April 10, 2005

Modern Man and Galatians

Cruising though the pages of The Sacred Sandwich (which has been on the left-side links for a while now), I ran across this article in their archives.

It's funny, but aren't we really like that? Don over at Locusts and Wild Honey recently critiqued one of Joel Osteen's sermons. I won't rehash what he said (though I agree with him) -- go there and read if you want the straight story. Read the comments, too, and compare them with the satire at The Sacred Sandwich.

It's frightening when real life so closely mirrors satire. I think that's why satire is so important. And that's why I like satire.

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April 04, 2005

On Death and Dying

What a pleasant topic, huh? But with recent events, it has been on my mind a bit lately.

Contrast the two recent deaths for a moment. Terri Shiavo, for years on death's door. She's suffered, she's been through therapy and been withdrawn from therapy. What did she want? Who really knows -- from what I saw, it didn't really matter. It was about what everyone else wanted, simply because she didn't really make her wishes known to enough people, and in an official way.

John Paul II, the Pope. Leader of millions (billions?) of Catholics around the world. His health has been fading for the past few years, and some people had expected him to step down and retire. He wouldn't. He wanted to spend his last years doing what God called him to do -- what his heart's desire was.

That's all any of us really want, isn't it? In the words of a Steve Taylor song, it's better off to burn out than to melt away. I think ultimately people were upset about Terri's death because she, like so many of us, didn't get to burn out. She lived her last years in agony, and never had the opportunity to do things that she probably wanted to do. We cling to hope.

Christians don't fear death. We aren't all that eager for it, either, but we don't fear it. Death not the end; it's the end of the beginning. But this life is sacred. It is a gift from God to us, and we need to make the most of it. We need to be busy.

We cling to life because we see how much more we need to do. We cling to life because we want to accomplish more -- whether it's for God, in the case of Christians, or for ourselves. We celebrate the life of the Pope because he burned out -- he was active until he absolutely couldn't be active any more, and then he died. He are angered at the death of Terri Shiavo because we feel that she was robbed of something -- we want her life to have been more, because we want that for ourselves. We want our lives to have mattered.


And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
(Heb 9:27-28 ESV)

We all die. In the end, it's not how we die that matters, but how we lived -- and Who we lived for.

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April 02, 2005

Why I Read and Use the ESV

{Tip o' the hat to Adrian Warnock}

This article/essay/message from John Piper sums up my feelings pretty well. I still often use the King James or New King James when preaching, simply because that is what most, if not all, of the people I am speaking to are using. In my personal study, I use the ESV almost exclusively -- I also will use the NASB and my MacArthur NKJV Study Bible, but the ESV is my main resource when I'm studying. If I was the pastor of a church, the pew Bibles would be ESV.

I'm not anti-NIV. I'm not anti-KJV (though I've been accused of hating the KJV by some on the Fundamentalist Forums. I understand enough of the history of the English translations of the Bible to know that the ESV is simply part of the entire process -- a process that the KJV actually started. It's a process of discovery -- of learning new things about the ancient languages, finding texts and evaluating their reliability, and then using this new knowledge to make the Scriptures clearer to Christians.

As I said, I'm not anti-NIV, but it's never been my favorite translation. It's not a totally dynamic equivalence translation -- I'd put it at about a 5 on a 10-point scale (1 is total dynamic equivalence, 10 is total literal translation). {Incidentally, it's hard to find a site that gives a decent definition of DE. A LOT of what I found when trying to find that link were places that think Gail Ripplinger is a good Bible scholar!} A 1 would be translations like The Message, while a 10 would be an intralinear Bible.

My Bible preferences would fall between an 8 and 9. I want something readable, but something that is faithful to the original wording and intent. Takes more study effort with that kind of Bible, since they often don't interpret idioms for you -- you have to do that yourself. But it's worth it.

I also agree with Piper that some paraphrasing or interpreting will always be necessary in translating the Bible. My goal is to find the translation that does this as little as possible, and I think the ESV does that well.

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