Friday, October 12, 2007

Criticising Bible Translations

I don't actually like criticising Bible translations, for the simple reason that it dents people's confidence in reading the Bible, and makes them think they should learn Greek or something.

It's therefore worth saying that something like the NIV (probably the most common translation today) is at least 99% accurate to what the original says; I just get disproportionately annoyed about the 1% because I'm a bit of a perfectionist by inclination and Bible translation is really important.

Here also are my recommendations for Bible translations:

  • Bible translation I'm most used to: NIV
  • Translations I use for my own reading: ESV, Nick King's translation
  • Translations I consult when studying a passage: ESV, NKJV, NASB, Nick King
  • Translations I've preached from: NIV, TNIV, NRSV, GNB
  • Translation I'd choose for a church: ESV if there's a fairly high level of literacy; NLT is there isn't, maybe NIV if in the middle...
  • Best gender-inclusive translation: NLT, because it's the only one I can find that doesn't mess up Hebrews 2 (it translates Ps 8 differently in Psalms and when quoted in Hebrews, but footnotes the "son of man" translation in Psalms)
  • Best translation for keeping poetry sounding poetic: NIV, NKJV


Anonymous said...

you pompous ass

John said...

that's an interesting opinion. Care to explain why you think that?

People don't tend to describe me as "pompous" much. Posh, sometimes. Arrogant, almost certainly. But rarely pompous.

John said...

I've changed my mind...