On English Translations
I am working on a formal position statement for English translations of the scriptures, but I felt it necessary to make a brief statement now concerning the English translation(s) I choose to use. I am no expert on the topic—perhaps there are no experts on the topic. (Regarding experts, one blogger recently cited his numerous years with the original languages but called himself a novice.) I have next-to-no experience with the original languages. Yet the nature of being a Christian and being in vocational ministry compels me to take a position. My position, then, is one that the reader should regard as mine. Even the local church that I some day hope to pastor may not hold my position. There is plenty of room for varying positions in this discussion.
In brief, I take a bit of the philosophy of Martin Luther and William Tyndale on Bible translation: God’s word is to be understood by the plowman/commoner/unlearned. It was given in a language that the original audience understood clearly. As stewards of God’s word, it behooves us to translate the holy scriptures into the “common tongue.” Language changes over time, which demands that translations be edited periodically.
My preference is to use a modern-language translation. In the beginning of the year, I read through the NET Bible. It’s a good translation as far as I can tell. What is useful about the NET is the thousands (60,000+) translation notes that help the reader understand what the committee thought about a textual or translational issue. For the next few months (at least) I will be reading from the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB). I cannot seem to locate a link to the preface of the translation, but here is a helpful FAQ. Reading the preface to a translation may be one of the healthiest things for a believer to do when considering a translation. It helps the reader understand the philosophy of the committee (e.g., see portions of the preface to one notable Bible translation).
Again, I hope to offer a more comprehensive statement on Bible translations in the near future. For now, I trust this satisfies any curiosity about the translations I’m quoting on this site.