Better Bibles Blog has moved. Read our last post, below, and then
click here if you are not redirected to our new location within 60 seconds.
Please Bookmark our new location and update blogrolls.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Greek and Bible translation

Eric Sowell, The Coding Humanist has begun to teach a beginning Greek class at his church. He wrestles with the question "Why Learn Greek" in his latest post. Good thoughts. I especially enjoyed Eric's first few paragraphs which are written in Gringlish (English written in a dialect that sounds like it came from one of the Pauline epistles, especially Romans, in this case).

Obviously, to do adequate Bible translation into English, someone on a translation team must be very well equipped to read and understand the Greek of the New Testament. It also helps to know Greek to evaluate English Bible versions and understand differences among them. What does not help is knowing just a little Greek, using simplistic Greek reference tools, thinking you know more than you do, and letting others know what you know about N.T. Greek. In all things, humility, including a realistic evaluation of one's own abilities in the biblical languages!

Continue reading


At Tue Aug 16, 10:34:00 AM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

I commend Eric's post to you. I also recommend that you not simply take other people's words at face value when they make claims about what some Greek of the N.T. means. Caveat emptor! Check your sources. Find out if they really do know what they are talking about, especially in debates about English Bible versions. I've read some unfortunate things written about English Bible versions, written by people who may know little, if any, Greek, but try to argue for or against some Bible version based on something in the Greek language. Don't simply trust everything you read about the biblical languages on the Internet, including this blog. Test all things! (1 Thess. 5:21). Make use of the best scholarship possible on a subject. Do not simply read or listen to your favorite preachers (for information about the biblical languages, anyway). Sometimes they have adequate training in the biblical languages to make reliable statements about some Bible passage, or about the quality of some Bible version. But sometimes well-known preachers or other well-known Christian leaders who endorse Bible versions do not have the background in the biblical languages to speak credibly on issues having to do with translation accuracy.

Eric is right. Learning a little Greek will enable you to use some Greek reference tools. But use good tools. Don't simply walk into a Christian bookstore and buy a Greek reference tool which may be outdated or may not be written by someone who is recognized as a biblical language scholar. Ask around. Ask others by email who know biblical languages what resources they would recommend for you to use. And resist the temptation to go with the crowd who may be following a well-known Christian leader. Some leaders, no matter how devout they are, have very little knowledge of the biblical languages.

Did I say "Test all things" yet?! :-)

Categories: Greek, Bible versions, Bible translation

At Tue Aug 16, 10:36:00 AM, Anonymous rey said...

I personally am dying to learn the original languages. But, I can't go to school for it being broke and supporting a family.

I've been using this: but is there stuff I should be using to learn it? What would you recommend?

Really, I'm (mentally) starving. Any help would be much appreciated. I didn't want to hijack your article, but after your very sound and practical advice, the questions came.

At Tue Aug 16, 05:23:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

Rey, I have added some other info in the next post which might be of help to you. Many people have learned Greek on a low budget so it can be done. Sometimes a local pastor will be willing to tutor students for no charge.

At Tue Aug 16, 06:06:00 PM, Blogger Rey said...

thanks, brother.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home