How are we supposed to understand and approach Bible Translations? Some words that are common in today’s Christian vocabulary are not even present in the Hebrew Bible. Professor Muska elaborates on the challenges that Bible translators face in a fluid culture.
“Translation is a tricky thing. Sometimes when you don’t have a cultural equivalent to it.
“Bible translators around the world have run into these questions where, for example, they might be in a region of the world where they don’t have sheep. How do you translate the expression that Jesus is the Lamb of God? It just wouldn’t make any sense to the people.
“They have to come up with some kind of a cultural equivalent and still remain true to the teaching of the Scriptures. Sometimes they get a little inventive with those types of things.”
Translators operate in the tension of two opposing goals.
“They try to be as accurate as possible, to the Greek and Hebrew text of the Bible. They also try to express it in the most contemporary language of the day, so the meaning is up to date with the modern usage of language. If you step back for a minute, you realize that language is fluid; it’s always changing and evolving.”
It doesn’t take long for language to change, and the impacts can be felt outside of the Church. We can gain a better understanding by reviewing the modern language used in the world today.
“15 years ago if I said to you, ‘Hey after the show, Neil, I need to text you some information.’ We would have said, ‘What? What are you talking about text me?’
“We use language differently, words start to be used or their meaning changes and we have to keep the translations as much as possible in the current language of the day so it’s understandable. That’s what we want people to benefit from; they can understand what’s being said.”
This is why there has been extensive research to compile a variety of Bible translations for our benefit.
“The Bible translations we have today in English are just superbly accurate. There has so much work that’s gone into them… just read the first couple pages of the Bible where it talks about the editors and the committees and everything that goes into these translations; its dozens and dozens of scholars that collaborate, they have review boards, etc.
“These things are just incredible gifts to the church in the 21st century.”