Bible Translation, Christian Missions

In Robert Alter’s 1996 translation and commentary on Genesis, he says there is an “unacknowledged heresy underlying most modern English versions of the Bible,” and that error is “the use of translation as a vehicle for explaining the Bible instead of representing it in another language.” I agree. A translation’s chief aim should be to re-present the Word.

And we can apply this thinking to Christian Missions. What happens when we craft a theology and practice of missions in the vein of the above heresy? A raft of errors will occur, indeed. If missions is a vehicle for explaining Christ, you will end up with an ism. However, if missions re-presents Christ to another language, that is, another culture, then you will end up with Christendom. The former turns missionaries into explainers of Christianity, the latter is a Biblical view of missions–you are an ambassador of Christ and Bride, the Church.

Bible translation should represent the Bible in to another language and missions should represent Christ in to another language, in to another culture.