I have been thinking about the use of mnemonic devices for the past few days, and how the beauty of ancient Greek (which often sings) is often lost in our English translations. My Greek professor from seminary gave me some guidance. Dr. Black serves on the ‘committee on translation’ for the International Standard Bible. The ISV is a project that is close to being finished. You might be thinking, ‘great…another Bible translation, thats all we need!’
Well, there are many reasons why I am excited about the ISV. In particular, while translating the Greek text these scholars have tried to retain the use of mnemonic devices in certain places. Let me give you a few examples;
Read this translation of Titus 1:12, “Liars ever, men of Crete, savage brutes that live to eat”.
Do you see the difference? Even more interesting, check out how the translators have retained the hymn like nature of Philippians 2:6-11.
In God’s own form existed he,
And shared with God equality,
Deemed nothing needed grasping.
Instead, poured out in emptiness,
A servant’s form did he possess,
A mortal man becoming.
In human form he chose to be,
And lived in all humility,
Death on a cross obeying.
Now lifted up by God to heaven,
A name above all others given,
This matchless name possessing.
And so, when Jesus’ name is called,
The knees of everyone will fall
Where’er they are residing.
Then every tongue in one accord,
Will say that Jesus Christ is Lord,
While God the Father praising.