Perspectives in Translation

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Bible Gateway and The Gospel Coalition have teamed up to host a discussion of English Bible translation. We have convened a team of world-class scholars representing different versions of the English Bible who will address specific passages from the Old and New Testaments and answer questions about the translation process.

We hope that by pulling back the curtain on translation, this discussion will help readers understand their Bibles more clearly and learn to love God's Word more deeply. And we pray that careful attention to Scripture will excite readers to behold God's glory as he has revealed himself to us in our own language.

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When and Why Do We Update Bible Translations? Tremper Longman III

Posted in Translation Philosophy by Tremper Longman III on December 1st, 2010

Question: When and why do we update Bible translations?

We should update Bible translations about every 25 years since in that period of time the English language changes enough that the translation begins to sound dated and stale. We should also update Bible translations because biblical scholars come to better understanding of the original text over time. Most of the Bible is written in everyday language (Isaiah and some other texts would be exceptions) and our translations (or at least some of them) should reflect that. High-style translations tend to impose a kind of churchy, learned English style on texts that are meant to communicate with all people, whether educated or not.

Tremper Longman is the Robert H. Gundry professor of biblical studies at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California. He has been active in the area of Bible translation by serving on the central committee that produced and now monitors the New Living Translation.

This entry was posted by Tremper Longman III and is filed under Translation Philosophy.