Punctuation

In my previous post, I made the statement that translations of scripture are only as accurate as the translator’s knowledge of the language, as well as his or her knowledge of God.  To understand what I am saying, you need to know what the translators are working from.

The original scriptures were written in Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament), and some small portions in Aramaic.  In the translations we have today, the content is all laid out in chapters and verses, and most modern bibles even have sections laid out with topical titles in an effort to assist the reader.  But the original (or earliest) manuscripts were not that way.  The Greek manuscripts were written in all capital letters, with no spaces and very little punctuation.  There were no chapters or verse numbers. Hebrew manuscripts were very much the same. Here are examples of portions of Greek and Hebrew texts.  And here is a link to a discussion on punctuating the bible.

So you can see that translation is not just a cut and dry task, and the interpretation of where a sentence ends or begins can be unclear.  While most translations do their best to be accurate and true to the original, we must be aware in our own study that what is translated may not be the meaning that was intended.  That is why we need consult many versions, rather than sticking to one translation.

And above all, we need to read prayerfully. Remember, the Holy Spirit is our Teacher, and will reveal to us all things.

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