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Why so many translations?. The Present State of English Bible Translation. Introduction. For those of us who speak English, we have an embarrassment of riches. There are more Bible translations in our language than in any other, and they are all readily accessible to us.

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why so many translations

Why so many translations?

The Present State of English

Bible Translation

introduction
Introduction
  • For those of us who speak English, we have an embarrassment of riches.
  • There are more Bible translations in our language than in any other, and they are all readily accessible to us.
  • There are new translations being produced even now.
introduction1
Introduction
  • Is this good or bad?
  • Goal for today:
    • survey the field to show what types of English Bible translations are available
    • explain why this situation exists
    • offer appropriate responses
the current situation
The Current Situation
  • There is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to English translations.
  • For the NET Bible preface we count twenty-five different English translations of the entire Bible and approximately forty of the New Testament.
    • Revisions of existing translations
    • Original translations which are based only upon the Hebrew and Greek scriptures.
the current situation1
The Current Situation
  • Some of the major ones:
  • Revised Standard Version (NT 1946; complete Bible, 1952)
  • J. B. Phillips’ The New Testament in Modern English (1958)
  • Amplified Bible (1965)
  • Jerusalem Bible (1966)
  • New American Bible (1970)
  • New English Bible (1970)
  • New American Standard Bible (1971)
  • The Living Bible (1971)
  • New International Version (1973)
the current situation2
The Current Situation
  • There have even been revisions of these versions.
    • NASB was updated in 1995.
    • The NIV has been recently updated with the TNIV, Today’s New International Version.
    • The RSV has been updated with the ESV.
    • The Living Bible has been updated with the New Living Translation, which itself has recently been revised.
  • Currently in production are the NET Bible and the Holman Christian Standard Bible.
why does this situation exist
Why does this situation exist?
  • There are different translation philosophies at work.
    • Functional Equivalence: The translation of one language into another retaining as much as possible the original forms of the first language.
    • Dynamic equivalence: The translation of one language into another with a goal of translating the meaning of the original without regard to the forms of the first language
functional and dynamic equivalence
Functional and Dynamic Equivalence
  • quand les poulets aient les dents
  • when chicken have teeth
  • when pigs fly
  • That will never happen.
examples of extremely literal translation
Examples of Extremely Literal Translation
  • Matthew 1:18
    • tou de ihsoucristou h genesivoutwvhnmnhsteuyeishvthvmhtrovautoumariavtwiwshfprin h sunelyeinautouveureyh en gastriecousaekpneumatovagiou
    • “Of the but Jesus Christ the birth thus was. Being betrothed the mother of him, Mary, to Joseph, before or to come together them she was found in belly having from Spirit Holy.”
examples of extremely literal translation1
Examples of Extremely Literal Translation
  • John 4:15
    • legeiprovauton h gunhkuriedovmoitouto to udwrinamhdiqwmhdediercwmaienyadeantlein
    • “Says to him the woman, ‘Sir, give to me this the water that not I thirst nor I come here to draw.”
comparisons of functional and dynamic equivalence translation
Comparisons of Functional and Dynamic Equivalence Translation
  • Romans 3:21
    • NASB “But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets”
    • NLT “But now God has shown us a different way of being right in his sight-- not by obeying the law but by the way promised in the Scriptures long ago”
comparisons of functional and dynamic equivalence translation1
Comparisons of Functional and Dynamic Equivalence Translation
  • Ecclesiastes 11:4
    • NASB “He who watches the wind will not sow and he who looks at the clouds will not reap.”
    • NLT “If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.”
why does this situation exist1
Why does this situation exist?
  • There is a very heated battle about which is more appropriate for Bible translation. There is a place for both, though, and their advantages and disadvantages should be carefully understood.
why does this situation exist2
Why does this situation exist?
  • English is changing as all languages do.
    • All languages are in a continuous state of flux.
    • All translations will eventually be out of date.
    • The advent of the internet and all its related applications has created a greater state of flux than in the past.
  • English Bible translations need to change as well. (Judges 16:7 in NIV)
how should we respond to this situation
How should we respond to this situation?
  • Our tendency is to exalt one translation over another.
    • King-James-Only movement
  • Instead we should recognize our bounty of riches and use it accordingly.
how should we respond to this situation1
How should we respond to this situation?
  • Dynamic equivalence translations are good for those who know little or nothing about the Gospel or the Bible.
  • Functional equivalence translations are good for those who understand biblical concepts and want to understand more carefully the exact wording of the text.
how should we respond to this situation2
How should we respond to this situation?
  • Dynamic equivalence translations are good for situations where the public reading and comprehension of scripture has a prominent place.
  • Functional equivalence translations are good for situations where the details of the text are the central focus.
how should we respond to this situation3
How should we respond to this situation?
  • Recognize that the multiplicity of translations can increase our confidence in the Scriptures.
  • Use this bounty of wealth to your advantage.
  • Be gracious, but be educational.
conclusion
Conclusion
  • There is a sense in which every translation falls short of perfectly communicating the original text underneath it.
  • More importantly, there is a sense in which every translation contains the word of God and accurately communicates its sense.
  • Be aware of what is out there and how the translations differ, but more than that trust the one you have and listen for God’s word to speak to you from its pages.
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