Proving the Bible

So this is essentially a case for the Bible to prove (or at least give some hardy evidence) that the Bible is truly what it says it is. Feel free to comment with questions or otherwise! Thanks.


4. IV. Translation

                Following the canonization of the Bible, also naturally came translation. After the Bible was compiled, it could now be spread across the world which requires the use of translation. So, what is the reliability rate of the Bible in the common language today? Before approaching the issues of translation, it’s important to take a step back and solve the issue of the thousands and thousands of manuscripts out there. With over 30,000 manuscripts of the Bible, there has to be a solution to reach the one translation which is sought after. To resolve this, textual critics will use eight general hints to determine the right texts to use and then move on to translation.

                First among these eight would be length clues. In a general sense, the longer manuscript will be widely accepted as people are more likely to shorten the text as opposed to lengthen it. Context is also a major key factor in determining the text. Within the context, the copier may have copied the homophone of another word. For example when writing "night" and... "knight", they sound the same and could both be accurate, but with the surrounding context one can come to a conclusion of the right word. Next are stylistic and theological clues. In the Greek language it is possible to see the styles of different authors when writing and how they go about describing theology. As one becomes acquainted with the author of the book, a different style used may raise a red flag. The difficulty of the text also plays a factor here. Just like length, people are more likely to make the text simpler (especially for the New Testament) so that their people can understand it. Therefore, if the text is more difficult to read and understand it is most likely the correct version. Following this is the reputation of the copiers. Obviously, if the people are noted for drastically changing text it won’t necessarily be accepted; but in a scholarly place such as Alexandria (one place noted for their accurate translations), their text will be taken very seriously. Lastly, the number of copies and the date of the copy itself will help reach the right text. In choosing the older manuscript there was less room for mistakes and the number of copies helps reach a consensus on which one to use.

                So since translators have the right text(s) within their hands, they now can take three different approaches in translating it. With all the different Bibles out there, it may pay to research which category it falls under and whether or not it is agreeable to the reader. However, these three techniques are known as literal translation, dynamic equivalence, and paraphrasing.

                In literal translation the goal is to come as closely as possible to the Greek. Some translations even go as far as to keep the direct translation word for word in the order they appear. For example, 1st Peter 2:19 could appear as, “This for commendable if through consciousness God bears up anyone pan suffering unjustly.” That is nearly the direct translation without any change and as noticed the Greek language is arranged a bit haphazardly. In dynamic equivalence the goal of the translators is to get as closely as possible to the Greek all the while putting it in words that the reader can understand the text. The most popular Bible, the New International Version, derives from this concept. In contrast to the literal translation, the NIV (dynamic equivalence approach) appears as, “For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God.” Lastly is paraphrasing. Paraphrasing is the type of translation which puts the Bible entirely in the translators’ own words. Often times in a paraphrased version of the Bible, the vernacular of a certain country or region is very prevalent.

                Through translation, the reader essentially is reading the translators’ opinions of what the text is saying. Beyond that, what the reader reads is another interpretation of the words given across to them. In this respect, apparent contradictions may appear throughout the Bible, but if looked into more closely there remains an answer which is often a trouble found during the translation process. So in looking through the Bible, it pays to research both the actual context but then also comparing them to other translations.

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