What Do You Mean By Literal? (RJS)

A common question raised any time the question of creation and evolution comes up is the impact of this discussion on our understanding of scripture. After all, if we can’t take Genesis 1 literally why take any other part of the Bible literally? This is one of the four common questions Tim Keller reports from his 35 years of pastoral experience, it is a question I’ve gotten in church and one we have come up against on this blog. While this question is not specifically mentioned in Dr. Mohler’s reasoning in his recent speech, Why Does the Universe Look so Old?, is based significantly on the veracity of scripture as the Word of God.

Clearly our understanding of the Bible as the Word of God is an important question, one we must think through carefully. I think we believe in the Bible as the Word of God because we believe in God and his work in the World. When we make the Bible the foundation we have it backwards. This means that we need to look to scripture itself to understand what it means for scripture to be the Word of God. We cannot impose criteria from the outside. [Read more...]

The Common English Bible: a new translation

When I get a new translation, I read three passages slowly and carefully, with a Green NT near at hand, to give me a feel for the translation and the translation theory: I read the Sermon on the Mount, I read Romans 3, and then I read James. Usually I can get a good solid feel for the translation from these three passages.

I did this recently with The Common English Bible (New Testament). I like what I see here and I’ll keep this translation near me on my desk.

What do you do? How do you assess a new translation? Do you want something that sounds familiar or something that startles you by change and makes you to think anew about the text? Which translations do you find most useful today?

115 leading Bible scholars participated; ecumenical and mainline; field tested by 77 reading specialists in 13 denominations. It comes out completely in 2011, four hundred years after the KJB. The CEB will be useful and good for personal reading, public reading, and for classroom study. It will have the Apocrypha when completed.

Here are a few big summary thoughts, and I’ve only dabbled in other passages:

First, it sides in general with an NIV or TNIV approach: it aims at accessibility, clarity and avoidance of unnecessary misunderstandings. Thus, it has “brothers and sisters” instead of “brothers” throughout. While some call this “inclusive” there is a solid fact suggesting this isn’t “inclusive” so much as “accurate.” Very often a “brothers” means “everyone” and not just “male Christians.” So that it is not an inclusive view so much as an accurate translation. [Read more...]

Can you tell me why?

It is very common among biblical scholars and among informed pastors to modify our readings of the Bible, even theology, on the basis of sound scholarship. Sometimes it is by way of discoveries but more often than not it’s just someone does some really good work on the texts and says, “Hey, we had this [Read More...]

What About the Genealogies? (RJS)

I posted last week on a comment suggesting that I view Genesis 1-11 as “just collected stories.” The statement surprised me because I do not view Genesis as “just” collected stories – they are arranged and edited for a purpose and we need to study them carefully for that purpose and meaning. We are not [Read More...]

Collected Stories? (RJS)

I’ve been busy the last week or so and didn’t get as involved in comments as I often do. But Scot put up a couple of interesting posts last Thursday, one on Evangelicalism’s Radical Diversity 4 with a discussion on inerrancy and the other on Evolution: A Remarkable History (not by me) discussing the history [Read More...]

Evangelicalism’s Radical Diversity 4

Inerrancy broke into a debate in the late 1970s when Harold Lindsell (in The Battle for the Bible ) named names and laid down the law. The law was that a true evangelical believed in inerrancy.  Steve Wilkens and Don Thorsen, both profs at Azusa Pacific, have a new book that takes on misperceptions of [Read More...]

Should Pollsters Go to Seminary? (RJS)

Pete Enns has a new article up at the Huffington Post: Evolution and Religion: Why Religion Pollsters Should Go to Seminary First. Ignore the forum (especially the ads on the sidebar) and read the article – this is an interesting question.  Just a paragraph here, condensed, to get a taste. Commenting on a poll commissioned [Read More...]

Bible Atlas

I will never forget the first time I read the Old Testament’s historical books (Genesis — 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah) cover to cover with a Bible atlas. I was in college and I learned so much. The atlas I used, still standing on a shelf of mine, is not the one I use anymore. The [Read More...]

Houston, We Still Have a Problem (RJS)

We had an interesting discussion Tuesday centered on scripture, the reliability of scripture, and the foundation of our faith: Houston, We’ve Had a Problem. One of the key aspects of this conversation was how we view scripture as reliable in the face of the scientific evidence for an old earth and for evolution. Certainly I [Read More...]

Houston, We’ve Had a Problem (RJS)

Scot forwarded this letter, with permission of the author to post. I am putting it up for consideration because it fits with the general topics I’ve posted on for the last several years. We’ve had a problem – and this problem has raised serious questions in the minds of many, from seventy year-olds in retirement, [Read More...]


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