Bible Translations

How to Translate the Bible

You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. (2 Corinthians 3:2-3)

The first Bible of my own was a paper-back version given to me when I came forward at an altar call to give my life to Jesus Christ. It was just a New Testament, The Living Bible version, and on the front, it had a picture of a child on his father’s shoulders and said, “The Greatest of these is Love.”

Bible Translations

I have many more translations of the Bible now, and it seems like there is a never-ending stream of new Bible translations. No matter what Bible you like to read, the principle of 2 Corinthians 3 is still true: The Bible everybody reads is your life.

You yourselves are our letter, Paul wrote. Every letter has an author, and we are a letter from Christ. Every letter has readers, and we are known and read by everybody. Our life is like a letter, and we can’t hide it. People you meet every day read the letter of your life. We can’t blame them for doing this, because if the work of Jesus is real, it will be real in our lives.

Because every Christian is a bible, perhaps it’s time to recognize some new translations:

The “Ashamed to Follow Jesus” version (AFJ)
The “Sin Doesn’t Apply to Me” version (SDAM)
The “Other Christians are Terrible” version (OCT)
The “Christian Life is Miserable” version (CLM)
The “Holier than Thou” version (HTT)

How do we get the right kind of letter written? Again, look at 2 Corinthians 3:3. Every letter is written with a pen, and Paul says the letter of their Christian life is the result of our ministry. This means we should never neglect what other Christians can do in our life. Isolating ourselves as Christians is a bad thing to do.

Every letter is written with ink, and Paul says we are written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God. Have you yielded your life to the Spirit of God? Are you walking in stress, or walking in the Spirit? If you are “translating” the Bible poorly, perhaps it’s because you are walking in stress, and not the Spirit.

Every letter is written on something, and our “bible” is written not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. This means we have to let God write His Word on our heart.

It’s sad to think that perhaps we haven’t translated the Bible very well into our lives. When we provide a poor translation, other people read it and get the wrong idea about Jesus. If you aren’t a follower of Jesus Christ, I’m sorry for the bad “letters” you’ve read. But I do ask you to remember that ultimately, it’s all about Jesus Christ. Instead of criticizing – sometimes with good reason – the “translations” around you, why not let Jesus write into your life?

Click here for David’s commentary on 2 Corinthians 3

6 replies
  1. Istvan Lorincz
    Istvan Lorincz says:

    Absolutely, indeed, yes!
    Had 10 privileged years to complete a Hungarian one year chronological Bible. And yes, it changed my life, mindset, the way of sharing The Gospel and obviously teaching The Word as well.
    As I am writing the Foreword to this Book, before it will be published ( not knowing yet where), I’be got fired up to use 2 Corinthians 3:2-3 as the best Introduction…Thank you Pastor David for sharing it.

    • David Guzik
      David Guzik says:

      Jessica, thanks for writing! Here is a list of 10 books that I think have been – I hope have been influential in my life. The list is in no particular order.

      Lectures to My Students – Charles Spurgeon
      Mere Christianity – C. S. Lewis
      A History of Christianity – Kenneth Scott Latourette
      Not Knowing Whither – Oswald Sanders
      Jesus Style – Gayle Erwin
      Romans, Verse by Verse – William Newell
      Charisma vs Charismania – Chuck Smith
      Full Surrender – J. Edwin Orr
      The Making of a Man of God – Alan Redpath
      The Gospel of John – Leon Morris


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