Archive for November, 2008
I almost put this as a link in a “More Cool Bible Stuff” post, but it deserves much more attention than that. It’s too funny.
Wayne Leman at the Better Bibles Blog has reprinted Why the English Standard Version (ESV) should not become the Standard English Version by Mark Strauss. It is definitely worth reading, especially since it’s Friday.
Although it is not my primary reading Bible, I am a fan of the ESV. But, Mark Stauss does highlight a few comical renderings that result from the attempt to produce a literal translation. Enjoy!
“Oops” Translations in the ESV
We can start on a more lighthearted note. Occasionally translators will render a text “literally” without realizing the potential for misunderstanding or double meaning. All versions must watch out for this, but literal ones are particularly susceptible. For example, the ESV (following the RSV) originally rendered Gen. 30:35, “But that day Laban removed the male goats that were striped …and put them in charge of his sons.” It is remarkable that Laban had so much confidence in his goats! This gaffe was pointed out and a second printing of the ESV corrected it, taking authority away from Laban’s goats: “… and put them in the charge of his sons.” Here are a few more “oops” translations that I have found in the ESV.
Luke 17:35 ESV “There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left.”
Comment: In contemporary English, “grinding together” suggests seductive dancing or something worse. (Perhaps both should have been taken for judgment!) Most versions clarify that this means grinding “grain,” “meal” or “flour” (cf. TNIV, NIV, NLT, HCSB, NET, NRSV, REB, etc.) (in-quotation emphasis added).
Have a good weekend.
Our pastor has been preaching a sermon series on what the kingdom of heaven is like, using as his text, inter alia, the parables in the book of Matthew. At the end of one of his sermons, he asked us to write our own parable using our occupations, capacities as parents, or grandparents, etc. as the basis for our own parable.
For example, a teacher’s might begin, “For the kingdom of heaven is like a classroom…” Naturally, I thought, “Church assignment…blog post.” And thus, a snippet of the gospel according to Peter (red-letter edition):
…and Jesus said, “For the kingdom of heaven is like a court of law, where the accuser very thoroughly and convincingly builds a case against the accused. He presents the evidence to the jury bit by bit, witness after witness.
Pointing to the one on trial, the prosecutor boastfully argues to the jury:
‘Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, this poor excuse for a human being has committed heinous violations of the most holy law.
He has placed other gods before the one true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
He has made idols of innumerable persons and things.
He has taken the Lord’s Name in vain countless times.
He has never kept the Sabbath holy, defiling it at every opportunity.
He has dishonored his father and mother all of his life.
According to the very words of God’s own Son, he has committed murder and adultery. Repeatedly!
This man is a thief, a liar, and a coveter. A worse human being has never been created. This man is guilty! Guilty! Guilty!
And justice requires that he be punished!’
There is no defense to present. The jury, horrified by the actions of the accused, quickly returns a verdict of ‘guilty,’ fully expecting the Judge to impose the stiffest sentence possible: an eternity in the lake of fire.
The Judge turns to the accused and says, ‘Is there anything you have to say for yourself before sentence is imposed?’
The accused, still bound and shackled, bows his head in shame knowing there is nothing he can say in defense of these accusations.
But, quietly and confidently, the advocate for the accused stands, and, placing his hand on the accused’s shoulder, says:
‘Your Honor, I stepped out of heaven and became flesh. I was born to a human mother. I was raised by a human father. I spent my life teaching humanity about You.
I was hated. Mocked. Spat upon. I was imprisoned, scourged, and tried before a sham court. I was convicted, sentenced to death, and crucified, all so that this man and others like him would not have to endure the same.
Three days later I rose again, having paid in full the price for all human sin. It is true, this man is guilty of all of those things. And more.
But, what you have required of this man is this: that he believe in Me and what I did for him and others like him, that it would not have been done in vain.
Your Honor, the only thing I can say in defense of this man is that he believes.
I have paid his debt. I have endured his punishment. His sentence has been imposed, his time has been served.
Ought not this man, being a son of Abraham, whom this accuser has bound, be acquitted and loosed from this bondage? Ought not this man be set free?’
The Judge, robed in pristine white, leans forward, looks at the accused, smiles, and says, ‘You are free.’”
Money, sex and power seem to be among the most common responses, and I could very easily recite those here as well, but that almost seems like confessing that I need food, water and shelter to survive.
To be brutally honest, I would have to confess that my addictive personality would pose the biggest potential downfall. Not that having an addictive personality is a sin in itself, but the result thereof often is. I tend to become obsessive about the latest thing I get involved in, so it could very easily be any of the above, but it could also be spending, blogging, or even Bible study (I’m sure my wife will attest to the many hours I spent obsessing over ancient Hebrew).
It’s not that any of these things are sinful per se, but it is my neglect of other things while doing any of these that is my biggest potential downfall.
Thanks, TC for the tag, and I now tag HiScrivener (The Writing on the Wall) and Carl (The World According to Carl), not because I want their full confession, but so that my readers will check out their blogs as proof that Christian blogs can be fun and entertaining.
I have also added Jim West’s blog to my blogroll, and I encourage all of you to check out his blog. It’s worth reading.
UPDATE 11/20/08: My desktop has changed. Here it is now, in all it’s glory. Can you imagine a better smile?
…and the result is “College Level.”
It has been a fun and exciting year. I hope and pray that 2009 is as great as 2008 and better.
Here is a quick summary of year one (as of today):
Original Address: beautyofthebible.blogspot.com.
Total Readers (since the move): 6,872.
Most Read Post: So Many Translations, So Little Time (399).
Least Read Post (since the move): Scofield Study Bible: An Oldie But Goodie (10).
Busiest Day: September 11, 2008, What Makes A Bible Translation Authoritative: My Top 5 (172).
Post With Most Comments: Genesis 1:1 and God’s Great Ambiguity (26).
Most Clicked Item: How to Read the Bible: A Lighthearted Look at a Serious Question.
Largest Referrer: ESV Blog (140).
First Blog to Blogroll Me: Sermon Alive
First Technorati Blog Reaction: For Love of Home
Technorati Authority/Rank: 27/237,589.
*First Child Born*: Libby Grace (June 2008).
I just recently acquired an Oxford University Press Scofield Study Bible (KJV). It is black bonded leather with the 1917 notes. It’s really quite lovely.
I don’t want to get into a whole debate about dispensationalist theology – I’ll leave that to others – suffice it to say, I am not a dispensationalist, although there are elements of dispensationalist theology worthy of more exploration (on my part). And, if the fact that the Scofield Study Bible is unashamedly dispensationalist causes you grief, I understand. I also understand that a lot has changed since 1917, and our understanding of history, archeology, and science are completely different than it was nearly a century ago. But I do want to share a part of what is written in the introduction.
I know most people don’t bother to read the xx or so pages of introductory material at the front of their Bibles. Translation philosophies, explanatory essays, and dreadful lists of acknowledgments are for the truly hard core.
I, however, happen to fall into this category, ask my wife. She will testify that the first thing I do when we check into a hotel room is read the over-sized hotel binder cover-to-cover. I want to know about the facilities, amenities, services, attractions, etc. (you never know when you might need an aspirin at 3 a.m., and I want to know if I will have to leave the hotel, trek down to a “gift shop,” or call for room service). The same goes for my Bibles.
On page v of my new Scofield Study Bible, there is a section of the introduction entitled “A Panoramic View of the Bible.” Without going into the whole thing, one of the sections struck me:
First. The Bible is one book. Seven great marks attest this unity. (1) From Genesis the Bible bears witness to one God. Wherever he speaks or acts he is consistent with himself, and with the total revelation concerning him. (2) The Bible forms one continuous story – the story of humanity in relation to God. (3) The Bible hazards the most unlikely predictions concerning the future, and, when the centuries have brought round the appointed time, records their fulfillment. (4) The Bible is a progressive unfolding of truth. Nothing is told all at once, and once and for all. The law is, “first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn.” Without the possibility of collusion, often with centuries between, one writer of Scripture takes up an earlier revelation, adds to it, lays down the pen, and in due time another man moved by the Holy Spirit, and another, and another, add new details till the whole is complete. (5) From beginning to end the Bible testifies to one redemption. (6) From beginning to end the Bible has one great theme – the person and work of the Christ. (7) And, finally, these writers, some forty-four in number, writing through twenty centuries, have produced a perfect harmony of doctrine in progressive unfolding. This is, to every candid mind, the unanswerable proof of the Divine inspiration of the Bible (italics in original).
If there is a better, more succinct apologetic for the divine nature of scripture in print, I am unaware of it. Perhaps some of you will enlighten me. Thoughts?
I have spent a lot of time lately contemplating the Hebrew language (even more than usual). I simply cannot escape the conclusion that the language is supernaturally composed. It almost makes me wish I was a statistician so that I could calculate the odds of a human or group of humans developing a pictographic language such as that of the Hebrews.
I hope I never become one to recycle posts (because one of my very first posts was on The Language of God), but I do want to share this again now that all (for now) of the posts on Genesis 1:1 are finished. I will compile them in a single post soon for easy reference. But, more fundamental that that…
The word “Hebrew,” or Ibrit (pronounced ee’vreet, please forgive my phonetic spelling), is derived from the word Ibri (pronounced ee’vree, which is also “Hebrew” in English). Ibri means to pass over or sojourn. Abraham was first called the Hebrew (Ibri) in Genesis 14:13 because he was a sojourner in the land, or he was one who “passed over” the land. It’s certainly no coincidence that one of the chief Jewish holidays is Passover, perhaps just a great foreshadowing.
In many ways, all believers are called to be “Hebrews,” sojourners in this world. So, what of this word, “Hebrew,” that would ultimately become the name of the language spoken by the descendants of Abraham? Ibrit is spelled using the Hebrew letters AYIN, depicted in the ancient Hebrew pictographs as an eye and meaning to see, as by revelation; BET, pictured as a house or tent and meaning a house or lineage; RESH, pictured as a man’s head, meaning the first or highest person; YOD, pictured as a hand or arm from the elbow to the fist, meaning my or my hand/works; and TAV, pictured as two crossed sticks and meaning a mark or covenant.
Before I get to the breakdown of the individual letters that make up Ibrit, I want to point out that brit is the Hebrew word for covenant. Thus, Ibrit can be fairly seen as TO SEE or a REVELATION of the COVENANT. The conclusion that I have reached is that we will SEE, or the REVELATION of, God’s COVENANT will be in and within HEBREW. Both within the word “Hebrew” itself and generally though the Hebrew language.
Now, “Hebrew.” Recall from earlier posts that the Hebrew letters BET and RESH form the Hebrew/Aramaic word bar, or son, so in Ibrit we SEE the SON with his HANDS/ARMS on a CROSS. Here’s the visual (remember, Hebrew is read right to left):