28 When English changes
Challenges in the technique of translation.
Translation is always a challenge. All so often a choice has to be made between synonyms, and synonyms never cover exactly the same ground. Compare the words pastor, minister, priest and preacher. In other cases it is a struggle to translate when the receiver language does not have a word with the same content as the one in the source language. Sometimes the grammar or words have to be altered to convey the same message. Words also lose their meaning or even take up a complete new meaning to the ordinary person. Consider the 1611 King James translation of James 2:3: “And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing …”
Even in modern languages it is sometimes difficult to translate from one language to another if one tries to keep as near as possible to a word for word translation, as can be seen with translations between for instance English into French or German and visa versa.
What then should our attitude be concerning the different translations or versions?
The more versions we use in honesty, the better.
Anyone who seeks God in sincerity will find Him, whichever Bible one uses. God looks at the heart. Therefore James 4:8 ensures us: “Come near to God and he will come near to you. ” The Lord had already given the same assurance back in 2 Cron.15:15: “All Judah rejoiced about the oath because they had sworn it wholeheartedly. They sought God eagerly, and he was found by them. So the LORD gave them rest on every side. “ Even through Jeremiah the Lord made the same promise: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the LORD …” (Jer.29:14)
That variations happened during the transportation of the New Testament through the ages is a fact. Yet when we compare the Bible with any other antique document, the Bible is the document with the least variations, and the one with the greatest possibility to be reconstructed to the original. God himself guards over his word and his children.
To cast suspicion over a certain translation or concoct some conspiracy theory has no value; rather look at the facts objectively.
Then take your Bible with confidence in hand, study it and find God in it. Keep at it until you reach a living relationship with the Triune God.