Why These Bible Scholars Wept Over Translating God’s Word

by | Nov 19, 2019 | Church & Ministry

Translating the Bible is no small task. Making the Scriptures both accurate and readable at a time when many people have never even opened God’s Word for themselves makes the challenge even more daunting.

Maybe that’s why the Christian Standard Bible (CSB) translation committee took their work so seriously it actually made them cry. Singer-songwriter and CSB stylist Michael Card observed those tears in a translation committee meeting.

“Michael was saying one of the things that most impressed him about the translation committee was seeing translation committee members weep at the thought or expressing the idea that they would be involved in such an honorable and noble task,” said Trevin Wax, director for Bibles and reference at LifeWay Christian Resources, on the Charisma Connection podcast. “They were just humbled by the opportunity to be able to translate the Word of God, that God’s people can understand what God has said, what God has written. So when I think about that translation for scholars, I see the beauty of real scholarship matched and combined with a strong, strong passion for the church, and I think that’s one of the beautiful things about the people who have helped this translation come to the church.”

LifeWay Research shows one reason people don’t read the Bible is because they say they don’t have time.

“About a quarter (27%) say they don’t prioritize it, while 15% don’t have time. Thirteen percent say they’ve read it enough. Fewer say they don’t read books (9%), don’t see how the Bible relates to them (9%) or don’t have a copy (6%). Ten percent disagree with what the Bible says.”

Wax cites another reason people don’t read the Bible. They have “difficulty understanding” it. He appreciates many of the translations available today to read and study, but he thinks the CSB helps to solve the problem of not understanding the Bible.

Another thing he appreciates is that this translation is “very accurate and, at the same time, very readable,” he said.

A former missionary to Romania, Wax married a Romanian and knows that translations such as the CSB are helpful to people whose first language isn’t English.

“The style is such that it’s not off-putting to even people who may be reading English as a second language, like my wife, for example, or other people who are coming to the Bible for the first time and may not be familiar with all of the concepts or some of the words,” he said. “So it’s a translation that helps people, I think, because it both combines accuracy and it’s solid and sound for Bible study and, at the same time, readability. It’s very easily accessible.”

A team of scholars from different continents from a variety of denominations worked on the CSB, and the translation has now been adopted widely.

Listen to Charisma Connection to learn more about what goes into translating the Bible. Check out our special five-part CSB Bible podcast series, Committed to God’s Word, on the Charisma Podcast Network.

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