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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Bible Translations

Posted by Richard on August 4, 2009


Why are there different kinds of bibles?

The issue stems from the fact that the original scriptures were penned in Hebrew and Greek, when they were handed to men from the Holy Spirit.

For years, they were transcribed (by hand) in various manuscripts and pieces, often in Latin, as they were passed along. With the advent of movable type in Europe, things spread quickly. Johannes Gutenberg created the Gutenberg Bible (of the Latin Vulgate) on his movable type machine. The first complete modern English translation was compiled by Myles Coverdale in 1535. Around 1611 the official King James Bible was released, and for many years, was the standard, even long after King James’ English was no longer an active language. In the 1900s there have been many attempts at keeping up with the changes of the English language, in modernizing the Bible.

With widespread education, anybody can study the original languages, and undertake the task of translating manuscripts into the language of their choice. When you study a second language, you learn that some words don’t always have a 1:1 mapping between the languages. Often, you can choose from multiple possibilities when translating a word, and sometimes after you translate it, you might not even be able to translate back based on the word choice. This complication makes translating accurately a very difficult undertaking. The stakes increase when you take into account the dire nature of the subject matter, and the stern warning given in the end of Revelation 22:

18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: ?if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

All these considered, there are many philosophies of modern translation. Some try to make the Bible as appealing as possible, to the widest audience possible. Others try to stick to accurate translations of the original languages as much as possible, in preserving as much of the original context they can. And everything in between. There are dangers inherent in watering down the Bible for the masses, in which you can lose some biblical truths, such as the TNIV has in recent controversy. Zondervan, in the TNIV, attempted to remove as much gender-specific language from the Bible as they could. This was generally considered by the scholarly community as a bad idea. Zondervan has now announced they will replace the TNIV (and NIV) in the near future with a translation they are working on, in which they will “carefully consider” all the gender-neutral changes they made. Translations such as the NIV are considered interpretations, as they don’t take a word-for-word approach to translating the bible, but take a phrase or verse or passage and rearrange it into English prose. The Message is an extreme example of this.

Modern translations that try to stick to a word-for-word approach to preserving as much of the original language nuances as possible include the NKJV, NASB, ESV, et al.

In the end, no matter the translation, it is the Holy Spirit which generates the understanding of the Word.


Why pray?

Posted by Richard on February 21, 2009

An anonymous reader asks:

Why do we pray?

Why do we pray?
First, an introduction from John MacArthur1:

If reading the Bible is like eating, praying is like breathing.

You exist when you come into the world in an atmosphere. And one of the things that the atmosphere does is put pressure on your lungs. And from the very beginning you breathe. And the reason you breathe is because of the air pressure that is exerted against your lungs, it forces your lungs to take air in. That’s why it’s much more difficult to hold your breath than it is to breathe. You hold your breath for about a minute and you turn purple and your heart starts pounding and you get sweaty because you’re resisting the normal pressure against your lung. Well prayer is like that. When you’re born into the family of God, when you’re born again, when you become a child of God, you enter into God’s world there is a sphere in which you live. The atmosphere of God’s presence and grace exerts pressure on your life and the normal thing is to breathe and we just say that’s prayer, responding to God’s pressure and presence in your life. Prayer is as normal to the Christian as breathing is to the human. You live in an atmosphere and you respond to that atmosphere of the presence of God by receiving that presence of God and by taking it in and putting it back out again in response to Him.

Prayer activates the power of God. God moves in response to the prayers of His people. So prayer not only moves God to act but prayer is to align us with the will and purpose of God. When we pray in the will of God or in accord with God’s will we are lining up with His purposes.

We would say that prayer is simply is talking to God. You know, and one of the things that happens when a baby comes into a family is that the first thing you want the baby to do is…what? The first thing that you want out of new life is communication. You want some response, and that’s the same as a Christian. The thing that happens when you become a Christian is immediately you’re thrown into an environment with God when you have a tremendous desire to communicate with God, to respond and say the things that are on your heart. Now that’s all prayer is.

Now to address the question:

First, God wants us to pray.
In Luke 18:1-8, Jesus instructs us to “pray and not lose heart.”
Second, Jesus prayed so we should pray too.
We should model ourselves after the pattern Jesus set for us. In Luke 5:16, it shows that Jesus often went into private to pray to the Father.
He instructed us how we should pray with the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:5-15
Finally, God answers prayer.
God has ordained prayer as a means through which he accomplishes his will. In Luke 11:5-13 Jesus shows us that by asking things of the father, in accordance with his will or goals, will produce response.



Posted by Richard on January 29, 2009

An anonymous reader asks:

What do I have to know to be baptized?

Baptism, or immersion, is an outward public declaration of your inward acceptance of Jesus Christ as your personal savior. You need to know that Jesus died to pay the debt owed because of your sins, and that he was resurrected that you could have eternal life through Him (John 3:16).

Water baptism is an essential step of obedience toward Christ. He has commanded us to be baptized (Mat 28:19, Acts 2:38), and is an important declaration of your submission to Christ as your Lord.