How to Choose a Translation for All It’s Worth

How To Choose a Translation for All It’s Worth: A Guide to Understanding and Using Bible Versions    Gordon D. Fee & Mark L. Strauss 2007 Zondervan                                                                   I ordered this book in hopes of gaining understanding of the different translations available today. Like others, I wondered if some of these translations are authoritative, Fee and Strauss did not disappoint.                                                                                                                                           Among the most beneficial text in the book is the chart on page 34. It divides eighteen of the most commercial translations available into three categories: Formal Equivalence (or versions), Functional Equivalence and Mediating. He defines the formal as those which make Hebrew and Greek understandable. Functional versions modify the text to make it more natural. Mediating is that which explains the text. The chart includes strengths and weaknesses of each grouping. The text of the chapter offers detailed information concerning the meaning and task of each translation.                                                                                                                                                  When addressing style and format issues within a translation, the authors suggest that readers should read the Bible as stories rather than chapters and verses. Scripture was “intended” (p123) to be read by genre; the “epistles as real letters and Hebrew Psalms as poetry.”                                       Fee and Strauss bring a great measure of expertise to this work. Gordon Fee is an American theologian, ordained minister and retired professor of New Testament Studies from Regent College, Vancouver Canada. Strauss is a Biblical scholar and professor at Bethel Seminary, San Diego. The writing is a comprehensive work that will help the reader “chose a translation for all it’s worth.”                                                                                                                                                     I recommend it to those who wish to fully understand the process of translating the scripture from original Greek and Hebrew. Beware, it is not a casual read.

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