Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Bible stuff – correct and inspired interpretations and translations

I like clever. I like to think of myself as a clever person.

Maybe one day I’ll wake up and realize I have been completely stupid. (I’m regularly reminded that I have been partially stupid many times, but being completely stupid all the time would be a revelation.)

Anyhow, part of my being a clever-liking person is my interest in getting a better understanding of the Bible, which means getting to grips with interpretations and translations; in other words, words.

It should be no surprise that I enjoy word games such as Scrabble and Crossword puzzles. The Bible is made up of words, and my clever-liking self enjoys approaching it as if it were the word game to beat all word games. That's not an entirely stupid occupation, because people have said some stupid things in the name of the Bible, usually by saying it says something that is the opposite of what it actually says. So, we need the ammunition to shoot down such stupidities and we get it from wrestling with the many word-puzzles that it confronts us with.

Then, I get reminded that it’s not simply some word game of the sort that you use to while away those idle hours on a long-haul flight. Proper interpretation and translation is not about solving a word-puzzle, but about entering into the story by faith, and living it as a reality.

Today, I was reminded of that by an anonymous correspondent who, when pondering the difficult decision to stay in Egypt where life is becoming increasingly dangerous for Christians, or to immigrate to another safer country, thought of the story of Jesus walking on the water (Matthew 14:22-32 , Mark 6:45-52 , John 6:15-21) and wrote this …

We live in Egypt today with hearts full of peace and joy, realizing that even as we are on that boat, in the middle of the dark night in the middle of the high waves, Jesus will … show up walking on the waves.

(Reported at the end of the article Help the persecuted stay? Or help them move?)

That’s what I call a proper, inspired interpretation of scripture.

No comments:

Post a Comment