I am deeply grateful for the life and ministry of Bill Mounce. His Greek grammar was my introduction to biblical Greek as a sophomore at Wheaton College in 1998, and after using others over the years I still commend his as the best by far. I am also thankful for his work with Crossway and the English Standard Version Translation Oversight Committee in the early years of the ESV, as well as his support of the Tyndale House Greek New Testament that Crossway has published. So this brief interaction with him on Bible translation is offered out of a personal context of respect and gratitude.
In a recent Themelios article, Mounce considers the relationship between an evangelical view of inspiration and translation theory, and in the course of the article favors a “functional equivalence” translation philosophy as opposed to formal equivalence. As someone committed to the translation philosophy he critiques, perhaps it would be useful to Themelios readers for me to offer a brief response.
In this short reflection I’ll sketch out a handful of areas of agreement and then three points of disagreement. I won’t engage all the issues relevant to this discussion but only a few that Mounce raises in his essay.