Difficulties of Bible Translation

Dr. Mark Snoeberger has an excellent article on one of the difficulties in translating the Bible (or anything else) from one language into another language.  He uses technical terms, but he explains them.  (Just to be clear, parataxis is NOT talking about two taxis driving in parallel lines :)).  Since I am bad at kicking a ball into a net, I appreciate his explanation (now, you HAVE to go read it to see what in the world I’m talking about).

Sunday, I began a series of sermons I’ve titled “That Book in Your Hand”, on Bibliology (the study of what the Scriptures are and how they came to us).  Dr. Snoeberger’s post is extremely relevant, because unless you read Greek and Hebrew, “That Book in Your Hand” is a translation.

A few words about his closing paragraph, about the NIV translation:

Does the NIV sometimes engage in “interpretation” or in “eliminating words”? Sure. Every translation does. The NIV just does these things with more self-conscious deliberation than other translations. But this does not make it a bad translation.

I agree that every translation does these things — the very nature of translation requires it.  However, I’m not sure why he thinks the deliberation of the NIV translators was “more self-conscious” than that of other translators.  My endorsement of his article is not an endorsement of this final paragraph.  The more I have studied the Scriptures, the less and less enthusiastic I have become about the NIV translation.  I’ll explain more as I continue my sermon series and blog about it over the coming weeks.

UPDATE:  I asked Dr. Snoeberger, and he explained his “more self-conscious deliberation” statement in his comments.

UPDATE again:  Part Two.

About Jon Gleason

Former Pastor of Free Baptist Church of Glenrothes
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1 Response to Difficulties of Bible Translation

  1. Diane says:

    Looking forward to reading this series.

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