Examining some simple and some belief-changing mistranslations
For any Christian, understanding the Bible and its message should be of paramount importance. The fact that the Bible is a collection of books and letters written in ancient times by various authors presents a challenge to this understanding. We need to learn what is authentic, what is mistranslated and how it all harmonizes. We continue our exploration of how we got our Bible, and how the process of translation from the original languages requires precision in order to get the truths God intends. This is a necessary exercise because the Bible is the foundation of our faith. We depend upon an accurate and honest assessment of what it teaches so we in turn can believe and spread the true gospel message.
In the three previous parts of this series, we focused on several big questions about the Bible that never seem to go away:
- Why are some writings included in the sacred text and others excluded?
- Who were the decision makers regarding acceptable text, and what was their criteria?
- How did some verses or portions of verses get inserted into the Bible that weren't part of the original text?
- Did Jesus really believe in the Old Testament?
- What words are translated or interpreted in a way that is out of harmony with their true meaning? How would we know?
- What tools do we as individual students of the Bible have available to help us to personally study these things for ourselves?
Mistranslations can be small enough to be a nuisance and important enough to shake the fabric of one’s doctrinal belief. In this Part IV of our series, we considered both kinds of issues. Here is one example of a smaller issue: Did you know the King James Version of the Bible talks about unicorns? Turns out it mentions these fabled animals eleven times! So, what’s the truth of the matter? Is the Bible confirming that unicorns are real? If so, what does that do to the Bible’s credibility?
Several larger mistranslation issues have a direct bearing on fundamental Christian belief. Across the vast majority of Christian denominations, we find an unquestioned acceptance of how our churches are organized. Christianity has systems in place that are logical, cover needs and seem simple and practical. A deep study of Scripture and the ancient languages used reveals a simple yet significant misapplication of a specific word regarding church organization. Apply the correct meaning and watch what it changes!
Check out our January 25, 2021 podcast, “Has the Bible Been Mistranslated and Misunderstood? (Part IV)” for more. We look at several smaller mistranslations to find true meaning. Sometimes the difference is insignificant. But more often than not, the true meanings enhance the Bible’s harmony. We also examine another huge translation issue having to do with the major doctrine of what happens after the average person dies. Finding the truth on this opens our eyes to the Bible’s authentic message. Don’t miss this opportunity to be able to see some biblical truths for the first time!
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