Friday, February 16, 2024

We Probably Should Use a Variety of Translations

Should we do word studies when we read the Bible? Yes -- even though people tend to abuse words more than anything else in Bible study. Rephrased a bit -- how should we do word studies? I employ different methods, but a standard one is comparing as many different translations as I can. I think this can be good for us in the right doses! On the other hand, word studies can complicate things. Maybe I could give you an example from my Bible reading this morning. 

Bojangles coffee will be in heaven -- guaranteed. 

I was really puzzled by Rom. 1:14. Paul is contrasting two kinds of people: Greeks/non-Greeks, and wise/foolish. That's the NIV. The ESV has: Greeks/barbarians, wise/foolish. The GNT reads: civilized/savage, and educated/ignorant. Phillips insists Paul is contrasting the "cultured Greek" and the "ignorant savage." 

Yikes! Those are a lot of different renderings! Incidentally, La Biblia de las Americas has los griegos/los barbaros, and los sabios/los ignorantes. There's a footnote on barbaros that I found really helpful. It reads: los que no eran griegos, ni por nacimiento, ni por cultura. Love it! Paul is referring to people who are not Greeks either by birth or by culture. Sorry to bother you at this point with the German, but the New Geneva Translation translates verse 14 as follows:

Allen weiss ich mich verpflichtet sowohl den Völkern griechischer Kultur als auch den übrigen Völkern, sowohl den Gebildeten als auch den Ungebildeten.

I'll let you Google translate that :-) But it's spot on! 

Deciding the matter isn't easy, but here's how I would express the contrast Paul has in mind: between the civilized and the uncivilized, and between the educated and the uneducated. I'd avoid the term "barbarians" lest readers think of a certain movie star!

This matter of word study could be a much bigger topic. In fact, I've treated it in several of my books! 

Have a beautiful day!