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Bible Translation

Different Takes on Bible Translation…

It is always interesting to see what people remember when you give a talk. Yesterday, Will Grady blogged about a meeting where I had given a talk on Bible Translation. The thing which struck him most was a throw-away line about the difference between a language and a dialect. Go to his blog if you want to find out what it was. However, I was very struck by the last paragraph of his post:

Bible translation is a social justice issue, and here we can see that the line we draw between ‘spiritual’ and ‘social’ issues is false. Evangelism and mission intertwine with each other wrapped in God’s concern that people know him spiritually and that he cares for justice.

I wish I’d said that!

Meanwhile, Rod Decker has unearthed an excellent quote by Dave Black, one of the team who worked on the International Standard Version.

No controversy has been more overworked these days than the one over modern Bible translations. It is thought a crowning virtue to be opinionated about what is the “best” translation. But no translation of the Bible is perfect. (This includes the ISV of course.) There is much artificial whipped-up enthusiasm among Christians today who have found the “perfect” translation that “finally gets it right.” The same enthusiasm can be worked up by a cheerleader for “slave” over “servant.” Tie that to a book promotion and you have a possible recipe for disaster. (Read the whole thing.)

I just wish that everyone promoting English translations would show the same sort of humility as the ISV team (what a difference a vowel makes).

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