Monthly Archive for November, 2010

Switching to the REB?

I just switched to the HCSB! I read the NIV for over 20 years. I got tired of it and found others I liked better. I used the NRSV for three years which I felt was more “accurate” and “literal” which were both extremely important to me. I got tired of the antiquated language. I didn’t know about the HCSB when I chose the NRSV. Either that or I didn’t pay attention to it unfortunately. I read the HCSB on and off for a year to really make sure I wanted to switch to it because I don’t want to switch often.

But now I’m really getting to like the REB. It can be difficult because some of the language is British in nature (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and it uses some big words. But they aren’t afraid to use a wide vocabulary to express the meaning of the languages. At the same time it’s not difficult to read and doesn’t contain as much Biblish as many others, and it’s unique.

One problem I’ve found with trying to find a translation that’s close to how I speak is I’m always coming across things where I think, “I would never say it like that.” Even the NLT has a little annoyance for me where they use the word for instead of because which isn’t how hardly any of us speak nowadays. We don’t say, “I’m going to the store, for I am hungry.” Although ironically, even though I’m waffling about my primary translation, there is no question that the NLT remains my secondary translation that I use in a specific way.

So how about reading a translation that doesn’t sound how you speak, but at the same time isn’t KJV tradition Biblish? That way I wouldn’t constantly be thinking, “I wouldn’t say it like that.” Our friend who used to blog, and uses the REB, ElShaddai Edwards made a great comment on Facebook. He said something to the effect of we might write differently than we speak, and we may want to read a Bible that’s in a somewhat different ‘register’ than we speak too. (This doesn’t include Esteban). I’m not saying the REB is anything at all like my writing, at third grade reading level in my estimation, I’m just saying.

In my estimation, the REB is the best literary translation of the popular ones out there but it’s not difficult to read except for some words that need to be looked up and it makes some passages exceptionally clear.

One thing I have to say about waffling though is, I wonder how much of it is just liking something that’s different. I don’t know if that’s the case here. So I will spend a lot of time with it like I did the HCSB. It may be a phase. I may end up preferring the HCSB with its correct rendering of John 3:16, slaves instead of servants where appropriate, because instead of for in many instances (like Matt 5:3ff), more familiar language etc. Can’t go wrong either way.

In looking at many of the memorized passages, I was very impressed this time around. I also read through Proverbs and had a great time with it.

Here are some passages that I thought I’d point out:

Romans 8:5-6 REB
Those who live on the level of the old nature have their outlook formed by it, and that spells death; but those who live on the level of the spirit have the spiritual outlook, and that is life and peace.

Romans 8:5-6 TNIV
Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind controlled by the sinful nature is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.

Read Louis’ post On Having a “Controlled Mind”.

From what I have read in commentaries, this verse in 2 Corinthians expresses the meaning much better or makes it easier for me to understand:

2 Cor 5:17 REB
For anyone united to Christ, there is a new creation: the old order has gone; a new order has already begun.

2 Cor 5:17 TNIV
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

The NIV says, “The old has gone, the new has come!” I think the TNIV is an improvement, but I always though this meant the old man has gone and the new has come. The REB is explicit about what has gone and come.

Those are just a couple of examples and I’m sure people could come up with examples where they think the REB falls short. I just wanted to post a couple of examples to illustrate what much of this translation does for me.

I’d love to hear thoughts on what was written above about reading a Bible that’s different than what you speak, which was always the opposite of my aim, but also very understandable (while expanding one’s vocabulary in the case of the REB) and not filled with Biblish that’s just a revision of what came before and before and before…

I leave you with my favorite passage that I’ve read so far. Compare it with any other modern translation.

2 Cor 4:7 REB
But we have only earthenware jars to hold this treasure, and this proves that such transcendent power does not come from us; it is God’s alone. We are hard pressed, but never cornered; bewildered, but never at our wits’ end; hunted, but never abandoned to our fate; struck down, but never killed. Wherever we go we carry with us in our body the death that Jesus died, so that in this body also the life that Jesus lives may be revealed.

Also see:
The Revised English Bible (Top Ten Bible Versions #6)

Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus

Come, thou long expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.

Born thy people to deliver,
born a child and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever,
now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit
rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all sufficient merit,
raise us to thy glorious throne.

I searched for a suitable video on Youtube and didn’t find one to my liking. Let’s just say I’m a picky former musician and don’t like certain religious things. I hope you appreciate the text as I did, especially those of you who celebrate Advent.

Verse of the Day: Proverbs 3:5-6

A popular passage translated by Old Testament scholar Bruce Waltke.

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and on your own understanding do not rely;
in all your ways desire his presence,
and he will make your paths straight and smooth.

I especially like the third line. I’m always trying to think of ways to think of God more and more throughout the day. The way my day is structured now it’s kind of built in, spreading out spiritual disciplines throughout the day. What I really need to do more of is desire his presence regarding the things I’m doing and thinking if that makes sense. Asking God about things, talking with him, wondering what his will is for various things, even joking with him every once in a long while.

I also like to do things like using a watch beep, using a screen saver with a Bible verse on it even though a screen saver isn’t really necessary since you can have the screen just turn off, using coffee mugs with Scripture on them, etc. That may be one good reason for those wall plaques but I just get used to seeing them. Are there other things you do?

Also see:
Praying Three Times a Day

Scripture Memory Review Tip

Because of medication, chronic fatigue, and whatever else, my memory has gone down a few notches over the last few years. This is extremely frustrating. When I’m reviewing memorized Scripture, I’m having a hard time with mistakes. I just have to accept this and find ways to deal with it.

One is to just spend more time reviewing. A few years ago I simply doubled my time reviewing.

Lately I decided that whenever I make a major mistake, I’ll meditate on that portion of the passage or verse. This may help me find a “hook”, but more importantly it gets me to meditate on Scripture and think about what that word or series of words that I messed up means to me. (Just kidding about the “to me” part.)

God will show His strength in weakness, cause me to learn to accept where He has me for now, realize I’ll never be anywhere near perfect, appreciate His providence and cause me to use the mind he’s given me to think of ways around these things.

Comments and suggestions welcome.

Quote of the Day: Jesus, The Cross and Love for God

There is an error to avoid, the danger of seeing the loving obedience of Christ as primarily and exclusively for the sake of man, when in fact, it was primarily out of love for God that He accepted the cross.

–Frederick S. Leahy, The Cross He Bore

Verse of the Day: God is Our Refuge

Proverbs 30:5 TNIV
“Every word of God is flawless;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.

How exactly do we take refuge in God? I believe the second part of this verse has to go with the first. So part of it is going to the Bible where His words are recorded. It’s good to know that everything God says, every part of His law, instruction, comfort, the Gospel, is flawless. And that God isn’t silent about His own words. The other part would be prayer and talking to God in addition to listening to Him. Is there any other part in taking refuge in God? I always feel like I’m missing something. Is there anything written on this subject you can point me to?

Verse of the Day: Violence

I’ve always hated the glorification of the mafia and using gratuitous violence, as in putting yourself in the place of the violent person, for entertainment.

Proverbs 3:31-32 NLT
Don’t envy violent people or copy their ways.
Such wicked people are detestable to the LORD,
but he offers his friendship to the godly.

Verse of the Day: Psalm 32:10 NIVs

Psalm 32:10 (NIV)
Many are the woes of the wicked,
but the LORD’s unfailing love
surrounds the one who trusts in him.

My wife mentioned that she’s memorizing this one. I might also. I hope you can ruminate on it for a bit.

Now to get a bit analytical I looked it up in the various iterations of the NIV and thought I would post them because it shows a progression (in reverse order) of the gender related changes and how they tried to make the singular more clear in the updated NIV.

Psalm 32:10 (TNIV)
Many are the woes of the wicked,
but the LORD’s unfailing love
surrounds those who trust in him.

Psalm 32:10 (NIV 1984)
Many are the woes of the wicked,
but the LORD’s unfailing love
surrounds the man who trusts in him.

Proverbs: Rebuke People; Don’t Rebuke People

I’m reading through Proverbs repeatedly and reading The Message this time.

Proverbs tells us to rebuke someone. Proverbs tells us not to rebuke someone. Ultimately we need to use discernment in deciding when to talk and when to be quiet. And reading Proverbs a lot helps. I like this wording.

Proverbs 9:8-9 The Message
So don’t waste your time on a scoffer;
all you’ll get for your pains is abuse.
But if you correct those who care about life,
that’s different–they’ll love you for it!
9 Save your breath for the wise–they’ll be wiser for it;
tell good people what you know–they’ll profit from it.

Around the Web

Quote of the Day: Knowing God Through the Bible

“We rise from the Bible …with a knowledge of the character of God. There is a real analogy here to our relation with an earthly friend. How do we come to know one another? Not all at once, but by years of observation of one another’s actions… So it is, somewhat, with the knowledge of God that we obtain from the Bible… by what we see we learn to know Him.”

–J. Gresham Machen, via Randy Alcorn on Facebook

HCSB, NLTSB, ESVSB and NIV Bible Resources

There has been a little bit of interest in the HCSB lately so I thought I’d remind people (I had forgotten myself) of the HCSB Bible Translation Web Sites blog post. I removed the bad links. There may be some new ones I’ve missed. If you know of any, let me know and I’ll add them.

There are quite a few links to the old This Lamp but they work.

Also on this blog you’ll find:
NLT Study Bible Reviews Roundup
ESV Study Bible Reviews Roundup

which I haven’t checked for dead links.

Near Emmaus has a post titled NIV Around the Blogosphere


These are things I would have put on the Suffering Christians blog which has been merged into this one. Maybe I can get more responses here.

Update 9/8/10: Video from Matt Chandler

A quote I like, if I can clean it up just a bit (meaning neater, not bad words!):

Anxiety isn’t really a war you win but a battle you fight.

And he goes on from there. This is very encouraging to me because I’ve been working a lot on worrying less.

Matt Chandler has another video where he talks about how he preaches on the theology of suffering once a year at the church he pastors. He said it’s not necessarily popular but it’s important for when it inevitably comes long. If anyone has a link, let me know.

What God Is Up to When Life Is Hard
at Between Two Worlds

Suffering Does Not Rob You Of Joy—Idolatry Does
by Tullian Tchividjian

I find that some Reformed people who may not have gone through chronic suffering themselves often have answers that are a little too neat, seeming to have an answer, and narrow, often focusing on one thing. But there are still things to be learned from the solid theology. Suffering seems to be something that’s brought up often which is a good thing not to shy away from because we all experience it to some degree or at least know people who do to a greater degree.

I’m looking forward to reading (after I buy it) Joni Eareckson Tada’s latest book on her theology of suffering. Often the people who suffer severely aren’t able to write books but she has so far and has a balanced perspective partly because of experience.

HT: Take Your Vitamin Z

Thankful for Encouragement

I’m so thankful for the encouragement for this blog. Some weren’t trying to encourage me and don’t know they’ve encouraged me. Most have been in person or private messages.

There have been times I didn’t know if it was worth it. Sometimes I’m just posting links and don’t have much to say.

One person said it’s a ministry. That boggles my mind. I never ever thought of it as a ministry. Some may not see it that way which is fine because I don’t! I don’t think I’ve ever said it, but my main ministry is prayer. If the blog helps anyone in any way that’s great too.

I mainly write about what I’m learning and just post some things I find along the way. I want to learn more from others than them from me.

Thank you for anyone who has encouraged me although many don’t know you have.

I also want to thank people who are praying for me because of all my difficulties. It really does make a difference. So many people have said they’re praying for me and I didn’t realize it.

I considered turning off comments for this posts because I’m not looking for that. I just want to say thanks and say how thankful I am with all the complaining I do regarding the various conditions I have. As difficult as things are I have a lot to be thankful for.

Short Article on Scripture Memorization

I like what this article says. It offers some things I didn’t cover.

Scripture Memorization at Bible Study Tools
Be careful of popups >:-/

It mentions a woman who used her memorized Scripture to make it through prison camp. In the back of my mind I think I think about how valuable this would be if I was blind or imprisoned. Maybe that’s paranoid.

There is a quote in the article:

What if I offered you one thousand dollars for every verse you could memorize in the next seven days? Do you think your attitude toward Scripture memory and your ability to memorize would improve? Any financial reward would be minimal when compared to the accumulating value of the treasure of God’s Word deposited within your mind.

If God’s instruction is worth more than any amount of money and sweeter than any food (Psalm 19:10), I would think more people would really want to have this “written on the tablet of their heart” (Proverbs 7:2-3). This isn’t to guilt people into memorizing Scripture. It’s just to say that this is the attitude that God is transforming us into having by renewing our mind (Romans 12:2) if we want it. So the result would be to want to memorize it (Proverbs 2:1-6). We may not have it right away and some may always struggle. We need to pray for God’s grace (2 Corinthians 12:9) to change us into wanting these things so bad they’re worth more than anything this world could offer and then as ‘side effect’ wanting to memorize them too.

Getting people to do things out of guilt is exactly the wrong way to go about it. It’s taking God out of the picture, other than wanting to please Him out of guilt, and doing it on our own out of fear. I believe it’s the same thing with being ‘accountable’ to someone. We should be accountable to God first! Use a partner for encouragement and prayer, not guilt. Maybe that’s for another post.

I would also say if one or two verses a week sounds daunting they do two verses a month. 20-25 verses (hopefully some within passages) a year is better than nothing and over a few years you’ll have something substantial and it will hopefully get easier.

Scripture Memorization at Bible Study Tools