Bible translation is more complicated than I imagined and I imagined it to be plenty complex. David Ker explains,
“The qualities of a good Bible translation form a four-sided triangle. The basic characteristics are accuracy, naturalness and clarity. This means accurately representing the meaning of the original text using natural language in a way that clearly communicates. The fourth side of the triangle is acceptability. If a translation is not acceptable then it doesn’t matter how accurate or natural it is”.
In other words, it doesn’t matter how faithful to the Greek, or how well-written it is, if no one will use it, it’s not effective. Scary thought, especially for those who spend a quarter century working on a single language.
“So I would say that there ought to be a Christocentric politic and aesthetic. Christians will not be the only ones who can recognize properly human and hence Christocentric realities. I think that is what the Reformed idea of common grace means. That non-believers will have the capacity to see that because they perceive things that are built into the structure of creation, built in there by Christ. So there is no getting away from Christ.
I became excited by this when I read Colin Gunton, who points out that there has long been a tendency by Christians to view creation as Unitarians, in other words, an impersonal and non-Trinitarian view of creation. So we think that God the Father made everything, things got screwed up, God the Son came and paid the penalty, and God the Spirit comes along and affirms it. So there is a type of sequential Trinitarianism. But Scripture affirms over and over that creation is a Trinitarian act, and so we don’t separate Christ from the fact of creation and the ordering of creation. To do that too starkly is to make a mistake.”
As a pastor, I’m wrestling with this all the time. Precisely how and to what extent do individuals and churches engage the culture, particularly in the realms of art and politics?