Friday, April 27, 2007

A recent email forward:

See if you can spot the errors in the following email. The first one is this: Why would a secular game show be speculating on what version of the Bible was most accurate? An of all they could have chosen, why would they have chosen the NWT, the most controversial Bible "translation" ever. Surely the KJV only people would have jumped on this like John Goodman on a doughnut.

Hello folks,
A friend forwarded this to me and I thought it was interesting. Apparently a non-witness, secular scholar of ancient greek did a comparison of 9 different popular Bible translations to see which was most true to the original text and the least flavored by existing beliefs. It seems a book was written comparing these in depth. What I find surprising is that the results of the test became an answer on the TV quiz show Jeopardy. I would have loved to see that episode. What do you think about this? Would you like a copy of the The New World Translation?
(Name Withheld)

Recently on Jeopardy on TV....One of the questions was.....What is the most accurate translation of the Holy Scriptures?? No one got the correct answer, so Alex Trebek said " New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, printed by Watchtower Bible Tract Society...
Author: Jason David BeDuhn is the Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff . He holds a B.A. in Religious Studies from the University of Illinois, Urbana, an M.T.S. in New Testament and Christian Origins form Harvard Divinity School, and a Ph.D. in Comparative Study of Religions form Indiana University, Bloomington.
The Nine English Translations Compared in BeDuhn's book are :

- The King James Version (KJV)
- The Amplified Bible (AB)
- The Living Bible (LB)
- The New American Bible (NAB)
- The New American Standard Bible (NASB)
- The New International Version (NIV)
- The New World Translation (NW)
- The (New) Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
- Today's English Version (TEV)
Excerpts from his book :
Chapter Four : Examples of translation of the Greek word "proskuneo", used 58 times in the New Testament. The word is translated various ways as worship, do obeisance, fall down on one's knees, bow before. Scriptures discussed include Matt. 18:26; Rev. 3:9; Mark 15:18,19; Matt 2:1, 2, 8,11; Matt 14:33; Matt 28:9, "... in our exploration of this issue, we can see how theological bias has been the determining context for the choices made by all of the translations except the NAB and NW... translators seem to feel the need to add to the New Testament support for the idea that Jesus was recognized to be God." Regarding Matt. 28:16, 17, where all versions except the NW use "worship" where the NW uses "did obeisance": "Here all translations except the NW have recourse to "worship" -- a rendering which makes no sense in this context... This contradiction seems to be missed by all the translators except those who prepared the NW."
Chapter Five : A discussion of Philippians 2:5-11: "The NW translators... have understood "harpagmos" accurately as grasping at something one does not have, that is, a "seizure." The literary context supports the NW translation (and refutes the KJV's "thought it not robbery to be equal)..."
Chapter Seven : A discussion on Col. 1: 15-20: "It is a tricky passage where every translation must add words." "The LB translator is guilty of all the doctrinal importation discussed above with reference to the NIV, NRSV, and TEV, and even surpasses them in this respect. So it is the NIV, NRSV, TEV and LB -- the four Bibles that make no attempt to mark added words - that actually add the most significant tendentious material. Yet in many public forums on Bible translation, the practice of these four translations is rarely if ever pointed to or criticized, while the NW is attacked for adding the innocuous "other" in a way that clearly indicates its character as an addition of the translators... But the NW is correct. "Other" is implied in "all", and the NW simply makes what is implicit explicit... It is ironic that the translation of Col. 1:15-20 that has received the most criticism is the one where the "added words" are fully justified by what is implied in the Greek."
Chapter Eight : A discussion on Titus 2:13; 2 Thess. 1:12; 2 Peter 1:1, 2: "... the position of those who insist "God" and "Savior" must refer to the same being... is decidedly weakened."
Chapter Nine : A discussion of Hebrews 8:1: "so we must conclude that the more probable translation is "God is your throne..., " the translation found in the NW... It seems likely that it is only because most translations were made by people who already believe that Jesus is God that the less probable way of translating this verse has been preferred."
Chapter Ten : A discussion on John 8:58: "Both the LB and the NW offer translations that coordinate the two verbs in John 8:58 according to proper English syntax, and that accurately reflect the meaning of the Greek idiom. The other translations fail to do this." "There is absolutely nothing in the original Greek of John 8:58 to suggest that Jesus is quoting the Old Testament here, contrary to what the TEV tries to suggest by putting quotations marks around "I am.""
"The majority of translations recognize these idiomatic uses of "I am", and properly integrate the words into the context of the passages where they appear. Yet when it comes to 8:58, they suddenly forget how to translate." "All the translations except the LB and NW also ignore the true relation between the verbs of the sentence and produce a sentence that makes no sense in English. These changes in the meaning of the Greek and in the normal procedure for translation point to a bias that has interfered with the work of the translators." "No one listening to Jesus, and no one reading John in his own time would have picked up on a divine self-identification in the mere expression "I am," which, if you think about, is just about the most common pronoun-verb combination in any language." "The NW...understands the relation between the two verbs correctly... The average Bible reader might never guess that there was something wrong with the other translations, and might even assume that the error was to be found in the... NW."
Chapter Eleven : A discussion of John 1:1: "Surprisingly, only one, the NW, adheres to the literal meaning of the Greek, and translates "a god." "Translators of the KJV, NRSV, NIV, NAB, NASB , AB , TEV and LB all approached the text at John 1:1 already believing certain things about the Word... and made sure that the translations came out in accordance with their beliefs. .. Ironically, some of these same scholars are quick to charge the NW translation with "doctrinal bias" for translating the verse literally, free of KJV influence, following the sense of the Greek. It may very well be that the NW translators came to the task of translating John 1:1 with as much bias as the other translators did. It just so happens that their bias corresponds in this case to a more accurate translation of the Greek" "Some early Christians maintained their monotheism by believing that the one God simply took on a human form and came to earth -- in effect, God the Father was born and crucified as Jesus. They are entitled to their belief, but it cannot be derived legitimately from the Gospel according to John."
"John himself has not formulated a Trinity concept in his Gospel." "All that we can ask is that a translation be an accurate starting point for exposition and interpretation. Only the NW achieves that, as provocative as it sounds to the modern reader. The other translations cut off the exploration of the verse's meaning before it has even begun."
Chapter Twelve : A discussion of holy spirit: "In Chapter Twelve, no translation emerged with a perfectly consistent and accurate handling of the many uses and nuances of "spirit" and "holy spirit." The NW scored highest in using correct impersonal forms of the relative and demonstrative pronouns consistently with the neuter noun "holy spirit," and in adhering to the indefinite expression "holy spirit" in those few instances when it was used by the Biblical authors."
Summary : "... it can be said that the NW emerges as the most accurate of the translations compared...the translators managed to produce works relatively more accurate and less biased than the translations produced by multi-denominational teams, as well as those produced by single individuals." "Jehovah's Witnesses... really sought to re-invent Christianity from scratch... building their system of belief and practice from the raw material of the Bible without predetermining what was to be found there. Some critics, of course, would say that the results of this practice can be naive. But for Bible translation, at least, it has meant a fresh approach to the text, with far less presumption than that found in may of the Protestant translations."
"...Most of the differences are due to the greater accuracy of the NW as a literal, conservative translation of the original expressions of the New Testament."
Commenting on bias in translation : "To me, it expresses a lack of courage, a fear that the Bible does not back up their "truth" enough. To let the Bible have its say, regardless of how well or poorly that say conforms to expectations or accepted forms of modern Christianity is an exercise in courage or, to use another word for it, faith."
(Note: For those that want to add this book to their library, it's available on )

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