At What Point Does Interpretation Run Counter to Biblical Intention?

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ScottS's picture

What struck me was Mounce's repeated point of contention focused on the loss of specificity (worded various ways), and how he felt this ran counter to Luke's goals and desires of being specific.

But I have a few issues with Mounce on that:

  1. This loss of specificity is the issue with all translations that favor more dynamic equivalence over formal equivalence in translation; this is nothing new, so why complain about this particular instance rather than the concept of too much dynamic equivalence generally?
  2. This specificity should not be linked to Luke's goals and desires above that of God's goals and desires; God's breathing out of the Scripture for recording is specific in every book, every context, with every human author used to bring His word to a written form.
  3. This loss of specificity seems implicitly ignored by Mounce with respect to the OT, for he states: "Let me emphasize that I like the NLT. Especially in the Old Testament it helps me understand the meaning conveyed by the words." So this relates to my #2 contention, for undoubtedly there are numerous places in the OT where the NLT loses specificity, and so really the NLT masks the intended meaning being conveyed, just as it is masking the meaning in Acts 27 and is offering instead an interpretation counter to that intention—the exact same thing Mounce is complaining about here.

So while I generally agree with Mounce's criticism, he seems a bit hypocritical to only extend that criticism to Acts 27, a bit narrow to consider it only an issue for Luke's writing, and a bit naive to assume the OT translation is not masking meaning using the same philosophy of translation he is criticizing.

Scott Smith, Ph.D.

The goal now, the destiny to come, holiness like God—
Gen 1:27, Lev 19:2, 1 Pet 1:15-16