Wednesday, February 16, 2011

As Far As It Is Translated Correctly

We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly
8th Article of Faith
As a teenager, I got the impression at church that the Bible was inferior to other works of scripture. I don't recall anyone saying it outright, but I definitely picked up on that subtext. This bothered me. I have always felt the Spirit while reading the Bible, and I developed a testimony of its truth and divinity long before I joined the church.

Some people consider the phrase "as far as it is translated correctly" to be a limiting phrase, i.e. that the Bible is substandard. I see it, however, as an expanding phrase. We use the King James translation at church. I like the language in the KJV. It's beautiful in a way that other translations sometimes are not. However, other translations can offer greater clarity.

I've done translation of non-religious writing, and in the process, I realized that there is often more than one right way to render a phrase in another language. In that instance, each one is a correct translation and it comes down to an editorial decision of the translator. It works that way with the Bible, too.

Take, for example, 1 John 4:8:

"He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love." -King James Version
"He who does not love does not know God, for God is love." -New King James Version
"The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love." -New American Standard Bible
"Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." -New International Version

They're all saying the same thing with slightly different words. So, a proper reading of the 8th Article of Faith would not say "The Bible is less the word of God than the other standard works." A proper reading would say "The KJV is the word of God, the NKJV is the word of God, the NASB is the word of God, the NIV is the word of God, the Bible in another language is the word of God, etc."

By Common Consent has a post about the use of the KJV at church.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Parable of the Gazelle

I'm still here! I have lots of thoughts that I would love to get down on paper (well, pixels, anyway), but I've been swamped. Hopefully this weekend I'll have time to say stuff.

An interesting thing happened on Tuesday. One of my friends posted a parable on her Facebook page that I had never heard before. I filed it away in my brain as something interesting and worth thinking about. Then I rushed off to work for a big meeting. At the meeting, the presenter began his lecture with the exact same story. Message received!

Here's the story:
In Africa, a gazelle wakes up in the morning knowing that in order to avoid being eaten, it must outrun the fastest lion. A lion wakes up in the morning knowing that in order to avoid starvation, it must outrun the slowest gazelle. So, it doesn't matter whether you're a gazelle or a lion, when the sun comes up, you had better be running.
I'm not sure if I'm a lion or a gazelle, but I do know that I'm a bit tired of running. Fortunately, God has a promise for the weary:
Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Isaiah 40:30-31
The first thing that stands out to me is that it's okay to be tired. There's nothing wrong with me for feeling like life is just a bit too overwhelming right now. The next thing that stands out is that by waiting on the Lord (or as it says in other translations, having hope in the Lord), I can be strengthened. I still have to run, but I won't be weary while doing so.