Translating the Bible

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by jet11, Sep 19, 2006.

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  1. jet11

    jet11
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    I am currently studying the scriptures using a Bible with 4 different translations (NKJV, ESV, NLT, & The Message). I also refer to a KJV bible, as well as a NIV translation. They do not always agree, and I find myself getting bogged down from time to time trying to reconcile the differences.

    I would like to take my study a step further. I would like to begin my own translation of the Bible, but I have no idea where to start. What are the oldest texts available? Are they available online, and if so can these versions be trusted? Is there a good website to learn Hebrew and Greek? I know this endeavor will be a huge undertaking, but I think it will make me grow even stronger in my faith.

    I would like to begin with the New Testament. I probably will not be able to check back until tomorrow, but thanks in advance.
     
  2. Deacon

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    Make your OWN translation??? Isn't that unChristian??? :tongue3:

    I'd suggest starting in smaller bites.
    Take a course in Biblical Greek or Hebrew.

    Some scholars spend their whole lives translating a testament.

    Rob
     
  3. franklinmonroe

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    Of course they don't "agree"; they are all different in their underlying text and methods of translation. The purpose of the parallel Bible you have is to compare them, but they can't be reconciled.

    No, the oldest texts are not going to be easy to access unless you are a scholar with credentials. I would not trust stuff found on the internet for this purpose.

    Yes, there are websites that introduce Greek but they cannot not prepare you to the same level as legitimate university instruction. I don't think you truly appreciate the magnatude of what you are suggesting. As Deacon stated, translating even the NT from scratch will take many years. There are other ways to strengthen your faith, my friend.

    I don't want to completely discourage you... so, I will recommend that perhaps you could attempt a very small project: translate a short book like Jude or III John and see how that goes. I think you'll be surprised how difficult it will be.
     
  4. Clean1

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    Questions: are you translating the Bible into a different language or into a just another 'version'? If so, why?
     
  5. jet11

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    Another version. There are so many opinions (KJV only, etc.) that say one translation is better than the other. I have read many opinions on the various translations, and everyone seems to have a different opinion as to which one is the correct translation. They point out that certain translators had agendas and promoted certain theologies.

    2 Timothy 2:15
    Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

    I know this will take the rest of my life to accomplish, and I will continue to read the translations I already have. This will be in addition to my current Bible study. I believe it will give me a deeper understanding of God's word.
     
  6. rbell

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    Jet11,

    I know nothing about your life, age, passions, or abilities.

    But there are thousands of people groups that have no translation of God's word at all in their tongue.

    Have you ever thought about devoting your life's work to getting them a copy of the Scriptures?

    Not trying to dissuade you...follow God, absolutely.

    I'm just saying, the fields are white in the area of translating the Bible into un-translated tongues...

    (I bet some of my missionary brothers are about to have an "amen chorus" sometime soon)...

    Whichever way you go, God's blessings...and I'm glad you have a hunger for His word.
     
  7. EdSutton

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    As one who has a remote passing familiarity with both 'Wycliffe' Translators and 'New Tribes', I'm sure either would welcome him with open arms, if he or she is serious, about translating the Scriptures.

    Ed
     
  8. Marcia

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    jet11,

    You can't learn Hebrew and Greek online, especially if you want to translate them! You need good teachers, a lot of time devoted to study, learn grammatical issues and disputes in translation, and to learn principles of translation as well!

    It is not so much a matter of which translation is the most correct, but which principles of translation are applied. Some think it should be translating the idea rather than exact words (like, what do you do with idioms, for example, that make sense in Hebrew but not in English?), others think a translation closer to a word for word translation is better.

    BTW, The Message is NOT a translation, but rather a paraphrase and part commentary. He adds words in that are not in the original text.

    I agree with rbell -- translators are needed desperately for Bibles in languages/countries/people groups where no Bibles exist. If you like languages, maybe this is something you could pray about and pursue.
     
  9. AntennaFarmer

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    "I would like to begin my own translation of the Bible"


    Well I think that is a great idea! Maybe someone at your local college could recommend a good textbook for ancient Greek (Koine, not classical or modern Greek). Find a good lexicon and a copy of the Greek New Testament. Jump in feet first. Yes, it is a hard subject. On the other hand you won't break anything by trying.

    Most of the Christian book stores seem to have the Nestle-Aland revised Greek text (at least that was true when I last looked). But if you can find a copy of the Textus Receptus you can easily compare with the KJV (or the NKJV) as you go along.

    ...A.F....
     
    #9 AntennaFarmer, Sep 19, 2006
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  10. Gold Dragon

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    I would say that one of the best ways to understand languages is to try to translate them.

    I also encourage you to try translation as an exercise in understanding the translation process. And in that process, understand and appreciate God's Word more intimately.


    Now for the bad news. The bible is not an easy book to translate. The languages and cultural uses of those languages are thousands of years old. There are many source texts that are difficult to reconcile. The nuances of translation and textual criticism are difficult for any single person to grasp and most quality translations out there are done by committees of folks who have devoted their lives to Greek, Hebrew, ancient cultures and language translations because of the large task. Yes, they have their biases, but that is true of any human endeavor.


    However, if you truly want to embark on this path, I might be able to give a few pointers for direction.

    Summary Lectures on The Basics of Biblical Greek, by Dr. Bill Mounce
    This is an introduction to biblical greek given at Gordon Conwell University. I haven't found one for hebrew.

    The Encyclopedia of New Testament Textual Criticism
    An amazing resource that looks into the host of manuscript data for the NT.

    A Student's Guide to NT Textual Variants
    Excellent resource that outlines most of the major variants, their source manuscripts and the english translations that use them. This resource is all in english and is intended to be a guide for students of the bible without a background in greek.

    University of York: Greek New Testament

    This resource was "derived" from Nestle-Aland's 26th edition which I believe most modern english translations draw their NT from with some input from NA27. Some more recent translations may use NA28. This resource has a nice feature that gives you information about the root greek words when you click on them. A note that NA editions are compilations from many different greek manuscripts and do not represent any single greek manuscript.

    Bible Researcher

    This site is one of the most useful sites I've seen for bible comparisons and critical articles of english translations as well as articles on a whole host of topics related to the text of the bible and its history of translation.
     
    #10 Gold Dragon, Sep 19, 2006
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  11. John of Japan

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    AMEN, AMEN, AMEN, AMEN!!! :thumbs: :jesus: :applause: :wavey:

    According to Wycliffe, there are still almost 4000 languages with no part of the Bible translated. However, according to Kubo and Specht (So Many Versions? c. 1983) there have been over 200 translations of part or all of the Bible into English. They list 159 in the 20th century alone in an appendix, and there have been many since then, especially with the advent of "Internet Bibles."

    So, jet11, surely you can find an English version to speak to your heart without translating a new one! IMO there is much too much money wasted on English translations when the world is so needy.

    Having said that, I recently discovered "the original mss." of a translation of Galatians I made back in about 1986. I wrote at the top, "For study and sermon purposes: a private translation." I was preaching through Galatians at the time. It is a great blessing to translate privately in this way. I consider it an advanced form of Bible study. In my case, it was excellent preparation for the Japanese NT translation I am now working on. For that purpose, God further prepared me with 18 credit hours of Greek, two years of teaching Greek in a Bible school and many years of study in Japanese. So get to work.
     
  12. John of Japan

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    The TR is the easiest to translate from, IMO, in the sense that many Bible PC programs include it, there are no copyright issues, there are several good and inexpensive interlinears, etc. However, it is easy also to get an older version of Nestles or even Westcott and Hort online.

    jet11, I think before you even consider the textual issues, you need to learn NT Greek. Textual criticism is an extremely technical subject, and more nonsense is written on it by uninformed folk who can't even read the Greek than maybe any other issue in Christianity. Just my opinion! :smilewinkgrin:
     
  13. Forever settled in heaven

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    excellent approach, to consult multiple versions! u might not be able to do it in another language, but why not make full use of the blessing in English?

    another aid is a good commentary--if u're not familiar w Gk or Heb, u cld go for something betw a technical (Gk/Heb) commentary n a devotional one (e.g. Mt Henry) that doesn't deal w textual issues. i have in mind something along the line of the Tyndale series--short n sweet, often deals w the textual issue at hand, if somewhat tersely, n moves on.

    if u're serious abt doing a translation, i'd suggest looking at Wycliffe Translators/Summer Inst of Linguistics. there are many DIY lining the road of translations, both online n in print, that r not entirely helpful. come to think of it, there may also be a number of "professionally" published ones that beg the question of their raison d'etre.

    but yes, there are fairly reliable Gk/Heb texts available online--have u checked out e-sword n the online bible?

    in my experience, anything that helps u understand the veracity n historicity of Christ's resurrection (incl a study of text crit) will strengthen ur faith.
     
  14. Hope of Glory

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    If you're truly interested in studying, a great resource is www.inthebeginning.org. There is a full course on Greek there that is taught by an expert in the field. As for manuscripts, the TR is highly suspect, with many things that seem to have been added later. The NA27 is available fairly affordably (or even free: PM me and I'll send it to you), and they are constantly comparing manuscripts and looking at their origins, etc., and updating it every few years. (Although, I do question a couple of things that they have included, but their methodology is the best.)

    As far as commentaries, I would avoid the ones that are based soley upon one translation, as they are almost always biased toward that translation instead of what the Scriptures say. Also, denominational commentaries will generally be biased towards their denominational teaching. (This is not to say that no one within a denomination can be unbiased; I'm just talking about things such as Way of Life material.)
     
  15. jet11

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    Thank you all for your replies. You have given me many issues to consider. I currently have not studied any Greek, so I guess that is the first place I should start.
     
  16. PeterM

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    I for one applaud your desire...

    I would begin with 1 John as the Greek is very straight forward and relatively easy to work with.
     
  17. AntennaFarmer

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    That does sound like a good place to start.

    Wouldn't it be nice if several folks could work through the translation (at the same time) and share their work here on the Baptist Board?

    A.F.
     
  18. Clean1

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    Question: Why do you want to do this? What would benefit from it?
    Also... is the world a better place now because of all the hundreds of translations or back then when there alot fewer? Would it not cause more confusion because there would be another translation out there? Just some questions. Please don't slam me.
     
  19. Ed Edwards

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    Clean1: //Also... is the world a better place now because
    of all the hundreds of translations
    or back then when there alot fewer?//

    It is better now. :1_grouphug:

    The study of Multiple Translations enables the
    Holy Spirit to work more freely in one's life.
     
  20. tinytim

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    I for one, along with my wife, are glad there are other versions... and yes the world is a better place because of them. People can read them in their own language and reading level.

    for example, my wife is a very bad reader... was in special ed for reading, and really has trouble. It wasn't until she picked up a NLT that she could understand the Bible.

    Some have said that if a person is truly saved he or she will understand the KJV... but what about people like my wife? She is truly saved, but has reading problems... but now because of the NLT, she is growing spiritually.

    That has made our world better!

    Maybe there are others out there that need a new translation for this very reason.

    besides a variety of translations better illuminates a passage.
     
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