Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Translator

I'm all finished with the first semester! Grading the finals seemed easier this fall semester, perhaps because I have about ten fewer kids in my classes than last school year. Many of the kids excelled- about fifteen failed their final but I'm sure all but maybe a few will pass for the semester which is a combination of the the two nine weeks plus the exam. A set of questions on my Gospels' finals had to do with the gentleman above, William Tyndale. During the second nine weeks, we had taken a brief foray into the background of the twelve apostles. We put into our notes that Tyndale had translated the Bible into English, partly because many of the English clergy could not name the twelve apostles, a task all of my students have mastered. Tyndale's punishment? He was burned at the stake in 1536 AD. I guess the powers that be did not want the common folks to check the validity of what they were being taught!

One of the final exam questions read as follows:
___________ translated the Bible into English.

Of course, the correct answer was the aforementioned William Tyndale. As I graded the tests, I came across that question answered as follows:
Coach Hawley translated the Bible into English.
Well, I could not help but stifle a laugh. I don't know whose paper it was as after I flip the first page over to grade, all the takers are anonymous. Even though it was a creative guess, and I always tell them to write something in the blanks, I had to count it wrong. And yet, as I thought about it some more, there was a smidgen of truth in that answer for at least some of my students. My class rosters are sprinkled with international kids who are learning English and hearing the story of Jesus for the first time or one of the first times. And we have American kids to whom the scriptures might as well be in Russian. One of our newer students wrote me a thank-you note last month, explaining she had heard the stories from the Bible before but could make no sense of them until our class discussions. So, in a sense, I am a translator of sorts and so is anyone who has the responsibility of breaking the bread of life to others. It's a big responsibility! James 3:1 warns that, "
Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly."  I'm pretty sure that applies to us translators as well! I'd rather not be burned at the stake. I've got too many kids to translate for!

Applicable quote of the day: 
"I perceived how that it was impossible to establish the lay people in any truth except the Scripture were plainly laid before their eyes in their mother tongue."

God bless,
Luke 18:1

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