Friday, 28 March 2014

Bible bullet points

The Bible really needs bullet points. Of course, they weren't in the original, but neither were such modern refinements as paragraphs, or speech marks, or vowels (in Hebrew), or even spaces between words (I think). But part of translation is expressing what is said in the format used in the language being translated into. And in modern English, when you want to get a list over clearly, you use bullet points.

I've just been typing out this verse for the church diary - doesn't it work so much better with bullets?
...what I received I passed on to you as of first importance:
  • that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
  • that he was buried,
  • that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
  • and that he appeared...

I've often thought the same of Ephesians 1. Apparently in Greek it's one sentence - but you can't have a sentence that long in English! Some Bibles even split it into paragraphs, which makes it more digestible, but even more obscures the fact that it all links back to the 'for' in v4. But you can have a huge long sentence like that in English if you bullet it:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For:
  • He chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.
    In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will –  to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
  • In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.
  • With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfilment – to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
  • In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.
  • And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of his glory.
I think this kind of thing would make the Bible much more accessible to people. Not by changing it, but by actually getting closer to the original.


Fiona Mowat said...

Yes! Makes so much sense. Looking forward to the KMV coming out soon.😀

Kirsty said...

When I translate the Bible (in an alternate reality where I have the necessary skills) it will be very unusual :-) But the best translation ever, of course.

Kirsty said...

And it won't have 'V' in its name. I'd prefer 'T' for translation.

Kirsty said...

Actually, that first one would be better without all the 'that's and 'and'. Because the bullet says those things.

Worshipper Tom said...

I like this very much. It would also help with reading out loud I think.

Kirsty said...

Good point.

There's one of the translations (CEV) that is written specifically for reading out loud. Makes a lot of sense - that's how the Bible was mostly used originally anyway.