"Why All the Translations?" is the question Denny Burk asks in the title of chapter 44 of Dembski & Licona's Evidence for God. It's a good question; it seems likely that we have more translations of the Bible than of any other ancient text (Beowulf, say, or the works of Chaucer, Homer, Plato, Omar Khayyám...). The only reason for this I can come up with is that many people have been dissatisfied with the extant translations and thought they could do better — and believed it was important to do better.
The third option — a paraphrase translation — isn't really a translation at all. Burk quotes Paul D. Wegner in The Bible in Translation, describing a paraphrase as a "free rendering or amplification of a passage, expression of its sense in other words."
All this concern over different translations cannot help but raise the suspicion that the real reason there are so many is that no-one knows for sure what the original really said, let alone what it meant.
Guest post: It will not be a teachable moment
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