Sunday, 20 March 2011

Comparing Bible Translations

Today I share an old but good article snippet on Comparing Bible Translations from John R. Kohlenberger III taken from Navpress 1988.

"The most important book in your biblical reference library is the Bible itself. And the best way to study your Bible is to read it, read it, and read it! But unless your Bible uses words that you are familiar with, you will find yourself as exasperated as the Ethiopian. What can you do when you do not understand the language in your Bible?
The translators of the King James Version (KJV ) said, “Variety of translation is profitable for finding out the sense of the scripture.” Ironically, this principle is especially important when you read the translation they produced nearly four centuries ago!
Genesis 25:29 in the KJV begins, “And Jacob sod pottage.” We all know “and.” Most of us know “Jacob.” But who knows what it means to “sod pottage”? By consulting a modern translation, such as the New International Version (NIV ) or the New American Standard Bible (NASB), we discover that to “sod pottage” means to “cook stew.” Other difficult words in this chapter also become more clear in comparative study. In verse 27 , Esau is described as a “cunning hunter” and Jacob as “plain.” We normally use “cunning” to describe someone who is sneaky and underhanded, and “plain” to describe someone who is ordinary or homely. But modern translations tell us that Esau was a “skillful hunter” and that Jacob was a “quiet” or “peaceful” man.
Even if you are strongly attached to one translation of the Bible for reading, study, and memorization, “variety of translation is profitable for finding out the sense of the scripture.” I strongly recommend that you regularly consult three or four modern versions to aid your understanding and to deepen your insight. (Parallel Bibles, which offer several translations of the same text side by side, can be very helpful.)"
Many of us are attached to one or two Bibles that we used regularly on for scripture memory. But for more in-depth Bible Study, it would be good to consult like what he says above 2-3 different genre type of Bible to get a comprehensive understanding of the word meanings. My favourite selection would be ESV, NASB and The Message/NET, plus occasionally the Amplified Bible for a different understanding.

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