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We’re doing something a little different – it is a 2 part series – this week is part 2, and next week is part 1. Part 1 is much harder than part 2 – so I gave part 1 to Matt. These are not really going to be sermons as much as lectures – I will try – to make it NOT like a school lecture – but you can be the judge of that!
We are going to look at the Bible – the Bible itself – how we got it (Matt will focus on where it came from next week) – This week I am looking at Bible translations. Recently – what has caused this – the NIV has done a revision – I have a Bible program on my laptop with about 30 English Bible translations – who needs that many? I am not a scholar – no matter what my parents think – Fee, Carson, and other books have helped me with this.
Let’s Pray – Lord, I thnk you for the high schoolers – we thank you that they are learning – and how this program has changed many lives – do a great work in those who have gone this summer. Break through in their lives – follow you more wholly as disciples. Give me grace to share Your word – as we talk about translations – to give a sense to all of us to love and read and study Your word – in Your name
As we look at Your word – may we hear from You – we need your mercy an grace and for You to speak to s. We are unable on our own.
I am going to be looking at Bible translations. This should be very informative – I have some stacks of notes. We’ll have some fun with this too – Well, I guess you’ll be the judge of that.
2 Tim. 3: 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
We have something that is reliable, truthful, without error and the very word of God in its original manuscripts. The Bible was written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek – and it has been translated over the years into English – and Matt will talk more about that next week.
We also need to read the Bible in light of what kind of a book it is. One scholar said – it is more than a book, it is a library.
In it are many forms of literature – History, Wisdom writings, biographies, oracles, letters, parables, hyperbole, prophecy, Laws and codes, metaphors, apocalyptic literature, poetry, songs, prose, narrative. It is important to read the Bible – any good book will explain how important this is – according to its genre.
In some cases – there is poetry – God holds together the four corners of the earth – does that mean the earth is flat? No – this is found in the poetry section of the Bible.
From the rising of the sun to its setting… – Does that mean the earth is the center of the universe? No – it is important to understand the genre and to interpret in light of the type of literature it is.
Gordon Fee – How to study the Bible for all it is worth
The Bible is a divine book, and a human book – God wrote to real people who lived in real places at real times. It is not a book of magic. Many think it is book of magic.
Look at Luke 1:
Luke 1:1 Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, 2 just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word have handed them down to us,
These were stories that had been told and told and told… The apostles have been telling these stories that they all remembered. “Do you remember when Jesus did THIS?” – and then they started writing them down – recording them. And there were many of these stories.
3 it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write [it] out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; 4 so that you might know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.
Having taken all the things that had been written – having investigated it carefully – to write out in consecutive order – to know the exact truth.
There was a real guy, Luke – who researched this and wrote it – but it was fully inspired by God. That doesn’t mean that Luke sat down and just started writing by the hand of God – he investigated and studied and talked to people and God led Him in it.
Why is this important? It makes the Bible approachable.
This makes it relatable – and understandable – it makes sense – put together in an orderly way in that we might be able to get it. The lowest level reader can understand it. And at the same time – a great scholar can understand it forever. God can reveal new things through it all the time – it can make you go to the book and be serious about it.
It requires us to engage both our minds and our spirits – prayer and reliance upon God to speak. It seems we err on one side or the other – for some it is all spiritual, for others, it is just the study of the mind.
The Bible is not simply a series of propositions and imperatives, but it tells the story of redemption across history. It all points – this is the most important thing – it all points to Jesus – to Christ. So often, we replace the WORD of God with the Book of God, but it is to lead us to THE Word of God, Jesus Christ.
Why so many translations? To make the Bible understandable. It was written in ancient languages – and ancient languages change. Look at John 3:16
John 3:16 (1611 and 1769) For God so loued the world; that he gaue his only begotten Sonne: that whosoeuer beleeueth in him, should not perish, but haue euerlasting life.
The KJV I read growing up – had been revised many times.
And at the time, they thought, why do we need this modern translation?!
Language is still changing today.
2 Thess. 2: 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth [will let], until he be taken out of the way (KJV)
2 Thess. 2: 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains [will do so] until he is taken out of the way. (NASB)
It is okay to have a favorite. Matt grabbed my NASB – he is 36 – and grew up on the NIV – and asked, ‘How do you read this?!!!’
Think how language changes.
The Greek language that Paul wrote in is as different from Greek today as Shakespeare is to English today.
The goal of translation is to give meaning and purpose
Purpose – Transfer meaning of words and sentences of one language into meaningful and accurate words and sentences of another language – and to be faithful to both languages.
If we were to transfer letteth will let today – would it be faithful to the way we speak English? No.
Translation Theory – here is how they do it. Formal Equivalency/ Functional Equivalence/ Dynamic Equivalence.
There are a few ways that they do this and many have their favorites – and people claiming why theirs is the best.
Formal Equivalent – you have seen this before – Word for word – not really true, because it is impossible to translate word for word. It is different – the way language works.
Formal equivalence – retaining the form of the Greek word while making it understandable in English.
They try to use the same English word for a Greek word when possible – and because of that – formal equivalent translators leave some things ambiguous. That is the point – they aren’t sure where to go with it – so they leave it ambiguous.
Functional equivalent – thought for thought – NASB – one of the most formal made – and in the middle is functional – NIV, TNIV, NLT – To reproduce the meaning of the text. I believe there is value to both formal and functional – and I try to read both – to have one of each.
The thought for thought is easier to read.
A paraphrase is something different – Kenneth Taylor took the American Standard – and translated it to easier to read English. He didn’t go to the Greek. The Message – that is not a paraphrase – Peterson translated from the Greek into very very modern English.
Why not just have a literal translation –
Language Barriers
She was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit – Mat. 1:18 NET)
She was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit (NAU)
Having in belly – Greek Literal
John 3:16 In this way for loved God the world so that his Sone one and only he gave in order that everyone who believes in him not perish but will have life eternal.
Words have all kinds of meanings – Key –
Key – -An unlocking tool
Solution to something
Button on a computer
Musical tone of pitch
Low offshore island
Main point – of a sermon – which this one doesn’t have –
Map
Run – Legs, stockings, water running, engine runining
Logos – in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the LOGOS of unchastity.
For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle LOGOS with his slaves (Matt. 18:23)
I will ask you one question (logos) (Mark 11:29)
There are about twenty translations ways that LOGOS can be translated.
Words have a wide meaning – so the translators need to understand those words in context – like going from English to Spanish – there is no one for one correlation – The reason I say this – the translators who translate our bible put a lot of work into it – so we need to respect and honor and love what we have been given. We need to study this book –
I think it also tells us – in all translation – there has to be some interpretation. When there are differences between sections – it gives us nuances for what the original word may have meant.
I’d like to look at one more thing –
Gender Inclusive Language Debate
NIV just came out new with Gender Inclusive Language. I am not going to take a side – some feel very strongly.
When speaking of the new NIV – Gender Inclusive Language – it is not Gender Neutral – They are not trying to take all masculinity or gender out of the Bible. If you go to the translation site – that is not their intent at all. Even their opponents have honored the effort of the philosophy of their translation.
They are not taking out the Gender – by like, saying, our Father and Mother in heaven – those who say they are doing that are on the edge of the cliff.
How do you translate – human and human beings – Anthropos – humanity –
Romans 3: 28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. (NASB)
28 For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law (NRSV)
How do you do it? Most scholars believe it is best to translate as person.
Adelphos – Brothers, Brothers and sisters, Brethren, – another decision needs to be made. It means brother more than borther and sister.
He is obviously speaking to all the members of the church – when I grew up – I knew that brethren meant everyone. But that is not the case – some people (women) feel that when you use the term brothers, it is not speaking to them. So a decision has to be made. One interesting thing – the ESV – not inclusive – has a footnote – “this could also mean, brother s and sisters”
They are trying
Son/Children –
Galatians 3: 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. (NASB)
KJV uses Children
NRS – children –
TNIV – Children
The TNIV realized that sometimes it needs to be sons. When it speaks of inheritance like sons – well, the only ones who received an inheritance in that culture were sons.
There is no one best translation
Find one you can read and read it! Read it as if it is your life. I challenge you to give your time to reading and studying it –
We need to give grace to one another.

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07.10.2011 Grace Summit Sermon – Why Modern Translations of the Bible are Necessary