On Bible Translations

There are many bible translations available, but they are all different - even among Catholic translations there are surprising differences! To fully appreciate scripture in the Catholic sense, it is necessary to look to the original texts. Fortunately you do not need to read Greek to do this -- a good Greek interlinear bible will be adequate for most research. Here are two good examples of how knowing the Greek text fully demonstrates Catholic teaching.

The first example concerns Mary. The "Hail Mary" is the prayer that most typifies Catholic devotion to Mary. People often ask where we find this in the bible. The first sentence "Hail Mary full of grace." is a literal translation from St. Jerome's Latin Vulgate bible. He wrote "Ave gratia plena. "Ave" is translated as the old English "hail", a term still used for greeting in some parts of our culture today -- boating for example. "Gratia plena" means full of grace. St. Jerome's translation was done in the late 4th century before a common bible was agreed upon by Christians. St Jerome translated from earlier Greek and Latin texts. The Greek phrase used is kecaritwmevnh translated as full of grace. The significance of being full of grace to a Catholic is to be without sin. (ref Acts 15:11 & Eph 2:5) St. Jerome's translation is well supported by most Greek bible dictionaries or interlinear bibles.

Another sentence often poorly translated is Romans 15:16. In this sentence St. Paul refers to his priestly ministry. The Greek word used is iJerourgou'nta which translates as performing sacred rites or priestly duties. A good Greek bible dictionary or interlinear will show this translate as "priestly ministry". The significance of this is that it shows the apostles took over the priestly role very early in Christianity. And it supports a New Testament priesthood -- in sharp contrast to what many Christians believe today.

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