What makes a version endearing & enduring?

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by franklinmonroe, Jul 31, 2007.

  1. franklinmonroe

    franklinmonroe
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    2,872
    Likes Received:
    3
    Why is it that most versions never really 'catch on'? And what causes versions to then 'fall out' of favor?

    For example, the Geneva Bible was quite popular for long while before the KJV. Why did this not continue? There has recently been some renewed interest in this version, but why has it remained forgotten (or at least, unused) all this time? Why haven't other pre-KJV English versions ever been adopted in large numbers? Certainly, their underlying texts are the same as the KJV, and their language less archaic. Did these just pass out of fashion?

    Why wasn't Webster's Bible more popular in America? Certainly, he knew our language needs and had a high regard for the KJV; with some folks desiring an updated TR-based New Testament, it would have seemed to be a good solution. Why not Young, or Darby? Did they become objectionably defective with the age?

    I'm not suggesting dubious translations (such as Lamsa or Greber), but there have been dozens of earnest, seemingly orthodox translation attempts in the recent decades (Moffatt, Weymouth, Goodspeed, Beck, Williams, Wuest, Green, etc.). Are the CEV, NCV, NLV, or TEV better than those were? Is The Message really needed when there is already Phillips'? Is the NIV a big seller because of its translational quality? Why is hard to find the MLB/New Berkley? Do we have an insatiable need to continue translating the English Bible?

    Are Bible sales simply a result of marketing? Will the NET or ISV ever be widespread? Why haven't most Christian's ever heard of the ALT, or read from the CLV? Are the ESV and NASB just a result from a drop in interest in the RSV and ASV?

    Why doesn't a version rise to the top? Why isn't there a consensus? Will the HCSB ultimately suffer the same fate as The Matthew (Roger's) Bible? Why do we allow them to be brushed aside? The fact that the KJV has been acceptable through all these generations is an indication of something extraordinarily different, if not divine.

    There are many questions above, but the basic thrust is: will any other version ever be both as endearing and enduring as the KJV?
     
    #1 franklinmonroe, Jul 31, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 31, 2007
  2. Rippon

    Rippon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Messages:
    17,403
    Likes Received:
    328
    Wow , Franklin , 23 questions . Interesting considerations . I'll only address a couple .

    You had asked why the NIV has been a big seller . You asked if it was the quality of the translation . I would say that the NIV ( which I really hope will be supplanted by the TNIV ) covers a lot of bases . It's not sterling in any particular area as such . But overall it succeeds in many ways . It has been the best. It's readable , yet accurate . It was a better choice than the NEB , TEV , Phillips or NASB . Fine conservative evangelical scholars were responsible for its production . Being at the top of the market for 30 + years is a testimony in itself .
    Recently the HCSB , NET and the soon-to-be-completed ISV will give it good competition . I like all three , but am rooting for the TNIV which has not really been promoted enough . Most of the vast array of NIV's need to be phased out and the TNIV be brought in for replacement .
    The MLB could very well have been the choice for English readers . It is comparable to the NIV in a number of ways . But it still had a weak textual basis ( the TR ) and used some antiquated language at times . It remains a favorite with me though .

    The Webster Bible never really caught on . It changed very little of the 1789 KJV . However , the slight alterations which it brought in were used by the 1881 ERV . Remember that Webster introduced some words into the Language which Americans did not accept ( with his dictionary ). The public did receive most of the spellings though which revolutionized American-speak though . It's a God-thing . The Lord is ultimately responsible for what Bible translations stay as the top choice for readers .

    Will any English version ever have the long-lasting appeal and affection by the public that the KJV has enjoyed for centuries ? I don't think so . I say that because I do not think we have much longer before His Second Coming . Also , the factors involved for the popularity of the KJV were unique . The KJV's popularity will never match the even longer legacy of the Vulgate either .
     
  3. Keith M

    Keith M
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2002
    Messages:
    2,024
    Likes Received:
    0
    It's doubtful. With today's electronic and print media what they are, people have access to a number of good Bible translations so they don't always fall in the habit of using one version exclusively. Things were much different when the 1611 was published and even as subsequent KJVs were published in the following years. There are versions available today which are just as good as the KJVs but their unversality is far from that of the KKJVs.
     
  4. TCGreek

    TCGreek
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2006
    Messages:
    7,373
    Likes Received:
    0
    1. With all the criticism that the NIV has endured, I think it's user-friendly approach is what made it the best selling bible for the last 20yrs.

    2. The RSV and NRSV are still pretty much used by certain fraction of academian.

    3. The ESV is overrated and needs a lot of work still.

    4. Like Rippon, I think the TNIV should be chosen over the NIV.

    5. The NET can make a breakthrough. But I don't know if the fact that so many DTS involvement and promotion would hinder its widespread distribution.

    6. But we will continue to have the KJV with us, despite its age. I personally do not use it. But that is an undeniable fact.
     
  5. John of Japan

    John of Japan
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    12,208
    Likes Received:
    192
    My two yen from Japan. [​IMG]

    (1) Why has the KJV lasted so long? First of all, it is copyright free, so anyone can print it (something I believe in for the Bible). It has great literary quality, no doubt from the refining process and from the quality and abilities of the editors. The KJV is one of a very few translations that can be said to have shaped a language, including also Jerome's Vulgate, the Peshitta, Luther's German Bible. The NKJV has followed the KJV in its literary quality, since it changed so little of the KJV's wording. These two versions will continue to be popular.

    (2) Why is the NIV so popular? Its editors submitted it to English experts for literary quality after the basic translation was done. I sincerely doubt that the TNIV will replace it. Too many people (not including me) have come to cherish their NIVs.

    (3) Why is the NASV still a great seller? Because of its vaunted fidelity to the original languages, while still producing somewhat of a literary wording. (well, as compared to Young' Literal Translation.) Why isn't the NASV more popular? Because of the extreme rigidity of the Lockman Foundation's interpretation of the copyright laws. The LF even sued The Evangelical Alliance Mission and took it all the way to the Supreme Court over TEAM's claim to the rights of the Japanese Shinkaiyaku version. It was settled at a great monetary cost to the Japanese TEAM-produced Bible society. Absolutely shameful.

    But I ask you. WHY ALL THE ENGLISH VERSIONS WHEN THERE ARE STILL 2200 LANGUAGE COMMUNITIES WITHOUT ONE VERSE FROM THE BIBLE (Wycliffe figure)?

    And why do you Americans still keep trying out new Bibles every year instead of supporting new Bibles on the mission fields of the world? :tear:
     
  6. franklinmonroe

    franklinmonroe
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    2,872
    Likes Received:
    3
    John, do you really think that the two issues are linked? Is it because there are many English versions that there are't more foreign language versions?

    The first part of this statement is directly in the spirit of the OP. But do American keep trying new Bibles? It seems that they don't! (Statistics show a decline in Bible reading in the US.) It seems that most new versions fail to penetrate the market to any significant degree, resulting in version after version being cast aside. In reference to the abundance of English translations already, I asked: "Are the CEV, NCV, NLV, or TEV better than those were?" and "is The Message really needed when there is already Phillips'?"

    Concerning the second part, same as above: Is this really a case of "instead of"?
     
    #6 franklinmonroe, Aug 2, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 2, 2007
  7. EdSutton

    EdSutton
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2006
    Messages:
    8,755
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't have any yen, but could come up with two pennies, from the United States. :D

    FTR, the KJV is not copyright free, at least in the United Kingdom, where it originated. Only the 'purloined' copies printed in the USA are not subject to this copyright, as the US government did not, and has never honored the British crown's grant, in this manner.

    "Endearing" is entirely subjective. How well you or I or any other 'like' a particular version is what makes it "endearing".

    "Enduring" is another matter, entirely. For it is objective, by contrast. The most widely 'accepted' enduring versions are the LXX of the Hebrew Scriptures, and the Vulgate. Whether or not either is or is not a good rendition of the text(s) is another question, entirely, as well.

    And I completly support the work of the Wycliffe Bible Translators and New Tribes Missions, as they attempt, along with some others, to bring the written Word of God to those who have no access of it, currently, into their own 'native' languages. (One of my closest friends, of many years standing, and a former college roommate, is a Professor and the Dean of Education at New Tribes Bible Institute, and his bride is also on the staff, there, as well.)

    Has something to do with the "Go ye therefore..." commands of Scripture, IMO. I likewise pray for you as you are one of those involved in producing a version in Japanese. God bless your efforts, as well.

    And as to this, which you wrote -
    All I can add is - :tear:

    Ed
     
    #7 EdSutton, Aug 2, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 2, 2007
  8. Mexdeaf

    Mexdeaf
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Messages:
    7,051
    Likes Received:
    0
    John,

    Perhaps a better question would be, "Why do we waste thousands of dollars and hours trying to prove that God had to preserve his Word in English in a particular version WHEN THERE ARE STILL 2200 LANGUAGE COMMUNITIES WITHOUT ONE VERSE FROM THE BIBLE (Wycliffe figure)?

    That's my two pesos. (You want fries with that?)


     
  9. mcdirector

    mcdirector
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    8,292
    Likes Received:
    10
    Both are good questions. I've not been able to figure out what to do, other than pray and give, to make any real difference. And I'm not demeaning praying and giving.

    I tell my classes. They are astounded at the numbers. I feel helpless. I can't imagine how those of you in the field must feel.
     
  10. John of Japan

    John of Japan
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    12,208
    Likes Received:
    192
    I don't know if I could prove a direct connection. I do think it is part of a syndrome, though. American evangelicals in the 21st century care less and less about reaching the world for Christ and more and more about the latest religious fad in the homeland. Overall the evangelical missions force has been shrinking for years as the post-WW2 boom of new missionaries retires, and I could prove that from figures in Japan, if not the world. I'll not derail the thread, but I could spend lots of time on the music area, too. Why is the US "Christian" music industry so lucrative when souls are dying around the world?

    As long as Americans keep buying new Bibles, though the language doesn't change that much over the short haul, I consider it a waste. Look at the folks on the BB alone who are always talking about the new translation they've just read. (I have no one in particular in mind, just the trend.) What's that all about since no one really obeys completely the Bible they have?
    Though many new versions fail, yet each one shows a huge committment of money and time--believe me, I know what it takes, and it isn't easy. I wonder why the US evangelical community in general spends so much time and effort producing such unneeded versions?
     
  11. John of Japan

    John of Japan
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    12,208
    Likes Received:
    192
    That's about 2.4 yen nowadays. :laugh:
    I've heard this, but I'm not sure it makes any difference, practically speaking. At any rate, in the States at least any "God's KJV Ministries Worldwide" with a printing press can print up the KJV, and I think that really helps with a version's popularity: availability and low price.
    Amen and amen! :saint:
     
  12. John of Japan

    John of Japan
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    12,208
    Likes Received:
    192
    You and I are old-style Fundamentalists, Mexdeaf. We believe you don't defend a sword, you pick it up and use it. Used to be Fundamentalists didn't defend the Bible, they just opposed liberal versions like the RSV and the TEV. Then they picked up their sword and went out and fought for the Lord!

    What has Fundamentalism come to when every two-bit pastor thinks he has to write a pamphlet defending the Word of God? Forget that, just learn to fight with it, win someone to the Lord and defeat the devil!

    The Bible is a sword. Stab someone with it. It's a fire. Let it burn. It's a hammer. Break a sin with it. It's a seed. Plant it.
     
  13. Rippon

    Rippon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Messages:
    17,403
    Likes Received:
    328
    I don't think the Word is exactly a blunt instrument though JoJ . A surgical hand is best applied at times . The implanted Word should be received with meekness , because it is able to save souls . ( as per James 1:21 ) .
     
  14. John of Japan

    John of Japan
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    12,208
    Likes Received:
    192
    A hammer sounds pretty blunt to me (as per Jeremiah). :smilewinkgrin:
     
  15. Ed Edwards

    Ed Edwards
    Expand Collapse
    <img src=/Ed.gif>

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2002
    Messages:
    15,715
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sometimes one has to do the numbers to see what is going on.
    Say that 200,000,000 Americans need a Bible Translation.
    All total, complete and largely guessed there are 400
    Bible Translations in English. 200 Million divided by
    400 is ½ a Million each, that is 500,000.

    Go check the Wycliffe organization and figure out how
    many people are in the 2200 language groups with no
    Bible (often, no written language). The whole 2200
    languages may have under ½-Million users?
     
  16. John of Japan

    John of Japan
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    12,208
    Likes Received:
    192
    Brother Ed, those figures don't tell the whole story. First of all, I'd rather not say that 200,000,000 Americans need a Bible translation. I don't believe they do. Let me express it in a parable.

    There was a town of 1000 people who were very rich. They had all they wanted, including a huge, free smorgasbord restaurant with over 400 varieties of food. The chefs were all expert in their field, with Ph. D.s in cooking pasta, steak, seafood, desserts, anything you wanted. One day the Chief Chef called a meeting and say, "Friends, there is a shack 5 miles out of town on a dirt road. The family there is starving to death. They don't even have a daily crust of bread, not an entree, nor a single condiment. They have no car to come in to the restaurant, no food of their own, no electricity, nothing. They need what we have. Who will volunteer to go and be their chef?"

    Chef Smith said, "No, these town people need me." Chef Jones said, "It is too hard to get to." Chef Johnson said, "They can walk to town and learn the town language." Chef White said, "There are only a very small number in the family. I'd rather minister to the large number here in town."

    Sadly, the Chief Chef concluded that none of his chefs cared about poor people. And so the poor family 5 miles out of town starved to death while the 1000 people in town grew fatter and fatter until they could hardly waddle out to the great smorgasbord.

    The town is America. The food is the Word of God. The varieties are the over 200 English NT translations. The chefs are American Christians capable of learning another language and translating the Word of God. The poor people are a small tribe somewhere in South America or Indonesia or Africa with not a single verse in their language. The crust of bread they long for is only a Gospel of John. Now friends, I ask you, is this right? "These things ought not to be." :( :(
     
    #16 John of Japan, Aug 3, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 3, 2007
  17. Rippon

    Rippon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Messages:
    17,403
    Likes Received:
    328
    America is perishing along with the world without ready access to a Bible in their language . There are indeed plenty of Bible translations in the English tongue ( past and present ) . Yet there are multiplied millions of Americans , British , and Australians etc. who do not know the Gospel any more than a 3rd world person does .

    BTW , JoJ , you are right . The Word is indeed a hammer and other figurative language is used to describe it . But don't forget the surgical aspect .

    A bruised reed he will not break , and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out . ( Isaiah 42:3 NIV ) .
     
  18. Ed Edwards

    Ed Edwards
    Expand Collapse
    <img src=/Ed.gif>

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2002
    Messages:
    15,715
    Likes Received:
    0
    Amen, Brother JoJ!

    I've directly donated thousands of dollars to
    Wycliffe Translators AND IN ADDITION,
    indirectly supported
    non-English and English translations
    in tithes to my local Church.
     
  19. franklinmonroe

    franklinmonroe
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    2,872
    Likes Received:
    3
    Because I have God's words in a language I can understand, I am the wealthiest human on the face of the planet! Those that do not have a Bible in their native tongue, even if they live in mansions and eat the fat of their land, they are the most bankrupt people in the world. :tear:
     
    #19 franklinmonroe, Aug 3, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 3, 2007
  20. John of Japan

    John of Japan
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    12,208
    Likes Received:
    192
    You're my kind of man, Brother Ed! :thumbs: :thumbs:
     

Share This Page

Loading...