Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Translations of the Bible


Until the mid-twentieth century, the King James Version of the Bible, translated in 1611, was the most widely used and popular translation of the Bible in our language. It is not a "bad" translation. It is simply imperfect, and could stand some wide improvements.

One effort to improve it as a standard Bible was the Revised Standard Version of the early 1950's. Other efforts to improve language, readability, and user-friendliness included the translations of Moffat, Rotherham, Goodspeed, and others. The Twentieth Century New Testament is an example of another version from the early part of the previous century.

Each translation is probably favored by several scholars. There is no "perfect" translation that meets all the needs of all scholars and students, all the time.

A very popular, more modern version is the New International Version, used mostly by Protestant Christians. Catholic Christians often prefer the Jerusalem Bible.

Still others prefer the New English Bible, which is excellent. For sheer readability, some like J.B. Phillips' translation, and some like the very loose Today's English Version.

There are several more versions, renditions, and translations on the modern market today. The language of the twenty-first century is rapidly evolving, and language has always been a changing phenomenon. It does not stay the same from year to year, or decade to decade. The language has changed so much since 1611, both scholars and students can be understood when they want a translation that is more up-to-date, that
speaks their language.

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