Category Archives: Hermeneutics

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!

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The Calling Beyond Love

If you were willing
You could listen intently
To the words of Jesus and hear
That he was calling humans to a life of
Love deeper than most will want to realize.
And many think it the end of his calling
But if by chance you were willing
Those same pages would
Call you to a love of
Wisdom and of
Such as
To which few
Will ever attain in
This not-listening world.
And if you should be the sort
Who’ll shush his soul so as to hear
Even to the last whisper of the echoes
Those sacred and ancient pages
Would reveal to your heart a
Calling seldom perceived:
To take up that grand
Moral courage of
The Highest
That you
Should ever
Do what is right
Even as you continue
On this beautiful-ugly Earth.
And only then, my friend
Will you understand
Why it pains me
To hear love
Spoken of
As if it
Were the
Whole of the
Righteous calling.
For love without the rest
Is but an incomplete treasure.
And this truth I am telling you now
Is one that this Earth’s hordes
Of non-listening believers
Are quite obviously
Content not
To know.

Working the Bible Puzzle

It can take quite some time to learn how to work the Bible puzzle—and for many of us, one of the first steps seems to be coming to the realization that it is, indeed, a puzzle at all! I remember taking offense when I heard a certain author call it that sometime in the early 2000s. My view of it at the time went something like this:

  • We’ve been “given everything we need” in the Bible, so it’s all in there.
  • If we were just faithful and diligent, it would all make perfect sense. It’s very “clear”.
  • The Spirit helps us understand it, so what’s to puzzle over? (The way I understand it, therefore, must be pretty close to being right.)
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