Skillfully using the Translation

This is a followup to David Ker’s posting pointing us to Scot McKnight’s “Translations: Which one is best?” over at Jesus Creed. I like what he says. Any comments you wish to offer here on the BBB regarding Scott’s posting, please follow this link and post your comment there.

However, I thought of the following question:

For a given translation, what are the skills the user needs?

For example, for the ASV, what skills would a person need in order to make full use of it?

What about the TNIV?

What about the KJV?

It seems to me one does not really “read” the ASV. One studies the details. In other words, the user of the translation needs to have or to develop analytical skills. And these analytical skills are particularly focused on Greek syntax. With the KJV, one needs a skill of handling archaic vocabulary. Each translation, then, assumes a set of skills.

Skills are neither good nor bad, and one can improve and even obtain skills through their use. As Scot McKnight has proffered, different translations have different uses. But, to use a translation requires skills commensurate with that specific translation. So, what skills do you see yourself needing in order to use your favorite translation?

6 thoughts on “Skillfully using the Translation

  1. tc robinson says:

    I’m still big on the TNIV. I can’t believe how much I love this translation.

    Last week I was reading through the TNIV and the NIV and I just love the revisions. 🙂

  2. Dan says:

    I’m with TC. Not being an NIV fan, the TNIV has become my favorite and I use it for preaching ministry as well as study. My basic skills for the TNIV are… um… reading comprehension?

    I have found the TNIV to be a bit tighter, so when I compare with the NRSV, which I have used for a more “literal” translation, I find them very similar. It’s less of a dynamic equivalent than the NIV, in my opinion, so it is much easier for me to use it for study AND public ministry.

  3. Wayne Leman says:

    What skills are needed to use the KJV, ASV, NASB, ESV and similar translations which import biblical language syntax to English?

    If you are a newcomer to Bible reading, you need to learn a dialect of church language that is associated with the special vocabulary and frequent non-English syntax of these translations. Sometimes this dialect is called Biblish. It takes some time to learn any new language or dialect, but it happens fairly automatically (just as little children automatically learn languages) if newcomers immerse themselves in the sermons, Bible teachings, and Bible study conversations at churches which use the Biblish dialect.

  4. nothingman says:

    I love this quote from Scot McKight about the TNIV:

    “I still think this (TNIV) is the best and most readable translation we have today for a classroom setting.”

    Zondervan needs to get on the ball and promote the TNIV a lot more with quotes like this one.

  5. Iris says:

    I like Wayne’s word “Biblish.” That kind of says what is needed as a skill for our older translations.

    I love the TNIV — enjoy its reading very much. Also I have a love for the KJV and the more Greek I get in me, the more I enjoy my personal study there. But for teaching, preaching, etc… something more modern is usually needed — the TNIV fits that bill.

  6. Mike Sangrey says:

    I feel so silly. I just realized that when I said, Any comments you wish to offer here on the BBB regarding Scott’s posting, please do so here that people would miss the little fact that here is a link to David Ker’s post. And, therefore, the right place to put the comment. Missing the little fact of a link is extremely easy. This is my mistake. I’m sorry David.

    I guess I have to say that field testing is important because even the best of intentions produce mistakes.

    I’ve edited the original post to make it much clearer. Ummmm…I hope.

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