Freedom from the Bible Police

group-therapy-7-mixed-ages-races1I was reminded yesterday in a group counseling session how problematic selecting a Bible can be. A young woman was discussing her difficult experience in a small Southern Baptist church that imposed teaching from the King James Version (KJV) Bible as the one acceptable for the church’s congregants. Yes, in the Bible Belt of 2016 there are still pastors and elders that strictly require use of the KJV only, and are actually called “KJV Only” churches. While I love reading the King James English, I can certainly see how 400-year-old English can be a barrier to delivering the Gospel. We have many great translations that serve many legitimate purposes, and KJV Only hurts far more than it helps.

bibles_books_01

Which Bible To Buy?

Many different translations are available in your typical Bible bookstore, so I understand how there can be some confusion. My advice for believers shopping for a Bible is to get advice from ministers in and out of your congregation, and read the translations to see which is easier to understand.  I hope this column can also be a resource for you. To start your search, you need to have an understanding of (1) formal and dynamic equivalence, (2) Bibles edited to support unbiblical movements, and (3) your purpose / how you will use the Bible.

image-01-smallThe ancient languages of the Bible do not flow like we expect modern English to flow. Original Hebrew was written without vowels, and with precariously placed modifying phrases. Ancient Koine (common) Greek is famous for extremely long sentences tied together with seemingly infinite prepositional phrases. Trying to make the ancient Hebrew and Greek (and sliver of Aramaic in Daniel) communicable in modern English is a challenge that has created 2 common resolutions to solve the communicability problem. These solutions are usually referred to as Formal and Dynamic Equivalence.

newlivingbibleFormal and dynamic equivalence are the technical words that describe the method that the translator or translation team used to create the translation. The Dynamic Equivalence translations are intended to communicate the language of the Bible in a “thought for thought” translation. Whatever the ancient Hebrew or Greek says, the translators read the ancient passage and then translate the thought of the language into the thought of 2016 in English. The New Living Translation or New International Version (NIV) would be examples of dynamic equivalence. esvFormal Equivalence translators try diligently to communicate word for word, which is more accurate by some standards, but can also appear clunky and hard to understand. The King James Version (KJV), the English Standard Version (ESV) or the New American Standard Bible (NASB) are all formal equivalence translations. Here is a chart that will help you identify which versions are dynamic and which are formal.

Translation-Contiuum-Chart

jehovah__s_witness_bible_by_godofwarlover-d560ztz

Jehovah’s Witness Bible

Mixed in the legitimate translations are cult translations that Evangelical and Protestant Christians consider to be illegitimate translations created to twist Scripture to fit a twisted theology.  The New World Translation (NWT) was created by Charles Taze Russel to support his idea of theology that became the Jehovah’s Witnesses that we know today.  This translation is designed to deny the deity of Christ and the Holy Spirit, as well as to support annihilationism and deny eternal punishment in

lds-scriptures

Approved KJV – Mormonized Bible

Hell.  Similarly, the Mormons (LDS) use their Authorized King James Version which is loaded with LDS perspectives on each chapter and copious footnotes to shoehorn their doctrine into a Bible translation.  None of the cult translations should be confused with legitimate translations.

A third consideration one should take into account when selecting a Bible is the reader’s personal purpose.  If you are a new Christian, or you have had trouble understanding formal translations, try reading an NLT or NIV dynamic translation so you can acquire a general grasp of the Bible story and context.  If your church or class requires use of a formal translation, keep a dynamic translation handy in case you get stuck.  If you have an established knowledge of the Bible, and want to do a project that requires technical precision such as an academic paper, start in a formal translation and keep dynamic translations at the ready if you get stuck.  As a preacher, I use Wordsearch 10 software that contains dozens of translations for reference as I prepare a message or lesson.

Isaiah-14-12-How-You-Have-Fallen-From-Heaven-O-Lucifer-brown2-copy

KJV Isaiah 14:12

Critics often judge one translation or another to enforce the use of a translation they happen to be comfortable with at the expense of understanding by a larger group.  There are dozens of translations of the Bible, and I presume them all to be right, subject to the humanity of the translator or translating committee.  I have also found errors in numerous translations, even the KJV.  For example, in Isaiah 14:12 the text translates the Hebrew word hallel as the proper name for Satan, “Lucifer”, which is an incorrect copy of the Latin (Roman Catholic) Vulgate noun “lucifer” which means “morning star”.  There are a few other errors, well documented by Dallas Theological Seminary’s Daniel Wallace, Ph.D in this Bible.org article Why I Do Not Think the King James Bible Is the Best Translation Available Today

Finally, I want to recommend, and even advocate for grace and kindness toward others who choose a different translation than you may prefer.  The Bible is 100% correct and accurate in its original autographs.  As language has evolved, the Bible has been translated to communicate the Gospel in the common language of the people and time of the translation.  Our focus really should be redirected to the Two Greats, the Greatest Commandment and the Great Commission.  God has commanded us to prioritize loving each other and sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ.  We should be looking at breaking down barriers to the Gospel and meeting people where they are, as Jesus did.

I’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to comment!

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Categories: Christianity, Contributors

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49 replies

  1. Good post. I appreciate how you have addressed this issue which can quickly trouble many undiscerning. Here is a great addendum link from Calvinist Cartoons website: http://calvinisticcartoons.blogspot.com/2016/01/heard-words-before.html

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good post David. I am pretty much a KJV type of guy, and we are a KJV church. It would be considered quite disturbing for a visiting pastor to preach from anything besides that. The issue is, if you asked people why they feel that way, very few would have a ready answer. It would only be because that is what they have always done. I personally carry a KJV as my own daily use Bible, and normally use it on my blog.

    Having said that, I own many other translations and use them regularly. My parallel Bible is pretty much my favorite, and quite useful.

    I think your point about grace in this issue is very important, as it can be very divisive and people get very excited about it, at the expense of grace.

    The key, which you pointed out, is not that we all be textual critics, but that we understand the origin of different translations and even what the agenda of a particular translation might be.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Having reviewed the committees that produced the NLT and ESV, those are my go to translations. Erasmus made some forced errors due to an unreasonable deadline he had when he edited the KJV, but my biggest concern is the 400 year old English. I’ve had too many students and counselees tell me the KJV is confusing and hard to read. Still, it’s my favorite for the Psalms.

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      • Yep, that olde English is both it’s greatest asset and it’s greatest liability as well.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Actually, Wally, it’s written in Early Modern English. If it were written in Old English, you would have much difficulty understanding it. The language progressed like this: Old English then Middle English (think Canterbury Tales) then Early Modern English and now Modern English. Just FYI.

          Liked by 2 people

      • Dear Pastor, I’m somewhat conflicted about this whole issue, though I enjoyed your post. Love is essential, yes, but so is truth. Modern versions omit passages such as the passage in John 8 about the woman taken in adultery, or they use notes that say that this passage is not in the best or earliest manuscripts, which is more than a little unsettling. Here is what you will find at ESVBible.org, in just this way:

        [The earliest manuscripts do not include 7:53–8:11.]

        I would much rather endure ‘Thee’ and ‘ye’ than this, well basically, unbelief and pride.

        I’m not saying these are your attitudes – you are working hard to rightly divide God’s Word. But what can be the attitude of translators, both toward the Word of God and God’s precious sheep?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hello Maria,
          It’s a blessing to hear from you. I appreciate your passion for God’s Word. If you personally like the KJV, if God speaks to you through that translation, by all means use it… It’s one of the better English versions.

          I’m sure that, had the other codexes been available to the English scholars in the 17th century, he most certainly would have dealt with the absence of the beginning of John 8 with scholarly honesty. The body of existing ancient codexes, papyri, fragments and other evidence has grown in the past 400 years thanks to archaeological finds and previously unavailable texts. The present day scholars would be dishonest if the did deal with today’s evidence accurately. As for John 8, most translations either offer parenthetical notes or footnote the limited evidence for this passage.

          Rest assured that most modern translations have painstakingly, scrupulously combed over the existing manuscripts under exhaustive scrutiny. The team translations employ the best of linguists and document experts to assure their product is beyond scholarly reproach. They are still sometimes misunderstood by laypersons and preachers, but the translations are still academically sound.

          Thanks again for your comments 😊

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          • Pastor, I don’t trust these scholars or committees of men or the supposedly better, older mss they promote. These mss may be older but they were not respected enough to be referenced/quoted at that time, for example, in letters. What a mess all this is. The fragmentation of the Bible is part of the Counter-Reformation push to destroy evangelical Bible-believing faith, I believe. This does not mean that I disrespect those who read other versions, you know, but that I believe we’re not on solid ground with these things. It is one thing to clean up old language, like Noah Webster did in his day, and another to undermine credence in what the English Bible has always said – John 8:1-11. That is too much. And isn’t that the fruit that proves the tree is rotten?

            Liked by 1 person

          • Maria,
            I can tell from the context of your response that I may not be clear in what I have tried to say. Let me try again. Those who led James’ team, had limited and newer manuscripts to work from than the present day teams. The 2 older codexes actually date back to the fourth century. The 47 Church of England scholars actually based much of the KJV on their Catholic-trained knowledge of the Latin Vulgate, itself a translation out of the original Greek & Hebrew. It is also worth noting that immense political pressure of the time weighed heavily on the JKV. The Protestant and Romanist factions were very much at each other’s throats.

            The counter-reformation was actually a response to Luther and Calvin, conducted in the later 16th century in an effort to reclaim the authority of the Catholic church that had eroded through much of Europe. I’m guessing you’re equating something going on today as anti Evangelical. I’m not sure I am aware of what you’re referring to.

            As for John 8:1-11, put yourself in the place of a late 20th century scholar. You are aware of Codexes Alexandria, Sinaiticus and Vaticanus. The provenance of Alexandria and Sinaiticus are actually as strong as Vaticanus. You also have an English translation done 400-years prior that was based largely in a Latin translation of Greek and Hebrew texts. What do you do? Do you jetison the two clearly worthy codexes to keep in tradition of the English church of 400 years ago?

            I recommend that you more thoroughly research the actual processes of translating the KJV, the NIV, NLT, ESV and any others you have doubts about. There are no original manuscripts extant, so everything we have to work with is actually a copy. There are religious factions alive today that base their traditions on a certain translation, and in so doing defend a flawed copy for the sake of their religiocity… it has nothing to do with rotten fruit. John 8:1-11 may or may not be consistant with the original text, but no one today has any way of knowing, so to defend it is to defend one’s feelings at the expense of ignoring facts. The passage is very plausibly part of the original autograph. But, whether or not it is or it isn’t, it creates no substantive theological burden either way.

            I hate to accept that I cannot know things that I really would like to know. But I have to accept that there are things lost to history that I will never know. I am honest enough to admit that when I don’t know something that I won’t claim to. I can be at peace with that, and o.k. with knowing I am only responsible for what actually has been revealed to me.

            Deut 29:29 The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.

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          • Pastor, I’m following through to study this further. That is all that needs to be said except to make a few points.
            First, I’m not a King James Only advocate – in my opinion it isn’t wrong for Christians to read and study other versions. However, I believe it is wrong to cut or minimize a passage of Scripture – to say we can’t know whether it is Scripture. Christians from times much earlier than the 17th century have read and benefited from the passage in John 7-8. Isn’t it pride to say we know better? That our scholarship is better? Did Tyndale, for example, die for what cannot be known? Deletion or notes that minimize passages are a detriment to faith. What new manuscript will be discovered that doesn’t contain some other verses? What else will we lose? Will we continue to adjust to this?
            I come from a Roman Catholic background – their Douay, a Jesuit bible, mistranslated Genesis 3:15, which suits their purpose elevating Mary to a divine office, Co-Redemptrix. Who is behind what is happening to modern versions? Might it be the same group, for after all we know with certainty that the Counter-Reformation continues – and not as conspiracy theory. All we need to do is watch the actions and monitor the statements of the current Jesuit pope.
            Forgive me for not being gentle, just as truthful on this important issue as possible. I will continue to study, though I can hear the squeak of a back door opening and error slipping in.

            Liked by 1 person

          • I’ve enjoyed having the discussion with you, Maria.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for sharing this reasonable approach to choosing a translation. I actually, consider it a blessing to read all of them (except the outliers) and enjoy receiving a more dimensional understanding from the slight variations in perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on Applied Faith and commented:

    Here is a guest post I did for Isaiah 53:5 Project regarding Bible translations.

    Like

  5. Over the summer I started a reading program online and I can easily switch translations as I like. I’ve been using the Contemporary English Version because I find that many passages are written in the way I think and speak, which makes it more relatable and understandable. That being said, I like the KJV because of the artistry of it. The English is really beautiful and I actually think that, because it is sometimes challenging to understand, it makes me think and focus on what I’m reading more.

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  6. I’m more of a New King James Version myself. The reason being is that it closely resembles the KJV without all the “Thee, thus, and thous.” However, I like to read the Message when I’m not in study mode. I did have one version (I forget which) that I threw in the trash because totally changed some verses so drastically that they did not even resemble the context of what was meant.

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  7. Great post!
    I’m pretty sure my mom used a kjv. I often tried to read it as a little girl but I couldn’t manage the richness of its meaning.

    My first gifted bible was an NIV from my godmother. The next version I got for myself was the NLT (and holy Moses, the Spirit started to speak thru it. My NLT doesn’t have study notes which I find incredibly helpful. I also picked up an HCSB & chronological bible at the suggestion of a fellow believer.
    I’ve heard about a new version called the MEV – but am not familiar with its traits.
    – Kenzel

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  8. Reblogged this on Pastor Jim Driskell and commented:
    Great discussion on the array of Bibles available.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Terrific post. For a beginner, Biblegateway.com is a great way to compare translations before jumping into a purchase. I’ve discovered the NASB is probably the closest to a correct translation, and usually compare mine to that one, and occasionally check the Mounce Greek as well, but my go-to translations are the ESV, NLT and GW. They tend to be correct and easy to read. When I write, I go for the translation that will best communicate my thoughts to an audience that may not be Bible readers. The KJV tends to not be as correct a translation, nor is it as easy for readers to understand.

    IMHO, whatever gets people to the heart of God is the best translation for them.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. You did an excellent job simplifying the search! I learned many of my memory verses as a child from the KJV. When I bought my first Bible at age 12, I went with NKJV because it was much closer to what I had learned from. I used that until I got married and my spouse was using NASB. I enjoyed reading from a different translation as it opened up greater understanding for me. Recently I have been reading from the ESV for daily reading. All that background is there simply to illustrate that they have all been useful and I have been edified with all of them.

    It’s amazing that even with some of the “cult translations” the truth shines through in the context. I discovered that when studying with Mormons. They couldn’t refute the context even with the words chopped up. God will make His Word known to those who diligently seek the truth.

    Great post! God bless!

    Liked by 4 people

  11. What about study Bibles and concordance Bibles? Should people consider taking a look at them as well?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Typically, a “study Bible” has cross-references, a concordance, and other study aids. I’ve found them useful for newer Bible students, and also have seen them become familiar “old friends” for mature Bible students.

      A concordance is simply a usage directory for word occurances in the Bible. Abridged concordances are regularly included in the back of a number of translations, and I’ve found them very useful.

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  12. I love Youversion because it supplies all of the bible translations at your fingertips plus the Catholic bible. I also like to use translations as a writer that best convey my thoughts, Great and insightful post!

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  13. I am most comfortable with the KJV because of my upbringing and love of the majestic language. However, in my study I regularly compare it with other versions as I also do my best to make use of original language study tools (because I’m not fluent). What I have found to be true is that when I have simply compared translations the practice has invariably led me to a deeper understanding of my preferred text and a better grasp on the Truth being expounded.

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  14. I love the concise way you laid it out too. The thing I tell most of those I teach is this from Scripture and it has served me well with any of the “legitimate” translations; 2 Corinthians 3:4-6, “And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

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  15. My personal favorite is the NIV ’84, but those are mighty hard to come by these days. Our pastor preaches out of the ESV, and that’s probably my second favorite. To be honest, the KJV drives me batty. 😄 I see its value as a great historical document that launched us into a new age of literacy and Biblical understanding, but it seems outdated to use it today. But if it works for people, it works. Just not my cup of tea. It’s always fun to experiment with new versions to find the one you like best. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Amen to your last paragraph. Very good post. I would add that the Greeks didn’t use punctuation back then, which, in addition to the endless prepositional phrases, makes translation a challenge. That plus bias toward preconceived notions results in portions of Paul’s letters sounding ridiculous.

    Also, even the “word for word” translations are not really translated word for word. When I look up a passage using an interlinear, I often find one consecutively repeated Hebrew word translated with two or more different English words. Which is why comparing translations, studying the Scriptures for oneself and relying on the tutelage of the Holy Spirit is so important.

    I hope this makes sense. I’m writing in a rush – at the risk of making a poor first impression.

    Liked by 1 person

    • All good points. I didn’t want to get too far into the weeds on 23 verb tenses in Greek and the fact that Masorites added the vowel marks in Hebrew in the 6th Century AD, so we actually don’t have a precise understanding of Hebrew vowels from the earlier texts. I really just wanted folks to know that God’s Word can be more accessible than some think. Thanks a bunch for the comments.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Great post. I like the NKJV and will use it for the most part in my blogs. I tend to get confused with the “he’s” of scriptures in the KJV so I prefer the translations that use the uppercase “H” when referring to our God. 🙂 I do like the NLT for when I’m reading the Bible like one reads a book, though it lacks the “He.” Its written in a way you can pretty much know which “he” is God.

    I’m quite surprised to see The Message in the list of bibles, though it is way over on the thought-for-thought side. That is just a paraphrase, as you know, but was written by a New Age Christian and has a lot of new age terminology in it. Many of its translations of certain verses ends up being more convoluted than the Author intended, imho.

    The best thing to do after finding that translation you like is to find out what expert critics say are its faults and, if you agree, make those notations in the margins. That, to me, is the way to have the best translation that is closest to the Author’s intent.

    God bless you, amen!

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Love this post – wish I had written it 🙂 ! Thanks for the info, including the Mormon issue and the link to the Wallace book. I’m not sure if anyone else said this, but online you can view different translations side-by-side at Bible Gateway. It’s a great resource that I use often. And yeah, I don’t get the “logic” of KJV only. It’s a translation itself (lol), meant to be useful for readers living at that time. A personal note about the NIV – I like the 1984 translation better and wish they hadn’t changed it. 😦

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Reblogged this on Citizen Tom and commented:
    It is well over a decade now since I decided to “read” the Bible. I went to the library and got an audio version of the Bible on CDROM. I listened to James Earl Jones read the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible.

    I suppose some will say I did it the hard way, but listening to Jame Earl Jones was a pleasure. I suppose some will also say I am getting old enough that the language in the KJV is like my native tongue. Not quite.
    🙂

    What did listening to the Bible do for me? It convinced me the story it tells is true. It compelled me to study the Bible.

    Nevertheless, I did not know what version of the Bible to buy; I did not even realize how many versions exist. Hence, I was not particularly happy with the first Bible I bought. Therefore, I recommend this article and the gentleman’s good advice.

    Here is one additional suggestion. If you are reading this, then you have Internet access. Check out these websites.
    https://www.biblegateway.com/
    https://www.bible.com/
    http://www.biblehub.com/

    Each of the above websites provides multiple translations of the Bible. We don’t have to go anywhere these days to find multiple translations. In fact, lots of people just download a copy of the Bible onto their favorite electronic device.

    Note also that the notes and commentary within a Bible can be inserted independently of the translation, and the quality of the notes and commentary depends upon who provides those notes and commentary. So if you want a good study Bible, ask your pastor or someone you trust for a recommendation.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. I only Read the King James Authorized Version Holy Bible!!

    Love ❤ Always and Shalom, YSIC \o/

    Kristi Ann

    Liked by 3 people

  21. I enjoy many of the translations for in study one can find new truth which canenlighten one. I had a teacher many years ago who said here is the Bible here is a dictionary look up those words you do not unserstand. He pointed out Paul and the book of Romans. The meaning of many words has changed their use has shifted so in reading in searching I found treasure insight and a deeper love for Christ. Paul told us to put away childiish ways and seek bless and love one another.I avoid the wittless and slow moes of morons. And I find I must remove myself from many of the others on moral grounds and inproper teaching or bending of the word to gather in many. So we pray……..

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Being a translator myself (UASV), I have had the opportunity to review the translation philosophy at the root level in many translations. I will offer a short tip for success.

    LITERAL TRANSLATION (NASB, UASV, ASV, RSV, ESV less so): This is what God said in a modern day language, in our case, English.

    DYNAMIC EQUIVALENT (GNB, CEV, NLT, NCV, ERV, and on and on): This is what the translator decides the Bible author meant by the words that the Bible author used.

    STEP 1: Determine the English Equivalent for each Greek word in a verse. This will come across like an interlinear.

    Ecclesiastes 9:8 INTERLINEAR: Always let be your garments white and oil on your head let not be lacking
    8 בְּכָל־עֵ֕ת יִהְי֥וּ בְגָדֶ֖יךָ לְבָנִ֑ים וְשֶׁ֖מֶן עַל־רֹאשְׁךָ֥ אַל־יֶחְסָֽר׃
    The Westminster Leningrad Codex

    NOTE that the interlinear is very wooden and words are out of order. Without getting to complex, word order does not matter in Hebrew and Greek because they have an ending that let you know what role a word is playing. But in English word order matters, so we arrange the words in correct grammatical sentences, but still trying to maintain the original word order if possible. Notice that the literal translations are a mirror reflection of what the Bible author penned but in English.

    STEP 2: Take your interlinear like reading and render it into a grammatically correct English reading, keeping any former word order, IF POSSIBLE. This will be your literal translation

    LITERAL TRANSLATIONS
    Ecclesiastes 9:8 (NASB)
    8Let your clothes be white all the time, and let not oil be lacking on your
    head.
    Ecclesiastes 9:8 (UASV)
    8 Let your garments be always white, and let not your head lack oil.
    Ecclesiastes 9:8 (ESV)
    8 Let your garments be always white. Let not oil be lacking on your head.

    NOTE that they all read the same. Yes, garments and clothes different but they mean the same. In any language, you have a range of meaning for any given word. So too with Hebrew and Greek. You have two or more words for every Hebrew and Greek word. Whether Jesus went out into the desert or wilderness does not matter because they both are literal and are one of the choices for the Greek in the lexicon.

    STEP 3: A step too far.

    DYNAMIC EQUIVALENT TRANSLATION

    Ecclesiastes 9:8 (NLT)
    8 Wear fine clothes, with a splash of cologne!

    Ecclesiastes 9:8 (CEV)
    8 Dress up, comb your hair, and look your best.
    Ecclesiastes 9:8 (GNT)
    8 Always look happy and cheerful.

    Ecclesiastes 9:8 (NCV)
    8 Put on nice clothes and make yourself look good.

    NOTE: You can clearly see that the translation committees took the original language, the interlinear reading, and the literal translation; then, decided for themselves, what did the Bible author mean by their words, and this became their translation. The above dynamic equivalents do not even agree with each other. What does Ecclesiastes 9:8 really say.

    What does the metaphorical language of “white garments” and “oil on your head” symbolize? Does “white garments” mean to “wear fine clothes,” “dress up,” “look
    happy,” or “put on nice clothes”? In addition, does “oil on your head” mean “a
    splash of cologne,” “comb your hair” or “make yourself look good”? Duane
    Garrett says, “Wearing white clothes and anointing the hair (v. 8) symbolize
    joy and contrast with the familiar use of sackcloth and ashes as a sign of
    mourning or repentance.”[1]
    [1] Duane A. Garrett, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, vol. 14, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1993), 331.

    If you get a chance look at an exegetical commentary as well as a book on Bible
    backgrounds.

    Perception of Today’s Readers
    The reader of God’s Word, be they young children, teenagers, the elderly, or ones with learning disabilities, they need to see as the structure and meaning of the original, by way of corresponding English words and phrases, and sentence patterns. The original word of God needs to be transparent to the reader. The reader needs to be brought up to the translation, not have the translation dumbed down. The focus of the literal translation is on the Word of God in the original, so we know that what we have is the Word of God, not the word of man. The focus of the dynamic equivalent is on the reader.

    The DE translators believe the modern reader is too dumb to understand figurative language, theological terms, and the like, so they dumb them down to the 6th-8th-grade level. They also believe the modern day reader is too lazy to study for themselves.

    HERE IS THE RUB: Dynamic equivalents are not Bible translations, they are mini-commentaries.

    The English Standard Version says of itself that it is essentially literal. In other words, it is essentially (i.e., mostly) the Word of God. And just think, the ESV is a supposed literal translation, far superior to the dynamic equivalents.

    The NASB is the best literal translation at present, The Updated American Standard Version (UASV) is underway, of which I am the chief translator. It will surpass even the NASB. If you want the KJV feel, get the ASV. If you use and Dynamic Equivalents, use them as commentaries, not translations. And do not use children Bible with your children. Use the literal translation and teach them from it. You can use a dynamic equivalent beside it, but make sure they know which is the Bible and which is the mini-commentary.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a blessing to have your insight. Perspective from a linguist who works in Bible translation is genuinely appreciated. We disagree slightly on dynamic equivalence, but we also work in very different places in ministry. I regularly use the NASB when composing academic papers, and among my language study sources for homiletics. In counseling and evangelism, ministry is very different, and dynamic equivalent Bibles are preferable in many different cases. I imagine, as a translator, you are much more sensitive towards issues of precision, while in street level ministry we want to break down as many barriers as possible to get The Word heard.

      Thanks again for the comments. They’re a treat.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for the welcoming response. I have penned 54 books, touching on many genres: textual criticism, Bible translation process, and philosophy, hermeneutics, apologetics, theology, Christian living, and evangelism, among others. I have penned four very lengthy books on evangelism. I have 25 years of experience in many forms of evangelism: street, door-to-door in the community, prison, online, among others. I have a good amount of experience of witnessing to Muslims on the street within their community.

        Having said all of that, I do not believe there should be two different levels of translation (even though I do not believe the DE is a translation), as it tends to dumb people down. It is the policy of a translator to give the unbeliever the Word of God. It is up to the evangelist (all Christians are evangelists), to bring the unbeliever up to the translation, not dumb the translation down to the unbeliever. It is also up the Bible reader be he a Christian or an unbeliever, to invest time in understanding what God meant by what the human author penned. Dynamic readings belong in footnotes.

        We have a Christian population that has grown biblically illiterate over the past seventy years, much of which I blame on dynamic equivalents and the mindset of dumbing Bible study tools down as well. Churchgoers will do whatever is expected of them. If little is expected, we will get little. We have Bibles on 6th – 8th grade level and Bible study tools on the same level. If we want 6th-grader level Bible education, we should continue on the way we have been going. Apologies if any of this is coming across a little too harsh. I mean no disrespect in any way. I know of missionary groups that have used literal translations in over 230 lands for a hundred years. In many cases, even teaching the person to read first. What some missionaries have failed to do is carry out a full-fledged Bible study ion the field with Basic Bible doctrine books, coupled with a good literal translation, and a dynamic equivalent that they make real clear is a mini-commentary. I also have biblical counseling experience as well.

        You likely have read a lot of the commentaries volumes out there, most of which are based on the NIV. Then, you see the commentator doing this all through the commentary volume, “The NIV reads _______ here, when it really should say ______,” or something similar. If you have to keep correcting a translation literally hundreds of times throughout 24 volumes of commentaries, why even use it?

        Regardless, I certainly, appreciate your feedback. Check out the UASV website if you get a moment. The link is below.

        http://www.uasvbible.org/

        Like

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  1. Freedom from the Bible Police | Truth in Palmyra
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