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Leland Ryken: The Word of God in English

In possibly the most important chapter in this book, Dr. Ryken discusses the theology and ethics of Bible translation, which is of vital importance to the evangelical Christian. If the terminology used in the Bible itself provides theological instruction, then that terminology needs to be maintained. It is not in the job description of the translator to explain or interpret theology within the translation itself. And as mentioned before, if a belief in the verbal plenary inspiration of the Scriptures is held by the translators as well as by the readers, then the very words used in the original writings need to be maintained–after all, the Holy Spirit himself provided them.

In an evangelical world ruled by dynamic equivalence, it is refreshing to read such a passionate and well-thought-out defense for the essentially literal translation theory. I strongly recommend this book to both leader and layperson alike. It is a book that is bound to be both controversial and cherished, and had such a strong impact upon this NIV-proponent that there is now a new English Standard Version translation sitting upon the bookshelf of this reviewer.

Reviewed by Mike J. Knowles


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Category: Biblical Studies, Winter 2004

About the Author: Michael J. Knowles earned his Bachelor of Theology degree at Summit Pacific College in Abbotsford, BC, Canada, and has published numerous articles and book reviews. He and his family currently live in Washington state, where he teaches health education at Skagit Valley College in Mount Vernon, and also works as a pharmacy technician in Bellingham.

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