Translations are both a gift and a problem for the body of Christ.
As members of that body, we are called to think and live biblically. Especially since the Reformation called the church to biblical renewal, we have been afforded many Bible translations that have shaped the language, thought, and life of the West.
More recently, a wealth of new translations has enabled millions to read the Bible in language that is not forbiddingly difficult or foreign to them. All this was and remains a great gift to the church. I myself am honored to have made a small contribution to the New Living Translation (NLT).
But translation is also a problem. Every translation imperfectly represents the original, because languages and cultures differ in ways that translation by itself cannot overcome. Translations interpose a fallible human interpretation between us and the infallible Word. These basic problems affect all translations. But the increase in Bible translations during the last 60 years has created new problems for the church.
Newer translationsâ"the NLT, New International Version (NIV), New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), Revised English Bible (REB; a revision of the New English Bible), and Today's English Version (TEV, also called The Good News Bible), among othersâ"are all influenced by a theory called dynamic or "functional equivalence" (FE) translation. Such translations serve their intended purposes and audiences well. More important, they have led many to Christ. But I and a growing number of linguist-translators believe FE theory is inadequate as the only model for translation. (Translations themselves are often better and sometimes worse than their theories.) Linguists argue that the church needs not one but several types of translation, each with its own use. That's why I'm advocating another modern translation, one that works from a different theory than FE.
How did we get to this point?
FE theory is closely identified with an evangelical who, over the last half century, has done more to foster Bible translation around the world than anyone else. His name is Eugene Nida, and every translator today has been affected by his work. Even secular translators pay homage to Nida. His theory and practice of translation was first called "dynamic equivalence" translation and, later, "functional equivalence" translation. If you read a Bible translated in the last half-century, you probably read a Bible influenced by Nida.
In the 1940s, Nida and others of the American Bible Society developed practical guidelines for missionary translators working among peoples who often did not have a written language, let alone a Bible, to read. Bible translators learned that they had to make translations understandable to people with little access to preachers and teachers, and whose culture was different from the world of King David or of Jesus and the apostles. They made translations that often supplied the information needed by isolated tribal peoples. In doing so, they often changed what the original said, somewhat like an explanatory paraphrase.
It is this type of translation (focusing on ease of understanding for the intended reader) that has become dominant, not only in the Two-Thirds World but also in the modern West, with its long history of Bible teaching and preaching, and its seminaries and colleges to train leaders in Scripture and biblical languages.
Parallel events took place in the English-speaking world. In the 20th century, older English translations seemed increasingly out of date and difficult to read, especially for new Christians. Many became discouraged and gave up reading the Bible for themselves. Practically speaking, many Christians lost the Bible with its "power to save" and to give wisdom for right living here and now (see Rom. 1:16 and 2 Tim. 3:15-17). They also were in danger of losing touch with Christ himself: without the Bible, we do not have Christ in his fullness, for it alone shows us who Jesus is infallibly.
As society changed and the Bible seemed increasingly foreign, a variety of attempts were made to make the Book more accessible.
In the 1940s, J.B. Phillips began producing his New Testament "in modern English," as the title eventually proclaimed. He followed an already established British tradition of offering expansive, interpretive readings of Scripture that tried to lay out in easily understandable language what was said more briefly and pregnantly in Scripture. Phillips's work got many people reading the Bible again, in paraphrase form. In America, the director of Moody Press, Kenneth Taylor, realized that his children were not understanding the Bible as it was devoutly read at the family dinner table. So, on his daily train ride to work, he began to rewrite the family King James Version in language that his kids could understand and enjoy. It turned out that The Living Bible (its eventual name) not only helped the Taylor children but fulfilled the desire of millions of Americans for a Bible that was not difficult, a Bible that made sense to them.
Phillips and Taylor both retold the Bible in familiar, explanatory languageâ"a procedure FE translations imitate. Phillips worked from the original languages; Taylor did not. But they helped pave the way for FE translations.
A Christian missionary translator and linguist, Ernst-August Gutt, believes that there can be several types of translation (one of which is FE), depending on the purpose and audience of the translation. What is crucial is that readers are made aware of what type of translation they are dealing with. A paraphrase or story Bible is not a translation, though it is useful for many readers.
FE translations (again, most Bibles today) often change the language, images, and metaphors of Scripture to make understanding easier. But for serious study, readers need a translation that is more transparent to the "otherness" of Scripture. We need a translation that allows the Bible to say what it says, even if that seems strange and odd to readers at first glance. If God is "other" than we are, we should be willing to work at the "otherness" of the Bible, in order to understand what the Lord is saying through his Word. The purpose of the Bible is not to make Jesus like us, but to make us like Christ. The Bible is designed to change us, to make us different, heirs of Abraham according to the promise fulfilled in Christ (Acts 2).
We need translations for people who are eager and willing to make the effort to overcome the difficulty of reading a book that is in fact foreign to us. Indeed, when we come to serious Bible study, whether in a church group, Sunday school, or college classroom, this type of translation becomes necessary, for we are trying to get as close as possible within the limits of our own language. When the martyr and translator William Tyndale did this, he shaped the English language in ways that were biblical. The KJV translators who inherited Tyndale's work gave the English-speaking world a Bible that shaped its language, life, and faith for hundreds of years. The danger of FE translations is that they shape the Bible too much to fit our world and our expectations. There is a danger that the Bible gets silenced because we have tamed and domesticated it.
Troubles in Translation
It is hard to know what the Bible means when we are uncertain about what it says. In class, teachers with Greek and Hebrew often find themselves retranslating a passage to show students more directly what the literal Hebrew or Greek said.
The problem with FE translations (i.e., most modern translations) is that they prevent the reader from inferring biblical meaning because they change what the Bible said.
Comparing a few translated verses with those of the KJV, the classic, more direct translation will illustrate my point. The KJV translates part of Colossians 3:9-10 as "Ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man." The KJV at this point offers a transparent or direct translation of the Greek. (I prefer not to call it "literal" because translations always add, change, and subtract from the original. The only literal Bible is written in Hebrew and Greek.)
A transparent translation conveys as much as possible of what was said, and how it was said, in as near word-for-word form as the target language allows, though inevitably with some difference and imperfectly. In this verse, the KJV translators even alert readers, with the use of italics, that the second instance of the word man is not actually in the Greek text, though it's pretty clear that it is meant by the original. (Just as we might say to a waitress, "My daughter will have fries, and I will [have fries] too"â"we leave out the phrase in brackets because it is clearly understood.)
"The old man the new man"â"the English words are simple and clear, like the Greek. What Paul said here is plain. What he meant is not, at least to most readers. For Paul, all humans are included "in Adam" or "in Christ," and at present, Christians live an uneasy existence in both camps. In Colossians 3, "the old man" refers to Adam, the first man (Gen. 1-5), and "the new man" refers to Christ, the last Adam and true "image of God" (Col. 1:15; Rom. 5:12-21; 1 Corinthians 15:45-50; Eph. 4:22-24).
Jesus makes right and restores all that the first man corrupted. In Christ the purposes of God for creation and "man" are fulfilled. So when Paul says "put on the new man," he means "put on the Lord Jesus Christ," as he says in Romans 13:14 (see Gal. 3:27). Today it might be better to translate the phrases as "the old Adam. the new Adam," to show that Paul preaches Christ in Old Testament terms. In Genesis, Paul's Greek Old Testament (the Septuagint) translated "Adam" as ho anthropos, "the man," and since the Septuagint was the version all Gentile churches used, the reference to Adam would be picked up at once.
Paul's literal words here are easy to understand, but his meaning requires more effort. The meaning of Paul's words depends upon background knowledge and context not found in Colossians 3. Some of the necessary background is given in the preceding paragraph. The issue of context is more complex.
Paul wrote 2,000 years ago in a different context. Can his words be relevant in our context today? Yes. Though humans live in many different situations, all Christians through time and space relate to Christ in the same way that Paul's first readers did. Their lives and ours are "hidden in Christ" (Col. 3:3). Our ultimate, common context is Christ, "in whom all things were created in whom all things hold together" (Col. 1:16-17)â"though our particular contexts may differ.
There are several ways readers can quickly gain the outside knowledge they need to infer the meaning of Paul's words. Pastors and teachers with a knowledge of Greek can help them. Study Bibles and commentaries can help. Reading and rereading the entire Bible in a direct translation is best of all, though it is slower and harder.
Newer FE translations, however, try to short-circuit the problem of background and context by changing what was written. They do not so much translate Paul's words into English words as try to find a meaning already familiar to Americans. They hope the new American meaning will affect readers the same way Paul's meaning affected his readers. The two meanings are meant to be functionally equivalent.
Let us see if newer FE type translations succeed in their goal at Colossians 3:9-10. Here are two attempts:
- "You have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self" (NIV; compare NRSV, TEV).
- "You have discarded the old human nature and the conduct that goes with it, and have put on the new nature which is constantly being renewed" (REB; compare RSV).
Most Americans have ideas about their (inner and outer) self and its renewal and can talk about it in all sorts of words and ways. We get a new religion or hairdo and say, "Look at the new me!" We build our biceps or ego and talk about our "new self-image." We have various ideas about human nature too, perhaps that it is sinful or basically good. But are our modern meanings the same as Paul's? Do translations 1 and 2 really help us understand what Paul said and meant?
I think not. Translations like "your old self" and "new self" may unwittingly lead readers away from Christ ("the new man") to the individual self, one of America's greatest idols. And while Paul's "man" refers concretely and specifically to Adam and Christ, "human nature" is an abstract, philosophical idea whose meaning changes with the wind. Both translations prevent readers from learning that the "new man" is not us but Christ.
We become new persons only "in Christ" (Gal. 3:27) and by taking off Adam and putting on Christ, who is our life (Col. 3:3). By seeking familiar modern meanings, these newer translations make it much harder to see the deep biblical pattern of Paul's thought. They obscure the words and metaphors by which the Spirit has woven a coherent tapestry of meaning that stretches from Genesis to Revelation. This practice removes the information we need to understand, because it hides the Bible's dynamic unity and coherence.
Biblical metaphors drop into our hearts like a seed in soil and make us think, precisely because they are not obvious at first. The translator who removes biblical metaphors to make the text "easier" for readers may defeat the purpose of the Holy Spirit, who chose a metaphor in the first place. Metaphors grab us and work on us and in us. They have the spiritual power to transform our minds. The abandonment of basic biblical metaphors in many translations follows naturally from FE theory, because the target languages may not use such expressions. But it is the foreignness of metaphors that is their virtue. Metaphors make us stop and think, Now what does that mean?
It is not clear to me that replacing metaphors with abstractions makes it easier for readers. "God is my rock" is just as easy to understand as "God is my firm support" but means far more. "Walk in love" is simple, as is FE's "live a life of love" (Eph. 5:2, NIV). But "walk in love" resonates with the rich system of biblical metaphor rooted in Old Testament wisdom, where life is journey on a good or bad way, and in Acts, where Christianity became known as "the Way" (Acts 9:2). Metaphors are multifaceted and function to invoke active thought on the part of the receiver. Receivers must think and feel their way through a metaphor, and it is this very process that gives the metaphor its power to take hold of receivers as they take hold of it.
Similar problems occur in Hebrews 2:5-9, when the NRSV changes RSV's direct translation, "son of man," to "mortals" (plural), thus obscuring the crucial link between "son of man" in Psalm 8:4-8 and Jesus. This NRSV change from direct to FE translation also destroys the link with Jesus as the "son of man" in the Gospels prefigured in Daniel 7.
Here are some other examples of FE translations' obscuring the text.
A. In Galatians 5:16-26, Paul contrasts "the works of the flesh" with "the fruit of the Spirit" (RSV, NRSV). Paul's words here and elsewhere have often been misunderstood as meaning an opposition between the Spirit and our unspiritual "material" body. To avoid this misunderstanding, the New Jerusalem Bible (NJB) renders "flesh" as "self-indulgence," while the NIV speaks of "sinful nature" (with a footnote on flesh). This does two things: it prevents us from finding out why Paul used the Greek word for "flesh," and it may mislead us to infer that human nature is sinful or evil, even though the "Word became flesh" (John 1:14).
B. In Ecclesiastes (and only in Ecclesiastes), the NIV translates hebel as "meaningless." Hebel is the most important word in Ecclesiastes and appears 37 times; its translation dramatically shapes our understanding of the entire book. Hebel means something like "breath," "mist," or "fog" (See James 4:14, "What is your life? A mist"). In Ecclesiastes hebel describes life metaphorically, as a breath, mist, or fog. Unfortunately, the NIV's interpretation forces readers to read the book only one way, and to conclude roughly that life without God is meaningless. Other scholars are convinced that Ecclesiastes does not say life is "meaningless," but that it is like a breath or fogâ"hard to grasp, beyond control, sometimes impenetrable, here today and gone tomorrow.
My point is not primarily whether the NIV is right or wrong but that its abstract interpretation denies the church access to what the Spirit actually said. (In this respect, the KJV translators also missed the mark by choosing vanity.) Translation may too quickly interpose interpretation that interferes with the priestly and prophetic calling of believers. "Meaningless" also makes Ecclesiastes seem a "foreign body" in the Bible, instead of a book whose reflections on life as God's gift and as "breath" have much in common with the Psalms (144:3-4), Job (7:7,16-18), Isaiah (40:6-8, using a different metaphor), Jesus (Matt. 6:25-34), and James.
C. In Romans 1:17-18, Paul uses parallel language to say that "God's righteousness is revealed" in the gospel and that "God's wrath is revealed" from heaven. Since Luther, many scholars have thought this means a righteousness that God gives to us. Luther's big question was "How can I, a sinner, be righteous or justified before God?" (Greek uses one word group based on the root dik-, but English uses two roots: just- and right-). But many scholars now maintain that since the theme of Romans is not us but Christ, "God's righteousness" more probably expresses the thought of God's character (of who he is) than of his gift (what he's done for us). Thus both phrases, the one about God's righteousness and wrath, speak of God's character.
Some FE translations make it difficult even to discuss this issue, because they give us only a meaning based on Luther's interpretation of Paul, which points to the gift of righteousness in the first phrase but the character of God in the second. The NIV translates the two phrases as "a righteousness from God," and "the wrath of God." The TEV actually paraphrases them as "the gospel reveals how God puts people right with himself" and "God's anger is revealed." We may call such translations "closed" rather than "open" because they shut down the process of wrestling with what God has said through Paul. By choosing one meaning and rejecting another, they close the door to reflection and new insight.
D. Similarly, Paul often refers to the "pistis of Christ." Pistis means "faithfulness" or "faith." Was Paul saying here that we are saved by our "faith in Christ" or that "the faithfulness of Christ" in his life and death saves sinners? When translations decide questions like this for us, they may prevent us from a Spirit-led, fuller understanding of God's Word.
When our translations do not say what the Hebrew or Greek say, it is hard to know what the Bible means. We need to understand better why these problems arise. A look at the translator's task will help us.
What Translators Do
At their best, Bible translations richly convey what God has said, and can enrich the understanding of even those who read the original languages. Yet translation is a difficult and, in some ways, impossible task. Translations always compromise and interpret.
Depending on context, the same words can mean different things. "Money talks" means one thing as a boast made by the man who bribed the jury, another when spoken by the innocent victim. "Yeah, yeah" may mean "Yes, yes!" Spoken with a cynical voice, it means "Blah, blah, I don't believe you." Listeners and readers necessarily infer the meaning of what was said or, in stories, what happened. Much of our ability to understand language depends on knowledge not found in the words themselves.
Take another example. Suppose, just before bedtime, an insomniac is asked, "Would you like some coffee?" She responds simply, "Coffee would keep me awake." Her host correctly infers something like "No thank you, I do not want coffee now"â"even though this was never said. But suppose coffee is offered to Homer Simpson struggling to stay awake at the nuclear power plant. When Homer says the very same words ("Coffee would keep me awake"), we know he means "Yes! Yes! Bring me coffee!" (and probably "Don't forget the donuts!" as well). In each case, there is a gap between what was said and what was meant in a particular context. This gap can be bridged only by inference based on unspoken background knowledge and context.
There may also be a gap between what was said and meant and what is inferred. These gaps may or may not be bridged successfully. Sometimes we get it wrong. Today there is an intense discussion among linguists and translators about the theory and practice of translation. How do we best deal with the problem of understanding? This debate is taking place also in distinguished evangelical organizations like SIL International (formerly known as the Summer Institute of Linguistics). Here I offer my own perception of what is involved in translation and understanding.
A translator's first and most important job is to bridge the language gap. She seeks the best way of saying in English what was said first in Hebrew or Greek. But even this is not simple. No English word fully matches a Greek or Hebrew word. For instance, the biblical words for "soul" are the Hebrew nephesh and the Greek psyche. Unfortunately, nephesh is also translated as "life," "appetite," "neck" and "person," among other words. We may think that only humans "have souls," that "souls are immortal" and that Jesus "saves souls."
But in Hebrew, both man and beast are "living nephesh," and a dead person is a "dead nephesh." In biblical Hebrew and Greek, to save a nephesh or psyche means to save a life or person. The shed, sacrificial blood of Jesus atones for our "lives" according to the law of Leviticus, because "the life (nephesh) is in the blood" (Lev. 17:11-14). Even the best translator is forced to choose English words, none of which exactly matches the Hebrew or Greek.
The matter is not trivial. Biblical salvation restores the whole creation. To "save souls" in the sense of a saving a "spiritual" part of us is not biblical. The New Testament teaches the resurrection of the body, and life in a new creation where heaven comes down to earth. As our earlier biblical examples showed, even when a translation captures what was said in clear, simple English, we may not understand what it means or its relevance today. "Put on the new man" is clear English, but few realize Paul means Christ. We lack the background biblical knowledge and extended context for us to correctly infer what he meant by what he said.
Reading the Whole Bible
For us moderns to understand the Bible, we have to learn a lot about the world of the Bible and the world in the Bible; otherwise it just doesn't make sense. For example, Leviticus is an entire book designed to teach us what holiness isâ"something we Christians desperately need: "Just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written, 'Be holy, because I am holy'" (1 Pet. 1:15-16, quoting Lev. 11:44, 45).
Without knowing the meaning of holy, clean, and unclean, and of blood and leprosy in the Book of Leviticus, we do not fully understand the story of Samson, the lion, and the honey. Nor do we fully see the point of Jesus' healing lepers and the woman with an issue of blood. Holiness is much more than "separation"â"though that is part of it. It means freedom from that "uncleanness" that puts us out of joint with God and man. Holiness means harmony with God, ourselves, our neighbors, and the creation (see Gordon Wenham's very helpful The Book of Leviticus [Eerdmans, 1979]).
Salvation is to make us holy so that God can dwell among his people (Ex. 29:45-46; Rev. 21:3), and we can be as he is: holy (Lev. 19:2; 1 Pet. 1:15-16). Indeed, at the end of Exodus, the descent of God to fill the "house" with his glory is the Old Testament Pentecost (Ex. 40:34-38). And after this Old Testament Pentecost, Nadab and Abihu are the Old Testament precursors of Ananias and Sapphira (Lev. 10:1-11; Acts 5:1-11). Both pairs offend against God's holy presence as he makes a crucial new beginning in the history of redemption.
Again, most Americans have never seen a sheep slaughtered. To many, animal sacrifice seems like cruelty to animals. Other peoples have no sheep at all and no word for them; they may sacrifice pigs instead. Translators rightly assume that the biblical picture of God as a shepherd will be difficult to understand for people without sheep. What to do?
To translate Psalm 23 as "The Lord is my pig-herd" will not work! But even pastors (a word that means "shepherd") often do not realize that "The Lord is my shepherd" is a metaphorical way of referring to Yahweh as King: The Lord is my king; he cares for me as a shepherd cares for his flock.
One translator for a pig-eating tribe apparently rendered John the Baptizer's cry of "Behold the Lamb of God!" as something like "Behold God's little pig!" This clearly will not do. For one thing, it is not what John said. What's more, throughout the Old and New Testaments, pigs are considered unclean, the polar opposite of holiness and a holy God. That is why Jesus casts the "unclean spirits" into the pigs (Mark 5:1-13). niv often translates this as "evil spirits," which misses the point. Sheep are acceptable sacrifices to Yahweh, but pigs are ritually and symbolically abhorrent. One cannot simply translate words into functional equivalents in the target language. Even if sheep are sacrificed in your culture, you still need to learn what shepherd, sheep, and sacrifice are in the biblical world to get the meaning.
The job is even more difficult for Americans. Some of us may love lamb chops, but we don't offer sheep to God. If we do not come to understand these Old Testament issues, we will never fully understand Jesus as "the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world." Nor will we really know the meaning of "offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God" (Rom. 12:1).
How can we get this sort of biblical knowledge, the knowledge we cannot live without? Much of it can be gained from a good translation of the "direct" or "transparent" kind that more and more linguists and translation experts are advocating. Such a translation emphasizes faithfulness to what is said (or written) in the original rather than immediate ease of understanding for readers. By consistency in rendering biblical expressions and metaphors, it helps readers see the unity and coherence of Scripture, how one part echoes or enriches another. And if the original is mysterious, ambiguous, complex, rich in metaphorical suggestiveness, or just foreign and shocking to our sensibilities, so be it. A direct translation will not try to "fix the problem." FE translations are prone to simplify the Bible and thus get in the way of readers willing to struggle with the text until they understand it better.
A Translation We Need Today
My concern has been that the dominance of FE translations has made it more difficult for English readers to know what the Bible actually said. We need an up-to-date translation that is more transparent to the original languages. If the translator's task is to negotiate the difficult balance between faithfulness to the original text and offering immediate sense in the target language, a direct translation will lean toward the original text.
As a member of Christ's body and a Bible teacher, I am pleading for a type of translation that is more consistently transparent, so that the original shines through it to the extent permitted by the target language.
A direct translator will in a learned and aesthetically appropriate way use the resources of the target language to richly capture the details of the original, even though readers may be challenged by some of the Bible's foreignness. The Bible creates a vast context of meaning through cross references and allusions, phrases and metaphors, echoes and types. For readers to discover this type of biblical meaning in their translations, translators of the Bible must be constantly aware of parallel passages, expressions, and images. Where this does not happen, much of the text's actual meaning may be lost, often to be replaced by modern meanings.
A direct translation will try to preserve meaningful metaphors wherever possible and not turn them into abstractions. For three reasons, such metaphors and meanings can disclose themselves to all who are "afar off."
First, the Bible is big enough, with abundant repetition of crucial expressions and contexts, to show the attentive reader what its key terms and metaphors mean.
Second, the world that the Bible represents in its culturally specific way is yet one world, created by one Lord, inhabited through time by one humanity, whose history and meaning from beginning to end are disclosed by the history of Israel in Christ (1 Cor. 10). Within this shared, comprehensive context, we can learn to understand the Bible's otherness.
Third, the Scriptures themselves demand, and the Lord supplies, teachers to help the church understand God's Word. This does not negate the individual reading of Scripture (say, by the Ethiopian eunuch) but means that members of the body need one another in their diversity of gifts, just as the Ethiopian needed Philip. Individualistic reading of the Bible is unbiblical.
Adam and Eve fell when they became uncertain about God's Word to them in the Garden. They heard a word from the snake about how to live, a word that contradicted God's Word. Eve decided to decide for herself which word to follow. Like Israel, we and our children live in a polytheistic society where many "gods" offer competing words, each claiming to show the way, the truth, and the life. Mammon and Baal, money and sex, self and greed shout loudly. The church needs linguists and translators, preachers and teachers, scholars and laity who will help us all hear God's Word clearly and live it rightly, until he comes again.
Raymond C. Van Leeuwen is professor of New Testament at Eastern College in St. Davids, Pennsylvania. He is indebted to Dr. Barrie Evans of Kent, England, for his long-standing help in linguistics. A more extensive treatment of this topic will appear in the book After Pentecost (Zondervan, 2002).
Copyright © 2001 Christianity Today. Click for reprint information.
A ready-to-download Bible Study on this article is available at ChristianBibleStudies.com. These unique Bible studies use articles from current issues of Christianity Today to prompt thought-provoking discussions in adult Sunday school classes or small groups.
The Bible Gateway allows visitors to read specific verses in various translations and languages.
Previous Christianity Today articles on Biblical translation include:
Old Wisdom for New Times | The International Bible Society is doing "spiritual archaeology" and retro-publishing to reach seekers. (April 23, 2001)
And the Word Came with Pictures | Visual Bible International (VBI), is producing a movie version of the Bible book for book, word for word. (March 1, 2001)
New Bible translations help to preserve world's disappearing languages | The total number of languages in which the Bible is available in part or in its entirety now stands at 2233. (Feb. 28, 2000)
The Battle for the Inclusive Bible | Conflicts over "gender-neutral" versions are not really about translation issues. (Nov. 15, 1999)
What Bible Version Did Jesus Read? | What does the knowledge that Jesus used different versions of Scripture mean for us today? (April 26, 1999)
Do Inclusive-Language Bibles Distort Scripture? | He Said, They Said ( October 27, 1997)
On the Shoulders of King James | Barclay M. Newman has kept before him a question posed by the translators of the 1611 King James Version: "What can be more [important] than to deliver God's book unto God's people in a tongue which they understand?" (Oct. 27, 1997)
Confessions of a Bible Translator | As a stylist on a new translation of the Bible, Daniel worries over the effectiveness of the language into which the text is translated. (Oct. 27, 1997)
The Great Translation Debate | The divide over gender-inclusive Bibles hides what unites us. (Oct. 27, 1997)
Bible Translators Deny Gender Agenda | Focus on the Family yanks children's Bible; NIV translator loses seminary job. (July 14, 1997)
Hands Off My NIV! | Bible society cancels plans for 'gender-accurate' Bible after public outcry. (June 16, 1997)
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more