Saturday, December 10, 2011

Translating the Bible - CEB

I am of Dutch descent. A favorite word of my mother's was “gezellig.” When referring to a gathering of people, it could mean warm, cozy, or friendly. After a meal, it could mean very satisfying food. When she would say, “Oh, that was so gezellig,” we would know exactly what she meant. But how could we translate that into English? Was it warm? No, she wasn't talking about the temperature of the room. Was it cozy? Well, no. We weren't even sitting close to each other. What is great food? Maybe not. Maybe it was the conversation over the meal. But then again, maybe it was the food, the conversation, the closeness...all of that.

Trying to capture the true meaning of words is what Bible translators do all the time. It is a hard task, as I hope you recognize with my example from my mom. That is another reason why a “word-for-word” translation of the Bible is not practical.
So how do Bible translators do it? Frequently they work in teams, reviewing each one's work, talking over the possibilities, them coming to a conclusion.
Because it is so difficult to have one English word represent one Hebrew or Greek word, it is a good idea to consult a variety of translations and compare them. The Common English Bible invites you do to that at their website.
Because we live in a world tainted by sin, I don't think we'll ever have the “perfect” translation. Be a diligent Bible reader and compare translations. You might want to add the CEB to your library as another translation to consider.

I am taking part in a blog tour of the Common English Bible. I'll be blogging more about this Bible as the days go by.
You can see the blogs of others taking part of this tour here:

I received a complimentary copy of the CEB from its publisher for the purpose of this blog tour.

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