Saturday, September 30, 2006

I got the best little light!

Have you ever embarked on a journey to find the best of something? The best milk shake, the best pizza, the best burger, the best anything. In the fall, in Texas, you may find yourself involved in a discussion regarding the best football team, high school or college. Well, folks around here, in Austin, are convinced that they have the best ball club around. The other day I found myself involved in a discussion similar to this.

We sat around discussing theology as all seminarians do and the topic of translations of the Bible reared its ugly head. Everyone has a favorite translation. Some folks love the King James, a few enjoy the NRSV or the RSV, others think the NIV is grand, and we even peppered in a few folks that think the Message translation is king of the interpretation hill.

I found it interesting that not one person declared the Hebrew or Greek translations to be superior. This may be attributed to the on going battle to master the translations, as our professors continuously state the superiority of the original. This got me to thinking does it matter what translation we read and/or prefer.

If we proclaim the reformed understanding of “sola scriptura” and the “doctrine of grace alone” does it matter what translation we utilize in seeking a deeper more intimate relationship with Christ? My first response is, no. Then I chewed on my first response for a few days. I asked my self many questions and have been left with this…

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1:1-5

If Christ has always been and always shall be it does not matter what translation we utilize as a vehicle to worship. I may even call into question the limitations I personally set upon God in revelation, and witness in creation. without him was not anything made that was made”, Christ has the transforming power. We are but a vessel for this transformation. Do we create anything absent of our beloved Creator?

All translations are an interpretation, I hear this often as I endeavor to learn the biblical languages. There are as many opinions on interpretation, translation, and inerrancy as there are on the best food, music, books, and sport teams. It is our preferences that are influenced by our cultural, regional, and social experience. Christ fashioned all of us fearfully and wonderfully.

We can argue over the best or worst within our given context. It all boils down to individual understanding. I may like this or that, but it does not mean that anyone else may relate to the same things. Does my inability to relate to you infer right or wrong or does it signify the diversity in creation and our total dependency upon Christ Jesus? So I read my various translations seeking truth, witness, and direction just as anyone else that is lying at the feet of Christ. I am convinced I need to keep my truth filled proclamations at personal and meaningful levels. Darkness cannot overcome the light of Christ Jesus.

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