I want to introduce my readers to an interesting and useful blog called God Didn’t Say That: Bible Translations and Mistranslations, by Joel M. Hoffman.

This is a resource which I’m just beginning to explore, yet it clearly addresses a core concern of mine: the complications for faith and practice created by incorrect or careless or ideological or overly simplistic translations of sacred texts.

Here’s the opening of the latest post:

I think John 3:17 (like John 3:16) shows us three things: potential traps in translation, typical patterns of some of the common Bible translations, and the importance of paying attention to detail.

The point of John 3:17 is pretty simple (even if the theology is deep): God didn’t send Jesus into the world in order to condemn it, but rather in order for the world to be saved through him.

To me, the line contrasts two possibilities: (1) God sent Jesus to condemn the world; and (2) God sent Jesus for the world to be saved through him. John 3:17 explains that it’s the second one.

And the line presents two aspects of the second possibility: the world will be saved — we can call this (2a) — and, furthermore, the world will be saved through Jesus (2b).

Yet I haven’t found any translation that conveys (1) versus (2a) and (2b) accurately.

I encourage readers to take a look at this blog.

Thanks,
Michael

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