Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Voice, part 2

As I wrote about here, it seems that my emerging friends have a new Bible translation on the market. Aside from the fact that the very last thing I think we need is yet another Bible translation, I have a problem...

I strolled over to the website recently [note: it works better in IE, sorry!] and found a side-by-side comparison chart of the Voice with three other translations (the Message, the ESV and the TNIV). One of the passages they chose for comparison was Jesus' temptation in the wilderness. The NET (which, not incidentally, I really like) reads this way:

"Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After he fasted forty days and forty nights he was famished. The tempter came and said to him..." Matt 4:1-3a

Fair enough; a fine translation.

The Voice reads this way:

"The Spirit then led Jesus into the desert to be tempted by the devil. Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights. After this fast, He was, as you can imagine, hungry. But He was also curiously stronger because of His fast. And so He was able to withstand the devil, the tempter, when he came to Jesus."

Houston, we have a problem. I'm okay with the concept of dynamic equivalency. I'm okay with a Bible inserting explanatory information within the body of the text, to a point. But did you notice the huge running commentary inserted into the Voice?! To their credit, it's italicized (the oft misunderstood standard for this kind of translational work). But that's little solace to a guy like me that feels the reader - not the editors of a particular translation - should bear the primary responsibility for interpretation.

Who's to say that Jesus' strength was "curious"? Why does the translation call for the quaint little insertion "as you can imagine"? How do we know that it was "because of his fast" that He was strong? What's the value of a comparative (strongerer) when it comes to Jesus?

These and more questions are raised by the Voice's translation. As a rule, any translation that raises more questions than it answers should be viewed with skepticism, no?

So while I've read precisely two passages from this new translation now, I'm very skeptical at this point.

What say you?


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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Audacity of Hope

Wow! Talk about a mixed bag of reactions to a Presidential election! I've heard conservatives talk as if the end of the world is upon us. I've heard doom and gloom. I've heard people giddy that we finally elected a black man. I've heard liberals talk as if the weather itself is actually better now that a Democrat will be in office. I've heard virtually every kind of reaction possible. And, yes ... I even heard someone ask if perhaps Obama is the anti-Christ!

Let's set that stuff aside, folks. Let's focus on the audacity of hope. Real hope. Hope in Jesus.

President-elect Obama has struck a nerve in this country with his "Hope" mantra. Witness the t-shirts (even Oprah had one on!) that read simply "Hope won". Obama wants to give us hope precisely because people need hope. This is always true, but especially when times are tough.

So let's have the audacity to suggest to people that while political hope is fleeting, hope in Jesus is our bedrock.

Let's remind people that while Obama's policies may or may not work, Jesus is our certain Redeemer.

Let's let the audacious statements of Jesus permeate our lives:

Mark 10:45 "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

Mark 9:35 "If anyone wants to be first, he must be last of all and servant of all."

Mark 12:30-31 "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' The second is: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."

Matthew 25:45 "I tell you the truth, just as you did not do it for one of the least of these, you did not do it for me."

When Obama - like all political leaders - ultimately fails to provide real hope, let our light shine so brightly that others turn toward it.

Jesus is the hope of the world. How's that for an audacious statement?


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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Christian civility for President Obama

Like most of my readers, I did not vote for Mr. Obama. Unlike most of my readers, I voted for a third-party candidate. Nevertheless, please remember:

Barack Obama will soon be our president.

None of this silly "not my president" nonsense, please. Let us show the respect the office deserves. Let us look for areas where we agree with him and support him in those. Let us raise our voices in respectful protest when we do not agree. Let us pray for him, as we ought pray for all our leaders.

This is an opportunity for followers of Christ that disagree with Mr. Obama to be known for their love and grace. This is an opportunity for followers of Christ that agree with Mr. Obama to show respect and grace to those of us who don't. Let's not waste God's glory by becoming petty and mean-spirited. Campaigning is over; let's move forward. Perhaps more than ever, America needs the spirit of true grace that only the Holy Spirit - working through His followers - can bring.

Grace and Peace,

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