Bible Translation Standing Committee Proposed

Bible Translation Standing Committee Proposed

If Synod 2019 agrees, the Council of Delegates will establish a standing committee to review Bible translations for potential use in the Christian Reformed Church. (The Council of Delegates acts on behalf of synod, the annual leadership meeting of the CRC.) This fulfills one of the tasks given to the Council by Synod 2018.

The Council is recommending to Synod 2019 that a standing committee meet at least once a year, normally by video conference. That committee will establish the criteria or rubric by which to evaluate the translation philosophy and process used by translators.

It will then apply that criteria to any new Bible translation requested by churches or synod. An ad hoc group prepared a report recommending how a translation committee should operate. It noted that it is important to know for what purpose the translation will be used. “If the translation will be used for exhortation from the pulpit a different standard will need to be exercised than if the translation were to be used for Bible study or for personal devotion time.”

The committee will report to the Council its translation recommendations for use in the pulpit, Bible study, and personal devotions. Synod will be informed of the recommendations.

The Council is recommending that the translation committee be comprised of three members of the theological faculty, ordinarily from Calvin Theological Seminary; an English language professor or communications professional who understands the current use of language in contemporary life; and a pastor who understand the needs of the public.

Appointments to the committee will be approved by synod.

The Church Order, which governs worship in the denomination, requires that synod assess Bible translations for use in public worship, but a committee has not existed for some years. In 2006, synod directed the Board of Trustees (the predecessor of the Council) to establish a translation committee but the board declined to do that. Instead, it voted to appoint such a committee if and when synod adopts overtures requesting a review of specific translations, citing little demand for such reviews and unjustified cost for an ongoing committee.

About the Author

Gayla Postma is news editor for The Banner.

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