Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

This blog will be written from an orthodox Christian point of view. There may be some topic that is out of bounds, but at present I don't know what it will be. Politics is a part of life. Theology and philosophy are disciplines that we all participate in even if we don't think so. The Bible has a lot to say about economics. How about self defense? Is war ethical? Think of all the things that someone tells you we should not touch and let's give it a try. Everything that is a part of life should be an expression of worship.

Keep it courteous and be kind to those less blessed than you, but by all means don't worry about agreeing. We learn more when we get backed into a corner.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Opus 2013-210: Why So Many Bibles?, part 3 of 3, Philosophy of Translation

Another difference would be the philosophy of translation.  If you have ever needed to work with people who speak a different language you understand that translation or interpretation is an art more than a science.  Words have nuances.  Phrases carry baggage.  There are always judgement calls in trying to get to the best.

One philosophy is word for word.  In this technique you assume that each word has specific value and you want the translation to be as close to the Hebrew and Greek as possible.  It is a very literal translation.  The problem is that it is sometimes stiff.  It can be hard to understand in a culture different than the original.  Well known examples of the would be the King James Version (KJV), New King James Version (NKJ), New American Standard Bible (NASB), English Standard Version (ESV), and Revised Standard Version (RSV).

Another method is called dynamic equivalent.  In this approach you might take phrases or sentences, even paragraphs, and try to put them into modern terms that would carry the same general meaning as the original.  When compared to a word for word translation you might wonder if you are reading the same verse.  If you have ever tried to follow in the NASB when the NIV or NLT is being read you wonder is you are on the wrong page.  The translators believe that they are getting at the meaning and making it easier to understand.  Popular examples of this would be the New International Version (NIV), New Living Translation (NLT), Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Some people try for a paraphrase.  This is a dynamic equivalent approach on steroids.  Great freedom can be taken to try to make the text understandable.  It is designed for new Bible readers or young people.  Examples would be the original Living Bible (LB), J.B. Phillips, or The Message.

In extreme cases of you can get almost silly in translation.  Years ago there was something called the Cotton Patch version.  It called Peter, “Rock,” and had Jesus traveling from Atlanta to Savannah and such.  It was fun and tongue in cheek.  I am sure there have been others like it.

Which is best for you?  I tend to like the NASB.  The pastor of my church uses the NLT in the service but studies from many translations.  Although I have strong feelings I honestly think that the best thing is to get a translation and start reading.  The Holy Spirit inspired it.  He can help you find the truth you need.

I hope this helps.

homo unius libri


  1. I read the King James since I was raised with it and understand it pretty well. However, when actually studying, I also read the NASB and check Halley's Bible Commentary. Now that I have the computer, I sometimes check the NLT ans Name of God Bible as well.

    1. The longer I write my other blog the more I appreciate the KJV. Multiple translations and computer software are really great helps in Bible study but like any other support too many people don't use them.

      Grace and peace.


Comments are welcome. Feel free to agree or disagree but keep it clean, courteous and short. I heard some shorthand on a podcast: TLDR, Too long, didn't read.