Have The Words Of Jesus Been Lost In Translation?

Q. I enjoy your website very much and read it often. However, I have a question regarding the New Testament writers translating the actual words of Jesus. If Jesus spoke the common language of Aramaic during His ministry and yet the New Testament was written in Greek, could the actual meanings of His words be “lost in translation”?

A. In these last days, a number of extreme positions have gained in popularity. Among them is the claim that the most accurate versions of the Gospels come from the Aramaic language. Personally I don’t buy it, because to accept this claim you would have to believe that God has allowed the New Testament that the Church has relied on for most of its history to be erroneous.

Second, there are over 24,000 ancient New Testament manuscripts in the Greek, Syriac, Latin, Coptic, and Aramaic languages. Because the copies are so numerous, they can be cross checked for accuracy. This process has determined that the internal consistency of New Testament documents is about 99.5% textually pure.

And most importantly Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would remind the disciples of everything He had said to them (John 14:26). Therefore, when they wrote the gospels the Holy Spirit made sure they were giving an accurate representation of what Jesus actually said.

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