Birthdays and Anniversarie
None this week
Paul Tyler has a bad sort Parkinson’s. Please pray for him. His granddaughter, Michelle, scheduled for surgery
J R Medellin, Tiffany’s (Chance) husband, still doing well. Vanessea‘s surgery coming up.
Shirley Weeks, Steve’s mom, continues to have trouble.
Sarah, Chris Girvin’s sister, on hospice care
Robert and Sue Waller, health issues.
Darla Nitti, Wendi’s mom, not doing well.
Leta, has a recurring cancer, prayer request from her granddaughter via our website.
Tammy Jones, Weeks’ neighbor, kidney failure/dialysis
Back to school
Also for the family of Darlyne Stewart, Karl Jones’s sister. Her services will be held August 1, 2 under direction of
Moore Funeral Home in Arlington. Please keep both families in your prayers.
Easily understood Bibles facilitate contemplating God, Christ and ourselves. If we are willing, they also empower us to live for God as they shape our beliefs, attitudes, values and behaviors.
More could be said in favor of an easy to read Bible. Yet, there is also a trade off.
On the spectrum of difficult to easy, literal translations provide a greater challenge to understand. These use a formal equivalence approach reproducing as much as possible the word-for-word structures of another language with its grammar and syntax. The resulting English can sometimes be awkward or difficult to understand.
On the other hand, functional equivalence translations seek to convey the sense of another language. With this approach the translators will ask questions like, what is this sentence communicating?
Once they arrive at their understanding of the text, then their goal becomes conveying that idea into an easy flowing English. The final product should be easy to understand.
Lying somewhere midway between the literal word-for-word and the sense-for-sense approaches are optimal equivalence Bibles. These translations will attempt to balance a readable text with some literalness. Popular examples include the ESV, NIV and NET.
The down side for the easier to read Bibles is that some details within the original language can become lost in translation. Furthermore, they reflect an increasingly greater degree of the translators’ perspectives than do literal Bibles. Let’s look at these two caveats starting with the latter.
All translations, even literal ones, contain a certain degree of interpretation. For example, within a particular sentence should the Greek word pistis be rendered faith, trust or faithfulness? After all, it’s semantic range covers all three. Should baptisma be transliterated as baptism or translated as immersion?
This influence of the translators’ perspectives only increases with the easier to read functional equivalent Bibles. Imagine how different religious traditions might render the text to support their terminology or views. For this reason, committees comprised of translators from various religious traditions are generally regarded as more reliable.
Thus while easy to read translations can clear up ambiguities for the reader and facilitate comprehension, they also provide more of the translator’s understanding. The accuracy of these viewpoints can vary.
Consider how the following Bibles handle the literal wording, “But if one thinks he’s acting improperly toward his virgin, if one is past the high point.” (1 Corinthians 7:36).
- “A man might think that he is not doing the right thing with his fiancée. She might be almost past the best age to marry.” Easy To Read Version
- “If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his betrothed, if his passions are strong.” English Standard Version
- “If anyone is worried that he might not be acting honorably toward the virgin he is engaged to, and if his passions are too strong.” New International Version 2011
- “If anyone thinks he is acting inappropriately toward his virgin, if she is past the bloom of youth” New English Translation
- “No father would want to do the wrong thing when his virgin daughter is old enough to get married.” God’s Word Translation
- “But if any man thinks that he is not acting properly toward his daughter, if she is past her youth.” Comprehensive New Testament
- “But if any man thinks that he is acting unbecomingly toward his virgin daughter, if she is past her youth,” New American Standard Bible 1995
These quotes illustrate how the translators’ understanding of “virgin” and “high point” influenced how they handled this verse. This is true even for the literal NASB (’95). However by placing daughter in italics the NASB identified daughter as their insertion.
Obviously, I’ve chosen a verse that would reveal translation differences. When we encounter differences, we should not allow them to undermine our confidence in our Bibles.
Rather, I would hope this realization would encourage us to study from several translations. On the one hand, the easy to read Bibles will promote Bible reading habits. They can facilitate a quick understanding.
On the other hand, the more literal Bibles can provide an opportunity to be careful. We may discover overlooked details or identify certain translations pushing in different directions.
And if we do, we have the opportunity to delve deeper to learn which is the better translation. The NET’s translator notes can provide an initial investigation point. We also might wish to learn more about those who made the different translations.
God has spoken. His message has been rendered into English with varying degrees of precision and ease of understanding. Read from several good Bibles. May you be richly blessed in your study of God’s word.
Barry Newton, link to original article