Thursday, 10 July 2014

Protestant Translations

A few years ago, I gave myself to checking out how four distinctly Protestant translations compared one with another. I decided to use the Authorised Version (KJV) as my underlying translation and then compare its renderings with the Geneva Bible, the Bishop's Bible and Tyndale's translation of the NT. I covered the entire book of Romans, plus some of Paul's shorter epistles. I still have the Roman's effort on my hard drive, but unless I have a CD backup, I have a horrible feeling that the Galatians and Philippians etc., efforts are gone forever. I remembering working on these while holidaying at my inlaws on a laptop which has since given up the ghost. But who knows? It takes a bit of effort to go back over the many old CD's that clutter my study. And it's not that urgent, so the motivation factor isn't great.

Where the alternative version agreed with the AV, no note is made or needed (nor minor grammatical changes e.g. in Romans 8:28 below, I did not bother noting where "them that" is changed to "those who") but any other changes are duly noted. Romans 8:28 looked like this:

28  And [GB: Also/Tyndale: For] we know that all things work together for good [GB/BB/Tyndale: for the best] to them that love God, to them who are the called [BB/Tyndale:  which also are called] according to his purpose. [GB: called of his purpose/BB/Tyndale:  called of purpose]

I have several other versions of the Bible in my study which I have collected over the years. Another 10 translations for Romans 8:28 would look like this:

28  And [GB: Also/Tyndale: For/Phillips: Moreoever] we know [Knox: Are well assured] that all things [Knox: Everything][NAS: that God causes all things to] work together [Weymouth: are working together] for [Douay: unto] good [GB/BB/Tyndale: for the best/Knox: Help to secure the good/Jerusalem: By turning everything to their good, God co-operates with all those who love Him/Jerusalem: Everything that happens fits into a pattern for good] to them that love God, [NIV:That in all things God works for the good of those who love Him/ESV: That for those who love God, all things work together for good] to them who are the [NAS: omits "the"/Jerusalem: with all those he has]called [BB/Tyndale:  which also are called/NIV Who have been called] according to his [Weymouth: the Divine] purpose. [GB: called of his purpose/BB/Tyndale: called of purpose/ Douay: to such as, according to His purpose, are called to be saints/Knox: whom he has called in fulfilment of His design./Phillips: who are called according to His plan]
 I could add even more e.g. Darby etc., but you can see how heavy laden it all becomes. Some interesting renderings there though. Not sure where the Douay version manged to find "called to be saints", while (Rome again through the apostate Knox) has God co-operating with all those who love Him

As you can imagine, it can be painfully slow and the more translations you use, then the more difficult to accomomodate them in the emerging pattern.. If I was doing it again on a wider scale, I would content myself probably with the AV (as the underlying text) along with Geneva Bible and the Tyndale translation with possibly the ESV (for the sake of a modern version, despite its faulty text.) On of the advantages of the slowness, though, is that you don't simply glide over the words. Sometimes we should simply read the Bible. However, most of the verbs which it uses concerning itself are of a slower nature e.g. study and meditate.


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