Bible Translation Issues
List here the issues in translation that occur during the translation of the Bible, for easy reference:
- Capitalize pronouns when referencing God or Jesus? Resolved: Yes, both for respect and for clarification when adjacent pronouns reference others
- How to translate Pharisees and scribes? As Elites or intellectuals or incumbents? May depend on context.
- How to translate "girl" in Mark 6:22? As "little girl"? As "temptress"? Resolved: the Greek unmistakably says "little girl," contrary to Hollywood renditions.
- How to translate "Holy Spirit"? As "Divine Guide" or "Divine Force"?
- "Son of man" or "Son of Man"? Resolved: "Son of man" (little "m")
- How to translate "disciples"? Many alternatives have been suggested, including "student".
- How to translate the "first shall be last, and the last shall be first"? This concept appears in several places.
- Put quotation marks around quotes? Yes, but do not re-quote every verse within a longer quote
- Should "logos" at the beginning of the Gospel of John be translated as "word", "Truth", or something else? The Greeks lacked a word for "Truth" with a capital "T". See Talk:John 1-7 (Translated). Does John redefine "logos" in John 17:17?
- Or should "logos" be given physical significance, as in "order" (lack of disorder or entropy)?
- Should "slave", "slaves" and "slavery" (mentioned 154 times in the ancient languages) be translated as "indentured servant" or "prisoner of war" or something else, to reflect that it was not institutionalized race-based slavery?
- How should "miracle" and "miraculous" (mentioned 14 times in the ancient languages) be translated now that they have a supernatural or physically impossible connotation, especially among intellectuals?
- How to translate the word awkwardly translated as "past" (mentioned 6 times in the ESV New Testament), when the word "past" now primarily connotes one's own past?
- How to translate "righteous" and "wicked" in the Old Testament (see Gen:18)? The problem with "righteous" is the modern tendency to define Godliness as "doing good deeds" as opposed to "proximity to God".
- How should we cite the Conservative Bible? As "CB", or as a more common three-letter acronym like "CBP" (for "Conservative Bible Project," to emphasize its dynamic quality), or perhaps "CPB" ("CP" being the abbreviation for Conservapedia)
- Shall we overcome language differences by using a form of "triangulation" to render alternative translations of the same word depending on context, as in "In the beginning was the Living Word, and its logic was with God, and this Truth was God." (John 1:1)?
- The word "behold" appears frequently in the KJV but lacks a modern equivalent for the underlying Greek term of ἰδού. It is a word adding emphasis and its modern equivalent should reflect the context of what is being emphasized. Possibilities include "at that moment" (when timing has significance), "rejoice" (when it is celebratory in nature), "observe" (when the attention of bystanders is relevant), "listen" (when preaching), "note that" (when an intellectual point is being made), and ignoring it altogether (which modern versions often do, but is disfavored as a translation technique).
- Should the feminization of male nouns, as in "prophetess", be used? Note that Michele Bachmann prefers to be called "Congressman", because the office has a unique title and that title itself is male in gender, as in "sportsman" or "strawman".
- "Elizabeth" or "Elisabeth" in Chapter 1 of Luke?
- Should the phrase "children of God" be used? It is a gender neutral version of "sons of God," but "children of God" has a very different connotation, such as emphasizing submission and falsely implying lack of harsh punishment (Hell)?
- Has the word "angels" changed its meaning to be something less powerful, and less serious, than their meaning in the Bible? "Angels" do not seem to fit the messengers from God who visited Sodom.
- The repeated references to the Greek terms for "master" or "teacher": why not translate as "Lord", or "lord" as in feudal times? See talk page for further discussion, especially how "lord" may not work in some contexts and may be outdated as a synonym for "master.
- Does an insistence on translating the wedding drink as "wine" rather than "grape juice" lose the support of many teenagers who identify better with "grape juice"? Faith is decided by many before age 21, the minimum age for drinking wine.
- There are many uses of "δεξιός", which literally means "right" but metaphorically means "cautious" and "authority" and ... "conservative"? In Matt 25:33 (sheep to the right, goats to the left) and John 21:6 (cast your nets on the right side), "δεξιός" could potentially be taken to connote the "conservative" side for benefits to all.
- τεκνίον is repeatedly translated as "little children" in 1 John, when the original intent seems to mean "students"
In deciding original intent, we keep in mind the availability of alternative terms in the Greek in assessing why the authors chose one word rather than the alternatives.
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