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Posted by Gary Labels: , ,

Although I've already addressed this, I thought I'd bring it up again. Wayne of Better Bibles Blog, and even my old friend Sammie took a stab at it. She rightfully chooses the preference of being tasered to actually reading their website (Stephen Colbert mentioned Conservapedia and a segment on tasers in the same episode).

Several others have also brought the subject to public attention. So, what do you do with translations like this from Matthew 1:
Matthew 1:18f “The birth of Jesus Christ happened this way: His mother, Mary, was engaged to Jospeh, but before they were married, she became pregnant with the child of the Divine Guide. Jospeh was a righteous husband and thus did not want to publicly shame her, so he decided to divorce her privately.” [sic]

1:25 “And did not consummate the marriage until she bore her son, who Jospeh named Jesus.” [sic]

It's not a good idea to translate "to know" as "consummate." We can talk about a prostitute being raped all night then cut to pieces in the Bible, but we can't be explicit about legitimate sex between husband and wife. Come on. Seriously. Save euphemisms for making Song of Solomon singles-friendly.

The rest of their work is no better. For the sake of conciseness, they cut out words that are of theological importance (such as John the Baptist preaching a baptism of repentance). The obvious misspellings above are truly unacceptable in Bible translation. Granted, I once ran across a Koran translation that misspelled people as "poeple." It was my second page of ever reading the Koran, and I found a typo. God was watching over me, for sure.

Put simply, one does not just pick up a dictionary and magically become a scholar. It takes years and years of study of the Bible, other Greek/Hebrew/Aramaic literature, history (ancient), church history, theology, linguistics, and textual criticism. A bunch of amateurs are going to make a sub-par translation, for sure. They seek to cut out whatever scriptures they disagree with (regardless of textual evidence) and they want to add in conservative terminology that is foreign to the text. This is an abomination to the Lord, because it is a conscious perversion of God's word.

Of their ten guidelines, the only one I would like to see happen is "combat harmful addiction," which should not change the actual translation, but a footnote with "casting lots" could say "i.e., gambling." Although I would like to see translations on a higher reading level, the fact is most people who haven't graduated from college read comfortably at the 8th grade reading level. Graduates read comfortably at the 10th grade reading level. Poor education is an obstacle that can't be ignored. As such, vocabulary must be simple and sentences must be somewhat shortened or cut in two sometimes. There's no avoiding it.

Another thing there's no avoiding: no translation is "safe." None will ever be "perfect." There is no safe way, no hiding place in translation. None will ever live up to the richness of the original, and that's that.