Re: Bible translations

David Moore (
Tue, 21 Jan 1997 08:08:43 -0800

You wrote:

> I would offer not so much an opinion on my
>preferences as a couple caveats: (1) all translations are the works of
>human beings and most are the products of careful, prayerful committee
>deliberation; even those are prone to error at points. I think that
>ought, for study purposes, not to rely upon any single version as
>to others in all respects; (2) there are not a few passages in the
>and Greek texts of the Bible, that are ambivalent, ambiguous, or
>many versions have a tendency to resolve ambiguity in favor of a
>interpretation; perhaps this is a reasonable thing to do, but it is
>dishonest unless legitimate alternatives are at least indicated in
>visible footnotes; (3) while there will be the inevitable argument on
>"dynamic equivalency"--what it means and whether it is desirable, the
>notion that translation from the original language texts into a
>word-for-word equivalent English is possible or even desirable is
>upon a very naive understanding of the nature of language; there are
>strategies for coping with the different geniuses of different
>no one of which is necessarily superior in all respects to all others.
>The old Latin tag QUOT HOMINES TOT SENTENTIAE (there are as many
>as there are people) may not quite absolutely apply to the question
>raise, but there is certainly a healthy diversity.

A prof of mine in seminary recommended having several translations
at hand. He said that if you come to a passage in which the
translations substantially differ, you should probably give extra
attention to that part of the text and figure that it calls for
detailed comment. I've found this suggestion helpful.

If you pick translations up when you come across them at 2nd-hand
bookstores, you'll have quite a few fairly quickly, and it won't cost


David L. Moore