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In the previous chapters you could see that 2011 marking the 400th anniversary of the first printing of the King James Bible was taken as a good opportunity by some editors to lance several various versions of Bible translations. 2014/15 bringing more news-reports of Muslim-extremist attacks and more missionary work in Islamic countries made some translators and publishers also chose for the Arabic title for God in their editions, though several christians where not pleased with such insertion.

Though several preaching groups found it time to reach out to non-religious people and to those who felt attracted by the Islam. Also coming to preach to Muslims, several preachers like us, think it better also to use names and terms common to those to whom we preach.

Wycliffe Bible Translators, Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) and Mission Frontiers have translated the New Testament in a way they claim Muslims can understand.

Many Christians are calling it a perversion.

While this effort first came to light a few years ago, it has again come into the news with tracts starting to appear that are “Muslim friendly”.

Some examples:

  • Wycliffe/SIL produced Stories of the Prophets, a work that uses “Lord” instead of “Father” and “Messiah” instead of “Son.”
  • Frontiers (a Swiss-based publishing company) worked with a SIL consultant to produce True Meaning of the Gospel, an Arabic book that removes “Son” in reference to Jesus.
  • Frontiers also produced a Turkish translation of Matthew, distributed by SIL that uses “guardian” for “Father” and “representative” or “proxy” for “Son.”
  • SIL consulted on the Bengali Injil Sharif, advising that “Son” be translated as “God’s Uniquely Intimate Beloved Chosen One.”

Frontiers and SIL have also produced Meaning of the Gospel of Christ, an Arabic translation that removes “Father” in reference to God and replaces it with “Allah,” and removes or redefines “Son.”

Stories of the Prophets

An independent panel, organized by the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), wrote in one of its suggestions that it recognized

“that there is significant potential for misunderstanding of the words for ‘father‘ and ‘son‘ when applied to God, and that in languages shaped by Islamic cultures, the potential is especially acute and the misunderstandings likely to prove especially harmful to the reader’s comprehension of the gospel.” {5 Reasons “Muslim Friendly” Bible Translations are Counterproductive}

The panel recommended that translators consider the addition of qualifying words and/or phrases (explanatory adjectives, relative clauses, prepositional phrases, or similar modifiers) to the directly-translated words for “father” and “son,” in order to avoid misunderstanding.

“For example, as the biblical context allows, the word for ‘father‘ might be rendered with the equivalent of ‘heavenlyFather‘ when referring to God, and the word for ‘son‘ might be rendered with the equivalent of ‘divine Son,’ ‘eternal Son,’ or ‘heavenly Son’ when referring to Jesus,” {5 Reasons “Muslim Friendly” Bible Translations are Counterproductive}

the panel suggested.

The panel also recommended that translators use paratextual material

“to clarify and avoid misunderstanding in these cases.”

Wycliffe Bible Translators came under heavy criticism more than a year ago when Biblical Missiology created an online petition alleging that the translation group had eliminated familial terms describing God and Jesus in certain Arabic and Bengali translations of the Bible so as not to offend Muslim readers.

Biblical Missiology wrote

“Muslim friendly” Bible translations, technically termed “Muslim Idiom Translations” (MITs), are well-meaning attempts to produce the Bible in a way that is easily accepted and understood by Muslims. These translations use Islamic terminology, graphic elements and fonts, and Qur’anic phrases to make the book look, feel, and read like an Islamic book. Some MITs use the same distinctive frame around the text and numbered rosettes between the verses that Qur’an editions do, and some even replace literal translations of “Father” and “Son” with alternative terms like “guardian” and “prince”. {5 Reasons “Muslim Friendly” Bible Translations are Counterproductive}

"Muslim Friendly” Bible Translations, technically termed “Muslim Idiom Translations” (MITs), are by many considered to be counterproductive and deceiving

“Muslim Friendly” Bible Translations, technically termed “Muslim Idiom Translations” (MITs), are by many considered to be counterproductive and deceiving

Muslim Idiom Translation (MIT) refers to an increasingly common “approach” to so-called Scripture translation for Muslim audiences. Its usage among professing evangelicals involved in missions to Muslims continues to increase in spite of the fact that some of its most distinguishing features are at odds with historic, biblical orthodoxy. Although MIT has been around for close to three decades, there is great need for a critical look at this phenomenon.

For the missionary organisation MITs by appearing at first glance to be Muslim books, because they use cover artwork that is similar to Qur’anic art, introductions and headers that include Qur’anic phrases, with the use of distinctly Qur’anic names for prophets and other biblical characters, and Islamic theological phrases, are for them deceiving books. They write

While these traits might be intended to help Muslims accept and understand the Bible better, what they actually do is make Muslims think they are reading a Muslim book. But if they initially accept this book on the basis of it being Islamic, they do so under false premises. {5 Reasons “Muslim Friendly” Bible Translations are Counterproductive}

For them this is not consistent with 2 Corinthians 4:2

“But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.”

and react

Deception is not only wrong, but also counterproductive, because when it is discovered, it makes Muslims more resistant to the gospel. {5 Reasons “Muslim Friendly” Bible Translations are Counterproductive}

We must be aware that perhaps only uneducated and unknowledgeable Muslims would be ultimately fooled into thinking that an MIT is actually a Muslim book. Educated and well-informed Muslims would recognise that those Bible translations and Christian works which use the names of the Holy Scriptures characters with the names Muslims are used to, shall be able to recognise the similarities of those different holy Scriptures. We do not think they will

be rightly enraged at such a deceptive tactic, and would surely raise awareness about it to their fellow Muslims. {5 Reasons “Muslim Friendly” Bible Translations are Counterproductive}

Not all MITs remove or replace “Father” and “Son” with alternate terms, though some do, instead of giving a clear explanation for that son-ship and comparing it to the same situation many Muslims consider themselves sons and daughters of Abraham and therefore calling him their patriarch.

Pierre Rashad Houssney, MENA Regional Director for Horizons International, a Lebanese-American who grew up in the context of cross-cultural ministry among Muslims and international students, does find it wrong that Bibles are created with Arabic names and does find those new bible translations

imitating the books of other religious traditions,

and even worse, finds them

compromising on such a central theological issue as the Father and Son. {5 Reasons “Muslim Friendly” Bible Translations are Counterproductive}

English: The word Allah, in Arabic. alif hamza...

English: The word Allah, in Arabic. alif hamzat waṣl (همزة وصل) lām lām shadda (شدة‎) alif khanjariyya (ألف خنجرية‎‎) hā (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In several of those MITs instead of “Lord” or “God” is printed “Allah” (God in Arabic and in many other languages).  Though Allah is in our country commonly used for indicating the Most High God, by several native English speaking Christians it is a form they only know for the Islam, not knowing that in many Catholic and some protestant bible-translations this is also a common used title instead of placing ‘Lord‘, especially in Arabic language bibles commonly Allah is being used.

Some English people may think those translations with he word Allah are modifying the Word of God for their political agenda, but they are just using a general title we and many others are used to in our daily language.

According to Now the End Begins:

First, Wycliffe and SIL have produced Stories of the Prophets, an Arabic Bible that uses an Arabic equivalent of “Lord” instead of “Father” and “Messiah” instead of “Son.” Second, Frontiers and SIL have produced Meaning of the Gospel of Christ , an Arabic translation which removes “Father” in reference to God and replaces it with “Allah,” and removes or redefines “Son.” {New Bible Translation Eliminates “Father, Son, Holy Spirit and Messiah” Because It Insults Muslims}

Stories of the ProphetsThose Christian missionaries, Bible translators and leaders who are very worried and are trying to stop the publications of this Modified Bibles should know better. It surprises us that bible translators would be against the word “Allah” because they should know what it means, and that it is just the Arabic form of ‘God’ and is a better word than ‘Lord’.

As such when there is written about the Name of God in the New Testament, they should know it can as well be translated as Matthew 28:19 reading:

“Cleanse them by water in the name of Allah, his Messiah and his Holy Spirit”

instead of “baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” {New Bible Translation Eliminates “Father, Son, Holy Spirit and Messiah” Because It Insults Muslims}

for where we can find written

Matthew 28:19 The Scriptures 1998+  (19)  “Therefore, go and make taught ones of all the nations, immersing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Set-apart Spirit,

In this place they point out there naturally can be discussion about placing ‘Allah’, but at all other places where other replace the Name of God with “Lord” or with the title ‘God’ those people have no reason at all to complain, because “Allah” or “God” is always better and staying much more clear than the bad replacement of God’s Name by the title ‘Lord’, by which many readers can not see about whom is been spoken, about God or about God His son Jesus.

With using the word Allah everybody can see clear about whom is been spoken and Muslims have less reason to be offended and can show to those Christians who take Jesus as their god what the bible really says and show Who God really is. This way more Christians can come to believe in the same God Jews, real Christians and Muslims believe, namely the God of Adam, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jesus and his disciples, the God of Israel, Allah/God the Adonai Elohim Whose Holy and divine Name is Jehovah.

Brian David rightly reacts to the readers of End Time Prophecy:

I don’t see the problem most Christians don’t read the Bible anyway and those few who do, have no idea what it is saying because they do not understand the language. If you do not look up every word, first in the Strong’s, then 1828 Webster’s and some law dictionary’s; you will have no clue as to what is being said within the scriptures.

For example, the word God in the Hebrew and Greek; mean judge, magistrate or ruler, these are the people that most Christians worship and fear.

God
H430
אֱלֹהִים
‘ĕlôhı̂ym
el-o-heem’
Plural of H433; gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God; occasionally applied by way of deference to magistrates; and sometimes as a superlative: – angels, X exceeding, God (gods) (-dess, -ly), X (very) great, judges, X mighty.
2601 times

G2316
θεός
theos
theh’-os
Of uncertain affinity; a deity, especially (with G3588) the supreme Divinity; figuratively a magistrate; by Hebraism very: – X exceeding, God, god [-ly, -ward].
1343 times

Now here is where it gets good.

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 3Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling awayG646 first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

G646
ἀποστασία
apostasia
ap-os-tas-ee’-ah
Feminine of the same as G647; defection from truth (properly the state), (apostasy): – falling away, forsake.

G647
ἀποστάσιον
apostasion
ap-os-tas’-ee-on
Neuter of a (presumed) adjective from a derivative of G868; properly something separative, that is, (specifically) divorce: – (writing of) divorcement.

Defection
DEFECTION, noun
1. Want or failure of duty; particularly, a falling away; apostasy; the act of abandoning a person or cause to which one is bound by allegiance or duty, or to which one has attached himself. Our defection from God is proof of our depravity. The cause of the king was rendered desperate by the defection of the nobles.
2. Revolt; used of nations or states.

In 2 Thessalonians 2:3 we see that the son of perdition will not be revealed until there is a falling away first which literally means a divorce from the state by abandoning our person which is a mask or a legal fiction that is an organization (Corporation). The act of abandoning a person or a legal fiction that is used by the state through surnames. Every had your person summoned to court like a demon.

Person
PERSON, noun per’sn. [Latin persona; said to be compounded of per, through or by, and sonus, sound; a Latin word signifying primarily a mask used by actors on the state.]

Surname
SUR’NAME, noun [Latin super and nomen.]
1. An additional name; a name or appellation added to the baptismal or christian name, and which becomes a family name. Surnames, with us, originally designated occupation, estate, place of residence, or some particular thing or event that related to the person. Thus William Rufus or red; Edmund Ironsides; Robert Smith, or the smith; William Turner.

The bilingual Hebrew–English edition of the Ne...

The bilingual Hebrew–English edition of the New JPS translation. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Because of many Christians not knowing the difference between a god, god, God or The God, often they consider when the Bible says “god” they take it to be about the Divine Creator God, though in their ordinary daily language when they speak about sport-figures or film-actors and television vedettes they also use the word ‘god’, though hopefully they would not consider those gods they are talking about to be The God. The same as they say “oh god” we do hope they do not use that expression with the idea of using The God His Name, because than they would defile God’s Name many times.

But they should know that ‘god’ is not a name but a title, the same as ‘allah’ is a title and being a word that is used in many languages to speak about a higher placed person or a god whilst ‘Allah’ is also used to denote the Most High God, Jehovah/Yehowah/Yahuwah/Jahuwah/Yahweh.

*

  1. Stories of the Prophets pdf version
  2. Wycliffe Global alliance
  3. Another Gospel
  4. What is wrong with Biblical Missiology’s Critique of the Insider Movement?
  5. Wycliffe Bible Translators Accept Panel Report Over Controversial Muslim Context Translation

+

Preceding articles:

Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #1 Pre King James Bible

Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #2 King James Bible versions

Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #3 Women and versions

Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #4 Steps to the women’s bibles

Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #5 Further steps to women’s bibles

Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #6 Revisions of revisions

Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #7 Jewish versions

Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #8 Selective Bibles and selective people

Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #9 Restored names and Sacred Name Bibles

Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #10 Journaling Bibles and illustrative women

++

Additional reading

  1. Preaching to an unbelieving world
  2. The very very beginning 1 Creating Gods
  3. Titles of God beginning with the Aleph in Hebrew
  4. Between Alpha and Omega – The plan of creation
  5. Written and translated by different men over thousands of years
  6. Names, Titles, and Characters of Jesus Christ
  7. Accuracy, Word-for-Word Translation Preferred by most Bible Readers
  8. A learning process for each of us
  9. Word of God presented to people in more than 3200 languages

+++

Further reading

  1. Book Review | Translating Truth: The Case for Essentially Literal Bible Translation
  2. The King James Bible and the Restoration
  3. New Bible Translation Eliminates “Father, Son, Holy Spirit and Messiah” Because It Insults Muslims
  4. Ryrie’s Bibles and Manuscripts Auctioned off
  5. Troubled places
  6. Partnership possibilities to #endbiblepoverty @pciassembly @wycliffeuk
  7. A Useless Commentary
  8. Celebrating Completed Scriptures
  9. Bible in more languages than Hamlet and Harry Potter put together
  10. Internal Evidence
  11. 4 October ― 8 Mashíyyat
  12. Holy Scriptures
  13. The Baptist Confession of Faith: Of the Holy Scriptures
  14. The Baptist Catechism: What is the Word of God?
  15. The Baptist Catechism: 3° commandement:The third commandment requires the holy and reverent use of God’s names, titles, attributes, ordinances, word, and works.
  16. How did Jesus hand on the Faith?
  17. Catholic view of Muslims
  18. Name
  19. Sabbath Word: Porverbs 3
  20. Who is Elohim? Part 2.
  21. The Lord’s name is Holy !
  22. Lessons From The Name Of God In The Book Of Esther 
  23. Son of God
  24. You Won’t Find It Here
  25. Conviction or Opinion?
  26. On Bearing the Name of Christ in Vain
  27. Known By Name
  28. What’s In a Name?
  29. The Mystery of Praising The Name
  30. The Heart of God

+++

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Comments on: "Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #11 Muslim Idiom Translations" (2)

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