Literal Bible translations are best

An esteemed NT scholar of our day, Dr Wayne Grudem, recently restated why he uses word-for-word (literal) Bible translations and not the “dynamic equivalence” (idea-for-idea, eg, NIV) translations. I whole-hearted concur with Dr Grudem on this!

“I cannot teach theology or ethics from a dynamic equivalent Bible. I tried the NIV for one semester, and I gave it up after a few weeks. Time and again I would try to use a verse to make a point and find that the specific detail I was looking for, a detail of wording that I knew was there in the original Hebrew or Greek, was missing from the verse in the NIV.

“Nor can I preach from a dynamic equivalent translation. I would end up explaining in verse after verse that the words on the page are not really what the Bible says, and the whole experience would be confusing and would lead people to distrust the Bible in English . . .

“Nor would I want to memorize passages from a dynamic equivalent translation. I would be fixing in my brain verses that were partly God’s words and partly some added ideas, and I would be leaving out of my brain some words that belonged to those verses as God inspired them but were simply missing from the dynamic equivalent translation.

“But I could readily use any essentially literal translation to teach, study, preach from, and memorize.”

~ Wayne Grudem
(General Editor of the ESV Study Bible, 2008)
[gleaned from Eric Kohlwater’s blog – thanks brother!]

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