Bible Study

What Translation of the Bible Should You Use?

by Steve Ray on May 25, 2016

No translation is perfect. Translating ancient and foreign languages into English is not as easy as it would seem. There are ambiguities and linguistic hurtles. 

Picture a sliding scale from left to right. Every translation fits somewhere along that scale. At one end of the scale literal  translations and on the other extreme are dynamic translations. 

Literal translations relay the actual words used in the original language without being overly concerned with ease of reading or conveying the authors’ meaning. Emphasis: what did the original author say word-for-word verbatim. 

Dynamic translations try to relay the authors’ meaning without being overly literal—they express what the author means, not what he said. Emphasis: what does the author mean without concern for using their actual words.

Here is a good example. A man speaking English says, “I shot myself in the foot.” What did he mean? For those sho understand English “figures of speech” will know he was saying he made fool of himself or did something stupid. For a non-English speaker, they will look down at your foot and ask, “Is your foot OK?”

If you are translated the English into Russian literally you will render it “I shot myself in the foot.” But if you do, the Russian gets the completely wrong message They think we are talking about a medical condition. 

But if you want the Russian to understand the meaning of the author’s text you will not use the literal words but translate it to something like, “I did something stupid and made a fool of myself.” 

With our example, the first is literal and the second is dynamic. The first emphasizes what the author says, the second what the author means. All translations fit somewhere in between.

So what Translations should we use? For Catholics I recommend reading the Revised Standard Bible – Catholic Edition (RSV) for the literal and the New American Bible (NAB) for the dynamic translation. it is best to read several translations side-by-side to get a much broader spectrum of the biblical passage. 

Want the best? Check out the Didache Bible published by Ignatius Press. I have purchased many of them to give to friends and priest. You can learn about it here.

Many suggested I include the Douay-Rheims translation. I don’t use this much myself because it a translation of a translation and using old manuscripts and language. It is like translating Russian into Spanish and then Spanish into English — a hundred years ago. I use it sometimes for its strong Catholic emphasis in certain passages.

Again, as I said, it is best to read many translations side-by-side and for a strong Catholic emphasis, the Douay-Rheims is a good version to have in your stack. Another might be the English translation of the Greek Septuagint which was the Bible of the early Church.

The chart shows many translations, most of which are Protestant translations – but gives you the idea. The RSV is on the left end of the chart whereas the NAB is under the “thought-for-thought category. A  paraphrase is not really a translation but the far extreme of the dynamic where the translator puts things in his own words often with biases and personal opinions.

If you want the best-of-the-best check out the Verbum Catholic Bible Software that allows you to compare many translations side-by-side and to instantly access the original languages with English explanations. Nothing else like it.

Visit www.Verbum.com/steveray. Use Promo Code STEVERAY10  and get 10% off.

 

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Top Ten Catholic Searches on Verbum

by Steve Ray on May 6, 2016

Verbum Software is the premier program for Catholic and Bible study. It is powerful beyond belief.

Here are their Top Ten searches over the last year.  I have personally used the search well over a thousand times in the last year. This program is open on my computer, front and center, 24 hours a day :-)

For more info and to see demos of this program, click HERE.

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I thought of a helpful illustration to explain why “cradle Catholics” are often unable to explain and defend the Catholic faith. The example has its weaknesses, but it does help get the point across.

As an American I asked myself this question: if some one trained to attack America intellectually approached me on the street and challenged my country, would I be ready and able to defend the USA? Would I know all the historical details, dates, and facts? Do I know the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the Supreme Court rulings or even the ancient documents that preceded the birth of our nation—the documents and events that formed the foundation for our government?

The answer is simple: “No, I would not be prepared.”

But I am an American. I love my country. I was born here and believe in the principles and love the freedom that are American. I know my country has many problems and I do not love everything that is American. But I would be unprepared to explain and defend the details and documents of my nation even though I love the USA and would readily stay an American citizen rather than join another country.

This is much the same as a “cradle Catholic” like those in the Philippines. They are often ashamed that they cannot defend the faith, but they are like me as an American. I was born American and never been in a situation where I had to defend my country in a rigorous intellectual debate. Filipinos have been Catholics for 400 years. They love their faith, the Lord Jesus, Mama Mary and the Catholic Church. But for 400 years they have been a Catholic nation and never needed to “defend” it. They only needed to love it and obey it.

But now the wolves are approaching their islands and making great inroads devouring the flock. The attack comes not only from cults and sects, but also from modernism and Americanism. They are pursued from every side. They are pushed to leave the Church, to join the cults and sects or to pursue pleasure, money, and sin.

Just like I would I need to take the time and energy to study my country and its history, so they are now required to learn their faith in a new and energetic way to defend the faith and their children. The time for comfort is over. The time to study and learn is here. No longer can the Filipinos—or anyone who has been born and raised Catholic—sit back and take the faith for granted. It is time for war! It is time for defense! It is time to get to work!

I do not criticize “cradle Catholics” for not knowing their faith. I understand the situation. But now we must begin rigorous study and learning—our children and our faith are at stake. We have no time to to waste. We are called to re-evangelize and defend Mother Church! God bless us all as we serve Our Lord.

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How We REALLY Got the Bible – the Facts Simply Presented (print this out, hand it out)

March 31, 2016

This is just one page of Bob Sullivan’s excellent little tri-fold handout to explain how we got the Bible. It is from the Catholic and historical perspective without all the Protestant biases and twisting of history. I think you enjoy the whole thing which you can see here. You can print this out, fold it [...]

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The Cross & the Crucifix: Letter to a Fundamentalist

March 14, 2016

The Cross & the Crucifix (From a letter Steve wrote to a Evangelical Protestant who asked about the Catholic Crucifix) Dear Evangelical Friend: You display a bare cross in your home; we display the cross and the crucifix. What is the difference and why? The cross is an upright post with a crossbeam in the [...]

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Can Peter Walk on Water? Can Sinful Men be Infallible?

January 9, 2016

Is it possible for a sinful, fallible man to give an infallible interpretation of Scripture or an infallible definition of doctrine? If he is fallible and sinful, doesn’t that preclude his ability to be infallible when it comes to things of God? No. In fact while many Protestants would say the Pope cannot be infallible [...]

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Ready to Start Studying the Bible in 2016? It’s Time to Prepare Now!

November 27, 2015

Since I was 17 years old, studying the Bible has been my passion. Now as a Catholic it has increased 100%. Back in my youth, I could never have anticipated the wealth of materials for study that I now have at my fingertips. I recommend two great Catholic resources: FIRST, Catholic Scripture Study International. I [...]

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The Bible out of Context: “Saved by Faith Alone”?

November 19, 2015

When reading the Bible devoid of its historical and textual context, there is no context except the context which any person might supply for it. or put otherwise, A text without a context is a pretext. I always get frustrated when self-proclaimed Bible students or teachers start pontificating about the meaning of the Bible and [...]

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Should Catholics Attend Non-denominational or Ecumenical Bible Studies?

November 8, 2015

Every day, Catholics are invited by coworkers, neighbors, and even family members to “ecumenical” Bible studies. Should they go? Certainly all of us would benefit from more study of Scripture, but as someone who has been a part of a number of Protestant Bible studies—I’ve even taught them—I discourage Catholics from attending them because of [...]

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Catholic Bible Study: Difference between Catholics and Protestants

September 9, 2015

Protestant “Bible Christians” (a misnomer, since Catholics are the real and original Bible Christians), based on their recently devised “Reformation” principle of sola Scriptura, study the Bible with the following premises: 1. There is no binding authority but the Bible alone; 2. There is no official binding interpretation or interpreter; each person ultimately is their [...]

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Test Drive It! A Catholic Library Synced on my Laptop, iPad and iPhone

August 11, 2015

I’ve waited 20 years for this. I have the fantastic Verbum Catholic and Bible Software. They are doing it right! It is thoroughly Catholic — to my great joy. It continues to grow in resources and power. It is on my computer 24 hours a day! But now the icing is on the cake! They [...]

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Differences Between Catholic and Protestant Approaches to the Bible

July 23, 2015

“Bible Christians” (a misnomer, since Catholics are the real and original Bible Christians), based on their recently devised “Reformation” principle of sola Scriptura, study the Bible with the following premises: 1. There is no binding authority but the Bible alone; 2. There is no official binding interpretation or interpreter; each person ultimately is their own [...]

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Steve and Liz in Roman Forum Discussing Ancient Rome and the First Christians – and Biblical Literacy

May 31, 2015

I have provided two short 6 minute video clips of me (Steve Ray) and Liz Lev as we talked to my group in the Ancient Rome Forum today.  First, Liz spoke about the clash of empires: the Roman Empire and the Kingdom of God. The key line is this: Rome had just claimed that the [...]

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Reading the Bible

May 28, 2015

A Little Poem about Bible Context I supposed I knew my Bible, Reading piecemeal, hit or miss, Now a bit of John or Matthew, Now a snatch of Genesis, Certain chapters of Isaiah, Certain Psalms (the twenty-third), Twelfth of Romans, first of Proverbs — Yes, I thought I knew the Word! But I found that [...]

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Cartoon on Protestantism and the Bible

May 21, 2015

When I look back on my experience I find this cartoon has a ring of truth. There were many verses of the Bible that I either didn’t realize existed (though that may seem strange) or that we just ignored. We virtually cut them out of the Bible in the sense that we ignored or reasoned [...]

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“Ecumenical” Bible Studies

April 14, 2015

Without a teaching authority or the tradition of the historic Church, this cartoon shows what many Bible studies are really like. I remember Bible Studies that started out with “What does this passage mean to you?”  To keep from arguing or fighting, many just avoid difficult passages. There are many studies that exclude Catholic ideas [...]

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