For example, the most common word in the Bible is "Lord", which is used with even greater frequency than "God".
Many insights are gained by reviewing what terms appear, and which what frequency, in the Bible. Recognition that certain words are not used is also enlightening. For example, the word "exodus" is not used even once in the Old Testament. It appears only once in the New Testament, in the Letter to the Hebrews. Another term, "expatiate" (meaning to speak or write at length), does not appear in the entire Bible, not even once.
- "nation": English translations of the Bible frequently use the word "nation" in both the Old and New Testaments. Yet real "nations" did not exist until long after Christ. Is the term "nation" a mistranslation of a concept referring to a group of people, or a kingdom
- "slave" (44 times in the NT, including in reference to "sin") and "slavery" (6 times in the NT) (the better translation for "doulos" in John is as "servant" or "bond-servant")
These words are entirely missing from English translations of the Bible (ESV), and not mentioned, not even once:
- gamble and gambling (which could be used to describe the casting lots for Jesus's clothing)
- accountability (could be used in some parables, or to describe the Pharisees)
- obesity, overweight, fat (in the sense of overweight)
- future (missing from King James Version, but mentioned 14 times by the ESV, though only 3 times in its New Testament)
- Godspeed (but the KJV uses it as two words, "God speed")
- premonition (no such thing?)
- suicide (which could be used to describe the demon-possessed pigs, and Judas)
- exorcism (but Jewish "exorcists" are referenced at Acts 19:13) (could be used to describe the casting out of demons)
- cogent, coherent (modern translations tend to lack modern terms of logic or reason)
- open-minded and closed-minded, which could work as an improvement to the traditional "hardening one's heart"
- death penalty (used only once in ESV, in Acts 28:18, and in a disparaging sense there; missing from other versions)
- temptress (should be used in mark 9:22, for example)
- Devil (used 34 times in the New Testament, but not once in the Old Testament)
- atheist, agnostic
- ethic (as in "work ethic")
- gratitude (just once in ESV, in Acts 243), grateful (just once, in Hebrews), and ungrateful (just twice, in Luke and Timothy)
- captive, indentured servant, prisoner-of-war (more accurate words for ancient slavery; in Luke 4:18 the prophecy refers to "captives" rather than "slaves")
- profanity (no wonder so many people use it pervasively!)
- incumbent (could describe the Pharisees)
- publicity is missing, but the word smear is used
- absurd, fallacy, disingenuous, strawman (argumentative terms)
- impossibility (no such thing?)
- chastity, abstinence (only mention of abstinence refers to abstinence from food)
- censor, censorship (could use in dealing with Pharisees' attempt to silence Jesus)
- ostracize (could use in passages dealing with leprosy)
- intellectual (could use to refer to Pharisees and scribes)
- ostensibly (good potential use is Luke 3:23: Jesus was ostensibly the son of Joseph)
- rectify (a powerful English word that dates back to the 14th century, but not used by Bible translators)
- materialistic (works well in Luke 18:25, see translated version here)
- unique (originated in 1602, and descriptive of Jesus, yet not used even once in most New Testament translations; we use it in Luke 4)
- disorder (used only in the Old Testament by the KJV (5 times, including disorderly), and used only the New Testament by the ESV (2 times))
- selfish (used by the ESV only once in the Old Testament, and only twice in the New Testament)
- congruous, congruent (the KJV committees were deficient in mathematicians!)
- anxiety (not mentioned even once by the KJV, and mentioned only 8 times (including the plural form) by the ESV)
- surplus (a good conservative term, yet nowhere used in the ESV; good use in Luke 5:6 here)
- handicap (no mention, but works well in Luke 7:21), disability (only one reference in ESV)
- "caved in" (could be used in many places of wrongdoing, from Adam to Herod to Pontius Pilate)
Mistranslated New Testament Words?
It is claimed that over 100 words are mistranslated in the New Testament from the Greek. However, many of those mistranslations are due to the inadequacy of the Greek, as a powerful a language as it was, to express the novel ideas and concepts of Christianity.
- How should one translate certain references to God in Genesis? In Genesis 2:18, most versions translate the reference as "Lord God," but less modern versions use "Yahweh God " or "Jehovah God." "Jehovah" has fallen into disfavor as a translation in modern versions.
- This analysis relies heavily on the English Standard Version, which is notable for literal word-for-word translation style. This makes it most suitable to a word-based analysis.
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