The Bible has been translated many times by both committees and individuals. In the late 1950’s an Anglican with a classical education and the shepherd of a local parish decided to translate the Bible into contemporary English. His translation, something like a paraphrase, became very popular. The man, J. B. Phillips, later recorded his experience as a translator in his book Ring of Truth:
“I must, in common justice, confess here that, for years, I had viewed the Greek of the New Testament with a rather snobbish disdain! I had read the best of classical Greek both at school and Cambridge for over ten years. To come down to the Koine of the first century AD seemed, as I have sometimes remarked rather uncharitably, like reading Shakespeare for some years then turning to the vicar’s letter in the Parish Magazine! But I think now that I was wrong. I can see that the expression of the Word of God in ordinary workaday language is all of a piece with God’s incredible humility in becoming Man in Jesus Christ. The language is not as pedestrian as I had at first supposed. Although I did my utmost to preserve an emotional detachment, I found again and again that the material under my hands was strangely alive. It spoke to my condition in the most uncanny way. I say ‘uncanny’ for want of a better word, but it was a very strange experience to sense, not occasionally but almost continually the living quality of those rather strangely assorted books. To me it is the more remarkable because, as I have said, I had no fundamental upbringing. Although as a priest of the Anglican Church, I had a great respect for the Holy Scripture, this very close contact of several years of translation produced an effect of ‘inspiration’ which I have never experienced, even in the remotest degree, in any other work.”
Lanny Tanton is the Pastor at The Bible Church of the Lakes in Horseshoe Bay, Texas – just outside of Marble Falls. Pastor Tanton welcomes you to our website and hopes that you’ll enjoy reading these insightful blog posts. Please contact us if you have further questions!!