As hard as it is to believe, Jesus did not speak with a red tongue or use ‘thee’ and ‘thou’ every time. In fact our “Holy Bible” is actually an anthology of books. Those books written prior to AD (Old Testament) were written in Hebrew (and translated into Greek from about 250-50BC – Septuagint). The writings in the New Testament were written in Greek during the first century AD (from about 40-90AD).
The argument is often made that because of the time since, changes have been made in the re-telling, especially for political purposes around the time of Emperor Constantine (c300AD). But there is sufficient evidence to totally disprove that theory and to accept the original language manuscripts as accurate.
A second problem that arises is that of ‘translation’ from the original languages into our modern languages so that we can access God’s word. As with any translating from one language to another, certain issues arise, such as being able to do a direct translation of a particular meaning. Some concepts in one do not easily translate into another. For example, “shalom” in Hebrew means more than ‘peace or bless’ in English.
Another problem is translating concepts 2000 years or more old, and from a different culture – a rite of passage, mindset, custom, or concept familiar in the Middle East in the first century AD may not directly translate to a comparable alternative in the modern 21st century.
It is therefore the art of the translators to attempt to give a ‘best fit’ translation, according to their understanding. For example, if the translator believes God is wrathful, then his translation will mirror that belief. On the other hand a translator believing ‘God is Love’ will translate accordingly.
Example: 2 Timothy 3:16 (NKJV)
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,”
Please note that in the above quote from the NKJV the words ‘is’ are in italics. This indicates that these are not part of the original manuscripts, but have been added by the translators (according to their understanding) to add fluency to the translation. Having said that, try reading the verse without the added ‘is’. The second ‘is’ is helpful, but the removal of the first ‘is’ gives a different understanding of the scripture. We then read, “All scripture given by inspiration of God ….”, which implies that it is possible that some of our scriptures may indeed not be inspired by God. Then the problem becomes what are the truly inspired parts of our Bibles? Thus comes the need for discernment, which is helped by knowing the true essence of God and His plan. Those aspects of the scriptures which portray (or at least seem to portray) concepts contrary to the essence and plan are then to be held as suspect.
A different understanding of this verse is given in the Mirror Bible translation from a different understanding of the true nature of God and His plan. “Jesus Christ and his work of salvation is the theme of scripture. The value of scripture in its most complete context is always found in God’s prophetic voice inspiring a thorough education in the revelation of righteousness! This is what carries the breath of God and gives substance and proof to accurately gauge what is being taught.”
Another problem of course is always the understanding of the reader. As we come to read, do we already have an understanding that God is vengeful, or that He is loving? Does Jesus save humanity or condemn us to eternal hell? And thus we have differing doctrines and denominations. But what is true? Call on the Holy Spirit to lead you into all truth (John 16:13). It may be difficult, even painful at times, after all, there is nothing more difficult than having a new paradigm.
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