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Would you believe that there are literally hundreds of different translations of the Bible into English? For many people this huge variety is totally confusing and they just don't know which Bible to choose. How did we get into this situation anyway?
At the heart of the problem are two views as to what a translation should be. On one side are those who feel a translation should stick just as closely as possible to every word of the original Hebrew and Greek. They want the translation to be a literal transfer, word for word, of the original words into English.
Unfortunately, that approach encounters real problems. Some words simply don't have an exact equivalent in English. The word order and the entire sentence structure just don't match from one language to another. So these word-for-word translations are wooden and unnatural. They may be used for close study, but they often fail in terms of comprehension and readability.
On the other side are those who feel a translation should transfer the message, that is, the exact thought and emotion of the original text. To do this, it should use as many words as are necessary to reproduce the idea precisely in English. You don't really obtain accuracy, they contend, by a word-for-word translation, but you do when you convey the concept, the message, of the original, so that the reader understands it. In the end, they say, a thought-for-thought translation is actually more accurate as well as more understandable.
As a Bible scholar at Union University, one of the oldest American universities in the Southern Baptist tradition, Guthrie has tracked the decline in biblical literacy with consternation. With earlier books (The Structure of Hebrews and Biblical Greek Exegesis) best suited for academia, Guthrie has switched gears to produce a reader-friendly, digestible, biblical literacy study program that includes this book as well as a participant's workbook, study leader's CD-ROM, and three DVDs for group use.
- Source: Publishers Weekly, as quoted by Amazon.com
Christianity is a historically based religion. Its impetus was not merely a person’s sudden enlightenment. It is instead based on events that occurred in history: history centered, and not merely a philosophy of life. It is for this reason that Paul states “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” (1 Cor 15:17)
It is not surprising that non-Christians point out seeming contradictions in the Bible, nor is it wrong for them to do so. Even Christians who are thoroughly familiar with the Bible sometimes are stumped by what at first glance may look like inconsistencies.
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