Book Review;Understanding English Bible Translation by Leland Ryken


I recently enjoyed reading Understanding English Bible Translation by Leland Ryken. It was a book that I had been given from the publisher while at Shepherd’s Conference in Southern California earlier this year. I mention that because this book was a surprising read. Having finished another book I looked to my bookshelf for considerations on what to read next and this one seemed it could be interesting, I judged the book by its cover primarily (that is a underhanded shout out to Crossway Books). As I’ve said it was an enjoyable read.

Being that I am only now introduced to the issue of English Bible translation I am going to refrain from trying to summarize the contents of the book. Suffice it to say my eyes have been opened to a controversy between two rival translation philosophies and my comprehension of what a good English translation should be has been drastically increased.

One practical outcome of reading this book actually caught me by surprise. I found myself considering whether or not a children’s bible translation would be beneficial to my  young sons and I found that reading the preface I could make sense of what the translators were saying about their translation. For me this was and exciting new skill I had acquired by way of Ryken’s book. I credit this book with giving me a new ability to better shepherd my family with God’s word.

Just shy of 200 pages this book is as fun to read as it is informative. I would have never guessed it from the title but Leland Ryken does a wonderful job of taking a highly technical subject and delivers it with urgency and excitement. From a brief history of how we got the English translation to thrusting us into the current classes of philosophies of translation Ryken informs and presents his case in a fast passed way that engages your mind right to the very end.

I highly recommend this book to anyone with pleasure.

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