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There are Bibles and Bibles

Media Release

There are Bibles and Bibles

''There’s a world of difference between accurately translating the Bible and rewording it to fit in with someone’s ideas of what it should say,'' said Bible Society chief executive Colin Reed.

He was commenting on the recent publication Good as New, in England that, he said, liberally paraphrased Scripture in its attempt to be both populist and politically correct.

“Any translation that has integrity must convey the meaning of what was originally written into the language, so that the reader can understand it. The translator is not free to add his or her own ‘spin’, but should seek to provide the equivalent of the original. This applies whether one is translating from an ancient work, such as Homer, Josephus or Xenophon, or a contemporary speech from China, Russia or Argentina.

“Those who seek to translate the Bible are under an additional constraint. They are dealing with a book widely respected as the Word of God. The beliefs, life-style and destiny of people depend on a faithful rendering of what the original text says,” said Mr Reed.

“It is remarkable that, in spite of the flurry of paraphrases of Scripture recently made available, the more accurate, no-frills Bible translations remain the best-sellers year after year.

“These translations pull no punches in explaining how the Christian must live. There’s no softening the edges. The standards remain as they ever were – take them or leave them,” he said.

Clearly, many New Zealanders are taking them.

“In New Zealand we have distributed over 60,000 every year for the last few years and we do not have the monopoly on Bible distribution by any means. The true figure is more likely to be around 80,000 Bibles distributed a year. The true figure is more likely to be around 80,000 Bibles distributed a year. And you can add to this scores of thousands of New Testaments which is fairly conclusive proof that the Bible still has a significant place in the lives of New Zealanders,” Mr Reed added.

Many of those New Zealanders will celebrate the Christian Scriptures this Sunday, July 18, when National Bible Sunday is recognised by many church congregations throughout the country.


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