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July 1, 2013 / compassioninpolitics

Why do Christian theologians argue so much over details in translated texts (aka the Bible)?

Translated texts and debate:

Thats like saying academics from Eastern Europe or Asia who read our literature can’t make arguments. But the question of focus and what they spend the wealth of their time doing–is certainly a relevant consideration, which you are correct to raise.

Why? Why? Why?

My guess is there are potentially five reasons for the issue:
1. People and groups define themselves on differences
2. Conflict is more interesting sometimes
3. Ego or personal interest
4. Not putting things in perspective
5. Conflict may be what is studied often in seminary
6. A human desire to be right 100% about everything. A perfectionism.

To be fair…people certainly differ on their definitions of minutia and split hairs.
I think overall their intent is good–I think that grace certainly covers a number of interpretive issues. I think at some point its truth seeking, but at some point it may be ego, which may be a bit unhealthy from a Christian perspective.

Conclusions & Reflections:

To be fair, these same people have an immense responsibility–so the decisions they make are certainly weighty to them. Being a pastor or theologian is no easy task.

I would hope that Biblical scholars, preachers, pastors, and theologians of all stripes focused on the important issues in the text–and didn’t “sweat the small stuff” quite so much–but instead focused on what was spiritually important.

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