Biblical Translation Castigation

Granted, this post isn’t addressing the main emphasis of this blog. Still, a good title or phrase certainly catches my attention. As such, when Jose commented in my “Sovereign Election – More Than Salvation?” post about “NIV perversion”, I was immediately interested. Before going further, let me state that my preference for the NIV isn’t based upon any eschatological analysis. On the contrary, it’s probably more of a “herd mentality” given that many pastors and knowledgeable believers I know like and use the NIV. If the NIV translation is good enough for them, then it’s good enough for me.

Jose prefers the King James Version and offers the following sites as to why:

On a personal note, I find these sites to be devoid of the love and compassion that I see exhibited in Jesus (as I read in the NIV). Rather these sites remind me of people who walk around carrying signs saying repent or you will spend eternity in Hell. I don’t doubt the truth of their message. However, I think there are better ways to communicate that truth.

In response, Jose, the preface of the NIV Bible I use (copyright 1989) states, “The New International Version is a completely new translation of the Holy Bible made by over a hundred scholars working directly from the best available Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek texts.” Perhaps I’m being naïve and foolish, but I’m trusting that the hundred-plus scholars who put the NIV translation together did so with a sharp understanding of the original manuscripts and a keen awareness regarding the nuance of language. Simply put, I believe the NIV team put forth a credible effort to make the NIV translation of the original manuscripts and texts into English as accurate as possible.

In my own “linguistic” experience – working with janitors to PhDs where I’m employed, being married for thirty years and having survived three teenagers, I know that English words sometimes have different meanings for different people. It seems to me, therefore, that we’ll always end up with translation problems because of variances in translators understanding of the structure of the original languages (i.e. Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic) the historical context and implied meaning of the words used, in addition to the nuance of English word definitions.

To that end, the author of one site I found – indicates that his preferred translation is the NKJV. However, he also states that, “We need to understand that all translations have problems and that no translation is 100% perfect” (emphasis mine). As such, Jose, some of the concerns raised regarding the NIV in the two listed web sites appear to have some validity. However, I findeth not necessary to leaveth mine NIV and clingeth to thou’st KJV.