Translating the Scriptures and the Gospel

The Continuing Conversion of the Church (The Gospel & Our Culture Series)

I’ve been rereading The Continuing Conversion of the Church, by Darrell Guder this week. It really is an excellent book which I strongly reccomend to anyone who has responsibility for thinking through the mission and role of the Church. This isn’t an easy book and it doesn’t lay out a twelve step programme of how to make your Church more effective. It does, however, give serious thought to the underlying nature of the Gospel and of Christian communities. This is a book for shaping your thoughts so that you can apply new insights to your situation, rather than a recipe book that gives you all of the answers.

One thing which I appreciate about Guder’s book is that he relates the importance of the translation of the Christian messge to the life of the local church. Translation isn’t just something we send people to exotic places to do, it is something we need to do in our own context as we seek to live the Christian life in a context very different from first Centuary Palestine.

I’m putting words in his mouth, but Guder seems to suggest that there is a difference between the translation of the Scriptures (which is what Sue and I do) and the translation of the Gospel (which we all should do).

The translation was more than mere (I’m not sure about the ‘mere’!) literal language conversion: it was a witness to Christ as expressed by persons of the receiving culture. It was the faith, the experienced relationship of faith, becoming event and relationship in a new cultural context.

Together with our colleagues, we translated the New Testament into Kouya, but the translation of the Gospel happens as Kouya Christians take hold of the message of Christ and live it out and pass it on in a truly Kouya way. I find this really exciting.

As ever, I’d really appreciate any comments you would like to leave on this post.

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