After years of reading I decided it was time to pull my notes together and share them with the world. Sometimes it’s hard to find all this stuff and I wanted it together in one place, mostly for my own benefit. I’m starting with translation issues.
Knowing which Bible translations to use is an interesting question. What is your purpose?
- Do you want to learn about the Bible from an ancient history perspective? Translations like the NET or NRSV are best.
- Do you want to learn how the Bible influenced our culture? Popular translations like the KJV or NIV are best.
- If you want to learn about a particular religious traditions among evangelicals or reformed theology? Use the Bible they use, like the KJV or ESV.
I will be evaluating Bible translations on the issue of ‘accuracy.’ What I mean by this is simple: how well does this communicate the meaning of the original author to modern readers. There is no perfect way to do this, and many things affect this. I will be focusing on some key issues:
- What sources are we using to translate from?
- What method of translation are we using?
- And how modern is the translation?
But first I am writing my evaluation of different translations. This will not be useful to Bible scholars. If you have indepth knowledge of the geography, history and culture of that time period, you will have different needs. If you are more concerned with understanding modern theology, you may also choose differently. I’m speaking only of understanding the original documents.