Note: You can watch this blog on YouTube.
If you have been following my YouTube channel, you will know that I am focusing on dispelling the myth that there is such a thing as a “literal” translation. Even interlinears can’t, technically, be “literal.”
As is always the case, when you are thinking about something, you tend to see it more, and I am seeing verses every day that illustrate my point.
One of the arguments that is made for “literal” translations is that they reflect the underlying Greek and Hebrew structure. As I have been saying, there are two issues with this.
1. If you know enough Greek to benefit from seeing the underlying structure, then you should be reading Greek. If you don’t know the original languages well enough, then I suspect there is more danger than advantage in thinking you see the structure.
2. I suspect there is not a single sentence in the Bible that actually does what the marketing claims. Take for example Luke 8:55. “And her spirit returned, and she got up at once. And he directed that something should be given her to eat” (ESV). Other than being poor English (we don’t start sentences with a conjunction, although Greek does), is that literal? Does this reflect Greek structure. Not entirely. Where does it diverge from the Greek? If you don’t know Greek, you don’t know where. So you are in a difficult situation in which you think you are sticking close to Greek structure, but you aren’t, and you don’t know where.