I've always been troubled by this problem. Yes, the Bible is the revealed word of God. But it was written down by men - over a hundred years later! I always wonder if the men who wrote it down got it right. As mere men, they could not have been perfect, could they? Did they editorialize at all? Has anyone since? Is the Bible we read what God intended us to read? Have we interepreted & translated it correctly over the centuries?
My asking of these questions does not imply that I have doubts about the Truth of Scripture - but they are questions that arise from time to time (even to ourselves) and we should be able to answer them, no?
What do you think?
Well, I agree that it's not always possible to translate texts from Greek, Latin, Aramaic, or whatever languages the orginal manuscripts were written in. That's why sometimes when we listen to a message, or in our bible studies, we'll digress into the origin of a particular word (for example the many different names of God - Jehovah Jireh, Jehovah Rapha, etc) to better understand what the author & God was trying to express.
But I take your point Cailean, that how do we (particularly if we've never attended Bible college) explain that to a lay-person in a simple but effective way?
I don't think we're supposed to have all the answers (nor will we ever), but I've found that honesty is the best policy. I tell them I really don't know, but I'll try to find out and get back to them. Then presumably you'd go ask your pastor and find out.
And I'll step out on a limb here - I think in a lot of cases, the people who ask you this question are not really interested in the answer, but more in how you will respond to this. They may not necessarily be looking for truth, but perhaps looking to start an argument and find ways to question your faith rather than determine theirs.
I once led a Christianity Explained class where there was this guy who got so hung up on apologetics that it really distracted the others at the class from the important points ie. hearing the gospel of Jesus. There is a place for apologetics - i'm not against it - but I always try to ask the Holy Spirit to help me discern what the person is truly seeking.