The Bible continues to be evidently the most loved book in the world. It has been translated so far (as of date) into 3324 languages, and the number keeps growing. Thousands of editions offer Bibles in all sizes, bindings in all colours, artistic Bibles, academic Bibles, street Bibles, scholarly Bibles, Bible plans, Bible commentaries etc. And this in many languages. If you only speak English you will be delighted to know about the universe of translations and Bible study worldwide - a wealth of Bible translation, Bible publication and Bible distribution. The large number of translations includes an increasing number of sign languages, too, and interestingly within the language families themselves the Bible is a much loved topic for translating and retranslating.
In my public practice for Christian Science healing I have currently a little exhibit on newer Bible translations, which includes a new German translation simply entitled The book, then The Gospels by Sarah Ruden (which I ordered because of an article I read in The New Yorker), a newer Italian translation and The Passion translation in English from 2020 which a fellow Christian Science practitioner did recommend. Each translation reflects an individual mindset, scholarly diligence, language skills, poetic abilities, and has a certain aim - much as like Martin Luther aimed at presenting to the people in 1522 a German translation for everybody (using common phrases and humour) or like King James ordering a new translation in 1604 to settle some tricky religious disputes in England.
Since most of us don't read Hebrew, Greek, or Latin we can only trust translators and the century long tradition of translating - and be open to new attempts to translate the most beloved texts of all. In the weekly Bible lesson Christian Scientists study, there is this week Paul's famous analysis of love from his first letter to the Corinthians. I want to share with you the version from The Passion translation. I think you will love it as much as I do. "Love is large".
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13 (The Passion Translation)
If I were to speak with eloquence in earth’s many languages, and in the heavenly tongues of angels, yet I didn’t express myself with love, my words would be reduced to the hollow sound of nothing more than a clanging cymbal.
And if I were to have the gift of prophecy with a profound understanding of God’s hidden secrets, and if I possessed unending supernatural knowledge, and if I had the greatest gift of faith that could move mountains, but have never learned to love, then I am nothing.
And if I were to be so generous as to give away everything I owned to feed the poor, and to offer my body to be burned as a martyr, without the pure motive of love, I would gain nothing of value.
Love is large and incredibly patient. Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else. Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance. Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honour. Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offence. Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up.
Love never stops loving. It extends beyond the gift of prophecy, which eventually fades away. It is more enduring than tongues, which will one day fall silent. Love remains long after words of knowledge are forgotten. Our present knowledge and our prophecies are but partial, but when love’s perfection arrives, the partial will fade away. When I was a child, I spoke about childish matters, for I saw things like a child and reasoned like a child. But the day came when I matured, and I set aside my childish ways.
For now we see but a faint reflection of riddles and mysteries as though reflected in a mirror, but one day we will see face-to-face. My understanding is incomplete now, but one day I will understand everything, just as everything about me has been fully understood. Until then, there are three things that remain: faith, hope, and love—yet love surpasses them all. So above all else, let love be the beautiful prize for which you run.
Who is writing?
In my work as Christian Science practitioner and writer I draw on listening to God and listening to people.