Anglican Futures: Anglican Alphabet Spaghetti

Anglican Futures Anglican Alphabetti Spaghetti A dummies guide to the plethora of organisations and acronyms linked to faithful Anglicans in the UK and Europe. I once spent some time around military personel.  Everything had its own TLA (Three Letter Acronym) right...

Canterbury Tales: Favourite Bible Stories Retold by Archbishop Justin Welby

Canterbury Tales Favourite Bible stories retold by Archbishop Justin Welby The Good Samaritan A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead, halfway...

Anglican Mission in England Elects Two Suffragan Bishops

Anglican Mission in England Elects Two Suffragan Bishops The Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) met in Synod on 18 June.  While there, they elected two suffragan bishops to aid Bishop Andy Lines in providing episcopal oversight for the overall work.  Bishop Lines also...

Pride Flags Causing Conflict at Christian School

Pride Flags Cause Conflict at Christian School Conflict has broken out in a Christian school in Oxfordshire over the display of “Pride” flags. The institution in question is Kingham Hill School.  The same Trust (Kingham Hill Trust) oversees Oak Hill College, an...

Prayer Book Society Raising Funds to Put BCPs in the Hands of Choristers

Prayer Book Society Raising Funds to Put BCPs in the Hands of Choristers The Prayer Book Society, which will soon celebrate its 50th Anniversary, is raising funds to put a special edition BCP into the hands of junior choristers around the nation.   The idea came to...

Book Review: Reimagining Britain by Justin Welby

Reimagining Britain Foundations for Hope Justin Welby Bloomsbury, 2018, new edn. 2021 (ISBN: 978-1-4729-8497-5, 322pp, £12.99) The Archbishop of Canterbury has made several notable political interventions recently, including over ‘partygate’ and the Rwanda deportation...

Birthday of Anglicanism in America

Birthday of Anglicanism in America By the Revd Canon Chuck Collins June 16, 1607 was the birthday of Anglicanism in America. On this day Captain John Smith and 104 others celebrated the Lord’s Supper when they arrived safely in Jamestown, Virginia. Jamestown was the...

Barnabas Fund Report: Two ChiBok Girls Found

Barnabas Fund Reports Two Chibok Girls Found After 8 Years 24 June 2022 Two women, who were among hundreds of schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram from the Nigerian town of Chibok eight years ago, have been found. Hauwa Joseph was discovered among a group of other...

New Bishop-elect for the Diocese of Cashel, Ferns & Ossory

Church of Ireland News New Bishop Elected for Cashel, Ferns & Ossory The Church of Ireland diocese of Cashel, Ferns, and Ossory now has a bishop-elect.  The Venerable Adrian Wilkinson, Archdeacon of Cork, Cloyne, and Ross was elected to succeed the Rt Revd Michael...

Editorial: Lessons to be Learned from the American Pro-Life Movement

Editorial Lessons to be Learned from American Pro-Life Movement Friday, 24 June 2022, the Feast of St John the Baptist, will be a date which will live in infamy amongst the supporters of abortion.  On that date, the US Supreme Court, overturned the precedent set by...

Letter: The Old Canard of Bible Translations

The Old Canard of Bible Translations

Dear Sir,

In his rather gruff insistence on having his letter published Mr Fleming took aim at many targets at once (11th Feb); such a scattergun approach makes it tricky to discern the main point therein. The evaluation of ‘style over substance’ is somewhat in the eye of the beholder; I find much substantial material within these pages fortnightly. Perhaps Mr Fleming could ask his three friends whether they know of any other publication that regularly brings to its readers’ attention the text of both the Heidelberg Catechism and the Thirty-nine Articles?

Regarding the old canard of Bible translations, I would think that since the rest of the newspaper is printed in modern English there might be an argument in favour of a modern translation, if only for consistency’s sake. The case Mr Fleming makes for his preferred version is that it is ‘tried and trusted’, which could mean simply that it has been around for a long time. If that is the sole commendation, the same argument could be made for the Papacy, though I surmise neither Mr Fleming nor I would wish to advocate that!

Surely in the choice of Bible version, every Christian (including our esteemed Editor) has liberty to exercise their judgment responsibly, considering which translation might be best for their spiritual discipline and growth. The Bible is silent about its translation into English, of course, and we should avoid filling that silence with a doctrine built around our own preferences. However, might there yet be factors to guide us away from a totemic use of one version over others? 

By the second century BC, the Old Testament had been translated from Hebrew into Greek. In the multi-lingual world of the Roman Empire this meant that Jesus and the apostles had a choice of translations available; indeed the New Testament contains evidence of both Hebrew and Greek texts being used. (For one example of the Greek OT being cited, compare the quotation in Mark 7:6,7 with Isaiah 29:13.) If the church from its very beginning could live with multiple Bible translations, surely we can do so today?

When addressing his contemporaries Jesus spoke Aramaic, which had overtaken Hebrew as the everyday language of Israel by that time. Thus Jesus used the common language of the day, rather than the less-familiar language from a few centuries earlier. Might the Word of God incarnate provide us with an example when we consider the Word of God written? 

The New Testament itself contains translation. The gospel writers recalled actual Aramaic phrases spoken by Jesus (Talitha cumi, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?, Ephphatha) and then translated them for the benefit of their Greek readers. They translated in the same manner as they wrote, using first-century Greek (Koiné), not the polished classical Greek of a few centuries earlier, that might have been considered more suitable as sacred language. 

Had we been reading the English Churchman during the reign of King James I, would we have seen correspondence lamenting the loss of the ‘tried and trusted’ Geneva Bible, or the Bishops’ Bible? Certainly the Authorised Version did not receive universal enthusiasm on first publication, and was compared unfavourably to earlier English versions.

Had the first English Bible been published in 2022, would there have been campaigns to have it rendered in the language of Shakespeare? The attitude of Scripture-starved Christians receiving the first Bibles in their native tongue would indicate otherwise. By comparison, it seems so indulgent of us to engage in these debates, which are alien to much of the Church yesterday and today.

I do not claim to have contributed style or substance, and fear I may have lost readers before the end of this letter. I simply ask, can we find common ground on this issue by holding to the tried and trusted maxim: In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity?


Michael Andrews