Bible Translations: The Link Between Exegesis and Expository Preaching

Robert L. Thomas | August 25, 2009

Expository preaching presupposes the goal of teaching an audience the meaning of the passage on which the sermon is based. Two types of Bible translations are available as “textbooks” the preacher may use in accomplishing this task. One type follows the original languages of Scripture in form and vocabulary insofar as possible without doing violence to English usage. The other type is not so much governed by phraseology in the original languages, but accommodates itself to contemporary usage of the language into which the translation is made. It is possible with a fair degree of objectivity to measure how far each translation deviates from the original languages. The greater degree of deviation inevitably reflects a higher proportion of interpretation on the translator’s part. Regardless of the accuracy of the interpretation, the preacher will at times disagree with it and have to devote valuable sermon time to correcting the text. The best choice of translations on which to base expository preaching is, therefore, one which more literally follows the original languages and excludes as much human interpretation as possible.

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