Why doesn't God inspire the translations?


How many original documents, manuscripts, and scrolls are there? How many are there for the Book of Mark? One? More than one? Or were there 14?

I ask this because there are 14 different versions of two words in the verse of Mark 5:21. And out of 28 different Bible versions, they all use the same word "Talitha," but then there are six different spellings of the next word: 13 Bible versions say "Cumi," 11 Bible versions say "Koun," 2 Bible versions say "Kumi," another says "Koumi," another says "Kum," and another says "Cum."

What did Jesus say? After all, it's only two words. Can't different Bibles versions even agree on two words?

Even though all these 28 different Bible versions use the same word "Talitha," they can't agree with the meaning. 12 Bible versions saym "little girl, I say to you, get up"; 9 bible versions say "Damsel, I say unto thee, arise"; 3 bible versions say "little girl, get up"; 2 bible versions say, "young lady, I tell you, get up"; another bible version says "my child, I say to you, get up"; another says "young woman, get up"; another says "young girl, I tell you, to stand up"; and another says "little girl, I command you, to wake".

Ok, I get the message that in Mark 5:21 the gender was "female" and the female was brought "back to life" by Jesus. But what irks me, is that, if 28 different Bible versions can't even agree, or translate 2 simple words from the original text, which in themselves are not critical or of importance, to our salvation, then how are they going to agree and translate the critical and important stuff?

Now I do believe that it was God's inspiration (the Holy Spirit) instilled into the writers of their individual "books" (documents/manuscripts/ scrolls) and their writings where true and accurate. So if God went to all the trouble of making sure that the 66 different writers got their "books" right and accurate and exactly the way God wanted His Words to be written down in the individual "books" then, why did God allow man to make such a mess of His Words when translating the "original" books (documents/manuscripts/ scrolls) over time into modern languages? Why didn't God give the translators the same Holy Spirit inspiration that the original writers got?

Can a person today translate the 66 original books, word for word, into today's modern language (Australian/English/American) and for example when it comes to the word "Talitha" they could say there is no direct translation of this word, but it's meaning is bender is female and age is between 6 and 11 years old. Problem of wording translation solved and no misinterpretation. If so, why haven't they, and if they have, what is the Bible version called?

Why did God allow man over the years to concoct so many different versions of the Bible resulting in so many different religions?


See: Can We Trust the Text of the Bible?

The problem is not in the text. It is in the ways the various translators chose to translate a name. Some tried to map the Greek letters to English letter (transliterate), some tried to map the Greek sounds to English sounds. But the statement Jesus made was in Aramaic, which was mapped to the Greek, so some tried to go back to the Aramaic letters and then map it to the English letters, or map that Aramaic sounds to English sounds. Yet, there are debates about exactly how to do the mappings, so this causes additional variations.

Then you assume that there is only one way to translate a Greek statement into English. I'm sorry, but English contains 500,000 words and part of its beauty is that you can say the same thing in a variety of ways. The problem is not in the source language, but in the target language.

There is nothing wrong with translations, after all the New Testament is filled with Greek translations of Old Testament Hebrew quotes. If you want to read the original languages, by all means do so. No, the translations are not inspired of God. That is man's chore to make sure their translations are accurate. Just because you would do things differently, it doesn't mean God is wrong.

The multitude of religions out there is not due to the variety of translations. In fact, most translations are fairly recent works, while many of the major denominations have been around for quite a while. The problem is with me twisting what is written and not the writings themselves. "Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation -- as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen" (II Peter 3:14-18).

Hi Jeffrey,

Thank you for reply. Great answers. Could I please impose once more, and re-ask two questions?

I would still like to know what where the two words said by Jesus in Mark 5:41 in Aramaic? "....Talitha _ _ _ _ _" was it "Cumi" or "Koun" or "Kumi" or "Koumi" or "Kum" or "Cum" .

And what are your thoughts on why didn't God give the translators the same Holy Spirit inspiration as the original writers got?

I can't tell you the Aramaic words since Mark was written in Greek. The Aramaic was transliterated into Greek letters: ?a???a ???̃?. There is a variation in the spelling of the second word. The Alexandrian family of texts have: ???.

"The Aramaic is tlitha qum. The word tlitha is the feminine form of the word tle, meaning "young". Qum is the Aramaic verb 'to rise, stand, get up'. In the feminine singular imperative, it was originally 'qumi'. However, there is evidence that in speech the final -i was dropped so that the imperative did not distinguish between masculine and feminine genders."

Therefore the question remains. Apparently some copyist "fixed" the Aramaic transliteration. But which way was it fixed from the original? Was the original written as people think it was spoken or written as it was properly spelled?

Thus, which spelling you get will depend on which family of manuscripts the translators of your particular version gave stronger credibility to. Then since English has two letters which give the "k" sound, it again depends on which letter was chosen for the transliteration. We run into the same problem with the "ou" sound. Do we use the actual letters ("ou") or select letters in English that are closest to how "??" is pronounced in English ("u")? The latter is usually chosen because it is closer to the Aramaic pronunciation.

However, if you will notice, whether the "i" is at the end of the second word or not, the meaning is exactly the same.

God said that the gifts of the Holy Spirit were given for a limited time (I Corinthians 13:8-10). I cannot tell you why God decided this was best. I only know that God does what is best to accomplish His will.