Do you ever wonder if your message is as clear to your readers or hearers as you intend? Have you put words out there and hoped, but aren’t certain, they hit their mark? Does anything you try to convey get lost in translation?
Oral communication is more than mere words; it includes gestures, intonation, expression and nuance. Written communication must also convey more than simply the sharing of words.
We all have a “heart” language; the language of our real communication, our “mother tongue.”
Everything makes more sense in our heart language. Yet, literal translations cannot take all of this into account, they merely exchange one word for another. This can cause some confusion at best, a real breakdown in communication at worst. An example of this is the recent experience of men serving with HeartLanguage.org. They discovered a complete disconnect between language, understanding, and purpose; and they realized the essential nature of appropriate translation to facilitate genuine understanding.
The same holds true for Bible translations. When we first study the Bible, we typically use the translation given to us by our first teacher or mentor. We may not realize that another translation (or multiple translations) might better enable us to understand God’s inspired word. We do not need to struggle to understand God’s word to us – we need to be accessing God’s word in our heart language, too.
Many people struggle to make meaning from the words in the Bible.
Without the opportunity to study various translations, many new believers get frustrated and simply give up. God’s Word is meant to be savored everyday not thrown aside due to lack of appropriate presentation. We cannot remain legalistic about the “right” translation. We need to enable all students of the Word an opportunity to learn, treasure and take in Scripture in genuinely meaningful ways.
As Marshall Shelley of Leadership Journal said so aptly, “Because translation comes down to decisions of word choice—and not really changing the meaning itself—it’s usually a safe bet that none are really “more right” than others.”
We, as Christ’s ambassadors, must help others be successful in learning and loving the holy word of God. Let’s endeavor together to make the Bible accessible in ways that reach the hearts and the minds of readers everywhere so that nothing gets lost in translation.
Do you let yourself enjoy more than one translation of the Bible? Which is your favorite and why?