If my points above stand, then there are at least three reasons why an individual may be justified in presenting a new translation of a text. This is, actually, very common in academic articles, papers, and commentaries. Is this something, though, that only academics are permitted to do? The reasons I have given above justify the endeavour of individual translation but not necessarily the product. In conclusion, therefore, I want to consider several criteria to consider if one is producing or considering such a translation. The Bible does not ever legislate academic training for its leaders—however fitting it might be in certain contexts—so I don’t think a translation should be qualified by the degrees of its author. However, the Bible does talk a lot about teachers functioning in the body of Christ.

A translator should first, therefore, be someone who is recognized (not necessarily ordained) with a teaching role in a local church and who is seeking accountability from its leaders. That is, no translator should ever be a lone wolf. A translator must, second, be proficient in the languages. There are many Bible programs that enable one to identify the original language words under our English texts. This can be helpful in one sense but can lead someone to believe that superficial familiarity is sufficient for translation. The languages are actually quite complex and the decisions necessary for translation are weightier than bible software aptitude equips a translator to handle. A translation should, therefore, be based on familiarity with the language and serious study resources (the scholarly lexicons and grammars). Thirdly, a translation should be demonstrable to another reader of the original text. That is, if one endeavours to produce a new translation, they should be able to show that it is adequate from the text itself. A translation should minimally be produced in an accountable church context by someone with sound language skills and should be demonstrable from the text and analogous grammatical or lexical situations.

   One final note: because most Christians will not have access to the original languages, any individual who endeavours to translate should strive to do so in a way that simultaneously encourages and builds confidence in the appropriate use of Bible translations.

Part 1

Part 2


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