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Sounds of My Writings: Exegetical Decision Making

A very basic fact of translation is that whenever translation occurs, at some level interpretation will also follow. This is because much of the work of translation involves the translator making syntactical choices regarding the meaning of a given word as it is found in a particular context. Many questions of syntax are relatively straightforward, but at other times scholarly opinion can become quite varied. Because of the flexible nature of Greek and Hebrew vocabulary, grammar, and syntax, translations will at times differ based upon the exegetical choices that translators have made. To some extent, the readers of any given translation are subjecting themselves to the exegetical choices made by translation committees, and thus to study out of a variety of translations will always be preferred.

The First immediate observation which provoked me to "thought" was, the verbal difference between "witness", "testify", and "record". These verbal differences can analytically mean a different action that was (is) taken by the Godhead.

  • To be a "witness" could simply be interpreted to be an observant or one who is present during an act or event..

  • To "testify" could be interpreted as a one who verbally or written(ly) gives an account of what was seen or observed.

  • To "record" can also be interpreted as one who already has or is in the process of giving an account.

This individual interpretation clearly shows the "exegetical" differences found in the writers (scribes) translation. Thus it is wonderful to consider but not completely precise or accurate.

The Second observation of the above interpretations which greatly concerned me was the complete elimination of the Godhead and only giving emphasis to the "Spirit" as a witness (ie: American standard version, Bible in Basic English, English revised Version). This elimination or compression of scripture can cause great doctrinal mis-interpretations. The God-head is all in the same "one" but each with a different function. By interpreting, eliminating, and translating scripture in this way we need to be very careful, for the Word of God says "do not add or take away any word or syllable from his Word for woe unto them.........". As students and teachers, we need to understand, be careful, and frugal.

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