Sunday, August 05, 2007

Translations for Preaching

I usually preach from the same translation that I study from, the NASB. However, this week, I preached on 1 Peter 2:1-3 and found one critical phrase in the NASB irreconcilable with the Greek -- as far as my limited Greek skills will permit. So I selected the NRSV as my preaching text. It's just as well that I make the transition to the NRSV anyway, as it is the (essentially) official translation of the UMC.

Pastors, what translation do you usually preach from?


jim said...

That sounds interesting.

Share your findings, John.

Matt said...

NRSV, since that is what is in our pews. However, I feel free to use phrases from other translations if I feel they better convey the emphasis of the Greek (using the few Greek skills I have). Most of my people have NIV, even though I like the TNIV better for its more careful handling of certain gender issues.

There are also times when I feel Eugene Peterson simply nails it, and I'll read a brief passage from the Message during a sermon.

Sometimes I feel like we're handicapped by having too many translations. For instance, most of the verses I memorized in my youth were either KJV or NIV, and there are times the NRSV just feels strange in my mouth.

the reverend mommy said...

NRSV -- ditto.

About the Message -- ditto. I may read it in both and do a little word study in the middle.

Lorna (see through faith) said...

NIV here in Europe and the message for shock value :)

we don't have Bibles in the pews - people bring their own and underline them.

not that I'm preaching (other than as a guest elsewhere) right now.

Stephen said...

I usually read from the NRSV translation, but then i will pull in several translations in preaching: message, niv, tniv, kjv, esv. Some things just sound better in various translations so it helps for people to hear several different offerings.

John said...

Share your findings, John.

Well, I don't have the Greek in front of me right now, but the phrase in question in the NRSV is "pure, spiritual milk" and in the NASB "pure milk of the word". I started my exegesis expecting that "word" in the NASB was logos, which would have all sorts of implications, but it wasn't. Picking apart the Greek, I couldn't figure out how the NASB translators got "pure milk of the word". They've got to be smarter than me in Greek, so I won't call it a bad translation. But I couldn't backtrack their work, and so went with the NRSV.

It was a good reminder to me to go back to the Greek and Hebrew, because my sermon would have been different had I just worked from the NASB alone.

Mark Winter said...

I use the iBible.

larry said...

Well, I prepare my sermons from the ESV, which is VERY different from the Good News Bible that the people have in the pews and is the translation my liturgists normally use. What invariably happens is that I will preach from a translation different than the one read out loud for the people. I don't find it to be a bad thing at all. Where the GNT is good for its ease of reading, I like the more precise ESV for making my theological and exegetical points. The people can get the benefit of both, although sometimes it is distracting. For example, two Sundays ago, in preaching from Ephesians 6:1-4 on fathers and children, the GNT said "parents" rather than "fathers." I cannot say, having not checked the Greek, but I would be shocked if the Greek word was for parents instead of fathers. Normally, I find it a happy combination of translations.

Rev. J said...

I like to read from the NIV from the pulpit, I think it communicates better (I tend to correct its gender exclusive language though). I will go with the NRSV and the Message though on occasion if I think one brings out the theme of the passage better. I usually start my sermon prep by printing off these three translations and reading them all. I know that the NRSV is a closer translation to the greek but like Matt said, it sometimes feels "strange in my mouth" too.

Turbulent Cleric said...

NRSV for prepartion.

It was the Bible we used in training and my Ordination Bible which I always use for sermon preparation is NRSV.

The complication is that in our Circuit, the normal Bible in pews is NIV. Hence I have to check for any significant variations. Normally NIV is read in services