I’ve just added a translation widget to my blog, so if you scroll down the left side, you can click on Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Swahili, or one of the other languages listed and Google will provide the translation. Friends, if you read any of these languages or know someone who does, I hope you’ll check out this service and let me know what you think.
I realize that there are many things that don’t translate well. Even a good translation might not be able to convey all the nuances of the original. Cultural idioms may be lost in going from one language to another. The same joke in one language may not be as funny in another. Something always seems to get lost in translation.
And yet when I read the Bible, I read it mainly in an English translation. My ancient language skills are just too basic to read the original Hebrew, Greek, or Aramaic without a lot of help. I need a good commentary to explain the nuances of the language, which is a far cry from being able to read and understand it for myself.
So for me, reading the Bible requires a lot of faith–faith in the text, faith in the translators, faith in a community of discernment, faith that God speaks into my life and into the world today, faith that the Holy Spirit is present to guide us. That’s a lot of faith! But when my faith falters, I know that the One who calls me is faithful (1 Thessalonians 5:24).
Your turn: One of my favourite texts of God’s faithfulness is Lamentations 3:22-23, the King James Version: “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed; because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness.” I don’t read the King James on a regular basis, but I love this wording about not being consumed, especially at those times when life seems overwhelming. Do you have a favourite text of Scripture?