Translation Fixation

February 11, 2020
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2 Corinthians 4:1-12
It’s good to read the Bible with different Bible versions. 

I’m not one of those people who gets on a tear about using a particular version. Listening to some of the arguments that promote one version over another (or all others) seems to me to dismiss several factors.

First, all versions result from human understanding. And, like as I was taught, translation is an art not a science.

Most translations fall under categories that help determine the intent of the translation. Some want to help you understand word for word the biblical text. Others focus more on the idea of a passage. 

Also, if you don’t know biblical Hebrew or Greek, how do you know one translation is more inspired or correct than another?

Since we don’t have the originals of any text, I’m okay with taking each translation for what it is. I have a few that I use on a regular basis. For what it’s worth, hopefully not too much, my list goes like this: NRSV, NIV, NKJV and The Message.

By the way, I also have a copy of the NIV translation that does not include chapters or verses! I definitely recommend you get one of those.

The reason I mention all that is so I can show you how different translations inspired my reading today.

The NIV and several other translations read 2 Corinthians 4:1 this way: Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.

Praise God for the reminder that the ministry we have is God’s. Therefore, since God has equipped us to be faithful, God will encourage us in that ministry, whatever it is. 

Paul understood that better than most of us. How many times has your ministry caused you to be imprisoned, ridiculed, stoned or beaten? My guess is next to never. Since Paul knew God had given him his ministry, he trusted God would continually inspire him through the hardships of that ministry. 

Since I have a ministry, too, I choose to believe likewise.

Now, I read the same verse in the NRSV. This is how it read: Therefore, since it is by God’s mercy that we are engaged in this ministry, we do not lose heart.

Did you catch that? 

The word “engaged” prompted me to consider not just my ministry but my engagement of it. What about you? Have you discovered what your ministry is? Are you engaged in it? That adds to the great reminder of God’s encouragement. Just because you have something doesn’t mean you use it.

We all know the joke about the treadmill at home being a better coat rack than an exercise machine.

Could it be that ministry for a lot of Christians is more a Sunday morning worship service than it is a way of living? 

Today, different Bible versions encouraged and convicted me in different ways. That’s the power of God’s word. In your reading of God’s word, I hope you are finding God’s comfort, strength, encouragement, conviction and new life, no matter what version you’re reading.

Stay blessed…john

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