From "The Answer Book" ©1989 Samuel C. Gipp. Reproduced by permission
QUESTION: Can a translation be inspired?
ANSWER: Yes, God has inspired several.
EXPLANATION: In the Book of Genesis, chapters 42-45,
we have the record of Joseph's reunion with his brethren. That
Joseph spoke Egyptian instead of Hebrew is evident by Genesis
"And they knew not that Joseph understood them; for he
spake unto them by an interpreter."
It is, of course, an accepted fact that no translation can be
"word perfect". Therefore we know that the Hebrew translation
of Joseph's Egyptian statements as found in the Old Testament
manuscripts cannot be an exact word for word copy. We are left
with quite a dilemma. WHOM did God inspire? Did He inspire
Joseph's Egyptian statements, the Egyptian interpreter's verbal
translation, or Moses' written translation as found in the Hebrew of
the Old Testament?
If God inspired Joseph, was his "original" statement marred by
his Egyptian interpreter, or by Moses' translation? Or did God
inspire Moses to pen an "inspired translation" which would fly in
the face of many Fundamentalist's charges of "progressive
This same question arises in Exodus chapters 4-14 in Moses'
contest with Pharaoh. Moses, though speaking for God to an
Egyptian king in the king's native Egyptian tongue, translates both
his and Pharaoh's statements into Hebrew when he records the
account in writing. Which did God inspire? The verbal statement
made in Egyptian, a copy of which NO ONE ON EARTH HAS?
Or did He inspire Moses' Hebrew translation?
The problem of inspired translations refuses to go away.
In Acts 22 Paul speaks to his Jewish tormentors in the Hebrew
language (Acts 21:40, 22:2). The testimony found in verses 1
through 21 is all given orally in Hebrew. Yet there is NO
manuscript extant of Acts 22 which records Paul's statement in
Hebrew. Luke wrote it all out in Greek. Which did God inspire?
Paul's verbal statement or Luke's "progressive inspiration"?
The answer is simple and is found in II Timothy 3:16.
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is
profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for
instruction in righteousness."
The word "scripture" by its very root, "script" is a term for
written words. Therefore, we can rest assured that the various
translations (there are more than the few I have pointed out) we
have in our Bible are the inspired words of God. If a
fundamentalist chooses not to believe in inspired translations, he
will have to do it contrary to the Bible practice.