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Study of three Bible translations planned
The Translation Evaluation Committee (TEC) is coordinating a new study of three different English Bible translations that WELS could consider for use in its publications.
In this study, more than 100 pastors will participate in a side-by-side comparison of the New International Version 2011, the Holman Christian Standard Bible, and the English Standard Version. Reviewers from three different groups—synod leaders, attendees of the translation workshop held at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary (WLS) in January, and pastors who have been in the ministry less than 10 years—will be assigned a section of the Bible to evaluate, using translation principles discussed at the January workshop.
“It will be helpful for all participants plus assure the synod that we’re trying to do due diligence by looking at all these versions,” says Rev. Paul Wendland, WLS president and TEC chairman. “It also will give us an in-depth understanding of the strengths and the weaknesses of all of these versions.”
TEC members decided to put together this study after a significant number of people at the January workshop voiced strong concerns about the NIV 2011, the translation that the TEC recommended using in WELS publications at the 2011 convention. Wendland says the TEC wants to continue the discussion given the concerns expressed. “Conversation has more centered around the NIV and its merits and lack of merits,” says Wendland. “This will focus our attention differently—if not the NIV, then what?”
The committee also recently learned that Northwestern Publishing House, through fair-use laws, will be able to use the NIV 1984 in most of its publications longer than it expected, giving WELS more time to systematically evaluate other viable translations. “If a study like this is carefully made, I think it will give everybody a feeling of comfort and peace when the final decision is made that we really looked at this very carefully and everyone has had a chance to think it through,” says Wendland.
The study is scheduled to be completed in August.
The districts will be voting on which translation to use in the synod’s publications at the 2012 district conventions in June using a ballot prepared by the synod president and vice presidents. With the support of the Conference of Presidents, they are considering an option on the ballot to delay the decision until the 2013 synod convention. A two-thirds majority is required for any translation to be selected; otherwise the issue will go to the 2013 synod convention.
Learn more about Bible translation through articles, essays, and a congregational Bible study at www.wels.net/translation.