Bible Translators Say Update Needed

Since it was first published in 1978, the New International Version Bible has become the most read English translation, now it’s changing again.
WJHL, NewsChannel 11, Jan. 22, 2003
by Jim Bailey

The Today’s New International Version, and one of the translators lives among us.

“Yes, we’re quite aware of the awesome responsibility.. that this is the word of God.” For Dr. Larry Walker, God’s word is his work.

Dr. Walker is one of a hundred scholars who helped translate the original N-I-V in 1968. After 30 years of teaching Hebrew and other ancient languages Dr. Walker retired to Gray, although he still teaches at Beeson Divinity School.

Dr. Martin Selman, of Spurgeon College in London, England is another of the 13 present members of the Committee on Bible Translation, responsible for updating the Today’s N-I-V. “You’ve only to listen to the language of your children, how language, words change their meaning and it needs to be constantly updated.”

The Committee meets several times a year after a doing research to determine if a word here, or a phrase there needs to be change to a more contemporary translation.

Dr. Walker believes updating the Bible is a more sobering task than instructing the thousands of students he has taught. ” As a translator I’m influencing the words that millions of people will read and that’s an even greater responsibility.”

It’s because so many people depend on their work that these bible translators believe keeping the text contemporary is so important, so that people find the message easily understood.

Explains Dr. Selman, ” God is able to communicate the same messages, but in different languages and different dialects. It’s our task just to reflect that.”

But it’s not just contemporary language changes that result in changes in the scripture. The scriptures in the Bible were written thousands of years ago, there are still new discoveries made ever year that may impact our understanding of them. “Sometimes it changed in certain areas because of archaeological insight or cultural understanding, idioms, but again the basic messages of God, of salvation, that’s all in tact, that’s not changed.”

It’s making that message clear for millions that makes their work a life changing matter of faith these scholars believe is heaven sent.

Says Selman, “Perhaps not always around the committee table, but sometimes afterwards you get a real sense of the providence of God leading and guiding you.”

Both Bible translators say that as long as our language continues to evolve, there will be a need to update Bible translations.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Sunday January 26, 2003.
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