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Translating Truth: The Case for Essentially Literal Bible Translation Paperback – November 8, 2005

4.3 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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About the Author

C. John Collins (PhD, University of Liverpool) is professor of Old Testament at Covenant Theological Seminary in St Louis, Missouri. With degrees from MIT and Faith Evangelical Lutheran Seminary, he pursues such research interests as Hebrew and Greek grammar, science and faith, and biblical theology. He is the author of The God of MiraclesDid Adam and Eve Really Exist?, and Science and Faith.

Wayne Grudem (PhD, University of Cambridge; DD, Westminster Seminary) is research professor of theology and biblical studies at Phoenix Seminary, having previously taught for 20 years at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Grudem earned his undergraduate degree at Harvard University, as well as an MDiv from Westminster Seminary. He is the former president of the Evangelical Theological Society, a cofounder and past president of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, a member of the Translation Oversight Committee for the English Standard Version of the Bible, the general editor of the ESV Study Bible, and has published over 20 books, including Systematic Theology, Evangelical Feminism, Politics—According to the Bible, and Business for the Glory of God.

Vern S. Poythress is professor of New Testament interpretation at Westminster Theological Seminary, where he has taught for over three decades. He has six earned degrees, including a PhD from Harvard University and a ThD from the University of Stellenbosch. He is the author of numerous books on a variety of topics, including biblical interpretation, language, and science.

Leland Ryken (PhD, University of Oregon) served as professor of English at Wheaton College for nearly 50 years. He has authored or edited over fifty books, including The Word of God in English and A Complete Handbook of Literary Forms in the Bible. He is a frequent speaker at the Evangelical Theological Society's annual meetings and served as literary stylist for the English Standard Version Bible.

BRUCE WINTER is Warden of Tyndale House in Cambridge, England. He was a member of the Translation Oversight Committee for the English Standard Version Bible. 

J. I. Packer (DPhil, Oxford University) serves as the Board of Governors’ Professor of Theology at Regent College. He is the author of numerous books, including the classic best-seller Knowing God. Packer served as general editor for the English Standard Version Bible and as theological editor for the ESV Study Bible.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway (November 8, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1581347553
  • ISBN-13: 978-1581347555
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #844,063 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

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The 5 authors were on the team that produced the ESV. They take a position that their translation method (their term is "essentially literal") is preferred. They show bad examples of translations from paraphrase versions like The Message and good examples from the ESV and others they see as similar. They show a mixed bag from the NIV and TNIV of both good and bad examples, but one should know that the NIV is a main competitor to the ESV. I agree with all the examples they give.

They also claim that ambiguous words should be left ambiguous, which I also agree with. In some sense, this book is an extended (positive) ad for the ESV, or failing that, similar translations like NASB and a (negative) ad for the NIV and anything even less "essentially literal".

A concern I have is that they do not seem to see that even their translation involves interpretation and commentary by the understandings they have and the word choices they make. For example, they are complementarian, so do not expect any verses to use an egalitarian word choice or understanding. One needs to be aware when reading any translation that all translations involve interpretation and should be seen as the translators attempt to get you to more easily agree with their interpretation, whatever it is.

They do not discuss the Concordant Literal Version, which takes their method even further than they do, perhaps because it is not very well known.
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Format: Paperback
With a discussion format, Translating Truth helps greatly with one of today's problems: wading through all the Bible versions which continue to be produced, and deciding which ones are best. The publisher introduces the theme by saying, "The words of the Bible are the very words of God, and so the work of translating these words is of utmost importance, with eternal consequences." (page 7)

The translations are divided into three categories: (1) word-for-word or essentially literal; (2) thought-for-thought or dynamic equivalent; (3) exposition-for-text or expanded paraphrase. Firmly on the side of essentially literal, several authors consider why this is best discussing such themes as: are only some words of Scripture breathed by God; what readers want and what translators can give; considering different types of translators; truth and fullness of meaning; revelation versus rhetoric. The essayists include theology professors, Christian authors, and Christian historians. More than 20 translations are referred to within. Several chapters end with helpful bibliographies. Closing materials include a general index and a Scripture index.

Translating Truth is an interesting book which whets the appetite for more information on this subject. It engenders thought, debate, and a desire to read and learn from the Bible. - Donna Eggett, Christian Book Previews.com
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Format: Paperback
If you are interested in Bible translation then this book will be of great interest. Yes the writers firmly have the ESV in mind but i do not think that in any way clouds their argument.
This puts the case for a literal word for word English Bible translation. They use many examples, argue fairly and make many interesting points. The book reads well for such a technical (at times) discussion. They acknowledge that all English Bibles are in some ways interpretations but their case is; lets try and minimize our input and leave the reader to make their minds up as to meanings and ambiguities.

If you are of the opinion that the Bible is the word of God then by the time you have read this book you may have some strong feelings about such translations such as The Message, the NLT and such like. regardless of what "camp" you may be in this is a challenging read and well worth the effort.
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Format: Paperback
I long have been a supporter of the literal translation (or as the English Standard Version puts it "essentially literal."). Having been a disciple of Jesus Christ since 1992, I first grew in grace (2 Peter 3:18) using the NIV along with many others. The church I attended, however, used the New King James Version. The NIV and the NKJV were world's apart! Then I attended Bible college where the required Bible was the New American Standard (NASB). Again I found the NIV, the NASB, and the NKJV to be vastly different.

In 1996 the New Living Translation came on the scene. At the time I was a youth pastor and begin to use the NLT to teach the teens. However, I soon found the New Living Transltion to be very free in its translation and it just didn't seem biblical.

Have you felt the way I felt? Many Christians get confused with so many different Bible translations now on the market in the English language. While millions of disciples in China long for one Bible, we have hundreds in many different styles. In fact far too often the Bibles in America represent lifestyles rather than God's truth. We have come a long way from the days of a literal translation such as the King James Version in 1611 to now dynamic equivalent's such as the NIV or the New Living. What we need is some wisdom on what Bible translation is best.

This book is such a book. TRANSLATING TRUTH offers a look not only at the English Standard Version (ESV) but also all literal translations such as the New American Standard, the New English Translation (NET), or the New King James. It helps you to see why an essentially literal Bible is the best. It offers a candid look at the NIV and the New Living and why they simply are not good translations.
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