What Did That Say?

Interpreting language is one of the more difficult things that we as people do.
We read words and processes those words to discover the meaning that someone is attempting to communicate. The problem can be that we read and understand language the way we think, not necessarily how they are thinking.
This can lead to mis-understanding, or a failure to communicate. That problem is exacerbated when we consider translation from language to language.
The goal of the translation is not to generate the right words to correspond to the words written, but to translate the thoughts of the author to the hearer.
This may or may not be a literal translation, depending on many factors including culture, idiomatic expressions, etc… The problem is even worse when the words we are reading are very old. Not only do we have to get the translation of thought correctly, but it has to be the translation of thought in the proper time context. Words change meaning over time in all languages.

Good translators take all these things into account when trying to determine the original intent of an author. This is just one facet of hermeneutics: understanding what is being said. There are many others, any of which can radically alter the meaning of a text. This is why it is so critical to listen to educated people on what translations of bible texts mean.
It is very easy to go wrong, and without thorough, thoughtful, and correct study; we will very easily go astray. A good rule of thumb is: if what you are reading is radically new, or super culturally hip, or something that no one ever thought of before, its probably wrong.

If you are serious about understanding Scripture, I mean really understanding it, the people whose opinions you listen to, the people who teach you, the people who preach to you, who you read and study have to know what they are doing. Education is a great way to make that happen, study hermeneutics, and validate the credentials of those voices you let into your head!

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