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161 Comments

  1. Desert Rose
    Posted November 24, 2010 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

    I just found your website so this question has probably been covered and recovered but I think when it comes to questions about Bible translation I think it could still be asked.

    I don’t think we can conclusively say that there is just one perfect translation. But I think that there are many who would stand by their translation as not only the best but the only translation especially the KJV-only group.

    My question is: can you give a good analysis of why one might choose (specifically) the NIV, NKJV or HCSB over against the others?

    When I was saved I only was given the KJV but then was given a NIV and used it exclusively until about 10 years ago when I started to use the ESV. I have since gone back to the NIV but have been using the NLT and the HCSB more as supplements.

    Now I have joined a new church and the pastor is decidedly NKJV and somewhat tolerates my reading from these other versions.

    I’m not trying to oppose him but I feel that he (and others in the congregation) hold to this KJV/NKJV mostly out of tradition and not true scholarships. They certainly do not see how hard it is for new people (the few there are) to read and comprehend the KJV or even the NKJV when it is read.

    Would you say that the NKJV is a good translation to use? Does it really matter that it’s base document was the Textus Receptus and not the one’s used for the other modern translations?

    Can you offer any thoughts comments on this?

    Thanks for your time.

    [Answered by Iver Larsen.]

  2. Posted November 25, 2010 at 5:29 am | Permalink

    Alright, let’s get the ball rolling. Genesis 12:5 says that Abram left with his wife and all the nefesh they acquired in Haran. I can think of no particular reason as to why the author did not use anashim here. Why does it say nefesh?

    My suspicion is that in this case a nefesh is not a person. It refers to a body or a life. What say ye?

    [Answered by Peter Kirk]

  3. Posted November 25, 2010 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    moved comment from under the Share! post to this SHARE page:

    WoundedEgo
    Posted November 25, 2010 at 12:39 am | Permalink | Edit
    I guess I’ll start this off…

    Can anyone think of an instance where a translation issue wreaked havoc, or, set things to right?

    I mean, the Catholics just had a Vulgate, and none of the Reformers had an NIV 2012, so was theirs an epic failure due to mistranslation? Or did superious translation “set things to right”?

  4. Posted November 27, 2010 at 5:22 am | Permalink

    David Haslam shared this on FB: http://vimeo.com/16501697

    A contemporary artist contracted by Crossway to interpret the four Gospels. The edition will be $129 and features Makoto Fujimura’s art and the ESV text.

  5. Matěj Cepl
    Posted November 28, 2010 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    > Can anyone think of an instance where a translation issue wreaked havoc, or, set things to right?

    This actually ledas directly to the question I would have anyway. Do you have anything to say about Junia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junia)? That’s partially havoc (with nice feminist twist even) caused by Vulgata, isn’t it?

    And of course, there are many many examples where translators were lead by their theology and not by the text (“he/she shall bruise thy head, …”)

  6. Posted November 28, 2010 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    Matěj, I think you will find from the archives of this blog that a lot of blood has already been spilled over Junia. Suzanne McCarthy wrote a whole series of posts about her in 2006, and there were several more posts in 2007 and 2008. Some of these posts have long and contentious comment threads. Personally I am reluctant to reopen this can of worms. But perhaps someone else on the team would be prepared to summarise the issues.

  7. Matěj Cepl
    Posted December 5, 2010 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    @Peter I am sorry, I should search through the blog first. On the other hand, I really like that “We don’t know” reply, I’ve got.

  8. Rod Laughlin
    Posted December 7, 2010 at 1:53 am | Permalink

    There are several English texts referred to as the King James Bible. BibleGateway.com uses a text it says “matches the 1987 printing.” Bilbos.com uses a text from BibleProtector.com that is the “Pure Cambridge Text.” The University of Michigan library uses a text “provided by the Oxford Text Archive” (http://quod.lib.umich.edu/k/kjv/).
    What are the primary texts in use today, and what publishers use which ones? Are the differences significant?

  9. Posted December 7, 2010 at 3:59 am | Permalink

    Rod, this is such an interesting question! Trying to answer it teaches us about the KJV but also shows many general principles that apply to modern translations in any language.

    I would recommend first this article: A full account of the Bible in English on the King James Bible Trust website. The author, Christopher Mulvey, shows why there was a proliferation of versions in the early years of publication (mostly typographical errors), and why the King James did not change for almost 200 years (lack of Biblical scholarship).

    One big difference in editions exists between the UK and the rest of the world. In the UK, the KJV is still under copyright. Outside the UK, it is in public domain. I suspect the American Bible Society is the primary source of KJVs in printed form in the US but I have no data to back that up. (See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_james_bible#Copyright_status)

    You’ve asked a practical question that is really tough to answer: Which KJV am I looking at? I’ll try to enlist the help of some friends in answering that question. Stay tuned.

  10. Posted December 7, 2010 at 5:26 am | Permalink

    When it comes to KJV, I’m old school. Courtesy of the University of Pennsylvania, you can find an online photocopy of the first edition (I assume that’s what “editio princeps” means) here. I believe it was Nazaroo, a commentor on the KJVO Debate blog, that showed this to me.

    While it may not answer any question of who publishes which text today, it is still of interest.

  11. John Radcliffe
    Posted December 8, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    A question about John 3:16

    It’s common to find people applauding translations like the HSCB or NET Bible for “correcting” the “traditional” rendering of John 3:16 (“For God so loved the world that he gave …”, NIV) to read something like:

    “For this is the way God loved the world: He gave …”

    To me this seems to completely overlook ὥστε at the start of the “he gave” clause.

    Danker’s Concise Lexicon says that οὕτως can express “intensity”, and quotes Gal 1:6; Heb 12:21; Rev 16:18 as examples. Looking at those, I find it difficult to see how something like “in this way” would fit those passages. His entry on ὥστε says that “the clauses it introduces are presented as consequence of the statement that precedes”, but doesn’t mention any meaning that would fit what the HCSB or NET rendering of John 3:16 would require (something like “namely” or “that is”). I haven’t checked every NT occurrence, but all those I have looked at fit the pattern of ὥστε introducing an actual or intended result.

    So basically my questions are:

    (1) Can a colon (“:”) be considered an adequate translation of ὥστε?
    (2) Could οὕτως be looking back to v15 rather than forward?

  12. Posted December 8, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    John, I wrote about this way back in the stone age: http://lingamish.com/2005/12/so-what/

    I also have your second question. HOUTOS can be anaphoric or cataphoric so it can be looking forward or backward. It’s ambiguous which is why most Greek experts I’ve asked on this say it can go either way and can be used for an adverbial of manner or degree.

  13. Posted December 8, 2010 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    I have been asked some questions – but I don’t know if they relate to translation per se. They are more like theological questions about meaning. But this site often is trying to establish ‘meaning’ so here’s a go + a bit of advertising. (I have listed them on my ‘new’ wordpress! blog.
    http://poetryofchrist.wordpress.com/)

  14. John Radcliffe
    Posted December 9, 2010 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    David,

    Thank you for your reply and link. However, the problem I have isn’t with οὕτως (which I think could fit either rendering), but with ὥστε; as I have yet to find evidence for it doing anything other than introducing a result clause.

  15. JKG
    Posted December 10, 2010 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    I have yet to find evidence for it [i.e., ὥστε] doing anything other than introducing a result clause.

    John,
    You raise a very good question. The gospel of John uses ὥστε but this once, and in most of Greek literature, there’s not the sort of use of the Greek particle that suggests our English colon for a good translation. And you rightly call into question “what the HCSB or NET rendering of John 3:16 would require (something like ‘namely’ or ‘that is’).”

    A very fair analogy to what John writes (in translation of something Jesus said?) is what Plato writes (recording what Socrates says). Here’s from Plato’s Protagoras (345d.5-6) with W.R.M. Lamb’s translation:

    οὐ γὰρ οὕτως ἀπαίδευτος ἦν Σιμωνίδης
    ὥστε τούτους φάναι ἐπαινεῖν
    ὃς ἂν ἑκὼν μηδὲν κακὸν ποιῇ

    For Simonides was not so ill-educated
    as to say that he praised a person
    who willingly did no evil

    And if we need more examples from Greek of the first century, then there’s one from Chariton’s Callirhoe. Here’s from Book 1 chapter 2 section 4 line 6 with G. P. Gould’s translation:

    μέμνησθε γὰρ ὅτι Ἑρμοκράτης οὐκ ἔστιν εὐκαταφρόνητος·
    ὥστε ἀδύνατος ἡμῖν πρὸς αὐτὸν ἡ ἐκ τοῦ φανεροῦ μάχη,

    Remember that Hermocrates is not a man to be trifled with,
    so that we cannot engage in an open fight with him.

    It would be odd and change the meaning to have the following:

    For this was not the way Simonides was ill-educated:
    he praised a person who willingly did no evil

    and

    Remember that Hermocrates is not a man to be trifled with;
    that is, we cannot engage in an open fight with him.

  16. Iver Larsen
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    It is correct that ὥστε introduces a result clause, and that is why the NET translation is mistaken. However, the note in the NET does give additional background: “Though the term more frequently refers to the manner in which something is done, the following clause involving ὥστε (hwste) plus the indicative (which stresses actual, but [usually] unexpected result) emphasizes the greatness of the gift God has given. With this in mind, then, it is likely that John is emphasizing both the degree to which God loved the world as well as the manner in which He chose to express that love.”

    The common word in John for a result clause is ἵνα (which can also introduce content and purpose.)

    Donna Fedukowski argued that ὥστε usually introduces a surprising, unexpected result. (Fedukowski, Donna. 1985. “On the Use of Hwste with the Infinitive.” START 14(12):25-32.)

    So, the οὕτως qualifies “loved” to say that God loved the world in such a way (so unexpectedly much) that it resulted in him sending his own Son.

  17. John Radcliffe
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    Unfortunately, being “mistaken” hasn’t stopped the NET Bible and HCSB rendering of John 3:16 receiving considerable approbation (especially in the blogosphere), with people criticising other translations (including the recent NIV2010) for not having “corrected” their rendering.

    I had hoped for a discussion on the issue here that I could point others to, as I doubt the opinion of someone with as little knowledge of Greek as me would carry much weight by itself.

    It seems to me that there are two ways of understanding the first two clauses of John 3:16. Either (1) οὕτως means something like “in this way” and points back, or (2) it means “so much” (and doesn’t point anywhere). Which one chooses will depend on how one understands the context, but in each case the ὥστε clause states the result of God’s having loved that way / much.

    However, I don’t see how the translation found in the NET Bible and HCSB can even be considered a third option, as it forces a meaning on ὥστε that it never seems to have elsewhere.

    As regards the NET Bible’s note, the problem I see there is that it fails to justify the rendering actually put in the text, although perhaps implying that it is somehow supported by the conclusions Gundry and Howell reached. However (at least according to Wikipedia), Gundry and Howell went for my option (1) above (as, indeed, did David Ker in the post on his blog that he linked to in his comment above). Similarly, although there might be ambiguity (whether or not intentional) over the meaning of οὕτως, I doubt there can be any about how ὥστε is intended to function.

  18. Posted December 15, 2010 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    OK, John, your persistence has paid off! I’ll bump this up to a post. I disagree with Iver here but knowing what I do about his skills and mine I fear he’s probably right. Give a few days for the LOGOS post to run its course and then I’ll try to do a proper post on this.

  19. veryrarelystable
    Posted December 18, 2010 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    I think that the criticism of the NET (et al.) translation(s) of John 3:16 is a little hasty. Acts 14:1 should be taken into account, particularly as it has the 2 words in question in the same clause:

    Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν Ἰκονίῳ κατὰ τὸ αὐτὸ εἰσελθεῖν αὐτοὺς εἰς τὴν συναγωγὴν τῶν Ἰουδαίων καὶ λαλῆσαι οὕτως ὥστε πιστεῦσαι Ἰουδαίων τε καὶ Ἑλλήνων πολὺ πλῆθος.

    I’d translate the last part as (ignoring the fact that the verbs are in the infinitive – difficult to maintain an English infinitive here):

    … and they spoke in the manner that a great many Jews and Greeks believed.

    Separating a meaning between οὕτως and ὥστε is difficult here, but clearly the author felt that both were needed. For reasons of pragmatism, I’m taking οὕτως as being “in the manner” (or “so” or “in a way”); it is ὥστε that gives me “that”. But it would be entirely fair to take these two words together to share the overall sense.

    Also, note how the οὕτως points forward, referring to the clause that comes after it, not what precedes it – it’s not the speaking itself that it introduces, rather the extraordinary result.

    If I’m right, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the NET’s rendering of John 3:16 must be correct, but it at least implies it is permitted.

  20. Posted December 18, 2010 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    Good comments, veryrarelystable. Don’t miss the post on this topic: http://betterbibles.com/2010/12/18/for-google-so-loved-john-316/

  21. Posted December 21, 2010 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    how come the reference to psalm 2:9 in Rev 2:26-27, 12:5 and 19:15 (this looks suspiciously like a frame in Rev) is translated as rule where noted and in the body of the Apocalypse is translated as feed. I would suggest ‘shepherd’ might be more appropriate in all cases.

    [Note from David: Bob, this is an interesting question. I'll publish it once the John 3:8 discussion dies down]

  22. EricW
    Posted December 22, 2010 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    Mike Sangrey asked that I put this on the Share page for response:

    John 3:8

    τὸ πνεῦμα ὅπου θέλει πνεῖ, καὶ τὴν φωνὴν αὐτοῦ ἀκούεις, ἀλλ’ οὐκ οἶδας πόθεν ἔρχεται καὶ ποῦ ὑπάγει· οὕτως ἐστὶν πᾶς ὁ γεγεννημένος ἐκ τοῦ πνεύματος. (SBLGNT)

    The wind blows wherever it will, and you hear the sound it makes, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (NET)

    Most Bibles translate it, and most people understand it, as saying that this is how people are born of/by/from the Spirit – i.e., the Spirit works like the wind – but the Greek seems to say that people who are born of/by/from the Spirit move and operate like the Spirit moves and operates (i.e., like the wind), not that the Spirit births people the way the wind moves.

    That makes no sense to me as an interpretation, but it seems to be the most straightforward reading of the Greek. And if it’s true, then I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who has been born of/from/by the Spirit. :)

    Thoughts? Help?

  23. Posted December 23, 2010 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    Hey everybody, discussion of John 3:8 has been moved here: http://betterbibles.com/2010/12/23/discuss-john-38/

  24. Posted December 23, 2010 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Merry Christmas to all and a Happy New year – 2011
    Is the KJV Bible the most used version in the world ?
    God bless
    filipe

    [Note from David: Filipe, here is a recent post on this blog about KJV: http://betterbibles.com/2010/11/03/kjv1611-video-reading-and-digitized-text/%5D

  25. Posted January 27, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    As an occasional reader of this useful and thought-provoking blog, and encouraged by the invitation to share, I’ll mention the series of posts we’ve launched on the blog of L’Office du Jèrriais (the agency for the promotion and teaching of the Jersey language). The fragmentary state of Bible translation in Jèrriais contrasted with the KJV anniversary have brought about an undertaking to blog regular translations of short Bible passages. An introduction (in Jèrriais) is here:
    http://officedujerriais.blogspot.com/2011/01/la-biblye-du-rouai-jacques-1611-king.html

    The project, such as it is, is patchy, unscientific and unsystematic – but having waited around for a long time for someone, anyone, to even undertake a full Gospel, it’s worth a try!

  26. codepoke
    Posted January 28, 2011 at 4:10 am | Permalink

    I’m prepositionally challenged, but I’m not sure what to make of Ann Nyland’s Heb 12:2. She says,
    “We must fix our eyes on Jesus, the originator and completer of faith. Instead of the happiness set in front of him, he chose to undergo the cross, thinking nothing of the shame. He has taken his seat at the right side of God’s throne.”

    Instead of?

    Of 13 translations I checked, only Young’s maybe agrees with her. (who, over-against the joy set before him — did endure a cross). Does Ann have a leg to stand on here?

  27. Hannah Olsen
    Posted January 28, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    I’ve recently begun reading through the HCSB translation, and I was quite flummoxed by some verses I recently ran across:

    Exodus 25:5 “ram skins dyed red and manatee skins; acacia wood;”
    A footnote says: “Or ‘and dolphin skins,’ or ‘and fine leather’; Hb obscure

    The NLTse translates the term as “fine goatskin leather” or something similar.

    So my question is: Where in the world did they get manatee skins from?! I’m not a Hebrew scholar or anything close to it. However, I am very puzzled indeed.

    [Note from Dannii: It's possible it refers to a sea mammal as even today the Dugong, a related species, lives in the Red Sea. Wikipedia has a long article on the possible interpretations of the Hebrew word Tahash.]

  28. Posted January 30, 2011 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    Which is best: literal or idiomatic translation?

    I think both are useful. And I think we are missing something if we don’t know what the writer says AND what he means.

    This came home to me yesterday as I read the accompanying notes to a CD of The Macquarie Trio playing music by Astor Piazzolla, one of Argentina’s most popular composers.

    The tango sounds innocent enough, but its beginnings are in Buenos Aires’ bordellos. The dance originally depicted contestants for the favours of a dockside siren.

    If you translate the titles of two popular tangos, El Ciruja and El Choclo, you get these innocuous renderings: The Surgeon and The Corn-cob.

    But what is meant by The Surgeon is The Knifer. And translating El Choclo is tricky, because it is intended to have a phallic reference!

    We need to know what is said AND what is meant.

  29. Posted January 31, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Idiomatic. Any other questions?

  30. HCSB Bible Staff
    Posted January 31, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    As the footnote indicates, this word is obscure. It only occurs 14 times, in two contexts. In Exodus and Numbers, it has to do with the material that makes up the tabernacle, specifically something that “covers” other materials–either as a decoration or as protection. Thus it stands for something that is attractive, durable, or both.

    The other context is Ezek. 16, where God is speaking metaphorically of the wonderful gifts He provided for Judah, His bride. Among the gifts were sandals made of this material.

    To figure out what the word means, we have three sources. First, is there anything in the biblical context that helps? That’s what I just outlined: it is material that can be draped that is attractive, durable, or both. It is durable enough to be used in a woman’s sandals.

    Second, how has it been translated in the past? The Septuagint (LXX), a Greek translation of the OT from about 250 BC, renders it “blue hides” in Exodus and Numbers. The KJV has “badger skins,” the NIV has “sea cows,” the NASB “porpoises,” and the JPS has “dolphins.” NRSV and NET have “fine leather.” The way the ancient rabbis discussed it implies that they didn’t know for sure what it was. From this we can conclude that it is indeed obscure, and nobody knows for sure what it means.

    Third, are there any similar words in cognate languages? There is a similar word in Arabic that refers to the porpoise, a species of dolphin common in the Red Sea, from which leather can be made. Some scholars believe the Arabic word refers to the dugong, a relative of the manatee. (According to the Theological Wordbook of the OT, dugong skins are durable and water resistant, and are still used by bedouin for sandals.) There’s a similar Egyptian word that has to do with stretching leather skins. Again, the variety implies that the word is obscure.

    Because there is no consensus, we chose the word we thought was most likely to put in the text (manatee skins), and put other possibilities in the footnotes with an acknowledgement that the word is obscure. We used manatee instead of dugong because we thought it would be more understandable to North American readers.

  31. Bruce
    Posted March 2, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    Do you have any idea why the ESV translators put “master of the house” in 2 Timothy 2:21 rather than leave it at “master” as every other major translation does (even the NLT). They don’t use italics in the ESV to indicate words they added for clarity, and there is no textual variant that I can find. Did they just supply the phrase because they thought it added clarity by referring back to the illustration of the master of a large house?

    This is the first translation in the ESV I just can’t figure out, and in my opinion it dampens rather than heightens the impact. The passage starts with an illustration, but then leaving it at Master (despotes in Greek, which is very strong and rare!) in MY opinion makes it better.

    Bruce

  32. Posted March 8, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Just sharing the link to the online HCSB study bible:

    http://mystudybible.com

    It’s a great resource!

  33. Posted March 10, 2011 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    I have a question about Matt 6:22-23, which in the NIV2011 is “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!”

    There seems a lot of variation on this healthy/unhealthy pattern. Some translations have sound/bad, others clear/diseased, unclouded/diseased etc

    CEV goes for “Your eyes are like a window for your body. When they are good, you have all the light you need. But when your eyes are bad, everything is dark. If the light inside you is dark, you surely are in the dark. ”

    NLT2 goes for “Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!”

    Reading Ann Nyland, I noticed she goes for: “The body’s light is generosity. If you are generous, you will be full of light. But if you are greedy, your whole body will be in darkness! And if the light in you is in fact dark, then the darkness in you is huge!”, and notes that “Word for word “The body’s light is the eye” but is in fact an idiom. “Eye” was the Greek metaphor for generosity. Here ophthalmos, but note, omma, “eye” is a formally polite term of endearment meaning “treasure”, cf. Aristophanes, Acharnians, 1184; Aeschylus, Cho. 238; Sophocles, Aj. 977. poneros, eye being evil is Greek idiom for being greedy and stingy”

    Is this a plausible rendering?

    Is it possible to get a better translation than the healthy/unhealthy pairing?

    UPDATE: This question was answered here and here.

  34. Posted March 14, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    I was translating Mathew 6 and came across some interesting terms in vs. 5 and 6.

    In v.5 Jesus says this of the hypocrites: ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀπέχουσιν τὸν μισθὸν αὐτῶν.

    And in v.6 of his disciples: ὁ πατήρ σου ὁ βλέπων ἐν τῷ κρυπτῷ ἀποδώσει σοι.

    Both of the verbs used in these verses (apexw – ‘to receive in full’ and apodidwmi – ‘to pay what is due, to render account) seem to connote a sales transaction. Is this a reasonable reading of the text, or is it more appropriate to go with the softer semantic force of simply ‘to receive’ and ‘give’? If so, it seems to suggest that Jesus is presenting prayer as a kind of transactional process which adds an interesting color to the text.

  35. Posted April 4, 2011 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    I’ve been looking at footnote use in various Bibles, ignoring ‘Study Bibles’, which have their own approaches, and translations such as Ann Nylands in which the footnotes are primarily about the reasoning of the translator and her translation choices.

    In mainstream translations designed for general use, the main uses of footnotes appears to be (a) noting alternate manuscript variants in a general way (b) noting, where a passage may be interpreted differing ways, the secondary or tertiary translation (c) letting the reader know what the ‘literal’ Greek means, (d) to give precise references where the writer has made an OT allusion or quote and (e) to give some background information necessary for the reader, for example on what a ‘winnowing fork’ is.

    What is surprising to me is that (with the notable exception of the NET Bible) these footnotes are often sporadic and incomplete, or, in the case of (c) somewhat suspect (what is the footnote trying to tell me?).

    What is the proper role for footnotes in a translation? Are any or all of the types I’ve given above necessary or desirable? Are there more uses I’ve missed?

  36. Posted April 7, 2011 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    Dear All,

    I would like to know opinion on the word “bank” & “bankers” used in by various english versions of the Bible; is this usage anachronistic? By this word one might take as we deposit in banks nowadays, same were the practice back then. How would a common person secure his/her money and earn interest on them.
    Thanks.

  37. Posted April 11, 2011 at 3:52 am | Permalink

    At J C Ryle Quotes the webservant asked people to share their favourite Bible version.

    So far 332 people have responded. I haven’t analysed the whole 332 responses, but it would appear that overwhelmingly respondents are able to cite just one version [and some make it explicit that this is the only version they use], but others also share that they hover between 2 or 3 versions.

    Most posters would seem to only use those versions seen to be more literal, and where they use several versions, they seem not be sticking with versions of the same type, such as the several who used ESV and NASB.

    It would be interesting to discover what made people decide on one particular Bible version.

    Over the past six years, I’ve read through several versions of different types, including the TNIV, NIV, New Living Translation [second edition], New Jerusalem Bible, ESV, Good News Bible and Contemporary English Version.

    At the moment I am reading through the new NIV [or will resume after stumbling through Revelation in Greek during Lent].

    I’ve appreciated each version and learnt a lot by not sticking with just one.

    I have my suspicions that people favour Bible versions for similar reasons that they favour a Mac over a PC or Coke over Pepsi. Hope I’m not being too cynical.

  38. David Overturf
    Posted April 19, 2011 at 3:18 am | Permalink

    Regarding the Common English Bible (CEB) New Testament:
    The use of two words and one phrase caused me a great deal of concern.

    First is the use of the word “insult” in place of the word “blasphemy” in reference to the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:31). In my opinion, “insult” does not convey the serious nature inferred by the word “blasphemy”. When I looked up the dictionary definitions of the two words, I found that the “blasphemy” definition can include “insult” but, the definition of the word “insult” does not include “blasphemy”. Given the severe consequence of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, I feel the reader of the CEB is not sufficiently warned by the use of the word “insult”.

    Second is the use of the word “happy” in place of the word “blessed” in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-11). In my opinion, “happy” is not appropriate, i.e., I wonder if a person would be happy with harassment for being a Christian. “Blessed” seems more appropriate in that it implies approval and reward from God for remaining a Christian while enduring less than ideal circumstances.

    The phrase, “So Herodias had it in for John.”, (Mark 6:19) — “had it in for” is a colloquialism — does not convey the negative emotion that Herodias allegedly held about John The Baptist. In my opinion, “Herodias was angry/insulted/hateful with John.”, would be a better choice of words.

  39. Posted April 21, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    I rattled off a response to Joel Hoffman – agreeing with him over the formal vs dynamic equivalence stuff and adding what I think is a long list of things a translator has to juggle. After some meandering on this I settled on how to translate psalm 68:1 – it seems to me to illustrate some nice stylistic issues. See my discussion with self here. Maybe it will suggest a question on Hebrew issues in your otherwise almost totally focussed on Greek and English blog.

  40. Posted April 22, 2011 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    I come from a Catholic and Protestant background (mother and father) and have studied Greek, theology and biblical manuscripts for over thirty years and though no modern English translation is perfect, as we have no original autographs, only copies of copies of copies and tampered with copies at that, the most accurate English bible I have seen is the New World Translation and scholars (unbiased ones of course) are beginning to realise this!

    I have noticed, that translators of certain translations take liberties with the ignorance of the average bible student, as they inject distortions into their translations and do not inform their readers in any way and aslso take liberties with Greek and English grammar etc!

    I have noticed bias on this very site, as the site authors do not include the NWT, but they include many proven erroneous English translations, the NIV etc, and I must ask myself why?

  41. Posted April 29, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Interesting article on the difficulties of translating from a Catholic perspective:
    http://www.ncregister.com/site/article/super-pig-super-pig-super-pig-tribulations-of-translators/

  42. David Overturf
    Posted May 1, 2011 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Which is correct, KJV Gen. 27:39 or NASB Gen. 27:39?

    NKJV says, “Behold your dwelling shall be of the fatness of the earth, and the dew of heaven from above.”

    NASB says, “Behold, away from the fertility of the earth shall be your dwelling, And away from the dew of heaven from above.”

    These two translations seem to be the opposite of each other.

  43. Jonathan Morgan
    Posted May 1, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    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 entirely convinced by this (because I’m never entirely happy with laymen without a decent knowledge of Greek will know more than translators who have studied it for x number of years).

    An article at http://bibleq.info/answer/1551/ says that while (ancient) Greek doesn’t have punctuation, it does have rules about word order that would suggest one punctuation in English rather than another, and then applies it to Mark 16:9 and (in comments) Luke 23:43. Is this correct?

    Does similar apply to Hebrew punctuation? How about the Hebrew vowel points, which I have read in translators notes sometimes need re-punctuating from the Masoretic text and were not in the original? How much freedom do we really have, and how do we know we are right?

  44. S. Taman
    Posted May 6, 2011 at 12:37 am | Permalink

    Hello I am new to this site and haven’t yet learned greek.I have a question that I hope you can help me with! 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 himself so that the wife reverences her husband” or “otherwise the wife will fear her husband” because of the word “hina” in the greek instead of the common translation of “and the wife see to it that she reverence her husband”?

  45. S. Taman
    Posted May 6, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    Want to clarify my question. 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 himself IN ORDER THAT the wife reverence her husband” because of the word “hina” (Strongs G2443)in the greek instead of the common translation of “and the wife SEE TO IT that she reverence her husband”?

  46. iverlarsen
    Posted May 7, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Hi, S. Taman,

    The answer to your question is no. The Greek construction indicates that hINA here means “that” and is used to express a command, wish or expectation. The BDAG dictionary translates this part as “the wife is to respect her husband.”

    Of course, if a man loves his wife as Paul commands here, it is more likely that the wife will respect him. But that is not what the text says. There are commands to the husband and correspondng commands to the wife.

  47. Mike Sangrey
    Posted May 7, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    S. Taman, Iver, of course, is right. However, your question prompted me to write a posting called Using Underscores in Translation–πλὴν. The posting addresses your question just a little more fully than Iver, but it also seeks to develop something else going on in Eph. 5:33 that I hadn’t noticed before.

    Thanks for the question.

  48. Jonathan Morgan
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Another thing I have noticed is the translation of weights and measures in Bibles. Some Bibles will try to stick to the original units (e.g. “cubits”, “talents”, “denarii”, “ephah”, “bath”, etc.). Others will try to render them into modern units. Both lead to problems. Any thoughts on which is the better way to do it? (Something Wayne particularly talks about) How would modern translators translating between modern languages handle differences in the units used?

    Problem 1: Different English measurement systems
    There are two major systems of units in use in the English speaking world (metric and imperial). I, along with I think most of the English speaking world, use metric, but a lot of translations come from the US and use imperial. If they published 100% correct* metric versions in metric countries I might care less… (and if they used the Biblical units both sides would be equally fogged :) ).

    Problem 2: Anachronistic readings from the translation
    What really got me thinking about this was reading in the HCSB that distances between different parts of Ezekiel’s temple were “22 3/4 feet” apart, or “43 3/4 feet”. While these things make perfect sense as exact measurements if you have a long cubit of 21 inches, I just read it as an English speaker and think “Why is this so precise?” (whereas if I see a number like “10 cubits” I have no trouble at all understanding why that number is chosen). (I also wonder whether some of the original measurements were actually approximations, like we might say something was “10 metres across” or someone was “6 feet tall” (yes, we do use imperial for some isolated things) without meaning exactly 32 3/4 feet across or 183 centimetres tall. Similar thoughts apply to other units of measure – maybe we would be better rounding them rather than trying to represent exactly (a tenet I learnt in science was that it’s an error to represent your results after calculations as having more accuracy than the original source of the results – I loved adding lots of decimal places to prevent rounding errors, etc.).

    In particular, if the quantity is 1 or 2 or something small, changing it to something different seems anachronistic. An example that occurs to me is the talent, which changes to 75 pounds in the HCSB. When we come to Gehazi asking Naaman for money in 2 Kings 5, we get the following dialog:
    “Please give them [two sons of the prophets] 75 pounds of silver and two changes of clothes”
    But Naaman insisted, “Please, accept 150 pounds”. He urged Gehazi and then packed 150 pounds of silver in two bags with two changes of clothes.

    This feels very weird in English (why exactly did Gehazi ask for 75 pounds of silver? Why not 50 or 100? Why then did Naaman press him to take 150 pounds rather than say 100? And why then two bags?) This passage makes much more sense when we realise that he asked for 1 of something (1 talent), a very natural starting point to ask for, and Naaman suggests 2 (presumably 1 for each of the sons of the prophets). The record in talents inherently makes sense if I just treat a talent as “a unit of money” rather than “a weight which needs translating”. [I do note that "talents" is used in the parable of the talents, rather than translating it into a weight].

    In a similar way, I haven’t changed “a miss is as good as a mile” to “a miss is as good as 1.6km” or even “a miss is as good as a kilometre”.

    Problem 2: Comparisons between units losing power
    I read in Isaiah 5:
    For ten acres of vineyard shall yield but one bath,
    and a homer of seed shall yield but an ephah.

    From that, I could guess that this was a bad thing (they weren’t yielding what they were supposed to). I couldn’t get any numbers on it though (I can never remember whether it’s 1 to ten or ten to 1, and I don’t know how many baths ten acres should make or even really what a bath is). I wondered how the HCSB would translate it (hoping desperately it would not be 22 litres produces 2.2 litres), and was glad to see the kind of translation I had thought would be good myself: “10 bushels of seed will yield only one bushel”, which is probably completely off in raw numbers but gives the meaning of the text – you aren’t even recouping your expenditure, let alone growing more. [I note that the NIV text gives the homer and ephah with footnotes, while the NIV Study Bible notes gives the (more logical?) 10:1 explanation].

    (I wondered how “an omer is the tenth part of an ephah” would be translated – obviously we can’t translate both of them. It turned out to be in the HCSB “Two quarts are a tenth of an ephah”.)

    Problem 3: Trying to represent the real value of money.
    I have seen translations that try to translate money into the current value of that money. As the translation gets older and inflation continues, this becomes less and less representative. For example, I have seen translations that replaced “denarius” with $20 in the parable of the Good Samaritan. Now $20 may have been a day’s wages then, but now it most certainly isn’t and would change the meaning of how much the samaritan was giving for his “neighbour” and how much trouble it caused him. Saying “a day’s wages” might be more accurate. Leaving it at denarius might also be accurate [if I'm reading a book about India I see no problem using "rupees" rather than "dollars" because that's what they use - I don't think denarius needs to be different]. (on a related note, our perceptions of value may have changed enough that directly converting from a weight of gold/silver to a value today doesn’t necessarily give an accurate representation of what the money was worth then. For example, I have read that silver was much closer to the value of gold then than it is now. If that is true, just using the silver price now to estimate a value will be even less useful).

    Anyway, I’ve given lots of examples of problems and gone on longer than I expected, but the original question still stands: Are there good guidelines on how to translate units, and if there are what do you think they are, and how does that relate to modern translation practices?

    * I have seen an NIV that was obviously changed from imperial to metric with a quick search and replace, and any numeric references that didn’t have the unit afterwards were not converted. This turns the parable of the unjust steward in Luke 16 into something quite different:
    “How much do you owe my master?” “3 kilolitres of wheat” “Well, take your bill and write 400″.

    Consulting an imperial NIV showed that it was actually meant to go from 800 gallons to 400 gallons, which made some amount of sense.
    I’d also add that we here at least would rarely use kilolitres in ordinary speech, and would probably say 3,000 litres of wheat (if we even measured wheat in litres). You may well use 3,000 and 1,500 in preference to 3 and 1.5 anyway.

  49. Posted May 17, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    In both the RSV (1952) and the NRSV (1989), in Colossians 1:19, TO PLHRWMA (forgive my transliteration) is translated, “the fullness of God.” Consulting both the Nestle-Aland NT Graece Ed. XXVI (1979) and the UBS Greek NT 3rd ed. (1975) (which is what I have on the shelf here at home), I do not find any manuscript witness that contains “TOU THEOU” after PLHRWMA. Could someone please write me back with an explanation for adding “of God” after PLHRWMA, in the translations? I never thought about this question before. If this has already been discussed, then all I need is a URL. Any information will be gratefully received.

    Thanks in advance. — C

  50. Posted May 25, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

    A little self-promotion, I know, but but it’s for a new free online bible reader. It’s fast and simple and the navigation is fun, and most importantly, the bible text is really easy to read and pretty much takes up the whole window. Just wanted to share the link: http://thebiblein.com.

  51. Tim Chambers
    Posted May 27, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    Everyone:

    I have a question about the translation in the NT of the term “pleroo” (http://strongsnumbers.com/greek/4137.htm)
    …into the modern english use of the word “fulfilled” used in the various places in the New Testament as: “Scripture is fulfilled.”

    It seems that sometimes the New Testament the Greek word DOES refer to an explicit Messianic prediction as “occurring as predicted.”

    But seemingly MANY times in the NT it doesn’t.

    For instance:

    Matt 2:15: “…where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

    Even though Exod.4:22 etc is discussing Israel, and not specifically referring to the Messiah in any direct or concrete way.

    And John 19:36:
    “For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.’”

    But Psalm 34:19-20 which this references does not read like a specific prophecy but more like a proverb.

    Another Example:

    Heb.1:5
    …After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs. For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father”? or again, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son”?

    The second quote is from 2 Sam 7:14, and is refering that God would treat David’s son Solomon in that passage, as right after he promises “I will be his father and he will be my Son” he also says of him that: “When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands.”
    So seemingly not a prophecy of Jesus directly.

    and also:

    John 19:24
    “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.” This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said, “They divided my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.” So this is what the soldiers did.”

    John refers to Psalm 22, but that seems on the face of it to be referencing David running from Saul and needing to be saved “from the sword” and being worried that his enemies would divide his clothing among them from his starving body. The psalm doesn’t read as a specific prediction, but a present tense lamentation and prayer.

    And also this example:

    James 2:23, “Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,’ and he was called the friend of God.”

    But Gen 15:16 refers to Abraham in the past. Not seemingly a predictive bit of Scripture.

    Some of this confusion may be with the modern English translation of “fulfilled.” As we think of the word today in english is basically as: “occured as predicted.”

    Instead the NT examples above seem to be refering to OT scriptures as a sort of “foreshadow” or saying that this current event in the NT resonates with or is illustrated by those past events.

    Perhaps there is a new english word or phrase we can find for “pleroo” that is something more along the lines of as “made complete” or made fully whole, or “fully realized.”

    I thought maybe this exercise might help:

    What language would we use to say something like this:

    “The words of the Constitution ‘All Men Are Created Equal’ were fully realized when the United States outlawed slavery and granted Women the right to vote.”

    or

    “The words of the Constitution ‘All Men Are Created Equal’ were given their full meaning when the United States outlawed slavery and granted Women the right to vote.”

    In that sentence “fully realized” is somewhat close to “made fully whole” and that could apply to both the use of “pleroo” in both senses it seems to be used in Scripture, as specifically acomplishing a prediction, but also as illustrating an element of Scripture that isn’t formally any type of prediction.

    I’ve found some of this and some thinking along these lines from various writers such as:

    http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2010/12/03/it-just-doesn%E2%80%99t-seem-right-the-new-testament%E2%80%99s-use-of-old-testament-prophecy/

    http://goddidntsaythat.com/2010/10/19/what-happens-to-prophecies-in-the-new-testament/

    What do folks here think?

    Thanks…

    Tim

  52. Posted May 28, 2011 at 1:49 am | Permalink

    Tim, you’re asking a good question. I think that the answer lies within Jewish traditions of biblical interpretation, with which the Jewish authors of the New Testament were familiar. In the N.T. some O.T. passages which are quoted are treated as if they were prophecies, even if they were not actually predicting something to happen in the future. Some, perhaps most, Jewish interpreters of the Hebrew Bible (and LXX) regarded just about any passage as a legitimate proof text for whatever is trying to be proved. The Gospel of Matthew is full of “fulfilled” O.T. passages, including Matt. 2:15 which you cite. The book of Romans similarly is very Jewish in its use of O.T. quoted passages.

  53. Daniel Buck
    Posted June 8, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    “Have I conceived all this people? have I begotten them, that thou shouldest say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom, as a nursing father beareth the sucking child, unto the land which thou swarest unto their fathers?”

    Although an earlier post on this blog
    http://betterbibles.com/2007/12/24/nursing-fathers-and-nursing-mothers/
    expressed delight at the idea of ‘nursing fathers’, modern Bibles generally don’t carry the phrase at this verse. In many, the gender of the nurse is left unspecified; some even refer to ‘nursing mothers’.

    There are at least three questions which should be answered by the Bible translator before deciding on the wording for this verse:

    1) Is the noun in the masculine gender for a reason?
    2) Does the verb carry the American connotation (‘breastfeed’) or the Commonwealth connotation (‘cuddle’) of ‘nurse?’ Or perhaps both are in view?
    3) Is the emphasis in this metaphor on the age of the infant, its customary source of food, or its ongoing need to be fed?

  54. Posted June 12, 2011 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    (NOT SURE IF THIS FALLS WITHIN YOUR SUBJECT MATTER SO FEEL FREE TO IGNORE!)

    As a former member of Wycliffe Bible translators/SIL (and still a Board member of Wycliffe UK) and more recently a pastor/preacher (Charlotte Chapel, Edinburgh 1992-2009)may I throw in a late comment (having only just discovered you!) to the “Which should be the standard English Bible for churches?” debate? In my youth (50+ years ago!)when the KJV was stil used in many churches, the “fame” of some preachers who were reputed to made the Bible “live” amounted to little more than explaining 16th century English in modern English (e.g. a “publican” didn’t run a bar but was a tax-collector et al, ad infinitum)

    I wonder if some of the support for the ESV by pastors/preachers is partly (subconsciously?)a desire to preserve this perceived “expertise”. At very least, many of the examples listed by Mark Strauss (in “Why the English Standard Version (ESV)should not become the Standard English Version”) will need clarification by the preacher. When invited to preach in a church, I am happy to use whatever version is in the pews, but I would prefer to maximise my time by not having to take time doing this (rather than preaching longer sermons!)

    Peter Grainger
    Director, “2 Timothy 4, strengthening Scottish preaching”

  55. Posted June 12, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    Interesting question, Peter. I think it deserves some polling. But the polling needs to be done where ESV and KJV pastors are present.

  56. John Meunier
    Posted June 17, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    I searched this blog for “Common English Bible” but did not find a great deal. My search may have been poorly designed.

    I am looking for some thoughtful commentary and analysis of the CEB as a translation. I have no expertise and many of my reactions to the CEB are uninformed. I’m seeking to be better informed.

    Can you help me out?

  57. Posted June 26, 2011 at 1:59 am | Permalink

    Like the reformers 400 years ago I think that Bible translation isn’t all that difficult and where angels fear to treat I go boldly as is my multi generation brethren heritage to do so as we have been working with this book for at least 200 years now.
    As far as readablitiy goes i have found that the very blunt Koin/common language style of the Greek allows for a very gutsy and often hit the reader hard text as you can see in my play pen on
    paul-bibltranslation.blogspot.com
    In fact I am blown away what comes out when I am stuggling to get a word right so that fits every biblical usage, is the primary meaning of the word for a Greek person hearing it, and ignores religious ideas theories and considerations not known to a first time reader/hearer.
    You all make things far to difficult!
    Go with God, and you know sometimes the words are coming so fast at me I am writing them down before I look at the text and find it is what …Anyway..
    lots of love paul New Zealand.

  58. Posted June 26, 2011 at 4:58 am | Permalink

    In 1611 400 years ago overviewing and copying the previous works of the reformers the King James version appeared.
    Time to move on.
    In fact this year to celebrate that event Time Magazine put the expert deconstructionalist Rob Bell on its cover. So game on, as we now enter a more vicious and destructive in terms of the hundreds of millions wewho will die 21st century reformation/end times revival is what teh pentecostal prohets think of it…whatever…when the gospel came to the South Pacific if came as a result of William Carey rejecting Calvinism-bible translation and now is the time to do the job properly. We have the computers to do it, The pile of text books concordances from over 150 years ago…look don’t blame me. I am only doing what God has set before me. If you can translate more accurately then we can work together…and if you are US publisher-forget it, money making is not what this is about! love paul

  59. Posted June 27, 2011 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    I was reviewing a couple of the past issues and upon reading the article, “Why translations need careful checking” in the November 2010 blog, I decided to point out there are many well known and collectible error translations. I have listed in my book, “Catalogue of English Bible Translations; A Classified Bibliography of Versions and Editions Including Books, Parts, and Old and New Testament Apocrypha and Apocryphal Books.” William J. Chamberlin. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1991.” (Still in print after 19 yrs. This is a 898 page reference book which has set a new standard in its field.), around 35 of them.

    Here are a few of them:
    1611 “Judas” Bible. Misprints of “Judas” for “Jesus” at Matthew xxvi:36.
    1631 “Wicked” Bible or “Adulterous” Bible. The word “not” was omitted from the seventh commandment. (Ex. 20:14)
    1641 “More Sea” Bible. “the first heaven and the first earth were passed away and there was more sea.” Instead of “… there was no more sea” Rev. xxi:1
    1702 “Printers” Bible. Psalms 119:161 states, “Printers (instead of ‘Princes’) have persecuted me without a cause.”
    1716 “Sin On” Bible. The first English Bible printed in Ireland contains in Isaiah: “Sin on more” for “Sin no more”. (John 8:11) This error was not discovered until the entire impression of 8,000 copies were bound and partly distributed.
    1763 “Fool” Bible. “the fool hath said in his heart there is a God” [instead of no God]. The printers were fined 3,000 pounds and all copies were suppressed. (Psalm 14:1)
    1801 “Murderers” Bible. St. Jude 16, the word “murderers” is used instead of “murmurers”.
    1804 “Lions” Bible. This Bible pre-eminently distinguished for its many errors. A few of them are; Numbers xxxv:18, “ The murderer shall surely be put together” for “to death”; I Kings vii:19, “Out of thy lions” instead of “loins”; and Gal.v:17, “For the flesh lusteth after the spirit” for “against”. Oxford: Clarendon Press. (DMH 1474)
    1810 “Wife-Hater” Bible. Luke xiv:26 reads, “If any man come to me, and hate not his father. . . yea, and his own wife (should be ‘life’) also, he cannot be my disciple.”
    1823 “Camels” Bible. Misprint at Genesis xxiv:61, “And Rebekah arose, and her camels”, for “damsels”. London: Eyre and Strahan for B.F.B.S. (DMH 1723)

    These are just a few of the more well-known error Bibles. Even though there are at least one error or more in every book printed, it is very important to try to minimize errors in the special vocation of translating God’s written Word. Of course, most of the errors are probably printer errors, at least, that is what I like to think,.

  60. Andrew Currah
    Posted August 4, 2011 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    Hello everyone,

    Thought you would be interested in this new app just published by Bodleian Libraries, Oxford, UK. The Making of the King James Bible is available now for iPhone, iPad
    and Android:

    http://apps.toura.com/bodleian-library-at-oxford/the-making-of-the-king-james-bible

    Featuring over 60 items from the exhibition, including original and previously unseen manuscripts, the app traces the history of the King James Bible, particularly the role of Oxford, and the influence of the translation in England up to 1769. We’re excited to give users the opportunity to explore such a wide range of original manuscripts.

    We would love your feedback and/or any help to get the word out to
    interested groups.

    Thanks, Andrew

  61. Adam
    Posted August 12, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    I thought this might make for an interesting discussion on the blog:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44117239/ns/world_news-mideast_n_africa/

  62. BradK
    Posted September 5, 2011 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Greetings, BBB bloggers. I have a question about the word “we” in Romans 1:5. In reading I found myself wondering to whom this word refers. It seemed as though it could refer to Paul and his associates or to the believers at Rome or to all believers or to some subset or combination of any of those. But the Greek doesn’t appear to even containthe “we” there. Am I missing something? Why do various English translations supply the word and from where do they derive it? If the addition of a pronoun is required for clear English, why was we chosen over I?

    Thanks.

  63. Posted September 5, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    BradK, you’ve asked a couple of good questions.

    1. The “we” is actually there in the Greek. The participle verb is marked as a 1st person plural, so there is the explicit “we.”

    2. Who does the “we” refer to? It sounds like an editorial “we” to me since Paul was likely referring to his own apostleship. He sometimes did so to demonstrate that he had apostolic authority to instruct believers as he did.

  64. BradK
    Posted September 5, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Wayne. This is very helpful.

  65. Posted September 5, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    More precisely, Wayne and Brad, the word elabomen in Romans 1:5 which “is marked as a 1st person plural” is not a participle but a finite verb. Participles are not marked for person.

    I think it could well be argued that “we” here is inclusive, and that the Romans are called to share in Paul’s apostolic ministry. Compare Matthew 28:18-20 which implies that it is not just for the twelve but also for the disciples they make to complete the task among “all nations”, the link between that passage and this verse. But I recognise that that suggestion might be theologically controversial.

    By the way a couple of days ago I posted on my own blog about the meaning of “nations” in that Matthew passage.

  66. Posted September 5, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    So right, Peter, with in-finite gratitude, thanks.

  67. Posted September 19, 2011 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the invitation to share links; here are some links to a project I’ve been working on: a couple of video-lectures about the ending of the Gospel of Mark:

    Lecture One: Mark 16:9-20 and Patristic Evidence (3 Parts):
    Part 1 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzJVTDi7SGs
    Part 2 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2y2KQaLyARw
    Part 3 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEo1tWlUta4

    Lecture Two: Mark 16:9-20 & the Abrupt Ending (4 Parts):
    Part 1 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKCMduynjNE
    Part 2 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUz3XK2nYmY
    Part 3 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CeMV6N7kxvE
    Part 4 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUwW4Bd6i-0

    Enjoy and share!

    (The materials in these lectures are covered in greater detail in my Kindle eBook, “Authentic: The Case for Mark 16:9-20,” which is for sale (extra cheap as I celebrate the completion of these video-lectures) at Amazon, and which I am willing to give to anyone who contacts me and requests a copy.)

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.
    Minister, Curtisville Christian Church
    Indiana (USA)

  68. Jemimah
    Posted September 23, 2011 at 1:31 am | Permalink

    What is the possible legitimate justification for the translation of the transliterated Hebrew words ‘Yehovah Elohiym’ as ‘LORD God’ throughout the OT? I am very curious to get an understanding on this subject in light of Gen 4:26, (when men began to profane the name of Yehovah), Jer 12:16, Hos 2:16, 17 and Zep 3:9. It is so like the enemy of mankind to offer us counterfeits to everything the Creator gives to us as blessings. There are a lot of blessings associated with calling on the Name. Shalom!

  69. Jemimah
    Posted September 23, 2011 at 2:16 am | Permalink

    Someone told me that Deut 22:5 forbids women wearing pants; even women’s slacks. I can see the second part being a good translation forbidding men from wearing women’s clothing. The first part of the verse seems to be saying that a woman should not be on top of a man’s appartus in a downward motion? What do you think? Are there any cross references to that verse? Shalom!

  70. Posted October 9, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    You might find this interesting. The Masoretic text and the Septuagint (LXX) have very different translations of Zechariah 14:5. The study at http://zechariahfourteenfive.wordpress.com proves that the LXX version is the correct translation.

  71. Mark Denning
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    This is not specifically about bible translation but it is about translation of the Roman Catholic Mass and the recent changes. It seems to relate to many of the same conversations that go on here a Better Bible Bibles Blog. All the recent changes to the translation of the Mass make it less clear for the modern person in my opinion. I also thought the Italian proverb about all translators being traitors was interesting.

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/11/04/mass-confusion/

  72. cicley
    Posted November 9, 2011 at 3:17 am | Permalink

    I’ve been having self doubt about my faith can you give me a book in the bible to read to uplift me

  73. David Overturf
    Posted November 9, 2011 at 4:50 am | Permalink

    Cicley,

    Yes, read 1st John. Pay attention to Chapter 2, verses 2, 12, and 25.

    My prayers are with you.

    David

  74. cicley
    Posted November 10, 2011 at 1:28 am | Permalink

    thank you very much

  75. Mike in Kirkland
    Posted November 20, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Hi All,
    I have no web site reference. I can not give the author speaking on the Christian preaching program. All I can do it tell you that I liked what I heard, it made a lot of sense and I have believed it since. However, because I could not find it in the Scripture reference I thought he refered to, I am glad I stummbled upon your site so you might help bring light upon it.

    The speaker gave reference to an old Hebrew idiom used in the OT. The idiom is “do well”. He said that when translated it means ‘to always be adjusting’. I liked it. I have used it often to help people in times of trouble and to know that the way to peace is Jesus Christ.

    Please let me know what you know.

    Mike

  76. Posted December 1, 2011 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    Wayne, I apparently don’t have a current email for you. Could you drop me a note? (If you can’t pull my email address from WordPress admin, you can use the contact form on my blog.)

    Thanks,

    Rod Decker

  77. Posted December 2, 2011 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Hi guys,

    Do you know of any resources which look at the impact of layout and whitespace on communication and readability?

    I’m particularly thinking of how poetry such as the Psalms should be laid out, but as well whether other types of layout would enhance a translation.

    Examples of interesting layout for me would be the Voice translation (a PDF of John is available on their website http://www.hearthevoice.com/) which uses layout as well as colour and font choice.

    Even traditional translations of the Psalms use a layout which has left aligned phrases, possibly with alternate indentation, e.g. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+1&version=NIV

    Is there any actual literature on the best way to do this?

  78. Chris White
    Posted December 20, 2011 at 5:19 am | Permalink

    I have an interesting problem. While doing a Bible search on the New Testament uses of “heaven”, using the Greek-English Interlinear found in WordSearch software–I am just an amateur–I noticed that in many places, maybe most places, the word heaven was plural–as in “repent for the kingdom of the heavens is at hand” or our Father who is in the heavens”.

    The Strong’s did not differentiate between the plural and the singular and neither did the translations I have. What gives? It could make a difference if the passage is talking about a particular place (heaven) or a wider expanse (the heavens).

    Is this just a quirk of the Greek or it is due to some other reason (like my G-E Interlinear is way off?

    I would be grateful for any response. Thanks

    Chris

  79. Posted December 20, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Chris, that’s a very good question.

    Most interpreters think that there is no difference in meaning between the singular and the plural. There may be a tendency for the singular to be used for the literal “sky” and the plural for the spiritual “heaven”, but that is not a definite rule. On that basis most translators have not made a distinction between the two.

    I accept that there could be a subtle distinction in meaning between singular and the plural, and that it is legitimate for a careful Bible student to look for that distinction. But I am not sure that this is a matter for an “amateur” like yourself, as such a study is likely to require a good level of Greek, and of wider understanding of language and theology. I would encourage you to work on studying these, and for the moment to consider any distinctions you might find as tentative ones.

  80. Posted December 21, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    Good question, and with a good answer from Peter.

  81. Zach
    Posted December 21, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    I’m a pastor in a conservative Lutheran congregation. I’m looking for suggestions pertaining to a Bible translation that is in clear English, but also literary and beautiful. Will anyone offer a suggestion?

  82. Posted December 22, 2011 at 3:59 am | Permalink

    Zach asked:

    I’m a pastor in a conservative Lutheran congregation. I’m looking for suggestions pertaining to a Bible translation that is in clear English, but also literary and beautiful. Will anyone offer a suggestion?

    Hmm, conservative (that’s me), clear (just as clear as the original biblical languages, absolutely!), including literary and beautiful language(I love both). Now, is there an English version that meets all 4 of these criteria, plus the most important one that I’m sure you assume, Zach, as I do, accurate?

    I can’t think of an English Bible version that can fit all five criteria. Oh, how I wish I could!

    The New Living Translation would come close but I don’t know how literary it would be considered. And some would question its accuracy, although my own impression is that, overall, it is at least as accurate as more literal translations which communicate misleading or unclear meanings.

    The NIV (2011) fits all the criteria pretty well, but WELS has strongly come out against it with regards to the English it uses to translate indefinite and generic meanings of the biblical text. So even though NIV2011 is theologically conservative, it may not be considered linguistically conservative enough by conservative a conservative Lutheran congregation. And this linguistic conservatism often is grounded in a sense of theological conservatism (male hierarchy, inheritance, etc.)

    The ESV would satisfy all five criteria for many conservative congregations today. But I would disagree that its English is clear. It has much English which is odd. And oddness and clarity don’t go together, in my opinion. But your congregation may disagree and the ESV may be their choice if they were exposed to a number of passages from different English Bible versions and then they voted.

    What possibilities have you considered for your congregation, Pastor Zach?

  83. Zach
    Posted December 22, 2011 at 4:25 am | Permalink

    Wayne,

    Thanks for the input! The denomination has tried to push the NRSV upon us. While I understand that it is accurate, the gender language ruffles my, and the Church Council’s, feathers. We all like the REB, but it’s just not that accessible. RSV would be nice, but it’s also gone.

    We took the NLT for a test drive, but 87% of the responding members of the congregation (out of 213 votes) said it was just to bland. I never though choosing a translation would be this tough!

  84. Posted December 22, 2011 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    Zach lamented:

    RSV would be nice, but it’s also gone.

    Well, the ESV is the RSV with minor conservative theological revision. If you have spent significant time with the RSV and use the ESV, you will feel that you are reading the same text and you are. The ESV translation team used the RSV text and modified it to meet their theological concerns. A few other words are revised but not much.

  85. David Overturf
    Posted December 22, 2011 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    Zach,

    The NASB (1995 update) will meet all of your criteria.

    I use it in Bible study where many different translations are used. It reads well and is easy to understand.

    My belief is that the NASB contains no bias toward any particular denomination or theology. It is simply the best effort of excellent Biblical scholars.

    I selected it after asking God to give me guidance. The companion “NASB Life Application Study Bible” (Zondervan) is also very complete and helpful.

    Blessings,

    David Overturf

  86. Posted December 23, 2011 at 2:19 am | Permalink

    Chris –

    Let me disagree with Peter here and draw your attention to 2Cor 12:2, where Paul specifically mentions the “3rd heaven”. In Jewish theology the wandering stars (planets) are heavens in order The moon, Mercury, Venus, the sun, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Each one has theological significance. When an author is using “the heavens” he’s talking about the cosmos as a collection of different levels. And this can be important because in some of the lower heavens there are demonic influences, while the higher heavens are more and more distant from humanity. When an author says “heaven” there isn’t the whole complex theology, generally.

    This isn’t so much an issue of complex Greek as it is crossing a cultural divide. You will find this a lot with a Greek Interlinear it will pull you into all sorts of exciting theology contained within the bible, hidden gems.

  87. Posted December 23, 2011 at 2:45 am | Permalink

    Zach –

    If you are willing to consider the REB it is fantastic bible. What do you mean by “not that accessible”? For a study bible ( http://www.amazon.com/Oxford-Study-Bible-Revised-Apocrypha/dp/0195290011 ). Baker and Cambridge still have a Pew version (though a bit pricey). You aren’t going to do better than literary, accurate and clear than the REB. Seriously if your congregation is willing to go with, I’d do it. Worst you are looking at $10 extra per pew to get the bible you really want.

    You aren’t going to have 25 choices the the REB but that’s useful everyone can standardize on the same study bible for things like small church study groups. Go for it.

    As an aside, not trying to disuade you from the REB, which is really great, but there are plenty of RSV’s around. Tons of materials as well, though most of the newer stuff is coming from Catholics like the excellent Navarre Bible.

    Also have you considered the NET it is conservative on issues of gender, somewhat literary in the same way as the REB (though not as well written) and has terrific translator footnotes. The electronic version is free and low cost, and they sell a Pew bible.

  88. Posted December 23, 2011 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    CD-Host, you don’t disagree with me at all. This is precisely the kind of subtle distinction which I said could be found here, although it is ignored by most translators. But it can be discerned properly only by someone with a thorough understanding of the cultural background.

  89. Jim VanHook
    Posted December 23, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Read the discussion on N.T. Wright’s essay on translation, and am curious about this community’s response to his own translation, now out in print.

  90. Zach
    Posted January 1, 2012 at 2:55 am | Permalink

    Hey guys,

    Thanks everyone for the help! We have decided to pursue either the REB (my personal choice) and the ESV. Please pray for us as we decide which version of the word of God to choose!

    Love in Christ!

  91. Jojo Gabriel
    Posted January 26, 2012 at 1:13 am | Permalink

    How would compare HCSB and ISV? Which is the better translation? I’m planning to use one for every purpose (reading, studying, teaching, memorizing). Which one would you recommend to someone whose primary language is not English? I can understand HCSB but noticed that ISV is more readable. I don’t know which one is more accurate because I don’t know Hebrew/Greek.

    Thanks.

  92. Posted January 26, 2012 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    JoJo asked:

    How would compare HCSB and ISV?

    It is very difficult to know which of the two translations, HCSB or ISV, is more accurate. I have worked with both translations and both are very accurate. My personal suggestion would be to use the one that you like better. I usually prefer a translation that is more readable and more natural, as long as it is not less accurate.

  93. Jack Robinson
    Posted January 26, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    I have a question about the NLT translation [the latest edition from 2007]. Are there many churches that are adopting this as a main translation for pulpit use? The reason for my question is that I work with folks whose primary language is not English and have a hard time understanding some of the more formal translations.

  94. Posted January 26, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    Jack, I’m trying to get an answer for you from Tyndale.

  95. Jack Robinson
    Posted January 26, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Wayne. I really appreciate your efforts.

  96. Jojo Gabriel
    Posted January 26, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    Wayne,

    Thanks for your response.

    I have another question. Which is more readable: ISV or NIV11? I’m assuming ISV use less/no American idioms.

    Thanks again.

  97. Posted January 26, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    JoJo, I think ISV is more readable than NIV2011.

  98. Posted January 26, 2012 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    Jack, here is the response to your question from Tyndale:

    “Mark [Taylor]:

    We conduct an annual survey of Protestant Senior Pastors through the Barna Group.

    In that survey we find that three out of ten pastors in the US say they have used the NLT from the pulpit. There have been five years of consistent pulpit penetration, but no significant annual increase since 2005.

    Pastors and churches more likely than average (31%) to have used the NLT from the pulpit include:
    * Churches within charismatic or Pentecostal denominations (42%)
    * Pastors serving 10-19 years in full-time ministry (41%)
    * Self-identified charismatic or Pentecostal churches (39%)
    * Seminary graduates (38%)
    * Churches with a mid-sized annual budget, $150K to $499K (37%)

    57% of pastors own a copy of the NLT
    7% read it daily
    15% read it every week
    Only 21% say they never read it

    28% of pastors have an extremely or very favorable view of the NLT (up from 25% in 2009). 22% of pastors have a not favorable view of the NLT (this is down from 24% in 2009).

    Of the pastors who view the NLT either extremely or very favorable, 75% of them use the NLT from the pulpit. In other words 21% of all pastors view the NLT extremely or somewhat favorably and use it from the pulpit at some level of frequency. This number has been somewhat stable over the past 4-5 years.

    We do not have accurate data on the number of churches using the NLT as their main pulpit translation.”

  99. Jack Robinson
    Posted January 27, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the information. For what it is worth, a couple of the Christian bookstores that I frequent tell me that they have been seeing an increase in the sales of the NLT.

    Despite a few weaknesses here and there, the NLT seems to benefit many readers [including those who have been believers for many years] in terms of better understanding a given passage. Hope this translation gets more attention in terms of its pulpit usage.

  100. Posted January 30, 2012 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    Hello Wayne, Peter, others

    You folks have a discussion going somewhere about this?
    Or do you know of a discussion

    NEW BIBLE VERSIONS REMOVE ‘FATHER’ AND ‘SON OF GOD’ BECAUSE IT OFFENDS MUSLIMS

    http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2012/01/new-bible-versions-remove-father-and-son-of-god-because-it-offends-muslims.html

    I got a question about this this evening. News to me. I know Peter Kirk has worked in this area of the world so I am wondering what you all know about what is going on.

    You can PM me if you don’t want to discuss it on your blog.
    Thanks,

    C. Stirling Bartholomew

  101. Posted January 30, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Regarding the post about Bible translations sponsored by Wycliffe and SIL removing references to “Father” and “Son” — I saw the same report you did — at JihadWatch instead of at AtlasShrugs — and it’s important to realize that this is a report *about* a report: that is, *this* report is that someone has contributed a report to Yahoo with those claims. That doesn’t mean those claims are correct. The name of the contributor is Islamic.

    So before anyone concludes that Wycliffe Bible Translators and partner-organizations have de-gendered any references to deity in their Bible translations, one should consider the possibility that this report was an attempt to cause discord and to provoke readers to drop their support of Bible translations that are reaching Islamic countries and which are being read there.

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.

  102. Posted January 30, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Hi C.S.

    Wayne created a thread to address this ( http://betterbibles.com/2012/01/30/translation-of-divine-familial-terms/) but didn’t post a link here. So my main reason for posting is to to let you know. Now my $.02 on the issue:

    Islamic Christians and Jews do use Allah for God, that’s just the word in Arabic. Christians for example do this even when using trinitarian language: Allāh al-ibn is God the Father. Moreover Ĕlāhā which is essentially Allah is the Assyrian Christianity word for God goes back as far as we can have literature, so quite possibly to communities mentioned in the New Testament itself.

    You translate into Arabic and you have to confront the issue of the fact that after 1400 years of Islamic being the dominant religion Arabic culture is Islamic culture and everything is written in terms of Islam. This BTW is exactly the same sorts of problems a Buddhist or a Hindu or a Muslim would have in translating their scriptures into English. Words like “savior”, “sin”, “God”, “trinity” have unavoidable Christian overtones.

    And BTW this presents a problem even for Christian translators of the New Testament itself into English. Think about the debates on Romans 3:25 and how to handle
    hilasterion

    You can translate it as “propitiation” but that has unavoidable Calvinist overtones in modern English. You can translate it as “expiation” but that has unavoidable Arminian overtones, and unavoidable forces Karl Barth into the conversation. You can duck by using something like “sacrifice of atonement” but then you restructure the entire sentence.

    Arguably this entire blog addresses the sorts of problems that SIL was facing.

    _____

    Peter –

    Since this question was actually directed at you and you may not know who Pamela Geller (the blog linked to) is…. Pamela Geller is an American Tea Party activist who is trying to create an explicitly anti-Islamic right in America. You can think of her as a leader in the American version of the EDL, as long as you don’t take the analogy too far. She has had some measure of success in creating fake scares and the linked article is typical of her style. Her mission is to try and find cultural things like this and make them inflammatory. For example she has helped raise concerns about Sharia law taking over the United States that has led to several state level statutes designed to stop the spread of sharia, fix a non existent problem while actually enacting discrimination into law. She led major national protests against a cultural center / mosque being built a few blocks near where the World Trade Center used to be.

    Geller has spent too much time writing on Arabic Islam to not know the above about Arabic Christians. Further, given that she is a Jewish Atheist her sincerity in being worried about the proclamation of the gospel I think is fair game. In general Geller acts as a bridge, taking ideas from global fascist movements and presenting them to a readership drawn from groups like “Women for Sarah Palin” (another group she heads) who are likely to be influenced by this presentation differently.

  103. Posted January 30, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Stirling, thank you for mentioning me. I think Wayne has addressed this adequately, so I will not comment further here.

    CD-Host, thanks for the information about Pamela Geller. But this is a real issue worthy of discussion, and so should not be written off because of its source.

  104. Posted January 31, 2012 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    James, the Yahoo! News article is by Hussein Hajji Wario, who despite his Islamic name is a Christian, as is clear from the About page on his blog, on which he also writes about his article.

    This doesn’t mean that I agree with Wario. In particular he is irresponsible to write “Calls and emails to Wycliffe and SIL to clarify their positions were not returned” when, as he reports, he had already received a statement from these organisations in response to the petition he is involved with.

  105. Daniel
    Posted March 4, 2012 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    Substantives For Needy [Person] in Hebrew

    There are 40 different places throughout the Hebrew Scriptures where the word אביון [one being poor/ a needy person] is found. However, this word is predominately translated to read as though written אביני, אביוניה, or אביונים [needy people]. The word אביון should be expressed in the singular and include a substantive when needed. Unfortunately, most translations express this word in the plural. I have only listed those places below where this word is translated as written in Hebrew, unless otherwise noted:

    Deu 15:4
    CEV No one in Israel
    ISV no poor person among you
    NRSV no one in need among you

    Job 31:19
    CJB someone in need
    GW a poor person
    NET a poor man
    NAB a poor man
    NIV a needy man
    NRSV a poor person
    REB a poor man

    Note: GW and NRSV make a better choice using [person]

    Psa 72:12
    GW the needy person

    Psa 107:41
    GNB needy from their
    NAB poor…from their
    NJB needy… from their
    NIV needy out of their
    NLT poor from their

    REB the poor man

    Note: I have included the GNB, NAB, NJB, NIV, and NLT for comparative reasons… although correctly adding the substantive; they are incorrectly expressed as a plural. Nevertheless, the REB correctly places the substantive

    Psa 109:31
    CJB a needy person
    ISV the needy one
    NIV the needy one

    Psa 113:7
    ISV the poor person…the needy
    Note: poor person is singular in Hebrew and so is needy… therefore it should follow as the previous word expressed

    Pro 14:31
    ESV a poor man… the needy
    Note: poor man is singular in Hebrew and so is needy… therefore it should follow as the previous word expressed

    Isa 25:4
    HCSB the humble person

    Jer 20:13
    NASB the needy one
    NJB one in need

    Note: It is interesting seeing the NASB on the list…

    Amo 2:6
    HCSB a needy person
    NAB the poor man
    NLT poor people

    Note: NLT added for comparative reasons… although correctly adding the substantive; it is incorrectly expressed as a plural. Nevertheless, the HCSB and NAB correctly place the substantive

    Amo 8:6
    NAB the poor man
    NLT poor people

    Note: NLT added for comparative reasons… although correctly adding the substantive; it is incorrectly expressed as a plural. Nevertheless, the HCSB and NAB correctly place the substantive

  106. Daniel
    Posted March 4, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    The Weak Substantive Among the Mighty

    The Hebrew word אַבִּיר [mighty one] is found six times in the Scriptures and mostly functions as a noun. This word occurs in Gen 49:24, Isa 1:24, Isa 49:26, and Isa 60:16 where it refers to God as the [Mighty One]. The same word is then found in 1Sa 21:7 where it refers to Doeg as [one who is mighty] among Saul’s shepherds. However, in Job 34:20, most English Bibles translate this word [the mighty] making it plural rather than singular. Below are examples where this word is translated other than [the mighty]:

    1. The CEV reads, [powerful rulers] rather than [a powerful ruler]
    2. GW reads, [Mighty people] rather than [A mighty person]
    3. The ISV reads, [valiant men] rather than [a valiant person]
    4. The NAB reads, [the powerful] rather than [a powerful person]

    Two Bibles have correctly translated this word in the singular and Rotherham has treated it with the substantive:

    1. The NJB reads [a tyrant]
    2. Rotherham reads [A mighty one]

  107. Daniel
    Posted March 5, 2012 at 3:36 am | Permalink

    It Is Not Foolish To Use a Substantive When Needed
    The Hebrew word, אֱוִיל serves as an adjective, and in the plural reads, אֱוִלים meaning foolish, silly, or impious. This word is mostly written as a substantive and should read [a foolish person] or [a fool]. This word and variants of it are located as noted below:

    אויל [a foolish person] Job 5:3; Pro 7:22; Pro 10:14; Pro 11:29; Pro 12:15; Pro 12:16; Pro 14:3; Pro 15:5; Pro 17:28; Pro 20:3; Pro 27:3; Pro 29:9; Jer 4:22; Hos 9:7

    לאויל [to a foolish person] Job 5:2; Pro 24:7

    אולים [foolish people] Psa 107:17; Pro 14:9; Pro 16:22

    אוילים [foolish people] Pro 1:7

    ואויל [and a foolish person] Pro 10:8; Pro 10:10

    ואוילים [and foolish people] Pro 10:21; Isa 35:8

    האויל [the foolish person] Pro 27:22

    Since this word serves as an adjective, and is mostly treated as a substantive it should be translated as such whenever possible. Below are only a few examples of how this word is used among several English Bibles:

    Job 5:2
    CEV a stupid fool
    GW a stubborn fool
    KJV NASB the foolish man
    NET the foolish person
    NIV a fool

    Job 5:3
    CJB HCSB ISV NAB NIV a fool

    Psa 107:17
    CJB foolish people

    Pro 1:7
    CEV a fool

    Pro 7:22
    CEV CJB ISV KJV a fool

    Pro 10:8 [Literally, one foolish of lips]
    CJB ESV NASB a babbling fool
    GW the one who talks foolishly
    ISV the chattering fool
    KJV NAB a prating fool
    NET the one who speaks foolishness
    NJB NRSV a gabbling fool
    NIV a chattering fool
    REB the foolish talker

    Note: The above are notable examples of translating from Hebrew to English!

    Pro 10:14 [Literally, mouth of a foolish one]
    CEV foolish talk
    CJB REB when a fool speaks
    NET foolish speech
    NLT NRSV the babbling of a fool

    Note: The above are notable examples of translating from Hebrew to English!

    Pro 11:29
    HCSB REB a fool

    Pro 12:15
    ESV KJV NIV a fool
    GW A stubborn fool
    HCSB A fool’s way
    REB A fool’s conduct

    Pro 12:16
    CJB A fool’s anger
    ESV GNB ISV a fool
    GW a stubborn fool
    NIV NLT REB A fool

    Pro 14:3 [Literally, in the mouth of a foolish one]
    GW a stubborn fool’s words
    HCSB proud speech of a fool
    REB The speech of a fool

    Note: The above are notable examples of translating from Hebrew to English!

    Pro 14:9
    GNB Foolish people

    Pro 16:22
    GNB stupid people

    Note: The word stupid fits the context of the verse but I would have said [those who hate wisdom].

    Pro 27:22 [The only place where ה hey is in beginning of word]

    NET NAB the fool

    Note: It is interesting that most translations read [a fool] and eliminate the [hey].

    Isa 35:8 [plural]
    HCSB NJB REB the fool

    Note: Since this word is both singular and plural, the text should be translated in the plural and read, fools or, foolish people.

  108. Jack Robinson
    Posted March 8, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    I have a question regarding the NIV 2011′s rendering of Psalm 138:6 which reads:

    “Though the LORD is exalted, he looks kindly on the lowly; though lofty, he sees them from afar.”

    The question is regarding the second part of the verse: It gives the sense that the Lord who is lofty sees the lowly from afar [i.e. he cares for the lowly].

    However all the other mainline translations [NASB, ESV, HCSB, NET and even NIV84/TNIV] render the second half something along the lines of the Lord keeps his distance from the proud [the lofty is taken as a reference to the proud individual rather than the position of the Lord in heaven].

    Can someone explain the reason why NIV 2011 translates it this way?

  109. Stephen Love
    Posted March 10, 2012 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    I often read BBB posts, but I think there may be an unintended side-effect on ‘lay’ readers. (I see myself as well-educated, even in expert in my own field, but a ‘lay’ person when it comes to translation and the original languages of the Bible).

    Leaving aside occasions when some of the experts get a little personal (e.g. the comments on that post about the NRSV), an expert discussion can give the impression that there is a lot wrong with modern versions of the Bible, with the opinions varying as to which are the least wrong or the most wrong.

    I may be exaggerating a little here, but I think this unintended side effect is really there. For slightly obsessive persons like me, this encourages me to agonise over which is the ‘best version’, and to flip constantly from one version to another, which I think is not really helpful, at least for me.

    In that regard, I found this discussion helpful: http://heissufficient.wordpress.com/2009/04/14/maybe-the-question-is-not-what-versions-of-the-bible-do-you-use/

    I was encouraged therefore by the ever-irenic Wayne Leman, who is obviously also an expert translator!, when he said basically said that most? versions are very good, accurate etc, the choice really comes down to what style of English you prefer. (or words to that effect: I can’t find his comment right now on BBB).

    If the experts on BBB would like to comment, I am listening :-)

    Thanks,

    Steve L 2012-03-10

  110. Posted March 10, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    Stephen–

    I’m one of the people who does think there is a lot wrong with modern versions of the bible. And if the effect of reading these discussions is to get you to start thinking about translational issues, I think that is good. I don’t think it is an unintended side effect of coming to this understanding at all, but rather an essential part of the process by which you yourself become a much better bible reader.

    You aren’t going to be able to go to a naive view that the english captures greek / hebrew almost completely. And that’s fine if your goal is a quick read a chapter at a time. But if your goal is deep study, that mistrust of the English should be part of your psyche. That’s a good thing. You’ll start picking your versions with an understanding of their likely strengths and weaknesses based upon that one time intended use.

  111. Stephen L
    Posted March 10, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for your reply, CD-Host.

    I understand what you are saying, but perhaps I should also say that I have learnt a language other than English, and that when it comes to Bible versions I don’t have a naive view about translation.

    Further, I may do quick chapter skimming to get an overview, but my study of the Bible is somewhat more than this.

    As an expert in my own field, I do believe that experts can lose touch with ‘the common folk’. I would love those non-expert in my own area of expertise to become expert, but all I can reasonably expect is for them to learn more and at least become aware of the issues.

    I smile to myself when experts (even on this blog for example) in Gk/Heb suggest that people really need to become expert in the original languages to become good, mature students of the Bible. For my part I think I am capable of this, but at my stage of life I think it unlikely that I would achieve proficiency before I mett the author himself.

    For me at least, my time perhaps would be better spent in reading/studying a decent English version (or versions) of the Bible, seeking help as appropriate to better understand the meaning/nuances of various passages.

    Steve L 2012-03-11

  112. Posted March 11, 2012 at 3:26 am | Permalink

    Most of our English translations are good. But, they could be a lot better too!

  113. Posted March 27, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    I’m a Christian author who writes about the Jewish background of Christianity.

    Jews devote enormous energy to reading and debating about the Torah and Tanakh (our Old Testament), so I wondered if they have translation debates like we do, like those about the KJV or NIV. I was surprised that the answer was “no” – see this post for more.

    http://ourrabbijesus.com/articles/translation-debates-jewish-view/

    Thanks,

    Lois Tverberg

  114. Posted March 27, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    Lois –

    As you mention in your post, Jews don’t consider any book in English to be “the word of God”. Once no one claims the bible translation is anything more than a commentary the stakes are much lower. In the Christian community there are passionate arguments about translations but their aren’t passionate arguments about commentaries. The Christian community derives theology and rules of practice from translations so there are stakes. The Jewish and muslim communities don’t do that. Just imagine if Christians thought of the TNIV as nothing more than IBS’s commentary on the bible, rather than “the bible in English”. If the laity rejects the idea there can even be such a thing as “the bible in English” it is less important.

    On top of that Jews totally reject anything like sola scriptura. The most binding documents are the Talmud, the bible while interesting is not the highest authority. Again think about books like Calvin’s Institutes or Saint Augustine’s City of God. Again in Christianity, there aren’t passionate debates about the translations of these works because the stakes are lower.

    As an aside, and this is clearly a longer argument, I’d be a vastly more nuanced in tying Christianity to what is today called Judaism.

  115. Sidney W.
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 2:54 am | Permalink

    According to William D. Barrick(Professor of Old Testament at The Master’s Seminary) he claims we should not make The Word of God “Lordless(ἀκυρόω)” as he renders it in Matt.15:6. I’ve search many dictionaries, lexicons, and grammars and have not found any supporting evidence for this.

    Is this a case of literal(LORDLESS) vs. non-literal(VOID)?

    I’ve sent an email but have yet to receive a response from him.

  116. Mike Sangrey
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    Sidney,

    The chief meaning of κυρόω (note no ἀ) has to do with legal actions and can be thought of in English as “to enforce, to confirm, to validate”. See Kittel Vol 3, pgs 1098-99.

    The opposite of κυρόω is also a technical legal term and has the idea of “to make invalid” and “to rob of force.”

    Using the pieces of the word in a creative way by thinking of ἀκυρόω as “lordless” is the same as thinking the intent of sweaters is to make one sweat. In lexicography, one must analyse the actual usages of the term and not their form(s).

    I don’t mean any offence or disrespect to William Barrick, but it seems to me he’s lumping together κύριος, κυρόω, and ἀκυρόω. And, he’s doing so across languages. That’s importing too much semantic material from too many places into a single word. I think he has simply confused his readers/hearers.

    We gain much more accurate exegetical insight into Matthew 15:6 when we realize ἀκυρόω is a legal term. One could translate something like:
    Thus you empty the word of God of it’s legal power for the sake of your traditions. That gets to the point Jesus is making.

  117. Chris Lee
    Posted April 12, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Just curious, have you found/are you aware of any blogs that follow Bible translations, specifically passage by passage and say working through entire texts or systematically go through various books of the Bible?

    On the one hand, I am not a fan of being the center of attention, and on the other hand, I am interested in dialoguing with people, but I am loathe to start my own blog on the matter :)

    I have translated a majority of the New Testament (I am currently in Acts 13) — currently loving Luke’s very technical words like parachema and ekpsucho and esthes. Definitely can appreciate especially looking at his vocabulary and grammar that Luke and Acts are written by the same person.

  118. Posted April 12, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    Chris, I’m not aware of any such blogs but there might be some.

  119. Stephen
    Posted April 17, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    Greetings, I was wondering if any of you had seen this article by Baptist biblical theologian James Hamilton commenting on the nature of translation accuracy. Coming from a biblical theologian at a more conservative school (Southern Seminary) that touts translations on the word-for-word side like ESV/NAS/HCS, you could probably expect what his argument is, but I would like to see what someone here has to say about it. Does clarity of voice in a single passage take priority all or some of the time over letting different parts of the Bible echo each other (I suppose this is similar to a simple concordant translation philosophy but a little more nuanced)?

    http://jimhamilton.info/2012/04/16/what-makes-a-translation-accurate/

  120. Daniel Buck
    Posted April 25, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    http://www.bib-arch.org/bar/article.asp?PubID=BSBA&Volume=38&Issue=3&ArticleID=23
    Some Israelis are incensed about a recent modern Hebrew edition of the Bible. The Bible has been translated into 2,000 modern languages, but the modern Hebrew edition is the first to spark Israeli controversy. According to an article in Hadassah Magazine, this newest Bible translation has been called scandalous, pernicious and even fraudulent. Some fear that if this modern Hebrew “translation” is used in schools, the children will grow estranged from the Biblical language.

    The new modern Hebrew “translation” of the Bible is the result of a four-a-half-year effort by 90-year-old kibbutznik Avraham Ahuvia, a retired Bible teacher. What he did, according to publisher Rafi Mozes of Reches Educational Projects, was “mediate between the Biblical language and the Hebrew spoken today.”

    Gil’ad Zuckermann, a professor of linguistics, maintains that Israeli modern Hebrew is a hybrid of ancient Hebrew, Yiddish, Russian, Polish, Romanian and other languages. Zuckermann notes that the disconnect between the modern and Biblical language leads to misunderstanding of the original text. He points out that, “Most Israelis misunderstand yeled sha’ashuim [Jeremiah 31:19] as ‘playboy’ rather than ‘pleasant child.’”

    Drora Halevy, national supervisor of Bible studies at the Ministry of Education, claims: “This translation cuts out the heart of the Bible. It reduces the Bible to just another book. In the Bible, form and content are bound together. The translation kills it.” Translator Ahuvia admits that in the competition between the Bible and his newest Bible translation, “I lose. The Bible is much more beautiful than the text.”

  121. Posted April 26, 2012 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

    Why is Jesus all caps in Matt 1:21 and Luke 1:31. It’s only in the King James and the New King James, but why? Jesus’ name is all caps:

    And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.Matthew 1:21

    And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. Luke 1:31

    It’s like this no where else in the Bible. The word in the Greek is the same as in other instances of the name. Why? and why only the KJV?

  122. Mike Sangrey
    Posted April 26, 2012 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

    Why ‘JESUS’? Interesting question.

    I did a little research and couldn’t find anything. I read the original preface to the 1611, hoping it would say something about such translation choices, but the intent of the preface was for completely different reasons. By the way, the original KJV preface contains some very good tidbits. For example, “But how shall men meditate in that, which they cannot understand? How shall they understand that which is kept close in an unknowen tongue? as it is written, Except I know the power of the voyce, I shall be to him that speaketh, a Barbarian, and he that speaketh, shalbe a Barbarian to me…so lest the Church be driven to the like exigent, it is necessary to have translations in a readinesse..

    Anyhow, let me take an educated guess in answer to your question. There are only three places in the entire KJV that contain the sequence of letters (upper or lower case), “name Jesus”. These are the two you mentioned and also Matt. 1:25 (which is obviously in the same context as 1:21 which you include). All three have, “name JESUS.”. My guess is that in modern English, if we attempted to achieve the same intent as what I expect the KJV translators where trying to achieve, we’d wrap the name ‘Jesus’ in single or double quotes. This is because the author (translator in this case) intends special focus to the actual nominal.

    For example, the following is taken from Quotation Marks: When to Use Double or Single Quotation Marks

    The inner margins of a book are called the ‘gutter.’

    Many people do not realize that ‘cultivar’ is synonymous with ‘clone.’

    In other words, “You are to call his name ‘Jesus’” is how we’d do it today.

  123. Posted April 27, 2012 at 1:26 am | Permalink

    Thanks, Mike, for that insightful reply. The same is true for JAH in Psalm 68:4. I checked earlier translations and they apparently carried this over from the Geneva Bible (but not in Psalms–although they capitalized Name). The NKJV did it to show that it is really just the latest revision of the KJV (NOT).

  124. Gordon Clason
    Posted June 1, 2012 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    I would like to know how to correspond with Dr Ann Nyland. I wish to initiate a dialog with her about her Bible translation as well as her other books.

  125. Posted June 1, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    Gordon, post or email me your email address and I will try to connect you with Dr Nyland. My email address: wayne dot leman at gmail dot com.

  126. Zach
    Posted June 2, 2012 at 3:52 am | Permalink

    Hey all,

    I would like your opinion: besides the KJV, what do you believe to be the most poetic Bible translation into English. Obviously, this is purely opinion, and I look forward to your answers.

  127. Gordon Clason
    Posted June 14, 2012 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    Wayne Leman,

    Thank you for your offer. My email address is gordonclason@yahoo.com and I welcome comments and communication.

  128. Posted July 5, 2012 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    I’ve posted the first of my thoughts on the ESV 2011 text update. I’ll be writing in the days to come about why the ESV needs to keep updating. I’d love to hear what you think.
    http://hjimkeener.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/making-a-good-translation-better-the-2011-esv-update-and-beyond/

  129. NEO
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    What are the grammatical differences between
    δυναμειςG1411 N-APF πολλαςG4183 A-APF in Mat 7:22 and
    δυναμεωςG1411 N-GSF πολληςG4183 A-GSF in Mar 13:26? and
    How these differences affect our understanding of the 2 verses?
    THANKS IN ADVANCE

  130. Iver Larsen
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    Neo,

    δυναμεις πολλας are in the plural and are the object for the verb “we did” so that it means “we did many powerful-things/deeds).”

    δυναμεως πολλης are singular and in the genitive case becsuse they are governed by the preposition meta meaning “with great power”.

    There is nothing special about this, and the meaning is clear. Were you having any particular question in mind?

  131. thewuggychronicles
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    I have been wondering why in many translations, “peristera” is translated as “dove” in John 1:32, but rendered “pigeon” in 2:14,16. An important layer of poetry is lost by using a different word there, so I’m curious about what tradeoffs motivated that (pretty common) decision.

    Thanks!

  132. Posted November 8, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    I’m working on an interdisciplinary PhD at Kent State (ohio) in which I’m exploring too many things at once, but central to my studies would be what I’m calling “Spiritual Fitness” for the pluralistic military context as a tool for suicide prevention. I’ve noticed in my Chaplain duties dealing with Army suicide, that in the vast majority of cases, suicidal behavior is related NOT to “mental” nor “behavioral” health, but to SPIRITUAL fitness, at the core of which is MEANING SYSTEMS (usually derived from religion, hence “Spiritual Fitness”), which do or do not function to help persons/Soldiers make it through their “valley of the shadow of death.”

    A key piece of my study (at a SECULAR university, though doing what I call “undercover operations,” exploring what we in the church call “world views” and how they shape life) is my hypothesis perhaps, that in our nation’s pursuit of “life, liberty, and pursuit of HAPPINESS,” we have misconstrued “happiness” as understood today as something along the lines of “pleasant happenstance,” with what the Founding Fathers– heavily influenced by ancient Latin and Greek philosophical thought– meant by the term. I’m thinking they meant something more along the lines of what is conveyed by the Greek “eudaimonia,” than the English root “happenstance.” My intuition is that the classic Greek “eudaimonia” is related to the Koine Greek “makarioi” used in the Beatitudes ( http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=matthew%205:%203-11&version=SBLGNT;NASB;NLT;CEB;NKJV ) and elsewhere, but my “mastery” of Koine and classical Greek is quite limited, one might even say barely rudimentary! And my grasp of Latin even less.

    My question would be to explore if my intuition is right about the link between “eudaimonia” and “makarioi,” what might be the Latin source from which the Founding Fathers drew when paraphrasing Locke from “life, liberty and PROPERTY,” to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of HAPPINESS,” and reflections from others as to my thoughts on this cultural phase shift in the movement from a Founding Fathers’ understanding of “happiness/eudaimonia” to a purely materialist/hedonist current understanding and the Founding Fathers’ vision from that to “happiness/good happenstance.”

    As your response may well be very helpful to me and make it into my dissertation, while your opinions are quite valuable in and of themselves, wherever you can, please provide academically appropriate citations of source material wherever possible!

    Thank you so very much! Keep being a blessing-
    Jim, Rev. Jim, Chaplain Lewis, etc.
    jlewis21@kent.edu

  133. diana rock
    Posted November 17, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    Earlier today, i sent an email to you re: topic of original sources for translations and how we know whether the influence of personal/denominational theological preference was part of the Bible that we have today. My original post from iluvmypups3@gmail.com may have accidentally been deleted. I was referred to this site by David Ker. Please advise.

  134. LNE
    Posted November 19, 2012 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    My question to your is concerning, well, questions. Interrogative sentences in the Bible to be exact. My researching of 1 Cor 11 led me to the understanding that 1 Cor 11:14 could be a statement, and not a question (the same with 1 Cor 11:13 to some degree). It begins with “Oude”, which is never how Paul starts questions anywhere else (traditionally), and is almost always used in declarative sentences throughout the whole of Scripture, even when at the beginning of a statement.
    I have heard it stated there are only three places in Scripture where “Oude” is used in a interrogative manner, and these are all in the Gospels, Mark 12:10, Luke 6:3, Luke 23:40 (and in my opinion, all three of those could also be statement rather than questions and still make sense).

    more information on 1 Cor 11:14 being a statement and not a question here:
    http://isvbible.com/catacombs/nature_doesn%27t_teach.htm

    If this is true, than it radically alters the meaning of the text, making long hair on men now NOT shameful by nature, and a woman’s hair not her glory.

    Regardless, it seems like this is in fact a possible way to render the sentence; that is, as a declarative, considering the Biblical evidence for Paul’s use of similar words in other places, and the rest of Bible’s use of these structures and words. Am I on the right track here?

    Following from this exploration, I began to wonder what other questions or statements in scripture could be the opposite of what they have historically be rendered as.

    Specifically, in relation to the idea that 1 Cor 14:34-35 is actually being negated by the “n” in verse 36. (I have also been wondering how much of all of 1 Corinthians is actually quotes from the Corinthian’s letter, but that have not been recognized as such.

    I have been trying to find examples of a similar structure to 1 Cor 14:34-36, where the “n” seems to actually cancel out the preceding sentence and exposes it as something incorrect, but I honestly have found none like this yet in a slam-dunk sort of way.
    I usually find the “n” to be used in order to bolster the case of the preceding sentences, and negate the following rhetorical question that proceeds from the “n”. This seems to destroy the idea that 1 Cor 14:36 is casting doubt on verses 34-35; instead, it would be establishing them all the more. this also would dismantle the “Corinthian Quote” theory.
    Am I wrong here? I have not parsed every single use of the “n” at the beginning of sentences in the scriptures, so I very well could be; but so far as I’ve checked, it’s always this way.

    That leads me to my “question” question. If certain verses of Paul’s were not questions or statements but rather the opposite of what they are usually rendered as in the Scriptures, the “n” used after them could actually be negating the idea expressed in the statement or question like in 1 Cor 14:34-35. This is because many sentences in Paul’s writing, without being made into questions or statements (depending on the sentence), are clearly wrong theologically, so the translators have chosen (somewhat arbitrarily it seems in some cases?) to translate things according to what they believe Paul should have said. Here are some examples:

    1 Cor 10:21- is made into a statement in most, if not all Bibles I believe. However, if it were a question, (which I think it could be, considering the use of the “ou’s”) then the “n” after it in verse 22 would be a strong negation of the idea in the sentence preceding it.

    2 Cor 3:1 – The first part about “beginning again to commend ourselves” could be a statement, like ” We begin again to commend ourselves”, with the “n” right after showing that this first part is what the Corinthians would say in complaint when Paul began commending himself. Not sure here though.

    Romans 2:3 – It’s made into a question in most Bibles it seems, but I see no indicators for such. If it is a declarative statement, then the “n” in Romans 2:4 negates the idea that the people will not come under judgement.

    Romans 11:2 – Starts with “ouk” like many interrogative sentences from Paul, but it’s translated as a statement instead of a question here… and I don’t know why. If it was a question (the first half of the verse before the “n”), then the “n” would be negating “Has not God thrust away His own People who He foreknew?”

    1 Cor 10:21 – The two sentences beginning with “ouk” are not translated as questions here, presumably because it would not result in the “correct” answer (theologically speaking), though it seems they otherwise would be questions. If they were, then the “n” in 1 Cor 10:22 would be negating both items spoken about in 1 Cor 10:21, things like “Are you not able to drink the Cup of The Lord and the cup of demons?” instead of the traditional “You are not able to drink the cup of The Lord and the cup of demons” (the “n” particle could negate the idea that you could drink from both cups however, if it is possible to use the “n” that way)

    There may be more, I only chose the more compelling ones I could find that have a real chance of being mistranslated, in my humble lay-person opinion. Do you think this idea has merit?

    I’m no Greek scholar, so I could be very wrong. I’m just trying to find possible examples that support the idea that the “n” in 1 Cor 14:36 could actually be negating the ideas stated in the verses preceding it, because so far I don’t think I’ve found much evidence of that.

    Could you give me some feedback on this stuff if you find the time, so I might be corrected? How do translators determine if something in Greek is a meant to be a question or not (other than clear interrogative words like “what”), what are the clues? Are some things in Scripture inverted simply to make them theologically correct? Are there places in Scripture which should, simply based on the Greek language and not on theology or Church history, be changed?

    Thanks.

  135. Shoeb Raza
    Posted December 2, 2012 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Hello:

    My question is regarding 1 Samuel 13:21, I observe there are two different translations to this verse for example, NKJV & NASV which translated the above mentioned verse as:

    NASB ” 21 The charge was [a]two-thirds of a shekel for the plowshares, the mattocks, the forks, and the axes, and to fix the hoes.Footnotes:1 Samuel 13:21 Heb pim. NASB.

    NKJV as,”21 and the charge for a sharpening was a pim[a] for the plowshares, the mattocks, the forks, and the axes, and to set the points of the goads.
    Footnotes:1 Samuel 13:21 About two-thirds shekel weight.

    Whereas other popular modern versions have this:

    ESV: 21 and the charge was two-thirds of a shekel[a] for the plowshares and for the mattocks, and a third of a shekel[b] for sharpening the axes and for setting the goads.[c]
    Footnotes:

    1 Samuel 13:21 Hebrew was a pim
    1 Samuel 13:21 A shekel was about 2/5 ounce or 11 grams
    1 Samuel 13:21 The meaning of the Hebrew verse is uncertain

    NIV(2011) 21 The price was two-thirds of a shekel[a] for sharpening plow points and mattocks, and a third of a shekel[b] for sharpening forks and axes and for repointing goads.
    Footnotes:

    1 Samuel 13:21 That is, about 1/4 ounce or about 8 grams
    1 Samuel 13:21 That is, about 1/8 ounce or about 4

    Others have the similar translations I gave only two examples to make the point why first two only mentioned “two-third of a shekel” and not “a third of shekel” part in their translation?

  136. Jojo
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Could you comment on ISV’s translation of 1 Timothy 2:12? “Moreover, in the area of teaching, I am not allowing a woman to instigate conflict toward a man. Instead, she is to remain calm.” Is this accurate? Thanks.

  137. Shoeb Raza
    Posted March 20, 2013 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Dear All:

    While reading Isaiah 32 toward the end of the chapter verse 19 struck me odd, if we look the verse in its context it does not look right. Lets read few verses before and the final one after it. – (15-20) ESV

    15 until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high,
    and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field,
    and the fruitful field is deemed a forest.
    16 Then justice will dwell in the wilderness,
    and righteousness abide in the fruitful field.
    17 And the effect of righteousness will be peace,
    and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust[a] forever.
    18 My people will abide in a peaceful habitation,
    in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.

    19 And it will hail when the forest falls down,
    and the city will be utterly laid low.

    20 Happy are you who sow beside all waters,
    who let the feet of the ox and the donkey range free.

    Everything is good and fine up til verse 18, God’s people enjoying the blessing of LORD. And then all of sudden verse 19 the destruction of forest through hail and city will be utterly laid low? And afterwards … Happy are you …donkey range free. However when I read the “The Revised English Bible” rendition of this verse it was completely different. It says:

    19 it will be cool on the slopes of the forest then.
    and cities will lie peaceful in the plain.

    Can anyone explain why this verse is translated this way by REB and in totally oppositely by others? As for me REB’s translation looks much better and suited the passage, but I am no expert kindly let me know what is your opinion on this.

    Thanks

  138. Posted March 23, 2013 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    You ask good questions, Shoeb.

    I assume that the difference you have noted among translations for this passage have to do with how the translators understand the meaning of the original Hebrew text. Many translation differences are due to the fact that words in a language can mean different things. Translators have to make difficult decisions about what they believe are the most likely meanings among the possible meanings for a word.

    I agree with you that the REB translation makes more sense in the context of this passage. And which meaning makes better sense in context is one of the many parameters that translators must consider when there are more than one possible translation.

  139. Posted March 29, 2013 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    How much of a translator’s theology colours his translation i.e. In the KJV at Math 6:9 we see “our Father which art in heaven…”

    It is clear, that the pronoun “which” is the wrong pronoun, as in Greek, such a pronoun is neuter and corresponds to the Greek neuter pronoun “ho” and not the masculine pronoun “hos”, as this turns the Father into an “it/which” [abstract] instead of a “who/whom” [non-abstract]the same kind of theological blundering bias is also seen in relation to the ‘pneuma hagion’ where it is plain to see that it is grammatically neuter, yet translators mis-translate and make the ‘pneuma’ out to be a “he” instead of an “it”!

    Also, in the Greek of the NT, there is not one place where the masculine pronoun “he/him” is ever used of the ‘pneuma hagion’ why do translators deliberately and knowingly bend the rules?

    The simple answer must be theological bias!

  140. Ed Schermerhorn
    Posted March 30, 2013 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    I am trying to understand how so many translations of 1Peter 3:7 came to interpret it as “weaker vessel” (KJV, NKJV), “someone weaker” (NASB), or “weaker sex” (RSV).

    When I use a concordance and lexicon, g4632 and g4160 are otherwise interpreted as a “vessel”, and “made”. Is there something in the original language that connotates “weaker”? If we were to instead have the translation as “live with your wives in an understanding way as she was crafted on purpose” I think it would change much of how women are viewed in some Christian circles. While it might remove a foundation for male chauvinism, it would allow women to be “joint heirs”.

    If there is some subtly in the original text that doesn’t transfer well to a word or word comparison using my method, please let me know.

    In His Service,

  141. Posted March 30, 2013 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Ed, there is definitely a word ἀσθενεστέρῳ in the Greek text which means “weaker”, the word before σκεύει “vessel”. There is a lot of debate over this verse but it is mostly over the meaning of “vessel” in this context. I too would like to “remove a foundation for male chauvinism”, but it cannot be removed as easily as you seem to think.

    “doyoureason”, I think “which” appears in the KJV of the Lord’s Prayer because it was the correct pronoun in 16th century English. I’m sure no one was trying to suggest that the Father is neuter.

    As for the rest of your comment, I think you first need to understand that grammatical gender in Greek works very differently from gender in English. Every Greek noun has a grammatical gender which does not correspond with its natural gender or animateness. Thus for example there is a Greek word thugatrion for a young daughter which is grammatically neuter, but no one would suggest that the girl in Mark 5:23 is inanimate, or should be called “it” in English. Similarly it is invalid to argue that because pneuma is also neuter the Holy Spirit is inanimate. On the other hand, we see in the Bible and elsewhere the Spirit doing things which normally only an animate being can do, and it is on that basis that most people understand the Holy Spirit to be “he” or “she” rather than “it”.

    See also my 2009 post on my own blog The Holy Spirit: he, she, it or they?

  142. Rachel
    Posted April 17, 2013 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    Hello. My grandfather is Greek, and tells me that the famous verse in Matthew 19:24 (“And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God”) is a mistranslation. The Greek word that was really meant was kamelia, which meant a thick rope made from camel’s hair. Many interpretations consisting of the needle representing some type of low gate that camels had to kneel down to walk through were actually incorrect, he says. What do you have to say about this?

  143. Posted April 17, 2013 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    Rachel, my take on this verse is this.

    From the context, it seems that Jesus was trying to describe something impossible, as of course it would be for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. This is shown by the disciples’ reaction in verse 25, as well as by Jesus’ words “With men this is impossible” in verse 26.

    However, there have been various attempts to amend Jesus’ teaching so that he is simply describing something very difficult but not impossible. One, which you mention, is to suggest that the eye of the needle was in fact a small gate – although there is no evidence for this. Another is to suggest that the camel was in fact a rope, and your suggestion is one form of this; I have seen another variant based on an Aramaic mistranslation. But it seems to me that all of these reinterpretations miss the point which Jesus is making, although one can see why they might be favored by rich people who hope to enter the kingdom of God.

  144. charles jeffers
    Posted July 19, 2013 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    Hi guys,frequent visitor,first time emailer.
    first a comment: I know there is no way to bring out all that is in the Hebrew and greek in an English translation.I also know that there are no “straight from heaven” translations. I even believe that we only have a close proximity regarding the original scripture. My thought is that the tower of babel worked.
    I compare translations but am not fluent in Hebrew or greek. sometimes it is mindboggling. and to read why this translation is better than the other,then finding another side that another translation is better, I am exhausted!

    My question: The Common English bible is for me a really good read. I like how it words and structures sentances. easy comprehension,plus to me, very Christ focused. His faithfulness……etc.

    Like the Nasb or KJV that uses paraphrase,gender neutral language,and all the things that unimformed Christians attack translations for, I am wondering…….if you guys think the ceb is an overall good translation. I have many hairs I could split with it…the “human one” doesn’t bother me…I love how it points to His faithfulness and that alone to me is great.

    I own so many translations, not looking for you guys to give me a “the best” just an overall impression of this new translation….. also,in a few years.. I may have a question on the soon to be released ISV. your friend,charles.

  145. Posted July 20, 2013 at 3:09 am | Permalink

    Charles, I agree, the CEB is a good translation.

  146. Posted August 20, 2013 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    I blog in Chinese. I just got enough Hebrew/Greek to understand commentaries, and learnt to research the contexts of a word in order to find its meaning. Recently some one brought to my attention the 2 King 2:23-25, where Elisha cursed some boys when they made fun of him, caused 42 of them died of she-bears attacks.

    When I looked at the contexts, the scene cannot be a regular children gathering and playing one, no matter the size of the town is big or small. Elisha was well known at the time I guess, but they “come out of the city” with a big crowd, just to mock him to “going up” like Elijah, let alone mentioned his boldly head. Elisha “turned back and saw them” before he cursed, make me wonder what he saw, didn’t they try to attack further? I think the word nahar should be translated as young men, who were hostile towards Elisha. The ones that she-bear attacked were actually children. But the author didn’t mention it as immediately happened, or just happened over a period of time, the author might be intentionally leaving readers an impression, that those children accidents were direct result of those young man mocking at Elisha.

  147. Margaret
    Posted August 31, 2013 at 4:41 am | Permalink

    I am not sure if this is where I post a question, but here goes. The NRSV renders John 3:36 as
    36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but must endure God’s wrath.

    The KJV renders it such:

    He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

    Which is the better translation, disobey or believeth not?

  148. Posted August 31, 2013 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for your question, Margaret.

    The original Greek word in the first part of the verse is pisteuwn, correctly translated as “believes” (NRSV) or “believeth” (KJV). The Greek word for the English translation you are asking about, in the last part of the verse, is apeithwn. It is accurately translated to English as “disobey” (or “reject”). It does not mean “believe”.

  149. Margaret
    Posted August 31, 2013 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much for your prompt response.

  150. Margaret
    Posted September 6, 2013 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    Can you help me identify the passages of the old and new testament where “anamnesis” is used?

  151. Posted September 9, 2013 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    Margaret, anamnesis is a Greek word, so it is only used in the New Testament, which was written in Greek. The word is used four times in the New Testament: Luke 22:19, 1 Corinthians 11:24, 1 Corinthians 11:25, Hebrews 10:3.

  152. Posted September 9, 2013 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    Wayne, Isn’t the phrase used also in I Cor. 4:17? And if we count the Septuagint, isn’t it also in Leviticus 24:7, Numbers 10:10, Psalm 37:1 & Psalm 69:1, and Wisdom 16:6?

  153. Posted September 10, 2013 at 4:05 am | Permalink

    Yes, thanks, Kurk.

  154. Margaret
    Posted September 10, 2013 at 4:47 am | Permalink

    Thank you.

  155. Margaret
    Posted September 10, 2013 at 5:07 am | Permalink

    I am having difficulty identifying anamnesis in the Psalms cited.

  156. BradK
    Posted September 10, 2013 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    (Trying again as my first attempt seems to have been lost while logging in.)

    Margaret, you may find this site to be helpful.

    http://en.katabiblon.com/us/index.php?text=LXX

    With interlinear turned on it gives an English gloss for each Greek word. For example:

    1 gr. psalm 37 (heb. 38)
    ψαλμὸς PSALM (NOM) τῷ THE (DAT) Δαυιδ DAVID (INDECL) εἰς INTO (+ACC) ἀνάμνησιν REMINDER (ACC) περὶ ABOUT (+ACC,+GEN) σαββάτου SABBATH (GEN)

    1 gr. psalm 69 (heb. 70)
    εἰς INTO (+ACC) τὸ THE (NOM|ACC) τέλος END (NOM|ACC|VOC) τῷ THE (DAT) Δαυιδ DAVID (INDECL) εἰς INTO (+ACC) ἀνάμνησιν REMINDER (ACC)

  157. Margaret
    Posted September 10, 2013 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, it is all Greek to me!

  158. Posted September 10, 2013 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Margaret, if it wasn’t clear from Brad’s comment, the occurrences in the Psalms are from the titles of what are in Hebrew and English the titles of Psalms 38 and 70. The Hebrew word on which the Greek is based, hazkir (in fact the Hiphil infinitive construct of zkr), is rendered in NRSV “memorial offering”.

  159. WAndressen
    Posted November 12, 2013 at 3:50 am | Permalink

    I’m wondering if any of the blog authors have looked at The Emphasized Bible by Joseph Rotherham (published by Kregel)? If not, perhaps someone could do so when time permits and report their thoughts on the blog. Other than its archaic (KJV-style) language, based on my limited Hebrew study skills I’ve been impressed by what I’ve read, and with his NT translation as well. Thanks, WA

  160. Posted March 5, 2014 at 12:02 am | Permalink

    I’m not sure if you’re still monitoring this website, but if so, I’d like to share an article I posted recently called “Speaking is Painting: Why No Translation Can Be Perfect.” It’s at this link.

    http://ourrabbijesus.com/articles/speaking-painting-bible-translation/

    Thanks, Lois Tverberg


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