So Many to Choose From: English Bibles and Study Resources

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Throughout the Year of the Bible, Wycliffe Bible Translators have been running a series of evening classes. It's all part of Biblefresh, a movement of individuals and organisations helping people to …

Throughout the Year of the Bible, Wycliffe Bible Translators have been running a series of evening classes. It's all part of Biblefresh, a movement of individuals and organisations helping people to get back into the Bible.

In May, John Macaulay looked at how we go about choosing from the vast array of Bibles and study resources available in English. John and his wife have worked with Wycliffe Bible Translators for more than 25 years.

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  • Allow little discussion of 1,23. William Paul in his preface to The New Testament: An Understandable Version speaks of having 350 different English versions in his collection! See http://ncbible.org/auv/contents.htm for further details on his translation.
  • WHAT DO YOU THINK THIS MIGHT BE? (Only complete copy of Tyndale’s NT left, 1526) - discovered in Stuttgart in 1997.FIRST PRINTED TRANSLATION INTO ENGLISH FROM GREEK. Wycliffe’s was from Latin (itself a translation)into English, and not in print (hand-written) – invention of printing press 1450s Guthenburg
  • KJV pre 1650 Galatians chapter 1 See the chapter outline!!
  • These are versions that are special to me, and others. I present them, as I think they will be useful to you.

Transcript

  • 1. So Many Versions to choose from:English Bibles and Study Resources
  • 2. How many English versions have you ever read?
    How many English versions do you use regularly?
    How many versions do you think there are, roughly?!
  • 3. Outline
    Translation in 16th Century and 20th Century
    Overview of different modern versions
    Some special English versions
    Base and model – making use of many versions
    Some computer resources available
  • 4. Translation in 16th Century
  • 5.
  • 6. Tyndale to King James Version, 1611
    IMPORTANCE: The century in which the English Bible replaced the Latin Vulgate
    • William Tyndale’s New Testament, 1526
    • 7. Great Bible (Cranmer’s Bible) 1539
    • 8. Geneva Bible 1560 “household Bible of 16th Century”
    • 9. Bishops’ Bible 1572
    • 10. King James or Authorized Version 1611
  • Observations 16th Century versions
    Vulgate’s history shows danger of clinging to one translation far too long
    TRANSLATION = REVISION
    Translations made for groups (either more Catholic, or more Reformation minded)
    Power of popularity with audience
  • 11.
  • 12. Translation in 20th Century
  • 13. 20th Century – KJV joined by many versions written in today’s English
    • ERV, English Revised Version (1880s)
    • 14. ASV – American Standard Version 1901
    • 15. Good News Bible (TEV)
    • 16. ESV (English Stand. Version)
    • 17. Weymouth
    • 18. J.B. Phillips
    • 19. CEV (Contemporary English)
    • 20. NIV
    • 21. Living Bible
    • 22. Jerusalem Bible (JB)
    • 23. New Jerusalem Bible (NJB)
    • 24. NLT (New Living Translation)
    • 25. NEB (New English Bible)
    • 26. REB
    • 27. Young’s
    • 28. Moffatt
    • 29. NASB (New American Standard Bible) 1971
    • 30. NKJV (New King James)
    • 31. RSV
    • 32. NRSV
    • 33. NET (New English Translation)
    • 34. Message
    • 35. New Century Version (NCV)
    • 36. International Standard Version
    • 37. William E. Paul – an Understandable Version
  • Some Observations
    Translations made for constituencies
    Revision, Revision, Revision
    e.g. NIV revised a number of times
    Acceptance by people key factor
  • 38. English Bible History web site
    For more detail, go to….
    http://www.greatsite.com/timeline-english-bible-history/
  • 39. Overview of different modern translations
  • 40. Two main categories of translation
    PRIMACY OF FORM
    PRIMACY OF MEANING
  • 41. Explanation of two main categories
    Form based translators tend tofollowthe words and idioms of the original Greek or Hebrew.
    Meaning based translators tend to make whatever changes are necessary for the effective communication of MEANING.
  • 42. Greek Interlinear of Phillipians 4:6
  • 43. Examples of FORM versions (Phil 4:6)
    Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (KJV, 1611) FORM
    …do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (ESV, 2001) FORM
  • 44. MEANING versions (Phil 4:6)
    Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. (NLT, 2004) MEANING
    Don't worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart. (TEV) MEANING
  • 45. Explanation of two main categories
    Form based translators tend tofollowthe forms of the original Greek or Hebrew.
    Meaning based translators tend to make whatever changes are necessary for the effective communication of MEANING
  • 46. N.B. Note the ‘tend to’
    Form based versions can be freer
    “…shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? 4 God forbid: ….” (KJV)
    Meaning based versions can be close to the form of the original
    In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. (TEV 1992)
  • 47. Which categories are main versions?
    FORM BASED
    NASB, NRSV, NKJV, ESV
    MODERATELY FORM BASED
    NIV, TNIV, NET, NJB, REB
    MODERATELY MEANING BASED
    NLT, God’s Word
    HIGHLY MEANING BASED
    TEV, NCV, CEV
  • 48. Dangers of these versions
    FORM BASED - Obscurity, no meaning
    MEANING BASED - inaccuracy, expansion
  • 49. Examples of Dangers
    1. (Psalm 139:16 KJV) Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
    2. (Romans 13:12 Phillips) let us therefore fling away the things that men do in the dark (KJV ‘the works of darkness’)
  • 50. So Many Versions – good or bad?
    Some lament the loss of the dominance of the KJV
    Major problem with KJV was absence of revision over its history
    Need to foster positive attitudes to many versions
    We will only experience the richness when we use more than one version regularly!
  • 51. Which is the best translation?
    BEST FOR WHOM?
    Every translation is a communication of God’s Word mediated through the translators to a particular audience. Who the audience is shapes the translation.
    Do read the translators’ introduction to any version.
  • 52. Some special versions
  • 53. Dr Nick Lunn recommends NJB (New Jerusalem Bible), ESV
    “It's difficult to find an OT translation that is both accurate and yet employs natural English idiom. ESV can be a little uneven, depending on who the translators were. The JPS Tanakh can be good on narrative, but quite idiosyncratic on poetry.”
    WHEN READING OLD TESTAMENT
  • 54. NET BIBLE (1)
    Title play on InterNET
    New English Translation
    HARD COPY AVAILABLE only from http://store.bible.org/
    Produced because needed for bible studies
    Word of God free to all who want it
  • 55. NET BIBLE (2)
    For free download, go to http://bible.org/article/net-bible-download
    MAIN ADVANTAGES
    Thousands of translators’ notes
    Translators free to write what they thought it meant
  • 56. NET BIBLE – Translators’ Notes Ps 23:4
    Even when I must walk through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for you are with me; your rod and your staff reassure (Tr note) me.
  • 57. NET BIBLE – Translators’ Notes Ps 23:4
    Translator's Note: The Piel ofנָחַם (nakham), when used with a human object, means “comfort, console.” But here, within the metaphorical framework, it refers to the way in which a shepherd uses his implements to assure the sheep of his presence and calm their nerves. The underlying reality is the emotional stability God provides the psalmist during life threatening situations.
  • 58. NET BIBLE – Freedom from constraints
    And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by the faithfulness of Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified. (Galatians 2:16)
    Virtually all other versions – faith in Christ
  • 59. The Translator’s New Testament
    1973, published by British and Foreign Bible Society
    Designed to help Mother Tongue Translators translating into their own language
    When everything began the Word already existed. The Word was with God and shared his nature. (John 1:1)
  • 60. Making use of Many Versions
    Base and Model – study using more than one version
  • 61. Base version - as literal as possible (so choose NASB or RSV)
    Model version - a highly meaning based translation like CEV or TEV
  • 62. The base version puts you in touch with the form of the Greek or Hebrew. It is Hebrew or Greek “in English dress”.
    The model version shows you how the translators have chosen to state the meaning in clear and natural English.
  • 63. Example Passage – 2 Thess 3:5
    (FORM) And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patience of Christ. (ASV)
    MEANING (a) I pray that the Lord will guide you to be as loving as God and as patient as Christ. (CEV-06)
    (b) May the Lord lead you into a greater understanding of God’s love and the endurance that is given by Christ. (TEV 92)
  • 64. Example Passage – 2 Thess 3:5
    (FORM) And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for* Christ. (footnote: or steadfastness of) KJV
    (MEANING) May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ. (NLT 2004)
  • 65. Electronic Study Resources
    Online NET Bible Study Tool http://net.bible.org/
    Features:
    Access to 10 versions in parallel
    NET Bible with all its notes (some 60,000)
    Daily reading plans already selected
    Powerful search capabilities
    Greek and Hebrew with excellent dictionaries (example Luke 24:2, stone being rolled away)
  • 66. Great and Manifold Blessings
    All English speakers are those “to whom much has been given.”
    300 million people worldwide do not have ANY of the Bible in their languages. (Many millions more have only a part, that is New Testament or books).
    HIGH TIME for other peoples to hear God speaking to them in their languages
  • 67. Vision 2025
    By 2025, together with
    partners worldwide,
    we aim to see a Bible
    translation programme
    begun in all the remaining languages that need one.