Tags

Some time back, Joel M. Hoffman at “God Didn’t Say That” had the audacity to come out and actually say that the use of multiple translations in Bible study is of dubious value.

At first it made me gulp. Everybody knows that the best way to study the Bible is to use multiple translations …don’t they?

Then I got to thinking. What makes us think that? When is the last time I learned anything of any real value by doing that? About all I ever learn that way is that different translations say the same things with different words. If some version says something very different, that makes me wonder who is right, and then what do I do? Do I check what the other translations say? (Well, sometimes.) No, I go and check what the originals say, to the best of my ability. I go and see what the passage says in the Greek or Hebrew, and I will probably need to check a number of commentaries as well, to make sure I am getting the right meaning, because the process of translation is a maddeningly inexact science.

Go ahead. Use different translations. There’s nothing wrong with that. But you may be just as well off if you choose a good translation as your one main Bible. Just be sure you have other resources to help clarify things. (Learning Greek and Hebrew would be a good idea, too. But how many of us laypeople are going to do that?) I think the most important thing would be to choose a reputable translation you trust, and stick with it; plus carefully chosen resources.

Advertisements