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by Chris Gambrell
7/30/2014 / Christian Apologetics
There are many words in the world Good words, bad words, words that climb on rocks; Nice words, mean words, even words with chicken pox.
Sorry for the parody, but as I began to write this an the old Amour Hot dog commercial popped into my head. I guess that could also be said of any word. When certain words spoken by people, or even certain people speaking words, they can turn us off, or turn us on. They can inspire us, or bring us to anger. I have found in my own experiences that words don't ever really change, but it is the society that defines them that changes.
I can remember when I first read the "Lord of the Rings" or even the "Chronicles of Narnia" they were scattered with words that today carry very different connotations. In the days that John and Clive wrote their books no one ever thought twice when reading these words, but today's audiences either just snicker, get offended, or use it as a tool to support their agendas. Does that mean we need to abandon these works from schools, churches, or homes? No, I don't think so. I personally think that one of two things can be done.
1. We as a society need to learn, teach, and quit changing the meanings of words.
What I mean by this statement is as a progressing society of people we change things to suit ourselves. It is kind of like the game telephone line, we start out by saying this word means this and as it is passed down the line it is changed to the point by the time it gets to the end of the line it no longer has the original meaning. Changing the meaning is never really a problem. The problem is the word can never ever be used for its original purpose anymore. If society maintained some sort of education about it to the coming generations they would understand when older generations use it in their connotation.
2. From time to time go back to the original source and reissue it to the public with the modern equivalents.
This itself has gone on for years with the Holy Bible. With every new generation to pop up, a new version of the Bible appears. Updating materials for modern audiences from authors of the last three, or four hundred years shouldn't pose too many problems considering the time span. Whereas materials dating back as far as the Holy Bible, or further could be more difficult because many of the sources no longer exist.
I know that there are some people in this world that have done a little from point 1, some from point 2, there might even be some that have done both. I think really the reasons why we don't see too much fruit from these two points is because of opposition. I live in the US, and here in the public schools, their focuses are more on passing government test for funding. There are many attempts to go beyond school focuses, but they in turn are usually bullied into returning to the quid pro quo.
As far as point 2, it is the most hotly debated, especially when comes to the Bible. As I hinted in my point, returning to the source material is the most important. Doing this, keeps you closer to the author's intention, because you don't want to misrepresent it. Some would argue regardless that it takes away from the original work, and that everyone should leave it alone and read it as is. This poses a bigger problem, because nobody's reading it. Publishers would make a large profit if they would republish some of the greatest authors into modern English.
Being hotly debated has its place when it comes to releasing updates to preexisting materials. The biggest is, "You're changing the material!" It's always going to be a "No matter what you do, it will cause trouble." situation. For instance, the Holy Bible, for every updated translation people start hollering "Blasphemy!" There is a difference between update and translation, you can update translations, or even translate updates, but a translation is not an update.
What does that even mean? Well what I meant was there are tons of Biblical translations in the world today. Some are problematic because they don't go to the source material and translate. They'll actually just update material already translated in their language and claim it as a new translation. Usually the source that they are claiming to be a new translation adopts their errors as well as possibly adding their own. Another problem I have witnessed is where they would go to the original source material, change it entirely, and call it an update.
Christians really do need to be careful when buying, or even reading a book claiming to be the Holy Bible. There are a certain groups who have become quite bigoted towards other translations because of such things. What are we to do? We have to become quite the detectives and research our translation versions. Don't read them because someone says you're going to burn in hell because you don't read their version, but seek one that is written from the source material.
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