Can we find the true meaning of Bible texts if we rely solely on English translations and not on the original Hebraic and Greek languages of the Old and New Testaments?
The original Bible was written in Hebrew and Aramaic (Old Testament) and in Greek (New Testament).
All of our English Bibles are translations, sometimes from the Latin, sometimes from the Hebrew and the Greek. You always loose something when using a translation. But does it make the translations invalid?
I have never met a writer who complained that his/her book in Russian was not a true reflection of what he/she wrote in English. Nor did I meet a writer complain about the French translation of his/her book. Why not? Because the essence of the book was still to be found in these translations. The message of the book was still coming out clearly.
The same is true with God’s Word and more so. We have extra help that none of the above mentioned translated books do have. The author of the Bible is at our disposal and will guide us in our understanding of God’s truth found in that book.
Who is the author of the Bible? Yes there is Daniel, Moses, Paul…but none of them could have written the words they wrote in the Bible without the indwelling of a very important person. Who is that person?
2 Peter 1:21 1 “For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” NIV
1 Thess 2:13 “And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.” NIV
The same Holy Spirit who was the source of these writings is available to us nowadays. He is the One who guides us in all truth. John 16:13 “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth.” NKJV With such a guide in us, we have nothing to fear. We cannot be misled! God’s intended message will come out clearly to us with such a guide, no matter if we read the original or a translation of the original.
What do we need to understand God’s Scriptures? Should we become experts in the languages of Hebrew and Greek? Not at all. We need to only depend on God’s Holy Spirit. The world will not understand this, but if you are a born-again Christian you will know without a doubt that John 14:17 “The Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” NIV
Even when one does not have access to the original texts and one depends solely on God’s Spirit for direction, God’s messages will become alive in His Word. God is faithful! We do not depend on our intellect to understand God’s Word, but on God’s Spirit Himself.
Heb 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” NIV
Have you experienced the indwelling of God’s Spirit in your life? Or is He an unknown to you? Would you like to experience God in your life? If you do, you will start experiencing an inner peace as you have never experienced before. All you need to do is answer His call. Come to http://www.answers2prayer.org/saviours_call.html and invite Him into your life. He loves you and cares for you. Come to Him before it is too late and experience what a difference He makes in someone’s life.
Illustration: “One spring day in 1993, I was so discouraged I didn’t know how I could go on with my work. I prayed with my wife over my anguish and went outside for a long walk, hoping that the physical activity would renew my spirits. It didn’t. I walked back into the house and heard the telephone ringing; the last thing I wanted to do was pick up the telephone. I usually screen my calls by listening to the voice on the other end of the line coming through the answering machine. The voice was that of a woman who was new to the church. She was apologizing for calling at home, but felt there was something I needed to know. Against my normal impulses, I picked up the telephone. She apologized again and said, “I hope you don’t think I’m crazy, but as I was praying this morning you came to mind, along with a Bible reference I did not know. I looked it up and have no idea if it would mean anything to you, but I felt that somehow I would be disobedient to God if I didn’t give it to you.”
She apologized again and then gave me the passage. It was Hebrews 10:35-39. She apologized once more, said good-bye, and hung up. The passage read:
“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while, “He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.” But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.”
Need I say that those words were meaningful to me? I have since had them written in calligraphy and framed as a memorial to God’s faithfulness to speak when I needed a word from him and to a woman’s faithfulness to risk in obedience to God, to act on a nudge. Sometimes I wonder in frustration why God doesn’t speak to me. Does God wonder in frustration why it is that He has spoken, and I haven’t listened-because I have been too busy or rationalistic or timid to obey?
Used with permission from Deepening Your Conversation With God by Ben Patterson (c)1999 Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Book House Company. All Rights Reserved, p. 148-150.”
This sounds similar to the claim that the Koran can not be truly known if not read in Aramaic or that the Catholic parishioners are not able to properly understand the Bible, so keep it out of their hands. (as was done for centuries). The Jehovah Witnesses are also taught that they can not understand their scriptures apart from their leaders. All hogwash!
All of these claims ignore the fact that God is alive and well. He really does enlighten us to His Word and His way. The Holy Spirit is really on this earth and eager to invade those who surrender allegiance to Jesus and His loving way.
Also, if the WHOLE Bible is read, then the book can be understood more in context.
Now, I will not deny that some passages can be figured out by knowing the culture and language nuances of the times. In other words, I am FOR using a concordance and a Greek lexicon, for example, to rightly divide the scriptures (1 Tim 2:15).
But, my point is this. We are not here to memorize the whole Bible or even to be the best at Bible trivia; we are here to have a relationship with God. He does speak. He does listen. He does get involved with our lives. Are you doing things with God or are you just learning about God?