Saturday, February 28, 2009

My Top Bible Translations

Being Chinese this somehow makes more sense to me. I don't know where I learned this from, but essentially when looking at the endless number of bible translations available there are two things to consider. In the realm of translations there are a myriad of factors to consider when going from the original manuscript language (i.e. biblical Hebrew, Aramaic, or Classical Greek - none of which are used or spoken today; see? Just like Chinese) to whatever language you are translating to. Who is doing the translating? What theological persuasion do they represent? Are they just "hard-core ancient text geeks" or "diehard into Jesus"?

The two main considerations would be which translation would you require? The two main approaches to bible translation are "formal equivalence" and "dynamic equivalence". "Formal" would be your "word for word" or literal approach while "dynamic" would be your "thought for thought." I would argue that both approaches are quite useful for the serious bible student - "serious" would mean giving great care to being faithful to the original meaning and thought. Having said that, here are my picks for bible translations that I would use for bible study and sermon preparation:

Formal Equivalence:
English Standard Version
New American Standard Bible

Dynamic Equivalence:
New Living Translation (2nd Edition)
New International Version

I also keep a New Revised Standard Version around because my bible school professors prefer using it, while the "CEV - Contemporary English Version" would be the NRSV's "thought for thought" wingman which also maintains "gender sensitive" language. I also like the readability and flow of Eugene Peterson's "paraphrase" "The Message".

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