Taking Translation into Consideration
A devotional thought from Christian George for “Understanding How God Speaks”
It is important to remember that the Bible was not handed down originally in the English language. The original language for the Old Testament was Hebrew—the language of God’s chosen people. The New Testament, on the other hand, was originally written in common Greek. Why is this significant?
You may have noticed that there are literally dozens of English translations of Scripture: KJV, HCSB, NIV, ESV, NASB, and so on. These editions reveal the fact that there are many ways to translate the words of the original Hebrew and Greek languages. For instance, in English we only have one word for “love,” whereas in Greek there are four, each describing a different kind of love (brotherly love, romantic love, family love, and unconditional love).
Even though the English word “love ” is used in Matthew 10:37, “The person who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me,” and Ephesians 5:33, “Each one of you is to love his wife as himself, and the wife is to respect her husband,” there is a world of difference between their two meanings.
God calls us to be faithful stewards with the mysteries of God revealed in Scripture (1 Cor. 4:1-2). In order to be responsible students of God’s Word, perhaps we can familiarize ourselves with the languages in which His Word was inspired. At the least, though, we will take advantage of the multiple translations of the Bible as we seek to understand the inspired Word of God.
Pause and Reflect
• Read John 21:15-19. Do some digging to discover the different meanings of the word “love” that Jesus used in this passage. What is Jesus saying to Peter in His repetition of “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”