Concerned bible readers in Uganda have for a while now pointed out several verses they urge are missing from some bibles. Questions have been raised as many wonder if there is some controversy with these particular verses. Could it be a translation error? Hidden conspiracy?
Justus Rubarema, the programs Manager at Bible Society of Uganda [BSU] revealed during a televised interview on one local TV station on Sunday that every bible is complete and that there is no bible version with missing verses.
Mr Rubarema made these remarks when Presiding Apostle, Dr Joseph Serwadda and Apostle Charles Tumwiine hosted him on Dream TV and asked if there are missing, or added verses in some bibles.
Some viewers were not satisfied with the way he [Rubarema] responded to a few questions especially those that criticized the organisation for not voicing out its opinion on matters of national concern relating to the bible ‘abuse’.
If you delivery these bibles from a christian perspective, shouldn’t you make a statement as stake holders, Apostle Charles Tumwiine asked Mr Rubarema.
“Many people have wanted BSU to come out and make statements, but that is not how we work. You and I are Bible Society of Uganda. Once you have a bible, you are part of the body, that is why we often appeal to the public to become members. Our duty is to deliver the bible. We do not take sides.” Justus Rubarema said.
“The bible is as you see it. It is incumbent upon a readers to chose which version works for them and that they prefer reading… These are biblical canons agreed upon by convention. Every bible is complete. Read it right from where it starts. It follows the pattern used during its translation.” He stated.
Mr Rubarema said for given versions, the translators place verses in footnotes, in the margin or italics so as to bring out the intended textual meaning [proper flow of information].
Pr Serwadda however suggested that such measures are ‘high end’ inventions or instructions that might not be understood by everyday people.
“As you have noticed, trouble with Good News bible version seems to be a matter of public debate. Why don’t you talk to the publishers to revise this and bring a product that is non offensive to society – that for Uganda we want a bible where texts are fully compiled up – not those with portions.” Pr Serwadda urged.
“We do not interpret the bible from English to Luganda, all translations are done from the very original texts mainly Biblical Hebrew, with some portions in Biblical Aramaic. So, for one to do this interpretation, he must be well acquainted with both languages, and must know the norms and beliefs of either groups.” Mr Rubarema said.
“One must know that the original biblical text had no particular book titles, chapters and verses. This was not there from the start. The vowel letters were also not part of the original texts. The punctuation marks; Commas, full stops, are all later day developments from the modern language. That is while it takes time – years- for these translations to be made for both the new and old testament. The translators put in a lot of effort to see that the meaning of these Hebrew, Aramaic texts is not changed. We must appreciate them for helping us understand the Word.” He added.
Mr Rubarema said Bible Society of Uganda would have taken up the initiative of informing masses about how the bible was published, the patterns considered however, this cannot be done due to insufficient finances to the project. He was quick to add that it is a matter they will look into.