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Sunday, October 25, 2020
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This Week's Memory Verse

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

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Phillips New Testament

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The Translations

I am actually writing three translations. Two of them, which at this point are the ones we will publish in the Daily Devotion, are unique: The paraphrase translation, which (for the time being) will be “The Daily Prayer Bible” and designated “DP”, and the super-literal translation, for now called “Daily Prayer Literal Bible”, and designated simply “Literal”.

There are real difficulties in doing translations on the fly; I don't even know what they will end up being named. I'm tempted to call the literal translation “Barge's Literal Translation” for two reasons: it mimics the famous old “Young's Literal translation” and it could be abbreviated “BLT”. On the downside: It's pompous enough, giving names to Bible translations where not even one full book has actually been translated! I really am a lot less impressed with myself than all of this makes me sound. But I have to call them something.

So if the names or short designations change, bear with me. Also, I go back and revisit them frequently, and at some point a translation might not fit the commentary. For example, the order of Paul's salutations (discussed today) is, in the original, 1) Sender, 2) Recipient, 3) Blessing. The DP rewrites this as 1) Recipient, 2) Blessing, 3) Sender, which sounds more natural in modern English.

The really difficult translation to write is, surprisingly, the literal one. I feel obligated, at times, to spend a long time researching the best English translation of a single Greek word. Greek was “polysemous”; one word was used for many different meanings and deciding which meaning a Biblical writer intended is challenging. People want to see Greek words as having a single set meaning, and/or every instance of the word incorporates the entire meaning, because it would make things so much easier. The problem is that the result is nonsense. There is even a name for this mistake: the “polysemy fallacy”.

One example: The widespread fictional teaching in churches that “agape” and “philia”, both of which mean “love”, refer to two specifically different kinds of love. They do not; both have a wide range of possible meaning and these ranges of meaning overlap almost entirely (when they refer to love).

In the parallel translation I have added a third translation, which for the time being I simply call “The American Bible” because the name is not taken and it sounds good. It is very similar to the New American Standard Bible, but (I think) slightly more readable and slightly more accurate. Truthfully, I include it primarily because once the other two are done, it is so simple to do.

If I ever get through the entire New Testament — which would take 8 years at the rate I'm going — I might publish a 3-column New Testament. But hopefully, in 8 years, I will be able to decide on a name!

I will try to keep at least even with our Daily Devotion, and usually at least a chapter ahead, in formatting the 3-column Bible and putting it online. You can bookmark the index or find it in the DP navigation under the Bible tab.

~ Mason Barge
Editor, Daily Prayer

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“Persistence in Our Later Years”

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