Discerning the Text

So now that we see that translating from the ancient manuscripts is not like translating sentences from your textbook in French class, it is more clear why a translator’s knowledge of God is of equal importance in the task.  I’m not setting aside the scholarly knowledge of the language and idioms of the culture of the biblical times, etc., but scripture is spiritual, and one must have the spirit of God dwelling in him in order to be able to discern their meaning.

But, as it is written,

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,

 nor the heart of man imagined,

 what God has prepared for those who love him”—

these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

(1 Corinthians 2:9-16)

The only way one can receive the spirit of God is to be born again (John 3), believing on Jesus Christ (not merely a mental assent) to the effect that He makes alive in us the spirit which was dead because of the sin of Adam:

But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for fall men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.

(Romans 5:15-19)

I will write more on the subject of what “born again” means, but the point here is that with a dead spirit, translation and interpretation of the scriptures is futile.

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