BIBLE TRANSLATIONS, VERSIONS AND
April 1, 1987 Issue
By K.G. Wilks
When our preachers go to Mexico or any other non-English speaking country, they preach in their native language. A native or some person who under stands the language of both countries repeats what the visiting preachers have said, but he repeats the sermon in the language of the people. He translates for the main speaker. He turns, or changes one language, written or spoken, into another language. (See any dictionary).
One of the young Mexican preachers from Mexico spent a night at our house once. I told him I had written some gospel lessons in English for use in Mexico. I asked him if he would translate what I had written into Spanish language. He agreed, took my article, sat down at a table and began writing my article in Spanish. He was translating it.
Many of us have books that were written originally in foreign language. One of my Greek English Lexicons was originally written in the German language. It was then translated into our English language and published for our English speaking people. It is a good work-- easy to read and understand, and recent. A version is not a translation. It is written in the same language as the original work was written, but it is a re-writing of the same work in a new form, style, or words. A good example is our King James Version of the Bible. It never was in any other language it was an English language work to begin with, but it was a re-writing of former English language Bibles. Even the King James Version has been revised numerous times, mostly to put it into the language of later times, our own included.
The Revised Version of the Bible is called, in the dictionary, a recension of the King James Version of the Bible. (See "recension" in your dictionary.) In late years, many so-called new versions of the Bible are not even worthy of the term recension, or version.
A transliteration is a word for word translation from one language into another language. A good dictionary describes it thus: "to change (letters, words, etc.) into corresponding characters of another alphabet or language; (example:) to transliterate the Greek X as ch." The commonly used DIAGLOTT is a Greek language New Testament, the text being that of J.J. Griesbach. Benjamin Wilson could have made a separate work of his transliteration, but he chose to copy a line of New Testament Greek, putting his transliteration immediately under the Greek text. That made it one of the now commonly used "interlinears," making it easy for the student reader to choose the right Greek word for analysis. Mr. Wilson created his own English translation in a separate column on the right hand side of each page.
Other good interlinears are such as those by George Ricker Berry and Jay Green. Mr. Berry did not make a transliteration but copied the King James Version in the outer edge of each page. Mr. Jay Green used the King James Version, Twentieth Century Edition, for his translation. It is a good version, very close to the regular King James Version.
Having a good Greek grammar such as Machens, and the interlinears, the student can easily learn the Greek alphabet, just like he learned the English alphabet. Having learned the alphabet, one can then begin to form words. If one can read one word one can soon put a few words together, especially the definite article "the" with other parts of speech. With the old Bagster's (now Zondervan's) Analytical Greek Lexicon of The New Testament one can analyze and parse his words and sentences. Forty translations of a verse are no good to one if he doesn't know which one is right. Just find the truth from a Greek New Testament, then stick with it. NOTICE: This writer does not propose to call himself a scholar of Greek, but he can and has learned a usable portion of it. Elder John Smith was a grown man before he could read and write, but he became a great preacher of the gospel and knew a usable portion of Hebrew and Greek.
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