I recently read that translations from Old Testament Hebrew to Greek to English has altered the meaning of some text. For example, the OT prophecy about the virgin is actually the word for woman in Hebrew and not virgin. That significantly changes the meaning. Please help.
Unfortunately, the church has seen a rise in teaching that manipulates the meaning of the Greek and Hebrew of the Bible, usually in an effort to support false doctrine. This is one such example.
The text of Isaiah says:
In this well-known verse, Isaiah foretold that the Messiah would come by way of a virgin birth. The Hebrew word translated as virgin in that verse is almah, which is the customary Hebrew word for an unmarried (hence, virginal) young woman. The Hebrew word for a married woman is ishah, a different word. So Hebrew makes a clear distinction between a virginal woman (almah) and a married woman (ishah).
Therefore, any claim that the Hebrew word for virgin in Isaiah 7:14 is translated wrongly because it means woman is misleading. That Hebrew word means an unmarried woman, which implies a virgin.
Secondly, the context of this passage support an interpretation of "virgin" and not "young woman." The Lord intended to give Ahaz a distinct and meaningful sign, according to Isaiah 7:11, and that sign would be a virgin bearing a child. If the Lord merely intended to provide a young woman bearing a child, this would not be a distinct and meaningful sign since a young woman bearing a child is a common occurrence. There is nothing unique about it, so it could not be recognized as a sign from God. On the other hand, a virgin giving birth is very unique and certainly a sign from God. So the only sensible interpretation of the verse requires the word be understood as "virgin.".
Finally, there is historical evidence to support the translation of "virgin.". In the Greek translation of the Old Testament (called the Septuagint), seventy Jewish rabbis translated the Hebrew word "almah" in Isaiah 7:14 into the Greek word parthenos which means "virgin" not "young woman." This gives further confirmation that the present translation is accurate.
Therefore, those who suggest that the word should be translated as "young woman" are either under the influence of false teaching or are consciously seeking to distort the truth of Scripture to undermine the Gospel. In either case, you should avoid such people: