Wednesday, February 24, 2010

How Can You Choose a Good Bible Translation

What different types of Bible translations are available? What is the difference between a translation and a version? What are their strengths and weaknesses?

THE Bible was originally written in ancient Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. So most people who desire to read it must rely on a translation.

Today, the Bible is the world’s most widely translated book—parts of it being available in over 2,400 languages. Some languages have not just one translation but scores of them. If you have a choice in your language, you surely want to use the very best translation you can find.

To make an informed choice, you need to know the answers to the following questions: What different types of translations are available? What are the strengths and weaknesses of each type of translation? And why should you be cautious when reading some translations of the Bible?

From One Extreme to the Other

Bible translations cover a broad spectrum of styles, but they fall into three basic categories. Interlinear translations are at one end of the spectrum. These translations contain the original-language text along with a word-for-word rendering into the target language.

Paraphrase translations fall at the other end of the spectrum. Translators of these versions freely restate the message of the Bible as they understand it in a way that they feel will appeal to their audience.

A third category embraces translations that endeavor to strike a balance between these two extremes. These versions of the Bible strive to convey the meaning and flavor of the original-language expressions while also making the text easy to read.

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