Sunday, March 28, 2010

Theological Perfectionism and Translation Wars

Lee Irons, whose blog The Upper Register I've recently discovered, has the following to say in his post, "The Problems of Theological Perfectionism." The whole post is worth reading, but I'm particularly struck by his comments on Bible translation debates:

There are many other examples which show the problems with theological perfectionism.
English versions of the Bible. It's easy to nit-pick at a translation of a particular verse. It's fun to mock someone else's Bible. Some scholars have even written whole books against particular versions, as if to save people from the damaging effects of a bad translation. But would to God that more evangelicals did in fact read and study their TNIVs or their New Living Translations. It would do more good than all the self-help books being cranked out by the evangelical publishing companies. Just as the Spirit can bring people to saving faith through imperfect presentations of the gospel, so he can use flawed translations of the Bible to help us grow in spiritual maturity.
Would that all God's people read more of their "paraphrased" Messages and "wooden" NASBs and "archaic" KJVs and "liberal" NRSVs and "Calvinist" ESVs and "feminist" TNIVs!
God states, "Is not my word like fire, declares the LORD, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?" (Jer. 23:29). 
Would that God would break our rocky hearts of pride with the hammer of His Word (in whatever imperfect translation we read it)!

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