Linkin Park and Bible Translation

April 15th, 2011
Photo © Felipe Ramírez Amigo | Used under Creative Commons license.

A couple of months ago, Linkin Park was the musical guest on NBC's Saturday Night Live. This California rock band achieved widespread popularity about ten years ago with its album Hybrid Theory, and the group has attempted to reinvent itself on virtually every album since. Success can be a double-edged sword for musicians. On one hand, fans expect the same kind of music that made the artist or group famous in the first place. But it's a balancing act, because music buyers also want everything to be new and fresh.

During the SNL performance, I checked Twitter to see what people were saying. While the band received some kudos, many of the comments I saw were negative, mostly from fans who were nostalgic for "the old Linkin Park."

This reminded me of the dilemma Bible publishers sometimes find themselves in when they're publishing a new translation. Bible buyers say they want translations to be in modern English, but when the rubber meets the road, many of us seem to want new translations to read like the ones we grew up with. For many in my generation, that translation was the NIV. It's easy to fall into the trap of using our favorite version as a benchmark for judging a translation rather than using the original languages, especially when we've had no formal training in Greek or Hebrew.

If it doesn't sound like our "trusted" Bible, it must not be translated right. Or so we think. But we should realize that while the Bible doesn't change, English does change.

The Linkin Park of 2011 doesn't sound like the Linkin Park of 2001. And that's a good thing, because the band is trying to reach people in the here and now, not the past.

Nostalgia will only get you so far.


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