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A Real translation of the Bible?

Looks like another translation of the Bible has started to make rounds, the Real Word of God, claiming to be

The first literal translation of the Received Text of the Bible in four centuries

Real Word Of God
Real Bible, Real English, no paraphrase, no religious jargon

The translation process has been through several filters: submission to textual correction by 60 Bible translators,; [sic] exposure to 320 Bible scholars and theologians from mainstream universities; offered for review to 11,800 Christian congregational leaders

On the About Us page, they said,

We have come up with an approach that offers a direct literal translation of the original Hebrew Masoretic text of the Old Testament and the Greek Textus Receptus of the New Testament, into simple but accurate non-religious English as spoken by people who do not live in the Christian religious ghetto

The texts they have translated so far are not freely available. From what I could see, they will at some point have a physical Bible available, leather bound. For now, though, you can download electronic versions through Smashwords. To obtain a copy of a translated text you would need to pay; and that’s one thing I absolutely cannot stand, regardless of the quality of the translation. Why does the Word of God have to be bought and sold?

You can, however, view a sampling. I clicked on Mark, then View Sample under Online Reading (HTML). On page 3 the translation begins, and you can check the words against the claim of being a "direct literal translation . . . simple but accurate non-religious English as spoken by people who do not live in the Christian religious ghetto." Here is a very pivotal section in Mark i. The translators for Real apparently don’t like to use periods:

Now while he was walking by the Galilee Sea, he saw Simon 10 and his brother Andrew 11 throwing a net into the sea – they were fishermen, 1.17 and Jesus told them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men,” 1.18 and they immediately abandoned their nets, and they followed him, 1.19 and when he went a little farther, he saw Zebedee’s 12 Jacob 13 and his brother John in the ship too, mending their nets, 1.20 and immediately he called them and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired staff and went after him, 1.21 and they went into Capernaum and he immediately entered inside the sinagog on the Exodus 16.26 Sha-bat, and he taught, 1.22 and they were astonished at his teaching because he taught them like one who had authority, and not like the Writers 14, 1.23 and a man with a filthy spirit was in their sinagog and he shouted out, 1.24 “Leave us alone. What do we have to do with you, you Jesus 1 of Nazaret 7?

If you didn’t catch it, that was one complete sentence. It’s virtually incomprehensible. But the problems are not limited to punctuation; there are issues with English word choice and grammar. I’m honestly highly suspicious of the statement that there were 60 translators involved, it was exposed to 320 Bible scholars and theologians, and so on; of course that does not mean those scholars sent back any criticism or correction the Real translators utilized. But, those are not details I know about. I can only go off of what I read and see. And I am not seeing anything here that I would ever pass on to an English speaker/reader that needed a Bible.

5 Comments

  1. two thumbs down on this one…they need to read the NET

  2. Hi Eddie,
    Browsed your site (briefly, as I have little time to do so) to find your insight into different translations of the bible. This post was one of them.

    I wondered if you would give me your opinion on which English translation you might be prone to recommend to someone. It's the kind of thought process you might go through when you've been leading someone to Christ and want to give them their own bible. I've been thinking of getting them an ESV but perhaps that's not the best choice?

    I suspect you'll tell me you're no scholar and that your response is just an opinion. Well, that's all I am asking for ….. I put more confidence in your opinion (sometimes lol) than other people's facts.

    As an aside, what do you think of the NET Jason mentioned? I checked out the site … looks like a good resource.

    Appreciate your feedback :)

  3. Well, I'm no schol…. ;-)

    Here's how I break down my recommendation as of right now (always subject to change as I learn more about a certain translation):

    NET or NLT is always at the top of the list.

    The New Living Translation is a wonderfully put together translation. Very easy to read for any level English reader and speaker. Can use the NLT for teaching, study, anything. It's not immune to translator-bias, but you really only catch those when you compare it to other translations; e.g. “Okay, they're trying to stay away from using such and such words.”

    The NET is a superb English work. The open and free nextbible.org is an awesome resource. If I had $40 or so, I would buy the physical Bible. The New Testament is amazing (I've heard the OT work isn't as good as the NT, but because I can't read Hebrew/Aramaic, I can't verify for myself). Plus, the honesty they display within their translation and study notes is unmatched. I like to support them whatever way I can. While I use the website version all the time, there is still nothing like holding the book in your hands. If that happens to be a viable option for you, I would say it's top priority.

    I also like to use the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV). The diverse translation team behind it is beyond intriguing. Not as smooth a read as the NLT or NET, but quality.

    I am avoiding the ESV and NKJV, though they seem to be the fad right now with churches. Their English (especially the NKJV) is anything but. You should never need an English dictionary and a seminary degree (ESV) or to learn a different type of English (NKJV, based on the KJV) to read the Bible.

    I am not a fan of the current NIV; we'll see what happens with the new NIV coming next year. The NASB and TNIV are okay. Kimbrah really likes her GNT (also known as the TEV) because it's different, and challenges her to see the passage in a new way.

  4. Eddie,
    This is great feedback. Thanks for taking the time to share it …. and so quickly! Definitely very helpful. :)

  5. What's with a Christian Bible using Masoretic texts? Seems to defeat the purpose of Christian revelation and focus in the OT, no? Seems like it'd be much more reliable to use the Septuagint.

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