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The Word of God in English

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Since the Bible is God’s holy Word, translators have a heavy responsibility to provide accurate and reliable translations. Leland Ryken asserts that Bible translation should be essentially literal—any translation violating how language is dealt with in everyday life as well as in scholarly pursuits cannot be based on the right theory. Ryken describes the translation principles that make for reliable English Bible translation, looks at common translation fallacies, and offers principles for good translation. He probes the theological, ethical, and hermeneutical issues involved and surveys difficulties with modern translations.

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Top Highlights

“The process of translation has been used as the occasion to do all sorts of things with the Bible that we would never tolerate with literary documents as they exist in their original or native language.” (Page 30)

“But there is a crucial difference between linguistic interpretation (decisions regarding what English words best express Hebrew or Greek words) and thematic interpretation of the meaning of a text.” (Page 85)

“A translation is inadequate if an expositor needs continually to correct it.” (Page 219)

“The author’s own words are reproduced, figurative language is retained instead of explained, and stylistic features and quirks of the author are allowed to stand as the author expressed them.” (Page 10)

“The person who almost single-handedly changed the course of English Bible translation was Eugene Nida, who championed his theory of ‘dynamic equivalence.’” (Pages 12–13)

Product Details

  • Title: Word of God in English
  • Author: Leland Ryken
  • Publisher: Crossway Books
  • Publication Date: 2002
  • Pages: 336

Leland Ryken (PhD, University of Oregon) served as professor of English at Wheaton College for more than 43 years. He has authored or edited more than three dozen books, including The Word of God in English, The Complete Literary Guide to the Bible, The ESV Literary Study Bible, and A Complete Handbook of Literary Forms in the Bible. He is a frequent speaker at the Evangelical Theological Society and served as literary stylist for the English Standard Version.


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  1. Logosed



    The Word of God in English is a book that everyone who has an interest in the Bible should read. Ryken devastates an entire modern tradition of Bible translations that follow the principle of `dynamic equivalence' which insists that the primary purpose of translation is to render the thoughts as opposed to the words of Scripture in ways that modern people can understand. The thrust of Ryken's argument is that such a method cannot produce an accurate version of the Bible and ends up distorting the message of the Scripture in a way that renders it something other than God's word. The point is made on page 91: "What good is readability if a translation does not accurately render what the Bible actually says." Ryken prefers literal translations: the KJV, the RSV, the NASB and the ESV for which he served a literary editor. This is an important work, not merely sales pitch for the ESV, which is treated fairly within the context of other translations.
  2. Bill Shewmaker


Digital list price: $10.99
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