5.03.2007

A Note on Bible Translations


Recently in Hebrew class, a student asked Dr. Duguid on picking Bible translations to preach from and how to way in "word for word accuracy" like the New American Standard, and the dynamical translations of the 2oth and 21st century?

I have been wondering the same thing lately as I bought the Holman Christian Standard Version for $10, since then I am doing some sort of mild comparison to the ESV. Duguid said that when he was in Libya he preached from a Bible with an 850 word vocabulary, something that he would not do here. Because the Liberians do not know English well and he did not want to confuse them. His preaching style was similar in that context as well (a major proof that it is a huge plus if you know the indigenous language). But for biblical students, why not use the NASB as it captures the Hebrew and Greek idioms and captures the choppiness of a direct translation, it reveals that we need something more. What do you need in the context you are in? Are you in Libya, are you in the theological classroom? Or are you in the pulpit Sunday morning preaching to a crowd of infants and youth, college students, parents, singles, old saints, the unconverted - what version are you going to use there where people can understand what is going on in the Scriptures?

What should one use in their devotions? Are you a student of the Scriptures who knows the Hebrew and Geek idioms, why not use the New American Standard. Are you a new believer who is seeking to understand words like imputation and justification? Bit more tricky, but try the English Standard Version, clear, concise, readable yet keeping with the rich heritage of the reformation.

6 comments:

A said...

Both the NASB and ESV are good for reading (I use both), but an in depth study usually requires looking at multiple translations as well as the Greek or Hebrew. Even the NASB and ESV come up short in some passages, such as John 15:2, which I was looking at earlier this week.

Robbie said...

Aaron,
You are absolutely right. To do an in depth study of God's word you need to know the original languages. I am learning Hebrew, but not Greek at this time. But for the vast majority of the people of this planet it is not an option. Thus, we are stuck with parallel Bibles and the guidance of (trustworthy) scholars.

Recently Tim Challies did a post on Bible translations, mentioning the top hits among Bible versions. Its worth a look.

Along with the ESV and NAS, I use the NKJ and the HCS. Different sizes are useful for different things, but all in all I find the ESV to be the best so far.

Nate said...

I like the 1599 Geneva... seriously!

Another very important question is what textual tradition are you coming from? I believe that the Westminster Standards would have us use the received text since that is the one they were using.

I like the NASB, but I do not like the textual criticism that stands in the background. That would leave me with the 1599, the 1611 AV, and the NKJV. My congregation uses the AV and that is what we use at home, but I AM NOT KJ only!

Nate said...

One other thing... no matter which translation one uses, it is the Spirit that applies to the hearts of men.

whitlaboy said...

Ummm, just on an offbeat note, Liberians are from Liberia and Libyans are from Libya. And I love my ESV! :)

BJoann said...

And librarians may be found in libraries. :) (Sorry, just couldn't stop myself.)