Updated: Jun 23
Scripture is all too often taken for granted in any language it is translated into. The reader simply assumes what they are reading is accurate and free of bias or agenda. As I've proven in "CoExist" (a totally Free Live Online E-Book), this is rarely, if ever, the case. Please don't get me wrong. I am not insinuating that ALL translation work is part of some grand conspiracy. I am saying that conspiracies aside, the likelihood that any translator has been able to convey original intent is nominal because of the many factors involved in the process of translation, especially the Bible. Why especially? Because of the reasons below, though not limited to just these:
Lack of Understanding cultural innuendoes which change the meaning of a word or phrase
Lack of Knowledge of Colloquialisms and Idioms
Lack of Familiarity of the passages an Apostle might be expounding upon from the Hebrew Bible
Lack of Understanding the historical usage of the "root" word(s) of those being used in the original languages
Lacking a general grasp of the entirety of Scripture and thus translating strictly as an academic endeavor which excludes continuity with the rest of Scripture
Having a predetermined expectation of what should be said in the original languages and not seeing beyond what appears to prove their expectation...
You've seen me use this Hermeneutics graphic many times before, but it bears repetition to keep us reminded of the need for CONTEXT and that context is multi-dimensional. Including a dimension involving linguistics
Many will argue that plain text doesn't require digging beyond the verbiage used in any given passage. I, frankly, believe that to be a lazy excuse for convenience. Something as important as my eternity deserves digging as deeply as necessary, even into the etymology of a Hebrew/Greek term to determine if the usage in the passage I am studying is in any way affected by that etymology. Something those not formally trained in Hebrew will miss, is this is almost always true - the etymology of Hebrew will nearly always play into how a passage is to be understood. Yes it complicates things and muddies the water and goes against the doctrine that says "the Gospel should be so simple even a child can understand it". Let's be honest, there is a VAST difference in introducing the Good News that Messiah came to suffer substitutionary punishment for MY sin (defined by 1 John 3:4) AND empower me to Keep Torah per the Father's promise in Ezekiel 36:26&27 and determining if a prophet's usage of a word whose earlier root is found in Torah... Obviously the earlier root will play into the later usage, but many/most will look at the latter usage only and miss the Hermenutic connection between them.
1 John 3:4
4 Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is breaking the law.
Ezekiel 36: 26 & 27
26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my commands and be careful to keep my laws.
The same idealism for research goes into how I honor YeHoVah, Yeshua, and/or Ruach HaKodesh. These things must be paramount over anything, if they are not, I may need a heart check. Which I have had to do many times since coming to Messiah in 1981 and my subsequent crossing over to a Torah Obedient acceptance of Scripture which began in 1994.
Something to note about the graphic above, one Principle flows into another. For example, you cannot determine Intent (number 3) without fully grasping the surrounding 'verses' to gain historical, linguistic, and cultural context. Too many will use hermeneutics at their convenience but abandon them when it means digging into something they feel is trivial or for which they have a preconceived "understanding".
There are times, frankly, when it is the model of translation being used that causes the problem. There are primarily 3 methods of Bible translation used for translation into English, and these can spill over into other languages as well.
Those 3 are:
Literal/Verbal Equivalent- also known as Word for Word. Along with this there is Formal Equivalent, this is the matching of nouns with nouns, verbs with verbs, adjectives, with adjectives. This as the part that is extremely difficult with Hebrew to other languages because ofnthe multiple tenses a word can have and one must be familiar with the language enough to just KNOW which tense in most cases.
Dynamic Equivalent - this is when the translator uses their knowledge of the language, culture, and history to decide for the reader what is being said
Free Translation/Functional Equivalent - typically known as paraphrasing
There are innate problems within each of the 3. Literal translations often lack the necessary additional words (like prepositions) that either prevent or cause the reader to get a thorough understanding of the passage in question. Dynamic Equivalent translations often choose words that change the context of a passage because the translator(s) lacked some of the very important things in the first list at the beginning of this article. Free Translation can be as far off the mark, of the original intent of the author and the message they were conveying to the original audience, as one can imagine; and I have seen some real doozies!! Right off the top of my head is the Passion Translation. Which isn't a translation at all and should be triggering truth in advertising law suits in numerous countries where it is marketed. Unfortunately we don't have any such laws in the US.
I mean no disrespect, though I am certain it appears I do, I just think believers should be at the apex of integrity and ethics and calling a HEAVILY paraphrased copy of the Bible a Translation is the opposite of this. I'd go so far as to say that Bibles should be required to list the Theological bent of the author or team of authors involved in their creation. It's obvious, to me, that the Passion Translation is from an individual who wholeheartedly believes the Dominionist/Kingdom Now Theology (read more about this Theology HERE). But, not everyone will have the advantage of having been thoroughly educated first hand on the agenda behind this system of belief that I have, and let's not overlook the powerful feelings such Bibles can generate when influencers backing them is as astronomical as they are over the Passion "Translation". In fact, this influencer phenomenon is a very recent and modern unnatural development which leads to another phenomenon called Cognitive Dissonance. Though this latter aboration is not really all that modern...
Definitions from Oxford cog·ni·tive dis·so·nance
noun: "the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change."
A recent post I placed in our Remnant Nation University Facebook Group may help clear this up some and show you how it becomes a real problem for many in the Body of Messiah and throughout Christendom.
See Original Post and Join the Group HERE
"2 Corinthians 11:
14 And it is no wonder; for even Lucifer himself is able to take the form of an angel of light.
15 So it is no great thing if his servants make themselves seem to be servants of righteousness; whose end will be the reward of their works.
Many in the Antinomian world simply do not take into consideration how inconsistent the Theology they have adopted really is. They have to spend significant amounts of time thinking of things to "fill the gaps" between how they view one passage and how they view another. Take the verses above for consideration; why are "works" Torah when it is something they feel the "New Testament" has freed them from, but it's not the lack of Torah Obedience in verses like this? After all the word "righteousness" points to Torah Obedience almost without fail from Genesis to Revelation.
Obviously, if they were to concede that this could be true, then they would find themselves aligning with a demonic view. The thing is, this then creates another conundrum. If it is not Torah disobedience then the assumption for what it is becomes highly subjective.
The Bible is FAR more consistent than many are willing to admit. They like being able to change their perspective and make Scripture "fit" according to their views and most don't even realize they are doing it. It is called Cognitive Dissonance. Sadly, it's far less cognitive that the name implies. It's typically the result of reprogramming the critical thinking portion of our brains with a Theology or Doctrine that is inconsistent, then forcing Scripture to align with it on an instinctive, almost self preservation, level. I put it this way because people will fight to the bitter end to protect a doctrine, Theology, belief, etc even when they are shown through Scripture that it is inconsistent with the rest of Scripture.
We all suffer from this, in varying degrees, if ever exposed to the Western Church over the last 100 years or so. Which I'd venture to guess is pretty much everyone who will ever read this. Before you consider this statement sensationalist and write me off, think about how many words in Christendom mean something totally different to the indoctrinated than they do to those outside of the church.
Closing this up, let me ask you to read that passage one more time using terms more consistent with the whole of Scripture AFTER I show you a couple passages that SHOULD dispel any Cognitive Dissonance regarding that passage.
1 John 3: 4 Everyone who sins goes against the law, for sin is going against the law.
Ezekiel 36: 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and motivate you to follow my commands and be careful to keep my laws.
Romans 11 says we are grafted to Israeli believers in Messiah. If so, then like Numbers 15:16 there is ONE LAW for all of us as ONE NATION under God - "Jew" and Gentile alike.
Here we go... 2 Corinthians 11: 14 And it is no wonder; for even Lucifer himself is able to take the form of an angel of light. 15 So it is no great thing if his servants make themselves SEEM to be obedient servants of YHVH's righteousness; whose end will be the reward of their lack of obedient good "works".
Works are works. They are Torah or the lack of Torah almost without fail from cover to cover or the Bible becomes an inconsistent book and cannot be trusted because it redefines righteousness from one part to another. This view within Christianity is what has led to the inconsistent findings and questions you've had when you see them while reading Scripture."
Sadly, many will read this and other similar articles and still settle for "good enough" in place of Biblical accuracy and integrity.
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