Sunday, May 27, 2012

Bible Translation

This month, the Assemblies of God (AOG) USA and the Presbyterian Church of America (PCA) study committees have released their reports on the use of Father and Son in translation. ....
The Assemblies of God World Missions’ April 2012 document was made public on May 15, 2012, and entitled, “The Necessity for Retaining Father and Son Terminology in Scripture Translations for Muslims.“ Its summary statement read:
“Our Fellowship is unrelentingly committed to the authority and infallibility of Scripture. While we appreciate the challenges missionaries and translators face in intercultural communication, we will neither compromise nor dilute God’s eternal truth, nor change its intended plain meaning. We, therefore, urge all believers to reject these and any other Scripture translations, whether for Muslim or non-Muslim audiences, for both public and personal use, that do not literally translate Father and Son terminology.”   (Pages 16-17)
In a similar fashion the PCA study committee released their findings on May 18 under the title “Like Father, Like Son: Divine Familial Language in Bible Translation.“ Like the AOG document it makes reference to the materials in the Fact Check of the Biblical Missiology petition, and also has strong concluding recommendations:
“Bible translations geared for Islamic contexts should not be driven by concerns that Muslims may recoil from biological terms applied to God or Jesus. That revulsion originates primarily out of religious conviction, not any communicative limitation of the terms themselves. The essentially biological terms (Hebrew, ben and ab; Greek, huios and pater) are divinely given and therefore should be translated into comparable biological terms. Footnotes, parentheticals and other paratextual comments may be used to explain the biblical and theological riches of Scripture, while never subverting the important truths embedded in the biological contours of Scripture’s words.(

The translations have altered references to God as “Father” and to Jesus as the “Son” or “the Son of God.” One example can be seen in an Arabic version of the Gospel of Matthew produced and promoted by Frontiers and SIL.
It changes Matthew 28:19 from “baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” to “cleanse them by water in the name of Allah, his Messiah and his Holy Spirit.” (

It seems to me that the Bible's major emphasis should not be changed.  It seems that "politically correct" language has gone rather far, allowing perversion of the Bible's main message.

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