|Dr. Couch, is there not confusion when words are added to verses, even to make those verses more clear? Does this not confuse people who are trying to figure out what the Bible is saying? They may think that someone is tampering with the Bible.|
ANSWER: This points to the fact that pastors, and all Bible teachers, are teachers of the Word when they truly know the Bible from the Hebrew and Greek text. It must be remembered that when we read a Bible translation that it has limitations. The Greek (or Hebrew) grammar expands the meaning. There are tenses, moods, cases, grammar, voices, persons, and number. And if the teacher does not expand these elements and show to the reader how they work in translation, the student is short-changed and does not get precisely what the Bible is saying. That is why when I was coming up in the ranks no one who was going to be a pastor, or a Bible teacher, failed to study Hebrew and Greek in order to fully understand what the Bible verses were saying.
To expand Bible verses according to the grammar is important. No one would dare enter the pulpit unless he had those skills. Those skills are now dying and being forgotten. The layman has to be told that he must trust the scholar to some degree or he will not get the full picture of what a passage is teaching and saying by the Holy Spirit.
Laymen can get pretty far down the road by purchasing good commentaries and Bible reference material.
We really do the same thing when it comes to science. Behind the working of your car are the engineers and scientists who designed and put the car together on the basis of science, otherwise, you don't have a car! You trust that scientist when you turn the key on. Science has made the car work. The same with Bible study, in fact, theology used to be called "the Queen of the Sciences" because so much scientific study goes into Bible study: History, geography, word origins, grammar, sociology, etc.
Here is an illustration that may get the point across: the translation of John 3:16: "For thus, loved the God the world (culture), for this reason, the Son, the only born One, He gave, in order that whoever, the one who is believing into Him, should himself not be destroyed, but that he might possess life eternal."
When I decided to go into the ministry I was told that my bachelors degree should be Social Science because it would give me these disciplines as a background for Bible study. And this was right. Those disciplines helped me immensely.
I hope this helps.
Thank you, Dr. Mal Couch (1/11)