God Didn't Say That

Bible Translations and Mistranslations

Why Most Bible Translations are So Bad (And Why the Next Generation Should Care)

This past July I had the pleasure of presenting at a TEDx conference in East Hampton, the broad theme of which was “The Next Generation.”

So I offered an 18-minute segment on Bible translation, on what so often goes wrong with translations, and on how to avoid the common mistakes. I couched these topics in the broader theme of why the Bible is important for the next generation.

The edited version of my presentation is available here and on YouTube:

After watching it, you’ll be able to answer these questions:

  1. Why is the King James Version (“KJV”) so important for understanding Bible translation today?
  2. What are the three most common ways of understanding ancient languages?
  3. Why don’t those ways work? How do we know? And what are some consequences?
  4. What is a better approach? Again, how do we know?
  5. Why are the Ten Commandments still uniquely relevant?
  6. What does all of this have to do with supermarkets?

I’ve touched on many of these themes in individual blog posts here, and I go through all of them (except for the supermarkets) in And God Said: How Translations Conceal the Bible’s Original Meaning, but here’s a compact and relatively complete introduction. Enjoy!

And then take a look at the other presentations.

I also want to express my thanks to Left of Frame Pictures for producing the videos.


September 14, 2011 - Posted by | translation theory, Translation Traps, video | , , , , , ,


  1. Doctor Joel, this was thoroughly enjoyable, and informative.

    I think the Open School Room is proud of how you turned out!

    But God, sadly, is still very angry, ANGRY, Angry!!!!! at you, as well as angry at everybody else!

    But a great talk!

    Comment by bibleshockers | September 14, 2011

  2. I really enjoyed this. Is the complete presentation somewhere or is that “in person” when your visiting? 🙂

    Comment by nwroadrat | December 15, 2011

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