Bible diggers, Greek scholars, and translations (was Fwd: Mark 11:22 God's faith or faith in God?)

From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Fri Feb 21 1997 - 09:19:44 EST

James Slayton <> wrote:

> Being a Bible digger, I can come up with a lot of questions
> for Greek scholars. Fortunately, I have a nice handy collection
> of old and new translations that seemed to have served a good
> purpose.

To understand the discussion of these questions, though, you
will have to grapple with the Greek. I'm a relative beginner
myself; I find it helpful to identify the original Greek
phrase first, see how much I understand, identify what I
don't understand, and post that here. As the discussion
progresses, I keep looking back at the Greek.

Incidentally, quoting the Greek in your post makes it easier
for people to see what you are talking about. I like to look
at a message to decide if I'm interested enough in the topic
to look up the Greek, and the Greek quote helps me a lot. It
is also useful for people who are reading the archives later.
> The first translations I turn to when I have a question are
> Rotherham's Emphasized translation and the Concordant Literal
> New Testament. They seem to be as literal if not more than
> the rest of my translations (and I have quite an extensive
> collection). Do you have any preferences about these and
> other English Bibles? I heard the Worrell translation was
> done pretty close to the actual Greek. What are your thoughts
> on this?

Do you speak any foreign languages well? I think it is helpful
to look at some translations of modern materials for perspective.
A translation always changes the meaning and the tone somewhat;
different translations attempt to preserve different aspects
of the original.

I'm a computer scientist, not a Greek scholar, and when I lived
in Germany I was fascinated that most computer scientists would
rather read computer handbooks in the original because the
translations contained ambiguities that could only be resolved
by seeing the English. And this kind of techical prose is among
the easiest stuff to translate!

You seem to have a lot of different translations. Pick several
reliable translations which are different from each other. Any
time they disagree, you have a question about the original

> Until I become more knowledgable in the future about the Greek,
> I would like to have some idea what english translation Greek
> scholars read most.

I don't think you will find general agreement here. Personally,
for word-for-word literal translations, I often use NASB-updated
or RSV, though NAB is also a good word-for-word literal translation.
Remember, though, that conveying the original words is not the
same as conveying the original meaning. A German translation which
is generally quite literal is the Zuercher Bibel. I also use NIV,


Jonathan Robie
POET Software, 3207 Gibson Road, Durham, N.C., 27703
Ph: 919.598.5728 Fax: 919.598.6728
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