Monday, August 27, 2007


First, I want to send a big Thank You out to my good friend at the beach, Nathan, for helping me figure out what was up with the comments. Evidently no one was allowed to comment, but now it is fixed.
Here's also a picture of me and Kevin at a Cleveland Indians game about a month ago.
I have begun reading a book for seminary called "How to Read the Bible for All It's Worth" by Fee and Stuart, and it mentions in here some of the differences among versions of the Bible. I have often wondered this and have heard some different things. Here's what they say: There are three ways in which the Bible can be translated - literally, functionally, and freely. The challenge with every version of the Bible as it is being translated is what to keep the same and what to change. The English language is quite different from Hebrew and Greek, and we are also averaging a couple thousand years difference in time, and a couple thousand miles difference in place and culture. So, to translate everything word for word would end up being odd and nonsensical to us. The opposite end of that spectrum is to update the original author's words too much to the point that it borders on commentary instead of translation. In the middle of this spectrum are the translations that have strived to translate in a relevant way to our world today, yet still preserving as much of the meaning (not exact wording necessarily) as possible. So, on the one hand, there are the Bibles that tend to be very literal in translation - and these are the King James Versions and similar. Then there are the freely translated versions - and these are the Message and Living Bible and similar. In the middle of these are the Bibles with the highest degree of functionality and the ones that have had the wording updated in the most common sense way while preserving original meaning, and these are the NIVs and NRSVs. Here is a quote from the book - "The TNIV is as good a translation as you will get." This is because it has the most up to date wording available (therefore having a high degree of relevance), while also having a high degree of original meaning preserved.
I am not making any personal statements on what Bible you should be reading from. In fact, their recommendation is that you begin with a TNIV/NIV as your main source of reading, and then also have an NSRV or NASU (word-updated versions of KJV) to compare with (as these are the more literal wordings), and also incorporate a GNB or NAB in order to give yourself the best possible set of resources for intelligent reading and study of the Bible. It is also recommended that you have a Bible Dictionary as a resource when you need information about people, times, places, etc. They did also mention that if you had a freely translated Bible (such as the Message) that these are sometimes helpful in helping you to think more creatively about what the meaning of a passage might be, but that this should certainly not be the only version you are reading from.
I found this information interesting and personally went promptly to my stack of 9 Bibles to see which ones I had and which ones I might need to investigate further. Of the ones they recommend, I have a couple NIVs, a NRSV and that's about it. I do have the GNB on my computer though. I also have a KJV, LB, MSG, NEB, and NCV, plus a whole slew on the computer. This book is a great book at helping you to figure out how to interpret the Bible on your own - without relying heavily on commentaries or other sources. You can do it, if you know the proper methods. Check this book out, or borrow it from me in about 4 weeks when I will be done with it. And above all, get in your Bible, whatever version you have, every day!

Saturday, August 18, 2007


I don't have any deep theological issues to discuss this afternoon but do so enjoy blogging that I needed to post something. So, I am sending out an update. Sarah and I finally returned to our church after missing a month straight (2 weeks guest preaching, 1 week visiting friends in Cleveland, and 1 week at the beach). It was good to be back.

I have really been enjoying my Sunday School class study recently. It is John Ortberg's "If you want to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat." We have had some really great discussions and insights from this study and I am thankful to Lauri for bringing it to us.

I successfully completed my summer semester of seminary in which I studied all about spiritual discipline. I am starting my fall semester on Monday, kicking off the first 8 weeks with a course in Hermeneutics (definition later - when I know it!) and the second 8 weeks will be a History of Baptists I think. Not my number one choice for how to spend 8 weeks, but a requirement in order to graduate, so I am agreeable to it.
My next time preaching will be October 7 at my church, First Baptist of Woodstock.

We had a great time at the beach this year, staying in a new house that we hope to stay in for years to come. The weather was hot, but the water was refreshing and the time away was priceless. We attended Nags Head Church on Sunday morning as usual and also went back on Monday evening for a young adults gathering called Vintage. They have some really good things going on there.

I am on the third book in a one-two-three punch series I am reading for personal enjoyment. The first two were The Church on the Other Side by Brian McClaren and The Church in Transition by Tim Conder. The third book I am reading now is Beyond Beliefs to Convictions by Josh McDowell. All three address postmodernism and the church. This last book will talk specifically about ways to discuss God, the authority of Scripture, etc. with today's youth - the goal being to move them beyond mere beliefs (which are subject to change) to convictions (rock solid beliefs that move you towards action) so that we will have a strong emerging culture of Christians in an ever increasing world of disbelief.

We have been watching the Truth Project on Friday nights at Bible Study and it has been wonderful. Last night especially, I connected quite strongly with the topic. Towards the end he addressed art from a Christian perspective. I am employed in an artistic job and have struggled to come to my own definition of what I think great art is, and to know why I like something or not. The answer last night was that Christians have left art up to the non-believing culture, and therefore we rely on them to define it and create it. We need to get more Christians back into art so that people out there will have another perspective on art and see another type of creativity beyond what the world has to offer.

Running out of updatable material, so I'm done. I have to start reading for my next semester anyway. This first 8 weeks, I 'only' have 3 textbooks to read. If you haven't yet, talk to God today, see what's on His mind, and promise to talk to Him again later, or tomorrow - but keep talking to Him, and keep listening. That's advice that can't miss.

One last thing - I received my first comment from someone about one of the posts on my blog. I would encourage more of you to do the same. I would love to hear other ideas and opinions on the things I am writing about. No one person has everything figured out, but when we all share our thoughts, our beliefs are strengthened. If you haven't noticed it, there is a little tag under each post that says "O comments" (that means zero) and if you click it, it will take you to a page where you can leave one. Thanks for doing that!