International (MNN) — In the rush to reach the world with the Gospel, some sacrifices should not be made.
Take Bible translation. Pierre Houssney of Horizons International said thanks to a desire for speed and relevance, sometimes translations can have the wrong information and phrasing.
“Many times we’ve gotten into a model where we have translations coming out that alter key terms in the Bible, such as “Son of God” or God as “the Father,” and for certain languages, actually removing these terms,” Houssney said.
And believe it or not, some of these changes have been intentional.
”It’s because of other religious systems,” Houssney explained. “When we’re trying to cater to the people from those systems in order to help them to understand or accept the Bible more, we end up compromising some of the truth.”
For example, in many Muslim cultures, Christians are often accused of making God mortal. They misunderstand terms like “God the Father” as biological terms, and that can make conversation difficult. Still, Houssney says, we cannot sacrifice Biblical accuracy.
So how can things change? Horizons has three ways you can help keep translation accurate.
1) Keep translators accountable
If your church or anyone you support is engaged in Bible translation, Houssney says “it’s important to ask educated questions.. and it’s important to know where they stand on things like whether the Father and Son should be translated literally or creatively.”
2) Use Biblicalmissiology.org
Biblical Missiology is a platform for ministries involved in translation to come together and swap resources. At the website, you can find out more about what the actual translation problems are, find information about which areas of the world need help, and learn about strategies translators use that work and ones that don’t.
Most importantly, you can help bring accuracy back into the world of Bible translation by bringing awareness of these issues into your church.
3) Support the Middle East Center for World Missions (MEC)
The goal of the Translation and Linguistics Academy of the MEC is to increase the capacity of local believers to help with translation, particularly in the Middle East. “Translations are being done from the West and from Western organizations and staff members that don’t always understand the culture of the nationals deeply,” Houssney said.
“We believe the global Body of Christ is going to benefit when there is more of a voice for the Middle Eastern Christians and Christians from other places in the world in matters of missions strategy and Bible translation.”
No matter what you choose to do, translators need your prayer and support as the Church moves into fast and accurate Bible translation.