by Adam Simnowitz
There are four primary reasons that I believe that “Muslim Friendly” translations are a very bad idea.
1. These translations tend to obscure Scriptural references that demonstrate the divinity of Christ and/or the Trinitarian nature of the Godhead, and they tend to leave an open door to believing that the God of Scripture and the god of the Qu’ran are identical. Here are some concerns:
a. While our Greek texts use identical vocabulary when referring to the Lordship of the Son and of the Father, “Muslim Friendly” translations frequently use different vocabulary when referring to Father and Son which obscures the unity that is clear in the original text.
b. “Muslim Friendly” translations frequently do not retain familial language like “Father” and “Son” when speaking about God, or add additional “explanations” that suggest that no familial relationship was intended. This leaves the reader with a false impression about the relationship of the Father and Son.
c. Some translations use “Allah” as a PROPER NAME for God, equating him with the god described in Islam.
These are only some of the theologically significant changes that are being adopted in “Muslim Friendly” translations, and these changes leave readers with a false understanding about who Jesus is. These “translations” don’t simply use different words, the communicate very different concepts about who God is.
2. These translations frequently leave the impression that the Qu’ran is also an inspired text, sometimes including references to the Qu’ran and/or using a format which mirrors Islamic literature. And these translations are favored by ministries who leave open questions about the inspiration of the Qu’ran.
3. Islam teaches that Scripture cannot be trusted because the text of Scripture has been corrupted and these new versions, which truly have corrupted the biblical text, legitimize this long held Islamic belief and lay a foundation for mistrusting all bible translations.
4. As you know, leaders of movements that are using these translations have demonstrated that concerns about potential misunderstandings regarding the inspiration of the Quran, the divinity of Jesus, the Trinity, etc… are very real. It is not a question about whether it can happen, it is clear that it has happened.
1. The translators of “Muslim Friendly” translations frequently appeal to the use of “allah” as a generic noun for “god” in Arabic as justification for using “Allah” as a PROPER NAME in translations targeted for many other linguistic contexts, but using “Allah” as a PROPER NAME is very different than using “allah” as a generic noun. In Arabic and a limited number of Arabic influenced linguistic contexts, “allah” is just a noun that describes a diving being. In most linguistic contexts it is the PROPER NAME of the god of Islam.
2. One “Muslim Friendly” translation offers the following “explanation” for the Scripture’s use of Familial Language.
“The phrase “Son of the Most High” is often used in the Injil (Gospel) to refer to Isa (Jesus). Unfortunately polls have shown that this idiom is often misunderstood. In order to understand the significance of this title you need to know what it meant to the ancient inhabitants of the Middle East. In many cultures of the ancient world, kings were called sons of the Most High, or sons of the gods. For example, this is how the Roman Emperor and the Egyptian Pharaoh were addressed. This is also observed among Eastern peoples, like the ancient Turks, Mongols, Huns, and Chinese. All this may serve as a key to understanding the title “Son of the Most High” in Scripture. The Israelites believed that their true king – Eternal (see Isa . 44:6 ) and earthly king in Jerusalem was chosen by the Eternal to represent Him on earth. In order to describe the relationship between the king and the Eternal, metaphors like “son of the Most High” (see Psalm . 2:7) or “firstborn” (see Psalm . 88:27 )– were used in relationship to the king, and “father ” in relation to God (see 2 Sam. 7:14). This indicated that the king’s power comes from God, and that the king bears responsibility before Him. The ceremony of the enthronement of a new king was compared with the birth of a son; We see it in (Psalm 2:6-7).”