Clear communication: How does understanding the original context of a story, the writer, and the listeners of a story change the mental image of the activities and meaning of the story being told? How do you envision the housetops of this verse?
Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be shouted from the housetops for all to hear! Luke 12:3 NLT
Growing up I couldn’t make sense of this verse. The only people I could imagine up on the rooftop had hopped right out of Mary Poppins as chimney sweeps. You can see in the images above that the flat rooftops of the Mediterranean are much more suited for the gossip of secrets shared behind closed doors. Whenever communication is attempted across culture and language barriers we need to be reminded that although the word “housetop” is the best translation for the the meaning of the Greek word, the culture and concept behind a Greek rooftop is in stark contrast to an American or British understanding of the English word “housetop”.
Would you keep these challenges in mind when praying for those involved in Bible translation and any cross-language/cross-cultural work?
Over the next few updates we hope to share with you where God is leading us – how the background linguistic effort for the best Bible translations is essential for clear communication, how the preservation of materials is essential to the long life of language materials, and how God has led us each to meet these needs of the Bible translation movement. Below are two stories from Hugh’s desk.
Thanks for standing with as we walk this road together. From ancient rooftops to cyberspace, may we faithfully declare the goodness of our God!