I opened this morning with a question: “Class, What does ‘wasuzotia’ mean?”

It is the greeting one gives in the morning here in central Uganda. In unison they responded, “Good Morning!”

With a smile, I quicklynresponded, “No it doesn’t!” They laughed and murmured under their breath that the crazy Muzungu (white guy) had tricked them. You see, I know exactly what it means.

We’ve been talking about the text of the Bible and I wanted them to begin understanding the differences in translations. There are formal word for word translations of the Bible, like the ESV, thought for thought translations like the NIV, and paraphrases like The Message.

Each translation has a different purpose. Some keep the poetry but make you dig for the meaning. Others capture the essence without taking away too much imagination. And others are blunt meanings.

We looked at John 1:14 which says, “The Word became flesh and had dwelt among us” or, in another translation, “The Word became flesh and moved into the neighborhood”. They both mean the same thing… both true… but the later does the work for you the former lets you imagine a bit more.

In the same way, my students were short cutting when they said, “Wasuzottia” means “Good Morning” but it really means, literally, “How did you sleep” and the real interpretation or what they whant to know is, “How was your night”.  In Bible geek language we call those three Paraphrase, Dynamic, and Formal equivalent translations.

But, it’s after noon, so, we now say, “Osebiotia!”  Good evening!