The Bible Translation
This page details three topics concerning Bible Translation;
- The belief position of the BSM
- The aim of the translation
- The basis of Bible translation
The belief position of BSM
The translators hold to beliefs of the Reformation which were expressed as:
- Sola Scriptura (the Bible alone is the basis of all)
- Sola Fide (God’s salvation is received through faith alone)
- Sola Gratia (God’s salvation is the product of God’s grace alone)
- Solus Christus (Salvation is the result of the work of Christ alone)
- Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God alone is the aim)
The translators also maintain the beliefs expressed in the London Confession of 1689. This includes the statements that God is Trinity, that the Bible is wholly inspired by God and is without error as originally given, and is completely sufficient for saving faith in Christ. See also the Belief Statement of Bible Society of Mongolia.
As Martin Luther did in his translation of the Bible Biblia die gantze Heilige Schrifft Deudsch published in 1534, in Wittenberg, Germany, this BSM translation uses idiomatic language and aims to give the reader the meaning rather than just the form of the text in Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek. The translators of this Bible subscribe to the statement of the Westminster Confession of 1647 that the scriptures are to be translated into the ‘vulgar tongue’ (the language commonly spoken).
The Aim of the Translation
The aim of the translators is to provide a readable, comprehensive Bible translation in acceptable modern Mongolian retaining accuracy and faithfulness to the Biblical text. It was most important that the meaning of the Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek text should be correctly expressed in Mongolian. The translators were therefore particularly careful to avoid error and also to retain the genre of the text of the original writers.
It should be noted that the aim was not to produce a word for word formal correspondence translation, because when translating from one language to another, the way in which meaning is expressed differs between languages and a word for word translation can often give a very different meaning from that of the original. In order to ensure that the meaning did not deviate from that of the original, meticulous attention was paid to examining meaning in the era of the Biblical text; the culture at that time, what a particular word meant at that time and to find ways of expressing that accurately in modern Mongolian. Terms such as those from sixteenth century Mongolian Buddhism have very different meanings and are not faithful to the meaning of the Bible so these were rejected as unfaithful to the Biblical text. The translators made every endeavour to use modern meaningful expressions without loss of style. The aim has been that the resulting translation would be reliable and accurate, yet easy for readers to read in private, and also for the public worship of God.
The Basis of this translation
The text used for the Old Testament was based on that used by the Masoretes between 500 -1000 AD. The Dead Sea Scrolls, the Samaritan text of the Pentateuch, the Greek Septuagint (LXX), the Latin Vulgate, the Syrian Peshita and the Hebrew Targum, Juxta Hebraica of Jerome, and the books of Akulla, Symmachus and Theodotian at times clarified the meaning of the Hebrew text when unclear.
For the New Testament, the Nestle Aland text was used. Wycliffe Bible Translators and United Bible Societies accept that minor copying errors have gradually arisen in Biblical texts due to the fact that they were copied by hand many times. Thus, from the sixteenth century European scholars have examined the eleventh to thirteenth century texts in order to establish what the text would have originally said. The result was the collection known as Textus Receptus. However, from the middle of the nineteenth century texts were found which seemed more reliable and which dated from even the third and fourth centuries. Most scholars view these as genuine Biblical texts. The result has been the Nestle Aland collection which is held by many to be nearest to the original text. Bible translations into numerous languages mainly use this text or variants of it.
Of all the documents relating to the early history and culture of mankind, the highest number of extant copies of the original is of the New Testament. When a word differs across various ancient copies the choice of the correct word is made on methods agreed by the majority of Biblical scholars. In this translation, when Textus Receptus has material which is absent from Nestle-Aland, the material is inserted and placed within square brackets [ ]. This means that those words are missing from various ancient texts. The same brackets are also used in the Old and New Testaments where there is a textual question as to the words within them.
This translation follows the principles of translation agreed to by the International Forum of Bible Agencies. This Forum is comprised of those who are in joint agreement on Bible translation into many languages across the world. Their website (www.ifoba.com) provides more information.