Sjolander Road Fellowship




Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

the advantage of multi-linguists

1/13/14

 

The fact that so few Americans can speak a second language is an extreme disadvantage in appreciating the linguistic subtleties involved in understanding the Bible. Those who have dealt with the process of translating human thoughts from one language to another quickly learn of the inherent difficulty involved. These linguists don't assume so readily that the original thoughts and words can be conveyed with perfect accuracy through time and across cultural differences. They tend to recognize that languages evolve and that even at the same point in time the same  language will often exist as different dialects. Speakers of multiple languages are then less prone to accept that the Bible in the English language has somehow remained perfectly correct and infallible as claimed by many here in Christian Orthodoxy.

 

Those of us who know but one language are therefore not the best expositors of the Bible. Even those who study Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic in church seminaries are not necessarily better prepared to objectively evaluate the nuances of language which influenced the process which generated an English Bible. Too much pre-supposition sponsored by the traditional church colors the learning process in any seminary environment.

 

One familiar with the ancient languages of the Bible as a native speaker or one who used it routinely in everyday conversation would be much better suited to understand the thoughts intended in the words. We must recognize that no such language users exist today, regardless of their education or cultural background.

 

To insist that one understands absolutely correctly what the Bible even says much less meant in the original is completely unreasonable. One can form an opinion and hold it dearly, but it cannot be enforced on another by any truly objective measure.

 

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