Mikey's Reviews > The Amplified Bible: Unlocks subtle shades of Meaning
Basically representative of a literal "word-for-word" translation drawing on various previous English translations such as Wycliff and Tyndale as well as Bible dictionaries, lexicons, commentaries, etc. for amplification. Based on the American Standard Version of 1901.
The Amplified version says of itself:
"Not an attempt to duplicate what has been achieved by previous translators nor is it intended to be a substitute for other translations. Rather it's an attempt to go beyond the traditional "word-for-word" concept to bring out the richness of the Hebrew and Greek languages. Its purpose is to reveal, together with the single English word equivalent to each key Hebrew or Greek word, any other clarifying meanings that may be concealed by the traditional method."
I like the Amplified version because I love word studies. Unfortunately I only know one language… but I try to know it well. I enjoy reading dictionaries and thesauruses. I like looking up words and then looking up the synonyms to get a broader understanding of what the word means. I especially like etymology to understand what the word literally means as derived from other languages, as well as how it came to mean what it means today. I assume somewhat of a connection with Frances Siewert in that respect. What I mean by that is I really like the concept for the Amplified Bible and find myself applying it in my own writing when I look up words in the original languages and I believe others could benefit from a broader understanding of any given word.
Besides all that, in a group study when one reading from one translation and another from a different they say, “mine says...such and such” the amplified often has both synonyms. However, when I read aloud I usually skip over what is in brackets or parenthesis to make it track closer with other translations. I also don't find the bracketed items as far as "justified clarifying words not expressed in the original", to be of much use and I am at times even annoyed by them. I do wish there were more bracketed meanings of Greek and Hebrew names as I do find that very interesting and useful and is also very difficult to track down.
The Amplified version is not without problems or controversies, as most modern English versions. Most notably is it used as a reference Westcott and Hort's Greek New Testament of the Bible which was very obviously corrupted. Westcott and Hort followed the assumption that the Alexandrian manuscripts were better because they are older but also followed the Gnostic Heresies of Alexandria and the allegorical teachings of Origen. They denied Jesus’ deity, his virgin birth, his sinlessness, the literal and bodily resurrection, heaven, the Creation story; they supported Darwin, Denied the ‘fall’, the atonement, etc. Their Greek NT differed from the majority in 8,413 places. (Some minor additions but mostly using subtle deletions throughout that either change the meaning or basically strip them of any real significance on these major issues). Irenaeus in 156 AD wrote about the Gnostics who had their headquarters in Alexandria,” Wherefore they and their followers have betaken themselves to mutilating the Scriptures which they themselves have shortened.”
All that being said, I can't stand the arguments of the "King James or Authorized Version Only" crowd though. Don't get me wrong I love the King James Version and intend to study it diligently throughout my life but those that take such a hard stance in this regard seem to be of a very different mind then the dedicated and godly devoted individuals that undertook that work in the first place. In their original preface they stated regarding other previous translations,
"that we do not deny, nay we affirm and avow, that the very meanest translation of the Bible in English, set forth by men of our profession (for we have seen none of theirs of the whole Bible as yet) containeth the word of God, nay, is the word of God. As the Kings Speech which he uttered in Parliament, being translated into French, Dutch, Italian and Latin, is still the Kings Speech, though it be not interpreted by every Translator with the like grace, nor peradventure so fitly for phrase, nor so expressly for sense, every where. For it is confessed, that things are to take their denomination of the greater part; and a natural man could say, Verum vbi multa nitent in carmine, non ego paucis offendor maculis, &c. A man may be counted a virtuous man, though he have made many slips in his life, (else, there were none virtuous, for in many things we offend all) also a comely man and lovely, though he have some warts upon his hand, yea, not only freckles upon his face, but also scars. No cause therefore why the word translated should be denied to be the word, or forbidden to be current, notwithstanding that some imperfections and blemishes may be noted in the setting forth of it."
Again they say regarding notating variations in readings in the margin:
"They that are wise, had rather have their judgements at liberty in differences of readings, then to be captivated to one, when it may be the other."
Granted this is talking about very difficult areas that are clearly uncertain not about differences in doctrines and heretical views. However, the translators of the Authorized Version were not silent on this either. It just strikes me as very ironic when people supposedly honor the work of the translators of the Authorized Version so highly yet come across in their demenor sounding so much more akin to the detractors of this effort when it was originally undertaken. When they talk about wanting to burn every NIV such as here: Why Would Anyone Use the NIV or calling everyone that uses other translations idiots or deceived of the Devil on this page: Amplified Exposed, I wonder how they receive this from the original preface to the Authorized Version
"So, by the story of Ezrah, and the prophesie of Haggai it may be gathered, that the Temple built by Zerubbabel after the returne from Babylon, was by no meanes to bee compared to the former built by Solomon (for they that remembred the former, wept when they considered the later) notwithstanding, might this later either haue bene abhorred and forsaken by the Iewes, or prophaned by the Greeks? The like wee are to thinke of Translations. The translation of the Seuentie dissenteth from the Originall in many places, neither doeth it come neere it, for perspicuitie, grauitie, maiestie; yet which of the Apsotles did condemne it? Condemne it? Nay, the vsed it, (as it is apparent, and as Saint Hierome and most learned men doe confesse) which they would not haue done, nor by their example of vsing it, so grace and commend it to the Church, if it had bene vnworthy the appellation and name of the word of God. And whereas they vrge for their second defence of their vilifying and abusing of the English Bibles, or some pieces thereof, which they meete with, for that heretikes (forsooth) were the Authours of the translations, (heretikes they call vs by the same right that they call themselues Catholikes, both being wrong) wee marueile what diuinitie taught them so. Wee are sure Tertullian was of another minde: Ex personis probamus fidem, an ex fide personas? Doe we trie mens faith by their persons? We should trie their persons by their faith. Also S. Augustine was of an other minde: for he lighting vpon certaine rules made by Tychonius a Donatist, for the better vnderstanding of the word, was not ashamed to make vse of them, yes, to insert them into his owne booke, with giuing commendation to them so farre foorth as they were worthy to be commended, as is to be seene in S. Augustines third booke De doctrina Christiana. To be short, Origen, and the whole Church of God for certain hundred yeeres, were of an other minde? For they were so farre from treading vnder foote, (much more from burning) the Translation of Aquila a Proselite, that is, one that had turned Iew; of Symmachus, and Theodotion, both Ebionites, that is, most vile heretikes, that they ioyned them together with the Hebrew Originall, and the Translation of the Seuentie (as hath bene before signified out of Epiphanius) and set them forth openly to be considered of and perused by all. But we weary the vnlearned, who need not know so much, and trouble the learned, who know it already.(hide spoiler)]