Translate That!

It's time to translate those religious words

by Lura Langenback

© June 17, 2002

Have you tried and tried to figure out something that is written in the Bible but it just did not make sense, no matter what? You pray, you think about it, you ask someone, yet it still does not come together for you. What is the problem?

I have discovered that, in many cases, the translation has not actually fully been translated. What does that mean? If you read the King James, for instance, there are many words that were commonly used at the time the version was authorized, that do not have the same meanings now. Then there are the words that simply got glossed over and were never translated at all. This holds true in nearly all translations, to some extent. Some words are just plain used as "religious" words. If you can't understand them, you do not get the message from the verse. In my case, I would ask someone who also saw it as a religious word and got a stock answer. No help at all, in my opinion. So, here are some words that need translating or are religious words that need explaining.

One of those words is "gospel." Most folks just use that word because it is already in the Bible and it means the first four books in the new testament, right? No. The word gospel means, literally, good news. It is the message that Jesus preached about the anointing. It is the same message He gave everywhere He went. It is because of the gospel, or good news, that people got so angry with Him. They could not imagine this carpenter's son as being knowledgeable enough in such things as to be an authority on the subject. This is what He taught:

Luke 4:18, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,"

When He taught this the first time, He was in His own neighborhood. They saw Him as someone who grew up there, not a Levite and not given authority to speak in such a way. They grew angry with Him for it. Some folks say that the people were angry at Him for saying He is God's Son. Not true. He did not tell them that. He said He was "anointed" and it angered them because they did not believe anyone could be anointed except the priests. They, therefore, labeled Him as a false prophet and were going to stone Him for it.

That brings up the word "Christ." It is a Greek word, never translated to English. Most people think that Christ is Jesus' last name. According to scriptures, He is Jesus of Nazareth, son of Joseph. This one means the Anointed One and His Anointing. Let's see what happens if we translate that one in a verse.

Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

For the longest time, this verse bothered me because it was glaringly obvious that it was grammatically incorrect. I could not make it work unless I changed the word "which" to "Who" but that wasn't the way it was written. However, if we translate it, we read it this way.

Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through the Anointed One and His Anointing which strengtheneth me."

This makes it easy to see the actual meaning of this verse now. The word "Christ" appears 522 times in the new testament. If you were to search out the same word in the old testament, it would be Messiah. That is the very same word in Hebrew. If only we knew the translated words, how easy it would be to read the Bible.

There are certainly others as well. Take the word "blessed." Most folks believe that it means that you are about to or have already received a gift of some type. "It sure was a blessing to get that new car." "Aren't they blessed with that new baby?" They see a blessing as an end to a situation. However, it does not mean that at all. To be blessed is to be empowered to go to the highest level. It is the power to achieve an end, not the end itself. An example of blessing, or empowerment, is the old adage of this: if you give a man a fish, he can eat for a night. Teach him to fish and he can feed himself for life. Blessing or empowerment is the teaching.

Virtue is another such word. When I think of virtue, the first thing that comes to mind is the woman with the issue of blood. She came up behind Jesus and touched His garment and the Bible says that virtue had gone out.

Mark 5:30, "And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?"

Virtue does not mean "good things" or, as an example, a "virtuous woman or girl" in this case. The Greek is "dunamis." In English, it would be "dynamo." It is like a perpetual motion machine; self generating, never-ending power. Virtue is that type of power.

So when Jesus noticed that virtue had gone out of Him, He realized that power (or dunamis) left Him and went into the woman. She was healed from a single touch, that Jesus had nothing to do with, because of that power or virtue. He did not even know it happened until He noticed the power going out. Awesome.

Here is a touchy subject, one of those religious words. Righteousness. Folks in a church I used to go to said that they were not worthy enough to be righteous. Really? This means that God will treat you as if you had never sinned or, if you prefer, treat you just like you were Jesus. I can hear the gasps now. "That can't be true. God would never permit His creation to be that. She blasphemes." Okay, look it up for yourself. Don't take my word for it. As a matter of fact, you should never take a person's word for anything written in the Bible without first checking it out yourself. But be sure to translate it into your native language before you decide.

Next, we have the word Apostle. It means sainted one, right? One of the few who walked with Jesus and it can't mean anyone today. Paul was an apostle and never physically met the Lord Jesus. Actually, it means "one sent" and it is impossible to be sent without being anointed. The funny thing about that is that when you become a Christian, you are being sent out to witness. That makes you "one sent" doesn't it? Don't get me wrong here. There is an office of apostle which is given by the Lord. But each Christian is also given an anointing and is sent as well.

Another word that is a problem for folks is "anointed." It is not a religious word. It simply means to rub on, smear in, and pour over. If you were in Greece and applying suntan lotion, it is likely that someone would help you anoint yourself. More gasps. Yes, you can be anointed. In fact, if you are a born again believer, you are anointed to live a life in the Lord. What you do with that is up to you. Others, such as preachers, can be anointed for service. In fact, it is impossible for a preacher, pastor, ministry worker, missionary to be really effective if they are not apostles of God. Even more gasps. If a person is not sent by God to do a task, it is only being done in the person's own power, not in God's anointing. When an individual is anointed for service they are anointed with the same power as God anointed Jesus. Big gasps. Look it up.

Finally, the word "Christian" is very misunderstood. Most folks believe that they are Christians because someone calls them that and they have no idea what it actually means. Take "Christ" and add "ian" and it means anointed ones. If you are a Christian, you are anointed. By the way, just as a side note, none of us are "Xians." That word is not in the Bible.

If only we could understand what we read, we would realize how uncomplicated the Bible truly is for us. God has made things more simple than we have ever known. Try it out the next time you are reading your Bible. Translate these words and just see how much more understanding you have. Happy reading and translate that!