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Philosophy of Bible Translation Education

what guides our Bible Translation training process

Standing firmly upon the verbal and plenary inspiration and authority of Scripture, FirstBible School of Translation will prepare Bible translators who will endeavor to:

1. Translate the Scriptures accurately from the Biblical-language texts of Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic. This is done by:

Accounting for each sense and semantic value of every form expressed in the original-language text, integrating such with a careful analysis of the sum meaning of all of the words of the original-language text. 1

Equivalently translating each of these nuances into the receptor language, insofar as is linguistically reasonable.2

Preserving the literary variety contained within the Biblical texts (genres, literary devices, idiolects, etc.) and incorporating such into the receptor language, insofar as is linguistically possible.3

Faithfully representing the original-language Biblical texts within the target culture with clear, understandable words and with a natural structure, within the constraints of sound theology.

2. Uphold the preservation and translation of Scripture for the peoples of the world as both a divine imperative from God assigned to the church and a divine activity of God that can only be accomplished through the work of the Spirit in the life of the translator; therefore, the Bible translator must rely upon an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ,walking in community with Him by grace through faith in holiness while seeking God’s guidance through the leading, prompting, and direction of the Holy Spirit in all aspects of Bible translation.

3. Operate throughout each stage of translation in harmonious cooperation and partnership with other team members (nationals, local churches, ministries) who share similar values and goals of Bible translation, recognizing that Bible translation is best accomplished through the collaboration of a multi-faceted, multi-layered, healthy team of skilled, passionate, and godly individuals and local churches who are together committed to the fulfillment and completion of a particular Bible translation project.

4. Communicate the gospel earnestly and clearly by:

Pursuing competence in cultural anthropology especially as it concerns the people of the target language.

Preparing to adapt to and minister within a variety of cross-cultural contexts for extended periods of time.

Confronting the culture with the gospel of Jesus Christ and proclaiming His counter-cultural message of truth and grace to the end of developing full-time followers of Jesus and seeing local churches established within the target context.


1.This accounts for our desire to faithfully translate a text that is both verbally and plenarily inspired.
2. If the receptor language has a natural means to convey a particular semantic value contained in the Biblicallanguage text, especially as this relates to content words as opposed to function words, a faithful translator will seek to convey those individual nuances into the receptor language, but without forcing upon that language consistently awkward grammar or syntax. For instance, where the Greek regularly has “the Jesus said,” our English translation normally drops the article because this construction is not linguistically appropriate in English.
3. While a translator’s desire is to produce a translation that is readable and linguistically appropriate, it would be counterproductive to produce a Bible translation that exchanges key theological ideas for local ideas just because a theological idea does not yet exist within that culture. There are clear instances when a translator must coin a new word for that language in order to faithfully convey God’s Word within that culture.

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