I’m tired… I’m tired of comparing different translations of the Bible; comparing verses; comparing translation philosophies. I’m tired of looking for the best, and tired of thinking I’m seeing the worst.
Over the past six months or so, I have done this intensely. I have seen my own ideas of what makes a good translation be completely transformed, and have felt my own heart be softened for those who labor at the work of making the Word of God understandable to the masses.
I think one of the best things about these last six months is the new friends I’ve made, among translators, scholars, and just folks like me who love the Bible and are interested in translation.
(I know this sounds like a farewell, but I’m not leaving…just trying to refocus a little.)
What have I learned? I have learned that the TNIV translators are not ogres. They are not monsters with big fangs who want to wreck the Bible. They are sincere people who are striving to give us the best Bible possible. I have also learned that “inclusive language” is nothing to be afraid of, especially when it correctly translates the scriptures.
I have also come to realize that while the ESV translators and supporters are not angels, neither are they ogres. The ESV is a good translation, too. It’s not the TNIV, but it, too, has a place.
I am saddened by the fighting that has gone on over these two translations. It can’t be healthy for the Body of Christ. I think we all need to find some common ground and stop the bickering.
I still believe the NASB is probably the most accurate translation. I love how transparent it is to the original languages. But it’s not perfect. There are some places where it’s difficult to understand. But it has its place.
I still think the NLT is quite paraphrastic. (That’s a word I’ve learned here on the biblioblogs!) It still bothers me some. But I also believe very strongly that God can, and does, work through all sorts of Bibles. The NLT has its place.
I still don’t care much for Eugene Peterson’s “The Message”. I think it strays way too far from the real Bible to be called a real Bible…yet I know God is working through it, too. I guess I have to grudgingly admit that it, too, has its place.
I have most recently been looking closely at the NRSV. It’s the version my own pastor and my own local church uses. I’m not overly impressed with it. I haven’t found much to condemn in it, yet neither have I found much to commend it. It has its place, mainly among scholars, seminary profs, and mainline churches. I think for most of us there are better choices.
The Holman CSB also has its place. It’s a good translation that needs to be marketed better. Most people looking for a Bible think of it as a Baptist Bible. Of course it isn’t, but their choice of the Holman name doesn’t help that situation. But it’s got its place, whether it deserves it or not.
I’ve looked at lots of other translations, too, some good, some not so good; but they’re all Bibles. They all present the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and generally do a pretty good job of it. And most of them seem to have their place in the grand scheme of things.
But the best translation of all isn’t any good if you don’t read it. And all the Bible knowledge in the world isn’t going to do you one whit of good if you don’t have a personal relationship with the Author.
And for the time being, I’m tired.
(But I’m not going anyplace.)