[lost in translation]
I rarely read Bible in Russian. There are a few reasons for that, but main two are:
1. The Russian language of the Bible I’ve got (the one most widely used, the Synodal) is old and sometimes understanding what the thought of the passage was takes a lot longer because some words are quite unfamiliar. Yes, there are a couple of new translations (FINALLY), but still, the choice is larger in English.
2. Having more translation available helps me to find out what the passage means. I am not saying Russian Bible is wrong. It’s just that sometimes I am not sure why the phrase was said this way when it does not make sense or makes one miss out the entire meaning.
The most recent example of that was a passage we read at the youth group this Sunday. A well-known passage that I have read / heard hundreds of times, yet I never thought of comparing the English / Hebrew with Russian versions of the Isaiah 53:5.
He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement needful to obtain peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes that wounded Him we are healed and made whole.
Isaiah 53:5, the Amplified Bible
When Josh asked us to read that passage out loud at the youth group, he asked us to pay attention to the word “Peace” (he asked that in English.)
We have read the passage (in Russian) and I thought, “Hmm, where was the peace?”
As I voiced my question, Josh said, “Look at the verse 5.”
Well, the thing is… in Russian, same word stands for “peace” and world” – “meer.” (That word seems to have caused a problem of misunderstanding Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace, which is actually War and World).
As a result, the passage in Russian reads like “the punishment of our world was on Him” and I have always read that passage and never thought that that world might be peace. And again… it is not that it is a wrong translation – but I missed out on the SHALOM / PEACE part.
To figure out the confusion, I looked through the Hebrew Bible and saw that the word there is Shalom.
Why no one thought to clarify that in Russian? The Amplified Bible did – and quite well.
*Sigh*… Sometimes I do not translating for missionaries / pastors for this very reason – when the Scripture is different in different translations, when the translations are directly opposite, when some verses just aren’t mentioned in one of the languages… the list goes on.
How do you explain to people who don’t believe yet that the Bible is God’s Word albeit there are differences?