actually reflects an argument used for many years by KJV Only advocates, who compare every new version to the KJV, and then call every change from the KJV in a modern version a change in the scriptures. They accuse the modern versions of altering the words of scripture. But what words are altered? The words of a translation that has no authority whatsoever over the source texts. When a translator uses a word/phrase in the receptor language to reflect a word/phrase in the source language, that doesn’t make the two equivalent. It is simply the way that translator thought was best to convey the thought of the text in the source language in the receptor language. It is critically important to state this correctly: The translator(s) of a new Bible translation do not alter the words of scripture, they reflect the words of scripture in a different way, using different words.Believe it or not, words such as "justification," "propitiation," "sanctification," "flesh," "predestination", and "repentance" do not appear in the original biblical texts. There is no sound linguistic or theological reason why the original biblical words which have been translated by those theological terms cannot be translated by ordinary English words which mean the same thing as the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek words did.
There is too much circular argumentation in many of the claims made today for the superiority of so-called word-for-word translations--not to mention the fact that pure word-for-word translation is an impossibility. The versions which Driscoll lists as being word-for-word translations are not really word-for-word translations:
ESV, HCSB, KJV, NASB, NKJV, NRSV, RSVOnly interlinear translations are word-for-word translations. Every version in Driscoll's list of word-for-word translation rearranges word order and makes many other adjustments so that English readers can better understand what the original biblical language text meant. The introduction of each version in Driscoll's list makes this clear. The translators of the ESV make this clear for their translation:
The ESV is an “essentially literal” translation that seeks as far as possible to capture the precise wording of the original text and the personal style of each Bible writer. As such, its emphasis is on “word-for-word” correspondence, at the same time taking into account differences of grammar, syntax, and idiom between current literary English and the original languages. Thus it seeks to be transparent to the original text, letting the reader see as directly as possible the structure and meaning of the original. [emphasis added]The ESV is more word-for-word than the NLT, but there is not a qualitative difference between the two. It is, rather, a quantitative difference.
Henry Neufeld is right: verbal plenary translation is impossible. It is high time that claims to the contrary are properly confronted. And sound alternatives need to be as widely distributed as the fallacious statements made by Driscoll, Grudem, and others like them today who advocate word-for-word translation.
Henry had many more important well-founded things to say in his blog post. Please read it.
Finally, a word to those who believe in verbal, plenary inspiration: the thrust of Henry's post is about verbal, plenary (that is word-for-word) translation, not inspiration. We can believe in verbal, plenary inspiration while recognizing that true word-for-word translation is an impossibility.