Thursday, April 17, 2008

Bibles which say what they mean

When the ESV Bible was released a few years back, I was surprised when someone told me that it is a good translation because it doesn't tell you what the Bible means, but only tells you what it says.

I thought about this and realised after a while that there is value in a translation which lets you see that there are interpretative choices in the original, without making the decision for you as to which interpretation is correct.

But I also felt that I need a Bible which tells me what the translator thinks the text means.

I have written before about reading John chapter 11 in the New Living Translation and discovering what Thomas meant when he said
"Let us also go, that we may die with him."

I had read this in my King James Version, my Revised Standard Version and in my New International Version, but they all say pretty much the same thing.

But the NLT translates it this way:
“Let’s go, too — and die with Jesus.”
When I looked up the verse in commentaries by Don Carson, William Hendriksen and others, they all agreed that the NLT was correct.

But I hadn't read the passage carefully enough to see that Thomas was referring to the danger of Jesus going near Jerusalem, and not to joining Lazarus, who, after all, was already dead.

It is important to know that the original has a personal pronoun, and not the name of Jesus, but it is also important to know what the passage means and who that personal pronoun is referring to.

On Sunday our minister was preaching on Psalm 7 and he referred to a similar passage where one translation translates verses 12 and 13 like this:
If he does not relent,
12 he will sharpen his sword;
he will bend and string his bow.

13 He has prepared his deadly weapons;
he makes ready his flaming arrows.

But another is more specific:
12 If a man does not repent,
God will whet his sword;
he has bent and readied his bow;
13 he has prepared for him his deadly weapons,
making his arrows fiery shafts.

Now we are told that the ESV is a version which tells you what the Bible says, whereas the TNIV is a version which tells you what it means, but in this particular instance their roles are reversed. It is the TNIV translating "literally" and the ESV which is translating more freely.

It is handy to know that the ESV is interpreting here and specifying where the original does not, and it is also useful to know what was said in the original and that it is ambiguous, courtesy of the TNIV.

Friday, April 11, 2008

I smell a mouse

Yesterday I bought a new Acer computer and Samsung monitor. My HP computer and LG monitor were still working, but the monitor sometimes turned itself off so that it could only be turned on again if you did the dreaded reboot.

And rebooting my HP computer was v e r y slow. In fact that is a pretty good description of its performance.

I have heard dire warnings of Windows Vista, the new operating system on most computers sold in Australia. I did wonder if most of my old programs would need upgrading because they wouldn't work in Vista.

But everything has gone very smoothly. I don't think much of the mouse supplied with the Acer: it is not as comfortabel as the supplied cordless mouse that came with my HP.

But I won't have to continually change batteries either.

I can't help recalling the hue and cry over
Windows 95
Windows 98
Windows 2000
Windows XP.

None of these was particularly scary, and I have found each to be an improvement over the last and hope that I will continue to think this, in the months which follow.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Honouring Brother Andrew

Open Doors Australia is joining with Christians around the world in honouring its founder, Brother Andrew, who will turn 80 on 11th May. For over 50 years he has faithfully served Jesus Christ through serving his persecuted people around the globe.

The Australian branch of OD has asked supporters to write a card for Brother Andrew's special birthday. This is what I have written on my card:
Happy Birthday, Brother Andrew!
We have been inspired by your faithfulness to Christ since reading God's Smuggler in the early 1970s (I think).
Your work has provided encouragement, training and even led to the salvation of many, by God's grace.
May you continue to enjoy God's wonderful gifts to his children as you continue to serve and honour him.
David and Joan McKay

If you would like to pass on your wishes, you can send them to
Brother Andrew
Open Doors Australia
Reply Paid 53
NSW 2092