I am not an ordained priest. However I have enjoyed a classical education and I am able to read and understand the Ancient Scriptures in their original languages, Hebrew and Ancient Greek.
Is this sufficient? Well, it is much better than what many priests can do these days. Many priests do not understand the ancient languages in which the books of the Bible were originally written.
There are a variety of Bible Translations which, supposedly make the text easier to understand for the modern reader. However, in this process modern meanings have been put into the text which did not exist at the time these texts were written and old meanings have been reworked to fit modern thought. There are examples in the link ‘Fail Grade for the Translators.’ in the ‘Did You Know?’ menue.
Would you really trust someone who is not even a priest? I don’t ask for trust. I have written a book, available at Amazon, called ‘Greetings From Paradise’ in which sexuality in the Bible and Christian Society through the ages is discussed. All my thoughts are referenced to the dictionaries and it is up to you, Dear Reader, to follow them and convince yourself.
However I do want to point out something about my ability to translate and interpret the Biblical Texts. As everybody knows there are some verses in the Bible, which are difficult to understand. I have explanations for at least two puzzling verses: I can explain, why it says in the Hebrew text in Gen. 3: 20, ‘… he was the mother of all living.’ It does not say ‘she’! How could a ‘he’ be a mother??? This is explained in my book in the chapter, ‘The Original Sin Or The Fall From Grace.’ I think I am the only person in the world who can clearly explain this! I believe, not even the Pope is able to do so!
Why doesn’t it say in Gen. 3: 20, ‘… he was the mother of all living’ in the modern translations? Would someone falsify the Holy Scripture?! The fact is, all translators have ‘corrected’ this verse, since they thought this must be an obvious copyist error!
The other difficult verse which I can explain is Ex. 6: 3. This is the verse in which King James invented the word ‘Jehovah’. This seems to remove the contradiction between this verse and the Book Of Genesis in English language, but this contradiction remains in the Hebrew text. The explanation is in the chapter ‘The Name Of The Lord.’
Are there errors in the Bible? Have copyists changed the text? Why would anybody do such a thing? I do make the assumption of a text, changed over the ages, in my explanation of Ex. 6: 3, but not in Gen. 3: 20. How well do you know even famous facts about the Christian faith? Have a look at the link ‘Bible Trivia.’
There are marked differences between the two most famous translations, the German Luther Translation and the King James Translation. King James translated commandments to commit genocide against other people literally. For example it says in Deut. 7: 1 & 2, ‘When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them.’
Luther translated verse 2 as, ‘And when the LORD, thy God, delivers them before you, smite them, so thou shalt execute the ban against them. Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show them any favour.’
Regarding the organisation of sexual relationships, the words husband and wife do not exist in Hebrew. The words are always ish, meaning man, and ishah for woman. This is similar to modern German. The words Mann and Frau can mean man and woman or husband and wife. In Ancient Greek, the language of the New Testament, there are words for husband and wife, but they are not used in the New Testament. In the New Testament only the words aner, man, and gynae, woman occur. Obviously the meaning husband and wife can be deduced from the possessive pronoun, her man or his woman, but the possessive pronoun is missing in many places in the New Testament. (See the chapter ‘Everlasting Life’ in Geetings From Paradise.)
I don’t want to be a guru. I encourage you to look up interlinear online translations. There are some which actually link every word to dictionaries and it is very interesting to find relationships between words in the ancient languages.