Originally Posted by HarryT
What I'm struggling to understand is how, with so very, very many translations of the Bible out there, any given one of them can be regarded as being an authoritative text, since they are all different. Or are they all authoritative?
Since Christianity and Judaism has been so world-wide widespread for so long, scholars and linguists have naturally devoted so much time to examining the original language in such detail that differences of opinion over the intent of the original amount to only a few pages out of the entire Bible. Because of this, I think it can be reasonably said that virtually all major versions of the English Bible since the King James are really the same - you read one particular passage out of, say, the NASB, and compare that to the same passage in the NIV, and you will not come away with any different underlying meaning in spite of phrasing differences between the two. So all the major translations of the Bible are authoritative in that they all say the same thing; it really just amounts to picking one or two that you happen to like the best because it reads well to you. Studying different versions side by side is far more about just getting a better understanding of the meaning of a particular verse or paragraph because it might read better in one version than another, not because one version is going to say something in a way that differs in the underlying meaning of the passage.
Is this typographical convention for the various forms of the Hebrew name of God something that they all do in the same way?
Yes, it's common amongst almost all English translations of the Bible.
God = the Hebrew word El, which simply means God.
Lord = the Hebrew word Adonai, a more personalized reference to the Hebrew God.
= YHWH, the personal name of God given by God to Moses:
God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation.
--Exodus 3:15, NIV