I overheard a conversation at a coffee shop yesterday morning. The one guy had clearly been indoctrinated by some KJV-touting pastor. “Yeah, my pastor said there was somewhere in Romans or Revelation that said we already have the best translation. I forget where it is, but it’s not one of these modern translations.” (There is no such verse, of course.)
The other guy sitting with him was having to be really patient as his friend regurgitated the silliness that had been passed on to him. I surely wish the first young man could have heard the quote below.
Translations can be considered a basic form of commentary. Whether we realize it or not, the translators of scripture have to make interpretive decisions. It is impossible to translate from one language to another without interpreting at a basic level. There are no word-for-word translations. If you know more than one language, you know that it is impossible to translate a long string of text word-for-word. That fact shouldn’t shake our confidence in the translations of the Bible we have.
~ via software training video from Logos.com/Faithlife Corporation
[scroll down to Video #8, “Parallel Passages”]
Not that I need to reiterate, but I the main points here are these:
- There is no such thing as an entirely word-for-word Bible translation.
- All translation involves interpretation and, therefore, “commentary” on the text.