Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Change of Mind on matters of Translation

Last week, I received a new Bible study in the mail.  It is on 2 Corinthians from the NLT Life Application Bible. At the beginning of the study, there are several detailed pages explaining the NLT translation and the Life Application Bible.  I read the first few pages carefully since I have been concerned over the past few years about the NLT.  It was very interesting.  I didn't know whether to be concerned or not, so I brought it up with my husband who is much more knowledgeable about Bible translation than I am.  I went through each of the detailed explanations of specific facets of the translation with him.  He was able to explain to me that in matters of translation, all of the things that they did that some people (including me in the past) have been concerned about are a part of a good translation.

In short, what I'm trying to say is "I'm sorry."  I made a mistake by questioning the legitimacy of the NLT translation.  I know that my motive comes from a concern that translations are being written to tickle people's ears and give them what they want to hear, rather than being true to the Word of God.  Feminism has made such outcries against Christianity, the submission of wives to husbands, women's roles in the church, and even how the Bible is written.  My husband explained to me that it is not wrong for the NLT to use gender neutral language.  I do not want to be cynical and so I am going to trust this matter to the Lord--trust Him that the translators of the NLT did not choose to use gender neutral language because of the influence of Christian feminists.

What came out of my discussion with my husband is that the NLT is more accessible to be read today.  It is a good, solid translation.  If someone has not grown up in church and does not have a lot of knowledge about the Bible it is a very easy to read translation.  My daughter loves it in her Hands-On Bible.

The Life Application Bible is another interesting thing to talk about.  In the culture of the church today, people things to be easier to understand.  At times we don't want to have to work and sit with the Lord to dig for ourselves in the Word amidst the craziness of our lives.  We are a culture that seeks instant gratification and that loves to have our ears tickled.  It is far easier to listen and read the things that agree with us than that disagree with what we think.  So, the introduction pages about the Life Application Bible brought these things to mind.  The purpose of this study Bible is to make it easier for us to understand the Bible and God's purposes and to show how God's Word applies to your life.  There's a lot of buzz words in that last sentence, but I think they're buzz words because things have gotten twisted in our culture.

It is important for us to understand that God's Word matters to each one of us and that it is the Living Word.  It is also important for us not to lose sight that we are hear for God's glory and not for our own.  Many worship songs today focus our eyes on ourselves and what God does for us rather on God's glory.  We need to remember to be thankful for God's loving care, but we need to remember to praise Him above all else.

So, those are some thoughts that I've needed to write down.  Please forgive my change of mind and past misunderstanding about the NLT and translation method.

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