Pastors Denounce New Bible Translation Methods

December 16, 2011 by  
Filed under Christian News

Pastors in at least two states attacked new Bible translation methods and results over the weekend. Their remarks, in the form of live addresses and on-line postings, came in response to a Huffington Post article titled “Five Mistakes in Your Bible Translation.”

In the article, linguist Dr. Joel M. Hoffman claims that Bible translations should be updated to reflect modern linguistics and translation techniques. His examples include the tenth Commandment, which he translates as “do not take” instead of “do not covet,” and Song of Solomon, which, he says, stresses equality between men and women.

Baptist pastors from Texas to North Carolina reacted vehemently by denouncing Hoffman and his work, preaching to their congregations and posting sermons on-line.

In preliminary live remarks, later posted to, Pastor Trevor Hammack of Victory Baptist Church in Ovalo, TX warned that if Hoffman is right about the Song of Solomon and equality between men and women, it “would change the entire understanding of lots of things.” In a longer sermon, Hammack referred to Hoffman’s work as an “attack on the Bible” and called it “crazy.”

In an on-line address, also posted to, Pastor Sean E. Harris of Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, NC said that Hoffman was essentially claiming that “[you] can’t trust the word of God.” Harris denounced Hoffman as “just wrong, pure and simple,” explaining that on-line tools can be useful in refuting Hoffman’s work.

Hoffman, who defends his claims and the science behind them, called these reactions “unfortunate,” adding that “trying to understand the Bible better is just the opposite of rejecting it.” He repeated the closing lines from his essay: “Improved translation techniques bring us closer to the original intent of the Bible. And like a newly restored work of art, the Bible’s original beauty shines the brighter for it.”

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