Can a translation be inspired?
Yes, God has inspired several.
In the Book of Genesis, chapters 42-45, we have the record of Joseph's
reunion with his brethren. That Joseph spoke Egyptian instead of Hebrew is
evident by Genesis 42:23.
"And they knew not that Joseph understood them; for he spake unto
them by an interpreter."
It is, of course, an accepted fact that no translation can be "word
perfect". Therefore we know that the Hebrew translation
of Joseph's Egyptian statements as found in the Old Testament manuscripts
cannot be an exact word for word copy. We are left with quite a dilemma.
WHOM did God inspire? Did He inspire Joseph's Egyptian
statements, the Egyptian interpreter's verbal translation, or Moses'
written translation as found in the Hebrew of the Old Testament?
If God inspired Joseph, was his "original" statement marred by his
Egyptian interpreter, or by Moses' translation? Or did God inspire Moses
to pen an "inspired translation" which would fly in the face of many
Fundamentalist's charges of "progressive inspiration?"
This same question arises in Exodus chapters 4-14 in Moses' contest
with Pharaoh. Moses, though speaking for God to an
Egyptian king in the king's native Egyptian tongue, translates both his
and Pharaoh's statements into Hebrew when he records the
account in writing. Which did God inspire? The verbal statement made in
Egyptian, a copy of which NO ONE ON EARTH HAS? Or did He inspire Moses'
The problem of inspired translations refuses to go away.
In Acts 22 Paul speaks to his Jewish tormentors in the Hebrew language
(Acts 21:40, 22:2). The testimony found in verses 1 through 21 is all
given orally in Hebrew. Yet there is NO manuscript extant
of Acts 22 which records Paul's statement in Hebrew. Luke wrote it all out
in Greek. Which did God inspire? Paul's verbal statement or Luke's
The answer is simple and is found in II Timothy 3:16.
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable
for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in
The word "scripture" by its very root, "script" is a term for
written words. Therefore, we can rest assured that the various
translations (there are more than the few I have pointed
out) we have in our Bible are the inspired words of God.
If a fundamentalist chooses not to believe in inspired translations, he
will have to do it contrary to the Bible