From the Bible Background section

Notice: This site is no longer being updated. It will continue to be available as an archive, at least until the end of March 2019. If you rely on it for review links, please adjust them before then.

The project has disseminated reviews and other information about Christian books since the start of the Millennium. We regret that it is no longer possible to sustain it.

One Bible, Many Versions

Are all translations created equal?

by Dave Brunn


Price: £11.99
Publisher:IVP(Inter Varsity Press)
Published:April 2013
With about eighty new versions of the Bible in English published in the twentieth century alone, we may be wondering, are some of those versions more accurate than others? Dave Brunn, who embraces the Bible's "verbal, plenary, wholly infallible and inerrant inspiration", and who spent twenty years with a translation team in Papua-New Guinea, looks in considerable detail at the work of Bible translation. The book is strewn with tables and charts, some of them several pages long. I can see why he should want to include these, but confess I found them distracting. He focuses primarily on literalness in translation (i.e. generally "word for word", rather than "thought for thought" versions), drawing most of his examples from "literal" versions, such as the ASB, KJV, NKJV, ESV. (I felt the book would have greater immediacy for English readers if the NIV and NRSV accounted for more than just the occasional footnote). Dave is "shocked" to find that literal versions often depart from their own rules by not always translating the original text literally, e.g. when translating idiomatic sayings. "Literalness does not necessarily result in increased accuracy", he concludes. This is a controversial area and Dave asserts that he does not wish to "add fuel" to the debate among Christians, emphasising the importance of unity rather than division, and stressing the "interdependence" between versions, each one of which has "the potential of strengthening and enhancing the other". He has never found a version he agrees with 100% nor one that he disagrees with 100%. Despite the reservations I mention above, I saw much in this book to reward the serious Bible student, and I welcome Dave's commitment to unity.

Reviewer: Barry Vendy   (02/10/13)
The Third Target - Joel Rosenberg
Ritchie Christian Media
Candle Books
Aslan Christian Books
Together Magazine
Scripture Union
Church House Bookshop
Gospel for Asia UK
CLC Christian Bookshops