No. 65 - 07th January 2018

Just before Christmas, I received a legal document from Germany. Unfortunately, it was all in German. Full of technical language and way beyond my limited ability. So I decided to try and do an automatic translation. The document was on paper, so first I had to scan it into my computer, then find somewhere online that would do the translation. When everything was in place, I pressed the button and voila! Out came the translation. It was amazing. However, when I tried to read the document, I wasn’t a lot wiser. I could see it was important, but some of the words didn’t translate at all and others were quite obviously wrong. Not at all helpful when you’re dealing with a legal document. I needed something that would catch the real meaning of the text and put it truthfully into the sort of English that I could understand.

The translators of the Bible must have had the same problem. They were starting with languages that no one speaks any more, so when they came across a word they didn’t understand, they had to search through all sorts of other ancient literature to see if they could find the same word and how it was being used in a different context.

To add to their problems, the Bible is actually a collection of books by 40 different authors who were writing in Greek or Hebrew and Aramaic over a period of about 1500 years. And we know how languages can change over such a long time. Not an easy task. The thing is, the people who wrote these books were men and women who had given themselves over to serving God and were really in touch with what He was saying to them and to the nation. That’s why it was so important to get an accurate translation. Not just word for word, but written in a way that we can all understand and appreciate what God is saying to us. They wanted to capture the very heart of the message in our own language. The Apostle Paul described all Scripture as God-breathed. Rather like a musician who blows through a wind instrument to produce a tune. He can take any instrument and they all have a different sound, but they still play the same tune. Well, that’s the Bible. God breathing the same tune through all those different people. It’s an amazing book.

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