The Catholic Faith Video Series: Your Tough Questions Answered [Video #16]

Question: Why are there so many different types of Bible and which one is real or close to the copy of the real one? 
Please watch video below for answer:
If you prefer to read, below is Deacon Robin’s Answer:

This is a good question and I think many people may have this question because it’s very true that if you walk into any Christian bookstore and look at bibles, there are so many different types.

There are two basic ways that the scriptures are interpreted from the original Greek and Hebrew. It’s either done using the formal method or the dynamic method. The formal method aims to give a very literal translation of the scripture. So it’s like you literally take the original text which is in Greek and Hebrew and then translate it to English.

Now this can be problematic because Hebrew and Greek don’t translate well into English so it can make it pretty hard to follow because the word ordering, and the style are completely different from English. But it is very accurate because even the original word order is preserved. And Bibles that have been formally translated are excellent for serious bible study because they preserve the literal translation.

Now the other type of translation is the dynamic method of translation and this method has been produced because the formal method of translation can be challenging to read and understand. In the dynamic method the Hebrew/Greek word order and the grammar are not preserved. This means that the translator can adapt the words to fit the English style of speaking and understanding by using more readable expressions. This is done while still preserving the meaning of the text.

Now with this method of translation, as you can probably see, liberties can be taken and at times they can be taken too far and the meaning of the text can be changed or adapted to suit the translator’s interpretation and this is where thing can become problematic and a balance has to be found between preserving the original meaning of the text and translating it in to understandable language.

The Church has provided guidance on this and so here in Canada we use the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) in our readings at Mass. In the States they use the New American Bible (NAB). Another version that is also a good version to use is the Revised Standard Version. These are all versions that preserve the original meaning of the scriptures while making it understandable.

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