April 13, 2006

Thoughts on The Message My small but intrepid band of online writer friends and Scripture partners recently started reading the New Testament in The Message. This lively translation, filled with contemporary clichés, idioms, and examples, is quite a change from what most of us are used to. I'm reading it in The Essential Evangelical Parallel Bible, which contains the New King James Version, English Standard Version, New Living Translation, and The Message. This puts the differences right there in front of me, side by side for ready comparison. This morning the differences prompted me to turn to the introductory section to read more about each type of biblical translation used in this volume: formal equivalence (literal translation)--retains the formal structure of the source language and the original meanings and usage of the words. This method was used for the NKJV and ESV. functional equivalence (dynamic equivalence)--seeks to produce the closest natural equivalent in the language of today's reader or hearer, expressing the meaning of the words in context, as in the NLT . vivid relevance or response-oriented--a "transculturation," less about the exact original meaning and more about making the text relevant for today, in order to evoke an equivalent response in today's reader/hearer. Eugene Patterson, translator of The Message, used this method, asking himself, "If Jesus were teaching today, what would he sound like?" The article goes on to say, "The first task of Bible study is therefore always exegesis, seeking to understand the meaning of a text in its original context and to...


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