Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Westminster Confession of Faith in Plain Language

Recently I have been working on a plain language paraphrase of the Westminster Confession of Faith.  I know that many others have been done this before, but this serves a twofold purpose--First, it helps me study and understand the confession better for teaching purposes.  They say that you do not understand something until you can put it into your own words.  Second, I know my target language and culture better than others, so my words are chosen to meet a specific need.

I have created a handy-dandy column on the left [now right and below] that will hopefully make this readily available and easy to navigate.

Keep in mind that the framers of the Westminster Confession of Faith were very, very precise in their word choices.  I am well aware that by paraphrasing, I am losing that precision.  But I am not wanting to be that precise with what I am doing.  Sometimes it is the precision that stands in the way of plain understanding.  I know full well how common it is to read something and not understand it because of the difficulty of the language.  So with simpler, more straightforward language, I hope that a few others at least will develop an understanding of things they once found difficult to read.   I am hoping that perhaps someone might be able to bridge to the greater precision of the original after being introduced through a paraphrase.

Also, I should note that any time one paraphrases, one cannot help but interpret. With interpretation comes the possibility of disagreement.  I am not saying that my interpretations are always correct, but they are, nonetheless, how I understand the confession.  I have used about six different commentaries while producing this, but I am game to change if someone can show that I have either misunderstood the confession or have used such poor word choice that I am leading people astray from the original intention of the authors.

Regardless, I only want to make the study of the confession more available and enjoyable.  Hope it helps.

P.S.  At the bottom of each section is a list of terms. After I complete the project, I hope to add a glossary of these terms, giving a fuller explanation for those who want to know more.

P.P.S.  Also keep in mind that this whole project is in draft form.  I have no doubt that I will need to make clarifying changes or fix unintentional mistakes when all is said and done.

BTW, I would like to reserve Copyrights to my version of the Westminster Confession of Faith in Plain Language. I have no objections to people using it, if they point people to the source.

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