Lost in Translation

March 19th, 2010 | By Ian and Dominique Metcalfe | Category: Bibles Direct Latest

When I was seven years old I wrote to Vivian Ridler, the very distinguished printer to the University Press at Oxford, to tell him that I had found a printing mistake in one of his Bibles. I had an ulterior motive; in those days if you were the first person to find an error in a Bible text you could win £5, a princely sum for a small boy then.

The Great Man replied kindly that he was well aware of the printing error and it had been corrected in reprints ever since. I missed out on my reward but I had done my duty to God and the Queen, whose printer Mr Ridler was.

Two years ago a shocked Allan customer found a ‘mistake’ in one of our KJV Bibles. It came in Matthew 26 v. 73 and concerned the word ‘bewrayeth’ which surely, she said, must be a misprint, especially since the chapter is about Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s denial.  Peter’s speech bewrayed him. As we no longer speak or write King James English (did they ever?) it is understandable that bewray and betray might get confused.  But they do mean different things and bewrayeth ( to expose)  is the correct rendering. I survived the berating (quite another meaning) of the customer’s shock and horror and wrote back, Ridler-like, that all was truly well with the KJV text in her Allan Bible.

Which all goes to show the value of modern translations of the Bible, in addition to the traditional KJV.   Our words may change and drop out of use, but God’s Word is unchanging and cannot be denied. The translator’s challenge is to make the Bible’s timeless truth come alive for every new generation in today’s language.

A case then of bewraying in action – bringing to light, exposing  the truth of God for us  in the Bible.


PS   Thank you for all your recent comments! I’ve now picked the Allan crimson Highland goatkin shade. It’s a cross between scarlet and burgundy and looks very rich in tone.

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