[The originial languages are]…good for helping us understand the Bible, the Word of God, which for Christians is a person, who asks us to connaÃ®tre him. This involves spending time with him, pondering the Word, contemplating it, mulling it over, chewing on it even. For an Orthodox Jew, the object of meditation is Torah, and the notion of meditating on it in translation would be almost inconceivable. You want the prize itself, not someone’s prosaic description of it.
By contrast, most Christians who meditate on scripture don’t consult it in the original languages. The argument is sometimes made that the gospel, which is to be preached to all the nations, is by its nature always a translation. For an image of this idea, see the account of Pentecost in Acts, where by the power of the Holy Spirit each member of the international audience assembled in Jerusalem hears the apostles in his own native tongue. Christian faith does not depend on a reading knowledge of Koine Greek.
Still, just as all things lawful are not expedient, not all things optional are bootless. Let’s concede that the fine points you miss by meditating on scripture in mere translation are only a few pixels that drop out of the picture. The subject and the general shape of things are still clear enough. What you’re missing is the meaning of the expression in the subject’s eyes. You can identify their color, however, and the other physical features of his that can be measured and recorded on a driver’s license. You can savoir his identity. That counts for a lot. But you don’t connaÃ®tre him.
Read it all.