Saturday, October 17, 2009

Revelation 22: 18-19

Because of The Bible in Rhyme, in the past week I have been called an apostate and miraculous.

I'm neither.

But the "apostate" label really bothered me, because that's not a word I think you throw around lightly. Why was this title was thrown my way? Because of Revelation 22:18-19.

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
-Revelation 22:18-19

Many believe that this applies to the entire Bible. At the time John wrote the book of Revelation, the Bible was not assembled as we know it today. He was only talking about the book he had written. But even so, if someone changed the words around in any book with the intent to change the meaning, I too would be upset.

But here's the catch. In order for us to read any book of the Bible, the translator has to change the words around. There are words in the ancient Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew that don't perfectly translate into English, Italian, French, Swahili, Mandarin, Tamil, Portuguese, etc., etc., etc.

If we want to read the words EXACTLY as John or any other biblical author wrote them, we have to do so in the ancient dialect in which they were written. Very few of us can do that. I know I can't.

Therefore, if we are to read an English-language Bible at all, we are immediately in violation of John's warning. What a pickle, huh?

So I'd like to toast other "apostates" who have given us the ability to read the ancient texts, the word of God, the sayings of Jesus, and the letters of the apostles. I'm not even close to their league, but if I'm being called an apostate, then maybe I'm getting closer!

  • To every translator who poured his soul into converting the Greek and Aramaic into Latin so that the Catholic Church could spread the word.

  • To Martin Luther for translating the Bible into German so that the common man could read it.

  • King James and William Tyndale for their efforts to create an English translation of the Bible.

  • To Kenneth Taylor for The Living Bible and Eugene Peterson for The Message - two beautiful paraphrases that help millions better understand what the Bible says.

  • And to the O.A. (the Original Apostate) - Jesus Christ, who was shunned by the leaders of Judaism for making the law "too easy".

"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."
-Mark 12: 29-31

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