Question:

Hi,

I was wondering, should we be so confident to trust the translation of the Bible, seeing that language changes and the Greek spoken back then is most likely not the current Greek. Also with English and any other language, Language changes through time, words and meanings sometime change and get obscured. How can we be sure that the language was interpreted correctly to our language?


Answer:

The source languages of the Bible are Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. While these languages still exist today, the translations of the Bible are not based on the modern versions of the language. The biblical languages have been studied for centuries and there are hundreds of dictionaries for the languages at that time period. I have multi-volume dictionaries that not only cite the biblical usage of the words but also research other writings of the same time period to document the meaning of words during that time period.

There are a few words, especially in the Hebrew language, that scholars are not fully certain of the definition, but these are mostly words dealing with plants and animals. Exactly which animal is being referred is not always certain.

The knowledge of the meaning of words in a certain time period is no different that our knowledge of English during the days of Shakespeare. English has changed a good bit since the 1600's, but it doesn't mean we don't know what Shakespeare meant when he wrote his plays.

Yes, modern English shifts. That is why there are newer translations around. We know what words mean today in our language. We know what words meant during the days the Bible was written. It then becomes a matter of finding the best modern word or phrase that captures the ancient words or phrases.

See It's Greek to Me and Greek, How Should a Knowledge of It be Viewed? for more details.

Thank you.