Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Translation Blues

It was an article that provided six handy Bible quotes for dealing with anxiety (or something like that). Not the sort of thing I normally click on, but there it was, I glanced down through the six quotes, One of them caught my attention. It was said to be Ephesians 2:19-22.

Whenever you feel unloved, unimportant, or insecure, remember to whom you belong.

Those were the words, but they didn't look at all familiar. What translation is that, I wondered. I googled the quote, and found a thousand Instragrams, Pinterests, and therapeutic self-help articles, but as yet not the translator responsible for this travesty.

I'm not philosophically against all loose translations, but when they actually hide the original meaning and substitute something entirely new, that kind of bothers me. This is substitution, not translation. Here's a more literal rendering of those verses (NIV).
19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. 
So, there's quite a gap there. The first converts Biblical truth into pop-psychology, just right for our therapy culture. There are a million churches that thrive on that sort of thing. It is the form of Christianity, more or less, but not the substance.

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