Can Bible Translations be Trusted?

OCT 9, Special guest Dr Mark Naylor from Northwest Baptist Seminary in Langley, BC

Topic: How does God communicate through the Bible?

Why doesn’t the New Testament condemn slavery? How can a text that tells women to submit to men be applicable in the 21st century? What is the point of studying the biblical descriptions of blood and sacrifice? How do we connect with the Bible in a way that has significance today?

Some people approach the Bible saying “if the plain sense makes good sense, seek no other sense” implying that the Bible is not only readily understood but directly applicable to us today. Others seem to “cherry pick” rejecting certain teachings labelled “cultural” and specific to a particular time and place while accepting others as universal and lasting. Still others emphasize certain “key” passages and pay less attention to those parts of the Bible that do not seem so relevant to their concerns. Should the Bible be taken “literally” or “metaphorically”? How does God communicate to us through the Bible?

This question of understanding the Bible relates closely to the dynamic of Bible translation. Bible translation is a form of interpretation through which a message given in another time, cultural and language is represented for people in a modern setting, well separated from the original audience. How does this reality affect the way we read the Bible. Can Bible translations be trusted? Which translation is the most accurate, a “literal” translation or a “meaning-based” translation?

Mark will present an understanding of how communication works with implications for reading and understanding the Bible in a consistent and profitable manner. Recognizing how translation works helps us choose and use different translations in an effective way. Sensitivity to culture and the limitations and strengths of language gives us the ability to connect with the author so that the appropriate message is engaged. Because the Bible is not written TO us, but it is written FOR us, we can approach the text in a way that resolves many of the puzzles that confront us in a manner that strengthens our life in Christ.