When Different Bible Translations Create Discussion

My family has been following The One Year ® Bible, where we read the whole Bible in one year. While the reading plan uses the New Living Translation (NLT), I use the New King James Version (NKJV), and Mom the sometimes-poetic King James Version (KJV). (The differences between these translations are beyond the scope of this post, but could be likened to strict and loose interpretation of the United States of America’s Constitution.) Also, everyone but mom uses The Bible App by YouVersion to read (Mom uses a book). Sometimes, the differences in these translations creates some very interesting discourse during our reading.

Case in point: Galatians 6:11, which the NKJV translates as

See with what large letters I have written to you with my own hand!

The NLT translates this verse somewhat differently.

NOTICE WHAT LARGE LETTERS I USE AS I WRITE THESE CLOSING WORDS IN MY OWN HANDWRITING.

If you look at the surrounding verses, you’ll find that they all follow mixed-case convention. Now why would the NLT display that verse only in ALL CAPS?

Well, for one thing Paul himself says in that verse to look at the large letters he has written. If the Greek manuscripts had that line in all caps, shouldn’t at least the NKJV display it the same way, assuming said manuscripts were not yet found in the time of the King James translators?

Actually, this issue has more to do with modern interpretations than the Greek manuscripts. The translators of the NKJV and the NLT clearly think this particular verse should be displayed differently. While they both get Paul’s point across, that he has written some long, powerful, and sacred stuff in this letter to the church in Galatia, the NLT somewhat implies a dual meaning: that Paul is also wanting you to look at the LARGE ALL CAPITAL LETTERS IN THE GREEK ALPHABET but also the LARGE papyrus scroll he has written the letter (or epistle, as it is now called) on. The wording of the NLT (stemming from the different ways the Bible is translated, which, as I said, will not be talked about here) also seems to suggest Paul IS USING TO BOAST ABOUT HIMSELF, as he was as a learned man. This is almost contradictory to Paul’s other writings where he talks about only boasting in God and not himself!

And that has been your dose of random Bible trivia for the day. Please don’t think too deeply into it, this is a light-hearted post. No matter which case the verses are printed in or what the translations seem to think a verse is trying to say, the truth of God’s Word remains unchanged, which some people call “God’s Love Story Toward Us”, but what I like to call:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. – John 3:16 (KJV)

Because that is truly what it is all about. 🙂

-le717

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