• 12/07/2020

Rev. Dr. Andrea Zaki, the President of Protestant Churches in Egypt, said that there is a big difference between freedom of opinion and expression and the translation of sacred texts, stressing that he is with the freedom of opinion and expression, accepting different views and appreciating all viewpoints; “But when it comes to a translation related to the sacred text and scriptures, it is not subject to personal freedoms, for it is linked to the text, its meaning, and its specific vocabularies that requires collective ecclesiastical action, and absolute faithfulness to the text.”
Zaki added, in exclusive statements to Al-Masry Al-Youm, regarding what has been raised recently about the translations of the Bible, namely, “The Correct Meaning of the Gospel of Christ, The Correct Statement of Christ’s Disciples, The Bible as an Oriental Reading, and A Mystical Reading of the Gospel of John,” which has sparked a state of controversy recently, especially The book “The Correct Meaning of the Gospel of Christ”, after circulating excerpts from its content that included a translation of some verses of the Bible that intended to present meanings of a verse that contradict the basics of the Christian faith; “Translation is an accurate and important process because it transmits words and expressions from one language to another.”
He continued: “Language is a living being that changes and evolves over the years. The meaning and word relationship are essential in the translation process. Sometimes words have more than one meaning, and choosing a specific meaning from these meanings requires great accuracy, group work, and an awareness of the context in which the text is found and the current context in which the text is transmitted to. So, the translation requires a scientific method, group work, and accuracy in selection.”
Zaki continued: “When you come to the translation of holy texts, it becomes more complicated because the text is related to the faith, belief, and behavior of millions of believers around the world. Therefore, the translation of holy texts is subject to many criteria that have a scientific, faith, and ethical responsibility. The Church is the body entrusted with nominating whoever represents it in the translation process, to review the translation accordingly, and accepting it or not».
He continued: “As far as the Middle East is concerned, the Bible House is considered the body entrusted with this work, and when the Bible House issues any new translation, it returns to all churches of all denominations to approve this translation.”
Regarding the sect's situation regarding the translations of the Bible that are the subject of controversy, their appearance at the present time, and the position of the Egyptian churches towards them, Zaki said: “These four books, some of them appeared on the market more than ten years ago and were published outside Egypt. Based on a statement issued by the House of the Bible, in Egypt, the body of competence, these books have theological divergence, and they were not presented to the Egyptian churches, and therefore the churches with all their sects did not accept them, because they contain many clear theological errors, which makes them rejected translations and may not be used.
He added: “Regarding the position of the Protestant Church in Egypt, these translations were clearly rejected in a televised interview with me last February. The Coptic Orthodox Church, the Coptic Catholic Church, and most Evangelical Denominations in Egypt issued statements rejecting this type of translations of the Bible, and this constitutes a final judgment that these translations are rejected and are not valid ».
Zaki revealed that in the past, on his own initiative, a theological council was formed several years ago, which includes a group of evangelical theologians from all Evangelical Denominations, and all theological directives, he continued, I did not invite the council to meet for more than two years, but now in light of these theological challenges facing the Church, the time has come to call this council again, with the need to reconsider its formation to be more extensive and influential. One of the most important priorities for the work of this council will be studies that relate to the Bible.