Bible Translation: Does getting it right matter?

Wycliffe Bible Translators

Wycliffe Bible Translators

IT’S HARD TO MISS THE FACT that this year, 2011, marks the 400th Anniversary of the King James Version of the Bible, the Bible translation that sparked a revolution in giving ordinary people access to the Bible in their own language — provided, of course, that their language was English; but around the world there are still millions of people who don’t have the Bible in their own language, so as we celebrate, let’s not forget those people: head on over to Wycliffe Bible Translators to find out how you can help put things right.

At the same time, however, let’s also remember that what we’re dealing with when we read the King James or any other Bible version is a translation; and every translation inevitably has its flaws. Do those flaws matter? Jacques More, author and publisher of Jarom Books, says they do, and his latest book, Serious Mistranslations of the Bible — published today, 1st March 2011 — highlights numerous instances where poor translation has led to distorted doctrines and teachings in the church. I invited him to tell us about it:

Serious Mistranslations of the Bible

Serious Mistranslations of the Bible

Serious Mistranslations of the Bible is an examination of up to 52 Bible passages as affected by various Greek words from the New Testament identified as incorrectly understood by their use in the Septuagint – the Bible Jesus and the apostles quoted (the Old Testament translated into the Greek of their day) – as well as other discoveries in research in the Greek language. The Septuagint as a source for the meaning of words in the Greek of the New Testament has largely been by-passed, but Jesus and the apostles’ quotes of this source shows the words used in it have the same meaning as the New Testament Greek.

When Pharaoh had a dream which Joseph interpreted he saw fat cows coming out of the Nile and these are called eklektos in the Septuagint. As are the plump kernels of wheat he dreamed of. And so is choice silver, pleasant land, highest branches, young men [warriors in their prime], rich apparel, and so on: quality is the prominent meaning for eklektos.

When Jesus says “Many are called, few eklektos” he is saying few are fit for the calling, few are quality. He is not saying “many are called, few are chosen”!

The early publication of research on eklektos in 2001 saw comment from the then Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, “You are to be congratulated for your painstaking thoroughness” (May 2001) and a number of copies were obtained by the Bible Society. But, where are the needed changes? 10 years on, it is time this research was available to all!

Years of Research and Study
The research in the book on the issue of women in leadership Leadership is Male? highlighted two texts as mistranslated: 1 Corinthians 11:3 in some versions and 1 Timothy 2:12 in most. Those 2 chapters are borrowed and in the new book.

The research that went into the book on predestination So You Think You’re Chosen? highlighted Romans 8:28 with an added word widely employed, but contradicting the flow of the text. That chapter is also borrowed.

The information in the book Will there be Non-Christians in Heaven? highlights the need for a note to be added to the translation of “believing in the name” in John 1:12 and all places where the phrase is used. Thus the chapter entitled “The meaning of born again” explaining how the righteous among non-Christians are already born again is borrowed and included in the new book.

The 3 Measures of Meal parable is wholly misunderstood by the New International Version and other translators so they omit to translate the word “three” – unlike the more literal versions: NKJV, KJV, Young and others – which is crucial in understanding the parable.

Bibliographic Details and Further Information

Serious Mistranslations of the Bible
Jarom Books, 1st March 2011
ISBN 9781898158219
B-format paperback
352 pages

  • Trade Distributors: CLC Wholesale | Manna Christian Centre
  • Trade Info Page:

2 thoughts on “Bible Translation: Does getting it right matter?

  1. Pingback: Love Wins: Hell’s Bell Still Ringing « The Christian Bookshops Blog

  2. Pingback: UKCBD Winter Updates: a reminder, an update, and a plug for #CRT2012 « The Christian Bookshops Blog

Comments are closed.