ADVANTAGES

I wonder if Bible translation theory has been shifted a little too far in the direction of simplification and clarity (even when the source text is obscure), precisely because the unstated assumption is that the evangelistic ‘agent’ for the particular target group will be the Bible itself. Indeed, for all of its history the Wycliffe Bible Translators has adopted the policy of sending out pastors or more traditional missionaries, of setting up schools and hospitals and the like. Traditional missionary endeavor has been left to other organizations. This single-eyed commitment to Bible translation has been remarkably productive. However, it may slightly skew the vision of the translators themselves. We cannot help noting that when Paul established churches in highly diverse centers of the Roman Empire, he quickly appointed elders in every place. He did not simply distribute copies of the Septuagint. The New Testament that translators are putting into the vernacular frequently describes and mandates the tasks of pastors and teachers and evangelists. Of course, this does not rule out a place for specialized ministry, in this case the work of translation. But unless such work is coordinated with other work, it may take on a disproportionate importance. And it may establish a certain expectation of what all translations to be.

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