text today is Mark chapter 16, verse 15:
‘ej chaHvaD jatlh:
peghoS ‘ej qo’ naQDaq De’ QaQ yImaq.
chenpu’bogh Hoch yImaq.
worry – I’m not speaking in tongues. I’m just reading this well known passage
where Jesus tells his disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel
– in Klingon, the language of a warrior race from the Star Trek universe. They
don’t really exist, of course. But you’d better not say that to dedicated
Trekkers. They take these things pretty seriously, seriously enough to have
invented an entire language for the Klingons. Not just a few words, but a
complete language with grammar and syntax. And yes, someone has even begun to
translate the Bible into Klingon. I just read from it – although, I doubt I
pronounced everything correctly, so my apologies to any Trekkers watching.
course, it’s not likely that many people will become students of the Klingon
translation of the Bible, but translating the ancient text of the Bible into
spoken languages has long been important work. 2011 marks the 400th anniversary
of the King James Bible, so it’s an appropriate time to talk about Bible
know the King James Version seems old fashioned to us now, but when it was
originally published, it was intended to be a translation that could be easily
understood by ordinary people.
you probably know, what we call the Old Testament originates from a text,
written in the Hebrew language and other parts in Aramaic. The New Testament
originates from Greek. The Old Testament itself had also been translated from
Hebrew to Greek long before Jesus was born, and it was the Greek translation of
the Old Testament that was most common in Jesus’ day.
translate these ancient languages into English – or any other language for that
matter – is a complex task. The men who labored to produce the King James
Version 400 years ago did a pretty good job – considering the limited number of
ancient texts they had available.
we have older and more reliable ancient texts to work from. In addition,
archeological discoveries and research have allowed us to know so much more
about how those ancient languages were used than was known 400 years ago. As a
result, modern versions of the Scriptures are more accurate in comparison.
There are literally dozens of versions easily available now. We are almost
spoiled for choice, and I’m often asked which is the “best” translation.
But, I must say I am hesitant to answer that question. It often depends on
personal preference or your intended use. Say you’re serious about Bible study;
well, you’re probably going to make use of several different versions –
although I’m not sure where the Klingon version might fit in your studies.
a blessing to have such a variety of good translations, and to have the freedom
of choice between them. It hasn’t always been that way. There have been times
when to even possess a Bible in your native language would have meant a death
sentence. Tragically, there are places in the world where that is still true.
of the world’s 6900 known languages, there are still 2100 that don’t have a Bible
translation. There are also millions of people living in poverty that would
find it a rare treasure to own a Bible.
us, this book may no longer be rare, but it is still a treasure, and we can
thank God for the expertise and devotion of all those who have labored so hard
through the centuries, often risking their lives, to make it possible for us to
read the Bible in our own languages.