Sunday, July 15, 2007

Translations of the Bible


There is only one God and one truth. But that God, and that truth, are so vast that, within them are many varying perspectives. God does not like for everyone to think exactly alike. He wants us to use our reasoning-power to make up our own minds about most issues.

If God wanted us all to think and believe exactly alike, he would have produced a simple, crystal-clear set of statements, lucidly and simply explaining everything about the cosmos.

God loves diversity. That is why each and every fingerprint is different, and so is each and every brain. Also, God demonstrates His Love for diversity and variety in nature: There are fifty thousand types of butterfly, and forty thousand kinds of rose.

The Bible is a very ancient document. It has been through thousands of hands over the centuries. Even in its clearest, and most lucid, translation, it is still not always "crystal clear" when it comes to doctrines (teachings). For the truth is, all church-teachings are human-fabricated. No teaching, except the practice of Love, is clearly and obviously taught in the Bible. Each is the result of imperfect human observations and speculations. Each and every teaching is an interpretation of the Bible, not a "Biblical teaching"-- no matter what the claim!

Each word, in the original languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek) could have several accurate translations. These varied considerably, and a single word could alter the meaning of a whole sentence, or paragraph.

English is also a rich language, with many synonyms, each designed to express an often very subtle nuance of the meaning of a word. So, when you take the complex Greek texts (for the Christian Bible) and translate them into another complex language, English, you are going to end up with a variety of finer distinctions.

This does not necessarily mean "war" among translators. It simply enriches everyone to have such an excellent diversity, such a beautiful wealth of various ideas. The wise, and educated, student of the Bible uses several translations, versions, or renditions in her study. This provides a more well-rounded understanding of a verse.

One book that is very helpful to the serious student is called an "interlinear." This contains a Greek text, with an English translation beneath each line. This helps to bring the reader closer to the original.

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