Tuesday, December 9, 2008

What You Need To Know About English Bible Translations

Here is a message that I listened to today discussing the importance of reading and studying from a word-for-word translation of the Bible such as the KJV, NKJV, or ESV. In this sermon Dr. Leland Ryken explains the problems inherent with a dynamic equivalent translation and the theory behind this method of translation. He also points out that the most of the modern translations in English have been translated using a dynamic equivalent process and gives many examples of how this could be affecting the meaning of the passage you are reading.

I am not a KJV only guy by any stretch of the imagination, but I do think this is something that all Bible students should be aware of. I personally prefer to read and study from the ESV or NASB, but I also use many other translations as well. I think that the important thing is that you are reading the Bible and if you prefer the NIV or the NLT that's fine with me, just be aware that these translations are not necessarily the most accurate renditions of the original languages into English and as such you are getting the interpretation and bias of the translators in what you are reading.

With that said, here is Dr. Ryken:

After you have had a chance to listen to this I would love to hear what you think.
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I prefer, and only use, word-for-word translations, in particular the ESV, NASB and KJV. I don't advocate using the D-E bibles for exactly the reason you indicated -- that they are no the most accurate renditions of the translations.

Moreover, there's the danger that the agenda of the translators, whoever they might be, are written into the text, e.g. The Voice, The Message.

That said, NLT and NIV are fine IF someone wants to find out how best to exegete a difficult passage. He can get the initial "rough" meaning of the passage from a D-E translation, but I'd strongly advocate returning to the WFW translation to read it in context.