Review of Jason BeDuhn.  TRUTH IN TRANSLATION: Accuracy and Bias in English Translations of the New Testament

Theological bias exists in every Bible translation to some degree. In many cases, sad to say it is more than a translation tool but it has been done with a theological agenda. For example, when you translate John 8:58 "Before Abraham was I AM," you are going beyond the role of translator and dipping your toe into the world of the interpreter. There are other cases when translations have rendered highly theological charged verses correctly even though it went against their theology. It is not the goal of the translator to tweak the theological scales to strengthen the defense of a particular theological view regardless of that doctrinal position. Translate God's Word accurately and faithfully and if it strengthens the doctrinal view, fine, if not, fine.

Theological Bias in Translation

Theological bias has a negative connotation as something to be avoided, and in general, I think it is. But I do not think it would be realistic to argue that Bible translation can be done without theological bias. It is not simply a matter of whether the translator has a theological agenda or not; there are passages in which all the choices of wording necessarily reflect theological positions. Furthermore, if we are going to be completely objective, even orthodoxy is a bias. That is, it is by definition an opinion that inclines or prejudices the translator toward a particular choice of wording when his choices all have theological implications.

NTTC ACTS 20:28b: Is It “which he [God] purchased with the blood of his own [Son]” OR “which he [God] purchased with his own blood”?

Be honest in all things
Follow the truth regardless
Obey God not man

If textual scholars and translators obey all three of those principles; then, if the text, translation, or interpretation supports our specific doctrinal view, fine, if it does not, fine. A so-called major doctrine does not hang in the balance based on one Bible verse.

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