Friday, October 9, 2009

For the Record, Translation vs Paraphrase

The NLT IS a paraphrased bible. Upon more research, I read the “Introduction to the New Living Translation”, straight from the horse’s mouth, it states this:

“A dynamic-equivalence translation can also be called a thought-for-thought translation, as contrasted with a formal-equivalence or word-for-word translation. Of course, to translate the thought of the original language requires that the text be interpreted accurately and then rendered in understandable idiom. So the goal of any thought-for-thought translation is to be both reliable and eminently readable. Thus, as a thought-for-thought translation, the New Living Translation seeks to be both exegetically accurate and idiomatically powerful.”

You can find this exact wording in the Introduction chapter of your NLT. Why it is categorized a bona fide translation could be explained by the goals and desires of Kenneth Taylor, the author of the Living Letters, the Living Bible (paraphrased) and the NLT. This excerpt was taken from a Brief History of the New Living Translation:

In the summer of 1986, Mark Taylor, president of Tyndale House, and Ron Beers, the senior editor of the Life Application Bible (and later Editor-in-Chief at Tyndale House), were discussing ways in which The Living Bible might be made more acceptable to pastors. They concluded that pastors' perspectives on various translations are established during their seminary years, so Mark and Ron asked themselves how The Living Bible could be made more acceptable to seminary professors. This line of reasoning led to the conclusion that a group of seminary professors should be invited to assist in revising The Living Bible. If The Living Bible were revised by an independent group of scholars, it would be easier to convince other seminary professors to see it as a bone fide translation.

I find it fascinating that the original PDF with this information is no where to be found online. Bible Researcher has the History on its site, but the link to the original PDF is broken.

Further more, I found in the Introduction of the NLT a “disclaimer” of sorts from the Bible Translation Committee (July 1996)…

As we submit this translation of the Bible for publication, we recognize that any translation of the Scriptures is subject to limitations and imperfections. Anyone who has attempted to communicate the richness of God’s Word into another language will realize it is impossible to make a perfect translation. Recognizing these limitations, we sought God’s guidance and wisdom throughout this project. Now we pray that he will accept our efforts and use this translation for the benefit of the Church and of all people.

Now this question I’m about to ask, the answer truly renders the debate useless…


“Anyone who has attempted to communication the richness of God’s Word into another language will realize it is impossible to make a perfect translation.”

Impossible? Really??

But God hath revealed [them] unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Corinthians 2;10-14

It is one thing to pray to God and merely hope things turn out right. It is quite another to be led of God, because you know things WILL turn out right. God had prepared and willed those who sacrificed their own personal will (goals and desires), Noah, Jacob, Abraham, Moses, Joseph, David to do His Devine, foretold purposes. Just because someone’s will may appear to be “good” and “right” does not mean that it is the WILL of God. ANY will outside the will of God is an appeasement of the flesh.

1 Corinthians chapter two is clear. NO ONE can understand the the things of God without His Spirit. My suggestion to Bible translators is this… focus on translating the language and NOT the discernment of the Word. Only God gives that empowerment as He sees fit.

It YOUR personal individual responsibility to “search” out a matter before the Lord. For the beginning of knowledge is the fear of the Lord.

If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as [for] hid treasures;
Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. Proverbs 2:4-5

Related Posts:

Translation vs Paraphrase

A Personal Responsibility

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Personal Responsibility

This comment was left on my post “Translation vs. Paraphrase

Hannah, you may want to check your information.The Living Bible was indeed a paraphrase. NLT is not a paraphrase. It is a translation in the thought-for-thought discipline. If you are looking for a word-for-word approach, NASB and KJV are the most staunch in their approach to a word-for-word translation. NRSV is word-for-word but less staunch in a literal word-for-word where it hinders understanding. NIV is a thought-for-thought translation as is NLT, and The Living Bible and The Message are paraphrases. I appreciate your concern about making sure you're using an accurate translation (and I have some issues with NIV andNLT in this arena because a thought-for-thought inherently involves interpretation), but NLT is NOTin the same category as The Message or The Living Bible.

G-Man, you are right. The NLT is NOT categorized as a paraphrased Bible, but the question is… should it be ??? A translation is translated from it’s original language. A paraphrase is a thought for thought translation, or a restatement of the author’s thoughts, such as the Living Bible was…..BUT my experience, is the experience with others who have commented on this post, ( and seemingly, your experience as well?) is that the NLT reads more like its original predecessor.

Check this out from Bible Researcher

The New Living Translation is an extensive revision of Ken Taylor's Living Bible (published by Tyndale House in 1971). It was designed to improve the accuracy of Taylor's paraphrase. The origin of the version is described in a press release from Hannibal-LaGrange College, where one of the version's "reviewers," Robert Bergen, serves on the faculty:

In 1989, ninety evangelical scholars from various theological backgrounds and denominations were commissioned to revise the Living Bible. According to Bergen, the project began with the purpose of merely correcting parts of the Living Bible. However, as the 100 scholars began to work, the decision was made to complete an entirely new translation. Taylor, the original author of the Living Bible, approved this decision, and plans were made for Tyndale Publishing House to print the New Living Translation. The purpose of the New Living Translation (NLT) was to make a translation that is accurate with the original languages, yet lively and dynamic. Bergen and the other translators worked independently to correct the Living Bible or produce new translations, then worked together to produce a joint translation. Every book of the New Living Translation was reviewed by three or four people, then rated in the areas of accuracy and clarity. The scholars would debate their opinions, informally vote on the best wording, and the editorial board would decide the final translation. Each work of translation went through the channels of critique by the individual, a book committee, a general reviewer committee, and back to the individual. In 1994, the translators gathered again to make the revisions determined by the reviewers. Because of the extensive efforts of world-class Bible scholars, theNew Living Translation is the most expensive translation project in the history of Bible translation.

Another of the reviewers, Craig Blomberg, has described the procedure very differently:

With the New Living Translation, the Bible was divided into sixths, with a scholar appointed general editor over each large chunk. Then individuals books of the Bible (or small collections of books) were parceled out to three experts (I worked on Matthew), who compiled long lists of suggestions for revising Ken Taylor’s original Living Bible Paraphrased. We ranked these in terms of priority, sent them to the general editor over our part of the Bible, who synthesized a selection of them, interacted with a Tyndale House stylist, and sent a draft back to us for us to repeat the process. Eventually the full translation emerged. (1)

This leaves us with the impression that the "reviewers" did not meet to discuss the revision and vote on changes, as the press release quoted above says, but merely sent suggestions to the editors. The press release also says that the NLT is an "entirely new translation," but an examination of the version shows that it inherits many renderings of the Living Bible which would probably not have been used by the NLT reviewers if they started from scratch. This can be seen plainly enough in any given chapter. For example, we randomly choose the first chapter of Job, and find that in verses 8-11 about two thirds of it (printed in red here) is inherited from the Living Bible:

Literal translation

8 And Jehovah said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?"
9 Then Satan answered Jehovah and said, "Does Job fear God for no reason? 10 Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face."

Living Bible

8 Then the Lord asked Satan, "Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth—a good man who fears God and will have nothing to do with evil."
9 "Why shouldn't he, when you pay him so well?" Satan scoffed. 10 "You have always protected him and his home and his property from all harm. You have prospered everything he does—look how rich he is! No wonder he 'worships' you! 11 But just take away his wealth, and you'll see him curse you to your face."

New Living Translation
8 Then the LORD asked Satan, "Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth—a man of complete integrity. He fears God and will have nothing to do with evil."
9 Satan replied to the LORD, "Yes, Job fears God, but not without good reason! 10 You have always protected him and his home and his property from harm. You have made him prosperous in everything he does. Look how rich he is! 11 But take away everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face!"

Obviously this is not a new translation, but a revision of the Living Bible. But why should it be denied? In a "Brief History of the New Living Translation," Mark Taylor (president of Tyndale House) explains that one of the problems he encountered as publisher of the Living Bible is that "despite its popularity ... it never received wide acclaim by pastors and scholars. Too often it was dismissed as being 'just a paraphrase.'" (2) So apparently the claim that the New Living Translation is a "new translation" is designed to prevent the version from being viewed as a "revised paraphrase." The revision has instead been presented to the public as a new "dynamic equivalence" version.

I appreciate the correction, but it is evident to me and those who found it’s contents questionable that is is indeed a revised version of the Living Bible. We live in times where truth has been distorted. We live in times where people easily swallow regurgitated knowledge simply because of its label. If we consider ourselves children by His standard we know inherently all men should be treated as liars until proven otherwise, for we understand that such is the “nature of the beast” to manipulate and deceive. We all have a personal responsibility given to us by the Heavenly Father, by the courtesy of His Son to carefully, prayerfully consider ALL information claimed by the mouths of men. We have a personal responsibility to learn at the feet of the FATHER, by the blood of Christ, empowered by the SPIRIT of holiness.

God Bless…


Getting With The Program

It's AMAZING to me how technology has taken me surprise. I have been rendered slightly helpless, by the convenience of modern technology. How sad. Allow me to explain... two years ago I was given a Sidekick by which I have delighted myself to it's bells and whistles. A Sidekick is typically considered a smart phone for the socially savvy youth. However, a lot of deaf and hard of hearing persons use this device for communication. In any event, I fell in love with it and it indeed became my sidekick. I just didn't know how dependant I was on it until lately. T-Mobile (Danger) is having a MAJOR data outage that has lasted a week now. With no email, all of my contacts deleted, lost calendar information, it seemed as if my digital life has come to a standstill.

Over the past two years I have created the perfect scenario with my phone where I could receive third party email accounts on my sidekick. I could get comments left on my blog instantly and reply. And now this... is the sad part of it didn't occur to me, until now that I could actually log into the computer and check my blog myself... Sad? Yes, very. So I'm snapping it out of it... Some of you have left comments on my blog.. I will be replying to those shortly.

Much love,