Translating the Bible

D L Henderson
3 min readJul 26, 2023

July 26, 2023

First, a bit of misunderstanding has arisen from the lack in the English language of a translation for the plural form of the pronoun “you.” King James English is from the early 1600’s and is often difficult to understand and fairly easy to misunderstand. However, whenever the pronoun “you” is written, it is necessary to refer to the King James Bible or the Greek text, because I have not found another translation that preserves the singular and plural distinctions in the use of the word “you.”

Here in modern day America, the only English speaking folks who maintain those distinctions are Southerners — as in their use of “you,” and “you all,” or “y’all.” KJV uses “thou” and “ye” to indicate one person or more than one. It does make a difference for understanding, for getting the right picture, of Bible passages.

My apologies to the Roman Church, but the idea that Peter is the foundational person of Christianity was also born out of this linguistic detail. The idea came out of Matthew 16:18. Like the lack of a plural form of the pronoun “you,” the differentiation between the Greek words for rock are overlooked: “petros” or “Peter” and “petras” where Jesus is referring to Himself. “Petros” is the Greek masculine form of “a regular stone,” whereas “petras” is the feminine form as in “the mother of all rocks.” Therefore, Jesus is the “bedrock” and Peter is “a chip off the old block.”

Jesus is referred to many times as the “Cornerstone” of the temple of God, and Believers, ordinary disciples, are referred to as the building stones in construction of that temple — as “living stones.”

Usually, I donT get into the details of the linguistics of Scripture, but these are important keys to understanding God’s Word. (Search Google for them, if you don’t believe me. Read it in the Bible for yourself.)

I’m not trying to put Peter down. He has a very important part in the proclamation of the Gospel. He was an apostle. Yet, he is just a man. He is not the Messiah. (Remember that in the same passage of Scripture Jesus rebuked Peter. “Jesus turned to Peter and said, ‘Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.’ “ — Matthew 16:23, NLT.)

There is consistency throughout the Bible, and when you think one part of Scripture conflicts with another, it is not the Scriptures but our own understanding that doesn’t make sense.

(If you think translating the Bible from ancient languages is easy, I refer you to: https://seminary.grace.edu/what-is-biblical-hermeneutics/ or https://www.britannica.com/topic/biblical-translation . My point being that translating anything is not easy, and I appreciate all the work involved.)

No matter which language the Bible is translated into, the purpose is the same: to preserve and to proclaim, to share the Good News of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and the gift of a new life, a fresh start, a truly forgiven and cleansed inner person.

The apostle Paul wrote, “It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation.” — Galatians 6:15, New Living Translation. In other words, whatever religion you grew up with, or whatever philosophy you developed, or whatever nationality you were born into, doesn’t matter. Jesus explained it this way in a conversation with a Jewish religious leader:

“What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?”

Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life.c 7So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.” — John 3:4–8, NLT.

A mystery to the uninitiated, for sure, but it is really all that matters.

Read the Bible and seek God’s presence in your life.

https://wycliffe.org.uk/story/how-to-choose-the-best-bible-translation

https://biblehub.com/

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D L Henderson

Born 1950; HS 1968; Born again 1972; Cornell ILR; Steward, Local President/Business Agent; Husband, father, grandfather; winner/loser/everything in between