Perhaps it’s because I turned fifty this year, but I’ve found myself musing on the way my interests have changed over the years. This was thrown into relief by a series of blog posts on how one should translate πίστις Χριστοῦ. This apparently simple Greek phrase could mean ‘faith in Christ’ or ‘the faithfullness of Christ’ or perhaps both. Obviously this is an important question for Bible translators. If you want to follow the discussions, you should probably start here and follow the links. As for me, I can’t be bothered. There was a time, when I was involved directly in translation when this sort of thing really got me excited, and I would have been delighted to follow all of the links and to get involved in the discussion (except that we didn’t have electricity or running water, much less the internet). But these days, I’m happy to leave this stuff to others. I’m glad to know that the experts are debating this sort of thing and I’m very happy to let them get on with it.
At this stage in life, I’m far more interested in how people who have no background in the Bible can be encouraged to interact with the narrative of Scripture and to encounter God through the story. Questions of translation accuracy are obviously important here, but they are not the only issues. The bottom line is that I would far rather someone read a bad translation (however you define that) than that they didn’t read a translation at all.
The other question that interests me is that of where my interests will lie in ten years time. I’ve never had the privilege of being able to concentrate on one are of study or interest for any great length of time. My post-graduate work was in biochemistry; and I’ve worked as part of a Bible translation team, a mission leader, a planning consultant and the head of a training school. I’ve been fascinated by translation, second language acquisition and latterl by missiology – where next? At the age of fifty, the question of what I will do when I’m grown up becomes ever more pressing.