© 2001 by David W. Daniels
It’s Not True?
Once upon a time there was a missionary in a far-off land. He cared about the people there. He wanted them to know the gospel. So he began translating the Bible into their language the way he had been taught.
But when he came to Luke 15 he came to a problem. “These people don’t know what a sheep is,” he said. "They have never seen one. How do I teach them the parable of the lost sheep, if they don’t know what a sheep is?" Then he remembered his training. "I need to do one of two things. I could teach these people about "sheep" and make up a new word for it in their language. Or I could find a dynamic equivalent for sheep in their culture." He decided the second was easier. And so he found an animal the people cared for like a sheep: a guinea pig.
And so he translated the Bible, finding dynamic equivalents wherever he thought he needed to. "I don’t need to teach these people all about Israel, the Hebrews and their culture," he thought. And finally he published this "Bible" and gave it to the people. They loved their Bible and read from it often. Some even became Christians and moved away to a school to learn more.
One day a student returned to his family and confronted the missionary. "Why did you change the Bible?" he demanded. "The Bible doesn’t have guinea pigs and jungles, you liar!" "But I thought you wouldn’t understand," replied the missionary. "No! You told us lies about what God said! How can we ever trust you again?" So the people no longer believed the missionary. All his work was ruined and he went home in disgrace.
There are only two ways to bring the gospel to people. You can tell them God’s words and help them to understand what they mean. Or you might change the truth to make it easy for them and hope they never find out. But if you do, what will you do when they know it’s not true?
Get more answers in "Answers To Your Bible Version Questions"