ESV vs NIV2011 (Volume 2)

December 26, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Posted in English Bible Translations | Leave a comment

I will be comparing observations from different Bible translations throughout 2012 in my search for a different preaching Bible, but had a note to share even now.  The NASB (and ASV) used “lovingkindness” to describe a character trait of God found often in the OT, especially in Psalms.  The NIV1984 opted for simply “love,” which seems hollow to me because it only gets part of the meaning across.  The RSV translators came up with “steadfast love,” which seems the best option from my perspective, and the NRSV and ESV both wisely stuck with that choice.  I have enjoyed reading the Psalms in ESV this past year for that reason.  The HCSB used faithful love, which also gets more of the original thought across.  Here is an example to show the differences, which I read in my devotions this morning.  Psalm 36:5-7

Your lovingkindness, O LORD, extends to the heavens, Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.  . . .  How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God!  (NASB)

Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.  . . .  How precious is your steadfast love, O God!  (ESV)

Lord, Your faithful love [reaches] to heaven, Your faithfulness to the skies.  .  .  .  God, Your faithful love is so valuable that people  . . .  (HCSB – Notice they didn’t end the thought where the other translators did)

Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.  . . .  How priceless is your unfailing love! (NIV1984 – Notice how they added an extra English word to the second usage of the Hebrew to help get the meaning across)  The NIV2011 changes it to “Your love, LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.  . . .  How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!  The translators dropped the “O” on Lord and added the “O God” at the end.  The first change seems to lessen the impact.  The second is consistent with other translations, but if they are going to drop “O” as an expression, why did they use it here?  This seems inconsistent.  Finally, notice that they stick with the simple “love.”

God’s love is amazing; let’s thank him that it is an eternally faithful and precious love.  Today the ESV gets my vote, as “steadfast love,” in my opinion, gets the point across better than any other.  This word is so important in the Psalms that this vote will be weighed more heavily in my mind compared to some others.

Pastor Glenn’s Christmas List

December 24, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Posted in Grace and Faith, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Here is the outline of my Christmas Eve message:

Everyone seems to be making a Christmas list, so I decided to also.  Most of those lists are things people want to receive for Christmas, but this list is what I believe about Christmas.  This list is my “Top Ten Verses about Christmas (that aren’t really Christmas verses)!”  These verses aren’t thought of as a part of the Christmas story, but they explain the reasons God sent his Son – why Jesus had to come.  (NIV except as noted)

#10  1 John 3:8 (ESV)  The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.

#9  Mark 10:45  The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve,  and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

#8  Luke 19:10  The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.

#7  John 3:17  God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

#6  1 Timothy 1:15  Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst.

#5  1 John 3:5  He appeared so that he might take away our sins.

#4  1 Peter 1:20  He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.  (2 Tim 1:9 is similar, but I skipped it here because it is my text for Christmas Sunday morning)

#3  John 1:17  The law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

#2  Titus 2:11  The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.

#1  2 Corinthians 8:9  You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,  that though he was rich,  yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.

Notice the repetition of these themes: Jesus came to save sinners; Jesus came to take away sin; Jesus came for our sakes.  All of these are a part of God’s amazing grace, and that grace is explicitly spelled out in the last few verses.  In Christmas, God gave us what we don’t deserve.  That’s what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown!

Security and Christmas

December 16, 2011 at 11:49 am | Posted in Devotional thoughts, Security and Assurance | Leave a comment

I am often asked questions about security issues:  “How do I know for sure I’m saved?” and “Can a Christian lose his/her salvation?”  In answer to the last question, I often point out the tenses used in the NT to describe the salvation of those who trust in Christ.  A scan of the posts in the security and assurance link will reveal some of those thoughts.  Here is another interesting use of tenses in the NT that reveals the security we have, and it’s also a great Christmas season reminder.  In his second letter Paul encourages Timothy not to be ashamed of “the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner,” then he adds the positive, “but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God.” (2 Tim 1:9 ESV) That’s great encouragement, but the description of what God has done which follows is very instructive.  He “saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began.”  Notice the tense of the verbs, “he saved,” “he called,” and “he gave;” things that are already completed.  But just so you wouldn’t miss the point, Paul tells us it was completed “before the ages began.”  If you trust is Jesus, then you were given grace before the ages began.  You were in God’s plan from eternity, and nothing in time can change that.

The reason this is a great Christmas passage is because of verse 10 that follows.  This grace, which was already given to us, “now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”  Jesus’ coming to earth, his life, death and resurrection (i.e. the gospel), was a revelation in time of God’s eternal grace.  That is why the whole Christmas story is such good news.  God’s grace makes it all worth celebrating!

So I close with my favorite Christmas verse: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.”  (2 Cor 8:9 ESV)  Have a merry Christmas, secure in God’s grace.

Thoughts on the NIV2011 (Volume 1)

December 8, 2011 at 9:45 am | Posted in English Bible Translations, Questions for Pastor Glenn | 2 Comments

I made some comments about the NIV2011 translation in church on Sunday, and I want to relate those here and clear up some confusion about what was said.  Some of what I say here might sound negative, so let me begin by stating that I am absolutely thrilled that we can even have this discussion in America.  There are many people in the world without God’s Word in their language, and there are hundreds of languages that have only one translation of the Bible.  Men like William Tyndale paid a great price to give us that opportunity, and in the midst of this debate, we should not forget it.

First, I wanted to warn the congregation that if they purchase an NIV they will not be buying the same Bible they’ve used for years.  When the NIV2011 recently came out, Zondervan, or maybe the translators, opted to give no indication in the packaging that this is a completely redone translation.  This is not a minor update, like the one in 1984, as there are differences everywhere, yet the cover and the box give no indication that this is an updated version.  The only way I could tell I was purchasing a 2011 version was to open the box and read the small print on the copyright page.  This appears to me to be a shady marketing scheme.  The publishers seem to be riding on the popularity of the NIV1984 while being afraid of the failure of the TNIV, and they are hoping to sell lots of Bibles without the purchasers realizing what they are buying.  Some people in the congregation have already told me they’ve done that.  The shelf at the Christian bookstore was full of NIVs and everyone I opened to look at was the 2011 edition, yet not one gave any indication of that fact.  The NASB made a major update in 1995, but for years after the cover of the NASB said ‘NASB Updated Edition” so the buyers would know what they were getting.  I understand that languages change and that Bible translations need occasional revisions, but when the changes are this dramatic, the reader needs to know.  I praise Christian Book Distributers since they indicate in the catalog which NIV they are selling under each catalog number.  If you want to find an NIV1984, look there.

Second, and I don’t think I made this point clear on Sunday, the NIV1984 is now out of print.  So the readers, and the preachers are forced to switch translations.  I said I would be deciding in the next year what Bible to preach from, and some people asked me why I would switch at all.  It is because we are being forced to switch by those who have decided not to print the NIV1984 any longer.  If the changes made in 2011 were small changes it wouldn’t matter, but because they are so abundant, everyone in the pew using a 1984 edition and following a preacher with a 2011 edition (or visa-versa) will notice and wonder why the differences.

Third, I let the congregation know that I will be reading through the NIV2011 for my devotions and private reading in 2012, and, sometime during that year, deciding whether to switch to that version for preaching or to the ESV.  I have been reading the ESV for the past two years, and am getting quite fond of it.  As someone who grew up on the NASB, the ESV, at least in places, feels somewhat like coming home, without all the archaic language.  I know many exegetical preachers with Reformed leanings, like me, have switched to the ESV in recent years.  This is not a decision I will take lightly.  I have been preaching out of the NIV for about 24 years and have memorized thousands of verses out of it, so any switch I make will be difficult for me too.  However, I want to give the congregation plenty of warning, so the y don’t just show up one week and find I’m using an unfamiliar Bible.  I will keep them (and you) posted as I read, and will tell them weeks in advance before the switch, so they can choose to purchase a new Bible if they wish.

Fourth, I told the congregation that I am currently leaning toward the ESV for two reasons.  The worldly marketing scheme that Zondervan seems to be following is one I don’t want to support with my congregation’s dollars.  And the NIV2011 translators opted to use the plural pronouns “they” and “them” for singular nouns in some cases.  I understand the argument of common usage and see why they chose to go that direction, but that usage has always grated on my nerves, regardless of how common it might be, and personally, I would have a hard time with it.

The NIV has been a great translation.  It does a marvelous job of balancing literalness with the need to clarify some meanings, and it captured the language of my generation better than any other attempt at Bible translation.  It’s no wonder that it’s been so popular.  I have been a fan for years; I even got on the waiting list to get a first print, first edition 1978 NIV; it was the first Bible I ever read all the way through; the NIV had a profound influence on my Christian walk; but, alas, all good things must come to an end.  I hope to publish some of my thoughts over the next months on theses pages, so you can keep up with my travels in this regard.

For my conclusions on NIV vs ESV check out my post called Grieving the NIV

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