Wednesday, March 22, 2023

An Inspired Word

One of the arguments against the Bible is that "that's not what it really says." We say this because what most of us are using is an English translation of an ancient script, and so, we are convinced that English persons of certain times and places had certain motives in their translations and therefore, they are not pure. 

Of course, if you're paying attention, this sounds exactly like the argument that scholars and some pastors use to discredit the Bible as the inspired Word of God altogether - it was written by Israel at a time when they needed to bolster their national identity and confidence, so it's basically a human document that served a certain people at a certain time in a certain place for a certain purpose.

In fact, they will go even further than this and explain that there were translators even back in the ancient times. We have found scraps of the Bible with slightly different variations to certain key words or phrases, and this shows that someone was translating somewhere. They say this was to make the reading easier, but that's just speculation; we don't know why some words are different on different scraps than on others. We can only put our understanding onto it. 

But they will use this to say that even the Bible, even the ancient Bible, isn't a purely inspired document, if it ever was, because we have evidence that human hands were on it. 

That's certainly one route to take, but it raises more questions than it answers and it gets us exactly where the world wants us to be - claiming, even "proving," that the Bible is nothing special. 

There is another solution. 

What if God inspired the translation of His Word as much as He inspired the writing of it? What if God is okay with the way His Word has been read across history and put into new languages for new peoples in new cultures in new times in new places? What if, to God, the meaning of His Word has really not been changed by this?

There have been, throughout history, a fair number of heresies. There have been groups that have tried to claim this or that "truth" about the Scriptures that the world of Christianity at large has stood up against and said, "No way. Nope. Nuh-uh." Throughout its history, the Word of God has been staunchly protected by the people of God, and unlike science, there has not been a time in our history when we have gone back and said, "You know what? That guy we called a heretic was actually right all along." 

God's people have made pretty good decisions about the Word and what it means (and what it doesn't mean). 

Which means that the translations that we have were widely agreed-upon by the peoples of the time. By the Christians of the time. What we've wrestled with the most is not what the Bible says, but how the Bible has been used (such as the King James Version, whose misuse prompted Protestants to go back and re-translate). And if what we have are widely-agreed-upon versions of God's Word, then we have to believe that the translations were also inspired by God and approved by Him or they wouldn't have gained the traction that they have. 

I mean, the only other thing we could possibly believe is that corruption was so widespread that an entire people of faith bought into it so thoroughly that they corrupted the eternal Word forever. 

And actually, of course, there are some making exactly this argument.... 

No comments:

Post a Comment