Christianity 201

September 19, 2012

Prayer Partners Wanted

I’m not sure if I agree entirely with customizing sections of the Bible to meet the needs of various audiences, not because I disagree with dynamic equivalence translation, but because it concerns me that individual translators might be given too much latitude.

For example, I’ve mentioned before the translators who tried to deal with a tribe that had never seen snow, and came up with, ‘Though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as fungus.’  Or the time they had to deal with a society where you called into a house and only a thief would rattle the door to see if anyone was inside, so they wrote, ‘”Behold, I stand at the door and call.”‘ Those choices, I understand, became necessary.

Or what about the New Century Version of the Bible. Before it’s renaming as the NCV, it was called The Everyday Bible, but I’m told that it has origins that predate that as a translation that was developed especially for the deaf community.  Was “He who has ears, let him hear,” tastefully edited out? One almost hopes so.

But what do we do with Matthew 18:19 — “If two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.”

Isolation is a chronic problem in modern society. Even among Christ-followers, many people choose online church, or get lost in the vast crowds of a mega church. How do they react when they see this particular verse? What if you’re facing a great need and don’t have someone to “agree in prayer” with?

I think that the verse shows that, properly lived out, Christians should exist in real — not virtual — community, and that connecting with other people must be considered normative Christian living.

But, on the other hand, I can foresee a day where, in a world of specialty Bibles, there is one for introverts where they simply will feel the need to address this verse, at least with a footnote.

For the rest of us, this verse shows the importance of having prayer partners. This can certainly exist between mothers and fathers and their children, and between husbands and wives; but I believe we should all work toward having prayer partner relationships with people beyond the family context.

And perhaps one place to look would be among people who do not have a family context, or are not currently attending church for whatever reason.