Bible Retranslation Project

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The Bible Retranslation Project recognizes that a modern language changes and devolves quickly. There are several reasons for this, including an attempt by non-believers to dilute powerful religious concepts, the corrosive effect of cultural changes on language, and the impact of politics on the meaning of terminology. Terms that were clear and meaningful to one generation are often unclear and less meaningful to the next.

The rate of devolution of language may be increasing as communications increase. If a word inevitably alters its meaning after an approximate number of uses, then the time period for the change in meaning will shorten due to improved technology, just as the length of a sound bite likewise shortens. In the internet era, combating the effect of language degradation on the understanding of the Bible becomes more important.

As a first step to the Bible Retranslation Project, it is useful to identify modern terms having changing, unclear or altered meaning, which appear in important passages in translations of the Bible into the corresponding modern language:

Original Term English Translation Usage Lack of Clarity Real meaning Suggested Improvement
"logos" "word" "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." John 1:1 (NIV) "Word" now means a short expression of a single concept, which can include a vulgarity or a falsehood underlying logic or profound statement of the truth replace "word" with "truth"
"grace" "From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another." John 1:16 (NIV) "grace" has become a female name and a sports term to refer primarily to smoothness in style spiritual and majestic gift-giving
"government" "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders." Isaiah 9:6 (NIV) "government" now means officials paid by mandatory taxes and accountable to a democratic vote