Good New Bible - vocabulary limitations

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Eoghan

Puritan Board Senior
I came across a website which gave the vocabulary of the GNB as limited to some 12,000 words. In my mind it is a paraphrase rather than a translation.

1. Can anyone tell me where I saw the reference to the twelve thousand ?

2. I think of a "literal translation" as enriching my vocabulary and educating me but paraphrases or dynamic equivalents as a dumbing down. Is this a clear distinction or is there a "spectrum"?
 

Stephen L Smith

Administrator
Staff member
I think of a "literal translation" as enriching my vocabulary and educating me but paraphrases or dynamic equivalents as a dumbing down. Is this a clear distinction or is there a "spectrum"?
There is some debate over this in the Reformed community but I would say in general a 'literal translation' will be more reliable. Bible teachers generally use 'literal' translations when preaching, as a literal translations are foundational for a sermon based on precise exegesis. In this regard I think the new Legacy Standard Bible will be a valuable tool for careful Biblical exegesis.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
The "Good News" Bible is a paraphrase. It can be beneficial for folks for whom English is a second language and who are not fluent. It can also be helpful for folks with learning disabilities.

I had remembered it had another name, but I had to look that up. TEV - Today's English Version.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
The biggest problem with the TEV/GNB (now called the GNT) is that it was translated by a liberal who denied the inerrancy of Scripture.


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genevabound

Puritan Board Freshman
Inserting my own biases, I actually find it difficult to read. The language and vocabulary used is too limiting, so much so it compromises both the theology and readability. For paraphrases, I think The Message is a better rendering for people with a more limited reading ability.
 

hLuke

Puritan Board Freshman
For paraphrases, I think The Message is a better rendering for people with a more limited reading ability.
The Message is not a better paraphrase in my opinion.

See for start this comparison of Ephesians 2.2

Literal
in which you once walked, according to the way of this world, according to the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit who is now at work in the children of disobedience.

The Message
It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience.
 

hLuke

Puritan Board Freshman
Whereas the Good News translation maintains some meaning in Eph 2.2.

At that time you followed the world's evil way; you obeyed the ruler of the spiritual powers in space, the spirit who now controls the people who disobey God.
 

genevabound

Puritan Board Freshman
Fair enough, I suppose that both are really just not great. Compromises are being made for the desired results in regards to vocabulary and readability, and both seem to miss the mark.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
If someone can't read something like the NLT, (or maybe even the NIV or CSB) then they need to work on their reading ability and comprehension. Other alternatives aren't going to be a whole lot easier than that, and as noted, they usually have significant problems.

The Message wasn't designed to be "easy" necessarily. My understanding is that Eugene Peterson was looking to do something fresh that was a pretty dramatic departure from more traditional translations like the RSV, which is what his congregation was probably using when he first started. I think the idea is to grab the attention of readers who had read passages in more familiar translations without them sinking in. But "easy" wasn't necessarily the goal, as can be seen in the quote above.
 
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