Stylos is the blog of Jeff Riddle, a Reformed Baptist Pastor in North Garden, Virginia. The title "Stylos" is the Greek word for pillar. In 1 Timothy 3:15 Paul urges his readers to consider "how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar (stylos) and ground of the truth."
Image (left side): Decorative urn with title for the book of Acts in Codex Alexandrinus.
Friday, January 13, 2017
The Vision (1.13.17): A Confessional View on the Translation of Scripture
Paragraph 8. The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the
native language of the people of God of old),14and the New Testament in Greek (which
at the time of the writing of it was most generally known to the nations),
being immediately inspired by God, and by His singular care and providence kept
pure in all ages, are therefore authentic; so as in all controversies of
religion, the church is finally to appeal to them.15But because these original tongues are not
known to all the people of God, who have a right unto, and interest in the
Scriptures, and are commanded in the fear of God to read,16and
search them,17therefore they are to be translated
into the vulgar language of every nation unto which they come,18that
the Word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship Him in an
acceptable manner, and through patience and comfort of the Scriptures may have
In this lesson we focus especially on the issue of translation.
Herein, I see three key affirmations:
1. The Christian has a right to and
an interest in Scripture:
I am struck by the statement here that every believer has “a
right unto and interest in the Scriptures.”
One of the privileges and benefits given to each Christian is the right
to read a faithful translation of the Bible in a language he can understand.
This is necessary, because we are commanded to read Scripture. The proof text given is Acts 15:15 where James
stands before the apostles and suggests that Peter’s testimony before them is
affirmed by Scripture: “And to this agree the words of the prophets….”
Another prooftext recalls the command of Jesus in John 5:39: “Search
the Scriptures … and they are they which testify of me.” The Christian must be able to obey the
command of Christ.
Translation was a flashpoint of controversy during the
Reformation, as the Roman Catholic Church resisted the translation of the Bible
into the “vulgar languages” of the people.
The Reformation gave the Bible back to God’s people, and, thus, restored
their right to it.
2.It is proper and fitting to translate the Bible:
Several of the proof texts which offer the Biblical
justification for this statement are taken from 1 Corinthians 14. The original context regards worship in
Corinth. Paul rebukes persons who were
speaking in languages that no one could understand. He states: “So likewise ye, except ye utter
by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is
spoken? For ye shall speak into the air” (1 Cor 14:9). The principle is this: Men ought to be able to hear from God in a
language they can understand.
This has been the Christian view from the beginning. The Christian Scriptures have been translated
into the language of the people from the earliest days. Early translations of the Bible were made
into Latin, Syriac, Coptic, Armenian, Gothic, Ethiopic, and other languages,
long before English even existed as a language.
In Islam you are required to learn Arabic to read the Koran, adherents
memorize and recite in mandated daily prayer by rote memory Koranic verses they
do not understand, but in Christianity the Word comes to you in your heart
As the confession notes, anytime that Christian missionaries
enter into a field where Christ is not known, the first task they should
undertake is the faithful translation of the Bible. This is what Judson did when he went to Burma
(Myanmar), and his translation is still being used today. The Bible in a
faithful translation is a missionary to you.
3. The Bible in a faithful
translation provides real benefits to believers:
Bible is translated, “that the Word of
God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship Him in an acceptable manner,
and through patience and comfort of the Scriptures may have hope.”
prooftext cited is Colossians 3:16: “Let
the word of Christ dwell in you richly….”
the primary stress given on worship.
Christians need the Bible so that they can know how to worship God
though clearly echoed is Romans 15:4: “For whatsoever things were written
aforetime were written for our learning, that we through the patience and
comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”
a faithful Bible you can read and understand satisfies and comforts the