Day: November 28, 2011
THE TRANSLATION PROCESS
By Don Kuhn, Burleson, Texas
The scene is the day of Pentecost. The account of all that happened that day is recorded in Acts chapter 2. One of the amazing things, for the people of many places gathered there, is that each person heard the message in his own native language. God through the Holy Spirit provided a way for each one to clearly understand. “Some of us were born Jews. Others are converts to Judaism. We can hear these men in our own languages! We can all understand the wonderful things they are saying about God. (Acts 2:11, The Simple English Bible.)
Today people still need to hear the message from God in their own language. That is why translations of the Bible are continually needed. Even within a single language, the meaning of words change with time. It is good to see that translations easily understood by English-speaking people are being published.
The translation of the Bible into English must continue the process began before the King James Version. We must not stagnate now and end up with a translation only a few can understand. This is the danger of a few interpreting the Word of God for the majority of people. Denominations, which by and large still use the King James Version, us it to teach error. No translation can be totally free of misinterpretation by those who wish to misuse it. However, the clearer it is to the average person, the better the opportunity for truth to be self-evident.
“While a major portion of the KJV is understandable to any person who reads English, because of the choice of words and/or the change of the English speech since 1611, some sentences in the King James will not be understood without the help of a commentary. Champions of the use of the KJV forget that they have been conditioned to its oddities by a lifetime of study. The new reader and the uneducated reader have not had that conditioning.” (The English Bible from KJV to NIV, Jack P. Lewis, page 53.)
The New International Version and The Simple English Bible are two fine examples of the ongoing translation process. For an indepth study of translations, read The English Bible from KJV to NIV, A History and evaluation, by Jack P. Lewis, Baker Book House and How We Got the Bible by Neil Lightfoot, Baker Book House.
–By Don Kuhn, Via, Johnson Park church of Christ, Borger, Texas. 1983 bulletin
My Note: It is strange, but I have noticed many times that people who have a disdain for the NIV and other good later translations, when they are explaining what a text means in the KJV or other early versions, explain it with the very same words that the NIV uses in Scripture! Are they wanting to go back to the ‘dark ages’ so all can not know what the Scripture says in today’s language? Evidently, it’s okay to say it, but you’d better not print it????
As Christians, we must be very careful to make intelligent and informed decisions about what translations of the Bible we choose to read. On the liberal extreme, we have people who would give us heretical new translations that attempt to change God’s Word to make it politically correct. One example of this, which has made headlines recently is the Today’s New International Version (T.N.I.V.) which seeks to remove all gender-specific references in the Bible whenever possible! Not all new translations are good… and some are very bad.
But equally dangerous, is the other extreme… of blindly rejecting ANY English translation that was produced in the four centuries that have come after the 1611 King James. We must remember that the main purpose of the Protestant Reformation was to get the Bible out of the chains of being trapped in an ancient language that few could understand, and into the modern, spoken, conversational language of the present day. William Tyndale fought and died for the right to print the Bible in the common, spoken, modern English tongue of his day… as he boldly told one official who criticized his efforts, “If God spare my life, I will see to it that the boy who drives the plowshare knows more of the scripture than you, Sir!”
Will we now go backwards, and seek to imprison God’s Word once again exclusively in ancient translations? Clearly it is not God’s will that we over-react to SOME of the bad modern translations, by rejecting ALL new translations and “throwing the baby out with the bathwater”. The Word of God is unchanging from generation to generation, but language is a dynamic and ever-changing form of communication. We therefore have a responsibility before God as Christians to make sure that each generation has a modern translation that they can easily understand, yet that does not sacrifice accuracy in any way. Let’s be ever mindful that we are not called to worship the Bible. That is called idolatry. We are called to worship the God who gave us the Bible, and who preserved it through the centuries of people who sought to destroy it.
We are also called to preserve the ancient, original English translations of the Bible… and that is what we do here at WWW.GREATSITE.COM
This English Bible History Article & Timeline is ©2002 by author & editor: John L. Jeffcoat III. Special thanks is also given to Dr. Craig H. Lampe for his valuable contributions to the text. This page may be freely reproduced or quoted, in whole or in part, in print or electronically, under the one condition that prominent credit must be given to “WWW.GREATSITE.COM” as the source.
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The New International Version and The Simple English Bible are two fine examples of the ongoing translation process. For an indepth study of translations, read: The English Bible from KJV to NIV, A History and Evaluation, by Jack P. Lewis, Baker Book House and How We Got the Bible by Neil Lightfoot, Baker Book House. – Don Kuhn, Borger Beacon: Johnson Park church of Christ, Borger, Texas
Note: These two books may be available from Abebooks.com a place where you can get books from $1.00 and up plus shipping.