"Use your knowledge of Greek in ways that will glorify God." Using NT Greek in Ministry,
David A. Black
Why do I bother translating the Bible from the original languages? Most people seem to think:
“If the King James Version was good enough for the Apostle Paul, it is good enough for me.”
But would it have been good enough for Paul?
Sir Thomas More said that Tyndale’s translation
of the New Testament was so faulty a piece of work that revision was out of the question, “for it is easier to make
a web of new cloth than it is to sew up every hole in a net.”
When the Authorized Version appeared in 1611, Dr. Hugh Broughton, Puritan divine, published a vicious critical
analysis against the completed KJV calling the translators timid and afraid to publish strong words. He claimed that they
placed better renderings of words in the marginal notes rather than in the read text. He accused the translators of sycophantic
crawling to royal authority, of lacking real knowledge of the original languages, of being interested only in self-promotion.
Broughton further lambasted the translators for
slavishly following the old Bishops’ Bible - which was part of their mandate, after all. He hated the new translation
and told the king so:
“The cockles of the seashore, and the leaves of the forest, and the grains of the poppy, may as well be numbered
as the gross errors of this Bible.”
He said they would answer on the Day of Judgment for their slackness and use of idle words. He said that
the organizer of the translation, Richard Bancroft, would find his eternal abode in hell. After the KJV was introduced Broughton
described the KJV as follows (History of the English Bible, Third Edition, New York: Oxford University Press, 1978, page 107):
“The late Bible... was
sent to me to censure: which bred in me a sadness that will grieve me while I breathe, it is so ill done. Tell His Majesty
that I had rather be rent in pieces with wild horses, than any such translation by my consent should be urged upon poor churches.
... The New edition crosseth me. I require it to be burnt.”
And there was a loud chorus of reprobation when the Revised Version of 1881-5 was published, in which the
leading voice was that of another great scholar, Dean Burgon, who condemned the work as “the most astonishing as
well as the most calamitous literary blunder of the age.”
F.F. Bruce summarizes it in softer terms:
“The best of translations
are but translations at best. The Bible is probably the most translatable book in the world, but even so, the process of translation
inevitably means the loss or obscuring of some elements present in the original text. And the criticisms which the public
is ready to mete out to new translations of the Bible are a healthy symptom in so far as they betoken a vigilant determination
not to be deprived of any part of the pure Word of God, and not to have anything foisted upon it as the Word of
God which has no right to be so described.”
The two phrases underlined above are the reasons why I make the effort to translate the Bible from its original
languages. Like others, my translation is but a translation at best … but there is comfort and confidence in getting
as close to the original as possible using your own skills.
I have done a lot of exegetical work, primarily verse-by-verse in the New Testament, and that work is available
on the DOWNLOAD page of this web site in PDF files with numbered pages. They are fragmentary expositions culled from
other commentators after I have performed my own exegesis of the passages. I have been urged to create a set of commentaries and as they become available, they will be
highlighted on the menu in CAPS (uppercase letters).
You may donate to this ministry
below or purchase books using
the links on the pages which
have text in ALL CAPS.