Tell me about the Amplified Bible

Been thinking about getting one. Just wanted to know if it's considered an accurate translation and whether or not it's good for study/casual reading?

Thanks.

Honestly I don't know about that one. My three favorite translations are the NKJV, the Revised Standard Version and The Message which is definitely a paraphrase but is fun to read sometimes. My understanding is that the RSV is closer to a direct translation than a paraphrase. I have an Orthodox study Bible which is NKJV and an audio version of the NKJV New Testament so I can read and listen at the same time (great way to focus). I think most people find that having a few translations around is the best way to get a better understanding of scripture.

By the way, I bet you could find a free version online if you went looking. Most translations are available on the internet which makes for very easy verse access when you want to look something up quickly.

Here it is.  I put it in my book marks because it sounds like it might be a helpful translation actually:

http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/index.php?action=getVersionInfo&vid=45&lang=2

There are several "literal" translations (that is, word for word" translations that are pretty interesting in that you see what translators have added, how they've interpreted things.

Youngs Literal Translation

The Concordant Literal Translation

Rotherhams Literal Translation

The amplified is a 'sort of' literal translation in that it sometimes gives you more than one meaning of a word but its not quite there.

You'd be shocked at some of the bizarre stuff translators (even in Modern translations like the NIV) have slipped in there.

Case in point ....

The New International Version (NIV) translates the Greek word anathema much differently than the KJV and the NKJV which have "let him be accursed." The NIV reads instead, "let him be eternally condemned."

Basically, there is no grounds at all for them to slip the word "eternally" in there. Regarding the word ?anathema,? I repeat NO other English translation had the nerve to put ?eternally? into these phrases in Galatians. Why? Because there is no word in these two sentences that remotely refers to eternity. The NIV translators simply took the liberty of injecting their own beliefs in eternal damnation for anyone who doesn't agree with their doctrine into this passage without a shred of support from the Greek. This passage is not a unique instance in which the NIV translators took great liberty with the Greek text.

JPS is the only semi-accurate translation out there- your best bet is reading Hebrew and Greek.

Siamang,

I am not a fan of the NIV because they appear to do that in other ways when a translation can push a certain belief.

It is a Protestant tradition to tamper with scripture though. Luther started by adding the word "alone" to "for by grace you are saved by faith [alone]" and the KJV was basically commissioned because so many Protestant translations were too full of the author's opinions instead of trying to get a real translation.

The real danger is when people read the liner notes in a particular translation and fail to realize that it is just the opinion of the author and not "official". That is basically how dispensationalism was spread in America via the Scofield Reference Bible. Scofield interjected dispensationalism and American readers took it to be the "correct" interpretation.

MS,

At some point in my life I am going to try to learn Greek so I can read the NT that way. Hebrew would be great too if I had infinite time and a more powerful brain.

Ridgeback,

I agree that many translations of the Bible are tainted with the "publishers" or "commentators" or "translators" or "editors" opinion.

Incidently no one can really be considered the "author" of the scriptures or Bible except those who originally wrote it. All translation of the Bible one may be tainted with the view or opinion of the person who happen to "edited" the text. Luther and others like him wouldn't and shouldn't be truly considered the "authors" but rather "editors" because they are making annotated, commenting and even altering on "someone" elses work and words. The dictionary defines and editor as: One who prepares literary material for publication or public presentation; one who alters, adapts, or refines, to bring about conformity to a standard or to suit a particular purpose (websters))

And you're right in that many people take the "publisher", "editors", "commentators" words as truth.

BUT I was given a heads up warning about this by my late Pastor and by my current Pastor. In fact I think many Protestants I told about this. You also have to keep in mind that these days alot of Protestant clergy are seminary trained where they receive education in Early, mid and contemporary Christian history, Greek, Hebrew, and Semitic languages and other relevant studies.

So there is alot more objectivity in regards to interpretation and understanding of the Bible via Bible translations among the more "educated" Protestant clergy.

My current Pastor studied Greek in seminary. He always refers to the original Greek when studying various scripture texts. It is interesting that both my Late Pastor and current Pastor believed the RSV was the best Bible translation. My late Pastor didn't like the Scofield bible. I don't like it either.

The best Bible I have is a Bible published by AMG publishers. It is a Hebrew-Greek Key study Bible. It has a NIV version and a KJV version. BUT each version has the same format where key words in the text are underlined, encoded with the Strong's Hebrew or Greek number so the original word can be studied in the back of the Bible. The Hebrew and Greek words definitions are crossed reference with accepted and reputable Hebrew-English and Greek-English sources. This bible also has grammatical notations through the text to let the reader know exactly how the scripture verses were original constructed grammar-wise.

M.G,

I think you missed what I wrote in regards to using the word "author". I was only referring to the liner notes in study bibles. If someone is simply expressing his opinion of some text (rather than putting in some historical fact or etymological information) then I think he is rightly considered the author of the commentary he writes. Sometimes Bible readers tend to accept these commentaries as more authoritative than they would if they knew it was simply the opinion of a single man or single school of thought.

Since we don't have the original autographs I think it is best to use a few translations and of course if a Christian has the time and means learning the Greek would be a very good thing. For me the goal is to find translations with as little tampering as possible or if there is tampering then that it be up front like The Message which is just the translation of a single Theology Professor and should be read in that light.

It is true that people are less likely to fall for things these days but which seminary a pastor attends still has a major effect on how he interprets scripture and what translations he favors. I have a book given to me by my staunchly Baptist Father-in-law about the formation of the Bible which is written by Baptist professors and very much has a Baptist bent to its interpretation of historical events. I remember reading a line about the early Christians not being in any particular hurry to put together a Bible and how the tone was one of perplexity. He seemed unable to figure out why they weren't in a hurry to get everybody a copy of the complete (well minus the Deutero-canonical books) Bible. It was totally written from the perspective of putting a 21st century independent fundamentalist baptist framework over Christian history.

That is why I always insist that a person figure out what tradition is informing any Christian book and any Bible translation. Some translations are sort of pan-Christian in the sense that they are pretty set on getting it right rather than making the translation more favorable to a particular point of view. Even so I am not stuck on any one translation. Its just smart to cross-reference.

Ridgeback,

Oops, sorry. You're right.

You said: "It is true that people are less likely to fall for things these days but which seminary a pastor attends still has a major effect on how he interprets scripture and what translations he favors."

This is also very true. This is true for alot of things besides religious education. Like for example my understand of Bjj has been effected by the Bjj school I go to and by the Bjj instructor I train under.

Nonetheless institutions of highly learning are suppose to encourage "critical thinking". That is, they are suppose to encourage their students to think objectively and not necessarily have them buy into every word that the Professor states. And most students are objective (as objective as one could be; I don't think it is possible to be totally objective). That is, they don't buy into or believe everything the Professors are teaching them AND more importantly know how to separate opinion from fact, objective view from an subjective view.

You said: "That is why I always insist that a person figure out what tradition is informing any Christian book and any Bible translation."

You right and this is also apart of being a critical thinker. It is actually a basic principle or rule for examing or studying anything: "consider the source". My Pastors would tell me the same thing and they were taught this principle not only by some of their seminary professor by also their some of their teachers in other educational institution.

M.G,

And I do really think this is less of an issue for anyone who has some kind of formal religous education.  I am thinking more about the lay person who picks up a particular translation recommended by his friend and then gets a good part of his theology from how the Bible is translated as well as the commentaries in the liner notes.  I think that the lay person in this case would be better off if it was clear in his mind that he is reading one of many translations and one of many points of view.  I have seen those who started with something like the Scofield Bible who won't budge on any aspect of their beliefs after they have had their opinions cemented. 

Just like with BJJ the first way a person learns something often winds up being the only way.  A person who has been to many different bjj schools will appreciate the idea that there are many ways to skin a cat and while one instructor can be very good about one subject it is rare for any instructor to be giving you the best possible information on every subject.

"The amplified is a 'sort of' literal translation in that it sometimes gives you more than one meaning of a word but its not quite there."

I don't quite follow you. Is it a legitimate/literal trasnlation or would I be better off with something else?

Ridgeback,

Yeah but "critical thinking" is something a person is "supposed" to have learned and developed from formal education period and not just religious formal education.

Education is suppose to be a on going and progressive process where concepts and ideas learned in one educational institution are transferable and developed in another educational institution.

Since I recently graduated from college I can see how skills I learned previously in high school were used and developed in college. And if I was to take this all the way to the logical end: high school knowledge was based on middle school; middle school on elementary etc. There were certain things I really didn't have to learn in college because I learned them in high school. College just provide an opportunity to "use" and "develop" the skills I learn in High School.

My point is anyone who has been through some schooling, and most people have been through some, have received some "training" (for lack of a better word) on "critical thinking". And most people who aren't open minded in terms of what they are learning and the information they are receiving are simply going against common, rational and logical sense. Even the lay person should consider his sources. They shouldn't have to receive more education then what they already have to do that.

It is is just logical and practical to know that "while one instructor can be very good about one subject it is rare for any instructor to be giving you the best possible information on every subject."

The average joe had to have learned this at some point in his or her education career.

A person like your Baptist father-in-law as well as other like him are simply not being very practical or logical in their thinking.

There is a proverb that, in my view, deals with the type of person you're talking about:

"The simple believes every word but the prudent man looks well to his going." Proverbs 14:15

Here are some good verses which deal with the benefit of getting information from more than one source:

"without counsel purposes are disappointed but in the multitude of counsellors they are established" Proverbs 15:22

"Every purpose is established by counsel and good advice make war." Proverbs 20:18

"For by wise counsel you shall make your war, and in the multitude of counsellors there is safety." Proverbs 24:6

And of course there is the famous verse:

"Prove all things" 1 Thessalonians 5:21