Tag Archives: Christians

More Than Conquerors

This is the sermon from Sunday Night

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

More Than Conquerors

What a beautiful set of verses. I believe we all know Romans 8:28 well. I believe it is our pastor’s favorite verse. But this whole chapter is full of hope. It starts out screaming there is no condemnation in Christ. Then it moves on to talking about sonship and future glory then the promise that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.

So let’s look at how that promise plays out. I imagine everyone can think of a time when they had to wonder how in the world this could work out for good. Let’s start with Jacob. He lost his favorite son, the wife he loved died in childbirth and as he is trying to find away to get his family through a famine, the ruler in Egypt takes away another son and demands he sends his youngest son back. As Jacob is feeling hopeless he cries out, “You have deprived me of my children. Joseph is no more and Simeon is no more, and now you want to take Benjamin. Everything is against me!” [2]


Share

The Glow from the Clouds

I did a sermon on the sermon on the Sermon on the Mount a few weeks ago and In Matthew 5:14 (NIV) “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. I used an illustration that I thought went over pretty good.

This verse is talking about how Christians should be something that stands out and guides others to Christ. Jesus lives in us and we should reflect Him. People should see Jesus in us. It’s like when you are driving at night. You are in the middle of nowhere. You are lost, turned around, and you don’t know which way you need to go. You come to a stop sign. You look at all the choices of directions you can go. You have no idea which way to turn.

You look up into the sky and you can see a glow in the sky. It is the lights, from the city you are trying to make it to, reflecting off the clouds. You can follow the glow and get where you need to be. This light reflecting off the clouds has showed you what you need to know, to not be lost any more.

We should be those clouds! A lost person trying to figure out which way to turn should see Christ’s light reflecting off of us. We should be the light that shows the direction and stops them from being lost.


Share

God’s Love Letter

I’m currently reading through the NIV Application Commentary written by Gary M. Burge. On pages 83-84 where he is writing about the contemporary significance of John1:19-51, he talks about some test him and a colleague at Wheaton College ran. He footnotes an article from Christianity Today he wrote, but I’m going to quote from the NIVAC on John. Remember these are conservative Christian students who truly love Jesus and live a life that reflects that.

“We have been shocked at what we learned. Students from strong, conservative churches were sending us some of their best Christian eighteen-year-old students who did not know who came first, Abraham or Moses. They were not sure if Barnabas was in the Old Testament or the New Testament. When asked to put a list of major biblical books in proper order (such as Exodus, Psalms, Isaiah, Matthew, Romans), they failed miserably. When asked if Paul believed in the resurrection of the body, most said “No.” … “Recently one of my students told me that she was sure Jesus was baptized in the Dead Sea of Israel. Another thought that Paul was one of the twelve apostles.” He goes on to say they did not know of heroes of the faith like Luther, Augustine, or Wesley. Matters of doctrinal basis for their Christian Identity were beyond their grasp.

As I read this I remembered something that happened as I was teaching a youth class. I had a list from a post by Greg Stier called What if Jesus was on Twitter. It was several quick sentences in twitter fashion about things Jesus might say if he used twitter. I figured the youth would love it. As I read them off I noticed many confused faces. They did not know these bible stories. Go and check out the list these are basic bible stories that should stand out (such as Jesus clearing the temple, the disciples going fishing after Jesus’ death). They did not know them. I’m not blaming the church or the teachers because it’s our own responsibility to meditate on the word of God.

It isn’t just youth and young adults. I know many people that are strong Christians. There is plenty of fruit in their life to show it and you can see it in the way they care for others. Yet they have never read the whole bible. They have never even read the New Testament. So why are Christians not reading the bible? I was saved and baptized at age 14. I tried reading my bible and never got very far. It was hard to understand so I would give up. This happened over and over until I was in my early thirties. I then set a goal of getting through the bible in a year. It took a little over a year. I tried it again. It went a little quicker. Every time I read through the bible I pick up more and more and it gets easier and easier to understand.

Wayne Grudem explains the biblical reasons for this in his essay “The Perspicuity of Scripture ” in Themelios 34.3 especially section 2.3. God expects us to have put forth the effort to read the bible (Ezra 7:10) and have the willingness to obey it. (James 1:22-25) Then through the Holy Spirit (Psalm 119:18, 27, 34, 73) we will start to understand what we are reading.

So what do we do about this lack of bible reading? We must show Christians that the bible is fun to read, pastor’s need to teach that God expects us to spend time meditating on His Word, and we should exhort each other to spend time in scripture.. The bible is God’s love letter to us. Would you not read a love letter from the one you truly loved? Then you should read the love letters from the one who loved you so much that he saved you through the death and resurrection of His Son.

G.M. Burge, “The Greatest Story Never Read: Recovering Biblical Literacy in the Church,” Christianity Today 43 (Aug., 1999), 45-50
Wayne Grudem, “The Perspicuity of Scripture,” Themelios 34:3 p 288-308
Another post about this problem that contains a lot of statistics can be located at http://www.theologicalstudies.org/page/page/1573625.htm


Share

The History of the English Bible: Bibliography

I’m going to include a list of resources I used and felt were helpful in doing this series.

The book The journey from Texts to Translations: The Orgin and Development of the Bible was most helpful and where most of the information for this series came from.

The Journey from Texts to Translations: The Orgin and Development of the Bible/ Paul D. Wegner/Baker/2004/ISBN: 0801027993

Some information also came from:

The King James Controversy: Can You Trust Modern translations/James R. White/ Bethany House/2009/ISBN:0764206052

I also relied on notes from my Hermeneutics class at Boyce College

To see the accusations against modern translations got to AV1611.com’s KJV Controversy page. I just ask that you research the things that they claim

Bible page pictures came from newtestamentchurch.org

openscriptures.org has the manuscript comparator
which allows you to see the differences in the New Testament manuscripts.

bible-researcher.com has many articles on scripture and very detailed descriptions of modern bible translations click on the 20th and 21st century versions to read opinions on the modern translations.

Bible Gateway and Bible study tools have bibles online to read and compare.

Links for:

RSV and NRSV
RSV preface
NRSV preface
National Council of Churches
NRSV website
NRSV online bible browser
RSV online bible browser

NASB
Lockman Foundation

The Living Bible
The Living Bible at Google books

NIV, NIRV, TNIV
BiblicaNKJV
Thomas Nelson publishers of the NKJV

NCV
World Bible Translation Center

NLT
Tyndale House publishers of the NLT
NLT website

The Message
Nav Press publishers of the Message

HCSB
Broadman and Holman publishers of the HCSB
HCSB websit

NET
bible.org
NET bible page

Koinonia is a blog hosted by Zondervan Academics and hasmany posts written by translators about translating passages.
Better Bibles blog is a blog contributed to by several translators and it agan discusses ways things were and are translated.

The journey from Texts to Translations: The Orgin and Development of the Bible

Share

The History of the English Bible Part 27: NET (2005)

The New English Translation came about because of a copyright problem ran into by the ministry organization bible.org. They started in 1993  with the mission of making free bible study resources. In 1995 they realized that eventually if they continued making their resources available on one website they would violate the copyright of the bible versions they were using. So what do you do? They commissioned their own bible translation. A team of more than 25 scholars worked on the translation. They used the best available Hebrew, Greek, And Aramic texts. The thing that makes me mention them though is their translator notes. They have 60,932 translation notes in their bible. These notes show you the textual basis and why they used certain words.

This bible went through a nine year review that they called beta testing. As it was being worked on, it was available online for review and suggestions.

The first Beta edition was available in 1998 and a second edition became available in 2003. In 2005 the first edition of the NET was released. This bible is available online at www.bible.org plus a much larger description is available their also.

John 3:16 NET

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.

The Lord’s Prayer from the NET Bible (Matthew 6:9-13)

So pray this way:

Our Father in heaven,may your name be honored, may your kingdom come,
may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we ourselves have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.


Share

The History of the English Bible Part 26: HCSB (2004)

In 1998 the people at Broadman and Holman publishers were seeking to buy the copyright of an already existing conservative translation for use in their publishing projects. Broadman and Holman is the trade books division of Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. After problems getting the copyrights they needed, they contacted Arthur Farstad, a professor at Dallas Theological Seminary and former general edition for the NKJV. They asked him to do a fresh translation based on the Nestle-Aland text. Farstad passed away five months after beginning the project. They asked Edwin Blum, another professor at Dallas Theological Seminary to take over general editorship.

The HCSB is a literal translation that calls itself “Optimal Equivalence”. Basically they translated as literal as possible except where that would have affected clarity. When understanding would be afeected they translated for clarity and placed the literal translation in a footnote. On gender related Issues they went with the Colorado springs guidelines for gender related language. Traditional theology terms have been retained (justification, sanctification, etc.). Nouns and pronouns refering to divinity are capitalized. They used brackets to indicate words added for English understanding.

John 3:16 HCSB

“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.

The Lord’s Prayer from the HCSB (Matthew 6:9-13)

“Therefore, you should pray like this:

Our Father in heaven,

Your name be honored as holy.

Your kingdom come.

Your will be done

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And do not bring us into temptation,

but deliver us from the evil one.

[For Yours is the kingdom and the power

and the glory forever. Amen.]


Share

The History of the English Bible Part 25: The Message (2002)

Eugene Peterson as a scholar and pastor often found himself translating the scripture into common and easy to understand language for his congregation. He decide a paraphrase needed to be done based on the original Greek and Hebrew. In 1993 he published the Message New Testament and in 1997 the Old Testament wisdom books were available.

The Message like The Living Bible is a paraphrase and therefore good for devotional reading but not for serious study. After Peterson finished working from the Greek and Hebrew he had several scholars critique his work. The message tries to bring the bible to a new and vivid life.

The Message

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.

The Lord’s Prayer from the Message ()

“The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this:

Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right;
Do what’s best— as above, so below.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You’re in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You’re ablaze in beauty!
Yes. Yes. Yes.


Share

History of the English Bible Part 24: NLT (1996)

In 1989 the publisher’s of The Living Bible decided a new and fresh revision of The Living Bible was needed. The result of this was the 1996 publication of the New Living Translation. While this is a revision of The Living Bible, the translators took a completely different approach to the process. Instead of paraphrasing they started with the Original languages and did a dynamic equivalence translation.  That is they did a thought for thought translation and while it is a lot freer than some translations it is not a paraphrase.  There were 90 scholars working over a 7 year period on translating and reviewing this bible.

John 3:16 NLT

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

The Lord’s Prayer from the NLT (Matthew 6:9-13)

Pray like this: Our Father in heaven,
may your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.
Give us today the food we need,
and forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation,
but rescue us from the evil one.


Share

The History of the English Bible Part 23: NCV (1987)

The New Century Version is a dynamic equivalence translation that began in 1973. It was translated by the World Bible Translation Center, which was formed by people associated with the Churches of Christ. Originally the New Testament was published in 1978 as the (EVD) English Version for the Deaf using a 3rd grade vocabulary. In 1980 it was published as the (ERV) Easy to Read Version. In 1983 it was revised and issued as the (IRV) International Children’s Version New Testament. Finally in 1984 it was released as the (NCV) The Word: New Century Version. The complete bible was published under the NCV name in 1987 and revised to its current version in 1991.

NCV

“God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son so that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but have eternal life.

The Lord’s Prayer from the NCV (Matthew 6:9-13)

So when you pray, you should pray like this:
‘Our Father in heaven,
may your name always be kept holy.
10 May your kingdom come
and what you want be done,
here on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us the food we need for each day.
12 Forgive us for our sins,
just as we have forgiven those who sinned against us.
13 And do not cause us to be tempted,
but save us from the Evil One.’ [The kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours forever. Amen.][a]


Share

The History of the English Bible Part 22: NKJV (1982)

Sam Moore president of Thomas Nelson Corporation believed that most Americans preferred the KJV. So he proposed a revision of it with the goal of modernizing the language without compromising the text or translation principles. The publishers claim it as the fifth major revision of the KJV. They get this number by counting the revisions of 1629, 1638, 1762, 1769 and ignoring the RV,ASV, RSV, NASB, and KJII.

More than 130 scholars worked on this translation. Publishers say the entire text of the original KJV is included. That being said the apocrypha is not available in this version as it was in the KJV 1611.

Words not in original languages but required in English are set off with italics. Each verse is a separate paragraph and pronouns referring to divinity are capitalzed. They used newer text critical manuscripts especially in the New testament for this translation. Any verses different from the KJV are noted in footnotes.

While the purpose of this bible was to use modern language there are still several outdated words used such as; hew down trees (Jeremiah 6:6), winebibber (Matthew 11:19, Luke 7:34, Proverbs 23:20), eventide (Isaiah 17:14), Matrix of my mother (Isaiah 49:1), dandled (Isaiah 66:12), offscouring (Lamentations 3:45, 1 Corinthians 4:13) paramours (Ezekiel 23:20) pinions (Job 39:13).

John 3:16 NKJV

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

The Lord’s Prayer from the NKJV (Matthew 6:9-13)

In this manner, therefore, pray:

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.


Share

The History of the English Bible Part 21: NIV (1978)

Due to dissatisfaction with existing bible translations a committee on bible translation met in 1965. This committee consisted of 15 scholars from different denominations. They met to decide on making a new modern speech translation. In 1967 the International Bible Society (now called the Biblica) agreed to financially sponsor the translation, which would be called (NIV) the New International Version.

This version had 110 evangelical scholars from several English speaking countries working on the translation. The reason for this was to make sure the English used would be modern and internationally recognized. There were 20 teams of translators each team consisted of at least a translator, a cotranslator, 2 consultants, and an English stylist. Once the teams finished their work it was submitted to an editorial committee. Once they finished their work it went to a general committee of critics who would evaluate it. Next a 15 member editorial committee reviewed and revised it before it went to literary consultants. In 1973 the New Testament was published and in 1978 the entire bible was published.
There is very little denominational bias in this translation because 34 denominations were involved in translating. Some of them included; Anglican, Assemblies of God, Baptist, Brethren, Christian Reformed, Church of Christ, Episcopalian, Evangelical Free Church, Lutheran, Mennonite, Methodist, Nazarene, Presbyterian, and Wesleyan Methodist.
This translation was middle ground of word for word and thought for thought. It does lean toward thought for thought in many spots for clarity. Hebrew Idioms were changed for easier understanding, such as “To lift up the voice and weep” was changed to weep aloud.
There are more than 3,350 footnotes indicating textual variances, other translations, parallel scripture quotes and explanatory notes.


Share

History of the English Bible Part 20: The Living Bible (1971)

Kenneth Taylor would read to his ten children from the KJV and they would not be able to understand him. He started paraphrasing into his own words and decided others would benefit if there was a bible written as a paraphrase. In 1956 he used the time in his daily commute on a train to start paraphrasing the ASV.

In 1962 he published The Living Letters. In 1965 he published The Living Prophecies and in 1966 he published The Living Gospels. By 1967 He had the entire New Testament and Psalms published. In 1968 he published The Living Lessons of Life and Love. In 1971 the entire Bible was published as The Living Bible.

Remember that this is a paraphrase and therefore it is good for devotional reading but not serious study as in its very nature it is the paraphraser’s words and not the original author’s words. Taylor stated that his goal was to make the bible easier to understand. The early editions of The Living Bible, while being aimed at children had some very strong and profane language in places. This was taken out in later editions. This bible led to the NLT which I will talk about later.

John 3:16 The Living Bible

For god loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that anyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

The Lord’s Prayer from The Living Bible (Matthew 6:9-13)

“Pray along these lines: ‘Our Father in heaven, we honor your holy name. We ask that your kingdom will come now. May your will be done here on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us our food again today, as usual, and forgive us our sins, just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us. Don’t bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the Evil One. Amen.’


Share

The History of the English Bible Part 19: NASB (1971) revised 1995

In 1959 the Lockman Foundation decided to do a revision of the ASV of 1901. They proposed to use advances in textual criticism and modern English to make an up to date revision. They had 58 translators from several denominations participate. Some of the denominations included were Presbyterian, Methodist, Southern Baptist, Church of Christ, Nazarene, American Baptist, Fundamentalist, Conservative Baptist, Free Methodist, Congregational, Disciples of Christ, Evangelical Free, Independent Baptist, Independent Mennonite, Assembly of God, North American Baptist.

Their stated purpose was to adhere as close to the original languages and scripture while making a translation as readable as possible and current with English standards. Some of the standards they set were to use you instead of thou except when addressing divinity as in prayers. This decision was reversed during the 1995 revision of the NASB. They placed words that were needed for understanding and grammar purposes, but not in the Greek or Hebrew text in italics. Each verse was its own paragraph and verses that started a new paragraph had a bold verse number next to them. The NASB starts verses lowercase unless they start a sentence. To distinguish chapters, the first word of all chapters was in all capital letters. They also capitalized pronouns that were referring to divinity. It used quotation marks and Old Testament quotes in the New Testament were distinguished by a smaller font in all capital letters. The Lockman Foundation also decided to use the newer critical text for their translation instead of the text used for the ASV.

To keep from offending their conservative readers, controversial translation were avoided (such as “maiden” for “virgin” in Isaiah 7:14, and “only begotten” when referring to Jesus). One criticism thrown as this bible upon its publication was its translation shows a premillenial preference in several verses. (Isaiah 2:2, Galatians 6:16, Mark 13:29, Mark 13:30, Luke 21:32, Micah 4:1, Revelation 5:10, Revelation 20:4)

John 3:16 NASB 1971

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.

John3:16 NASB 1995

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

The Lord’s Prayer from the NASB 1971 (Matthew 6:9-13)

“Pray, then, in this way:
‘Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
‘Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
‘Give us this day our daily bread.
‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.]’

The Lord’s Prayer from the NASB 1995 (Matthew 6:9-13)

Pray, then, in this way:
‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.]’


Share

The History of the English Bible Part 18: NWT (1961)

I do not recommend this bible. This is the only bible I intend to state an opinion so strongly, but I wanted to make sure that my writing on this bible is not seen as an endorsement. I will be leaving out several translations as this series would go on forever if I wrote on all of them. I mention this only because someone may show up at your doorstep wanting you to read this bible.

The New World Translation is the bible translated and endorsed by the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The New Testament was published in 1950 and the rest of the bible was published in 1961 by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. This cult was founded by Charles t. Russell in 1918 and became known as Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1931. It has approximately 2 million followers today.

The NWT was written to reflect the doctrine of The Jehovah Witnesses. They do not believe that Jesus is truly God John 1:1 demonstrates this

In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god. [emphasis mine]

Titus 2:13 (while we wait for the happy hope and glorious manifestation of the great God and of [the] Savior of us, Christ Jesus), gives the appearance of 2 people

Colossians 1:16-17 (because by means of him all [other] things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All [other] things have been created through him and for him.) adds other in brackets.

John 3:16 from the NWT

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.

The Lord’s Prayer from the NWT (Matthew 6:9-13)

“YOU must pray, then, this way:

“‘Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified.  Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth. Give us today our bread for this day;  and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the wicked one.’


Share

The History of the English Bible Part 17: RSV (1952) NRSV (1989)

I’m going to group the Revised Standard Version and the New Revised Standard Version together since they are both revisions of the ASV done by the same organization. The International Council of Religious Education acquired the copyright of the ASV in 1928. This organization represented 45 denominations and they set up a committee to see if a revision should be done and if it was possible.

While the committee did feel the need for a revision, the Great Depression kept that from happening. In 1937 Money finally became available and 32 scholars led by Luther Weigel of Yale Divinity School were selected. These men are said to have worked free of charge.

The New Testament was published in 1946 and the entire bible in 1952. In 1957 the Apocrypha was added for the Roman Catholic Church. In 1971 a second edition was published that reinserted passages that had been left out of the first edition. The longer ending of Mark (Mark 16:9-20) and the woman caught in adultery from John 7:35-8:11

The main change from the ASV to the RSV was the modern language usage. For example speaketh was replaced by speaks and seeth replaced by sees. Plus the translators were not restricted to one English word for one given Greek or Hebrew word. They used you for Jesus’ Earthly life and Thou after the resurrection. Critics complained that this denied Jesus’ divinity on Earth.

The translators also took bible language such as “and it came to pass” out. Quotation marks were introduced and poetic passages were printed in a way that highlighted their structure. This translation is a literal translation that tries to stay with a word for word philosophy.

Besides for being criticized on the use of you and thou, this bible was accused of denying the virgin birth in Isaiah 7:14. (The more accurate translation here is young maiden) As I stated in an earlier post if they were trying to deny the virgin birth they would have to have taken it out of Luke 1:27? also. Another criticism thrown at it was in John 3:16 they translated “only Son” instead of “only Begotten Son”.

In 1974 the National Council of Churches proposed that a complete revision be done. A committee of 30 men and women from Protestant, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Jewish groups was formed for the purpose of revising. This committee is still in existence today all though some members have been replaced due to deaths and resignations. The New Revised Standard Version was published in 1989 with the RSV staying in print until 1995. That being said the RSV is still in print.

The policy of the revisers was to be “as literal as possible and as free as necessary”. They also decided to go with a gender neutral language. What this means is that God and Christ were still referred to with masculine pronouns, but words such as “mankind” would be changed to “all people” (John 12:32) Thees and thous were not used when addressing God. They decided to use brackets instead of footnotes to show alternative readings. (the RSV used footnotes.) The Comma Johanneum was given a footnote in this version while it was not even mentioned in the RSV. Lastly, some words (such as sluggard to lazybones) were changed to give them a more modern sound.

John 3:16 from RSV

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

The Lord’s Prayer from the RSV (Matthew 6:9-13)

Pray then like this: Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our debts,
As we also have forgiven our debtors;
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.

John 3:16 from the NRSV

‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

The Lord’s Prayer from the RSV (Matthew 6:9-13)

‘Pray then in this way:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not bring us to the time of trial,
but rescue us from the evil one.


Share

The History of the English Bible Part 16: Translation Types

Before we move on to modern versions of the bible, let’s look at the types of translations and the different translation philosophies. You can have a translation, a revision, or a paraphrase. I’m going to include a definition of each with a list of some of the bibles that fall into each category.

Translation = A translation uses the original Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic texts as the basis for rendering the languages into English. Some examples of this would be NIV, NET, HCSB.

Revision = A revision takes a previous translation and updates the rendering to reflect contemporary language and scholarly research. (A revision may also look at original languages, but it compares it with a previous version.) Examples are the KJV, ASV, RSV, ESV,TNIV.

Paraphrase = A paraphrase takes the text and adapts the wording to contemporary jargon and interpretation of what the scripture says. Examples are The Living Bible and The Message.

There are pros and cons to each of these. A translation, not looking at previous version may state the text in a way that is unfamiliar to the reader. A revision may change words that some feel hold a special reverence. An example of this would be thine and thy. A paraphrase is the translator taking the text and putting it in his own words. There is always the danger of the translator giving an interpretation that goes with his opinions, but does not show that the verse could be interpreted in other ways.

On the flip end of these negatives, a fresh translation in contemporary language may help a verse that is hard to understand due to Hebrew Idioms easier for the modern reader to grasp. (An idiom is basically a figure of speech such as…”It’s raining cat’s and dogs.) A revision allows a favorite version to be updated in language that is more common today. A paraphrase makes reading really easy, as the text will read like a modern day story with hard to understand text stated in a way that makes it easy to understand.

There are basically two types of translation philosophies with most translations falling somewhere in the middle.

Formal Equivalence = renders text word – for – word (also called literal)

Dynamic Equivalence = renders text thought – for – thought

The good thing about formal equivalence is that it uses one English word for each word in another language. It also uses the same English word each time the same Greek word comes up. It will put the verse as it is without interpreting it. This makes this type of translation great for word studies. The negative is it often creates stilted language, with odd sentence structure to what we normally use.

Dynamic Equivalence makes the text really easy to understand and easy to read. The negative to this is that for serious study some words may not be used the same everywhere and some times thought for thought can lead to interpretation instead of translation.

While many bibles claim to be literal, it is impossible for a translation to be 100% literal word for word. 


Share

The History of the Bible Part 15: The Controversy & Textual Criticism

Isaiah (Dead Sea Scroll)

We are ready to move on and discuss some of the modern translations. I’m going to discuss a little on some of the major translations that you may hear of or see in a bookstore. This will not cover them all, but all bibles have an article in the front that describes their translation philosophy. I’m also not going in depth on any of these subjects but at the end of this series I will recommend some books that do.I’m going to group a lot in this category today, but there is a lot of misinformation and fear mongering out there with bible translations. First I want to say just because someone says something and they have the title Dr. in front of their name does not mean that what they say is the gospel. All Dr. means is that they received a piece of paper saying that they studied at a certain institution. They still have their own beliefs and opinions which may or may not be right.

First I want to look at the question. Why does my modern translation not say the same thing as the KJV? If you check the right websites or even published books you will quickly be informed that it is because of a satanic conspiracy to remove the fundamental doctrines required for salvation from the bible. You may also find out that it is because of false religions like Gnosticism and their corrupt texts being found and used for bibles. If you believe any of these, I’m not going to try and change your mind. I will say that with a little research you can see just how untrue some of these accusations are.

For example if the newer translations are trying to remove the virgin birth from Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:25, why would they have left it in at Luke 1:27? Logic tells us that they were trying to be truthful to what the text says and not trying to change anything. This can also be said with the many occurrences of where it is claimed that new translations are trying to remove the deity of Christ by only referring to Him as Jesus. Again if this was the case they would never refer to Him as the Christ, which they do and they would have to remove several verses to help them support an incorrect doctrine, which they don’t. Most modern translations also show alternative readings in the footnotes, which they would not do if they were trying to hide something.


Share

The History of the English Bible Part 14: RV (1885) ASV (1901)

ASV 1901 title page

In 1870 Dr. Samuel Wilberforce, bishop of Winchester proposed a revision of the Authorized Version as the King James had come to be called. A resolution was passed and 16 scholars were appointed to supervise the translation. 54 translators were chosen among a mix of British and American scholars. Many of these were well known and still well known and read today. It was hoped by having two American committees one version could be made for both England and America. This didn’t happen because the British did not want to remove the archaic language and the Americans did not like the connotations of the word ghost, choosing spirit instead.

The RV did not do as well as the AV due to strict adherence to the rule that there could be only one English word for each Greek or Hebrew word. This helps in use of a concordance but leads to odd and stilted English. Charles Spurgeon responded to this version by saying it was “Strong in Greek, weak in English.”

The Americans working on the RV agreed not to make their own version for 14 years. When the time was up, Thomas Nelson published the ASV in 1901. Some of the words the ASV changed from the KJV were using Jehovah for God and LORD, holy spirit for holy ghost, hades for hell and grave, for pit or hell they used sheol.

The Presbyterian churches immediately adopted it for usage but it never caught on like the KJV. One reason for this is it did not go so far as to change English into modern English. another reason is that while it used newer manuscripts for it’s text, textual criticism was not what it is today. Some of the newer manuscripts available to the ASV revisers that were not previously available were Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Alexandrius.

John 3:16 RV

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.

The Lord’s Prayer from the RV  Matthew 6:9-13

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
(Mat 6:9-13)

John 3:16 ASV

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.

The Lord’s Prayer from the ASV  Matthew 6:9-13

After this manner therefore pray ye. Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.


Share

The History of the English Bible Part 13:King James Bible of 1611

KJV 1611 title page

Elizabeth I died and King James I took throne in 1603. The Puritans gave a petition of 1000 signatures to King James stating grievances against the Church of England. The Hampton Court Conference occurred in 1604 to discuss these issues. King James had no special love for the Puritans due to some political problems he had had with them, but he also was not pleased with some of the notes in the Geneva bible and so he honored their request for a new authorized bible with no marginal notes.

Some of the notes he had a problem with were Exodus 1:19 talking about the midwives lying to pharaoh, “Their disobedience in this was lawful, but their deception is evil.”(Geneva Bible notes Exodus 1:19) James felt this was telling people it was okay to disobey the king. The notes on 2 Kings 9:33 Talking about throwing Jezebel down form the tower, “This he did by the moving of the Spirit of God, that her blood would be shed, who had shed the blood of innocents, to be a spectacle and example of God’s judgment for all tyrants.” (Geneva Bible notes 2 Kings 9:33) James felt this was promoting violence against royalty. So the idea of having a bible that removed these notes was a good idea to King James.

The rules for translation set by the king and the conference were that it would be produced by university scholars,reviewed by the bishops, ratified by the king, and it would contain no marginal notes. the translator’s stated their goal was to “make out of many good translations, one principal one.” They used the Bishop bible as the basis but they examined all the English versions, the original languages and several foreign versions such as Luther’s Germany version, French versions and Latin versions. They also looked at the Septuagint (Greek OT), The Targum (Aramic OT) and The Syriac Peshitta.

There were 54 men appointed by the king to translate although only 44 were listed. They were divided into 6 panels, 2 in Oxford, 2 in Cambridge, and 2 in Westminster. Once the panels were done translating, the manuscripts were reviewed by committees of 2 people from each panel for a total of twelve reviewers. To prevent language from becoming to stilted they decided that different words could be used for the same Greek or Hebrew words. This was later revised but some still remains in the KJV today. Words that needed to be included to make the English understandable but were not in original languages were to be noted by italics. Biblical names were to correspond to common names but did not have to be standardized such as Elijah in the OT and Elias in NT. Congregational words were to be retained such as church and baptism. There were to be no marginal notes unless they were required to explain Greek or Hebrew words. They also chose to maintain  chapter and verse separations and add headings. The last stipulation was that specialists could be called for assistance in their field of expertise. This is why the language of the KJV is so beautiful and poetically flowing. They were not afraid to ask Literary experts to help.

With only about 25 manuscripts to use they set to work and completed the translation in about 5 years. They did include the apocrypha but separated it from the canonical books by placing it between the OT and NT. The KJV went through several revisions to modernize language spellings and fix printer errors. In 1769 Dr. Benjamin Blayney, regius professor of Hebrew at Oxford revised the AV with modifications to weights, measures, and coins. It is estimated that the Oxford standard edition as it is known today is different in 75,000 places from the original KJV 1611. Most of these are changes in spellings and measures. This Oxford standard edition is what you have in your hands today.

John 3:16 KJV 1611

For God so loued ye world, that he gaue his only begotten Sonne: that whosoeuer beleeueth in him, should not perish, but haue euerlasting life.

John 3:16 KJV OSE

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Lord’s Prayer KJV 1611 Matthew 6:9-13

After this maner therefore pray yee: Our father which art in heauen, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdome come. Thy will be done, in earth, as it is in heauen. Giue vs this day our daily bread. And forgiue vs our debts, as we forgiue our debters. And lead vs not into temptation, but deliuer vs from euill: For thine is the kingdome, and the power, and the glory, for euer, Amen.

Lord’s Prayer KJV OSE Matthew 6:9-13

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

KJV of 1611 (Click to enlarge)


Share

The History of the English Bible Part 12:Douay-Rheims Bible (1582-1610)

Rheims NT 1582

The Roman Catholic Church being faced with the threat of the growing number of protestants and easily available protestant written English bibles realized that they had to publish an English bible that supported their doctrine. If they didn’t their congregations would be reading the Geneva bible with it’s Calvinistic notes and anti-Catholic commentary. William Allen, a devout Roman Catholic established an English College in Douay, France in 1568. Due to his unpopularity after supporting a failed attempt by Spain to conquer England and covert it back to Roman Catholicism, he moved the school to Rheims, France in 1578. By 1593 he was able to move back to Douay.

While in Rheims an instructor at his school named Gregory Martin started translating the Vulgate into English. He completed and published the New Testament in 1582. Martin died in 1584 so Allen and another scholar Richard Bristow finished the Old Testament and published it in 1610. It was known as the Douay-Rheims Bible because it was began in Rheims and completed in Douay.

This translation was not from original Greek or Hebrew texts because the Catholics believed the Vulgate held higher inspired status than the original languages. The preface of this bible states that it was made to refute “false translations” by Protestants. The Apocrypha was included and was mixed in with the canonical books. The text was translated in a way that supported Roman Catholic doctrine (see Lord’s prayer below for example) and it contained marginal notes to support RCC doctrine.

John 3:16 Douay-Rheims Bible (1899 edition)

For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son: that whosoever believeth in him may not perish, but may have life everlasting.

The Lord’s Prayer from Douay-Rheims Bible (1610 edition) Matthew 6:9-13

ovr Father which art in heauen, sanctified be thy name. Let thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heauen, in earth also. Giue vs to day our supersubstantial bread. And forgiue vs our dettes, as we also forgiue our detters. And leade vs not into tentation. But deliuer vs from euil. Amen.

Click to enlarge and notice commentary


Share

The History of the English Bible Part 11: The Bishop Bible (1568)

Bishop Bible 1569 edition

The bishops of the churches in England were not willing to give up their Great Bibles for the superior Geneva translation due to the Calvinistic notes. In 1563 Matthew Parker, Achbishop of of Canterbury began overseeing a revision of the Great Bible. The bishops were invited to have a part in the work. They were advised to not add any bitter notes. This work was completed in 1568 . The Bishop Bible was a safe version for public reading and contained clear English but it was not as fluid as the Geneva Bible and never gained the same popularity.

John 3:16 from The Bishop Bible

For God so loued the worlde, that he gaue his only begotten sonne, that whosoeuer beleueth in hym, shoulde not perishe, but haue euerlastyng lyfe.

The Lord’s Prayer from the Bishop Bible Matthew 6:9-13

After this maner therfore pray ye. O our father, which art in heauen, halowed be thy name. Let thy kyngdome come. Thy wyll be done, as well in earth, as it is in heauen. Geue vs this day our dayly breade. And forgeue vs our dettes, as we forgeue our detters. And leade vs not into temptation, but delyuer vs from euyll. For thyne is the kyngdome, and the power, and the glory, for euer. Amen.

page from Bishop Bible


Share

The History of the Bible Part 10: The Geneva Bible (1560)

Cover of Geneva Bible (1560)

In 1543 the Parliament passed a law forbidding the lower classes from reading the

King Edward VI (reign 1547-1553)

Tyndale bible. King Henry VIII back to RCC added that no man or woman was to receive, have, take, or keep Tyndale or Coverdale’s New Testament. The reformation bibles were being ceremoniously burnt in England. The Great Bible probably because of its large and inconvenient size for personal use was the only English bible being allowed in the churches. Henry VIII died in 1547 and Edward VI took the throne and reversed the trend of restricting bibles. During Edward’s seven year reign many editions of Tyndale, Matthew, Coverdale and the Great Bible were reprinted.

In 1553 Queen Mary Tudor also known as Bloody Mary came to throne and

Queen Mary Tudor (reign 1553-1558)

persecution of protestants resumed. The Great Bible again being the only English bible to remain in English churches.  Queen Mary died in 1558 and Queen Elizabeth I took the throne reversing the Pro-Roman Catholic policies.

During the reign of Mary Tudor, William Whittingham an instructor at All Souls College in Oxford and relative of John Calvin produced an English version of the New Testament in 1557. He got help from other scholars and took on a revision of the entire bible. This revision became known as the Geneva Bible and was published in 1560. It contained a dedication to Queen Elizabeth I.

The scholars working with Whittingham did a through revision of the great bible paying particular attention to the books that Tyndale did not translate. Since they had never been translated straight from Hebrew, some of the unclear English was due to Hebrew Idioms. The apocrypha was included but was separated with inscription saying these were not of the same authority. This bible was also the first with numbered verses. The Geneva Bible contained many controversial marginal notes. The notes supported a clearly Calvinistic doctrine and also contained anti Roman Catholic sentiments.

This is the bible that the Pilgrims brought to America on the Mayflower.

John 3:16 The Geneva Bible

For God so loued the worlde, that hee hath giuen his onely begotten Sonne, that whosoeuer beleeueth in him, should not perish, but haue euerlasting life.

The Lord’s Prayer from The Geneva bible (Matthew 6:9-13)

After this maner therefore pray ye, Our father which art in heauen, halowed be thy name. Thy Kingdome come. Thy will be done euen in earth, as it is in heauen. Giue vs this day our dayly bread. And forgiue vs our dettes, as we also forgiue our detters. And leade vs not into tentation, but deliuer vs from euill: for thine is the kingdome, and the power, and the glorie for euer. Amen.

Page from Geneva bible showing mariginal notes (click for larger image)


Share

The History of the English Bible Part 9: The Great Bible (1539)

The Great Bible

In 1534 a petition was sent to King Henry VIII for a translation of the bible to be authorized in English. Several years later Thomas Cromwell Vicar-General under Henry VIII asked Coverdale to make a revision of the Matthew’s bible to become the authorized version in the church. King Henry’s decree was that all churches should have a copy of the Great Bible in their church. It was called the Great Bible due to it’s size. It was printed 16 1/2 by 11 inches.

Its interesting to note that literacy and reading had become so common by this time that a Bishop Bonner complained that the bible was disrupting his services. It seems people were reading their bibles aloud during his sermons. In 1539 the political landscape was becoming volatile between Protestants and RCCs. Henry VIII was staring to lean back to Catholicism. So in 1540 Coverdale chose to flee to Europe to avoid persecution. He briefly returned in 1547 after Henry’s death. When Mary Tudor took reign in 1553 he fled to Geneva. where he spent most of his time as elder of the English Church. He returned to England agin upon Mary’s death in 1559.

The Great Bible was the first bible to be authorized for public use in churches. It was a revision of the Tyndale, Coverdale and Matthews bible.

The Lord’s Prayer from The Great Bible Matthew 6:9-13

Oure father which art in heuen, halowed be thy name. Let thy kingdome come. Thy will be fulfilled, as well in erth, as it is in heuen. Geue vs this daye oure dayly bred. And forgeue vs our dettes, as we foegeue oure detters. And leade vs not into temptation:but delyuer vs from euyll. For thyne is the kyngdom and the power, and the glorye for euer. Amen

Great Bible page (click to enlarge)


Share

The History of the English Bible Part 8: Matthew Bible 1537

John Rogers (C.1500-1555)

John Rogers met William Tyndale while he was Chaplain of the English merchants. Through his studies with Tyndale he embraced the reformed faith and the idea of an English bible. He even helped smuggle Tyndale bibles into England. When Tyndale died in 1536 Rogers took the pen name Thomas Matthew and finished editing Tyndale’s bible. He also used Coverdale’s and he translated the apocryphal book the Prayer of Manasseh from a French bible published in 1535.

The Matthew bible like the Coverdale bible received a royal license. A three page dedication to King Henry VIII probably helped with that some. He also included the apocrypha separate and his translation was used for following translations. In 1555 he was the first to be burnt at the stake by Queen Mary Tudor also known as bloody Mary.

The lord’s Prayer from the Matthew Bible Matthew 6:9-13

Oure father which arte in heuen halowed be thy name. Let thy kingdome come. Thy will be fulfylled as well in erthas it is in heuen. Geve vs this daye oure dayly bred. And for geue vs oure trespases euen as we forgeue oure trespacers. And leade vs not into temptatcion: but delyuer vs fro euyll. For thyne is the kyngedome + the power and the glorye foreuer. Amen

page from matthew Bible (click to enlarge) Notice notes at lower right column

The burning of John Rogers


Share

Compassion In Witnessing

I was reading John 4:6-29. This is where Jesus is in Samaria at Jacob’s well. A Samaritan woman comes up and Jesus asks her for some water. I was reading and thinking how does this apply to modern evangelism today? First in vs. 7 Jesus starts a conversation with a sinner. The Jews felt the Samaritans were not right with God plus Jesus had a little insider information on her life. Regardless, Jesus decided to talk with a sinner. Notice the woman’s response in vs. 9. She can’t believe He is even talking to her. Many non-christians are so used to the dirty looks and lack of care from Christians that they would never expect a Christian to start a conversation unless it was one where the Christian just goes up with guns blazing yelling “you are going to hell.”

That isn’t what Jesus is doing, He is starting a non-aggressive conversation and then introduces God into it in vs. 10 and 14. The woman still isn’t on the same wavelength yet. How could this possibly play out today? Start a conversation and mention how you were thirsty until God changed your life. Now instead of Jesus staying there and trying to drill religion in her head, He turns the conversation to her in verse 16.  He says, “Go call your husband and come here.”

I worked with a woman once and she didn’t like me at all. I never knew why, but anytime I talked to her it would be a one word response. One day I decided to ask about her family. The floodgates opened up and we had a meaningful conversation about her family and problems that were there. Afterwards we talked often about her family and children. Sometimes we just have to find a link or a bridge that can start a conversation and build trust.

So the woman responds in vs.17, “I have no husband.” This is where most Christians blow it. This is the part where most Christians slap the sinner in the head with a bible, yell, “That’s right you adulteress and you are going to hell if you don’t repent”, and then shake our heads as the other person walks off in anger talking about how stupid and hypocritical Christians are. Jesus does not take that approach. He compliments her twice on her truthfulness in vs. 17-18. Then He talks about worshiping God. The end result of Jesus’ compassionate way of talking to this woman in sin is that she comes to Christ and brings others (John 4:29).

Yes, sinners, as we all do, have to come to the knowledge that they are a sinner and deserve the punishment of hell, and the only way to heaven is Jesus. However, they have to be prepared to receive that knowledge.  We must deliver it in a compassionate way. After all, Peter told us when we explain the hope we have, do it with gentleness       (1 Peter 3:15).                                                                 MSW


Share