Tag Archive for 'Bible'

Getting the Bible for the first time

Can you imagine really getting the Bible for the first time ever in your language? Can you imagine reading and memorizing the Bible and nothing but the Bible? Of course there are advantages to all of the books we read. I thank God for these teachers and authors regularly. But I wonder if I read the Bible enough even though I read it everyday. I read the Bible in 6-8 weeks once and I can’t remember if I read anything much of anything else during that time. It was great. It seems I could remember almost everything I read until much of it faded after a few weeks. It would be awfully hard for us to pull ourselves away from other books for a time and just read the Bible.

Some will say this is Bible worship. I say pooey on them. This is the Word of God that is “alive and active. It cuts more keenly than any two-edged sword, piercing so deeply that it divides soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it discriminates among the purposes and thoughts of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12 REB)

HT: Kathy, a Facebook friend

Quote of the Day: Sickness

The universal prevalence of sickness is one of the indirect evidences that the Bible is true. The Bible explains it. The Bible answers the questions about it which will arise in every inquiring mind. No other systems of religion can do this. They all fail here. They are silent. They are confounded. The Bible alone looks the subject in the face. It boldly proclaims the fact that man is a fallen creature, and with equal boldness proclaims a vast remedial system to meet his wants. I feel shut up to the conclusion that the Bible is from God. Christianity is a revelation from heaven. “Thy word is truth.” (John 17:17)

–J.C. Ryle, Sickness (Sermon)

Quick REB Editions Question

I have the edition that’s has a red cover and red on the outside of the pages and it’s like a pew Bible. I’m wondering if the one with the green cover is any different.

REB Bible

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)

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

Bible Contradictions

At the risk of offending some people, I think that to look for and believe there are contradictions in the Bible is because of unbelief. I would rather really look into it and find ways of defending the living and active document that God inspired than be suspicious.

I’ve also always believed that there are difficult portions to cause us to trust it by faith as opposed to judging it. Matt Perman has a different take on that idea and writes about the Bible’s “contradictions”.
A Few Thoughts on the Fast Company Article, “What the Bible Got Wrong”

HT: Justin Taylor

A thought on the new NIV

I used the NIV for a couple of decades, got tired of it, switched to the NRSV for three years and am now using the HCSB as my primary translation and NLT as my secondary, which is the first time I’ve had a secondary translation that’s always close by in addition to using many others for comparison. (These are the same as Rick Mansfield who is quoted below but this is just coincidence.)

So I don’t have much interest in the new NIV. It’s nearly the same as the 1984 NIV and the TNIV. I’m sure it has some improvements and compromises here and there. I’m neutral on the gender neutral (or gender accurate) issues and aside from that I liked every change I saw in the TNIV. But one thing that bugs me is they still have a need to stick to the 400 year old English with John 3:16. They are just scaredy cats when it comes to that verse–no two ways about it. I try to keep things positive here but this just irks me. Will that many people not buy this Bible because this well-known verse is finally changed to modern language?

Rick Mansfield explains it very well and I too look at this verse when a new translation comes out for the same reason.

I look at John 3:16 in a new version, too, but not for the same reason. I always hope that it corrects traditional wording and communicates to a modern audience what the words that the gospel writer originally intended. When William Tyndale translated οὕτως γὰρ ἠγάπησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν κόσμον as “For God so loveth the world…” (adapted by the KJV translators as “For God so loved the world…), his rendering was perfectly acceptable for his time. But for today’s audience, the meaning is wholly misunderstood.

People tend to read this verse as “God SOOOOOO loved the world…” but that’s not what it means. The word οὕτως, which is translated as the so in John 3:16 does not mean the understanding I described in the previous sentence. It means “referring to what precedes, in this manner, thus, so” (BDAG). Therefore, it’s not that the traditional rendering is incorrect. Tyndale intended his use of so to be understood in this regard, but today it’s almost always misread.

Every time a new revision of the NIV is released (and remember the 2011 edition is not the first revision; there have been two before it), I always hope that John 3:16 will be corrected from it’s potential to be misread. However, it remains untouched in this new version. Incidentally, the HCSB and NET Bible get it right, while the NLT actually reinforces the misreading!

Rick Mansfield, This Lamp

Here is the NIV (which even kept the antiquated word shall) and two that get it right:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. (HCSB)

For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. (NET)

At what point can people let go of this? The HCSB and NET are not freer, thought for thought, dynamic equivalent, or whatever term you’d like to use. They aren’t as formal (equivalent) as some, but they are more on the literal end, or between the two philosophies which I suppose would be median translations, but don’t quote me on that and just ignore it if it’s gibberish.

The same goes for softening certain words like servants vs. slaves, which I won’t go into but is another reason I like the HCSB. (We are slaves of Christ, bought at a price.)

Sorry for the negativity. I most likely won’t be posting about the new NIV again because of lack of interest, although it’s a great translation and is very interesting and exciting to those who are considering switching. I also don’t think this issue is leading people astray or changes any important doctrine. I would just like to get into the 21st century as far as the language our Bibles use. We are so blessed to have so many to choose from and nobody is making me read it, but I do have to hear it and read it when it’s quoted. Then take some deep breaths.

Book Review: Ryken’s Bible Handbook

Ryken's Bible HandbookRyken’s Bible Handbook by Leland Ryken, Philip Ryken, James Wilhoit

This book was provided as a review copy from Tyndale House Publishers. This review has been a long time coming and in the future I don’t ever intend on letting a review go on this long since the time I receive the book. I thank them for their generosity and patience.

This book is for teachers and students of the Bible and I think it would also be good for parents to use with their kids. Even though it’s over 600 pages long, it’s a smaller sized reference book and isn’t comprehensive or meant to be. It’s a concise handbook on how to read and study each book of the Bible. Anyone familiar with studying the Bible will benefit from this book.

Each chapter is devoted to a book of the Bible and includes things such as Author’s Perspective, Audience Perspective or Implied Audience, Special Features, Challenges Facing the Teacher or Reader of the Book, How to Meet the Challenges, Form, Genre, Structure, Outline, Timeline, Characters, How To Apply the Book, Key Verses etc. Don’t let that overwhelm you. Each part is concise and very useful and not every chapter has every one of those.

I especially like The Most Common Misconceptions of the Book since this is one thing I’ve been working on for a few years now whether it’s books, passages, verses, etc. I also like Perspectives which are quotes on the book at the end of each chapter by various authors and scholars and somewhere in each chapter there may be a quote dealing with a subject of the book. I also like various Did You Know? inserts which are short factual items related to the book that are helpfully shaded in gray (see below).

Also sprinkled throughout the book are one page articles on the major genres of the Bible and other topics anywhere from How We Got the Bible at the beginning to Apocalyptic Writing in the end. My one complaint is that these articles don’t look different enough from the rest of the book. It’s easy to keep reading and not always realize it’s the start of the article. The typeface is different but that’s the only thing that sets it apart other than the title. A border or shaded background would be helpful.

The very idea of a “Christless sermon” appalled Charles Spurgeon and in the same vein this handbook always looks for how OT books point to Christ but doesn’t press the point too far if it’s scant.

There has to be some interpretation in a book like this but as far as I can tell it’s very neutral. Since my theological outlook is the same as the authors’, I may not be able to discern that as clearly as others. In any case, I can’t imagine anyone not benefiting from this book.

Part of the reason this review took so long is because I read each chapter before reading each book of the Old Testament this year (in addition to having surgery right in the middle). This was very helpful. It gave me a “heads up” on things to look for without telling me how to interpret it or without it being a commentary that I would want to read after reading that book of the Bible.

This is the only book that I can remember reviewing where I really don’t have anything negative to say other than the formatting issue of the article inserts. I often even try to find something negative so that I don’t sound like a shill for the publishers that provide review copies for me. I like it that much.

Buy it from:

Product Information:

  • Hardcover: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (September 19, 2005)
  • ISBN-10: 0842384014
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.5 x 1.5 inches

Movies the year I was born

Do you know who won the Oscars that year? The academy award for the best movie went to My Fair Lady. The Oscar for best foreign movie that year went to Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. The top actor was Rex Harrison for his role as Professor Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady. The top actress was Julie Andrews for her role as Mary Poppins in Mary Poppins. The best director? George Cukor for My Fair Lady.


How far we’ve come in what we tolerate. Tolerance is not a good thing.

Ephesians 5:3-4 HCSB
But sexual immorality and any impurity or greed should not even be heard of among you, as is proper for saints. 4 And coarse and foolish talking or crude joking are not suitable, but rather giving thanks.

1 Peter 2:11
Dear friends, I urge you as aliens and temporary residents to abstain from fleshly desires that war against you.

Jas. 4:2-4
You desire and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. You do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and don’t receive because you ask wrongly, so that you may spend it on your desires for pleasure. 4 Adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? So whoever wants to be the world’s friend becomes God’s enemy.

Leviticus 19:18
Do not take revenge or bear a grudge against members of your community, but love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD.

Revenge is my weakness regarding movies. I can watch (I actually turn away) when there is inappropriate intimacy between females. I can’t understand why men would like that. If it happens in a TV show, it’s not entertaining. If it’s a part of a storyline, we won’t waste our time watching the show. So I know people can tolerate certain things in small amounts. When it comes to revenge, if it is the, or part of the plot in many movies, it brings bad thoughts and scenarios into my mind that can last for days or more. I need to avoid those at all costs.

I think the verses above are very instructive in what we choose for entertainment. Being holy isn’t a part-time job.

Comments welcome.

Also see:
Can I enjoy Art (Movies, Music, etc) produced by Unbelievers and glorify God?

Free Commentaries Online

Michael W. Halcomb writes about how College Press has put their entire commentary series online.
Free Commentaries: 25,000+ Pages

Also see:
IVP New Testament Commentary Series Online

The New CEB New Testament: Formatting

I won’t be doing a review of this, only commenting on how it looks.

I mentioned a while back how to get a free copy, which is no longer available.

I like the typeface a lot. It’s kind of a modified serif that’s closer to sans-serif than most. This is my second favorite that I’ve seen behind TNIV’s Thinline which is pretty much sans-serif. Most people like serif (like Times New Roman) for some strange reason so I’m in the minority there as I usually seem to be. It’s fairly large, a little large for me which is probably perfect for most people. The typeface is the same as in the PDF files, as mentioned below, as in this edition of the Bible.

This is like a medium sized paperback book with good paper, not thin “Bible paper”, and very black print (no red letter either!).

The text goes way out to the far edges of the page so there really isn’t any room for notes and it may be a little tough to read the inside margins.

I was happy to see it come with a bookmark. I love bookmarks and collect them.

Also, it has two color maps. What would a Bible be without maps?

This edition of the CEB Common English Bible New Testament is $5 and can be found at Amazon.com but I would strongly advise waiting for the whole Bible. There’s too much good stuff on who God is in the other part.

At first I thought they stole my splash image but I guess it’s a little different. Kidding. Besides, mine is coffee, which you can see below.

They have a nice web site where you can look up passages of the Bible, compare editions and translations, read PDF files of Genesis, Matthew and Luke among other things.

Common English Bible Web Site

Coffee Spash

Click for a larger one

Personal Quote

“Almost every time I study one of the books of the Bible I think it has become one of my favorites.”

Colossians is pretty special for me though, in addition to the Gospels, and Hebrews, and Ecclesiastes, and Revelation, and the prison letters and Proverbs. Next maybe Genesis? I like Titus and Philemon a lot too.

(For a while I’m going to try to post at least 6x a week. I can at least post a quote.)

Literal Gone Bad

Last night I was reading a verse and thinking how bad it would be if taken out of context and obeyed, which is what we do with all kinds of verses, some of them OK, some not.

Jeremiah 44:25
This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘You and your wives have said, “We will keep our promises to burn incense and pour out liquid offerings to the Queen of Heaven,” and you have proved by your actions that you meant it. So go ahead and carry out your promises and vows to her!’

Then today I read a post by Jason called Why Literal Interpretation of the Bible Can Be Bad which you can read if you want to be consternated.

Also see:
Quoting Scripture Out Of Context

Loving God and Scripture

The Verse/Scripture of the Day posts the last few days have been leading up to this post.

I can’t express how much I love Scripture and love getting to know God through it, getting to know people and myself, and how God loves and deals with us.

I’ve always believed Scripture to be inspired, infallible and inerrant. I can’t tell you what flavor of inerrancy (and don’t care), where I come at it from, and all those details I don’t want to be mired in that I’ve read about. After reading blogs for a while and reading all the other viewpoints, my beliefs are strengthened a whole lot more. I’m thankful for that but not glad for some of the people I’ve read about.

I believe God is the same person in the Old Testament as he is in the New Testament. When people say that God is different now in this New Covenant age (although God has dealt with atonement of sin differently after the cross and there is not one theocratic nation of Israel anymore etc.), I think, “Have you read Revelation?” God is always the same.

I believe the Bible is just as reliable in the beginning as it in the end and God is portrayed just as accurately all the way through.

And so as time goes on I become even more amazed at Scripture every time I read it. Sometimes I almost can’t stand it. Can I have any more zeal than I have now? To think that God had a collection of books written for us that we can completely trust and is all for our good and is living and active and always speaking to us. I can’t get over how amazing that is.

If I didn’t believe what I believe I don’t think I would have the same zeal. That will ruffle a lot of feathers and I’m not looking for debate. I’m just saying how thankful I am that God has worked it out that I have so much zeal and want to learn so much and grow as wise as I can without thinking I am. This isn’t something that would happen on my own. Unfortunately God partly used suffering to get me to this point. Without it I don’t think I would have taken refuge in God and the Bible like I have.

I’m taking a risk in writing this because some people won’t like it which is kind of strange to me but it’s the reality nowadays. I wanted to write something personal which I haven’t done in a long time and write something that may encourage others (and frustrate some).

Unpopular Verse of the Day

Exodus 15:3
“The Lord is a warrior; Yahweh is his name.”