historical and cultural background of the text so they can best express it in modern terms.

Dynamic equivalents include:

  • The New International Version (NIV)
  • The Good News Translation (GNT)
  • The New Living Translation (NLT)
  • The Revised English Bible (REB)
  • The Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Paraphrases

Paraphrases focus on interpreting the Bible text rather than merely expressing what it says. Thus, they don’t fit the definition of a Bible translation and should be used as study aids, not Bibles.

Some paraphrases are:

  • The Living Bible
  • The Message
  • The Clear Word

Paraphrases can be helpful, but we shouldn’t rely on others’ interpretations of the Bible. First, form your own conclusions through personal Bible study and then use paraphrases for helpful expansion and clarification on a topic.

And if a paraphrase seems to contradict what the Bible says, hold onto the teachings of the Bible—not the paraphrase.

What about the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary?

A hand opening the Bible to the Old TestamentThe Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary is just that—a commentary. It’s not a Bible and doesn’t claim to be. Instead, it’s a verse-by-verse analysis of the Bible, put together by theologians to help Adventists in their study.

Adventists use the SDA Bible Commentary in the same way that other Christians might use well-known commentaries like Matthew Henry’s Commentary or The MacArthur Bible Commentary.

Again, the Bible must be our standard to test the teachings of the commentary—not the other way around.

Adventists cherish the same Bible other Christians do

The Adventist Church began with people from various Christian denominations—Baptist, Congregationalist, Methodist, etc. When these individuals started Seventh-day Adventism, they brought the Bible with them because they wanted it to be their foundation.

That hasn’t changed. We still use the same Bibles that Protestant Christianity uses.

And our desire to cherish and uphold it hasn’t changed either. Why? Because through it, we receive God’s communication and come to know Jesus more.

Want to learn more about our Bible-based beliefs?

Questions about Adventists? Ask here!

Find answers to your questions about Seventh-day Adventists

More Answers

All about Adventist Elementary Schools

All about Adventist Elementary Schools

All about Adventist Elementary SchoolsThe Seventh-day Adventist Church operates the largest Protestant education system in the world. A big part of this system is our K-8 elementary schools, or primary schools, as they’re known in other parts of the world. Here you...

What Are Pathfinder and Adventurer Clubs?

What Are Pathfinder and Adventurer Clubs?

What are Pathfinder / Adventurer Clubs?Like the boy or girl scouts, Pathfinders and Adventurers learn about nature and life skills. But what makes these clubs special is their purpose to bring young people closer to Jesus. If you’ve wondered about Pathfinder or...

13th Sabbath Offering: What It Is and Why It Matters

13th Sabbath Offering: What It Is and Why It Matters

13th Sabbath Offering: What It Is and Why It MattersThe Seventh-day Adventist Church has emphasized service and mission work from its earliest days. That’s why there’s a collective “offering calendar” most Adventist congregations follow to support these efforts. Each...

A Look at Adventist Colleges and Universities

A Look at Adventist Colleges and Universities

A Look at Adventist Colleges and Universities On the outside, Seventh-day Adventist universities may not look much different than other college campuses. But the real differences are beneath the surface. Adventist Universities are all about helping each student have a...

What Is ASI (Adventist-Laymen’s Services and Industries)?

What Is ASI (Adventist-Laymen’s Services and Industries)?

What is ASI? (Adventist-laymen’s Services and Industries) ASI, which stands for Adventist-laymen’s Services and Industries, is a membership-based organization that provides support for Seventh-day Adventist laypeople (Adventist professionals who aren’t pastors). The...

What Are Adventist Evangelistic Meetings?

What Are Adventist Evangelistic Meetings?

What are Adventist Evangelistic Meetings? The Seventh-day Adventist Church puts a huge emphasis on sharing the gospel through evangelism, or sharing the gospel through preaching, teaching, and testimony. One of the ways we accomplish this is by organizing public...

Christian Summer Camps—A Cherished Adventist Ministry

Christian Summer Camps—A Cherished Adventist Ministry

Christian Summer Camps—A Cherished Adventist Ministry School’s out, the sun’s shining, and your kids are thrilled to have the summer ahead of them. Then three days in, you hear, “I’m bored…” What’s something kids can do that’s fun and active, but also wholesome and...

What Is Vespers?

What Is Vespers?

What is Vespers? Friday rolls around, and you’re spending time with your Adventist friends or relatives when they mention they’re going to vespers tonight. They said the word so nonchalantly. Maybe that made you feel like you should know what it means. Maybe that’s...

Adventist Pastors

Adventist Pastors

Church Leaders: What is the Role of an Adventist Pastor? What is the role of a pastor in the Adventist Church? The position itself, at least as far as a local congregation is concerned, is not much different from that of pastors in other protestant denominations. An...

Structure of the Adventist Church

Structure of the Adventist Church

The Leadership Structure of the Adventist Church The Seventh-day Adventist Church has a representative form of structure that connects its 90,000-plus congregations across the globe and gives its members a part in decision-making. Though the Church was incorporated in...

Everything You Need to Know About Sabbath Meals

Everything You Need to Know About Sabbath Meals

Everything You Need to Know About Sabbath Meals For Seventh-day Adventists, sharing a Sabbath meal with friends and family is one of the most special and memorable parts of the Sabbath. That’s why we want to share with you all about Sabbath meals and why they’re such...

What to Expect When You Go to an Adventist Church

What to Expect When You Go to an Adventist Church

What to Expect When You Go to an Adventist Church If you’re attending an Adventist church for the first time, you may wonder what it’s really like. While each Adventist church is unique in its collective personality and local culture, Adventist church services are...

Adventist Education

Adventist Education

What is the Adventist Education System?   Seventh-day Adventists have historically upheld the importance of a well-rounded, high-quality education. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach to teaching and learning, the Adventist Education system operates on the...

Evangelism

Evangelism

All About Adventist Evangelism Evangelism is simply sharing the truths of the Bible with someone else. And Adventists are all into it.This post will show you why Adventists take evangelism so seriously. It also covers the role that evangelism played in the formation...

Everything You Need to Know About an Adventist Church Potluck

Adventist Potlucks: Where Food and Friendship Meet One of the best parts about getting together with a church family on Sabbath is the fellowship we can experience. The word “fellowship” may not be used very often in everyday conversation, but it has special meaning...

The Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal

The Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal

The Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal  The Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal is a songbook used worldwide by many Adventist congregations during their worship services. Since its publication in 1985, it has helped foster praise to God while reminding church members of our...

Everything You Need to Know about Sabbath School

Everything You Need to Know about Sabbath School

Everything You Need to Know About Sabbath School Sabbath School is the Bible study component of the church program at most Seventh-day Adventist Churches. It’s a time of Bible study on a specific topic or lesson. Instead of listening to a preacher, people interact...

Sermons

Sermons

What Are Adventist Sermons Like? In nearly every Seventh-day Adventist Church, the sermon is the focal point of the main service—similar to many Protestant Christian denominations. It is a time of biblical instruction by the pastor, who shares what they’ve been...

Who Are Adventists

Who Are Adventists

Who are Adventists? The Seventh-day Adventist Church—“Adventists” for short—is a Christian denomination of ordinary people who seek to follow Jesus and live out His mission in this world. Established in 1863, we hold to the Protestant principle of sola scriptura,...

How do Adventists choose what to eat?

How do Adventists choose what to eat?

How Do Adventists Choose What to Eat? Every day, parents go through the ritual of getting their kids to eat what is healthy and good while trying to steer them away from what can hinder the growth of their developing bodies. Nutritionists work with their clients to...

How does one become a Seventh-day Adventist?

How does one become a Seventh-day Adventist?

How Does One Become a Seventh-day Adventist? Accept Jesus as Lord and Savior To be a Seventh-day Adventist Christian means to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. This means to recognize that Jesus alone can save you from sin and death (Savior), and to give Him...

How do Adventists make movie and music choices?

How do Adventists make movie and music choices?

How do Adventists make movie and music choices? Cinema has come a long way since the first clips of motion pictures came to light in 1878. As the decades rolled on, film and music producers have created rivers of movies and albums for the masses. Today, watching...

Didn’t find your answer? Ask us!

We understand your concern of having questions but not knowing who to ask—we’ve felt it ourselves. When you’re ready to learn more about Adventists, send us a question! We know a thing or two about Adventists.

hbspt.forms.create({ region: "na1", portalId: "4189584", formId: "2c5cc200-f48b-4b98-85e0-5ee58283d9ff" });

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This