In defense of Bible translation tradition

Posted: 27th December 2007 by ElShaddai Edwards in Uncategorized

Jim Swindle has written a defense of traditional, formal equivalence Bible translations:

For some Bible scholars, the more traditional translations are good mostly for complaining about. They can’t stand such translations as the English Standard Version, the New American Standard Bible, or the New King James Version. These Bibles use “formal equivalence” instead of the “dynamic equivalence” found in many of the more modern translations. Formal equivalence means that the translators usually translated word-for-word. Dynamic equivalence means they usually translated thought-for-thought. Both kinds of translations are useful. Here are some of the advantages of a more traditional translation.


I’m not saying that dynamic equivalence has no place in Bible translation. It does. Yet there’s also a great place for the traditional. Thank God that we don’t have to throw out either one.

Be sure to read his post to see the advantages of tradition!

  1. tcgreek says:

    Are they real scholars who fight translations outside of their revered Bibles? I would not consider them genuine scholars.

  2. That word, “scholars”, always seems to have an odd relationship with Christianity, especially among evangelicals who seem to view anything academic as liberal and a denial of true faith. I suspect that Jim might have meant “evangelical conservative leaders” when he wrote “scholars”… those certainly would be the usual suspects in upholding tradition at the expense of broader inclusiveness or cultural knowledge.