We think exegesis is at its best when we arrive at “the answer,” when we reach “understanding,” but actually exegesis is at its best when the text seems strange and alien to us. We need to make the text strange again.
Author: Tommy Keene
The question is really a matter of “how many exegetical decisions am I going to answer in my translation.” The more you leave ambiguous, the more burden you put on the reader. The more exegetical questions you answer, the less burden you put on the reader.
Revelation seems so difficult and confusing, but John has actually given us firm footholds in the opening of his letter. He’s guiding his readers in how Revelation is to be read.
Your audience might be under the assumption that the “original languages” are possessed with a kind of magic, a deep meaning that they cannot get from their plebian translations. In appealing to the original you may be reinforcing that conclusion, sowing the seeds of distrust of translation, or worse, cultivating mistaken conclusions about biblical interpretation.
The point: when translating from the Greek, these subtleties won’t always show up in translation. That’s why it probably feels “low impact.” But such questions are worth thinking about because, though subtle, the rhetorical and semantic functions are different in many contexts.
As a working guideline, then, I propose we evaluate translations on the basis of three criteria. A good translation (1) has a well-defined, well-reasoned, and useful translation philosophy, (2) applies that philosophy consistently over the “many parts and various ways” God has spoken to us in his word (Heb. 1:1), and (3) uses the “best of what’s around” to understand the original Hebrew and Greek text. The NLT gets an “A” in all three of these categories, as I will establish in a bit.
When we shine a bright light upon the shape of James, the shadow that is cast is inevitable that of Jesus. So here we meet Jesus yet again because here we find his values and actions described for us. Read James, then, and meditate on how these verses reflect the perfections of your redeemer.