9 thoughts on “Craig Blomberg on Bible version factionalism

  1. Dru says:

    I agree with those comments.

    I know this is hardly the appropriate thing to say on a Better Bibles Blog, but a few months ago I referred to the news that somebody was producing a new translation that I thought it should be referred to as the NAV – i.e. Not Another Version. I still think that.

    I don’t really agree with our praising the publishers of the NIV for revising the translation to make it more like the TNIV. If it superseded both of them, perhaps fine, but what about all the people who already have the other two and the churches that have chosen either as their church bible. If it doesn’t supersede them, that means three versions in stead of two, that differ slightly on a few points that some people feel strongly about.

    Wouldn’t it be better if we all accepted that no version is perfect, if we put up with a version that is OK but not perfect and if we decided there’s rather more priority in producing bibles for languages that haven’t got them? Or if we have to work in English, then put the effort into completing deuterocanonicals for existing translations that haven’t got them at the moment.

  2. Peter Kirk says:

    Dru, language changes, scholarship advances, and errors are found in translations. That is why translations need to be updated, perhaps every ten years. It would indeed have been better if TNIV (2001) had been marketed as an update of NIV (1984), and the new version (2011) as a further update. But regular readers of this blog will know the sad non-translational reasons why that didn’t happen. Think of what they are working on now as an update to TNIV, which will be called an updated NIV, again for non-translational reasons.

  3. Dave Rattigan says:

    Blomberg’s words are food for thought, but I’m not sure if repentance of the kind Brian describes is the right response.

    Does Brian really think it’s a sin to “speak harshly” against a Bible translation, a person promoting a particular translation, a publishing company, or its marketing strategies? Sometimes publishers and publications, translators and translations, and marketing and marketers need to be harshly criticized. It seems just a bit too much like well-intentioned, yet misguided “Christian niceness” to say otherwise.

  4. Dru says:

    Peter I can see that, but I’d still say 10 years is too frequently to update a version. It means that not only is a superfluity of different versions, but different versions of the same version. I accept the previous position was unsatisfactory, where there was a standard version but it had not changed since the C17 and the language got between people and their comprehension, but I now think we’ve moved too far the other way. At least then, everyone knew and quoted the same words.

    In the last few days someone has added to the Crosswire, Sword Project, site three different versions of something called the New Heart English Bible, one ordinary one, one Messianic Edition and one Jehovah Edition. But I can’t find out why, or why they claim this is any better or different from any of the other versions.

    I also accept the point about advances in scholarship, but how many of these are developments accepted by the generality of all reputable scholars rather than issues that different scholars have genuine differences of opinion on, so that different translations represent the opinions of one group of scholars over another rather than the consensus of all except the mavericks?

  5. Glenn says:

    Can someone please explain to me why there is this seeming obsession with adding non canonical books to the Bible?

    If someone wants to study them then why not just go out and buy them separately. They are not divinely inspired and therefore, surely, they do not deserve to be included in the Bible.

    I am not trying to start a riot or start a debate on the supposed pros or cons, but it is just that I have never heard any justification for their inclusion.

  6. ryan says:

    i am totally on board with getting over the translation war. in my experience, the problem is almost never which translation someone is reading (unless we are talking JW’s), it is almost always that they are not reading it all, or reading it poorly. one of my favorite seminary profs said, “I don’t care which version you read. read the KJV, read the niv, read the old living bible. For most people the operative terms in that last sentence are the “kjv…niv…living bible” parts. The operative word here is READ, READ, READ, READ!” I know this is a site about better Bibles, but it seems to me that a large part of the problem is that we make people think that if they get the XYZ version, then they will understand the Bible and be able to live it out. We would do well to help people use the Bibles they have better, rather than duping them into thinking that the out-of-date ABC version is their problem, they need to get the XYZ.

  7. Greg says:

    Great blog thank you for having it. I really appreciate what you have posted so far and look forward to reading more from you soon. We need more sites like this on the internet. Good, Christian sites proclaiming the word of the Lord. I have a Bible blog @ http://www.gottb.com that I hope you will check out and let me know what you think. God’s Peace!

  8. Dru says:

    There are at least two good reasons for including the deuterocanonicals in a translation.

    The first is that the different denominations have different attitudes to them. It does those that do not rate them no harm to have access to them, and the difference in price between a bible with or without the extra books is not usually very great. But if you leave them out, you are saying ‘we only publish our bible for the Xs. If you’re a Y, we aren’t really interested in whether you read it or not’.

    The second is that irrespective of the status ones denomination gives them, some of the material in them is both edifying and a good read – better than a lot of other spiritual reading that some people regard as almost sacred. I’d particularly commend Ecclesiasticus (Sirach), Wisdom, the Song of the Three Children and 1 Maccabees.

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