Bible Translations

  1. English Bible Versions: Which Translation Should I Use?

    1. Two Basic Philosophies of Translation: Form or Meaning Based

      1. Formal Equivalence (literal, “word-for-word,” form-based)

        • American Standard Version of 1901 (slightly edited form of Revised Version, British revision of the KJV)

        • New American Standard Bible (based on the 1901 ASV; most literal mid-20th century version)

        • King James Version (revision primarily of Bishop’s Bible with some input from Tyndale, Coverdale, & Geneva)

        • New King James Version (modernizing of the KJV; based on TR)

        • English Standard Version (essentially literal, in the line of the KJV’s heritage)

        • Revised Standard Version (revision of the 1901 ASV)

        • New Revised Standard Version (revision of the RSV)

        • Douay-Rheims American Version (originally a replacement for the Geneva [Protestant] and Bishop’s [Anglican] Bibles, source: Vulgate)

        • Green’s Literal Translation (an exact literal, word-for-word translation of the Masoretic Hebrew Text and the Greek Received Text (Textus Receptus), now named the King James Version 3)

      2. Functional Equivalence (dynamic equivalent, idiomatic, meaning-based)

        • New Jerusalem Bible (1st Roman Catholic to rely extensively on orig. lang. MSS)

        • Revised English Bible (British revision of the NEB; extensive textual emendations)

        • Good News Bible (formerly “Today’s English Version”; simplified vocabulary)

        • Complete Jewish Bible (Jewish-flavored revision of existing translations)

        • New Living Translation (7th grade reading level)

        • The Living Bible (loose paraphrase; similarly, The Message)

        • Phillips Modern English (translation from critical text in the revised edition)

        • Contemporary English Version (targeted to 3rd grade reading level)

      1. A Blend of Dynamic and Functional Equivalence

        • New International Version (new translation based on a critical text)

        • Today’s New International Version (gender sensitive rendering of the NIV; being removed from distribution when a new NIV is released in 2011)

        • Holman Christian Standard Bible (called “optimal” equivalence )

        • New American Bible (Roman Catholic; more formal than Jerusalem Bible)

        • New English Translation (1st Internet-based Bible)

        • Murdock’s Translation (translation of the Peshitta, Aramaic NT)

        • Modern Language Bible (new revision of the Berkeley Bible, intentionally contemporary)

    1. What about paraphrases?

      1. Most interpretive of any rendering

      2. Often loses inter-textual connections
        Gen. 48:15 He has been with me all my life (CEV)
        Psalm 23:1 You, Lord, are my shepherd (CEV)

        Gen. 48:15 God who has been my shepherd all my life (ESV)
        Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my shepherd (ESV)

      3. Loses richness of expression with increased interpretive focus

      4. Often most culturally/linguistically dated use of language and idiom

      5. Often are rendered from a translation rather than original language text

      6. Can provide an effective way to grasp the big picture; The Book of God by Walter Wangerin, for example

    2. Why Do We Need Translation?

      1. Hebrew, Chaldean and Greek are not our first language

      2. The time and culture of the Bible’s authors isn’t ours

      3. The time and culture of previous translators isn’t ours

        • language changes with time

        • language is somewhat dependent on culture

    3. Strengths and Dangers of Both Formal and Functional Equivalent Versions

      1. Strengths of Functional Equivalence

        • “Functional, or dynamic, equivalence” has been called the “thought-for-thought” approach to translation. In this method, translators seek to express the meaning of the original Hebrew or Greek into clear and natural, contemporary English. The strength of “functional equivalence” is its clarity; however, the approach increases the risks of interpretive bias, which is present in all translation. (Rev. Dr. Paul Anderson Day, Executive Director, Bible Society of Maine )

      2. Strengths of Formal Equivalence Versions

        • “Formal equivalence” has been called the “word-for-word” approach to translation. In this method, translators seek to render the original Hebrew or Greek words and sentence structure as nearly as possible into English. The strength of “formal equivalence” lies in its closeness to the original; however, it can result in an awkward English style. Moreover, literal accuracy can lead modern readers to misunderstand the meaning of God’s Word. (Rev. Dr. Paul Anderson Day, Executive Director, Bible Society of Maine )

    4. Conclusion

4. Bible Translation

  1. English Bible Versions: Which Translation Should I Use?

    1. Two Basic Philosophies of Translation: Form or Meaning Based

      1. Formal Equivalence (literal, “word-for-word,” form-based)

        • American Standard Version of 1901 (slightly edited form of Revised Version, British revision of the KJV)

        • New American Standard Bible (based on the 1901 ASV; most literal mid-20th century version)

        • King James Version (revision primarily of Bishop’s Bible with some input from Tyndale, Coverdale, & Geneva)

        • New King James Version (modernizing of the KJV; based on TR)

        • English Standard Version (essentially literal, in the line of the KJV’s heritage)

        • Revised Standard Version (revision of the 1901 ASV)

        • New Revised Standard Version (revision of the RSV)

        • Douay-Rheims American Version (originally a replacement for the Geneva [Protestant] and Bishop’s [Anglican] Bibles, source: Vulgate)

        • Green’s Literal Translation (an exact literal, word-for-word translation of the Masoretic Hebrew Text and the Greek Received Text (Textus Receptus), now named the King James Version 3)

      2. Functional Equivalence (dynamic equivalent, idiomatic, meaning-based)

        • New Jerusalem Bible (1st Roman Catholic to rely extensively on orig. lang. MSS)

        • Revised English Bible (British revision of the NEB; extensive textual emendations)

        • Good News Bible (formerly “Today’s English Version”; simplified vocabulary)

        • Complete Jewish Bible (Jewish-flavored revision of existing translations)

        • New Living Translation (7th grade reading level)

        • The Living Bible (loose paraphrase; similarly, The Message)

        • Phillips Modern English (translation from critical text in the revised edition)

        • Contemporary English Version (targeted to 3rd grade reading level)

      1. A Blend of Dynamic and Functional Equivalence

        • New International Version (new translation based on a critical text)

        • Today’s New International Version (gender sensitive rendering of the NIV; being removed from distribution when a new NIV is released in 2011)

        • Holman Christian Standard Bible (called “optimal” equivalence )

        • New American Bible (Roman Catholic; more formal than Jerusalem Bible)

        • New English Translation (1st Internet-based Bible)

        • Murdock’s Translation (translation of the Peshitta, Aramaic NT)

        • Modern Language Bible (new revision of the Berkeley Bible, intentionally contemporary)

    1. What about paraphrases?

      1. Most interpretive of any rendering

      2. Often loses inter-textual connections
        Gen. 48:15 He has been with me all my life (CEV)
        Psalm 23:1 You, Lord, are my shepherd (CEV)

        Gen. 48:15 God who has been my shepherd all my life (ESV)
        Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my shepherd (ESV)

      3. Loses richness of expression with increased interpretive focus

      4. Often most culturally/linguistically dated use of language and idiom

      5. Often are rendered from a translation rather than original language text

      6. Can provide an effective way to grasp the big picture; The Book of God by Walter Wangerin, for example

    2. Why Do We Need Translation?

      1. Hebrew, Chaldean and Greek are not our first language

      2. The time and culture of the Bible’s authors isn’t ours

      3. The time and culture of previous translators isn’t ours

        • language changes with time

        • language is somewhat dependent on culture

    3. Strengths and Dangers of Both Formal and Functional Equivalent Versions

      1. Strengths of Functional Equivalence

        • “Functional, or dynamic, equivalence” has been called the “thought-for-thought” approach to translation. In this method, translators seek to express the meaning of the original Hebrew or Greek into clear and natural, contemporary English. The strength of “functional equivalence” is its clarity; however, the approach increases the risks of interpretive bias, which is present in all translation. (Rev. Dr. Paul Anderson Day, Executive Director, Bible Society of Maine )

      2. Strengths of Formal Equivalence Versions

        • “Formal equivalence” has been called the “word-for-word” approach to translation. In this method, translators seek to render the original Hebrew or Greek words and sentence structure as nearly as possible into English. The strength of “formal equivalence” lies in its closeness to the original; however, it can result in an awkward English style. Moreover, literal accuracy can lead modern readers to misunderstand the meaning of God’s Word. (Rev. Dr. Paul Anderson Day, Executive Director, Bible Society of Maine )

    4. Conclusion

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