In a way the interpreter has his own anointing and what he is really doing is he is preaching his own message from your ideas — he is preaching your message in his own way. But for the sake of understanding what we are trying to teach the interpreter, let us say you are preaching the message but you are getting your message from the guest speaker. The people attending are listening to the interpreter and not the guest speaker! Learn to relax the mind. Listen to the whole sentence of the preacher and then translate what was spoken into words in your own language that says the same thing — although the words may be different.
Remember, you are interpreting what the preacher is saying, and not translating him. Usually when an interpreter is well acquainted with the language he is interpreting but stammers and delays at response it is because he is concentrating on each word individually rather than on simply listening to the entire sentence and then interpreting that sentence in his own language. Following are two examples of how the interpreter may see and interpret sentences without changing the actual meaning. We have also put the interpreters grammar into his sentence so the speakers reading this can appreciate what the interpreter has to do with the English language in his mind to make it comprehendible in his own language.
Speaker: I. Paul the apostle gives us many wonderful insights into the resurrection of Jesus in 1 Corinthians Interpreter: In 1 Corinthians 15 the apostle Paul gives us mighty revelations concerning the power of God in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Interpreter: As Peter and the other disciple approached the tomb of Jesus running, the one disciple stopped outside but Peter ran into the tomb where Jesus was laid! It is perfectly alright to add an adjective or verb or two to what the speaker said so long as you do not change the meaning of what he said or leave any point of meaning out — because the next sentence he makes may refer to something he said in the previous sentence.
If this happens and you realize now that you missed the connecting thought and you just add what you might have left out previously — and connect them in your own words. But be careful and do not carry that too far — it could get you in trouble if he suddenly reverses his meaning. But, an interpreter must not get carried away with this. I had an interpreter in Brazil once that took what I said and preached an entirely different message. I wondered why there was no response to my message at points where there should have been.
After the meeting a sister that spoke fluent English told me that he preached an altogether different message than I had preached. I found that he had a reputation of being proud and had done it to almost everyone he interpreted for. This kind of gross arrogance disqualifies anyone including nationals from being an interpreter. The Point Is Made. The mind of the interpreter must not be set on making precise word for word translation of what the speaker is saying but hear the complete statement and then interpret it a s quickly as possibly from your under-standing of what was said making what he said available to the hearer.
Another way to better understand interpretation as against translating is in the gifts of tongues and the interpretation of the tongue. Sometimes the interpretation is much longer than the message in tongues that it causes some to wonder if the interpretation was connected to the message in tongues. But an interpretation can be much longer than the original message spoken because interpretation is an explanation of what was said, not a word for word translation. It is called by the apostle the gift of interpretation and not the gift of translation.
Repeating The Point Again! Anointed content is in the hands of the preacher. Anointed flow is in the hands of the interpreter. When you have a good preacher with ready and rapid words then content of the message is with him, but the flow of the message is entirely in the hands of the interpreter. It is the interpreter that controls the message in a very great sense. These are the two most important qualities of working together as preacher and interpreter. May we call it the anointed flow. Without that flow to the message, vital concentration is broken and the attention of the listeners goes from what the preacher is saying to the lack of skill or difficulty the interpreter seems to have.
The attention of the people should be entirely upon what the preacher is saying and not upon some condition or problem with the interpreting. The Goal Of A Good Interpreter So you may be a very good translator and have a good vocabulary in your second language, but to become the best interpreter, make you goal to flow with the speaker, until the speaker forgets he is even preaching through an interpreter. This should be the goal of every interpreter who is perfecting his skills and considers interpreting a God given ministry.
If you are some minutes late then it is usually not a problem — but if its more than minutes phone to your guest speaker and tell him that your running late and what time you will arrive. It is always best to have a point of contact such as the phone at the guest speakers hotel or the church office so each of you have a place to call into and make contact. Try to do nothing that will frustrate a guest speaker especially prior to the message. Americans and British — all people of the western cultures for the most part, tend to be very plan oriented and being punctual and being there when he wants you or needs you is very important.
Keep him happy and it adds that much more to having a good message with good results. Conclusion to part I before going to Part II:. The Simple Objective Of Interpreting. I tell my interpreters to not worry about being exact or think they have to be precise with every word. The important thing is that the spirit of what I am saying and the intended meaning is being clearly conveyed. The interpreter has plenty of opportunity to garnish or improve on what his message along the way to improve the meaning as he himself the interpreter better understands … and without changing what the speaker is saying.
One microphone — If there is only one microphone in some circumstances in small churches where the electronic equipment is not as perfect as it could be, then the interpreter should have the microphone directly in front of him. The speaker should only have the tonal qualities and variations of his voice heard by the interpreter because his voice does add to the meaning and to the effect of the message. The tone of his voice combined with the flow of language, which they understand, is the combination that makes for powerful results and which the Holy Spirit can use most effectively.
The interpreter should abide by the following rules if he wants to be a good servant of the speaker and do him his finest service;. Interpreters should never take the stance of a statue, standing frozen with hands clasped in front of him staring up to the ceiling while the preacher is quite active. The interpreter should be making eye contact with the people in the congregation the same as the preacher.
Eye contact is an essential part of communication — never stare upward or away from the people your speaking to. Your eyes should be upon the person your sending your voice to. If there are long pauses between what the speaker says and when the interpreter begins to speak, you are losing continuity and again the effect of the message is lessened by these pauses. Try and not allow pauses between the end of the speakers sentence and your own. Train your mind to hear his sentence and form the whole sentence in your mind, rather than each word. An interpreter should never take it upon himself to intentionally change a mans message, unless he tells him.
That is the ethical way to handle interpreting something that you know to be sensitive or wrong to the people he is speaking to. When he arrived in Lisbon the pastor who was also his interpreter told him before the meeting to please not tell any jokes in the pulpit while ministering there. But the American did not take heed and proceeded to tell a joke. But the pastor interpreter just went on preaching on the message in Portuguese but did not tell the joke. When the man was finished Jose told them to laugh and they all chuckled a little and the speaker was gloating because did such a good job.
The American thought he had really pulled one over on the pastor interpreting for him, but later the pastor told the American what he did and it turned out that it was the American that was fooled. This is one of those rare exceptions where an interpreter violated the rules of interpreting but his guest had attempted to violate the authority of the pastor. The interpreter was in perfect order. A good interpreter can make something said in the first language even stronger in his own language. There is a right time to do this, but interpreters must be cautioned that they are never to take away from the meaning of what the speaker is saying or control what he is saying by arbitrarily interpreting the speaker to be saying what he the interpreter wants him to say.
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That is deception and a serious violation of Christian ethics, and especially if that speaker is inspired by the Holy Spirit. On one occasion an interpreter who was miffed at me for not agreeing with him on a decision I made in travel plans interpreted a prophecy to me incorrectly using the utterance as a means of rebuking me. But soon after he finished interpreting the prophecy to me, another brother led of the Holy Spirit, came to me and told me the correct interpretation. When I discover such a Judas spirit in an interpreter, it takes me very little time to get rid of him!
To twist a word of prophecy is a sign of the lowest kind of character.
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If an interpreter cannot, for any reason, conscientiously interpret a guest speaker then let him decline from interpreting — but NEVER try to twist and distort the speakers words while he is preaching to change the meaning. It is better to turn to the speaker and tell him you cannot interpret what you have said because it is against my Christian conscience.
On one occasion in Poland a visiting American started teaching some very alarming doctrine that was contrary to the Scripture and the teaching of the church he was speaking to. This honest approach is not always pleasant but better than exposing the church to undesirable doctrine and trying to change what the man said. But this action should only be taken under the most serious circumstances.
And what shall the preacher do if he is told such a thing? First, let us say that it is ethical folly to teach on some peculiar doctrine in a church with traditional teaching. Never try to come in to a church like a bull in a china shop to set everybody straight and teach things that may be more cultural than Christian, more socially accepted than Scripturally accurate. If you have a spiritual bone to pick with a church, the ethical thing is to go to the pastor and discuss your doctrine alone with him first. One of the worst kinds of distractions is to have one or two people coaching the interpreter while your trying to preach.
But never allow coaching unless it is under special circumstances and it is agreed upon by the guest preacher. He is the one who is most effected by these disorders and he is the one that should decide how it should be handled. I instruct my interpreters that if they do not hear what I said or do not understand what I said to turn toward me in silence.
By that I know I have to repeat what I said distinctly or use another word more common. I have had to eat, sleep and make all conversation with my interpreter with me. In this case the interpreter is allowed to see the private ways and habits of the guest speaker. It is poor ethics to observe a guest and then share with others what you observed him do when you were traveling privately with him. We are all entitled to privacy. It is good manners for an interpreter to never repeat the private ways of a guest you are traveling with.
On one occasion an interpreter who was traveling with me watched me carefully when I was eating then repeated to others what I had eaten. As an interpreter you are taken into confidence and you should not betray that confidence by making public the private life of your guest. The following items are important;. TEXT — The text or scripture passages that you will be using.
POINTS — Key words that may not be common to the interpreter and especially if your interpreter is not acquainted with Biblical terminology. John looked at me with the most pitiful look of helplessness. PRAY with your interpreter before the meeting when this is possible.
Prayer has a way of bonding our spirits. For this reason it is very important to speak in complete short sentences for the sake of your interpreter understanding you clearly. When the sentences are longer and more complex it becomes very important to speak complete phrases so the interpreter knows where your going. I have very good interpreters in Brazil but when we both become anointed and excited we are liable to both light out in different directions preaching.
Suddenly we get so far apart from each other that he loses contact with my voice. If your interpreter can see your mouth when you speak it helps him very much and especially if he is new at interpreting. This is usually one of the greatest failures of the speaker, to turn away from his interpreter and go off preaching without thinking about his interpreter. In some countries interpreters are not appreciated for the service they render. Pastors should think of the ministry of the interpreter as being vital to the church.
James teaches us a principle that certainly applies here; If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, ye do well: James One well known and rich American evangelist held a large crusade in South America and wore out two interpreters using them night and day. Neither of them had a work income but were considered the best interpreters in the country. The other young man who interprets for me, told me I would never interpret for him again because I only interpret for brothers in the Lord.
Interpreters usually have spent years studying and learning the language. This has meant sacrifice and usually expense to them. Interpreters make the ministry of good brethren from outside the country available to the church. Without the interpreter many brethren and ministries would not be available to the church. Interpreters are usually more than just a voice for the preacher when he is preaching.
He is an emissary for the pastor and accompanies the guest in his travels and business needs, runs errands for him and is a vital link between the guest preacher and the strange world around him that he could not otherwise understand. The interpreter is also valuable as a translator and a liaison between the pastor and his church and the foreign preacher when they are separated by oceans. Actually the interpreter works twice as hard mentally as the guest preacher or his pastor. They are thinking and speaking in one language but the interpreter is hearing in two languages; thinking in two languages and speaking in two languages!
On one occasion I was asked to hold a conference with brethren in Czechoslovakia concerning the doctrine of Jesus Only teaching. We started at a. My interpreter was intensely involved in this debate because he was actually Polish but did not want to make an incorrect interpretation. In this case he was actually translating because much of the exchange between us was based on exact rendering of words in Scripture.
My interpreter was thinking in Polish; listening in both Czech and English and speaking in Czech and English — all the while thinking in Polish. Interpreting is a hard job and is worthy of good hire! The Biblical Work Ethic — The whole principle of the Scripture regarding the work ethic is that the man who works should be rewarded with pay. James has some strong words for people who are rich or well off and mistreat the poor.
Scripture also makes it a plain fact that the man who is lazy and does not work should not be paid! But interpreting is hard work and should be rewarded, and especially if interpreting is one of his livelihoods. Pastors inviting a foreign speaker should make the cost of the interpreter, his travel expense and pay for his labors a part of the cost of having a foreign speaker.
I have had interpreters tell me that they will not make themselves available again to some pastors because they give them no consideration even when they know their family is in poverty. It is a job that should be taken seriously by the interpreter. There is no one that has the privilege of taking their family with them to the factory or to the office where they are employed.
If you are working in the capacity of an interpreter and you are to be interpreting for a designated guest for a designated duration of time, then that guest should have all of your attention. Interpreting takes much concentration and means you are a host to your guest. It is no place or time to include your family or other friends or take on other responsibilities while filling the job of an interpreter. Reasons are as follows:. If the interpreter brings his family along, this adds a burden to the host church which is not ethical even if the interpreter calls and gets the permission of the host.
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It is the guest preacher the interpreter needs to get permission from if he is has plans that will take him away from his guest. Perfectly good interpreters have these oversights in their ministry that is not responsible thinking. The guest speaker is much more comfortable when he has to work with one solitary person.
But if he has to have the family following the interpreter everywhere he goes, then this can bring problems in the area of transportation, eating and the most important thing is, that every time you add a member to a traveling party, you half the time it takes to carry out a mission. In other words, if there are two people traveling together, they can work very efficiently and keep their appointments without any problems, but when you add a third person you add another 30 minutes to everything you do and all plans and schedules you make.
Interpreters should be solitary workers and be devoted entirely to the voice and mind of their guest speaker. Do not take your family. Do not bring added friends with you. This is a distraction to the speaker and adds inconvenience to the guest and the host as well as consumes unnecessary time and makes the travel and schedule difficult to stay with. When you send a car or transportation to pick up your host at a hotel or home wherever he is staying, and it is usually a short distance from one part of a city to another, or to a city nearby or within a days travel — always send a driver alone.
Many times I have been picked up at a hotel and there were so many riders that had come along with the driver that there was not room in the car. Be thoughtful of your guest speaker and think of him and provide as convenient and comfortable accommodations for your speaker as possible so that he can be as tranquil and at peace in his mind as possible. Host pastors should always think of the comfort of the guest rather than try to make an impression on him with so many unnecessary and ceremonial deeds.
The one thing that should be on the mind of the host is to provide for the guest a special care that will bring him to the pulpit refreshed and feeling ready in his spirit to minister effectively to the church. Drivers should be moderate in their driving even if you are late, do not speed through heavy traffic. Drive to accommodate the feelings of your host.
If necessary, ask him if the speed pleases him and ask him how he would like you to drive, fast or slow and give him that choice. When the driver is in the car alone he can drive like a maniac all he wants to, because the only fatality will be one maniac and perhaps some victims he takes with him , but when you have guests riding in the car with you then their lives and their well being, their peace of mind and their safety should be your first consideration.
Consult them and be sure that they are comfortable with your driving habits. Its none of my business how a man drives until I get in the car with him. Then it is my business! I have asked more than one driver to pull over so I could have a talk with him. We are christians, not cowboys riding steel horses! PAY — Pay your interpreters well! On some fields developed countries in Europe the churches usually pay the interpreters themselves. But in undeveloped countries such as Africa or India they get nothing unless you pay them. If you find a good interpreter, pay him well! When you have an interpreter that pleases you, be very sure to pay him generously.
Not foolishly, but according to the pay scale of that country and pay them a great amount others will not be able to pay after you. Too much money is not good for the character of especially the very poor. I have had cases where the interpreter did not know what to do with the money and after three days he came to me privately with a book in his hand whispering to me.
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I looked in amazement at the bill pressed neatly in the book. I told him what to do with it! I assured him it was. Be careful doling out money and always do it in private! Never hand anyone money with others present to see it. It can cause jealousy and strife. When I pay anyone who labors for the Lord a wage, which is scriptural, I tell them very seriously not to tell anyone I gave them anything or how much. This will spoil them and make them feel independent of their pastor and church and could hurt the order of that church. If you want your interpreter to be with you and to be available when you need him, pay him well and take care of his expenses.
The interpreter makes your ministry possibly. Another thing you must take into consideration is the travel expenses of your interpreter…coming to you, and returning to his home if he is from another area , and what it will cost for expenses while he is traveling. When you return to that field you can contact him and he will help announce your coming and arrange your meetings. But in the cases where the churches are sizeable and support their pastor full time then it should be the responsibility of that church to provide for the travel and hire of the interpreter s.
If you are looking for what is best in an interpreter, those who have the native tongue of the people your preaching to and has mastered the language of the foreign preacher will be one of the first things to look for. Add the anointing to this interpreter and you will usually have the best. What is ideal is when the interpreter has both languages as native tongues. For example, in Brazil there are American missionaries who have lived most of their lives in Brazil and speak both English and Portuguese with equal skill.
It is better to have an interpreter from the country your preaching in with lesser skill in your language than to have an interpreter that is your nationality and has learned the language of the country you speaking in. It is in the interest and spiritual benefit of the host pastor to assume his part of the responsibility of providing interpreters. If you have invited a foreign preacher to preach at your church or other church function such as a conference of crusade, then it is you and your church that will benefit from that preachers ministry.
As the one who will benefit, it is only ethical that you as a pastor and church should assume the cost of securing a good interpreter. This should be the first thing to take care of as soon as a foreign preacher has confirmed his meeting with you. If you can afford to bring in an interpreter, especially one that is known and works well with your invited guest, forget the cost of bringing him to the meeting and do it! If your church cannot bear the financial burden of paying the travel and pay of an interpreter then talk it over with your guest speaker, especially if you know he has a choice of interpreter, he may want to help in that expense or advise you to use local interpreters.
The thoughtful pastor who wants the very best spiritual results in a meeting he is planning will consult his speaker as to his preference of interpreter. Biblical preaching ought not to be conceived so narrowly as to prevent the preacher from addressing doctrines in their wider biblical context.
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The doctrine addressed, however, ought to be a major concern of the text, not something touched on in passing. The question here is whether the preacher has misrepresented the meaning of the text that is the starting point for the doctrinal reflection. In preaching as in systematic theology, good doctrine does not grow from bad exegesis. Once a text is chosen, it must be delimited. If not adhering rigidly to the lectionary, the preacher must decide where to begin reading and where to stop.
Pericopes may be identified by their form, such as miracle stories, pronouncement stories, parables, and laments. Where this is the case, the delimiting of the text is easy. Pericopes usually have a clear beginning and end; the preacher should respect these. A number of markers may be noted in determining the limits of a text.
A time marker may appear at the beginning of a text, such as "On a Sabbath" or simply "Then. If the passage is a story, one may easily observe plot features such as the problem, increasing tension, and denouement. Where such characteristics are present, the preacher should typically begin at the beginning, carry on to the end without leaving anything out, and stop reading and preaching at the end of the unit.
Sometimes, the boundaries of texts are fluid and unclear, as is often the case in Paul's letters or in collections of sayings. In other cases, such as the discourses of the Gospel of John, the limits may be clear but the individual units too long to be easily read aloud in most contemporary churches. Practical considerations ought not to overrule integrity of interpretation, but they certainly have their place. Wise preachers respect the limits of their listeners' capacity to hear intelligently.
One may distinguish here between the "read text" and the "effective text. The "effective text" is the text that is actually preached. The two should overlap but need not be identical. In some complex passages, the preacher may rightly concentrate on one aspect of the text. In other cases, the preacher may preach on the connection between neighboring texts or on a theme that connects a series of texts in a book. In some cases, it is impossible to preach a sermon on a specific text within a longer story without retelling the story as a whole. One cannot, for example, preach on Nathan's rebuke to King David without also recounting the story of David and Bathsheba.
The principle here is that the preacher need not be strictly limited to the text that is read aloud. In earlier generations the effective text seems often to have been a verse or part of the verse. In contemporary preaching the effective text seems to be growing longer, approaching the length of the text as it is read aloud. This matter takes us back to the lectionary. The weakest feature of the lectionary may be the way it delimits texts. It often leaves out parts of texts or even parts of verses. Similarly, the lectionary may omit the end of a story. These excisions are often of materials that are trouble.
In these excisions the texts may express anger, hatred, self-righteousness, or perhaps anti-Jewish sentiments. To edit out trouble is, however, not only a misrepresentation of the text; it is homiletically disastrous.
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People can most often connect to the text precisely in the trouble. Some homiletical theorists suggest that identifying trouble in the text may be the first move in effective preaching. Moreover, if one is to address anger, hatred, or self-righteousness in the contemporary world, it is probably best not to cut it out of the word from the ancient world.
The uniformly and obviously edifying is usually boring. The solution to difficult or disturbing feelings in the text is not excision but intelligent preaching. Where the tradition of the church allows some freedom with respect to the lectionary, the preacher might consider restoring the excisions. Where the tradition is to follow the lectionary exactly, the effective text of the preacher may well include the material omitted in the lectionary. Whether using the lectionary or not, the primary concern in delimiting a text must be to avoid misrepresenting its contents with artificial or tendentious boundaries.
Choosing and delimiting a text is, like all other aspects of interpretation, an art rather than a science. There is no sure way to tell when the preacher has got this process right. But it is usually obvious when the preacher gets it badly wrong. Bibliography: Stephen Farris. The tasks of biblical interpretation in preaching involve core beliefs that determine the mission and ministries of the black church. For black preaching traditions, as with most Christian traditions, the obvious sources of authority are centered in theological claims concerning sacred Scripture and divine inspiration.
Scripture is both a historical and a metahistorical deposit of divine revelation that the church discerns with some difficulty. Divine inspiration functions as authoritative revelation specific to the activities of preaching, inclusive of sermon preparation and the preaching event itself. Mirrored in the divine sanction of Scripture, then, are theological claims of God's activity in preaching that seek to interpret Scripture for contemporary life.
Herein lie critical questions for preachers. Whether churches have been formed in response to crises or out of inherited traditions depicting God's engagement with humanity, black churches approach biblical interpretation from and in response to distinctive black experience or exigencies upon black life. Black preaching hermeneutics builds upon at least two predominant ways of employing biblical texts: first, to discern the ways of God; and second, to discern God's presence in our midst. These elements provide for a pastoralprophetic dialectic in black preaching as sharing in the Word of God and telling the story.
The Bible is the Word of God because it gives witness to God's activity in human history. It witnesses to the character and faithfulness of God. The Bible's power in black preaching is as a living Word. With the essential tools of modern exegetical studies i. The Bible has its heritage and its future as the Word of God living among the people of God.
While the significance of human experience in the formation of churches is certainly not unique to black churches, the starting point of black experience in biblical interpretation cannot be overstated. How do black humanity and the black community encounter God and respond? This question is as much pastoral as it is prophetic. From the perspective of pastoral biblical interpretation a primary task is the development of faith identity.
The pastoral preacher is deeply committed to the interpretation and formation of meaning in the lives of believers and seekers. The tasks of preaching along these lines may involve interpreting theological doctrine, historical traditions, and the symbols of faith that connect people and therefore shape community. Pastoral leadership, though, is not limited to framing discipleship; it also engages ultimate questions that challenge us in times of crisis.
African American preaching seeks also to tell the story of God's care for all humanity, which gives expression to faith identity in our specific human contexts. Storytelling in black preaching offers an important point of pastoral agency to biblical interpretation. Storytelling requires reconstructing redemption history within the lives of persons gathered in community. The task is to interpret life within a meaning-making process.
The dialogical nature of the preaching event cannot help but to focus upon human struggles for meaning in life and the need for community. From the perspective of prophetic biblical interpretation a primary task is to expand the preaching enterprise more deeply into meaning and relationships. God's care for humanity and response to human need are communal as much as personal.