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Thursday, June 21, 2012

My Super Deep and Ridiculously Theological Thoughts on Bible Translation

Recently, I made a profound discovery. Some might even call it a revelation. I discovered why we have different translations of the Bible.

I know, I know. Deep.

Allow me to let you in on this secret, friend...


Yep. That's right - bowels.
It's just a word that doesn't quite translate. The King James Version apparently uses the word frequently, which I never noticed until today when I was looking up a word in my handy dandy concordance.

I bought this mega concordance (it's got the words expanded and exhaustive in the title --> its legit.) a few months ago and was sorely disappointed when I realized it was for an accompaniment to the KJV. But, after hearing that Strong's concordance was the best, I decided to stick with it. So, whenever I look up a word or phrase, I have to reference the KJV before I look up the word in my concordance just to be sure its the same word. Then once I look up the word it gives me the Hebrew or Greek word along with a definition and an explanation. It's a process, but its worth it.

It's super great! That is until you stumble across a word like bowels when you're eating breakfast.

In the KJV, Philippians 1:8 states:
For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.

In the English Standard Version, it says:
For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.

How in the world is the word "bowels" synonymous with "affection"?!

The Greek word used in this verse can mean "an intestine, pity or sympathy, bowels, inward affection, or tender mercy. Apparently inward affection is so deep that it originates in the bowels? Perhaps?

This term just doesn't translate. Having Miles tell me he loves me from the depths of his bowels doesn't quite have the same ring to it as telling me he loves me with inward affection.

My friend Laura said in Hindi there is an expression that translates to "I love you with all my stomach."

Here's to loving each other with deep affection and to 21st century, reliable Bible translations!

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