Bible Translation | The Theonauts

In this week’s episode we continue the thoughts laid in two previous episodes. To follow up on our series of Christian History studies, we’ll address the history of Bible translation. Then to follow up on last week’s episode on Bibliology, we discuss Bible translation methods and their pros and cons.

The Old Testament was written between 1500BC and 400BC. The New Testament, between 45AD and 100AD. Up until 1450AD all these were hand-written manuscripts on scrolls and codices made from leather, papyrus, vellum, and parchment. After the invention of the printing press, conventional printing on paper began.

Bible Translation List

  • 400 AD – Latin Vulgate (based on original Greek Mss)
  • 1380 AD – Wycliffe (based on the Vulgate)
  • 1455 AD – Gutenberg (Vulgate) is printed
  • 1525 AD – Tyndale (based on Vulgate and Original Greek Mss compiled by Erasmus (Majority Texts))
  • 1535 AD – Coverdale (revision of Tyndale)
  • 1537 AD – Matthews (revision of Tyndale and Coverdale)
  • 1539 AD – Greate Bible (revision of Tyndale and Matthews)
  • 1560 AD – Geneva (revision of Greate and Tyndale)
  • 1568 AD – Bishops (revision of the Geneva)
  • 1609 AD – Douai (based on the Vulgate)
  • 1611 AD – King James (revision of the Bishops and Geneva)
  • 1881 AD – Revised (based on KJV and Greek MSS including the Alexandrian Texts)
  • 1908 AD – American Standard (revision of the Revised Version)
  • 1952 AD thru Today – Most modern translations are based on the Alexandrian MSS, Previous English translations, and the Dead Sea Scrolls MSS

We also discuss the various manuscripts (MSS) and the debates about which are the best to use. What are the Dead Sea Scrolls and how do they fit into the translation picture? Then we discuss translation methodologies. Which techniques are best, Word-for-Word, Thought-for-Thought, or Paraphrase (:p).

The best advice we can give is that there is no such thing as a good translation. However, every translation is a good translation (collectively). The more you read, the fuller the picture becomes. Use a variety of translations to make the best use of your Bible study time.

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