The New Testament Pinoy Version May Not Be So Shocking After All.

Is the New Testament Pinoy Version really shocking and desecrating? Some people who do not endorse the New Testament Pinoy Version barely understand that only the next generation will say the choice of words used by the new version is not “holy.” The reason behind it is they are already used to the present Bible version they are presently reading for many years. Are you aware that the King James Version enjoyed at least three hundred years of being the authorized version of the Bible? Several old-timer Christians reacted when many new Bible versions were published. They fear that their fave Bible version which is at “par” with the original inspired manuscripts will be dethroned. And they do not like what the modern translators did. Since for them it is desecrating to replace the “only” Bible they knew for three centuries. This is not being aware that languages change and evolve over a number of decades.

If we go back to Bible history, the Hebrew language was not used as a language as early as the exilic or post-exilic period (see Neh. 13:24). Alexander the Great invaded most of the ancient Near East countries. As a result, the koine Greek language almost took over the Hebrew language that it was never used and almost forgotten by their young people during that time. Then the old Jewish people did something drastic to make the next generation understand the Old Testament. In this way, they will be reaching their young people. They choose at least 72 of their best Hebrew scholars to begin a project that will translate the Hebrew Old Testament to the Greek Septuagint during the time of Ptolemy II Philadelphus (286-246 BC). But of course, the task of translating is without a critic who checks on the words they use. This was the Greek translation of the Old Testament that Jesus and the disciples were quoting during the New Testament times. 

There is nothing wrong if we translate the Bible to reach the language of the next generation. The most important thing is its faithfulness to the language of the New Testament manuscripts.  

For some, the choice of words of the New Testament Pinoy Version translator seems “entertainment” and “unholy” because it’s not normally used by Filipino adults. But “holiness” is not measured on what choice of words we need to use to convey the meaning of the passage. For example, in the Hebrew Scriptures, it says in Exodus 24:9-10, “Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up and saw the God of Israel.” Now in the Septuagint, this becomes “They saw the place where the God of Israel stood.” The question is which is holier between the two statements at that time? In Exodus 15:3 “The Lord is a warrior” becomes “The Lord is one who crushes wars.” Again, the question is which do you think is more “respectable” and “holy” for the people at that time? Probably for us, there is no difference. But for them, this was surely an issue. Surprisingly Jesus and the apostles never pointed out these issues during their ministry time despite knowing the fact that they have the translation in their hands. Admittedly, we are free to translate the Scripture as long as it still reflects the truth of the original word. 

In Galatians 1:6, the Greek θαυμαζω is literally “to wonder” in the negative sense. And this Greek word was translated in many ways by various versions like “astonished (ESV, NIV), “marvel (KJV), “surprised” (GW), “shocked” (CEV), “amazed” (NASB, HCSB), and “sobrang na-shock” in the Pinoy Version. Is there a difference? There is none, except probably the adult Filipinos will say, “I was surprised” but for the young Pinoy Millennials, they will say “Sobrang na-shock ako sa inyo.” 

It’s easy to make a sweeping judgment especially if one is not familiar with the biblical languages but it’s another thing to study the Greek words which our sincere Bible translators did for many years. I take my hat off to the Philippine Bible Society who has been providing the Filipinos with the Bible for more than 120 years, and our numerous untiring Filipino Bible scholars who are faithfully translating the Scriptures’ languages into many Filipino dialects. 

Everything in the Scriptures is God’s Word. All of it is useful for teaching and helping people and for correcting them and showing them how to live. The Scriptures train God’s servants to do all kinds of good deeds. – 2 Timothy 3:16-17, CEV

2 thoughts on “The New Testament Pinoy Version May Not Be So Shocking After All.

  1. my 2cents thoughts.

    regardless of which version you are reading. the important is … we understand the thought of the (bible) story.

    in the long run, while the pastor is teaching and uses the “holy” version, i beleive the listener (as he grow witj the Lord) will wonder and eventually seek for the comparison of version.

    anyways…. reading “unholy” version will not separate from the love of God.☺

    many thanks

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. It is true that we need to understand the thought of what the writer of the Scripture conveys. But this is not at the expense of compromising the very literal words used by the writers. In translating the Bible, the translator’s task is to convey the actual meaning of the Scripture without departing from the original word so as not to misrepresent the thoughts of the biblical writer.

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