Wendyl made an interesting comment to my last post about 2 Timothy 4:2. You can read the post and comment here. To sum up, Wendyl is concerned about dumbing down the scriptures. I have a similar concern, particularly about difficult concepts and terms. There are some ideas that just cannot be simplified. I wrote a post about keeping the word “betrothed” because other translations like “engaged” do not appropriately capture the meaning. So, to an extent, I have the same worries that the meaning of the scriptures will be changed in an effort to make the text understandable. We need to learn the concepts and meanings of the scriptures.
However, that does not mean that we should intentionally make the scriptures difficult. Nor do commentaries or preachers exist to explain difficult English translations. Commentaries and preachers exist to help us dig deeper in the word of God. Even the NLT has a commentary, the Cornerstone Biblical Commentaries. Even preachers who teach from the TNIV, NLT, or some other modern translation still have jobs. Translators exist to take us from the original language to the English language, communicating the original language in a way that we can understand. Translation has no value if it does not make sense.
The same word translated “in season” in 2 Timothy 4:2 is used in Mark 14:11, which is commonly translated “opportune time.” It is not a theological term. It is means “opportune, convenient.” So “in season” is simply a traditional rendering and there are words that communicate the idea better.
I do not want the Bible dumbed down. It is silly to try to use only 150 words to translate the Bible. I think it is ridiculous to try to translate the Bible with words that do not exceed five letters. Don’t dumb the Bible down. But there is no reason to go out of our way to make an English translation difficult to read. If a term is hard, don’t dumb it down. But if a term is simple, don’t make it hard. I feel the phrase “in season and out of season” is taking a simple concept and making it harder than it needs to be.