Today’s question is why are there so many English translations of the Bible and which one should I trust?
People are asking this question because they’re worried that it has been translated so many times… Maybe it hasn’t come down to us accurately in the English language. But we learned in another video that that’s just not something you have to worry about. We found out that there’s only 2% of the Bible that’s in question, in the first place. That translates to just 400 words in the New Testament 400 words is not a lot of words to worry about. None of the words that we’re worried about change the meaning of any of the teaching in any way, shape or form. So what that means is that what you’re reading, it’s what they wrote. If of course you’re reading it in the first place. Shame on you if you’re not reading it.
Scholars are telling us that the Bible has come down to us with a 98% accuracy rate.
98%! That’s incredible. You can’t a 98% accuracy rate on almost anything. Maybe that’s because God inspired it? But the question remains, why are there so many English translations of the Bible for us to choose from?
Well it’s probably because there’s a whole lot of people that speak English. And we all speaks it kind of different, ya’ know what I’m sayin? There are actually two different kinds of translations.
The first is called a formal equivalent translation. When I say formal I’m not talking about “Thou shalt not doeth, badeth, thingithiss…” Or something like that. No. A formal equivalent is when you look for one word in the original language and you try to match it to a word in the lanugage you’re translating to. That’s seems kind of obvious when you talk about the word “translation”, you know. But it’s actually really difficult to do. For example, when you think about the Hebrew language…
In Hebrew, the word “Afar” means “Dust” in English, but it doesn’t sound anything like “dust”. Unless, of course, you’re picturing a guy who blows off a fart so huge, there’s this explosion of dust out of his rear end. Now I’m willing to be you’ll never, ever forget that the word “afar” means “dust”.
The King James Version attempts to do a word for word, formal translation of the Bible. But the problem with that is it was translated in 1611. That’s a long time ago. English has changed a little bit from then till now. I mean, back then Shakespeare was saying… To be, or not to be…that is a stupid question. No I mean “to be, or not to be. That IS the question.” Now my Shakespeare teacher is happy.
The truth is, word for word translations are not easy to do and they don’t always work very well. This is because most languages use figures of speech. For example, imagine if you’re a translator and you hear this: “This headache is killing me!” If you’re a bad translator and you don’t take into account figures of speech, you might say… Yabba dabba doo doo. And then the poor guy who’s listening to you whose from deepest, darkest, I don’t know wherever. He thinks to himself “Oh my gosh the guy’s got a brain leech and it’s eating his cerebral cortex. Somebody call 911!” No. It’s “killing me” means, it’s not like, you know, killing me. It just means it’s really intense pain. Some people are a real intense pain, you know what I’m saying. So figures of speech! When you try to take those into account, you’re using what’s called a “functional equivalent translation.”
Now, there are some good functional equivalent translations. One of them is “The New Living Translation” of the Bible. Another one is called “The Message Bible”. And another one is called “The Good News Translation”. These are pretty good.
Now a mixture of both a formal equivalent and a functional equivalent, would be “The New International Version”. The 1970’s version of “The New International Version” is pretty good if you ask me. So today, when people ask me, which version of the Bible would I recommend? I usually say “The New Living Translation” because it helps people understand the meaning.
If you want to study and go into depth, try “The New King James Version.”
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Be good, don’t do anything evil, and we’ll see you next time.