God’s Word Translation Review

God’s Word Translation Review

“A most interesting translation.” That is my overall impression of the God’s Word Translation of the Scriptures. Before we go further, I need to point out that God’s Word for the Nations Missionary Society provided this Bible for free in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own.

Let’s begin with some information from the publisher:

THE THEORY USED TO PRODUCE GOD’S WORD

  • Closest Natural Equivalence
  • Contrasting Closest Natural Equivalence to Form Equivalence
  • Contrasting Closest Natural Equivalence to Function Equivalence
  • Closest Natural Equivalence Maintains the Balance

 

Closest natural equivalent translation attempts to be exactly what its name implies. Above all else, it provides readers with a meaning equivalent to the source language (Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek in the case of the Bible) in the target language (English in the case of GOD’S WORD). Second and equally important, it seeks ways to express that meaning naturally in a way that a native English speaker would have spoken or written. Finally, it expresses the meaning naturally in a way that is as close as possible to the way the source language expressed the meaning.

This translation most certainly falls into the dynamic equivalence/thought for thought/meaning based end of the Bible translation spectrum. It is an incredibly easy version to read and understand and I really appreciate that. Many of the people that I minister to have English as a second language and I would be confident in placing the God’s Word Translation in any of their hands.

I would mark this translation as a 3rd to 4th Grade Reading Level. For a Bible to be translated at this level of understanding is absolutely fabulous. Matthew 18:3 tells us that we need to become like a little child to enter the Kingdom of Heaven and the English used here would certainly be simple enough for most children to understand.

There is the question of gender in translation and God’s Word Translation endeavors to be what is considered to be gender accurate. What this means is it chooses the most accurate pronouns based on the audience addressed. This is different from being gender neutral which seeks to eliminate the patriarchal aspects of a patriarchal society. I am not sure how some of my conservative colleagues would receive this aspect of the translation but I have no issue with it.

I have used GWT alongside three translations: my New American Standard Bible, my New International Version, and my King James Version. Like the NIV, the GWT is very easy to understand and accurate to the thought of the original language documents. Similar to the New Living Translation, the GWT provides a very illuminating, almost commentary feel to the Scripture.

Who should use the GWT? My recommendation for GWT is to provide it to those who have English as a second language. I would also advise giving the GWT to elementary school students looking to read the Bible for the first time.

How should you use GWT? My recommendation for use depends on a couple factors.

Personal/Small Group Study: I recommend GWT in use alongside an essentially literal translation such as NASB or ESV. The GWT will provide a more well rounded understanding of the Scripture.

1st Time Readers: Given the ease of use, I highly recommend the GWT for 1st time Bible readers. There are a number of reading plans and devotional sources available for use. I would pair the GWT with a reading plan designed to get you through the whole Bible in a year, Tyndale’s One Year Bible is an excellent choice.

Pastoral Use: GWT is an excellent choice for an alternate translation from the pulpit. We always want to have two or three translations in use when preaching and GWT will most definitely help you to communicate the clear meaning of the Scripture.

All in all, the GWT was very interesting and I will be using it more in the future. It will be added to our distribution inventory for those who have never had a copy of the Scripture and for our chaplaincy visits to leave behind for prisoners and hospital patients that are in need of the Bible. I commend it to you for your use. Whether or not to make it your primary translation, I leave up to you but I do think it is well worth your investment.

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