The Infallibility and Inerrancy of the Bible - Part 2

By Gracious Tukura Andrew

On Jun 22, 2021

Words and phrases differ from language to language; a single word in one language might turn out to be an entire phrase after been translated into another language; now this doesn’t mean that the word or phrase in the previous language was changed in the course of translation, neither does it denote that its meaning was lost in the course of translation; it only means that the translator put it in the best and most efficient way possible that it could be understood in the language it is been translated to.

Sequel to our previous blog post on the inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible, this article attempts to respond to the school of thought that argues that the bible lost some of its meaning in the course of being translated to other languages, thereby, undermining its inerrancy.

The translation of the Bible dates way back to the 3rd and even 2nd centuries BCE (though it was not called the Bible then, it was known as the Septuagint). History has it that the Old Testament (O.T) manuscripts (including the Torah) were originally written in Hebrew and few books in Aramaic while the books of the New Testament (N.T) were written in Greek.

The first translation wasn’t for the entire bible, but for the books of the O.T and was carried out by 70 or 72 Hebrew or Jewish scholars 6 from each of the twelve tribes of Israel who independently produced identical Greek Translations of the O.T (Torah inclusive) from Hebrew at the request of Ptolemy II Philadelphus (the Pharaoh of Ptolemaic Egypt from 283-246 BC) and this dates back to the 2nd and 3rd centuries BCE. Even though there are speculations that translations of the bible were made before then, that of the 70 (72) seems to be the most acknowledged.

After the translation of the OT, many attempts were made to create a canon, but of all attempts, the Muratorian canon which dates back to 200 AD was the accepted and earliest compilation of texts of the New Testament; and in the 5th century AD, the church came to a basic agreement on the biblical canon.

St Jerome is credited for the second translation of the Bible from Greek to Latin which he did from 382-405 AD and this Translation was authorized and used by the catholic church.

In 1517, Martin Luther began translating the bible into German, completed the translation in 1534. This would be the third time the Bible was translated. Martin had great knowledge in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and German which are the Original languages in which the Manuscripts were written and the Language he translated from and the language He translated to respectively. Martin did not accomplish this task alone, according to him, He recruited people from everywhere to assist Him.

The fourth Translation is the King James Version, and, and like its name, was Commissioned by King James (1604) even though it was printed till 1611. The need for this Version came to be when Puritans and Calvinists made observations that Versions commissioned by the previous Monarchs were corrupted. To date, this Version is the most reliable text in English and is to the English what Luther’s translation is to the Germans.

Inerrancy as pertains to Bible translation

Now, with the brief knowledge on the History of the translation of the Bible, it is clear that not all translations were accepted, and those translations accepted were done by people who had no cause nor reasons to harbor ulterior motives that could compel them to adulterate the original Texts. Not only did the translators take their responsibilities with all seriousness, but by taking it upon themselves to Translate the Bible, they had their reputations at stake. Also following history, we can see that the duration it took these people to make a complete translation showed that they were not in a hurry which would have given room for oversight of certain errors. Hence, they had ample time to dot their I (s) and cross their Ts.

Certainly, over time, the need to have the Bible further translated into other languages has arisen severally as there are Christians all over the world speaking and understanding different languages.

It is outrageous and erroneous to make claims that the Bible lost its meaning in the course of translation because this claim tends to signify that in the course of translation, the Bible lost the ability to perform the tasks Christians solidly depend on it to do; such as Teaching, correcting and Equipping Christians for every good work. It also tends to taint the image of the translators which history asserts were Men of integrity.

Furthermore, it is possible that those who hold to this claim feel that the bible does not endorse their views, personal beliefs, and cultures, so rather than change these beliefs, they totally condemn the Book and create imaginary loopholes as regards its inerrancy/infallibility. To doubt the Inerrancy and integrity of a highly accurate and reliable historically consistent book on the feeble basis of sentiments is quite illogical.

Finally, we should constantly bear in mind that the translation only affected the language and NOT the quality nor the message of the Bible. The Bible still remains the Bible, and regardless of how many languages it gets translated into, it still retains the same significance as that of the previous centuries

About The Author

Tukura Gracious Andrew is a writer and a graduate of Biological Science. She is a Volunteer at LightWk.