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Friday, May 26, 2006

The Bible wasn't written to you

Lingamish has blogged that The Bible wasn't written to you. It is a powerful and passionate post. The implications for accurate Bible translation are important. For example, we should not translate the Bible as if it were written to us. We should not make any passage say more or less than it was meant to say for its original audience. We should not make translation of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) sound more "Christian". We should just translate the text. The primacy of the text itself was emphasized at the graduation ceremonies of our son-in-law last Sunday where he received his M.A. in Biblical and cognate languages. One of the phrases that stuck with me from one of the speeches at the graduation was "Text trumps interpretation."

Here are the two concluding paragraphs from the post by Lingamish. We should hear them well. We will translate and understand the Bible more accurately if we do.
God has preserved these messages over many centuries and brought it into your language. It is worth the trouble to understand his message on his terms. Its not a grab bag of moralisms, sound bites or bumper-sticker sayings. The Bible means something but not necessarily what you think it does. The truth is there, but truth taken out of context is destroyed or can be turned into a lie. Read it in the original packaging. Usually that means reading an entire letter, or an entire discourse, or a major section of a book. Read it and read it again. Ask questions about the text. Who wrote it to whom? What is the occasion of the letter? Is the message of this text universal or was it addressing a specific person or situation? If it was written to a specific person or situation, is there an indirect application of this truth for your life?

The Bible wasn't written to you, but it was written for you. Read it the right way and you'll hear the voice of God.
How do you think our Bible translations might be different if we fully took to heart what Lingamish has written?

(HT: Kouya Chronicle)


At Fri May 26, 09:52:00 AM, Blogger lingamish said...

Thanks, Wayne for the plug. I'm really flattered by your comments and will possibly have to print out your post and show it to my friends. Seriously though, you made my day. Thanks for getting me some traffic!

That post is based on ideas in the book "Reading the Bible for all its worth." Of course, my post is mercifully shorter and free.

Have a great weekend.

At Fri May 26, 01:34:00 PM, Blogger Todd said...

Very important ideas, thanks.


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