Author Archives: Mike Sangrey

By training, I’m a Software Engineer.

By profession, I’m a Data Security Consultant currently working for one of the “Blues” in the health insurance industry.

By heart, I’m an amateur linguist who seeks, with the undeserved gifts God has so kindly given, to improve Bible translations. More than anything else I want Bible translations, when coupled with the humble attitude of those translating as well as those reading, to incarnate the Spirit of God into the lives of his people.

By family, I’m the happy husband of a wonderful wife, and the proud father of 6 children who span ages from learning obedience to old enough to live out their obedience.

May God be gracious to us all.

Was Paul hard to understand?

I’ve wondered for quite a long time whether 2 Peter 3:16 means what we think it means. The Greek word (“hard to understand”, δυσνόητος) is unusual; Peter, curiously enough, could have used a simpler to understand expression. The verse is very often used to support an objection to clear translation. I’ve come to the opinion […]

A simple idiomatic translation exercise (part 2)

Idioms are difficult to translate. In A simple idiomatic translation exercise (part 1), I raised the question of how to translate two idioms from two different languages, and I asked people to take guesses. Several people were right. The best translation is “To make a mountain out of a mole hill.” However, that wasn’t what I […]

A simple idiomatic translation exercise (part 1)

You’re a translator, and you have been given the following statement in Estonian (with an English literal translation), how do you think it should be translated into English? Sääsest elevanti tegema To make an elephant out of a gnat Similarly, you’ve also been given a statement in Finnish. What is your guess for an English […]

When summarizing is too hard

Many times on this blog I’ve expressed the distinction between two types of translations:  one which is intended to be analyzed by its user and one that is to be synthesized.  They are roughly equivalent to translations for study and translations for reading, but the similarity is only rough.  The analytic vis-a-vis synthetic distinction is […]

An inquiry into better seeking — Matthew 6:33

What does ζητέω (ZHTEW) mean? Matthew 6:33 says, “ζητεῖτε δὲ πρῶτον τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ τὴν δικαιοσύνην αὐτοῦ καὶ ταῦτα πάντα προστεθήσεται ὑμῖν” An elementary Greek, wooden translation is, “And/But seek first the kingdom of God and the righteousness of him and these all will be added to you.” I’ve often wondered what seeking […]

Headline news: Accuracy Battles Readability—Surreality Wins

Joel Hoffman, over at “God didn’t say that,” cites David Roach in the Baptist Press, “most American Bible readers … value accuracy over readability.” Reading between the lines of Joel’s posting I take it he’s a bit bothered by the statement. Joel, you’re not alone. He asks, “What do you think.” Since my response involves […]

N.T. Wright’s Reflections on Bible Translation

Recently we had some discussion regarding N.T. Wright’s translation. Here is his views of translation presented at the SBL in London, July 2011. I’m glad to report he makes many of the points that BBB has tried to make. See: The Monarchs and the Message, Reflections on Bible Translation from the Sixteenth to the Twenty-First […]

Using Underscores in Translation–πλὴν

S. Taman asks on our share page: I was looking up an interlinear bible and what each word may mean in the concordance and wondered if it is possible that the end of Ephesians 5 v 33 could also be translated “let each of one of you in particular so love his own wife as […]

Translating Punctuation when there is No Punctuation to Translate

Jonathan Morgan, on our share page, asks this, One thing I have heard a number of times is the assertion that “Greek has no punctuation”, and that as a result we can choose to repunctuate the *English* in any way we like, because “it’s all just been added by the translator anyway”. I’ve never been […]

Being Pragmatic about Words

We are having a fascinating discussion about ἀποστέλλω and πέμπω in Apostles and missionaries. I don’t want to slow it down, but one comment on that post brought some thoughts about Pragmatics to mind. Stephen Beck, here, says, “But for now I did want to ask Mike to consider two verses: John 7:18 and 12:49.” […]


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