How The Bible Should Be Translated Today

By Dr. Stanley L. Morris

The Bible is the message of God. It is the inspired, infallible, written record of God’s will. Through the Bible, God speaks to mankind. In order for all people to easily understand what God wants, it is extremely important that the Holy Scriptures be accurately translated into contemporary language.

The New Testament was originally written in the Greek language. It is noteworthy that it was written in Koine (common) Greek — an everyday type of language which was used by almost everyone in conversation and commerce throughout the Roman Empire. Today the widespread use of International English™ parallels the dominance of Greek in the time of Jesus of Nazareth.

A good translation, as does the International English™ Bible, should produce the same effect today as the original text did on those who first heard it. How would the New Testament have been written in English if English had been the original language instead of Greek? We wanted to re-clothe the meaning of the original in the words and structure of modern American English. God’s message should be conveyed in today’s mode of speech, not yesterday’s. His Word ought to be expressed in the same form which people use every day, in a style which seems so natural to them that they are generally not aware that they are reading a translation.

Jesus talked plainly to people, the way we talk to one another. As the Master Teacher, Jesus was very careful not to give people more than they could grasp. According to Mark 4:33, “ … Jesus was telling them the message — but only as much as they were able to understand.” Jesus did not try to impress people with big words, yet he was still able to reach their hearts. He used simple, profound illustrations which the average person could understand. He was able to communicate clearly, even to children. They could feel his love for them (Matthew 19:13-14). In fact, he said that we all ought to be as receptive as little children (Matthew 18:1-6). Jesus is the very Message (Logos) of God (John 1:1) in human form (John 1:14).

To reach the greatest number of people, the International English™ Bible (IEB) uses only easy phrase structures and a vocabulary of about 4,000 words (excluding proper names). Sentences are purposely kept short, transparent, and uncomplicated to promote better understanding. Complex sentence structures are often unnecessary anyway. Because of our approach, portions of Scripture which have formerly been difficult to understand are now much easier to comprehend. Our written style coincides nicely with spoken grammar. Try reading the text aloud, and you will discover that it flows easily off the tongue. Like a conversation, it is very easy to listen to.

The International English™ Bible is smooth, but it is not a loose rendering. It is not a paraphrase but a meticulously constructed, faithful translation which truly expresses the original Greek meaning accurately in natural English equivalents. Nothing is added or taken away merely for the sake of style. Every piece of meaning can be accounted for through established linguistic methodology.

Click Here to sample six complete Bible books from the International English™ Bible.