Two Particular Difficulties in Translating the Bible

As I ponder the difficulties of translating the Bible documents from their original languages, two particular ones come to mind:

  1. Rendering a passage whose meaning in the original language is unclear or ambiguous. And,
  2. Rendering a passage whose meaning in the original language is undesirable.

In the first, you have to render it somehow; you can’t just leave it blank. And how unsettling that must be!

And in the second, you have your own pie in the contest, and hate to see another one get the nod of the heavenly judges. Even if you think you can explain it away, your readers might not know how to explain it away as you do. So do you let it ride as-is? Or do you “help” them by obscuring the undesirable part(s) of it—running interference for the supposed benefit of the reader?

And let us take a moment to list the names of all those humans we know who would never cheat in this way.

God, whose thoughts and ways are higher than ours for sure, will likely be misunderstood by many. And how much moreso if the most mentally-/morally-challenging parts of the scriptures are softened by the fudging of the translators?

The Bible reader who is unaware of these two problems in translation is apt to misunderstand a great many things.

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