- it is important to read theology out of the text rather than the temptation to read it into the text
- all translations have to think about meaning – you can’t simply translate words. A literal Bible is not, by definition, a more accurate Bible
- translation is important because translation is a form of communication; therefore you always have to be asking for whom you are translating (all preachers should be thinking this way)
- the general and steep decline in the ability to read and comprehend has huge implications for Christianity given that it is based on the interpretation of a book. Churches have not really begun to grapple with this sea-change
I took my title from the second bullet point because that is a point of view that I find very frustrating. As it says above: you can’t simply translate words! That is, or should be, pretty obvious when we are translating God’s Word into languages with a very different culture from the English speaking world.
But perhaps even more worrying is the assertion of a general and steep decline in the ability to read and understand the Bible in the West.
Eddie suggests that Wycliffe Bible Translators (and others working cross-culturally) may have much to offer to the church in this regard:
The only point which I think needs comment is the final one. Moo is dead right to highlight the way in which we can no longer assume that people (in the western world) are fluent readers, able to handle a text as complex as the Bible. It is also true that Churches in the West have not really begun to get to grips with this issue. However, those of us working in Bible translation and church-planting around the world have been wrestling with this issue for many years and there is a huge body of experience and literature that the western church could tap into. I fear, however, that Churches in Europe and North-America would prefer to reinvent the wheel, rather than build on the experience of others.