Bible Translation Forum

Gospel Coalition has teamed up with BibleGateway.Com to provide a forum on Bible translation.  Various Bible professors have provided answers to specific questions on translations and a few are posted each day.  Currently the question being addressed is “What makes a translation accurate?”  Today my answer to the question was posted.  Answers from Denny Burk and George Guthrie have previously been posted.

One Comment

  1. That’s a really interesting answer. It honestly goes against what I have always thought (my initial answer would have been much more like George Guthrie’s – that a translator should do their best to narrow the meaning to the most likely intended meaning in their judgement). But, you’re causing me to rethink that.

    There is ambiguity – lots of it – and while I’ve always thought that care should be taken to parse through context and arrive at the most complete, cohesive “intended meaning” possible, I agree that that is the church’s job, not necessarily a Bible translator’s job. I’d have to agree that “accuracy” – as relates to a translation of the Bible – necessarily involves accurately retaining some of the original text’s ambiguity.

    While I do fear that some will take an ambiguous phrase and twist it to mean something that is too strict, etc. (such as your “touching/shaking hands” example), I also think there is as much or more danger in narrowing the translation too far (as perhaps the NIV does in your example with “marry”) to the exclusion of other, important, possible meanings. Thanks for the perspective!

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