Twenty-five years ago, almost to the day, just a few months before graduation from Mid-West School of Biblical Studies, I began in earnest to translate the New Testament from the original Greek. Now, after years of steady effort, I have finally completed my rough draft. I know without question that there are typos, grammatical issues, and even some translation errors I will need to correct in the days ahead. More than that, I know that much work remains to create the type of translation that I originally envisioned, a hyper-literal translation that could serve as a means to bridge the gap between an interlinear that rarely offers much meaningful assistance and a formal equivalence translation that respects the original wording while still making grammatical changes for the sake of readability. While my goal has always been to create a translation that was grammatically correct in English, I knowingly sacrificed easy readability for the sake of accuracy. Another aspect of proofing the text will be to have as much consistency in the vocabulary as possible to help English readers notice the connection between words in the original, though a complete parallel is impossible.
I do not hold any delusions of grandeur. There are others who have more extensive training than I in Greek, but most adhere to an approach that follows typical translational tradition. I hope that the philosophy I have created and followed will serve its purpose, while respecting these quality translations built on formal equivalence translation that combine accuracy and readability in a way well-deserving of their reputation.
I will be contacting others I respect to aid me in ridding my work of problems and errors, both in making the English punctuation appropriate to the literalness of the language and in correcting any issues with the translation work itself. Some of my translation choices might simply require greater explanation, though I have insisted on avoiding the tendency to call something an idiom just for the sake of making it smoother to my eye and ear.
If anything has been a labor of love for me, this has been it. My goal all along has been to use the challenge of translation as a way to force myself to think about the inspired text deeply and in great detail with the heart to follow the original text in ways that brought surprises and hidden gems to my eyes quite regularly.
People have sometimes asked me what part of scripture I found the hardest to translate. The answer is rather simple: “Now it was the third hour, and they crucified him” (Mark 15:25). The grammar itself is rather simple and straightforward, but actually translating those words brought me to tears. Similarly, I found such great joy in entering the words, “He is not here, for he was raised up, according as he said. Come here, see the place where the Lord was lying” (Matt. 28:6).
I am so thankful for the time the Lord has given me to complete this in the course of my work, but I am far more thankful for the message itself that teaches the way of salvation and points me to heaven.
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper beyond every two-edged sword, penetrating as far as the distribution of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and capable of judging between the deliberations and thoughts of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).