Translators as Interpreters

by Stephen J. Bedard

Greek new-testamentHow important is it to know the Bible’s original languages?  Is it good enough to just rely on your favourite translation?  I think it is indeed a good idea to gain some knowledge of Hebrew and Greek.  However, translations are good if you do not rely on just one.

Why do I say this?  Because translators do more than just translate from the original languages to the contemporary language.  Translators interpret the text and that interpretation is usually based on their personal theological positions.  Let me give you an example.  We will look at Romans 16:7 and the relationship between the companion of Adronicus and the apostles.

“Greet Andronicus and Junias, my relatives who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was.” (Romans 16:7 NIV)

The NIV sees this verse as being about a male named Junias who was an apostle.  The problem is that this name is not really for a male.  But since the NIV translators know a female cannot be an apostle, they translate the name as a male…

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RECOMMENDED RESOURCES FOR FURTHER READING:

From God To Us: How We Got Our Bible

How We Got the Bible

 

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