Lost In Translation? How To Understand What The Bible Is Saying

One of the games parents and grandparents love most is the translation game – the fine art of making sense of a toddler’s gibberish. When my son’s firstborn says “yeesh,” he could be saying “cheese,” or “shoes,” or “keys,” or “my pants are on fire!” It’s hard to tell. In toddlerese, my name is “Bumpa” and “Bupba.” “Gramma” is “Bamma” and “Mimmi.” “Wawa” is “water,” of course. So is “oddo.” “Brrrr,” of course, is “birds.” “Nacko bar” is “granola bar.” “Tido” is “tomato.” And “molerwander” is “watermelon.”

Scott says, “When my daughter sings ‘The Alphabet song’ she sings ‘armadillo pee’ instead of ‘L-M-N-O-P.’” Lex says, “One of my students was talking about being deaf and how you need ‘ear grenades’ to hear. He meant ‘hearing aids.’” Coral says, “At the zoo, my daughter called the ostrich a ‘saustrich’ because ‘that’s what sausage comes from.’” Kelly says, “Our dog is a Pitbull. Our oldest son used to tell people that we had a dog and he was a ‘pimple.’” Britt says, “When I asked my daughter what her favourite ride at Disneyland was, she replied, ‘Pirates of the Can of Beans!’” That’s toddlerese.

Well, I’m thankful for expert translators when toddlers are around, and when I’m speaking overseas. When I open a Bible and read it in my native tongue, I’m thankful to William Tyndale for the first English translation more than 500 years ago. Do I always understand what the Bible means? No. There are challenging passages. When there are, I’m thankful for another translator.

Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 2, “[we have received] the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.” Jesus said in John 16:13, “When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth.” We have a divine Translator: the Holy Spirit. If you don’t understand what the Bible is saying, pray, seek godly counsel, and invite the Spirit of God to teach you. To guide you. God loves that prayer.

And now I’d better go. My grandson Seth is over asking for a “mupma.” We have “nackos” but no “mupmas.” I wonder if he’ll take a “moomoo” instead. I’ll ask “Mimmi” if she can make one, then we’ll go outside, drink some “otto” and watch the “brrr.”

Phil Callaway

Phil Callaway, the host of Laugh Again, is an award-winning author and speaker, known worldwide for his humorous yet perceptive look at life.

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