By understanding Bible translations and how they work, you can write better.
I’ve found this to be true in my own writing life in at least two ways.
First, as I compare different translations of a passage, I understand the scriptural principle better – which in turn gives me clarity as I write.
Second, by reading a few translations of a passage I get ideas for other devotionals, blog posts, or articles.
The Bible is available in hundreds of English translations –
more than 900, according to the American Bible Society.
The Bible is translated or revised as to how a people or language group speaks and reads at a contemporary time. If a modern English reader were to pick up an original 1611 King James Version (KJV) of the Bible, he would find it virtually unreadable.
The KJV of 1611 used the common language of the people at that time. Today, of course, English is spoken and written differently than in 1611. Hence, publishers make the Bible available to readers in a way that they can understand it.
There are different methods for converting the Bible’s source text in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek into another language, such as English.
You can think of these methods as on a continuum. On one far end of the translation scale is what’s called “formal equivalence.” On the polar opposite end of the translation scale is “dynamic equivalence.” Each approach has benefits.
These versions translate the Bible using a word-for-word approach. Two examples are the New American Standard Bible and King James Version Bible.
Advantages of formal equivalence
These versions translate the Bible using a thought-for-thought method. Examples are the New International Version and the New Living Translation.
Advantages of dynamic equivalence:
There are differences between a Bible translation, a Bible version, and a Bible paraphrase.
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