Word For Word or Thought for Thought?
Should the scriptures be translated using a word for word method, or is it better (as some Johnny come lately’s claim) to
use a thought for thought method?
A word for word translation may call for a bit extra effort on our part in understanding the verse or passage,
but the thought for thought method puts us completely at the mercy of the interpretive slant of the translators.
Unfortunately, the thought for thought method of translation is used with most modern versions. Therefore, few,
if any, are true translations at all—but rather elaborate paraphrases masquerading as translations.
What do the scriptures themselves say about how the word of God should be handled?
Proverbs 30:5-6 says, “Every word of God is Pure...Add thou not unto his words...”
Revelation 22:19 says, “And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall
take away his part out of the book of life...”
2 Peter 1:20-21 says, “No
prophecy of scripture is of any private interpretation...”
We have three scriptures here that relate to the Word of God itself. One has a broad application and includes the
entirety of the scriptures. The others have a more limited scope and include only prophecies, but the message is clear…
The scriptures themselves place a prohibition on translation using any method other than word for word translation - anything else places the
translator in danger of adding to, or taking away from the word of God. Translators who violate this prohibition clearly have
no fear of God.
one version may unarguably translate a certain verse or passage more clearly than another version, and the King James Bible
does indeed contain some archaic words which make it somewhat more difficult to understand in places, the issue here is that
any version translated using any method besides the word for word method—regardless of how well it presents certain
portions of scripture—either adds to the word of God and/or takes away from it.
issued against this in the Bible are too severe to be ignored… if we value our souls. We need to be certain we are reading
a version that does neither of these things.