The Problems of Bible Translation

The translation of the Bible from its original Greek and Hebrew into English is fraught with problems. To begin with, there are many variant texts and sometimes what is the correct version is not known.

Then there is the difficulty of knowing exactly what was conveyed or meant by the original words. Does the Greek "ecclesia", for instance, mean exactly what we think of as "church" today? Or did it convey some other nuances for which we have no exact equivalent in today's language?

Then there is the difficulty of the continuing shift of the English language. Words change theri meanings over time and the simple word "stoned", for example, in the New Testament carries connotation today which need to be worked around.

To illustrate all this, in the adjacent cases are twenty-three examples of the translation into English of the same passage from ! Corinthians 13:4-13, from the earliest work of Wycliffe to the 1990's. Make your choice of the one you think is the "correct" one.

Display Case 1

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Red book cover
The Complete Biblical Library

View Interlinear Greek, showing
variant version in the
oldest manuscripts
Book binding
New Testament - Wycliffe
View text here
Open book with text
Douai Version, 1609, revised 1750
View text here
Green book cover
King James Version, 1611
View text here

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