Thursday, April 18, 2013

One Bible, Many Versions: Are All Translations Created Equal?

I often have people ask me which is my preferred translation of the Bible. I usually reply "the one in Hebrew and Greek." But I realize that not everyone can or needs to read the Bible in the original languages. The fact is we have some very fine translations that do the job well.

But with so many different versions (eg. KJV, NIV, NAS, NRSV, CEB) it can be difficult to navigate through the maze and determine which translation will be of the most benefit to you. 

In his recent book One Bible, Many Versions: Area All Translations Created Equal? (IVP, 2013), Dave Brunn layouts how translation works as well as why multiple translations are needed and rather than detract from the richness of scripture actually add to it. Here is the blurb.

What makes a Bible translation faithful? Is one version superior to others? Do we really need more than one translation? How can answering these questions help us become better Bible readers? Dave Brunn has been involved in Bible translation work around the world for many years. From the perspective of this on-the-ground experience in different cultures he helps us sort out the many competing claims for various English Bible translations. By giving us a better understanding of the process of translation, Brunn helps us read and understand Scripture more clearly. He demonstrates how the variety of translations enables us to grasp more fully the meaning of the biblical text. This clear, readable and informative work will be of special interest to pastors, undergraduate and seminary students, missionaries, Bible translators, Bible study leaders and anyone involved in Christian ministry.

I want to the thank the kind folks at IVP Academic for sending me a copy of this book. I plan to post a review about it soon and perhaps I will even include in a Friday book giveaway.

In the mean time, here is a short video in which Brunn explains translation methods and how translation does and doesn't work. He also explains why "word for word" translation doesn't increase faithfulness to the original.

1 comment:

  1. "I often have people ask me which is my preferred translation of the Bible. I usually reply "the one in Hebrew and Greek.""

    I usually reply "the autographs." :-)