Bible Translating Paraphrasing
If you have ever been confused about all translations, versions and paraphrases of the Bible, this note should help you better understand what the differences are.
Many people confirm and believe that the King James Version of the Bible is the only Bible in “perfect” English. This belief is based on the mistaken understanding of language, communication, translation from one language to another and a false belief that a particular collection of Greek New Testament manuscripts (of which the KJV was translated – King James Version) is the only true and reliable greek NT. Unfortunately, these misconceptions are misunderstandings.
I grew up in KJV, and most of the writings I quote from memory come from the KJV. It is a nice translation. But it was originally completed in 1611 … 403 years ago! The language is radically changing from century to century. Even the KJV-only crowd does not read from the text of 1611 … the language is too archaic. Most read from the 1769 update or even from a later update.
One of the best revisions of the KJV was the Revised Standard Version, published in 1952 by the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States. Almost immediately he was attacked by fundamentalist and conservative Christians to such an extent that the translation was never integrated into the Protestant churches of the United States. It is however one of my favorite translations.
There are two main ways to translate from one language to another. One literally translates word for word. However, in many cases this will completely lose the meaning of the translated language. For example, translating “cold” into English translates to “it’s cold.” However, the other major way to translate is called the “dynamic equivalent.” The dynamic equivalent of “it’s cold” in English is “It’s cold.” This translated exactly the intention of the Spanish expression.
The KJV is a beautiful combination of dynamic equivalence and literal translation that is easily aligned with the dynamic equivalent. The RSV runs in the same way as the KJV, but it used a different set of Greek manuscripts … one of the main reasons why it was attacked by the fundamentalists.
An example of a much more literal translation is the NASB (New American Standard Bible). Reading is more uncomfortable in many places, but it is still an excellent translation and one that I often use to get a passage fuller.
Paraphrases are not translations. They are more explanatory than a version or translation. The person or persons who create the paraphrases “reinforce” and “explain” the meaning of the text by adding words that make the text more comprehensible. The Living Bible, J B Philips and the Amplified Bible are the best known circumscribed versions of the Bible. But there are many others. The “Word of God” presented as a version of the Bible actually has many paraphrases. There is nothing wrong with a transcription, but we must understand that the “reinforcement” of these paraphrases are the interpretations of men, not the translations of the original texts.
One of the best and most popular contemporary versions of the Bible is the NIV (New International Version) of the Bible. One of the reasons why it is so good is that it has been written on a comprehensible level in contemporary English. The KJV uses language at least at the junior level of the university. The English of the NIV is closer to the level of English understanding of the eighth grade. But it is also an excellent translation. However, I will not refer to any version of the NIV that has been updated since 1982. They followed the same trend as the new RSV, which neutralizes God and makes other non-theologically acceptable changes.
So you know … I believe that God can get his truth through almost any translation of the Bible, or paraphrase or edited version. A preacher was very disgusted with the Reader’s Digest Bible and broke it on television in the 1980’s, such a disrespect of the Word of God that still existed in the RDB surprised me. For years, years and years, we present the Gospel of John the Man as an initial introduction to the Bible. Therefore, it made no sense for me to attack the RDB because it is an edited version of the Bible. We should always treat part of the Bible with great respect. It is the revelation of God for us.