G.E. Garne, President, Orange-Natal Conference, South Africa

Often new rays of light are thrown on certain passages of Sacred Scripture by reading them in a different translation. In some cases a precious promise is made to stand out with even greater luster. In yet other instances a difficult or even vague statement is brought sharply into focus. Both these facts certainly hold true when one reads the Afrikaans Bible, which is among the newest and purest of the newer, modern translations.

For the benefit of those who do not read Afrikaans I wish to share here a few gems from my personal Bible study, which I would suggest you jot down in pencil in the margin of your Bible, next to the passages concerned.

I. Genesis 2:4. The King James Version says: "These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created."

It requires quite a stretch of imagina­tion on the part of the average reader to know what the Bible writer is really trying to say. In fact, one group of so-called ex­ponents of truth who are experts at wrest­ing the Scriptures, use this text to prove that each day of Creation represents a pe­riod of hundreds of years. The Afrikaans translation, however, removes all doubt as to what is intended. It reads: "This is the history of how the heavens and the earth were created."

2. Likewise in the case of Genesis 5:1, the rendering is vague in the K.J.V.: "This is the book of the generations of Adam." The Afrikaans offers this simple and lucid rendering: "This is Adam's fam­ily tree."

3. In the first Messianic prom­ise given to Adam and Eve after the Fall, recorded in Genesis 3: 15, the Afrikaans makes it abun­dantly clear that it is the divine Messiah of whom it is speaking when it says, "He shall bruise thy head," with the capital "H". The K.J.V. says, "it shall bruise thy head."
4. In Exodus 19:5 God says of this people, "Ye shall be a peculiar treas­ure." In the Afrikaans His plan for His people is made even more distinct, for it says, "Ye shall be my purchased property." Deuteronomy 7:6 gives the same thought.
5. In Exodus 23:1 God commands, "Thou shalt not raise a false report." But exactly what does He mean? The Afrikaans reads: "Thou shalt not be a spreader of false rumors" ("Rondstrool" —literally "scatter" or "sow" false rumors).
6. In Exodus 25:2 God asks His people to bring Him "an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart." This is a precious invitation, but it is made even more so in the Afrikaans rendering where those are asked to give "whose hearts compel them" to render it to their Lord.

7.   Leviticus 10:3. "The Lord spake, say­ing, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me." A beautiful promise—but not too clear to the average reader. Notice the force and meaning with which the Afri­kaans renders God's words: "In those that are close to me, I will make Myself known as THE HOLY ONE."

8.   Deuteronomy 6:4 is a favorite crutch of Jews and Unitarians who claim that it denies the doctrine of the Trinity. The words are well known: "Hear, 0 Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord." In the Afrikaans translation, however, the thought is not conveyed of His unity but of His exclusiveness. It reads: "The Lord our God is a unique God"—the only One of His kind.
9. An interesting variation is found in Proverbs 17:22, which says in the K.J.V., "A merry heart doeth good like a medi­cine." The Afrikaans translation says, "A merry heart expedites recovery." Good counsel indeed to those who are ill!
10. Now here is a precious side light on a well-known promise—Isaiah 41:10, which reads, in English, "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God." In Afrikaans the promise reads: "Fear thou not; for I am with thee; don't look around you anxiously, for I am thy God."

Isn't it true that when we're afraid, we start "looking around us anxiously"—at world conditions, at the evidences of moral decay, at the omens of impending doom. His voice says to us, "My child, don't look around—look up! I am thy God."

11.  Daniel 11:32 says: "And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he cor­rupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits."

The Afrikaans Bible renders this text: "And such as do wickedly against the cove­nant will be led into apostasy through flattery; but the people that do know their God shall hold fast and act."

How often we see men and women who have cherished sinful indulgences in their lives eventually "led into apostasy through flattery." At a time like this, God needs truehearted disciples who will "hold fast" their allegiance and "act." The hour calls for men of faith and action!

12.  Daniel 12:4 is a text that for many years has possibly been misinterpreted and wrongly applied by Bible students. It pre­dicts, as a sign of the end, that "many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased." Many have made this "run­ning to and fro" to apply to the spate of air, road, sea, and rail travel that charac­terizes our age. The Afrikaans, however, is probably closer to the true intent of the passage in presenting both the "running to and fro" and the "increase of knowledge" as referring directly to Daniel's prophecy. It says that "many will investigate it" (the prophecy) and "knowledge [of the proph­ecy] will be increased." The word used is deursoek, which could be translated literally as meaning to "search through and through." This concept probably is much truer to the context than airplanes, cars, luxury liners, and express trains. It is the increase of the knowledge of the prophecies of the Bible that so clearly indicates that the coming King is at the door!

13.  Malachi 3:10 commands us to bring to the Lord's treasury "all the tithe." Added force is given to the command as rendered in Afrikaans, which enjoins us to bring "the whale tithe."

14. What does the average reader under­stand by Matthew 5:33 where the Saviour says, "Thou shalt not forswear thyself"? The Afrikaans makes it clear what the Saviour meant—"Thou shalt not swear falsely."

15.  Psalm 104:4 is another text of which the meaning is vague to the average reader: "Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire." To my mind the Afrikaans rendering throws light on what the psalmist would have us under­stand: "He makes of the winds His mes­sengers, of the flames His servants." Here again the rendering in Afrikaans is in keeping with the context of Psalm 104, which is about God revealed in nature, and has nothing to do with the subject of angels.

16. A text that should be of encourage­ment to the women is Psalm 68:11, as ren­dered in Afrikaans. In English the text reads, "The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it." Interestingly enough, the Afrikaans trans­lation says, "The Lord gave the word—the women who brought the good tidings were a great multitude." I believe the thought is inherent in the Hebrew. One wonders why the translators of the King James Version left the women out.

17.  Isaiah 8:19 could give some difficulty to those who are trying to convince anyone deceived by spiritism—for in the English there is an elipsis that can be confusing: "Should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?" In Afrikaans this problem is solved by the elimination of the elipsis, thus reading, "Should not a people consult their God? Shall the living consult the dead?"

18. Finally, here is a time-honored promise—one of the world's favorites—dressed up in a fresh cloak that makes it look like a brand-new revelation—Psalm 46:1: "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." In the Afri­kaans Bible the promise reads: "God is our refuge and strength; as a helper in troubles He is highly qualified." That, dear friend, is what we all need to know. No matter what the difficulty or trial through which we may be passing we have a God who is not only "very present" but "highly qualified" to help us.

* Afrikaans is the language of the Europeans of the Republic of South Africa. (Many Cape Coloured and some Bantu tribes also speak it today.) Afrikaans and English share equal status as official languages of the Republic. The Afrikaans Bible was published in 1932. Prior to that date the High Dutch Bible was used. The revised edition, currently in use, appeared as recently as 1951.

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G.E. Garne, President, Orange-Natal Conference, South Africa

November 1964

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