If you’ve read any portion of The Message, Eugene Peterson’s translation of the Bible, then you know how dynamic it is. In this month’s issue of Relevant Magazine, there’s an excellent interview with Peterson in which he gives some answer to those who believe his translation is too dynamic. Pick up a copy of the print magazine to read the whole article. Here’s an excerpt:
A lot of people criticize The Message, saying that you changed the meanings of certain passages. They say it isn’t a “literal” translation.
There is no “true” translation of the Bible because one language doesn’t translate literally to the next. Hebrew and Greek don’t translate literally into English. There is a context with each language, there are colloquialisms, there is the language of the street. Jesus used the language of the street in His day. I tried to do the same for our day.
But don’t some critics say, “Translation is betrayal”?
They do. But we’re translating all the time. Preachers translate Scripture every time they preach. Reading is a type of translating. I have come to believe that people who call for “literal” translations prefer unthinking to thinking.