In today’s reading, I didn’t really find any great differences in these two different English translations that was worth discussing. The passages were a blessing though, because in them I found a truth that reveals what bible translation is really all about which is, basically, sharing the Word of God with someone else on a large scale. This is all about communication and, if that is hindered, a person could face eternal consequences.
In this passage, Jesus gives us four examples of how people hear the Word of God and, based on their understanding of it, receive or don’t receive its truth. The two in the middle are groups who hear, understand and don’t apply because of differing reasons. I only want to look at two of the examples Jesus gives: the first one and the last one. In tomorrow’s reading, Jesus gives the explanation for the parable of the Sower, but I will use it today in order to make it clear what Jesus was trying to show His disciples in this parable (and show us today)!
Matthew 13:4 (KJV)
4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:
Matthew 13:4 (NKJV)
4 And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them.
In this instance, we see a sower who was sowing his seed. We discover later that this is to represent an individual who is giving out the Word of God. Now preachers and evangelists do this often. Other Christians do this as well through Bible studies and even discussions around the water cooler at work.
They share the Words of scripture with others in order that they might be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth, but, the first one to sow the seed to others in their own language is the translator. He or she has the awesome responsibility of making it clear to whole people groups what the ancient languages are conveying. If they get their job wrong, the preacher, Christian and/or evangelist, in whatever language that they may speak, could get it wrong for generations! Not only is there the intellectual choice of the proper words to be considered by the translator, there is also a spiritual warfare going on as the devil himself is attempting to hinder the transmission of the truth into another language as is revealed by Jesus later on….
Matthew 13:19 (KJV)
19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.
Matthew 13:19 (NKJV)
19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside.
This is why it is so important that the words chosen are instantly understandable by the hearer or reader. The enemy wants to twist our understanding of God’s Word. He wants to cause us to believe there is error in it or that it is contradictory. He “catcheth” or “snatches” away what was sown in the heart of the individual only when they don’t understand it! The next two examples that Jesus gives have understanding, but then make their wrong choices. This group simply never had that “I get it” moment, because the Word wasn’t understandable!
What a responsibility is placed on Bible translators! This is why these word choices are so important that I am looking at in this study. We make decision based on these words that will last for eternity! Our understanding of the spiritual world is at stake!
Not only is instant understanding important, it is also incredibly important that the correct understanding is given. Imagine a well chosen word that seems to make sense in the verse, but doesn’t convey the original meaning. If this occurs, the translator has failed because it it not his or her job to give their interpretation of the word, but the original writers meaning. This is why I don’t care for translations that are attempting to update the text very much. You can create Your Word that way instead of God’s Word and your word has no eternal value. If you don’t understand the translation right away, you should study it out for yourself.
I have always said that the Bible isn’t meant to be just read. It is meant to be studied. We need to take the time to dig out these truths that the enemy doesn’t want us to gain. That takes work and time, but it is worth it, because, when we understand what the Word is saying, it will change who we are and allow us to share the truth with others just as Jesus makes clear with the fourth group that He discusses.
Matthew 13:8 (KJV)
8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.
Matthew 13:8 (NKJV)
8 But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
What does that mean? Jesus gives us the interpretation of this point here:
Matthew 13:23 (KJV)
23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
23 But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”
He who hears the Word and understands it will bear much fruit! Do you want to bear fruit in God’s garden? Take the time to find out why any English translation has chosen to use the words that they have used. When you are able to dig out that truth, you have more than just a fun fact. You have gained an eternal truth that will bear fruit in your life and in other’s lives as well.