>A good example of why I like to stick to literal and personal translations of the Bible

10:51 PM

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New World TranslationImage via Wikipedia
I want to note some interesting differences that I noticed in the New World Translation compared to other Bibles. In case you're wondering, the translation I'm comparing the New World Translation with is a literal translation, which means that it is word for word translated from the text with no attempts made at modernizing or indoctrinating the language so that there are fewer chances of bias creeping in to the translation process. When I get the chance I will be doing some personal translation of these scriptures to see for myself what they literally translate in to.


that we may no more be babes, tossed and borne about by every wind of the teaching, in the sleight of men, in craftiness, unto the artifice of leading astray,
Eph. 4:14 (Young's Literal Translation)


in order that we should no longer be babes, tossed about as by waves and carried hither and thither by every wind of teaching by means of the trickery of men, by means of cunning in contriving error.
Eph. 4:14 (New World Translation)


First of all, the New World Translation replaces the word "the teaching" (in most Bibles this is replaced with "doctrine") with "teaching". Usually when the Bible uses "the" anything it's specifically talking about about something in reference to God, the Bible, or Jesus Christ (the Lord, the Word, etc.). There's nothing in the book of Ephesians that I can find that indicates this is not the case in this situation. Strangely, though, the New World Translation changes this to "teaching", which takes the focus off "the teaching" of  the Bible to the more wide focus of any teaching. The phrase - "every wind of teaching by means of  the trickery of men" - gives one the impression that this scripture is saying that most teachings of men is trickery. Meanwhile the phrase used by the Young's Literal Translation - "every wind of the teaching, in the sleight of men" implies that there are different "winds" i.e. doctrines of "the teaching" i.e. Bible that are mostly trickery by men. I am very interested in what more in depth study via personal translation will reveal mostly because of the vast difference between "teaching" and "the teaching" along with the differences in punctuation that help alter the meaning between both translations. Finally, the New World Translation's version is more confusing and cryptic to me than the Young's Literal Translation version even though the New World Translation is supposed to be written in easier to understand language than the Young Literal Translation is. 


Is it a mere coincidence? I decided to try cross referencing that scripture with another one that talks about how one must guard against being led astray by other teachings:


and I fear, lest, as the serpent did beguile Eve in his subtilty, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in the Christ;
2 Cor. 11:3 (Young's Literal Translation)


But I am afraid that somehow, as the serpent seduced Eve by its cunning, YOUR minds might be corrupted away from the sincerity and the chastity that are due the Christ.
2 Cor. 11:3 (New World Translation)


Now why on earth would they replace the word simplicity with sincerity and chastity or vice versa? I seriously doubt there can be THAT big of a difference in how one reads the original Greek text.


simplicity - Freedom from subtlety or abstruseness; clearness; as, the simplicity of a doctrine; the simplicity of an explanation or a demonstration. (Webster)
sincerity - The quality or state of being sincere; honesty of mind or intention; freedom from simulation, hypocrisy, disguise, or false pretense; sincereness. (Webster)
chastity - Moral purity. (Webster)


It's kind of like the strange replacement of the word "grace" with "undeserved kindness". Most people probably don't notice these kind of small changes but they make a world of difference in how the text can be literally interpreted. Yes grace is undeserved, but it's not simply kindness. It's not like God is saying, "Well you don't deserve it but I guess I will be nice to you..." You can be kind to someone without loving them and you can change your mind about being kind to someone, but grace is different. It's love, the purest kind of love, the kind of love that forgives all without even beginning to pass judgement because real love is not something you can earn or take back - real love is a very unique and personal gift that cannot even begin to be countered by reasoning that someone does or does not deserve the feeling. The feeling (love) that is a part of grace is what makes the major difference... grace is in reference to an act that is born from feeling love and kindness is just in reference to an act alone. If the New World Translation loves the word kindness so much, why not use the phrase "loving kindness" instead of "undeserved kindness"? "Undeserved kindness" kind of sounds like God is pardoning people while grumbling about the need for Him to do it in the first place. Does a parent normally resent their child when the need to fix their child's mistakes arises? I have to clean up after my two year old after every meal, but I don't resent him for it much less even begin to think in terms of it being "undeserved" because I realize that he is simply not capable of cleaning up after himself, he would if he could, and most importantly I love him so much I don't care if he "deserves" it or not - I just want to see him happy and in good health. Should not God be an even more loving and understanding parent to us than even this? He knows that we are sinful in nature and thus incapable of earning our own salvation... He loves us as our heavenly Father... why would He emphasize that giving us salvation is an undeserved act of kindness?

I got a little carried away on the subject of grace vs. undeserved kindness, but that has been one of the major things that puzzles me about the New World Translation. Why deny people the peace of mind that comes with knowing their salvation comes through grace?

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