Switching Translation, quick do-over.

I just had a good friend point out the King James version of the bible is the most unreliable. Now, when I was a child it was considered the most reliable, and it seemed when I originally asked people which version to do it was also the most reliable for them.

However, the translation is the hardest of all of them, it is the hardest to read and interpret. The new translations (specifically as far as I can tell the New International Version) is a more accurate translation.

I feel it would be unfair of me to take an older version of the bible and go through that. This means I will now probably start afresh with the New International Version (NIV). I am only down three entries so I can start immediately.

I want to thank my friend for pointing that out, it would really have sucked to come to this conclusion a lot further into it.

Also, a side note, she pointed out some other details that expanded what I would talk about. I think I might take her lead on that.

4 thoughts on “Switching Translation, quick do-over.

  1. Glad you found my comment useful.  🙂

    I know a fellow getting his PhD in theology.  He's also a professor of Bible studies, and I believe his bachelors was in ancient Greek (can't recall if it was his major or minor).  He also knows Hebrew.  I messaged him, and gave him your link.  Not sure how busy he is these days, but he may chime in with a comment from time to time.

  2. I would love that, although now I am feeling self conscious :). Like I said, this isn't just to bash religion, if I can learn from it, it will make my outlook stronger. Also if I continue being a voice against it, anything I learn from your friend will at least make my arguments stronger as well.

    I never understood people who weren't willing to learn where they were wrong. We are all falliable and it strengthens us.

  3. Translations fall into three categories: literal (word for word as much as possible), paraphrased (author's intent and connotation), and a combination. The KJ is a very literal translation, the Living Bible is paraphrased, and the NIV is literal with some paraphrasing. Let me use Chaucer as an example from the Prologue to Canterbury Tails:

    Original Middle English: Whan that aprill with his shoures soote

    Literal Translation: When that April with his showers show,

    Paraphrased: When the Spring Rains come with flowers,

    Mixed: When April with his showers sweet with fruit arrives,

    Word for word can be problematic. But it can also be the best for research. Paraphrased can help the reader with difficult concepts and is best for general reading. Mixed takes the best of both world and even tries to retain elements (such as the poetic in this case) when the other two simply cannot. 

    Personally, I use NIV most. However, I keep versions of the other two handy. The KJ is not a bad translations. Historically, it is one of the best. Additionally, the most recent KJ corrects the few issues with older versions. New KJ (NKJ) is what I use for more direct translation studies.  Good example "kill" -v- "murder" in the 6th commandment. The Hebrew word can go either way depending on the context. For a medieval monk wanting to make a political statement and halt violence between warring barons in England, the choice was "kill"… the context however, is a matter of the heart and therefore likely needs to be translated as "murder". In NKJ, you'll see it as  "murder" not "kill". Big difference for me as I preach to soldiers.

    For your project, you need a good commentary. I recommend the IVP Bible Background Commentary. It will help with cultural settings, historical elements, and such that are being referred to. You may also want to investigate the Historical Critical Method of hermeneutics (study of text). The presuppositions and assumptions you use with the HCM can really impact the output so be careful; but in general, it looks to answer "what did the original author want to tell the original audience and what did the original audience hear?" Regardless of conservative or liberal views, this should be of extreme interest since it was the purpose/moral/intellectual reason whichever author put pen to paper.

    Good luck and let me know if I can help. 


    • Actually that helps a lot. I will definitely take the help when I can get it. I also appreciate you taking the time to talk with me about it. 🙂

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