Evaluating other types of Bibles (Paraphrases, etc.)



[par-uh-freyz] noun, verb, -phrased, -phras·ing.

1. a restatement of a text or passage giving the meaning in another form, as for clearness; rewording.

2. the act or process of restating or rewording.

Paraphrases make ups a unique type of Bible.  These are a true thought for thought translation.  The translator attempts to paraphrase the author’s thought in his own language.


Key #1: Concept of Translation

Why was The Message written? The best answer to that question comes from Eugene Peterson himself: “”While I was teaching a class on Galatians, I began to realize that the adults in my class weren’t feeling the vitality and directness that I sensed as I read and studied the New Testament in its original Greek. Writing straight from the original text, I began to attempt to bring into English the rhythms and idioms of the original language. I knew that the early readers of the New Testament were captured and engaged by these writings and I wanted my congregation to be impacted in the same way. I hoped to bring the New Testament to life for two different types of people: those who hadn’t read the Bible because it seemed too distant and irrelevant and those who had read the Bible so much that it had become ‘old hat.'””

Plain English:  The Message serves as one such illustration of this type of translation.  Eugene Peterson worked a new translation (meaning he worked from the original languages).  This new translation would play out as his paraphrase of the Greek or Hebrew passages.  He used the “rhythms and idioms of modern English” to capture the thoughts of the authors.

Key#2: Readability

Eugene Peterson translated the Message on a 4th grade reading level.  Other Examples of paraphrases: The Living Bible – JB Phillips Translation.

Key#3: Understandability

Due to the low grade level of the translation, understandability is really high.  You don’t have to work really

Key#4: Reliabilty

The reliability all depends on the translator.  Our homework has to be done.  If we don’t do it we can walk into a paraphrase that strays too far from the core truth of scripture.

Key #5: Relateability

These types of translation have a really high relateability factor.  I have heard reading the Message referred to as reading the newspaper.  The message has no verse markings.  So when you read Paul’s letters, they read like letters instead of chapters and verses.

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