Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Three Approaches To How The Bible Is Translated

There are many English translations of the Bible available in many different formats. Most of them are available on Kindle for free while others are available in a very affordable price. Some Christians have multiple translations of the Bible in their home (I know pastors do) while some have one translation.

What approach did translators take in translating the Bible. There are 3 approaches, classifications, or however you want to word it in translating the Bible. First, there is the literal or word-for-word approach. Here the translators of the Bible try to get the best literal meaning of the text to the language it is being translated into while staying faithful to the original Greek and Hebrew. The most literal English translation available today is the New American Standard Bible (NASB). Other literal translations include the English Standard Version (ESV), King James Version (KJV), and New King James Version (NKJV).

Next, we have the dynamic equivalent, which is also known as thought-for-thought. In this translation approach, the translators attempt to balance a literal interpretation and the meaning behind the text while remaining faithful to the original languages of the Bible. This allows a little more freedom in interpreting the text that it can be, at times, taken as a paraphrase (more on that later). These translations are usually easier to read then word-for-word translations which is a big appeal for students and young adults. The most famous of the thought-for-thought translations is the New International Version (NIV), which was my main translation for years before I switched to the ESV. Other translations in the dynamic equivalent approach includes the Christian Standard Bible (CSB) and New Living Translation (NLT).

Finally, we have a paraphrase. This approach is different from the other two. One reasons is the other two translation approaches are usually performed by a team of scholars. A paraphrase is when one person translates the Bible to be a simple read to its readers. For example, Dr. Kenneth Taylor wanted to translate the KJV for his daughter so she can read the Bible, which resulted in The Living Bible. There are not that many copies on the shelf today as there was when The Living Bible came out in the 1970's, but it still regarded to many Christians as their favorite paraphrase. The most popular paraphrase is Eugene Peterson's The Message.

One note I want to make clear is the Bible is inerrant, translations are not. The meaning of words in the English language has changed over the years so the meaning of the words could be off. There have many translations that be revised because of this and a better understanding of the original languages of the Bible.

I hope this gives you a basic understanding of how the Bible is translated.

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