Bibles For Muslims

Bible, Bible translations, Muslims No Comments

A lengthy dispute over how to convey the Trinity to Muslims led two denominations to threaten boycotts of Wycliffe Bible Translators.  The disupte began in 2011.  Wycliffe’s partner SIL International halted seven translation projects in 2011 until a 14-member panel convened by the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) could assess the debate.
The dispute focused on how to translate phrases like “God the Father” and “Son of God” in predominantly Muslim nations.  The problem is the Quran’s teaching on the subject of the Triune God.  Muslims do not believe in the diety of Jesus Christ and consequently, they do not believe in a Triune God (God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit).  While Muslims are monotheistic, their god Allah, is not the one, true and living God.
The Quran teaches: 5:116, “And behold! God will say, “O Jesus the son of Mary! Didst thou say unto men, “Worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of God?”  17:111, “Praise be to God, Who begets no son, and has no partner in (His) dominion: Nor (needs) He any to protect Him from humiliation, yea, magnify Him for His greatness and glory.”  19:88-92, “They say: ‘(God) Most Gracious has begotten a son!’ Indeed ye have put forth a thing most monstrous!  At it the skies are ready to burst, the earth to split asunder, and the mountains to fall down in utter ruin, That they should invoke a son for (God) Most Gracious.  For it is not consonant with the majesty of (God) Most Gracious that he should beget a son.”
The idea of God begetting a son (assumed in a physical sense) is misunderstood by Muslims.  The Virgin Birth will have to be explained to Muslims.  But, God’s Word should not be changed to accommodate their misunderstandings.  We cannot compromise the truth in the way the Bible is translated.  Political correctness should not enter into Bible translation.
Some of the transational changes involved the following:
-Reference to “God the Father” are replaced by the Arabic word for god, “Allah.”  (But, Allah and the Triune God of the Bible are not the same).
-References to Jesus as the “Son of God” are replaced with “Messiah”, thus eliminating references to Jesus as the Son of God and thus destroying the relationship between the Father and the Son in Scripture.
-In Matthew 18:19, “Baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost” becomes “Cleanse them by water in the name of Allah, His Messiah, and His Holy Spirit.”
Most will be able to see the translational problems involved with these changes and the doctrinal import of each.  The WEA established a 14-member panel to address the translational issues.  It produced a report in April, 2013.  The report includes ten guidelines that address the translational issues.  It may be obtained at
Christianity Today had an article addressing this issue titled, “Translation Tension” by Ruth Moon in the July/August, 2013 issue.  The tension points up the difficulty encountered in Bible translation when one of the motivating factors is political correctness.  There will always be tension and conflict when truth meets error.