Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: FAITH (strong, confident belief in God) (02/26/15)
TITLE: The Best Translation
By JK Stenger
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He leaned back in his chair and carefully placed the quill on the desk, next to the manuscript.
How can I translate it?
It was the year 1609, and because of his expertise in Greek, Aldred had been chosen to be part of a team of scholars assigned to translate the Bible into English. He was so overcome by the honor he could barely sleep. The responsibility of finding the exact words weighed heavily on him.
Today he was struggling with the first verse of the eleventh chapter of the book of Hebrews. He had completed the translation of most of the verse, save for that one word. He read it again.
“Now faith is the hupostasis of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” *
How could he correctly define hupostasis, such that everyone reading it would clearly understand the meaning of faith?
He had seen the word in Greek plays; it referred to something substantial; something of worth. But what word in English truly conveyed the meaning? Concreteness…? That didn’t sound right.
He sighed. Maybe he would sleep on it for one more night. He yawned and stretched himself.
Lord Jesus, help me to find the best word for hupostasis.
Clouds of dust trailed behind the van that was to bring Christian archeologists Kamyar Aziz and Susan Poitier to the newly discovered ruins of an old burned down inn near Nazareth, believed to be at least 2000 years old.
When the Archeological Institute of America had called Kamyar, he had hugged his house-keeper and kissed her on both cheeks.
What an opportunity.
And now they were almost there. He fiddled with the cuffs of his shirt and glanced at Susan.
She smiled. “We’re almost there Kamyar!”
He nodded. Soon they would enter an undiscovered world of ancient mysteries.
And what a goldmine it turned out to be. After they had acquainted themselves with the other archeologists already there, they set out to work and in the weeks that followed they found many artifacts that contained a wealth of historical information.
But the best was to come on the night before they were scheduled to fly back home.
Towards the evening, in a secluded spot, Kamyar spotted something.
What’s that? A rush of adrenaline surged through his body. There, buried under some rubble, was a small, iron chest.
After Susan had made pictures and recorded the exact details of the location, Kamyar lifted the handle and the chest swung open with a creaking sound. They both held their breath as Kamyar pulled out a stack of parchments.
Kamyar lifted the stack. “Let’s bring it to the tent.”
Once there they carefully investigated their find.
“It’s Greek,” Kamyar said while his face was beaming. Some pieces had a title written at the top. It read ‘Hupostasis’.
“They’re the title deeds of the properties of some noblewoman.” Kamyar fanned himself.
“Hupostasis is the same as a title deed?”
“Now I understand it.” Kamyar touched the parchment with trembling fingers.
“Remember that verse in Hebrews 11, which says that faith is the substance of things hoped for?
“ Well, I never really understood that word ‘substance’. The original word was “hupostasis.” It means having the ownership papers to something. And that’s what faith is.” His eyes sparkled.
“Through faith we possess what we believe. We have the ownership papers of the things we hope for. It’s all ours in Christ.”
Susan smiled. “So faith is the title deed of the things we hope for?”
“That’s right,” nodded Kamyar. “Faith is, knowing that God is, and that He is going to take care of us somehow.”
Susan wiped the sweat from her forehead and smiled. “And to think we had to come all the way to Israel to find that out.”
*Hebrews 11:1 KJV
This is a work of historical fiction.
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