A Guide to Bible Study Methods - Lesson 4

Bible Translation

The goal in translation is to try to translate the meaning of the text from one language to another. The two basic philosophies of translation are formal equivalence and functional equivalence. Meaning comes not only from the individual words, but from phrases, clauses, idioms and grammatical constructions. Languages say the same things using different forms so getting an accurate translation requires interpretation.

Mark Strauss
A Guide to Bible Study Methods
Lesson 4
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Bible Translation

Bible Translation

II. English Bible Versions: Which Translation Should I Use?

A. Two Basic Philosophies of Translation: Form or Meaning Based

1. Formal Equivalence (literal, "word-for-word," form-based)

2. Functional Equivalence (dynamic equivalent, idiomatic, meaning-based)

B. The Goal of Bible Translation

C. Why Do We Need Translation?

D. Strengths of Both Formal and Functional Equivalent Versions

1. Strengths of Functional Equivalence

2. Strengths of Formal Equivalence Versions

E. Conclusion

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Class Resources
  • It is important to recognize your presuppositions when you study and interpret the Bible. The writings of the Bible reflect diversity in authorship, genre and cultural background. The common theme that unifies the Bible as a whole focuses on the story of creation, fall and redemption.

  • Hermeneutics is the science and art of biblical interpretation. The science of hermeneutics provides methods, rules, and a measure of objectivity while the art of hermeneutics speaks to the skill that is learned through practice. The goals of exegesis are to determine the meaning of a passage in its original context, and to determine the significance of the passage for today.

  • The first goal of hermeneutics is to determine the author’s intended meaning of the text. The interpretation process must take into account the genre of the literature and the historical and literary context. The meaning of the text controls our application. In this lecture, you will get a glimpse of the process of interpretation by looking at four principles of exegesis, the four steps we take to cross the bridge from our contemporary culture to the original context of the Biblical authors. 

  • In this lecture, we get into the practical details for how to exegete a passage. Dr. Strauss explains the first four (of ten total) steps for English Bible exegesis: 1) identify the genre, 2) get the big picture, 3) develop a thesis statement and 4) outline the progress of thought. This lecture teaches new skills and provides examples for you to put them into practice.

  • The final six steps in the exegesis process are consulting secondary sources, analyzing syntactical relationships, analyzing key terms and themes, resolving interpretive issues and problems, evaluating your results from the perspective of wider contextual and theological issues, and summarizing your results. (At the 26-minute mark, the verse reference, John 14:6 should be John 14:26.)

  • Dr. Strauss leads us into exploring the riches of Biblical words in this lecture. He explains some common misconceptions and gives us safeguards so that we do not wander into exegetical fallacies. If you want to know the way forward in Biblical exploration, then listen in as Dr. Strauss outlines the basic principles for doing Biblical word studies correctly.

  • In this lesson, Dr. Strauss discusses two extremes to avoid when applying Scripture. He also gives us five principles to guide our contextualization of a particular passage. Listen in and grow in your ability to apply Scripture in your context to your life in meaningful ways.

What is Bible study? Why do we study these specific 66 books? What type of literature are we studying? What are the practical steps we should take? How do we determine a word’s meaning? How do we apply the text to our lives? These questions and more are answered in this course.

Recommended Books

A Guide to Bible Study Methods - Student Guide

A Guide to Bible Study Methods - Student Guide

This guide is intended to be used with the free class from BiblicalTraining.org. Bible Study Methods

A Guide to Bible Study Methods - Student Guide
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