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it. Their language was Greek.” A Greek  2. How Important are Readability and
        translation of the Hebrew text, the Septua-  Understandability?
        gint (also called the LXX), was produced.   Their use of the Septuagint in the New
        Although Hebrew scholars would have   Testament obviate that the Lord and His
        been keenly aware of its shortcomings, this   apostles thought it important to quote
        translation was widely accepted, used in   familiar wording to specific audiences.
        the synagogues of Greek-speaking Jews,   There are also lessons to be learned from
        and treated as the Word of God.      the Spirit of God’s choice of Koine Greek
          Most significantly, the Lord Jesus quoted   for the text of the New Testament when
        from the Septuagint, using portions au-  Classical Greek, a more formal and robust
        thoritatively as the Word of God.  For   version of the language, was available. A

        example, the Lord Jesus’ words to Satan   New Testament Greek scholar helpfully
        match the Septuagint in Matthew 4:4. The   explains Koine Greek:
        apostles also quoted from this translation,   “As the Greek language spread across
        again using the text as the Word of God.  the world and met other languages, it was
          The translators of the King James Version   altered (which is true of any language). The
        (or Authorized Version) also viewed transla-  dialects also interacted with each other.
        tions as the Word of God. “We affirm and   Eventually, this adaptation resulted in
        avow, that the very meanest translation of   what today we call Koine Greek. ‘Koine’
        the Bible in English, set forth by men of   means ‘common’ and describes the com-
        our profession … containeth the Word of   mon, everyday form of the language, used
        God, nay, is the Word of God. As the King’s   by everyday people. It was not considered
        Speech which he uttered in Parliament, be-  a polished literary form of the language,
        ing translated into French, Dutch, Italian,   and, in fact, some writers of this era pur-
        and Latin, is still the King’s Speech, though   posefully imitated the older style of Greek.
        it be not interpreted by every translator   … Koine was a simplified form of Classi-
        with the like grace, nor peradventure so   cal Greek and unfortunately, many of the
        fitly for phrase, nor so expressly for sense,   subtleties of Classical Greek were lost.”
        everywhere. … No cause therefore why   Christ spoke, and the apostles wrote,
        the Word translated should be denied to   what would become our New Testament in
        be the Word.”                        the form of the language most easily read
          Though the Septuagint and other trans-  and best understood by most people in
        lations were considered the Word of God,   their day. This establishes another helpful
        there is no suggestion that these versions   precedent for us – readability and under-
        were inspired and inerrant. Only original   standability for our audience should be

        texts could claim these qualities. However,   key factors in our choice of translations.
        while conscious of a translation’s short-  How wonderful that the Lord desires to
        comings, we should read it as the Word   speak to us through His written Word, and
        of God – the Lord Himself speaking to us!  His desire extends to translations in our lan-
          Sadly, there are “versions” of the Bible   guage, in words that we can comprehend!
        that deviate in purpose and principles from   “So shall my Word be that goes out from My
        sound translations and cannot be rightly   mouth … it shall accomplish that which I
        called the Word of God. Evaluating transla-  purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for
        tions is a topic for a future article.  which I sent it” (Isa 55:11, ESV).

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