Five Ways Your Bible Translation Distorts the Original
Thread poster: Richard Bartholomew

Richard Bartholomew  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:22
Member (2007)
German to English
Oct 14, 2011

If you're interested in biblical translation, check out: .

Also see


Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:22
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
One Bible is not enough Oct 14, 2011

I strongly encourage everyone to have several Bibles with different translations. As a translator, I know how a small detail can change the meaning of a whole book, and if some part of the Bible is important for you, it is best to read it in several Bibles, even in several languages, and get a better judgement of what is meant.

On the other hand, I think that in very important parts of the Bible, the most important meaning is the meaning that is not there and we can only imagine. For instance, John 20:8, "Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.". What did the disciple see? Why did it make him believe (in resurrection, one may think)?

As believers, I think we have an obligation to research these matters, and one translation is not enough, since the scripture might be inspired by God, but that is not necessarily the case of the translators.


Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:22
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
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Not a very good introduction Oct 17, 2011

Richard Bartholomew wrote:
If you're interested in biblical translation, check out: .

The guy the video speaks for 20 minutes but he tries too hard to be funny and he thinks that his audience is stupid (perhaps they are). He also repeats the myth that "thee" and "thou" were commonplace words familiar at the time when the King James bible were written.

The guy seems to say that all Western European bible translations are translations of the King James version of the bible. I'm not sure where he gets that from. He also believes that modern English translations contain errors because of language change from the time of the King James bible (if I understand his argument correctly), i.e. modern English translations aren't translations from the original but simply quick updates of the King James bible.

Tis a pity the video is not yet transcribed (as many of the TED Talks are):

The guy (Doctor Joel) says that his video is based on his book "And God Said: How Translations Conceal the Bible's Original Meaning, by Dr. Joel M. Hoffman". The first chapter can be read online here: . The guy thinks that what he says there applies to all English bibles, but it really only applies to the King James bible (or English bibles that were produced before 1901 that tried to retain same wording as the King James version), and it really only shows why it is a BAD IDEA to read a a century-old version of the bible without some kind of thick dictionary.

His example of how Proverbs 28:21 is misinterpreted (because "respect" meant "partiality" 400 years ago) does not occur in *any* English translation of the bible that was translated in the last 100 years:

That said, I'm surprised at his claim that most English people will think that Moses was powerless because he was "meek", or that the curtain of the Tabernacle was a transparent thing because it is called a "veil", or that "I shall not want" in Psalm 23 refers to wanting and not needing. Surely English christians who insist on reading the King James version will have been taught these things... in the same way that people who study Shakespeare at school will be told what the modern meanings of the archaic sounding poetry is.

[Edited at 2011-10-17 08:39 GMT]


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