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The Gospels: A Precise Translation Excerpts
Often during my years of preaching and teaching The Word of God, people of differing educational levels have inquired regarding the most accurate translation of the New Testament. This current rendition of the Gospel of Mark joins many previous efforts to fulfill this quest. Does the author achieve his goal? Upon reading and evaluating this portion of his greater project, the answer must be affirmative.
The full impact of precise and direct translation is present. At points the precision factor, while providing fresh, jolting, and thrilling insights, demands more intense attention to the total context at hand. This being done carefully, the student will gain insights outstripping his previous horizons.
This hankering for precision on the part of Dr. Fred Wittman was evident in his earliest study of Greek Grammar under my tutelage at Lancaster Bible College.
Earl G. Osborn, professor emeritus
Lancaster Bible College
For more than ten years in my daily devotions, I read The New Testament from the Greek Text, It became apparent that there is a need for a companion translation to complement the Authorized Version in order to identify the fuller meanings of action projected by the verbs from the voice, tense, and mood indicated in the Greek text. There is also a need to use the precise meanings consistently which indicate the nuances of Greek words which have been indicated by the same English word (such as thirty-nine different Greek words translated ‘come’ or ‘go,’ thirty-four translated ‘take,’ thirty-four translated ‘food’ or ‘eat,’ nine translated ‘cry,’ and eleven different Greek words translated ‘see’)
I have taken great care to avoid intrusion by projecting or imposing personally held doctrine into the text of The Bible, Thee God’s Holy Word. Every effort has been made to ascertain the exact thought of Scripture which the writer guided by The Divine Author, The Holy Spirit, had in mind; and to express that thought precisely in every day English with all the words necessary without injecting anything into the text.
Another vital principle observed is that the reliability of an English version depends upon the manuscripts from which it is translated. Careful consideration has been given to the use of the proper manuscript textform. The Greek Text used in this work is the text compiled from the 90 to 98 percent of the available extant manuscripts which are in agreement and known as the Byzantine Text, often called the Majority Text (not to be confused with the publication compiled by Zane C. Hodges and Arthur L. Farstad). I have deep appreciation for the research and work of Maurice A. Robinson and William G. Pierpont regarding the Byzantine / Majority textform. Upon a few of these majority manuscripts Erasmus based his compilation of the Textus Receptus, later called the Received Text. The Byzantine manuscripts, which have been accumulated since the work of Erasmus, have confirmed the validity of the greater majority of the Textus Receptus with minor exceptions certain principles in translation to which are so important require strict attention to the following:
(1) the precise meanings and nuances of the words used by the original writers;
(2) the full and precise expression of meaning presented by the voice, tense, and mood of the verbs upon which the other parts of speech hang and obtain their kind of action;
(3) the presence (indicating particularity, individual identity, or definitude) or absence (indicating character, quality, or nature) of the article;
(4) differentiate between the meanings given by the pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions, substantives (nouns, adjectives, participles, and infinitives) and adverbs;
(5) clauses (especially conditional clauses);
(6) the indications given by the cases in which the substantives, pronouns, adjectives, and articles are found;
(7) the position of the negative (whether it negates the verb or the substantive or pronoun), and the kind of negative (whether it is the emphatic positive or the qualified conditional negative and when used in questions, whether a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ answer is expected); and
(8) then carefully heed the grammar accurately.
The personal pronoun is vitally important to indicate who is speaking, who is acting, who is addressed and to whom reference is made. However much of God’s Truth is adulterated by failure to distinguish between second person singular and second person plural pronouns both on the part of the translators and of those who misapply God’s Truth. The distinction between the singular ‘you’ which is translated in the Authorized Version as thee, thou, thy, thine, and the plural ‘you’ which is translated as ye, you, your, and yours, is vitally important in order to understand to whom The Truth is to be applied. A distinction must be made whether The Truth is to be applied to every individual, or to the group of individuals or church that is addressed and includes only those individuals which are members of that group or church. If ‘you’ is to be used for both second person singular and second person plural pronouns, then some designation must be included to indicate whether singular or plural is in the original manuscripts and is intended by the writer, otherwise corporate church Truth is wrongly applied to individuals and vise versa. Much confusion and misapplication of Truth are prevalent today among well-meaning people by errantly applying to individual lives corporate exhortation and promises, which were given to a New Testament local church for the whole church. Thus personal Truth is overemphasized and corporate Truth is de-emphasized.
Bible believing Christians are committed to inerrant, infallible, plenary, verbal inspiration of The God’s Word, The Holy Bible. Inerrant inspiration means that there are no errors in the original manuscripts called autographs. Infallible means that The Bible is completely trustworthy and reliable. It is Truth (John 17:17). Plenary means that it is complete and entire with all parts inspired equally (2 Timothy 3:16; Matthew 5:17,18). Verbal refers to the very words that are used and places the emphasis on ‘‘dealing with words rather than the ideas conveyed’’ (Webster’s New International Dictionary of the English Language). Verbal inspiration lays emphasis upon words. The words of The Bible are pure words (Proverbs 30:5) chosen by God and employed by The Holy Spirit to make Truth known to men (Psalm 12:6; 1 Corinthians 2:13). The Holy Spirit has given careful attention to the accurate use and precise selection of the words so that any particular word conveys the exact Truth and meaning that The God intended.
Inspiration is the act of The God controlling by His Holy Spirit the initial (original) record of The God’s Word without error so that it was a perfect record. Inspiration refers to the product, The Scriptures themselves which were God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16), and not to the writers. Therefore inerrant, infallible, plenary, verbal inspiration is the work of The Holy Spirit so directing men both in the choice of subject matter and in the choice of words that their writings contain, written accurately, infallibly, and without error, exactly what The God desired and all that He desired them to contain in the original languages, so that the words of The Bible are the very Words of The God in the styles of the writers.
Additionally, it is the responsibility of the translator(s) to be faithful to the text, to ascertain what the text actually said in the original language at the time of the writing, and to convey this accurately so that the current readers understand what the readers in the times of the writing understood what The God said. With this in mind, since The Word of God is thus inspired and we are committed to inerrant, infallible, plenary, verbal inspiration, therefore every word, particle, and nuance in the Koiné has been carefully and precisely observed and considered in this translation. The smallest unit of the English language is a word; in Koiné Greek it is a particle. Written words and particles convey the particular thoughts of the writers. In The Bible they convey the very thoughts of our God.
Therefore, since we are committed to inerrant, infallible, plenary, verbal inspiration, a time-consuming endeavor in research of etymology and meanings of words was expended to ascertain and differentiate the precise nuance of meaning of each Greek word and, as consistently as possible, retain the same English word(s) throughout the translation each word was traced through The New Testament to be sure there was not an overlap of English meanings used for different Greek words.
This precise translation is commended to you with the earnest prayer and sincere desire that The God will use it to enhance your comprehension of His Holy Word and to draw you closer to Himself as The Holy Spirit quickens your understanding. May it be a rich blessing to you in your study of The God’s Holy Word and in your ministry!
Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.
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