Myths and Bible Translation
Dan Wallace has a list of Five More Myths about Bible translation. In the space of a short article, he manages to take on Dan Brown, Islamic views of textual transmission and those people who think that verses printed in red are Jesus’ exact words. Good stuff in a small space.
Meanwhile, in a post which will comfort some and frustrate others, Joel Hoffman talks about the Mythical Value of Reading the Bible in the Original languages.
More generally, the notion that studying Greek (or Hebrew) leads to a better understanding of the original texts is predicated on the idea that a student can do better than the professional translators. While, unfortunately, Bible translations tend to be of lower quality than other translations, they are still good enough that it’s pretty hard for all but the most expert students of Greek and Hebrew to find a true mistake.
What usually happens instead is that a professional translation takes a variety of factors into account while the student misses some of the nuances. Most people, unless they intend to become an expert, will understand the Bible better in translation. Worse, because of their limited knowledge, they’ll think their own reading is better than the accepted translations. This is a case of the clichéd way in which a little knowledge is dangerous.
Simon, meanwhile has reveals the shocking truth that the Bible isn’t new to him in any language:
I have heard many pastors and preachers tell of how much they love reading the Bible, how it’s a living word to them, and how every time they read it, it comes alive to them and they get something new and fresh from it. I have a dirty secret; that doesn’t happen for me. Yes, I love reading the Bible, but what generally happens is that I pick it up, and I go: I know this. I’ve read it, many many times, forward and backwards, in English and Japanese, Greek and Hebrew. This is not new information for me.
But I’m not sure that I actually need a fresh revelation right now. And I’m not sure that’s what God wants for me either. I don’t think God wants me to come up with a new, creative interpretation of the parable of the Good Samaritan; he just wants me to love my neighbour. I don’t think I need to notice something new about going into the world and making disciples of all nations; I just need to go, and do it.
Finally in this section, Mark and Laura Ward reveal the fallacy that lies behind some of the arguments used by proponents of the King James Only movement.
A Faith to Live By gives us the extraordinary words with which Adoniram Judson asked his future father in law for his daughter’s hand in marriage. In rather more colourful language, Jamie gives her advice to anyone who is thinking about becoming a missionary (advice, I heartily endorse). Basically, Jamie says, start off by getting a real job:
A real job will teach you to live on a real budget. Because if you say to your real boss, “Hey, can I have some more money for a new car this week?” They’ll say “Um…No.” And then you’ll have to save your money, like a normal person, and buy the car later. Or not buy the car. … I know. It’s cRaZy!
A real job will help you learn not to be an entitled, self-righteous bunghole. Because if you act like that at a real job, they will kick your ass to the curb.
A real job will help you understand time management. Because, your real schedule will not likely allow you to spend three hours every Friday afternoon with your friends or your kids, – even if you call it “discipleship” on Facebook. Actually, that reminds me, your real job won’t let you call any time you spend on Facebook “work”. Not “support development”, not “communication”, not “team building”… Nope. No matter how you say it, Real Job does not approve.
A Bit of Controversy
Mark Woodward has some interesting thoughts on the subject of the Good News for the Poor.
What is the good news for the Bajaj driver, who works long hours to earn more than the $60 a month he pays to rent his vehicle, so he can make ends meet? What about the porter working in an electronics store, earning $50 a month carrying equipment around? What is the good news for the young men at the bus terminal, making small change packing bags into buses and selling phone credit?
Ben Tredaway, a recent University Graduate has some challenging things to say about evangelism. I don’t agree with all he has to say, but it’s well worth a read.
I’ll finish off with this great picture from Exploring Our Matrix.