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#25239 Fri May 20, 2005 4:02 PM
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I am translating James this summer to keep my Greek skills up for when school starts in the fall and I enter the Greek exegetical class. Well, in the process of translating, I came across a sentence that is pretty ugly grammar-wise when translated to English, and is only that way because of the verse numbers. Here is my translation:

James 1:6-8
(6)But let him ask in faith, doubting nothing, for the one doubting [is] like [a] wave of [a] sea being tossed to and fro by the wind; (7)for that man [must] not suppose that he will receive something from the Lord, (8)a man vacillating, inconsistent in all his ways.

Verses 7-8 in particular don't flow very well. Would I be wrong to combine those verses into more proper grammar, like this:

for a vacillating man [is] inconsistent in all his ways and [must] not suppose that he will receive something from the Lord.

Another question that came from my translating of this was are we bound by the verse numbers when it comes to issues like this? Do we leave a sentence not making sense just to stay literal? I don't see my combining verses 7-8 in the way that I did as being less literal to what the text is saying at all. It is still literal, but more proper in English grammar.

When translating the Bible, should we follow the verse numbers, to the detriment of English readability? How bound are we to the verse numbers?

#25240 Fri May 20, 2005 4:22 PM
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Kalled
The verse numbers should not enter into your actual translation process at all since they are not part of the original inerrant text. The Bible was not originally divided into chapters and verses --- these were added much later for ease of reading and reference. The Bible wasn't divided into chapters until the 13th century, and verse divisions were not added until the 15th. I believe the Geneva Bible was the first English translation to use the present chapter and verse divisions, though I may stand in need of correction.


In Christ,

Brad

BradJHammond #25241 Fri May 20, 2005 4:34 PM
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BradJHammond said:
Kalled
The verse numbers should not enter into your actual translation process at all since they are not part of the original inerrant text. The Bible was not originally divided into chapters and verses --- these were added much later for ease of reading and reference. The Bible wasn't divided into chapters until the 13th century, and verse divisions were not added until the 15th. I believe the Geneva Bible was the first English translation to use the present chapter and verse divisions, though I may stand in need of correction.

I don't remember specifics. But as I recall there are a few variances between the 1599 Geneva Bible and current usage. Even having at least one case where the beginning of a chapter moved by one verse.


Soli Deo Gloria
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#25242 Fri May 20, 2005 6:51 PM
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Verse numbers are a man-made invention for the purpose of facilitating a way of providing quick and easy reference. Now, just for the sake of a bit of humour, do you include verse numbers in your letters to your girlfriend? Well, neither did any of the N.T. authors include them in their letters (Epistles) or Gospels. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />


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jfschultz #25243 Sat May 21, 2005 1:05 AM
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I stand corrected. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/coffee2.gif" alt="" />

Pilgrim #25244 Sat May 21, 2005 1:07 PM
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Very nice.

I knew they were man-made, but I wasn't sure how tied down to them we are. The only translation that I know of that combines multiple verses for the sake of English is the Good News Bible (and that isn't exactly the most accurate sometimes).

Why, when they put the verse numbers in, did they break sentences as they do sometimes?

#25245 Sat May 21, 2005 1:40 PM
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I haven't got a clue as to the rationale for the placement of the verse numbers. Your guess would be as good, if not better than mine. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

BTW, the "Good News Bible" translation, is an oxymoron! It isn't a translation but a paraphrase. And, IMHO, it is one of the most flagrant in its total disregard for the original language. How anyone can hold to verbal plenary inspiration and come up with that piece of fiction is beyond me.

If you want a real challenge sometime, translate Ephesians 1:4-13 from the Greek (hint: it is all one sentence) into English and then diagram the sentence. Trying to find the main verb is great fun. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/giggle.gif" alt="" />

In His Grace,


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Pilgrim #25246 Mon May 23, 2005 11:27 AM
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BTW, the "Good News Bible" translation, is an oxymoron! It isn't a translation but a paraphrase. And, IMHO, it is one of the most flagrant in its total disregard for the original language. How anyone can hold to verbal plenary inspiration and come up with that piece of fiction is beyond me.

I stand corrected. Other than The Living Bible, the Good News Bible is the only one I know of that combines verses. Is there an actual literal translation that does that?

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Kalled2Preach said:
Other than The Living Bible, the Good News Bible is the only one I know of that combines verses. Is there an actual literal translation that does that?
As far as I know, which my knowledge is rather limited in this area, there is none. However, for a paraphrase that is far better; relatively speaking given it is a paraphrase, The New Testament in Modern English, by J.B. Phillips does not include verse numbers. My copy was published by Macmillan in 1957.


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