A Real Look at Muslim Idiom Translations

(© Istockphoto/kevinruss; Lebazele)

Still wondering what kind of impact an idiom translation can have on one’s understanding of God? Take a look for yourself.

An Assemblies of God missionary who accepted Christ while reading the Bible finds it interesting that despite the proverbial “excesses” of charismatics, he has yet to meet any charismatics who advocate using Muslim idiom translations in evangelism efforts.

“I’ve never come across Pentecostals or charismatics who said, ‘Let’s change the text of the Bible,’ and attributed it to the Holy Spirit,” says Adam Simnowitz, who was raised in the Catholic Church.

“Presbyterians, Baptists and Reformed people are changing the text of the Bible. The irony of somebody like me calling out people about the Bible isn’t lost on me.”

In a chapter he contributed to the book Chrislam, Simnowitz outlines a number of examples in one Bible adaptation, called The Lives of the Prophets, that has been translated into various Arabic dialects while shedding the familial language about the Father and Son in the Scriptures:

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One pastor told Simnowitz that even though he disagreed with the “removal by substitution” approach to translation in The Lives of the Prophets, he had no problems distributing the book because of God’s sovereignty.

“I wonder if he would feel that way if one were to distribute the New World Translation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses that willfully mistranslate Bible verses to support their anti-biblical doctrines?” Simnowitz asks.

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