Thanks for your tip driver

My husband and I get a kick out of mistranslations, written instructions or explanations into English from another language. Perhaps it’s because we have been on the other side. Language learning can be brutal, and we have both had plenty of embarrassing moments when what we thought we said did not match what we really said. 

A few months ago, we climbed into a bus in Ecuador, sat our weary selves down and saw to the right of the driver a sign that read:

“Thanks for your tip driver.” 

It was a simple message for the benefit of its readers which would have made more sense to the English ear as “Thanks for tipping your driver.”

Inaccurate messages aren’t always cute. They can be downright dangerous.

We live in a Christian context confused about
the import of God’s unadulterated Word. It’s not a new problem.

“Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1; NASB), that craftiest of the beasts said to the woman in the garden of Eden.

There is something a little crazy within our minds and hearts willing us to soften the Bibles’ blows, “Did God really say?…,” reword its content and make God’s words say what makes sense to us within our culture and language, even to the point of misrepresentation of truth, or lowering its standards to make us feel better.

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Today I listened while a friend talked about some difficult childhood trauma. She experienced tough stuff I can’t pretend to understand, and her interpretation of God the Father has suffered. It would. The beauty however is, truth doesn’t change with the experience, or because of a path we’ve travelled.

God’s infallible Word is the anchor through which the rest of life makes sense. It’s our base from which to interpret life, not the other way around.

And sometimes because of our experiences we find God’s Word cumbersome, insensitive, and hurtful, as if God’s Word is a mistranslation of what He meant to say. Like Eve. As she contemplated her reality and the fruit in front of her, the serpent’s crafty words seemed to make sense, and God’s not so much. Perhaps, God really meant something different, surely He would not deny something good, she reasoned. “Indeed has God said…?”

Satan is intent on destroying God’s Words, in reforming timeless laws to the whims of society, congruent to personal background and culture.

God spoke. From Genesis 1 to the final chapter of Revelation, God speaks. His Word calls for our commitment of time, intellect and heart. It invites us to its own pages, to dig and digest, to look at context, background and intent. The Bible is inspired, profound and inconceivably perfect for every culture and language. It is always relevant and personal. It never needs reshaping to fit my circumstances. Rather, God’s Word tethers me to a foundation in which to place my circumstances and make sense of life.

I can’t explain tragedies or difficult things that happen, why people suffer unimaginable sorrows, or face the injustices of mankind. But, I can layer into my mind and soul through God’s Word Who God is, What His desires are, and How dearly He loves me. I can persistently pour truth into my heart so that my mind changes perspective, clearing my vision to trust what cannot be seen.

Experience under the microscope of God’s Word proves truth. It is the testing ground that produces greater assurance every one of His Words are right.