Scot McKnight on the Politics of Bible Translations

Today I wish to direct your attention to a post by Scot McKnight.

In American Christianity there is an overabundance of good Bible translations.  The problem of how to render a book in English that was originally written thousands of years ago in languages that nobody speaks anymore is a very thorny one indeed, and all of these translations take different approaches to solving that problem.

So the ongoing rhetoric about which Bible translation is the “best” is really not about that.  It’s about politics.  The defenders of the various translations do a good job making us think it’s about faithfulness to the original text or general equivalence vs dynamic equivalence or other fine points of translation theory.  But it’s really not about any of that.  It’s about being loyal to your tribe.  You use and cite the Bible translation that happens to be all the rage in your particular segment of evangelicalism or mainline Protestantism, and you absorb and then spout off all the arguments your tribe uses as to why its Bible translation of choice is the best.  Catholics and Eastern Orthodox have their own Bible translations as well, but they aren’t anywhere near as into the Bible translation wars as we evangelicals are.

The reality is that there is no one best way to solve the problem of rendering text in English that was originally written in old languages that nobody speaks anymore.  The Bible translations we have all get excellent marks for faithfulness to the original languages from those with extensive knowledge of those languages.  So let’s just quit with the politics of Bible translation already.

Read The Politics of Bible Translations by Scot McKnight