<a href="https://biblicalmissiology.org/author/seth-wilson/" target="_self">Seth Vitrano-Wilson</a>

Seth Vitrano-Wilson

Seth Vitrano-Wilson is a passionate advocate of faithful Bible translations in all languages. He was raised in the Mormon church, but God brought him to a biblically-based faith in Christ while he was living in Argentina. He has served cross-culturally in the Middle East and Southeast Asia for over 10 years, and holds an MA in Linguistics from Payap University in Chiang Mai, Thailand. He now serves as the Director of Biblical Translation for Horizons International.


  1. Douglas Pirkey

    There was some years ago a “Jesus in the Quran” conference at a local church near us. The conference was somehow related to Common Path Alliance whose mission statement states, “We exist to unite people who have been divided by religion by seeking our common path to God.” They attempt to achieve commonality via syncretism. I wrote a refutation of their theological chart, and in the process, the anti-Christ intentionality of the spirit of the age become woefully more evident. In sermons, I sometimes interject that which pertains to Bible translation today, the holy and the unholy, to inform the church.

    I appreciate your article very much, Seth. Your approach reminds me of how Paul dealt with the Corinthians and their allegiances and preferences for their cultural norms over and against the saving foolishness of the preaching of a crucified Messiah. Paul engaged them at the point of their worldliness and natural-mindedness and used it to present the truth. May the Lord continue to build in you the wisdom of the person of Jesus Christ; and may the Holy Spirit continually perfect God’s power in your willing-weakness to follow faithfully, giving you the counsel of His mind by which to disabuse those who will repent of this worldliness.

    God bless you, Seth!

  2. Adam Simnowitz

    Seth, thank you for this article. You bring up many important points which need to be addressed. A large part of the problem is that the terms “form” and “function” were introduced into Bible translation by Eugene Nida. He took them from Franz Boas’ ideas about anthropology, which include what has become the discipline known as Linguistics. Nida was a faithful student and disciple of Leonard Bloomfield and Edward Sapir, both of whom were mentored by Boas, and the founders of the branch of Linguistics known as “American Structuralism” or “Descriptivism.” One of their foundational premises was cultural relativism which also applies to language. Such a belief teaches that there is no super-cultural truth that can ever be expressed by language. Language, especially according to Bloomfield and Nida, is a meaningless medium on the same level as the grunts and sounds that animals make. Words, so they taught, only derive meaning based on non-verbal actions. Such thinking precludes belief in the divine inspiration of Scripture. Compounding this unbiblical idea of language and translation, is that a number of the decision-makers within Bible translation organizations and the Bible societies give no evidence that they believe in the exclusive claims of the Gospel. In some cases, they have written articles, published and unpublished, that there is more than one way to God other than through faith in Jesus Christ as taught in Scripture. Finally, there is the issue of money. Following Nida’s lead, the “need” for multiple translations for various audiences within a given language and the “need” to revise them every five to ten years because language is “dynamic” creates a potentially, never-ending source for fund raising. For any significant changes to take place in Bible translation, there has to be a proper understanding among translators of what Nida taught and an outright rejection of his cultural relativism, including its loaded terminology. As long as this loaded terminology is used in teaching about Bible translation, there will always be cover for those who are committed to applying cultural relativism in Bible translation to work with those who are true biblical conservatives.


    The Bible is meant to be expounded, and its central message, the Gospel is expounded in clear passages of Scripture such as in Romand 10, First Corinthians 1,w, 15, and in Galatians.

    I spent 36 years expounding the Bible in Arabic on a daily basis from Radio Station, ELWA, Monrovia, Liberia, TWR of Monte-Carlo, and CBC, in Nicosia, Cyprus. I received responses from Eastern Christians and Muslims from every Arab country and from the Diaspora. I sent follo-up books and booklets in Arabic to those who requested the materials.

    Nowadays, the Gospel is proclaimed in Arabic on YouTujbe and Satellite TV statioons, accompanied by conversations in Arabic between broadcaster and listener. The Arabic Bible known as the Smith-VanDyck translation is loved by the converts who memorise it as they had memorized the Qur’an before they had crossed over from Islam to the Lord Jesus Christ. This translation functions as the Wordf God by which they were converterdf. No need for more translatikons into Arabic, please.

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