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The Word of God in English: Criteria for Excellence in Bible Translation by Leland Ryken, ISBN-13: 978-1581344646



  • Format: PDF
  • Publisher: ‎ Crossway; Complete Numbers Starting with 1, 1st Ed edition (November 12, 2002)
  • Language: ‎ English
  • 336 pages
  • ISBN-10: ‎ 1581344643
  • ISBN-13: ‎ 978-1581344646

Ryken describes the translation principles that make for reliable English Bible translation, looks at common translation fallacies, and offers principles for good translation.

Was an eye opener for anyone not familiar with HOW bibles are translated. The main points can be put into three categories. 1. Translating the thought that the author intended “Dynamic equivalence” (subjective). 2. Translating the words to the best comparable words of the translation “Literal equivalence” (objective but may require thinking) 3. Commentary (completely subjective, usually the thoughts of one individual).
Examples of each would be 1.NIV (dynamic equivalence). 2.KJV,NKJV,NASB (Literal equivalence) 3. THE MESSAGE (Commentary)
It comes down to one thing basically, do you want me to tell you word for word what the author said (literal equivalance), what I think he “intended” to say to you,(Dynamic equivalance) or what I think I would say to you if I could say it in a way that made sense to me.(Commentary)
I think after grasping these three basic concepts you should be able to see the dangers or difficulties of each. I guess it depends how trusting you are of the various authors of the translations. Personally I have (over the years) discovered I would rather work on understanding the exact nature of each word and discover the truth and meaning without it being pre-digested by someone else’s perspectives.
The cons of it are listed by others so I wont go into that.

About the Author

Leland Ryken (PhD, University of Oregon) served as professor of English at Wheaton College for nearly fifty years. He served as literary stylist for the English Standard Version Bible and has authored or edited over sixty books, including The Word of God in English and A Complete Handbook of Literary Forms in the Bible.

C. John Collins (PhD, University of Liverpool) is professor of Old Testament at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. He has been a research engineer, church-planter, and teacher. He was the Old Testament Chairman for the English Standard Version Bible and is author of The God of Miracles, Science and Faith: Friends or Foes?, and Genesis 1–4: A Linguistic, Literary, and Theological Commentary. He and his wife have two grown children.


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