Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Implicit Theology of Using Translations

If you're interested, a quick glimpse into one discussion in one of my classes:



Susan Moore said...

Part one of two.
Oh, now THAT explains the differences in the five English translations I use (KJV, NKJV, NIV, ESV, NAB). When I study The Common Language I have them all lined up, then I look at the word in the original language, too.
God intended His message to be unchanged, that would insure congruency among the 'frog-dissectors' (the ones who study and compare cross-cuts of Scripture, generally through inductive Bible study). But He also intended specific words to go unchanged, that would insure congruency within The Common Language (the longitudinal study of the Bible).
For instance (this is the short version), in my study the word 'seed' is used as the Hebrew 'Zera' in Genesis 1:29, when God provides physical, life-supporting food for mankind in the form of seed-bearing plants and trees with fruit with seed in it.
Later the same word for seed, 'zera' is used in Genesis 12:7, but God has given a spiritual meaning to the word 'seed', as God promises to provide a nation to Abram's seed (offspring). In Genesis 17:7-10 God continues to promise provision and longevity to Abraham's seed. In Genesis 21:12 God informs Abraham those promises will specifically come through his son, Isaac.
In Genesis 26:3-4 and 24, the word 'zera' is used in its spiritual meaning to Isaac to refer to his offspring, Jacob. And in Genesis 28:4 and 14, and 32:13 the same word is used to Jacob regarding His offspring.
Although the language changes to Greek in Galatians, Paul helps us make the new testament connection in 3:16 (NIV), "The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say, 'and to seeds', meaning many people, but 'and to your seed' meaning one person, who is Christ."
Earlier in time Jesus, Himself, supported that understanding by teaching the seed as the Word, or the Word of God (Matt. 13:19-23, Luke 8:11). Jesus later speaks prophetically as He refers to His risen self as He states, "The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man" (Matt. 13:37), and informs us that the good seed refers to the people of the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 13:38).
John 1 begins with describing Jesus as the eternal Word. He further explains in 1 John 3:9, "No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God." We know that Jesus went back to heaven so that He could send His Spirit to indwell us to, among other things, remind us of The Word.

Susan Moore said...

Part two of two.
This process of accepting the Word in us, our consuming of the Word and simultaneous emitting of His Spirit in us, is summed up very nicely in 1 Peter 1:23, "For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring Word of God."
So we have the word seed first meaning the physical food we eat, then changing to mean the person of Christ who is the sower of the truth, then the Word of Truth who is Christ and also the seed of Christ who becomes indwelled in His believers. Christ is both the seed and the sower of the seed. And we who have consumed His seed, are His seed and His sowers of His seed, too. We are then re-created in His image. This whole process begins in Genesis 1, when we understand that God is the sole provider of what food will save our lives and grow us. We learn in Genesis 1 and 2 that we are to tend HIs garden and walk with Him in peace.
The longitudinal understanding of the Bible, The Common Language as I call it, is best revealed in the KJV. The other English versions dilute out the elements of God's creation and instead use other 'modern' words. In my mind, the ESV is the worst offender. After Genesis 1 the word 'seed' is changed to 'offspring' throughout the discussions with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and also in Galatians. But then in 1 Peter and 1 John the word 'seed' is abruptly used, which by then makes no sense and seems merely poetic. Because it is replaced by 'offspring' in Genesis, the whole longitudinal beauty of the Word is lost. No wonder some Christians do not study the old testament, because depending on which translation they use there is no connection in the language of God between the two testaments.
The connection remains in the original languages and, of all the English translations, in the KJV to a fair degree.
It's important that these words are put back into the translations, because only when it is understood that God did, indeed, intend for specific words to be used for specific reasons (to explain the unseen with what is seen), can one appreciate the beauty and obvious logic of where God placed Jesus when He was born.
In a manger: where else would God place His seed?

Susan Moore said...

Sorry, I was distracted when I wrote the above, and I wrote it very quickly. I can see where describing The Common Language, which is God-designed and created to allow longitudinal study of the Bible, could still be unclear. I am writing it over to make it more clear.

Susan Moore said...

Ok, I'm finished re-writing it (for now). Where can I post it so you class can read it?

Ken Schenck said...

I could email it to them if you email it to me.

Susan Moore said...

Ok, thanks. I'll email it as a Word document ( :-) ). I'm curious if it speaks to the ones who believe that God intended for His words not to be changed by humans.

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