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Opinion of Weymouth's Translation

I was recently asked what my opinion is of Weymouth's Translation. It is in the Public Domain so it is available on Internet Bible sites and various Bible software programs (see Bibles Online).

I have a few "test" verses I usually check when someone asks me my opinion of a Bible version. In responding to the request for my opinion, I saved the verses off of the above mentioned site. I was working on my handheld PC and the only version I have on it is the Literal Translation of the Bible (LITV). So I compared Weymouth to the LITV, and made a few comments. Below is this comparison and the comments I sent in response.

Matthew 2:10

WEY: When they saw the star, the sight filled them with intense joy.

LITV: And seeing the star, they rejoiced exceedingly [with] a great joy.

This is one of the two "test" verses I use in my article Four Different Translation Principles. The first half of Weymouth is a legitimate translation; but the second half, well, it far from a literal rendering. The words "the sight filled them" are not in the Greek text. And the grammatical construction known as a "cognate accusative" is completely lost. This construction refers to a verb and noun with the same root appearing together. The LITV retains it with "rejoice" and "joy."

Note also, the LITV offsets the word "with" in brackets as it is not actually in the Greek text but is added for clarity. Weymouth, however, does not offset this word. This pattern will be seen throughout these verses.

John 3:13

WEY: There is no one who has gone up to Heaven, but there is One who has come down from Heaven, namely the Son of Man whose home is in Heaven.

LITV: And no one has gone up into Heaven, except He having come down out of Heaven, the Son of Man who is in Heaven.

I usually check this verse to see what Greek text a version is using. The final phrase ("who is in heaven") is in the Textus Receptus (TR) and Majority Text (MT) but not in the Critical Text (CT). The phrase is important as it shows Jesus was still in heaven during His incarnation. Thus He was in heaven and on earth at the same time. As such, the verse becomes a proof-text for His omnipresence and hence His Deity.

By including this phase Weymouth appears to be following the TR/ MT. However, by adding the word "home" (which has no basis in the Greek text) he eliminates the omnipresence interpretation of the verse. It makes it sound like Jesus was merely "away from home" when He was on the earth rather than being in both places at the same time.

Acts 13:48

WEY: Acts 13:48 The Gentiles listened with delight and extolled the Lord's Message; and all who were pre-destined to the Life of the Ages believed.

LITV: And hearing, the nations rejoiced and glorified the Word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.

I check this verse to see if the version tries to eliminate "Calvinistic" verses. The second sentence was the passage of Scripture that began my "journey" into Calvinism. As I studied the verse I could see no way to avoid the implication that some (not all) at a time previous to Luke's writing "had been appointed" (perfect tense indicate a prior action that has continuing results to the present) "to eternal life."

It was these who had been so "appointed" (or "ordained" as the word can also be rendered) who believed, and only these. The logical implication was those who did not believe had not been so appointed. Some versions will try to evade this interpretation by mistranslating the phrase. The Living Bible, for instance, has " "as many as wanted eternal life" - which is not even close to the Greek text.

Weymouth, however, almost seems to go the other way in using "pre-destined." But "appointed" or "ordained" are more accurate renderings of the Greek word. Moreover, "Weymouth's "were" is a simple past and does not bring out the sense of the Greek perfect as well as "had been" does.

That said, the first sentence of the verse seems to be more of a paraphrase than a literal translation. So overall, his rendering of the verse is not that accurate.

1Corinthians 7:1

WEY: I now deal with the subjects mentioned in your letter. It is well for a man to abstain altogether from marriage.

LITV: But concerning what you wrote to me, [it is] good for a man not to touch a woman;

This is the second "test" verse I use in my article Four Different Translation Principles. As with most of the versions evaluated in that article, Weymouth cannot resist trying to interpret what Paul meant when he wrote "it is good for a man not to touch a woman" as the LITV correctly renders the Greek text. And Weymouth even re-writes the first half of the verse considerably.

1Timothy 3:16

WEY: And, beyond controversy, great is the mystery of our religion-- that Christ appeared in human form, and His claims justified by the Spirit, was seen by angels and proclaimed among Gentile nations, was believed on in the world, and received up again into glory.

LITV: And confessedly, great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in flesh, was justified in Spirit, was seen by angels, was proclaimed among nations, was believed on in [the] world, was taken up in glory.

I also check this verse to see what Greek text a version is following. The first word of the second sentence is "God" in the TR/ MT. This rendering makes this another proof-text for the Deity of Christ. The vast majority of the Greek manuscripts have this reading. The CT has "who" in it which causes this verse to cease to be a proof-text for Christ’ Deity. A handful of Alexandrian manuscripts have this reading. Also note, a couple of manuscripts have "which." However, NO manuscript has "Christ." So it is hard to tell what text Weymouth is following now.

Otherwise, Weymouth is again very "free" in his "translation." Phrases like "our religion" - "human form" and "His claims" are not in the Greek text. At best, they are paraphrases.

Conclusion:

Just based on these few verses, I would say my opinion of Weymouth's Translation is not that good. At times, Weymouth's renderings are so far from the Greek that it's hard to even know what Greek text he is following!

Bibliography:
Jay P. Green, Sr. Literal Translation of the Bible. LaFayette, IN: Sovereign Grace Publishers, 1976 - 1998.
Taylor, Kenneth. The Living Bible. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1971.

Opinion of Weymouth's Translation. Copyright 1999 by Gary F. Zeolla of Darkness to Light ministry (www.dtl.org).

The above article was posted on this Web site December 28, 1998.

Bible Versions Controversy: Various Versions
Bible Versions Controversy

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