In his latest post at The Lamp Rick Mansfield wrestles with the issue of audience-oriented Bible translation. For his Sunday School class teaching Rick recently returned to using a Bible version he had used for many years. He went back to that version his edition of it had wide margins with many important notes he had written in this margins over the years. He learned an important lesson and it was delivered after class through the mouth of his wife:
Kathy sat me down on the couch this morning, and in no uncertain terms told me, “You can’t teach with whatever translation you’ve used the last two Sundays anymore!”
“Why not?” I sheepishly asked. Although I knew better. I had read the word “booty” from that Bible in front of forty people in our Bible study to the snicker of some and to the red face of my wife. Who uses that word anyway–pirates?
She went on to tell me that every time I read anything from my Bible, it was hard to understand and too different from anything anyone else was reading from. She said, “No one could even follow you!”
I reached for the Bible to which she was referring. I opened it up and showed it to her. “But I like this Bible. It has wide margins. I teach better when I use it.”
“Better for you, maybe, but not for anyone else. So you have to decide–are you going to teach in a way that’s easier for you or easier for those listening to you?”
And that concluding question is one that faces each of us who read from the Bible as we teach others.