The Difference Between Translator
from Battle Cry
Chick Publications, P.O. Box
662, Chino, CA 91708
Picture this: You have the chance to earn a large sum of
money by carefully following a set of instructions. All you must do is follow
them carefully! There is just one problem, they are written in a language you
cannot read. You need a translator and are now faced with a choice:
You will have to choose between two translators. One is
an old conservative who wants to translate the words as directly as possible
from the first language to yours. It will be up to you to read the result
carefully and follow it.
The other translator will go one step further, he will
render a translation which describes his best understanding of how the author
wanted you to carry out the instructions. Written as a paraphrase, it will be
easy reading, and easy to follow. There is just one catch, you will have to
trust that his understanding of how it should be done agrees with what the
author intended, or you will fail and end up with nothing!
Which translator will you choose? Do you want to know
exactly what the instructions say, or will you trust the second translator's
ability to understand the author's intent and not lead you astray?
Selecting a Bible version involves the same kind of
choice. There are two basic approaches, formal equivalency and dynamic
equivalency. Bibles translated by formal equivalency will take careful
reading. At times, you will have to study history to learn the cultural
background before you can fully understand the text.
The translator is simply rendering the text in your
language... nothing more. But you will have the confidence of knowing that
you are not trusting another man's understanding, or theology, but can make up
your mind what God wants. In the English language, the King James Bible is the
only Bible available that has been translated using this approach.
On the other hand, Bibles translated by dynamic
equivalency will read as easily as a novel. When a story seems difficult to
understand without a little history, the author may even change it to a form he
believes you will better understand! You will never know for sure what God said,
but must trust the translator's theology to lead you into truth. The translator
here is acting as a teacher, not just telling you what God said, but adding his
understanding of what God meant!
Many Christians have developed the vital habit of reading
the Bible text as they listen to a teacher explain it. They always judge the
teaching by the written word. After all, the teacher is just a man, and can make
mistakes. It's vital to know exactly what God said! But what can you do if the
Bible in your hand doesn't give you God's Word, but a teacher's explanation of
God's intent? Now what can you use to judge the teaching? You have no authority
you can trust.
This is just one of the reasons the King James Bible is
the superior English translation in the world today...formal equivalency. The
translators were determined not to tell you God's intent, but just convey to you
It is the translator's job to tell you what God said. It
is the teacher's job to tell you how to understand and apply it to your life.
Always insist on a Bible that gives you God's words, so you have an absolute
upon which to judge everything else.
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